Military Review

Master Victory

29 April 2013, on the eve of the great Victory Day holiday, turned 116 to a man who greatly influenced the outcome of the Great Patriotic War. We are talking about George Semenovich Shpagin, a brilliant Russian gunsmith, whose contribution to the common cause can be safely compared with the actions of the famous marshals of that war.

The future revolutionary in the field of creation and production of small weapons Georgy Semenovich Shpagin was born in the village of Klyushnikovo, Kovrovsky district, Vladimir province (today it is Kovrovsky district, Vladimir region) 29 (Old style 17) in April 1897 in a simple peasant family. Parents, a retired soldier Semyon Venediktovich and a peasant Akulina Ivanovna, gave the boy a name in honor of the popular St. George the Victorious.

At eleven, young Shpagin graduated with a meritorious certificate in three classes of parochial school. The proud father put this paper on the most sacred place in the hut - behind the icon and said: “Well, Egorka, you are a good fellow! Finished science, now we will think about business. " And peasant affairs, it is known what, work to work. Egorka was a carpenter with his father, he got along with the furnace grandfather, like all boys was a cowherd boy, learned to work with wood and metal, the benefit was sharp-witted (it was not for nothing that he received a commendable leaf) and masterful one. In the summer, Yegor barked, and in the winter he worked, trucking sand and fuel to a nearby glass-making factory. Becoming a little older, he went with the carpentry artel to the city of Kovrov. By the age of majority, George could rightfully be respectfully called a "jack of all trades".

In the May days of 1916, a nineteen-year-old boy ahead of time (persons under the laws of the Russian Empire were subject to conscription from the age of twenty-one) were drafted into the army. Large losses forced the Russian command to turn to the youth not only of non-recruiting ages, but even to "foreigners", as representatives of national minorities were then called. George got on the Western Front in the fourteenth Grenadier Georgian regiment. Here it should be noted that the future designer in his childhood cut the tendons on the index finger of his right hand, which remained inactive for the rest of his life. Because of the injury, Yegor could not shoot properly and was assigned to regimental gun workshops where, under the command of an experienced Tula master, Yakov Vasilievich Dedilov, he received the qualification of a gunsmith. As it turned out for life.

Subsequently, Georgy Semenovich told that it was in the regimental armory that he understood his vocation: “I got into a situation I could only dream of. In the workshop I got acquainted with various models of weapons of domestic and foreign manufacturers for hours. An interesting section of artillery technology opened before me, at the sight of which I felt about the same as dying of thirst in front of spring water. ”

The work of the gunsmith helped the future designer to study the existing models of infantry weapons to the smallest details. In practice, he became acquainted with the technology of manufacturing and repairing a huge number of existing types of small arms, learned to see their strengths, weaknesses and distinctive features. We can say that for the future designer it was a technical school on the way to universities. His first teacher, Jacob Dedilov, urged Shpagin to become a professional master gunsmith.

Then there was the October coup, the collapse of the front and the army. In the 1918 year, Georgy Semenovich returned to his homeland after demobilization. The young master did not have time to marry his fellow villager Eudoxia, as he was again called, this time to the Red Army. As a former gunsmith, Shpagin was left in Vladimir in the Eighth Rifle Regiment, where he set up the work of the regimental weapons industry from scratch, and he arranged it in such a way that he received thanks on behalf of the command of the Vladimir garrison.

In 1920, the new demobilization, and George, now a family man, enter the experienced workshops of the Kovrov Arms Plant as a mechanic, the technical director of which was the creator of the first machine gun in the world (in 1916), the founder of the Russian school of automatic weapons designers Vladimir Grigorievich Fedorov . And the design bureau on automatic weapons, also created by Fedorov, was headed by another future luminary in the field of small arms - Vasily Alekseevich Degtyarev. It was at such “professors” that Spagin universities began. In general, under the leadership of Fedorov and Degtyarev, a whole galaxy of the most talented developers of domestic weapons grew. Why are only two such famous names as PM. Goryunov and S.G. Simonov.

It was in the design bureau that Georgy Semyonovich was formed as a professional gunsmith. The young master in any work introduced a creative element, his, as he said, "zest". Looking closely at the process of assembling stores to Fedorov’s machines, he proposed another option for the location of the rivets, which made it possible to reduce their number at the same time without disturbing the structural strength and speeding up the process of manufacturing the stores. In the future, it is this quality, the ability to create economical and practical options (today it is a separate science called ergonomics) that will become the brand name of the designer Shpagin.

His abilities did not go unnoticed, and already in the 1922 year, Vladimir Fedorov attracted Georgy Semyonovich as his partner in creating the 6,5-mm paired light machine gun. The basis of the design consisted of two automatic machine Fedorov. Two years later, another designer, DD. Ivanov, on the basis of the already created twin machine gun designed by Fedorov-Shpagin, proposed his new version with installation on a tank. However, the device frame with a ball turret was too heavy and low-tech. Saved the situation again Shpagin. He managed to "throw away" forty-two parts, radically changing the ball system and the socket device. Subsequently, in the 1929 year, he, along with Degtyarev, used this idea to mount an DT infantry machine gun on a tank.

Machine gun DShK

The evidence of the rapid professional growth of the designer Shpagin was the development of a unique receiver for drumming with tape power for a large-caliber machine gun DK, which significantly increased its rate of fire. This development was so fundamentally new and unique that the modernized machine gun became known as DShK (Degtyarev and Shpagin large-caliber). For this proposal, Georgy Semenovich was presented to the first state award - the Order of the Red Banner, which he was awarded on the eve of the holiday on February 21, 1933. In 1938, this high-precision (by the standards of the time) and rapid-fire weapons were adopted by the air defense forces of our country. During the Great Patriotic War, the DShK machine gun was widely used not only as an anti-aircraft weapon, it has proven itself as a highly effective weapon for defeating enemy manpower at medium and long distances, as well as in the fight against lightly armored fascist equipment, punching at distances of five hundred meters one and a half centimeter thick armor plate. It is no coincidence that the DShK machine gun was part of our fire system tanks and self-propelled guns. Its fighting qualities were so successful that the modernized structures long after the war, until the 80s of the last century, remained in service with the Soviet army.

Training Shpagin ended brilliantly. A talented village master nugget turned into an experienced original designer. In the 1939 year, he set about implementing the main invention of his life, who forever recorded George Semenovich in history Russian weapons school, - the creation of a machine gun PPSH-41, which became the main automatic small arms of the Red Army in a future war. The Shpagin machine gun of the 1941 model of the year was adopted shortly before the outbreak of war by the order of the Defense Committee of December 21 of the 1940. According to the test results, he left behind the Degtyarev submachine gun, which at that time was already produced in small series, and a sample of the submachine gun under the standard pistol cartridge proposed by the design bureau of the OKB-15 B.G. Shpitalnogo, the creator of air guns ShKAS.

For the manufacture of one PPSh machine, a little less than fourteen kilograms of metal was sufficient and, on average, from five and a half to eight machine-hours. Careful polishing required only the barrel of the machine, all other parts were made by cold stamping using spot and electric arc welding. The most difficult knot in the design of this weapon was a drum magazine for seventy-one cartridges taken unchanged from PPD-40.

Master Victory
Soviet mountain shooter V.M. Kolomna. Armed with a PPSH-41 submachine gun with a carob magazine. The main Caucasian ridge

To understand and appreciate the work of George Shpagin, it is necessary to at least briefly describe the environment in which the ingenious designer had to work. At that time, the leadership of the armed forces fought two concepts, views on the future of the Soviet army. One group, called the "cavalry", led by Voroshilov and Budyonny, relied on the experience of the Civil War and believed that in the new wars, the basis of the armed forces would still remain powerful and maneuverable cavalry formations. And they considered light automatic small arms not only unnecessary, but even "harmful." The second group, headed by M.N. Tukhachevsky, based on the experience of using automatic weapons in the Spanish Civil War and during the Finnish campaign of 1940, in which the Germans and Finns successfully used machine guns against us, believed that the Red Army should switch to automatic weapons on a mass scale. The actions of the mobile groups of Finnish machine gunners on skis, which inflicted huge losses on the Soviet troops, showed the tremendous advantage of automatic weapons in the collision of infantry units. It is well known that Stalin really liked the Finnish machine, especially his disk shop, and he ordered something similar to be developed.

When disassembling and assembling the PCA, no tool was required, as there were no threaded connections. For ventilation, cooling and protection of the fighter’s hands, the barrel of the weapon was warmed up when fired, and a casing with slots was put on. The trigger had the ability to conduct a single and automatic fire. PPSH was more convenient and easier than other automata, giving up to one thousand shots per minute at a range of fire of five hundred meters (the German MP-40 could only shoot in bursts with a range of two hundred meters).

The main achievement of Georgy Semenovich was that he managed in a short time to create a highly reliable, unpretentious and, most importantly, effective small arms in battle. This is a good indication of the designer’s understanding of the main trends in the development of weapons at that time period. Shpagin also first proposed and implemented a revolutionary technology of cold forming with the use of arc and spot welding in the process of manufacturing metal parts of the machine, and unified the wooden parts of a simple configuration. It must be said that even the bison of domestic arms production claimed that it was impossible to create a stamping-welded machine gun.

Soviet intelligence officer with a PCA and a grenade

And one more invaluable advantage of the “Papa” (the fighters of the Great Patriotic War will kindly call the Spaginsky machine gun) is the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of production. This will allow in the most difficult period of the first two years of the war to start production of the PPSH submachine gun in almost any metalworking plant, up to bed factories, since the manufacturing technology was so simple that even the available technical base, initially oriented to the production of peaceful equipment, managed to manufacture PPS machines. products. In March, the 1941 of the year, when the presentation of the newly established Stalin Prizes took place, among those awarded were V.A. Degtyarev and G.S. Shpagin.

At the August field tests of the 1940 of the year, the PPSH was subjected to the most severe testing, the benefit that the choice was made of what. Even after thirty thousand shots fired, the machine gun remained fit for battle, not a single destroyed part was found. Comparative tests, which took place in late November of the same year, revealed the complete superiority of these weapons in all components over the samples presented by Degtyarev and Spit. As a comparison: the constructions of Degtyarev and Shpitalny consisted of ninety-five parts, and the PCA - of eighty-seven; it was necessary to spend fourteen machine-hours on the production of the Degtyarev automatic machine, and Spitalny - twenty-five; the number of threaded connections in Degtyarev is seven, in Spitnel it is eleven, and in PPSh it is two! Yes, the PPSh consisted of five main parts, which greatly simplified its production and repair directly in the army, especially in combat conditions.

The first release of PPSh automats was launched in July of the 1941 of the year by the Zagorsky (Moscow region) plant of the USSR People's Commissariat of Arms. The swift attack of the Germans on Moscow forced the company to be evacuated into the interior of the country, in the town of Vyatskiye Polyany of the Kirov region. Together with him, a plant for the production of disc (drum) stores was relocated here from Loporni near Moscow. Georgy Semenovich, being by that time the Chief Designer, went along with his production workshops and people to a new place. Until the end of 1941, more than fifty-five thousand Shpagin machine guns were produced, and the total number of all machine guns produced by all systems was about ninety-eight thousand. Their distribution was handled personally by Stalin.

Scout N. Romanov, armed with a submachine gun design Shpagina PPSH-41 and four hand grenades designed Dyakonov RGD-33

The evacuated plant began the production of the much-needed weapons at the front six weeks from the date of the evacuation. In total, during the war years, the Vyatskopolyansky plant produced more than two million PPSH-41 machines. The production of these weapons was established in other cities of our country, any machine-building plant was suitable for this. PPSH was produced in Voroshilovgrad, Zlatoust, Kovrov, Tbilisi. But Moscow was the second in terms of PPSh production, where a wide variety of productions were involved: the Stalin Automobile Plant (VMS), the Kalmykov Tool Plant (today it is a factory of calculating and analytical machines), a machine-tool factory, OKB-16, a factory of sports equipment, plant "Red puncher", plant woodworking machines and other enterprises. The PCA machine gun was even produced in Iran, at the Tehran machine-gun plant. In the 1942 year, in accordance with the bilateral international agreements of the USSR and Iran, the latter received complete technical documentation from the Soviet Union, all the necessary park of machines and equipment and a license for the production of PCA. Iranian machines could be distinguished by a special stamp in the form of a crown, but otherwise it was exactly the same weapon as the one we made in our homeland.

In February, 1942, Georgy Semenovich was awarded one of the highest awards of the USSR - the Order of Lenin. The master of our great Victory will receive it two more times - in the 1944 and in the 1945 years. In addition to the Order, Georgy Semyonovich personally received from Stalin the rarest at the time, especially for the “rear men”, “Emku”. On it the Chief Designer traveled not only himself. Being a simple and modest person in everyday life, Shpagin often drove her neighbors' children, who were enthusiastically spinning near the only car in the city. Many of them, today already old people, recall this with a smile in their stories.

During the four years of the war, more than five million Shpagin assault rifles of various modifications were received by the Soviet troops, since the designer did not cease to improve his invention. Georgy Semenovich did not forget about reducing the weight and size of the machine. The serial PPSh was too cumbersome for tankers, scouts, sappers, signalers, partisans and some other special units. Already in February, a sector store for thirty-five rounds, made of sheet metal one millimeter thick, was launched into production in 1942. In the same year, Shpagin invented a simplified throw-over with a distance of one hundred and two hundred meters instead of a sector sight, which immediately made it possible to discard seven parts. Chrome plating of the inner surface of the trunk increased its survivability, and the replacement of the fiber damper with cheaper textolite and leather reduced the weight of the machine even more. For the successful improvement of weapons George Semenovich was awarded the Order of Suvorov of the second degree, which was awarded only to the generals of the Great Patriotic War.

By 1945, Shpagin created, on the basis of PPSh-41 and PPSh-42, a new model of an all-metal submachine gun with a folding butt. In addition, the designer during the war designed a flare pistol simplified design. They, like PPSh, were created using the latest technologies of that time - stamping and welding. The 25 mm Shpagin signal (lighting) pistol (OPSh-1) entered service in 1943. In the same year, the Red Army received an improved version of the 26-mm Shpagin signal pistol (SPSH-2). This weapon with a fantastically simple and reliable design has been serving its purpose for more than half a century. It is used not only by the modern Russian army, but also by the armed forces of the CIS member states, countries that were once part of the Warsaw Pact, and a huge number of third world countries. Shpaginskaya rocket launcher is used by geologists, foresters, specialists of the Ministry of Emergencies, firefighters, polar pilots aviation, as well as people of other quite peaceful professions. In 1944, the Red Army entered the arsenal of a new development of Georgy Semenovich - a 40-mm aircraft rocket launcher.

Workers, craftsmen, engineers, shop managers and plant managers respected and loved Shpagin. In the production, he knew almost everyone, in the general conversation he always stood out with his Vladimir pressure on “o”. Of the clothes, George Semenovich preferred chrome boots, breeches, a jacket of paramilitary cut and a leather coat. His main hobby was hunting. In winter, in the company of friends, he hunted with rabbits for hares, in the fall and spring - for ducks. In nature, Shpagin always took upon himself the duties of being responsible for preparing a hunting soup, and after dinner he liked to sing by the fire.

Especially happy moments, according to Shpagin’s own words, he experienced 1945 in June, when he became a member of the unforgettable Victory Parade. In September of the same year, his military achievements were awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor with the award of the Order of Lenin and the Hammer and Sickle gold medal. In 1946, Georgy Semenovich became a deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet. In fulfilling his duties, he considered thousands of requests and applications from Soviet citizens, many of which helped to satisfy.

However, the exhausting schedule, the constant lack of sleep, intensive work on the limit of their strength are not in vain for anyone. Soon after the end of the Great Patriotic War, when the crazy tension of the war years subsided, Georgy Semyonovich was attacked by an enemy, against whom he had no weapons - he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. The designer was forced to leave his favorite work. The last years he spent in Moscow, where they tried to cure him of a serious illness. Light faded in the eyes of George Semenovich in 7: 30 6 February 1952 year, he was only fifty-six years. Master of Victory, winner of the Stalin Prize, Hero of Socialist Labor, holder of the three Orders of Lenin, Order of Suvorov, II degree and Order of the Red Star buried at Novodevichy Cemetery.

In the stories about the Great Patriotic War, the references to the role played by Shpagin’s weapons in the Battle of Moscow are not often found. But the so-called "Siberian" divisions, that is, units of the Far Eastern Army, were then sent to Moscow via Vyatskiye Polyany, where the soldiers received new machine guns straight from the factory. It was then that the command was able to create new strike tactical units - platoons and companies of machine gunners. This happened thanks to the time-started mass production of the "daddy." The results of the first tests of the machine at the front exceeded all expectations. Enthusiastic reviews came from the headquarters of the formations and units, asking them to deliver even more such weapons to them.

One of the original monuments to Master Victory remains letters from thousands of front-line soldiers, poems they composed, songs and ditties about “papa”, albeit clumsy, but completely sincere: “As I am aiming with PPSh, So out of Fritz is my soul!”; “I found a friend at the front, His name is simply - PCA. I walk with him in blizzards and blizzards, And the soul lives with him freely ... " Another example in prose, a letter from Sergeant Grigory Shukhov: “Dear Georgy Semyonovich, your machine guns are excellent. We have already repelled several fascist attacks with our company. And although they are mean, all the rod and rod - soon there will be a grave! We stood by the walls of Moscow to death. ”

The memory of Georgy Semenovich Shpagina is carefully preserved by the inhabitants of Vyatskiye Polyan, where for many years, since 1982, the memorial museum named after him has been operating. His name also carries one of the city streets leading to the plant "Hammer", and in one of the city squares there is a bust of the great gunsmith designer. Another monument G.S. Shpagin stands on his native land of Vladimir in the city of Kovrov.

Georgy Semenovich forever entered the history of domestic weapons. In conversations Shpagin confessed: “I wanted, I wanted the fighter to love my weapon, so that he would believe in it. That was my dream ... ” His ideas about unpretentious, economical in production, efficient weapons, brilliantly embodied in the PCA machine gun, soon became the main principles of the Russian weapons school. It is no coincidence that it was at that reckless time, along with this assault rifle, the equally famous tanks T-34, Katyusha and Il-2 attack aircraft, which for decades ahead determined the development of Russian and world armament.

Information sources:
-http: //www.vp-muzey.rf/shpagin-gs/biografiya-shpagina-gs/biograficheskaya-spravka.html
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  1. dzvero
    dzvero 17 May 2013 08: 32
    The genius who found his place !!!
    But could today the same genius from the hinterland be realized with the same success? In my opinion it is unlikely.
    1. Sirozha
      Sirozha 17 May 2013 10: 07
      That's for sure! Now, if you are a genius, but without money, most likely you will simply remain an unknown genius ... Regrettable!
  2. vovich
    vovich 17 May 2013 08: 55
    In general, the article is certainly useful in terms of coverage of Shpagin’s creative heritage.
    But ... it seems that the author did not bother to clarify some points in it.
    For example...
    "The second group, headed by M.N. Tukhachevsky, based on the experience of using automatic weapons in the Spanish Civil War and during the Finnish campaign of 1940 ..."

    How did the "Tukhachevsky group", arrested in 37, assess the experience of the Finnish campaign of 39-40?

    "development of a unique drumbeat receiver"
    What is the term "drumbeat"? Can drum tape feeder ....
    However, there are still some points causing questions.
    In my opinion, the article is not finalized.
  3. smershspy
    smershspy 17 May 2013 09: 23
    Quote: dzvero
    The genius who found his place !!!
    But could today the same genius from the hinterland be realized with the same success? In my opinion it is unlikely.

    I agree! Now, even if such geniuses are detained, they are sent to prison, but it is necessary that they work for our defense industry and there will be less problems with equipping the army and good models!
    1. omsbon
      omsbon 17 May 2013 21: 29
      Quote: smershspy
      Now, if they detain such geniuses, they put them in jail.

      Mr. Otto, can I ask you to justify? Who was planted, when and where? I have the honor!
      1. albanech
        albanech 10 June 2013 13: 29
        Comrade Andrey!
        Just watch the emergency program on NTV! laughing
        And no doubt: GLORY TO RUSSIAN WEAPONS!
  4. MAG
    MAG 17 May 2013 11: 16
    PPSh excellent unit read the American forum of their marines. When stripping, they use it in rooms with a not significant upgrade-flashlight collimator
    1. Alex
      Alex 24 August 2013 20: 00
      I don’t quite understand, is that now ?! That is, the weapons for urban combat are just perfect, but have the Amers still not had anything equal?
      Indeed, the Russian Lefty you want to give a goggle for years to come!
  5. omsbon
    omsbon 17 May 2013 11: 22
    Even now, 68 years after the Great Victory, there is hardly a person in our country who cannot decipher the abbreviation PPSh - Shpagin's submachine gun!
    Glory to the great gunsmith!
  6. Volkhov
    Volkhov 17 May 2013 13: 10
    Perhaps the PPSh will still serve as a mobilization - the mobile reserve of the 74th AK series ended about a year ago, 47 are ending now - Syrian militants are increasingly carrying guns and M-16s, and with the development of the conflict, it will be necessary to protect railway, factories, bridges ... SCS were mainly sold , then PPSh, PPS, DP, Maxim, three-line, Mauser 98 will remain unclaimed by hunters.
    1. Alex
      Alex 24 August 2013 20: 01
      Well, I don’t think that everything is so bad. And then you’ll have to take up muskets and squeals lol
  7. Larus
    Larus 17 May 2013 13: 14
    If there were no Soviet power, then it would have remained a carpenter for life, and how many such nuggets came out of the peasantry subsequently, because people were given the opportunity to find themselves.
    It feels like he was written in his family for this to live that short life that millions of people would say thanks to him.
  8. pinecone
    pinecone 17 May 2013 14: 49
    People like Shpagin were born on the Russian Land, and not in rural or urban “settlements”. not to mention the "megacities" overflowing with all sorts of rabble.
  9. bazilio
    bazilio 17 May 2013 15: 12
    An outstanding person whose name needs to be honored and remembered. It is difficult to overestimate his contribution to the cause of victory.
  10. akm8226
    akm8226 17 May 2013 15: 14
    Life given to the motherland! That's about whom you need to tell the boys in schools. By the way, I have been to the Vyatka-Polyansky factory several times - there, in the director’s office, there is still a portrait of Shpagin. And my wife worked at this factory after school, before entering the polytechnic, where we met.
  11. Revolver
    Revolver 17 May 2013 17: 54
    It is only in the cinema that the Germans are all polls with Schmeissers, who are very photogenic and, I would say, glamorous. In fact, they basically went into battle with the five-shot Kar98K or the captured PPSh, to which they changed their Mauser or Schmeisser as soon as possible. And they spoke about PPSh exclusively in a superlative degree. PCA, in contrast to the true Aryan samples, did not wedge either in a dusty summer, or in a frosty winter, or in slushy autumn and spring. Even if the enemy recognizes the superiority of weapons, it is worth it.
    I would buy PPSh, purely for collection. But we do not have automatic weapons for sale in private ownership, and reworking in a carbine with an elongated barrel and a trigger for single shooting is not that. sad
    1. Alex
      Alex 24 August 2013 20: 03
      It’s only in the cinema that the Germans are all polls with Schmeissers,

      Sorry, but in the movie, not Schmeiser, he’s just not a movie-gynecine, but Volmer’s brainchild.
  12. igordok
    igordok 17 May 2013 18: 49
    Sorry for the series did not go. 88 trunks at a time.
  13. Alexander IV
    Alexander IV 17 May 2013 19: 45
    Weapon of Victory! What else can you say. Glory to the Hero of Labor
  14. Alex
    Alex 24 August 2013 20: 30
    Wonderful article, thanks to the author!

    Glory to Russian weapons! Glory to the Soviet designers! Glory to the Soviet soldiers! We won!