How the RPD was created - a Soviet light machine gun chambered for an intermediate cartridge

How the RPD was created - a Soviet light machine gun chambered for an intermediate cartridge

In June 1943, Soviet intelligence officers captured the German Maschinenkarabin 42, which was the immediate predecessor of the Sturmgewehr Stg.44. At the same time, the interest of Soviet designers was aroused not so much by the carbine as by the ammunition for it.

The Soviet intermediate cartridge was developed already in 1943 and at the beginning of 1944 it was put into mass production. At the same time, competitive testing of machine guns created for this cartridge began. Moreover, according to the terms of the competition, all these machine guns were designed in line with the concept, according to which the machine gun was also supposed to perform the functions of a light machine gun. Based on this, almost all competition samples had a bipod and did not include a bayonet.

The sample presented by Vasily Degtyarev was a light machine gun, which in a pinch could serve as a machine gun. In particular, the Degtyarev KB-P-315 light machine gun, which was actually a DP-27 converted to an intermediate cartridge, was presented at the competition. The main feature of this contender was the presence of two pistol grips, similar to those used on pre-war models of the Thompson assault rifle, which made it possible to fire from the hands. The machine gun was supplied with ammunition through a disk magazine.

Based on the results of the competition, the commission was convinced that the concept of combining the properties of an assault rifle and a light machine gun in one sample was wrong, after which it was decided to hold a competition exclusively for light machine guns. For the new competition, Degtyarev Design Bureau presented exactly the same machine gun, but with belt feed. At the same time, its factory index KB-P-310 indicates that the tape version was created in advance. It was the belt feeding that largely predetermined the victory of the Degtyarev model over its still store-bought competitors.

In October 1944, Degtyarev Design Bureau presented a modified model of its brainchild, eliminating some of the identified shortcomings. The corrected version of the machine gun was designated RD-44. The quality of the machine gun almost satisfied the commission, and it was decided to produce a pilot batch for military testing.

The Degtyarev light machine gun was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1949 on the same day as the Kalashnikov assault rifle and the Simonov self-loading carbine. It served under the designation RPD until it was replaced by the Kalashnikov light machine gun.

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  1. +2
    9 July 2024 15: 54
    However, the machine gun is far from being a museum piece.
    Photos from the SVO show that the machine gun is in the army and perfectly compensates for the lack of RPK and PKM.
  2. 0
    9 July 2024 15: 58
    Excellent channel "Truth of Life". I recommend to everyone.
  3. +2
    10 July 2024 10: 47
    If you prepare for battle in advance, then the RPK makes RPD like a ferret to a hare. Somehow I dragged the RPD no longer needed. Healthy as a shaft, heavy as cast iron, you can’t run too hard in the trenches. RPK is a toy. And yes, for the RPK it seemed to me better to use machine gun horns at 30. It was more convenient for me
    1. 0
      11 July 2024 14: 30
      The RPK is, in general, a “heavy machine gun,” but it is undoubtedly easier to carry than the RPD. I don't know about the other advantages.
      1. 0
        11 July 2024 14: 44
        Several at once, with the collapse of buildings?

        The RPK fires from a closed bolt and has a thicker barrel than an assault rifle, so the RPK-74 has better accuracy at a distance of 500 meters than the SVD sniper, whose barrel flutters.