Click for homepage
Pin-wheel
Hagelin
  
← CX-52
  
CX-52/g
Gendarmerie version of the CX-52 · France

CX-52/g 1 was a special version of the Hagelin CX-52 cipher machine, used in the 1960s and 70s by the Gendarmerie Nationale — the French Military Police. 2 It was supplied with all 12 pin-wheels (6 of them in a metal storage case) and had a unique (non-standard) set of slide bars. The one shown here was supplied in March 1963 by Crypto AG in Zug (Switzerland), via its distributor in Paris (France) René Presseq de Chauny, 3 and came with a more secure version of the manual.

The machine is basically a standard CX-52, but has several special features. Apart from the fact that it was supplied with 12 pin-wheels, it had a rather unusual white ring that could be mounted over the alphabet ring, as shown in the image.

Apart from scrambling the input alphabet by swapping the letters of the alphabet ring, the user could also use a pencil to write down the scrambled alphabet onto the white plastic ring. It is currently unknown how exactly this was used. Although it is mentioned in the manual, the machine does not have the F/V feature fitted.
  
CX-52 used by the French Gendarmerie Nationale

According to the metal plate on the top lid, the machine was supplied in March 1963 via Crypto AG's agent in Paris: René Presseq de Chauny, as part of a large batch. It is likely though that this was not the first batch of CX-52 machine that were supplied to the Gendarmerie, as the original Operating Procedure that was found with the machine featured here, is from August 1960 [C].

From the surviving serial numbers it can be estimated that between 1000 and 2000 units were involved in this production batch, and that in total several thousands of machines were used by the Gendarmerie Nationale at the time. The CX-52 was also used by the French Army – prior to 1960 – but these machines were built under licence by Manufacture d'Armes de Tulle (MAT). In addition, similar machines were sold directly by Crypto AG to the French Army in late 1960s.

 Full description of the CX-52

  1. The suffix '/g' (for Gendarmerie) is neither an official Crypto AG designator, nor a secret Hagelin designator. It was added by us to discriminate this variant from the regular configurations.
  2. Direction de la Gendarmerie et de la Justice Militaire, Sous-Direction de la Gendarmerie, Bureau technique. The Gendarmerie Nationale is one of two national police forces in France. It falls under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and has military as well as civil tasks. It is also responsible for the protection of the French President. The Gendarmerie is the successor to the Maréchaussée [3].
  3. The company René Presseq de Chauny was located at 35 Rue de la Bienfaisance in Paris (VIIIe), France. In his report of 28 March 1955, NSA cryptologist William Friedman confirmed that René de Chauny was Hagelin's agent in Paris at the time [2 p.11]. STTA (at the top of the label) stands for Service Technique des Telécommunications de l'Air — the French Air Force procurement service.

Canvas bag with CX-52 and accessories
CX-52 [fr]
CX-52 used by the French Gendarmerie Nationale
Front view
Left view
CX-52 close-up left
CX-52 close-up right
Printer section
CX-52 used by the French Military Police (Gendarmerie Nationale)
Pin-wheels and bar drum
Blank input letter ring
Tools inside the cover
Serial number
B-52 keyboard unit
B-52 with CX-52 installed
Instructions and maintenance booklet
A
×
A
1 / 16
Canvas bag with CX-52 and accessories
A
2 / 16
CX-52 [fr]
A
3 / 16
CX-52 used by the French Gendarmerie Nationale
A
4 / 16
Front view
A
5 / 16
Left view
A
6 / 16
CX-52 close-up left
A
7 / 16
CX-52 close-up right
A
8 / 16
Printer section
A
9 / 16
CX-52 used by the French Military Police (Gendarmerie Nationale)
A
10 / 16
Pin-wheels and bar drum
A
11 / 16
Blank input letter ring
A
12 / 16
Tools inside the cover
A
13 / 16
Serial number
A
14 / 16
B-52 keyboard unit
A
15 / 16
B-52 with CX-52 installed
A
16 / 16
Instructions and maintenance booklet



Click to see more

Parts
PVC carrying bag with canvas straps
Bag
Metal enclosure
CX-52 (French configuration)
Additional pin-wheels
Set of four keys to (un)lock the device
Blank letter ring
Pin-setting device
paper rolls
Operating Instructions supplied by Crypto AG
Service booklet
Operating procedure (French)
Maintenance tools
B-52 Keyboard unit
Carrying bag
This storage/carrying bag was supplied with the machine. It has separate compartments for the CX-52, the additional wheels, extra paper rolls, the pin-setting tool and the user instructions.

The bag is made of water-resistant PVC and has canvas carrying straps. Note that due to ageing and the use of an anti-fungus agent, these bags are rather smelly. It should be kept in a well-ventilated room to avoid deterioration.

  
PCV carrying bag with CX-52 and accessories

Machine enclosure
The machine was supplied with the usual hinged cover, shown in the image on the right. The cover is locked with a physical key (insert at the right side of the machine) and can be opened by pushing the circular knob at the front.

The cover protects the machine when it is not in use, and also holds the maintenance tools. A short canvas trap is attached to the right side, to allow the machine to be carried around.

  
CX-52 [fr]

CX-52 cipher machine
The machine is a common CX-52 with the 26-letter Latin alphabet, but with an unusual set of slide bars. This was probably done to make the machine more secure and incompatible with machines supplied to other customers. The bars are identical to the bars supplied to the French Army however.

The machine has a white blank letter ring that can be mounted over the alphabet ring. It can be written with a pencil to contain a scrambled alphabet (similar to re-arranging the letters).

 More information

  
CX-52 used by the French Military Police (Gendarmerie Nationale)

Additional pin-wheels
The machines were supplied with all 12 known pin-wheels, of which 6 were used, subject to the current key settings. By default, wheels 25 26 29 31 34 37 were placed in the machine, while the remaining wheels (38 41 42 43 46 47) were stowed in the metal storage case shown here.

The storage case was kept in a compartment of the carrying bag. It has the same serial number as the machine.

  
Six additional pin-wheels in metal storage case

Wallet with keys
Like other Hagelin cipher machines, the CX-52/g was supplied with a leather wallet with four flat cylinder keys that carry the machine's serial number. Two keys have a single notch in the grip. They are intended for a regular operator and can only be used to open the cover.

The other two keys have two notches and can be used to open the cover as well as the top lid of the machine. It is also known as the officer's key.

  
4 keys with the same serial number as the machine. Two keys with one notch and two keys with two notches.

Blank letter ring
A unique feature of this CX-52/g, is the blank white plastic ring shown in the image on the right. It can be written with a pencil and allows arbitrary (mixed) alpabeths to be used, in the same vain as re-arranging the regular letter ring.

The ring has three mounting stubs that allows it to be mounted over the regular alphabet ring, after the letters B, K and T have been removed temporarily. The three letters are stowed in a metal tube that is held inside the cover.

  
Blank input letter ring

Pin-setting device
To make setting and resetting the pins of the pin-wheels easier, this simple tool was supplied. It is made of green eloxed aluminium and has a stub at the centre that holds the pin-wheel. The lever can then be used to push a pin down without causing damage to the wheel.

When not in use, the push tool is stowed in a special pocket of the carrying bag.
  
pin-setting device

Paper rolls
As the CX-52 can only produce its output on a printed paper strip, additional blank paper rolls were required. According to the checklist, at least one additional roll was supplied with the machine, but the leftmost compartment of the carrying bag has room for up to 4 rolls.

The image on the right shows the paper rolls that came with the machine featured here.
  
Spare paper reels

Manual
The machine was supplied with the usual blue manual with order number A-035 [A], but is different from the (same) manual [1] that was supplied to other customers. It contains better instructions for proper use of the machine.

This might be related to the fact that Hagelin had a Gentleman's Agreement with the NSA, and a Licening Agreement with the CIA.

 Download the manual

  
Click to see more

Service booklet
This orange booklet at DIN A5 format was supplied with every machine and contains the service history of the device. It also holds a checklist on the inside of the front cover.

The book provided with the CX-52 feature here, contains a single entry that shows that it was last serviced on 30 April 1968.

 Download the service history

  
Service booklet

Operating procedure
In addition to the operating instructions and the maintenance history, the machine was also supplied with this pink A6-size booklet that describes the cipher procedure. It also reveals that the end-user was the French Gendarmerie.

The cipher procedure was issued in August 1960, and was updated on 15 December 1967. This involved the addition of a fold-out on page 21 and the removal of pages 22 and 23.

 Download the cipher procedure

  
Operating procedure

Maintenance tools
The machine was supplied with a full set of maintenance tools, as shown in the image on the right. They are stowed inside the case cover.

The set consists of an oil tube, spare ink rollers, spare lugs, tweezers, letter push-tool, lug-setting tool and a screwdriver.
  
Maintenance tools

Keyboard unit   B-52
The CX-52 could optionally be expanded with a B-52 keyboard unit, that converts the machine into a fast motor-driven cipher machine, similar to the earlier BC-38 and BC-543 machines.

The B-52 unit shown in the image on the right was found with the CX-52 machine featured here, and was also used by the Gendarmerie Nationale. It came with its own transit case. The B-52 was later succeeded by the B-62.

 More information

  
B-52 keyboard unit

PCV carrying bag with CX-52 and accessories
PVC storage/carrying bag with canvas straps
CX-52 with extra pin-wheels, spares and keys, in carrying bag
Canvas bag with CX-52 and accessories
Complete CX-52 kit used by the Gendarmerie Nationale
Pocket with pin-setting tool
Pin-setting tool stowed in a pocket of the carrying bag
Metal storage case with additional pin-wheels
Six additional pin-wheels in metal storage case
Blank input letter ring
Removing the blank letter ring
White ring removed from alphabet ring
Input letter ring and blank ring
Wallet with four keys
4 keys with the same serial number as the machine. Two keys with one notch and two keys with two notches.
pin-setting device
Spare paper reels
Service booklet
Checklist
Single entry of 1968
Operating procedure
Operating procedure detail
Maintenance tools
B
×
B
1 / 24
PCV carrying bag with CX-52 and accessories
B
2 / 24
PVC storage/carrying bag with canvas straps
B
3 / 24
CX-52 with extra pin-wheels, spares and keys, in carrying bag
B
4 / 24
Canvas bag with CX-52 and accessories
B
5 / 24
Complete CX-52 kit used by the Gendarmerie Nationale
B
6 / 24
Pocket with pin-setting tool
B
7 / 24
Pin-setting tool stowed in a pocket of the carrying bag
B
8 / 24
Metal storage case with additional pin-wheels
B
9 / 24
Six additional pin-wheels in metal storage case
B
10 / 24
Blank input letter ring
B
11 / 24
Removing the blank letter ring
B
12 / 24
White ring removed from alphabet ring
B
13 / 24
Input letter ring and blank ring
B
14 / 24
Wallet with four keys
B
15 / 24
4 keys with the same serial number as the machine. Two keys with one notch and two keys with two notches.
B
16 / 24
pin-setting device
B
17 / 24
Spare paper reels
B
18 / 24
18 / 24
B
19 / 24
Service booklet
B
20 / 24
Checklist
B
21 / 24
Single entry of 1968
B
22 / 24
Operating procedure
B
23 / 24
Operating procedure detail
B
24 / 24
Maintenance tools

Slide bars
Like the CX-52 machine that were used by the French Army, the CX-52/g has a unique set of slide bars that is different from the standard configurations (a, b and c) that were usually supplied to the various types of customers. The complete set of bars is listed below.

Pos Shape ID
28-32 13
27 14
25-26 13
24 14
22-23 13
21 54
19-20 13
18 54
16-17 13
15 15
1-14 13

 Other known slide bar configurations


Restoration
The CX-52 featured on this page was acquired in October 2021 together with a B-52 keyboard unit. Both devices were used during the 1960s and 1970s by the Gendarmerie Nationale — the French Military Police — who obtained them in 1963. Although they were in near mint condition, they had probably been in storage for the last 30 or 40 years, without any use or maintenance.

The first thing to be noticed was the musty smell of the carrying bag. This bag, made of PVC, is treated with a rather smelly anti-fungus agent. Washing the bag several times with a mild soap followed by alcohol, improved things somewhat, but did not eliminate the smell completely.

The machine was in good condition, but the mechanism was very dry, causing the revolving cage to block occasionally. As a general rule: never use excessive force when a mechanism appears to be blocking or binding, as this could cause irreparable damage to your machine.
  
Pin-wheels and bar drum

After greasing and oiling it at the appropriate spots, and removing the minute corrosion that was visible on some of the pin-wheels, the CX-52 now runs like new again. What remained were four small 1 mm holes in the lid, that had clearly been holding some kind of metal ID/type label.

Luckily, one of our German friends had recently acquired a nearly identical machine [5] that was used by the same French organisation and that still had its ID plate fitted. It confirmed the name of the distrbutor (René de Chauny) and the year in which the machines had been supplied (1963).

From the serial numbers of both machines and the inventory number that was still present on the service booklet, we were able to work out the number that had to be imprinted on the label. A high-quality reproduction of the original label was made and the number (157) was imprinted.
  
CX-52 close-up left

The label was fitted at the same position as the old one, using four small aluminium nails to affix it to the existing mounting holes. The result is shown in the image above. The machine was then properly services, and is now fully operational again. It runs like it has just left the factory. It was later also tested with the orginal B-52 keyboard unit that was found with it.

Problems
  • Carrying bag extremely smelly and dirty
  • Machine extremely dry
  • Distributor label missing from top lid
Fixed
  • Carring bag thorougly cleaned with soap and alcohol
  • Documents preserved in chlorine-free plastic
  • Machine superficially cleaned and oiled
  • Pin-wheels cleaned and oiled
  • Ink rollers replaced
  • Reproduction distributor label fitted
Pin-wheels and bar drum
CX-52/g with four mounting holes in the lid
CX-52 close-up left
C
×
C
1 / 3
Pin-wheels and bar drum
C
2 / 3
CX-52/g with four mounting holes in the lid
C
3 / 3
CX-52 close-up left

Specifications
  • Model
    CX-52
  • Series
    C
  • S/N
    157/32047
  • Manufacturer
    Crypto AG
  • Year
    1963 (introduced in 1952)
  • User
    France, Gendarmerie Nationale
  • Wheels
    25 26 29 31 34 37 + 38 41 42 43 46 47
  • Bars
    Special (see avove)
  • F/V feature
    No
  • Print head
    Re-arrangeable
  • Typeface
    Latin (26)
  • Offset
    Adjustable
  • Letter ring
    Re-arrangeable
  • SPACE
    A, K, W
  • Paint
    Green wrinkle-paint
  • Lock
    Flat cylinder key
  • Object
    303690
Checklist
A checklist of all items that were supplied with the machine can be found on the inside of the cover of the service booklet [B].

Known serial numbers
Below is a list of surviving machines that were supplied in 1963 via René Presseq de Chauny. These machines can be recognised by an extra type plate with that name, mounted to the top lid of the machine. In some cases this plate has been removed, but the four mounting holes should still be present. The plate holds the internal (3-digit) inventory number of the Gendarmerie Nationale. The list shows the inventory number, the serial number and the current location.

  • 103
    31993
    Private collector (Germany)
  • 117
    32007
    Sold via Bonhams, 2 December 2020
  • 157
    32047
    Crypto Museum (Netherlands)
  • ?
    33?78
    Sold via eBay, 21 February 2016 1
From this list it is clear that more that 1000 units were supplied in this batch.

  1. 3rd digit of the serial number removed. Inventory number unknown.

The list above allows us to make an educated guess of the actual production quantity. If you have a CX-52 machine that previously belonged to the Gendarmerie Nationale, please provide us with the serial number, so that we can update the list. Your information will be treated confidentially. If the serial number label is missing from your machine, you can also find it on the inside of the cover, stamped in blue or red.
Documentation
  1. The Hagelin Cryptographer, Type CX-52 1
    User Manual in English, French and German. 36 pages.
    D-035. Crypto AG, undated.

  2. Carnet de Control Technique
    Service booklet (French) with checklist. S/N 157/32047. Undated.
    First (and only) update on 30 April 1968.

  3. Guide de L'Opérateur CX-52
    Operating Procedure. August 1960.
    First (and only) update on 15 December 1967.
  1. This manual [A] has the same document number as [1], but provides better security instructions.

References
  1. The Hagelin Cryptographer, Type CX-52
    User Manual in English, French and German. 36 pages.
    D-035. Crypto AG, 1 January 1962.

  2. William Friedman, Report of Visit to Crypto AG (Hagelin) 21-28 February 1955
    28 March 1955. TOP SECRET. Final version.
    A2436243. Partly declassified by NSA on 22 July 2014 (EO 13526).

  3. Wikipedia, National Gendarmerie
    Visited 23 October 2021.

  4. Bart Wessel, The Hagelin Cryptographers C-52 and CX-52
    Crypto Museum, 24 February 2021.  Info

  5. Karsten Hansky, Personal correspondence
    October 2021.
Further information
Any links shown in red are currently unavailable. If you like the information on this website, why not make a donation?
Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 24 October 2021. Last changed: Tuesday, 23 November 2021 - 13:43 CET.
Click for homepage