During the Great Patriotic War, the Shpagin submachine gun became the most massive submachine gun in the Red Army. And it was no coincidence. Weapon earned a lot of positive feedback, including from enemies - German soldiers.
Like German weapons to Soviet soldiers, our submachine guns also sometimes fell to the Germans as trophies. Wehrmacht soldiers were very surprised by the excellent characteristics of the PPSh-41. Maschinenpistole 717 (r) - exactly so, with the small letter "p" - "Russian" in brackets, the Germans called PPSh-41.
So, shooting from a Soviet submachine gun created a high density of fire, the rate of fire was higher than that of the MP-40. Sighting range also differed in a favorable direction. In addition, which was very important, the 71-round magazine made it possible to achieve a significant advantage: the Wehrmacht soldier had to change two MP-40 magazines, and during that time the Red Army soldier shot only one PPSh disk.
After the same period of time there was still a significant supply of ammunition, "and this turned out to be decisive for the outcome of some battles,
- German authors Rainer Liedshun and Gunter Wallert write in the book "Small Arms Yesterday (1918-1945)."
Another undoubted advantage of the PPSh-41 was a massive wooden butt. Thanks to him, the submachine gun turned into an excellent weapon for hand-to-hand combat. There was nothing for German soldiers armed with an MP-40 with a folding butt to counter the PPSh, if it was possible to converge in hand-to-hand combat. The Soviet soldiers affectionately called the Shpagin submachine gun “Daddy”, and the German soldiers “the small machine gun”.
We tried to get the Russian "small machine gun." The disk seemed to have 72 rounds, and with good care it was a very formidable weapon. In general, Russian weapons were appreciated for their simplicity and reliability. But it was very poorly protected from corrosion and rust. Our weapons were better crafted
- recalled the corporal Wehrmacht, who happened to fight near Moscow.
PPSh was also distinguished by simplicity: one of the former soldiers of the SS troops already after the war recalled that it was possible to learn the principle of disassembling the Soviet submachine gun very quickly, no instructions were required.
Since the number of submachine guns and machine guns in the Wehrmacht units was, contrary to the prevailing myth, smaller than in the Red Army, the German soldiers were very happy when they got a trophy “small machine gun” Shpagin. Indeed, the company, as a former Wehrmacht soldier recalls, had an average of 15-20 assault rifles, and the rest of the soldiers were armed with carbines. Naturally, in this situation, the PCA, even with certain shortcomings, was still the best weapon.
The popularity of PPSh in the units of Hitler’s troops was so significant that in October 1942, SS Obergruppenführer Felix Martin Julius Steiner, commander of the Viking SS division, turned to Heinrich Himmler with a proposal to launch production of submachine guns similar to the Soviet PPS at German factories.
Russian assault rifles are widely used in our division, they have proven themselves to be very reliable even in the most adverse conditions,
- wrote the SS Obergruppenführer to his boss.
Himmler gave the green light to modify the PPSh for the standard 9x19 mm cartridge used in the Wehrmacht. The new weapon was called MP-41 (r). Arms factories quickly produced 10 thousand barrels for Soviet PPSh. Particularly often reworked PPSh were used in the "elite" SS divisions. The enemy knew a lot about weapons and spoke about the PCA with respect. Still: 900 rounds per minute from PPSh against 500 from MP! There is a difference?