Enigma external lamp panel
- wanted item
MZL, 1 or Fernlesegerät (read-out device), is an external lamp panel
for the Naval Enigma cipher machine, 2 manufactured during
World War II (WWII)
by Konski & Krüger 3
in Berlin (Germany) for the German
Navy (Kriegsmarine). It replaced the Enigma's existing lamp panel
and was intended for situations in which the cipher clerk (commonly
the radio operator) was not
allowed to read the contents of a decrypted message, for example messages
that were intended for the commanding officer only. The message was then
entered by the clerk and read/written-down by the officer.
The device is constructed in such a way that it can be placed at both sides
of the Enigma
— at the left or at the right — each of which requires
the device to be configured accordingly. For this purpose, the connector
contains an integrated 26-contact
slide switch and a window that shows the
current setting (LINKS/RECHTS).
Furthermore, the alphabet film can be installed upside down.
When placing the read-out device at the right side of the Enigma,
the slide switch
on the connector must be set to RECHTS (right)
and the connector must be installed on the Enigma's lamp panel
in such a way that the word RECHTS is readable. This configuration
is shown on the right. The read-out device is placed
with the word Rechts at the top and the lamp film is installed
so that the letters A-Z are readable.
When used at the left side of the Enigma,
the slide switch is set to LINKS before the connector is installed
on the lamp panel of the Enigma.
In that case, the cable
leaves the Enigma at the left side.
In this configuration, the read-out device has to be turned upside-down –
so that the word Links is at the top – and the alphabet film has to
be turned around, so that the letters remain readable.
Depending on the position of the slide switch,
a metal bracket extends from the far end
of the connector to avoid it being installed the wrong way around.
In the wrong position it interferes with a mounting post
inside the Enigma.
Many thanks to Glen Miranker for lending us his Lesegerät and allowing
us to investigate it .
The exact meaning of the MZL designator is currently unknown, but as the
the letters 'MZ' were commonly used by the German Navy as a prefix
for add-ons like the Schreibmax printer,
it is possible that MZL was short for something like
Marine Zusatzgerät Lampenfeld (Navy add-on lamp panel)
or Marine Zusatzgerät Lesegerät (Navy add-on read-out device).
The device is suitable for the Enigma M1, M2, M3
and the Enigma M4.
During WWII, Konski & Krüger (K&K) — manfuacturer code gvx —
was the main manufacturer of Enigma machines under licence from
Heimsoeth und Rinke (H&R) — manufacturer code jla.
One of the four latches is missing from the device shown here.
The image below gives an overview of the various parts of the
external lamp panel. At the top left is the actual read-out unit,
which has a sloped lamp panel with 26 flat-faced lightbulbs.
The lightbulbs are covered by a metal panel that holds the alphabet film.
This panel can be installed in two ways: straight and upside down, depending
on which side of the Enigma it will be placed.
The read-out unit has rubber feet at the rear and at the bottom, so
that it can be placed in two positions: with the text Rechts (right)
visible at the top, or with the text Links (left) at the top.
At the bottom is the connector. It is permanently connected to the read-out
unit by means of a 27-wire cable.
At its top is a slide switch that allows
the device to be configured for
use at the left side
(LINKS) or the
right side (RECHTS)
of the Enigma. The selected configuration is shown through
six cut-out windows at the top of the connector.
At the bottom of the connector are
26 rigid contact pins
that mate with the empty lamp sockets
of the Enigma. At the four corners are
spring-loaded latches 1 that
clamp the connector to the edges of the Enigma's lamp panel.
Note that one of the four latches is missing from the device
DeviceExternal lamp panel
ManufacturerKonski & Krüger (K&K) — manufacturer code 'gvx'
CustomerGerman Navy (Kriegsmarine)
DimensionsConnector 240 × 70 × 45 mm
Read-out unit 258 × 90 × 100 mm
- Zusatzgerät Lampenfeld
- Glen Miranker, Lesegerät (MZL)
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Tuesday 11 October 2022. Last changed: Tuesday, 01 November 2022 - 06:02 CET.