The last machine gun Degtyarev
2 January 2011 was 131, the year since the birth of the outstanding gunsmith Vasily Alekseevich Degtyarev (1880-1949). He commissioned our army with a number of successful samples of military rifle weaponshowever, machine guns brought him the best fame. It so happened that his first model, adopted by the Red Army, was the DP manual machine gun, the latest - the RPD machine gun, of a new generation. But the RPD machine gun is not only interesting: it is essentially the first model of a new small arms system generated by the experience of the Great Patriotic War, and reflected in itself the features of a new stage in the development of military small arms.
The key point in the further development of the small arms system was the creation of an automatic machine for an intermediate cartridge. The idea of such a cartridge has been developed for a long time and in several countries, but is most advanced towards implementation in Germany and the USSR. The experience of the war clearly showed that the need for close interaction between the infantry and tanks and artillery, on the one hand, and the increasing role of mortars in infantry fire support, on the other hand, required the maximum density of fire of small arms at ranges of 400-600 m, and automatic group weapons - up to 800 m. At the same time, fighting in various conditions of the terrain, in trenches, buildings, forests and mountains, made special demands on the mass, size and maneuverability of weapons, the convenience of firing bursts from various positions, including on board combat and transport vehicles.
INTERMEDIATE CARTRIDGE REMOVES PROBLEMS
The solution of these tasks for a branch — a platoon could provide only an intermediate-power cartridge — between a rifle cartridge and a pistol. The first such mass-produced weapons complex to find combat use was the German machine gun (assault rifle) MP.43 (St.G.43) under the 7,92-mm "kurtzpatron" (7,9233). Trophy German automata, along with the "Kurzpatron", were handed over to specialists. The patron, of course, aroused the greatest interest.
The domestic 7,62-mm intermediate cartridge of the 1943 sample of the year was developed by N. M. Elizarov, P. V. Ryazanov, B. V. Semin, and A. I. Zabegin. The term "intermediate" meant that in size, mass, power and ballistic characteristics it occupies an intermediate position between rifle and pistol cartridges. Subsequently, these cartridges were called "automatic". A characteristic feature of the new weapon complex in the USSR was the development of not one but several types of small arms for replacing submachine guns PPSh and PPS was intended automatic with a detachable store and a translator of the types of fire, 1944 carabiner of the year - self-loading or shop carbine with a constant shop, light machine gun DP - lightweight light machine gun. The mass production of the cartridge of the 1943 model of the year began in March of the 1944, which made it possible to develop weapons for it faster. And the competition for the new lightweight manual machine gun was announced in 1944 year. V.A. Degtyarev, S.G. Simonov, G.S. Shpagin, A.I. Sudaev, F.V. Tokarev, A.I. Shilin and others took part in it. Degtyarev then headed KB-2 at Kovrovsky Plant No. 2, and the staff of Design Bureau E.K.A., V.N. Ivanov, P.E. Ivanov, V.V. Degtyarev had a great help in the work on the new design of the manual machine gun. (son of Vasily Alekseevich), master A.I. Kuznetsov, chief designer N. A. Bugrov.
After testing and improvements, one of the prototypes of Degtyarev was chosen, designated RD-44. And already in August 1944, the Degtyarev light machine gun and the Sudayev automatic machine gun passed state tests. Kovrov Plant No. 2 released an installation batch in 1000 light machine guns. The readiness of samples of the new small arms system at the time of the end of World War II can be judged by order No. 0114 of 16 June 1945, signed by Deputy Defense Commissar General of the Army N. A. Bulganin: “1. To the Chief Inspector of the Infantry, in the period July-August of the current year, conduct troop tests of the following prototypes of small arms:
a) 7,62-mm light machine gun RPD Degtyarev design under 7,62-mm intermediate cartridge mod. 1943;
b) 7,62-mm automaton AC-44 designed by Sudayev for 7,62-mm intermediate cartridge mod. 1943;
c) 7,62-mm lightweight DPM machine gun with ribbon power for regular rifle cartridge ...
2. Tests conducted in the following military districts and fronts: Moscow, Central Asian, Transcaucasian and refresher courses for officers, "The Shot."
Troop tests of the Degtyarev machine gun and the Sudayev automatic machine in the summer of 1945 were also held in the Leningrad Military District and in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.
The machine gun was put into service under the designation "7,62-mm manual machine gun Degtyarev arr. 1944 (RPD) ”and became the first officially adopted model under the patron of the sample 1943 of the year. The first experienced machine guns had separate cartridge boxes with tape, but preference was given to the box attached to the machine gun: it allowed to solve the problem of increasing the combat rate of fire while maintaining maneuverability and combat readiness, the cartridge box always remained with the machine gun, the machine gunner could quickly change positions and open fire without the help of the second billing numbers. During the work, the cartridge of the 1943 sample of the year itself underwent some changes: a bullet with a steel core and a modified shape was worked out, special bullets were created, the sleeve was shortened. Continued testing and machine guns of other designers. So, in 1947, the machine guns of E.K. Alexandrovich, M.M. Goryunov, V.I. Solov'ev, V.K. Yegorov were tested. However, the best results were given by the RPD, which, after appropriate improvements, continued to be produced at the Kovrov plant No. 2. In 1948, the plant manufactured a batch in 250 improved machine guns.
SECRET OF SUCCESS - NEW DESIGN
Despite some similar solutions, the RPD was not at all a “remake” of the old DP under the new cartridge, but was a new design.
Automatic machine gun had a gas engine with a gas chamber at the bottom of the barrel and with a long stroke gas piston. A regulator with three numbered grooves installed in the gas chamber changed the amount of powder gases discharged to the piston and allowed to ensure reliable operation of the automation with heavy pollution (a groove of a larger section) or to reduce the rate of fire (a groove of the smallest section). The bolt carrier is made integral with the gas piston rod, in the rear part it has a vertical stand with a roller. The barrel bore was locked by the breech lugs deployed to the sides, their separation was made by the bolt carrier. The reduction of the lugs and, therefore, the unlocking of the barrel bore was carried out by the figured apertures of the slide frame as it moved backwards.
The reciprocating spring return mechanism was mounted in the butt tube, and in the trigger frame, the trigger mechanism allowed only automatic fire to be fired. The shot was made from the rear sear with the shutter open. A strike on a drummer mounted in a bolt was effected by a bolt carrier in the front wall of its stand when moving forward under the action of a reciprocating combat spring. An automatic fuse box blocked the trigger.
The sector aim, notched from 0 to 1000 m, had a mechanism for introducing lateral corrections. Fly fixed on a high base in the muzzle of the trunk.
A wooden butt and pistol grip were attached to the trigger frame. The form of the butt allowed his holding with his left hand when shooting from a support. The wooden forearm is made up of two cheeks with metal pads and allowed both to support it with the left hand from the bottom and also to lean on top when shooting “from the hip” from the belt (this method of shooting in motion was worked out for DP). An integral folding bipod was hinged on the muzzle of the barrel.
In the design of the machine gun widely used stamping and spot welding. The external surfaces of the metal parts of the machine gun were protected by an oxide coating.
Powered by cartridges - from a metal non-spread tape with an open link on 100 cartridges with direct feed of the cartridge in the chamber. The tape is made up of two pieces of 50 cartridges each, connected by a cartridge. The tip is attached to one of the ends of the ribbon for easy loading of the machine gun, and the other is attached to a false link, which ensures that the last cartridge is fed into the receiver. A round cartridge box with a ribbon was attached to the bottom of the machine gun. The box had a flap and a flap for carrying it separately. The box fastening bracket to the machine gun also served as a guide leading to the side of the cartridge case, thrown down from the receiver. For carrying several cartridge boxes, the calculation had a special bag.
The lever-type ribbon feed mechanism was mounted in a flip-up receiver, driven by a roller on the slide frame. The shape of the sleeve without protruding rim allowed the direct feed of the cartridge from the receiver to the barrel chamber. The receiver windows were protected by spring-loaded guards. The window of the receiver in the stowed position was closed with a lid - the experience of the war forced us to pay more attention to protecting the receiver from dirt and small particles.
Fire is fired in short bursts - on 5 shots or long shots - up to 15 shots. With an irremovable barrel, straining fire without cooling it was allowed to 300 shots. The machine gun had a good accuracy of fire: at a distance of 500 m, the mean deviation of hits was 250-260 mm, 1000 m - 550-630 mm, which was approximately 1,5 times better than the PD.
The advantage of the smaller mass of the intermediate cartridge can be judged at least by the fact that the mass of the RPD cartridge box with 100 tape on 0,4 cartridges is less than the disk magazine of the old DP machine gun with 47 cartridges. With the 300 ammunition, the RPD cartridges weighed 11,3 kg - almost half the size of the DP with the same supply of cartridges. Not to mention the smaller size of the machine gun.
TACTICAL AND TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RPD
Cartridge 7,62x39 (7,62-mm 1943 sample of the year)
Mass machine gun without cartridges 7,4 kg
The mass of the machine gun with a loaded cartridge box 9,8 kg
The length of the machine gun 1037 mm
Barrel length 520 mm
Initial bullet speed 735 m / s
Muzzle energy 2134 j
Sighting range 1000 m
Firing rate 650-750 rds / min
Fighting rate of fire 150 rds / min
100 tape cartridge capacity
Weight of cartridge box with kg 2,4 tape
In the process of production, the RPD has been upgraded according to operating experience:
- the gas chamber was simplified, an open gap appeared between the nozzle and the gas tube, which required an extension of the bolt piston;
- on the muzzle of the barrel there is a thread for attaching the sleeve for firing blank cartridges or nozzles when cleaning the weapon. Under normal conditions, the thread is protected by a small coupling;
- the reloading handle was changed: the new handle remained fixed when firing, it had a folding handle. This allowed to reduce the transverse dimensions of the machine gun and eliminate the cut-out of the receiver;
- an additional scale was applied on the bottom surface of the sight bar for easy installation of the sight when shooting while lying down or standing up from the trench. The handlebar of the rear pillar screw is moved from right to left, the mount of the front sight is changed;
- the safety catch is provided with a tooth that prevents the slide frame from moving backward with the safety catch turned on: in early machine guns, such a displacement of the slide frame caused it to become jammed;
- slightly changed affiliation to the machine gun.
The DUR served as the basis for a number of pilot works. Thus, a version of a curved barrel muzzle with a curvature of 45 degrees was being worked on - such deflecting nozzles aroused wide interest in 40-50-s to create unobtrusive fire structures and auxiliary armament of tanks and armored vehicles (for shelling the dead zone near the car). In parallel with fine-tuning RPD in serial production, Degtyarev in 1946-1948 worked on a single machine gun firing from a bipod or a light machine: RPD was placed on a light tripod machine made of aluminum alloys (which was ahead of similar foreign works) with a round cartridge box with a ribbon on 100 cartridges or square - on 200 cartridges. But for a single machine gun was not enough ballistics of the intermediate cartridge. Attempts were made to use aluminum alloys in the design of the RPD itself, but tests at the GAU test site revealed great wear and tear on the parts, worsening their technical condition and operational durability.
The DUR, like a number of other types of Soviet weapons, was widely distributed in the socialist and developing countries. He was or is still in service with the armies of more than 30 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America. Copies of the RPD were issued in the People's Republic of China under the designation Type 56 and Type 56-1.
- Semen Fedoseev
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