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M-125-3MR2   Poland
Polish variant of the M-125-3 Fialka

The M-125-3MR2 (Russian: М-125-3МР2) was the version of the M-125-3 Fialka that was used in Poland during the Cold War. The machines were given on a lend/lease contract with the USSR (Russia) from the early 1960s onwards, until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992.

Once the machines were decommissioned, the Russians ordered their destruction, which took place in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Nevertheless, a very small number of the Polish machines have survived. They were the first to appear on the European surplus market in 2003.

The image on the right shows the Polish variant of the M-125-3. It had a specific Polish keyboard layout, with some typical Polish letters, and a country-specific print head. Furthermore, the wheels had a country-specific wiring that was identified by the 3K prefix on each wheel.
Fialka M-125-3MR2

The M-125-3MR2 was supplied with the advanced power supply unit. The Polish machines are generally in very good condition, mainly because they have been maintained well by the Poles. In most cases, the cipher wheels have matching numbers and all accessories are present.

Once the first batch of surplus Polish Fialka machines had hit the surplus market, the Russians intervened and collected the remaining machines, which were subsequently destroyed in Russia. After the initial batch, no further Polish Fialka machines have appeared on the surplus market.

Polish PSU
The Polish Fialka machines (M-125-3MR2) were issued with a very sophisticated stabilized Power Supply Unit (PSU) that contained extra circuits to improve overall cipher security by adding extra TEMPEST measures. The PSU is connected to the Fialka by means of two cables (rather than one).

 More information

Advanced Fialka PSU with TEMPEST feature. Click for more information.

Polish keyboard
The drawing below shows the layout of the keyboard of the Polish variant of the Fialka. When used for communication in Russian, the Cryrillic characters at the bottom left of each key are used. The position of the Cyrillic characters is identical on all country-specific Fialka variants.

Layout of the Polish variant of the M-125-3 (Fialka) machine

At the bottom right is the Polish layout of the Latin alphabet. These letters are used in Latin-only Mode or in Mixed Mode (i.e. letter and numbers). The characters at the top left are used in Letter-Shift mode (i.e. after pressing A... in Mixed Mode) when typing Russian, whilst the characters at the top right are used in Polish Letter-Shift mode. When using the machine in Numerical Mode (i.e. the 30 ↔ 10 swtich set to '10') only the darker blue-ish keys can be used. In this mode the characters at the top left of the keys are used, which implies the use of the Cyrillic print head.

Polish wheel wiring   3K
Only a very small number of Polish Fialka machines have appeared on the surplus market. Generally speaking, the Polish samples are of the highest quality, mainly because they have been maintained so well when they were in service. In 2003, David Hamer and Tom Perera [3] were the first to recover the wheel wiring of the Polish 3K wheels. It is shown in the table below:

In this table, each row represents a wheel, whilst each column represents a single contact on a wheel. At the top of the table are the entry contacts which are at the right side of the wheel (i.e. the side with the spring-loaded contacts). The table itself shows the output contacts (i.e. the left side of the wheel). The positions of the Advance Blocking Pins are marked in red. At the far right is the total number of Advance Blocking Pins for each wheel.

 More wiring details

The Russian M-125-3M was supplied with the same accessories as the other M-125-3 variants, except for the spare print heads. As the M-125-3M was a Russian-only machine, the only print head that was used was the Mixed Mode Russian version which was present inside the machine. As a result, the axle that holds the test reflector inside the metal dust cover, has no room for additional print heads. Click any of the thumbnails below for additional information.

 Overview of the accessories

Original check list
Metal dust cover that protects the machine and is used to store some accessories
Metal box for collecting paper chad from the punched paper tape
Paper feeder that holds a fresh paper tape reel
Small hand crank for making corrections and for releasing a blocked mechanism
Spare print heads
Test reflector
Spare set of wheels in aluminium can
Canvas wallet with various tools
Oil can used for maintenance
User manual
Standard Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Tempest complient Power Supply Unit (PSU)
24V service lamp used for seting up and maintenance
Metal test triangle for the card reader
Wheel opening tool
Wheel stepping   3K
When testing a Polish Fialka, either as a real machine or as a simulation, the following table might be useful when checking the wheel stepping mechanism. Put all wheels in their default setting (i.e. ring set to 'A', matching core with side '1' up with the mark set to 'A') and place them in the machine in the default order: АБВГДЕЖЗИК. Now lower the ruler and set the wheels to AAAAAAAAAA (just above the ruler). Next, type 20 random characters on the keyboard and compare the position of the wheels after each step with the following table:

Wheel А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И К
Step 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
0 А А А А А А А А А А
1 А Й А А А А А А Б А
2 А Я А А А А А А В А
3 А Ю А А А А А А Г А
4 А Ь А А А А А А Д А
5 А Ы А Й А Й А А Е А
6 А Щ А Й А Й А А Ж А
7 А Ш А Я А Й Б А З А
8 А Ч А Я А Й В А И А
9 А Ц А Ю А Й В А К А
10 А Х А Ь А Й Г А Л А
11 А Ф А Ы А Й Г А М А
12 А У А Ы А Й Г А Н А
13 А Т А Щ А Я Г А О А
14 А С А Щ А Я Г А П А
15 Б Р Б Ш Б Я Д А Р А
16 Б П Б Ш Б Я Д А С А
17 Б О Б Ч Б Ю Е Й Т Й
18 Б Н Б Ц Б Ю Е Й У Й
19 Б М Б Ц Б Ю Ж Й Ф Й
20 Б Л Б Ц Б Ю З Й Х Й
Older version
Before the M-125-3 was introduced in the late 1960s, its predecessor, the M-125 was used. It can easily be distinguished from the M-125-3 as its keyboard has rounded key tops whereas the key on the later machine are square. Furthermore it only has two letters on each key: a Cryllic one (in black) and a Latin one (in red). Furthermore these machines were issued with the standard (non-adjustable) cipher wheels.  More information about the older M-125.

The older M-125 and the later M-125-3 side by side (Polish versions shown here)

  1. Jörg Drobick, Nutzung der Fialka M-125
    Website: Der SAS- und Chiffrierdienst (SCD). Retrieved May 2014.

  2. Paul Reuvers and Marc Simons, The Fialka M-125 Reference Manual
    Copyright 2005-2009. Version 2.0, June 2009. ISBN 978-90-79991-01-3.

  3. David Hamer and Tom Perera, Wiring of Polish 3K Fialka wheels
    Retrieved 2003.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 06 July 2014. Last changed: Friday, 08 January 2021 - 09:51 CET.
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