History and Background

In the early nineteen twenties, Vasiliv Alexeye-vich Degtyarev. the noted small arms inventor, began to coordinate the design of a machine gun intended for various uses and designated to identify the designer (D) and the use (P, A, T, etc.). The symbols used on Soviet machine guns and aircraft cannon are explained in chapter 10. An illustration of markings on a Degtyarev DTM infantry machine gun appears on page 44. The DShK combined the design talent of both Degtyarev and Shpagin. Obituaries of both designers have appeared in official Soviet newspapers, indicating that they died in good favor.

Degtyarev worked for four years on the first model of the DP (Degtyarev Infantry) before it was tested in 1926. The DA (Degtyarev Aircraft) appeared in 1928. The DT (Degtyarev Tank) made its initial appearance in 1929.

By 1933, the DP was being produced in quantity. The three models just mentioned were originally manufactured at Tula Arsenal. Later, production of the DA was supplemented elsewhere.

The early version of the DP was known outside the U. S. S. R. by the early thirties. It saw service in the Spanish Civil War, where it proved the Russians had one of the most reliable and simply constructed light machine guns known at that time.

The DK (Degtyarev Heavy) appeared about 1934 and was a prcdeccssor of the DShK, which ap-

Machine Gun Ussr
Figure 3-1. Degtyarev 7.62-mm Light Machine Gun Model DP. sectional view.
Light Machinegun
Figure 3-2. Degtyarev Tank Machine Gun in antiaircraft firing position.
Soviet Anti Aircraft Guns

Fiyuie 3 3. Hero of Socialist Labor, Vasiliy Alexeyevich Dectvarev ^deceased), one-time Major-General of the Artillery

Engineering Service.

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Machine Gun Ussr

Figure 3 4. The 7.62-mm Soviet Licht Machine Gun commonly called the DP, which identifies it in the Russian Service as "Degtyarev Iniantry."

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Figure 3 4. The 7.62-mm Soviet Licht Machine Gun commonly called the DP, which identifies it in the Russian Service as "Degtyarev Iniantry."

pcared in 1938. The DK had very limited use.

The DS (Degtyarev Medium) was the white hope of the Soviets in their campaign to replace the Maxim Model 1910. Thus Maxim model had been in use and under manufacture in Russia for over four decades. Many designs reputed to be superior to the Maxim were on the drafting boards. Of these possibilities, the DS was chosen for careful development and production. However, features of the DS including its "deluxe" exterior finish made it too difficult to manufacture. True to their temperament, the Soviets began to ignore the DS in their literature. Few specimens have been found.

The DTM (Degtyarev Tank Modified) is a modification of the DT. It appeared at the closc of World War II.

The "Company" (Degtyarev 1946 Infantry J is the latest model used by the infantry.

SG-43. The Soviet's need for a new machine gun to replace the Maxim is well known. After the DS (Degtyarev Medium) was abandoned, attention was centered on a weapon with an entirely different appearance. Its first official designation was Stankovaya Goryunov 1943; this was soon abbreviated to SO 43.

This automatic firing mechanism was engineered by the gifted designer Peter Maximovitch Goryunov. The designer barely lived to sec the results of his labors; he died at the age of 41, within a few months after his gun had been officially accepted by the military authorities in charge of procurement of automatic arms. His brother M. M. Goryunov and an engineer named Voronkov, who assisted him on the original model, were given official orders to carry on development work for the purpose of improving the existing model.


General Data

The following models have characteristics which are the same or similar to the DP except as noted in footnotes to the following table.

DA (Degtyarev Aircraft). DT (Degtyarev Tank). DPM (Degtyarev Infantry Modified). DTM (Degtyarev Tank Modified). "Company" (Degtyarev 1946 Infantry)

Degtarev 1928
Figure 3-5. Hero of Socialist Labor George S. Shpagin idoccased), co-designer with Degtarev of the DShK.

Table of Characteristics of DP (Degtyarev In-

fa n t ry) Pro due tio n Ve rsio n Caliber: 7.62-mm. Rate of fire:

Cyclit:: 500-600 rounds/minute.

Effective: 80 rounds/minute.1 Muzzle velocity: 2,770 feet/second. Effective range: 880 yards. Gun length : 50.5 inches with flash hidcr.2 Gun weight:

With bipod: 20 pounds. Without bipod: 15 pounds. System of operation: Gas operated. System of locking: Swinging locks. System of feeding: Flat spring loaded drum holding 47 rounds.®

Method of charging: Manual. Method of cool i ng: Air. Barrel weight: 4 34 pounds. Barrel length: 23% inches. Barrel removal: Quick change. Chamber pressure: 44,000 p. s. i. Bore:

Number of grooves: 4. Groove depth: 0.015 inch. Direction of twist: Right hand. Form of twist: Standard. Method of hcadspace: Key that locks barrel gives minimum clearance when securely in place. Location of feed opening: Top of receiver. Location of ejection opening: Bottom of receiver.

Type of safety: Grip safety.1

Wwii Russian Machine Gun

Figure 3 6. The 7.62-mm DS in action. A Soviet propaganda photo of World War II: actually, an insignificant number of this model were made.

Figure 3 6. The 7.62-mm DS in action. A Soviet propaganda photo of World War II: actually, an insignificant number of this model were made.

Notb 1. The tank versions are claimed to have an effective rate of fire of 125 rd/min. The "Company" 1946 model is claimed to have an effective rale of 80 rd/min with disk magazine and an effective rate of 250 rd/min with the belt feed.

Notf. 2. Own with adjustable stock is 39.8 inches long without flash hider when the stock is retracted.

Note 3. The tank versions have a 60-ronnd disk magazine. The "Company" 1046 model can use the 47-round disk magazine or 50-round link belts. Belts may be linked together for greater periods of sustained firing. The "Company" may be belt-fed also. See Note 1.

Notk 4. All other models have safety lever.

General Data on DS (Degtyarev Medium)

Caliber: 7.62-mm.

Cvclic rate of fire:

Normal: 500-600 rounds/minute. Fast: 1,000-1,200 rounds/minute.

Type of fire: Full automatic only.

Muzzle velocity: 2,650 feet/second.

Chamber pressure: 44.000 psi.

Gun length, overall: 46 inchcs.

Gun weight:

Gun only: 26.4 pounds.

With tripod and shield: 72 pounds.

System of operation: Gas.

System of locking: Swinging locks.

System of feeding: 250-round canvas he-It or 50-round metallic link belt.

Method of charging: Manual. Method of cooling: Air. Rate control: Buffer adjustment. Barrel length: 28.4 inchcs. Barrel removal: Not quick change.

General Data on DK (Degtyarev Heavy) and DShK (Degtyarev-Shpagin Heavy)

Caliber: 12.7-mm. Rate of fire:

Cyclic: 550-600 rounds/minute. Usable: 125 rounds/minute. Muzzle velocity: 2.763 feet/second. Gun length: 62.3 inches. Gun weight: 73.48 pounds. System of operation: Gas. System of locking: Swinging locks. System of feeding: Metallic link belt. Weight of 50 rounds in belt: 19.8 pounds. Method of charging: Manual. Method of cooling: Air. Chamber pressure: 52,000 psi. Barrel length: 39.37 inches. Barrel removal: Not quick change. Location of feed opening: Top. Location of ejection opening: Bottom. Maximum effective range: 3,792 yards.

Forward Case Ejection Bolt Face

Figure 3 7. Symmetrical locks, pivctiuy in the boil body: this method is employed in all Degtylcrev-designcd machine guns.

Description of the Weapon

DP (Degtyarev Infantry). This is a light machine gun and is the basic type in the group of machine guns designed by Degtyarev. The other models arc variations or improvements of the basic design.

This gun is notorious for its unfinished appearance; the production pattern, involving a preponderance of semiskilled labor, did not allow for refinement of manufacture.

The locking system is composed of two swinging pieces that securely hold barrel» receiver, and bolt together while the bullet is in the bore. The system of locking is an adaptation of one of Paul Mauser's early actions, which he used on an experimental semiautomatic rifle, and it is also very similar to the Swedish Kjellman-Fribcrg locking system, used on the machine gun of that name. However, Degtyarev reversed the principle; instead of the firing pin advancing and thrusting the locking levers out at the front of the bolt, it cams the base of two small swinging locks out to butt against the locking plates when pressure is brought to bear on the face of the bolt. Where Mauser and Fribcrg employed recoil to unlock, Degtyarev used gas pressure to drive the piston rearward together with the firing pin, which held the two wing-shaped locks into engagement. After the firing pin has been withdrawn the angles on the faces of the breech locks and their locking scats arc such that the locks cam themselves out of contact and recoil with the bolt while holding the firing pin to the rear.

The drum feed is vcrv similar in construction and operation to the one used on the Vickers-Rerthier aircraft machine gun, differing from the Lewis-type drum in that the inner part of the drum rotates while the outer part remains stationary.

There is a marking on the pancake-stvle drum to indicate that it holds 47 instead of 49 cartridges. This was done because field use proved performance more reliable when the lesser number of rounds were loaded.

On all guns after the prototype, a cone-shaped flash hidcr was incorporated in the design. The use of the flash hidcr necessitated threading the barrel to receive it.

On some guns, the cooling ridges on the barrel were omitted to facilitate production. Both types of barrels mav be encountered.

Dshk 7mm Heavy Machine Gun

Figure 3-8. The 12.7-mm Heavy Degtyarev Machine Gun which was standardized in 1938 as the DShK. The specimen shown was manuiactured in 1945.

Figure 3-8. The 12.7-mm Heavy Degtyarev Machine Gun which was standardized in 1938 as the DShK. The specimen shown was manuiactured in 1945.

Degtyarev 1928 Magazine
Figure 3-9. The drum magazine used with the DP gun. The marking specifies 47 rouncs as the drum capacity.

The original version of the DP was chambered for the Russian infantry 7.62-mm rifle cartridge and weighed 15 pounds without bipod or the 49-shot flat drum-type magazine, ft was gas operated and air cooled, with a non-rccoiling barrel. The principal parts were the receiver, barrel, gas cylinder and piston, bolt and lock, firing pin, and driving spring.

The magazine feed of this original DP model caused considerable difficulty and changes were made in the second version to corrcct this weakness.

The original version of the DP did not provide for quick barrel change. After 400 to 500 shots had been fired in rapid succession, the barrel became so hot that aiming at the target was impossible because of heat waves. Restrictions were drawn up for limiting burst firing to a small number of rounds until the weapon could be modified. The improved version has a quick-change barrel. The number of parts was slightly reduced.

Barrel change is accomplished on this model by the following steps: After unscrewing the flash hidcr and the gas cylinder nut, the cylinder was then slid to the rear uf the gas cylinder body. The two securing pins were drifted out and the barrel with its interrupted threads was then separated from the receiver bv use of a tool on the rear of the flash hidcr. While this method was more complicated than that employed on most other machine guns of similar design, it could be done in a short time by the average operator.

In the original model, the return spring for the recoiling parts was housed in the cylinder under the barrel; this caused the spring to heat. This condition was corrected in the production version of the DP by means of ventilation slots in the barrel jacket, which permitted better circulation of air. A gas regulator on both versions gave ten shots a second at the maximum opening.

A novel squeeze type of safety was located at the -rear of the trigger guard and was so designed that when the operator places his hand around the upper part of the shoulder stock, it depresses the safety.

The DP served the Soviets well during World War II, and since the end of the war it has made an ideal weapon for arming the satellite forces. Because of the difficulty of reloading the magazine, particularly in cold weather, a loading device officially callcd the PSM has been added. The PSM allows the soldier to refill the magazines from any position: sitting, standing, or lying down.

Story Aircraft Mach Gun

Figure 3-10. Degtyarev 7.62 mm Aircraft Machine Gun DA. Although obsolete for aircraft use. these quns are now employed by Russia's satellites in less important rcles such as iixed antiaircraft defense.

Figure 3-10. Degtyarev 7.62 mm Aircraft Machine Gun DA. Although obsolete for aircraft use. these quns are now employed by Russia's satellites in less important rcles such as iixed antiaircraft defense.

Machine Gun Degtyarev Aircraft
Figure 3-11. Degtyarev 7.62-mm Aircraft Machine Gun DA. field stripped.

While the construction of the weapon is very simple, it is believed by many that its exaggerated simplicity impairs to a great degree its function in the field. One of the most serious deficiencies is the existence of large flat hearing surfaces in the mating operating parts, which could interfere with both aim and cycle of operation.

The most prevalent malfunction to take place during combat has been listed by the Russians as insufficient recoil, due to the following reasons: (a) penetration of dirt into the mechanism, (b) too-thick lubricant on the mechanism, especially in winter, (c) choking of the gas port regulator by-carbon or dirt, and (d) cscapc of gas between the gas regulator arid the piston, brought about by a defect in the manufacture of these pieces.

On the counter-recoil stroke, the most common stoppages have been listed as (a) dirt getting into the action, and {b) too-thick oil on the recoiling parts.

The magazine rotates through the action of a wound spring. This feature is often found to be to blame for failures especially when the spring becomes too weak to turn the disk the one space necessary to index the incoming round.

The gas piston is very similar to all other automatic firing mechanisms with such an action. One end is formed into a piston and enclosed with the driving spring in a tubular housing beneath the barrel.

When trigger pressure is removed at the end of a long burst, the bolt remains to the rear in a cockcd position, thus preventing a round being left in an overheated chamber.

DA (Degtyarev Aircraft). Hirougli desperation more than intent, the Russians pressed the Dcgtyarcv ground gun into service in the air and named it the DA. lis usefulness was limited; and just as soon as an adequate weapon was made to replace it, the DA was abandoned. The rate of fire was far below what was considered to be the minimum for aircraft weapons. While the ground gun served the troops well and was well received by them, the DA did not

Biggest Machine Gun History

Figure 3 12. Degtyarev 7.62-mm Tank Machine Gun on tank mount wi;h stock telescoped.

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Figure 3 12. Degtyarev 7.62-mm Tank Machine Gun on tank mount wi;h stock telescoped.


enjoy such popularity from the Air Force, especially since the latter has always leaned toward the largest gun that could be mounted in a plane.

The DA—2 is the twin mount of the DA and has been called the "SPARKA".

DT (Degtyarev Tank). The DT Is the early tank version of the DP. This gun features increased magazine capacity (60-round), telescoping shoulder stock, and a pistol grip. The drum is smaller in diameter than the DP magazine, but it carries two layers of ammunition.

A bipod and a detachable front sight arc used with this gun when it is utilized as a ground weapon.

The rear sight is the aperture type; it is sighted from 400 meters to 1,000 meters.

The DT barrel is heavier than that of the DP and is not of the quick-change type. A safety lever replaces the safety grip of the DP.

DPM (.Degtyarev Infantry Modified). This is an improvement of the basic Degtyarev. The operating spring has been relocated because the spring heated on the DP.

The DPM has a pistol grip. The recoil spring housing extends to the rear of the receiver. The shape of the stock differs from that of the DP. The bipod has been modified and is not detachable.

A safety lever replaces the grip safety of the DP. The safety is located on the right side of the receiver above the trigger.

DTM (Degtyarev Tank Modified). This gun is a modification of the DT. The major change was moving the operating spring from under the barrel to the rear of the receiver, as on the DPM.

"Company" (Degtyarev 1946 Infantry Gun). This is the latest model designed for the ground forces. It features a detachable belt-fed mecha-

Machine Gun Ammo Box

Figure 3-13. Comparison ol Soviet machine gun feeds: left, ammunition box and belt for belt-led infantry guns; center, drum for

DP; right, drum for DT and DA.

Figure 3-13. Comparison ol Soviet machine gun feeds: left, ammunition box and belt for belt-led infantry guns; center, drum for

DP; right, drum for DT and DA.

nisiri for the use of a metallic link belt holding 50 rounds. Belts may be linked together for longer periods of sustained firing. The belt is the same as that used with the SG-43.

The standard 47-round drum can also be used with this gun. The barrel is heavier than that of the DP. The gun has a pistol grip. The bipod has been strengthened for greater stability.

DS (Degtyarev Medium). The DS which appeared in 1939 includes many improvements over the earlier designs of Degtyarev guns. It was designed for tripod mounting and, for purposes of sustained fire, had a heavy barrel with cooling rings and was belt fed.

It differs in external appearancc because of its comparatively fine finish. The same system of barrel change is incorporated, using lugs on the barrel to engage in recesses in the receiver. The rear face of the barrel includes grooves shaped to receive the face of the bolt. Thus the gun cannot fire if the barrel is not in the locked position, as the bolt cannot reach battery.

The forward handle is arranged for carrying either the complete weapon or a spare barrel only. The gas port adjustment by the operator is accomplished in a very simple manner by moving an adjustment lever to either of two positions, marked 2.2 and 2.5 (diameter of orificc in millimeters).

Twin spade grips arc provided for the operator. Each grip has a trigger for the index finger, but a thumb latch on the left grip must be depressed before the trigger can be pulled rearward. The right grip contains a brush and oil reservoir.

A retracting slide handle is located on the lower right of the receiver and rides in machined grooves on the outside, but this part seems needlessly engineered. On the other hand, the braided driving spring is contained in a simple sheet-metal housing outside the receiver and may be instantly removed from the gun in a single easy motion of one hand.

Machine Gun

Figure 3-14. Soviet Tank Machine Gun DT, employed as a ground gun in World War II.

Machine Gun

Figure 3-15. Close-up of the receiver of the DTM. The housing for the driving spring protrudes to the rear manufacture appears just behind the rear sight.

The year of

Although the feed block is machined in a curve, this gun does not have a true rotary feed. The only purpose of the curve in the mechanism is to reduce its complexity and bulk. This mechanism, unique in this model, utilizes the motion of the piston extension, which is at the bottom of the receiver, to move the belt across the top of the receiver. The manufacturer of the curved parts was a serious production problem, since the curved shuttle operates in two similarly curved bearing slots.

Because the snatch from the belt is accomplished by twin extractors overriding the rim at 90 degrees and 270 degrees, support must be provided in the receiver at 0 degrees and in the cover at 180 degrees to prevent stubbing the noses of the rounds. The extractors maintain position control over the cartridge until it is cammed into the T-slot. This occurs during the early part of the rear stroke. The same cam is pivoted in such a way that it becomes a lever, (actuated by the rear of the bolt) and it then pushes the round down into alignment with the chamber. The unfiled cartridge forces the empty case down the T-slot and out. The combination cam and lever pennits the cam to be less steep.

Although disassembly is possible without tools, it is not as easy as in most guns designed in this period. All major parts bear the gun number, which is an indication of a low standard of interchange-ability. There is little evidence of engineering with mass production in mind. This weapon was never

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