Weapon in history - Degtyaryov light machine gun

Degtyaryov light machine gun
At 2nd of February 1940, a Pan-Union Elder Michail Ivanovich Kalinin was awarding medals and orders in the Kremlin.
"To the Hero of the Socialistic Labour comrade Degtyaryov, who received this high title for remarkable inventions and desidning of new, especially important weapons for the Red Army." Vasiliy Alexeevich Degtyaryov was awarded with the golden medal "sickle and Hammer" with number 2.The first Hero of Labour became Stalin himself, two weeks earlier.Degtyaryov created many examples of firearms during years of his working carreer.However the first and probably the most known of his creations is a "DP" light machine gun - Degtyaryov Pekhotniy (Gegryaryov for Infantry).

Weapon in History - DP light machine gun
SERGEY MAKAROV:Firearms expert of Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War said "The World War I had already revealed a necessity for Infantry units to have not only heavy machine guns but also more maneuverable machine guns aka light machine guns.Essentially this kind of weapon was born in fields of the World War 1 but neither the Russian Army, neither the Red Army at first stages of its existence hadn't their own light machine gun.Light machine guns of English French US origins were in the arsenal.There were attempts to convert a "Maxim" machine gun to a light machine gun.We can say that such attempt was successful and in 1925 a "MT" light machine gun was introduced into service. MT stands for Maxim-Tokarev.That means that conversion was done by Fyodor Vasilyevich Yokarev.Any way despite machine gun was named as a light one it still was bulky heavy unsatisfying high requirements addressed to this type of weapon."

Meanwhile the requirements were following,A light machine gun must be maneeuverable, i.e. light enough.By constantly remaining in an Infantry chain, it must increase unit's fire power in attack. It must be able to fire with it from any position standing up laying down on the move.Creation of a light machine gun following these requirements wasn't an easy task.

SERGEY MAKAROV said "The problem was solved in 1927 when the DP machine gun of Degtyaryov's design was introduced into service. DP - Degtyaryov Pekhotniy. The design is quite original and not borrowed. And for that moment of time, i.e. middle of 20s, it was a quite modern machine gun."
Caliber: 7.62 mm
Weight without a magazine - 8.4 kg.
Weight of magazine with round - 2.8 kg.
Magazine's capacity - 47 rounds.
Aiming range of fire - 1500 m (max distamce marked on iron sights).
Rate of fire - 600 rounds per minute.
Combat rate of fire - up to 80 rounds per minute.

Degtyaryov light machine gun was a totally new example positively different from all known machine guns of that time. Thanks to successfully selected system of automation.Degtyaryov managed to achieve light weight of the machine gun. The DP was also differing by extreme simplicty of production.For example time needed for manufacturing of Maxim machine gun was 700 hours. Meanwhile a DP needed only 130. In the battle DP was served by a machine gun operator and his assistant.Load magazines were kept and transported in a metallic box. It is visible in the background. Three disks in each box.

SERGEY MAKAROV said "DP machinegun was designed for use of rifle cartridge. It had such specifically shaped disk for 47 round. Well maybe this form is not the most convenient one but it was dictated by following conditions. First of all existing cartridge had to be used. And secondly magazine had to have the biggest possible capacity. So for a reason that carteidge had an extending rim a quite reasonable decision was taken to place rounds in a circle with bullet heads directing to the center. Thus a magazine received this shape. By the way it's not a first experience. There were machine guns with similar magazines before.Particularly a Lewis machine gun model 1915. Anyhow disk for this machine gun became quite capacious - 47 rounds. Having a technical rate of fire about 600 rounds per minute, its combat rate of fire was quite satisfactory for those times."

"Learn to shoot sharply. Here conscripts of Moldavian kolkhoz "Lyuchapyar Rozh" learnt a Degtyaryov light machine gun. Perfect aiming!"

Quite original tricks were used sometimes for firing. A rope was fastened to the machine gun and soldier was pressing a buttstock to his shoulder tighter with help of his leg. Fluctuations of the machine gun were reducing and fire accuracy was increasing. "8 bullets - 7 hits. Range - 300m. Target "light machine gun". By the way the enermy machine-gunner on the target is armed with an English Lewis machine gun which appeared in Russia in 1917. But with introduction of DP machine guns into service Lewis  started being gradually retrieved from Infantry units and moved to warehouses for a while.

In 30s DP machine guns got a firm stand in arsenal of the Red Army. Their production was mostly satisfying troops's needs. But a necessary mobilization reserve of Degtyaryov light machine guns wasn't created.While in the first half of yhe 1941 when production lines were under reconstruction for production of new models of firearms production of DP was reduced to the minimum. Light machine guns were necessary at the frontline. At first days lack of them was compensated by those English Lewis machine guns. They are well seen on this photo of parade in November of 1941. DP machine gun became a base for creation of the first Soviet family of firearms for infan try tanks planes armored cars and ships.

A DA machine gun - Degtyaryov's for Aviation was created on basic of DP with minor changes. In contrast of infantry variant the aviation machine gun had a magazine with bigger capacity - 63 rounds. Buttstock's shape was different and was supplemented with a pistol hand grip. A twin aviation machine gun was introduced into service in 1930. A "tankoviy" (for tanks) version of Degtyaryov machine gun "DT" differed from version for infantry by a foldable metallic buttstock and a pistol hand grip. Capacity of its magazine is incresed to 60 rounds. DT was installed on many Soviet tanks and armored cars. DT machine gun could be used in field conditions too.If tank was out of order during battle then the crew was dismounting the machine gun leaving the vehicle and after mounting the machine gun on a bipod it could fire against the enermy.

Motorcycles were also equipped with a Degtyaryov machine gun. Meanwhile this device was allowing even to fire against aerial targets in case of necessity. However this machine gun despite that it was reliable and quite easy in use, also had disadvantages which were noted already during battles. The most important one we can consider was a fact that it couldn't maintain rapid rate of fire. The barrel of this machine gun had quite thin-walled and barrel change in the middle of the battle wasn't predicted. Because of that a length of burst was limited. It was necessary to wait for a barrel to be cooled down in order and don't bring the weapon out of order. Except that the recoil spring which is located here under jacket of the barrel, so it's located very closed to the barrel and during intensive fire, it was also overheating from the barrel and had a tendency to loose its temper which was affecting an uninterrupted operation of machine gun. By experience of its use in World War II, many of these factors were taken into consideration toward the end of the war and the machine gun was transformed into its modernized version known as DPM which had not so significant exterior differences nevertheless. Retaining its general scheme and feeding mechanism. For fire control this machine gun already had a pistol-like hand grip.

The bipod wasn't detachable loke on this machine gun but a non-detachable one and bipod's fastening became a bit different more convenient in use. While the recoil spring was relocated to a special tube in a trigger frame where of course it wasn't so affected by heating and was operating much more reliable.

DP was a fearsome weapon in hand of Soviet soldiers in battles at lake Khasan at river Halkin Gol. They were fighting with it in Finnish war too. DP light machine gun was beating the enermy at frontlines of the Great Patriotic War as well.

"Here is Ivan Gornostaev. He was a tractor driver before the war. Now his occupation is to destroy hitlerites. He killed 52 Germans in the first battle. The war turns teenagers into men."

Hundreds and thousands of the Red Army soldiers were protecting the Motherland with a machine gun in their hands. Degtyaryov Pekhotniy was supporting and covering many soldiers in their attacks. The road to the victory was very long but Degtyaryov light machine gun passed the entire war till Berlin itself together with infantrymen. It got its place rightfully in Victory parade of 1945.

No comments:

Post a Comment