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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 05/15/2010 08:02:45 EDT
Subject: RE: Cipher disk

Message Detail:
Tom, do I presume correctly that you're referring to the "A.J.M" disk developed for use of the Union signal corps (for, as Joe notes, the CS cipher disk was sequential with both alphabets)? (In the technological superiority of the late 19thC/20thC, the US equivalent of the CS disk reversed the inner alphabet!)

So the disks were developed for different purposes -- the CS for enciphering and deciphering "classified" messages (even for subsequent xmsn over visual signal lines), whereas the US signal disk was intended for use by the US signalmen, allowing for quick changes in the alphabet xmtd by the visual signal system. (Which is indicated by the numerals -- indicating L-R waves of the flag -- on the outher disk, rather than letters.) I am not aware of the rationale behind the arrangement on the Myer signal disk, other than the thought that he considered mixing up the alphabet, interspersing conventional signs, etc., to be somehow more secure against penetration by enemy observers.

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