Military Review

The younger brothers "Maxim"

Unhappy machine-gun drama and a long happy life

The need for an easel machine gun, lighter and more maneuverable than the “Maxim”, was realized in the USSR from the experience of the First World War and the Civil War. However, the solution of this problem required the organization of the appropriate development work and the preparation of the production base. In addition, the most relevant was considered the question of creating your own machine gun.


The appearance of the DP light machine gun naturally generated a desire to realize on its basis the idea of ​​standardizing machine gun weapons. To "Degtyarev Infantry" were added "Degtyarev tank"," Degtyarev aviation"," Degtyarev large-caliber "and" Degtyarev easel ". The task of designing a lightweight model of an easel machine gun was given by the Headquarters of the Red Army on July 13, 1928, and on August 2, the Artillery Committee developed tactical and technical requirements for it. The first model of a lightweight easel machine gun Vasily Alekseevich Degtyarev presented in early 1930, but only in 1933 the prototype machine gun was released in Kovrov in a small series of 50 pieces for extensive testing.

Together with Degtyarev P. Y. Ivanov, S. M. Krekin, master A. I. Kuznetsov took part in the creation of the machine gun. Improvements and fine-tuning of the system lasted for a long time, the experimental batches of machine guns were tested in 1935, 1936 (this year they also released 50 machine guns DS), 1938 years. In parallel with the development of the actual machine gun, the question of switching from fabric cartridge tapes to metal links was resolved (again, the corresponding stamping and pressing equipment was required). The machine gun became less and less unified with the manual one, however, it retained a number of similarities with it. In the delay of work, the customer’s insistent desire to obtain accuracy of fire comparable to Maxim, plus the ability to conduct aimed fire at long ranges, also played a role.

The further fate of the machine gun was significantly influenced by the outbreak of the Second World War, which began on September 1 of 1939. Three weeks later, on September 22, it was adopted by the Red Army as the “7,62-mm heavy machine gun of the Degtyarev system (DS-1939)” model 39.

Release of DS with a tripod machine at the Kovrov plant them. K. O. Kirkizha (also known as State Union Plant No. 2) was established already in 1939, in June 1940, the Tula Machine-Tool Plant began production of the machine gun (Plant No. 66, later - the Tula Machine-Building Plant). Production was adjusted slowly. The People's Commissar of Weapons had to take vigorous measures to speed it up, and soon the release of the DS exceeded the release of “Maxim”. The order plan of the People's Commissariat of Defense for 1940 for the year included the delivery of 3000 “Maxim” machine guns on machines, 6950 machine guns DS on a tripod machine and 1000 machine guns DS for fortified. Of the 1940 10 677 machine guns issued in 6628 year, there were XNUMX DS.


Cartridge 7,62x54R (7,62-mm rev.1908 g.)
The weight of the "body" machine gun 14,3 kg
The mass of the machine gun on the machine with a shield 42,4 kg
Machine weight 11 kg
The length of the "body" machine gun 1170 mm
The total length of the machine gun on the machine 1440 mm
Initial bullet speed 860 m / s (light)
Sighting range 2400 m (light bullet) and 3000 m (heavy)
Rate of fire 500-600 or 1000-1200 rds / min
Fighting rate of fire 300-310 rds / min
Power metal tape on 50 cartridges or canvas on 250 cartridges
Weight of cartridge box with 250 ribbon 9,4 cartridges kg


Automatic machine gun had a gas engine with a long stroke of the gas piston, the amount of exhaust powder gases was regulated using the gas chamber regulator. The barrel was locked with two symmetric bolt lugs, split to the sides by the bolt of the bolt. The shot was made from the rear whisper. The original feature of the machine gun was a double rate of fire: 600 rds / min - for firing at ground targets and 1200 rds / min - for firing at air targets. For this, a spring buffer mounted in the back plate served. At high elevation angles, the buffer was turned on, increasing the speed of the bolt carrier roll-up with the shutter and, accordingly, the rate of fire.

Replaceable barrel for better cooling was supplied with transverse fins along the entire length. A conical flame arrester was attached to the barrel. To facilitate the change of the barrel and carry the machine gun served as a folding handle on the barrel. The machine gun had a frame sight with scales for light and heavy bullets. The reloading handle was located on the right side of the receiver.

Food should have been made from a cloth or metal tape. The feed tape carried out the mechanism of the slide type. The configuration of the domestic rifle cartridge with a protruding rim of the sleeve and a large difference in diameters in length, as well as the need to use old ribbons, forced the cartridge to keep two-stroke feed: it is removed from the tape back, lowered to the dismounting line, and then goes to the barrel chamber. With a high rate of fire, this increases the overload experienced by the cartridge. As a result, frequent deformations of the cartridge, loss of a bullet from the cartridge case (raspatronivanie). It is characteristic that only cartridges with steel or bimetallic cartridges were selected for shooting, the use of cartridges with brass cartridges in the DS-39 was prohibited.

They abandoned the massive universal machine, adopting the Degtyarev folding tripod machine for firing only at ground targets. Already in the 1940-1941 years from the experience of the Soviet-Finnish war to the machine gun developed winter ski installations. For anti-aircraft fire was intended special installation.

The operation revealed a lack of reliability of the DS. It was not possible to overcome such causes of frequent delays and stops of firing, such as cartridge rupture in the receiver, raskatronivanie (especially when a heavy pool), liner ruptures when removed from the chamber, low survivability of a number of parts, poor performance in dusty and low temperatures. The situation in the Red Army with a heavy machine gun on the eve and the beginning of the Great Patriotic War is sometimes called the “unfortunate machine-gun drama” - similar to the “unhappy rifle drama” of the Russian army of the 60-ies of the XIX century.

A well-conceived system needed fine-tuning, but the outbreak of 22 June 1941 did not leave the war for this time. In July, 1941, at a special meeting in Tula with the participation of Deputy People's Commissar of Weapons V.N. Novikova, designer Degtyarev asked for a revision of his easel machine gun three or four months. Plant Manager No. 66 B. M. Pastukhov said that the production of "Maxim" can be restored in one week. The management of the People's Commissariat decided to resume the release of the Maxim machine guns instead of the DS. As a result, for the entire 1941 year, 3717 DS and over 9600 “Maximov” were manufactured. Total released 10 345 machine guns DS-39.

In our literature, it is customary to attribute DS to failures. In the memoirs of V.A. Degtyarev “My Life”, published in 1949, the work on it, which lasted more than ten years, is not even mentioned. However, the possibility of fine-tuning the design of the machine gun and obtaining a reliably working model was soon proved by developing an experimental DS-43 machine gun at its base, although it was inferior to the SG-43 machine gun.


The hardest initial period of the Great Patriotic War forced to postpone the decision on the issue of a new machine gun, but did not remove it from the agenda. On the contrary, combat experience confirmed the urgent need to reduce weight and increase the maneuverability of a number of types. weapons. Already at the beginning of 1942, contests were announced for lightweight samples of submachine guns, light and heavy machine guns.

In May - August 1942 of the year at the Kovrov plant number 2 held a competition for the best machine gun, evaluating the eight developments of various designers. Petr Maximovich Goryunov presented his offspring to the court of specialists.

Summary of popular presentations stories the appearance of the Goryunov machine gun gave rise to a kind of self-taught mechanic who suddenly and independently created a remarkable model of weapon. Reality was more complicated, and P. M. Goryunov’s path to design was long.

At the Kovrov plant, he worked from 1930 of the year, became one of the best debugging mechanics at an experimental workshop, and in February 1940, as a designer, came to the department of the chief designer of the enterprise. In the same year, Goryunov presented a wooden model of a manual machine gun made by him. His nephew, the mechanic M. M. Goryunov and the master V. Ye. Voronkov, assisted Peter Maksimovich in further work, the basic calculations of automation were performed by the engineer V. A. Prokofiev.

An experienced machine gun was designated GGG ("Goryunov-Voronkov-Goryunov"). One of the important features of the design was the wide use of stamped parts, which promised to simplify and reduce the cost of production. After the announcement of the competition for the machine gun GGG was converted to the easel version. It is worth noting that the support of V. A. Degtyarev played a role in the fate of the HGG, despite the fact that at the same time, the plant was also working on its experienced machine guns.

Difficult Exams

The SHG was nominated for a competition in which gunsmiths from Izhevsk and Tula also took part. He was one of the most representative during the Great Patriotic War. From August 1942 to June 1943, the commission chaired by the Chief of the Course of the Shot, Major-General S. A. Smirnov, examined 14 of various designs.

Already in December, 1942 decided to release an experimental batch - 50 GG machine guns with revision on reliability, survivability and accuracy of fire. The tests at the test site of small arms and mortar weapons in February of the 1943 showed satisfactory performance of the sample, and in March produced a batch of SHG on the Degtyarev machine: five were tested at the test site, 45 was sent for military tests in a part of the Moscow military district and the Sverdlovsk infantry school . In April, the 1943-th were manufactured and also sent for testing machine guns Degtyarev DS-43 (substantially revised DS-39). By this time, the machine guns of Goryunov and Degtyarev became the main contenders for winning the competition (the V. I. Silin machine gun also went as a “reserve”, but it “faded” at the last test stage).

A special commission chaired by Major-General N. N. Dubovitsky, head of the test site, established by order of the People’s Commissariat of Defense against March 29 of 1943, expressed a number of suggestions for finalizing the SHG and the field machine. A number of changes were made to the design, the machine-gun weight in the combat position decreased from 45-46 to 40,4 kg. In early May, the 1943-th improved machine guns HGG and DS-43 passed comparative tests. The commission of Major General S. A. Smirnova indicated that with equal rate of fire and firing range, the HGG machine gun showed 1,5 times the best accuracy, 2,5 times greater survivability of parts, greater reliability of work. In addition, HGG was technologically easier. The People's Commissar of Arms DF Ustinov advocated Goryunov as a sample as an experienced production worker, Major General N. N. Dubovitsky and testers in the troops noted his service advantages.

However, even 7 of April, Stalin, who was very dear to Degtyarev, suggested to Ustinov "to take the DS 1939 machine gun of the year on a simplified universal machine as a basis." The State Agrarian University and the People's Commissariat found themselves in a difficult situation - the tests revealed the advantages of the sample Goryunov, and the chairman of the State Defense Committee is leaning in favor of the CP. A well-known episode is when at a meeting on choosing an easel machine gun, Stalin turned to Degtyarev: “What machine gun do you consider necessary to adopt - yours or the designer Goryunov?”. “Goryunov's machine gun is better, Comrade Stalin,” answered Vasily Alekseevich. “And the industry will master it faster.”

It is unlikely that these words, testifying, by the way, about the high professionalism of the gunsmith Degtyarev and his exceptional decency, determined the fate of the machine gun (such decisions were usually prepared in advance, they were checked, specified and approved at meetings at the State Defense Committee), but they played their part. And immediately after the 14 meeting of May 1943 of the year, the GKO ordered the Red Army to adopt the “7,62-mm heavy machine gun of the 1943 model of the Goryunov design (SG-43) on the Degtyarev machine”.


For the production of SG without reducing the release of other types of weapons at the Kovrov plant, in May 1943 began to build a new "I" building, known as "Komsomolsky". It was erected in just a month of 2,5 using the “popular construction” method - in other words, due to extracurricular work of employees. In the "I" building they placed four workshops for the manufacture of sets of parts, and in the old building "A" a workshop for the assembly of machine guns. The first SGs were sent to the front in October 1943 of the year.

With its adaptability, the Goryunov surprised even experienced workers, craftsmen, and engineers. As a result, the army not only received a new lightweight machine-gun, but also began to receive its troops in a rapidly growing amount. Total until the end of the war, plant number 2 released 28 882 SG. In 1944, the manufacture of Goryunov machine guns (in parallel with the Maxim) was also mastered in Zlatoust at plant No. 54 (later Zlatoust engineering plant). And although the SG produced less than the "Maximov", in the battles of the final period of the Great Patriotic War, they participated almost on a par. The advantages of the Goryunov machine gun in maneuverability successfully manifested themselves in battles on rough terrain, city streets, in the mountains.

Automatics SG had a gas engine with a long stroke gas piston. A three-position rotary knob was mounted in the gas chamber. The barrel was locked by tilting the bolt to the right. The shutter movement was controlled by the upper ledge (“boot”) of the bolt carrier, which, after locking, struck the firing pin - a shot was made from the rear sear. The trigger mechanism was mounted in the back plate and allowed only automatic fire. The trigger lever was located between the control knobs and held fuse like "Maxim".

The replaceable barrel was supplied with a flame arrester and a handle for ease of changing and carrying the machine gun. Replacing the heated barrel took 7-8 seconds.

Power supply - from metal non-bulk tape like DS-39 or canvas from “Maxim”: a large supply of canvas tapes could not be left without use. The tape was fed from right to left by a slide-type mechanism. The tape receiver had a flap that accelerated reloading. At high speeds of the moving system and a “long” asymmetric node of locking, the transverse discontinuities of the sleeves did occur, but much less frequently than in DS-39. The reloading handle protruded from below under the control handles, remained fixed during firing. Sights included a folding frame sight and an adjustable whip front sight. The sight frame had two scales: on the right - from 0 to 2000 m for a light bullet, on the left - from 0 to 2300 m for a heavy one.

The wheel machine was created under the direction of V. A. Degtyarev, designer G. S. Garanin (Degtyarev even suggested including him in the list for the Stalin Prize for the SG machine gun, sometimes the machine is referred to as “Degtyarev-Garanin”) and belonged to field machines of a universal type. The passion of the commanders of the Red Army to the wheel machine with a shield looks strange. True, he allowed to roll the machine gun ready for shooting, was adapted to the new conditions of the battle - for example, a folding arrow helped to quickly install a machine gun on the edge of the trench.

However, on the whole, the machine rather hampered the operations of the calculations, moreover, by shaking quickly, it did not ensure the stability of firing. For firing at air targets (with the use of an angled anti-aircraft sight), he toppled, the opener at the top of the shield rested against the ground, and the machine gun was attached to the swivel at the end of the arrow and the machine gunner fired from the knee. Such a setup was not very stable, but it allowed the calculation to contribute to the barrage on planes attacking from low altitudes.

The weight of the “body” of the SG was 6,5 kg less than the “Maxim” (without water), and the Goryunov ready to fire on the machine turned out to be less than its “older brother” on the 25,6 kg. At the same time, the SG had almost equal accuracy with “Maxim” at a distance of 1000 m, established by the “Infantry Combat Regulations” 1942 of the year as the opening range for heavy machine guns (in general, the accuracy of the heavy “Maxim” could not be achieved). Anti-aircraft fire was considered effective no further than 500 m.


The fate of the designer was more tragic than his offspring. After the adoption of SG-43, the load on Goryunov increased: in addition to bringing the machine gun at his native plant, he would wind up in Zlatoust to start production there, in Moscow, where he debugged the first serial machine guns before being sent to the front. Forces dried up, and 23 December 1943, Peter Maximovich died at the age of 42 years.

Work on improving the SG continued, all the more so because the forced technological simplifications gave insufficient system survivability. By 1945, a certain reserve was accumulated, taking into account the results of troop exploitation. It should be noted that the modernization was also carried out on a competitive basis - the participants proposed their own sets of changes. A considerable contribution to the improvement of the machine gun was made, for example, by A. A. Zaitsev, a Kovrov engineer (later an active assistant to the young designer M. Kalashnikov in the revision of his experimental machine gun).

It was possible to implement the modernization in the serial model immediately after the end of the war in the SGM machine gun (“machine tool Goryunova, modernized”), which also received new machines. Its production began in Zlatoust in the year 1948. The SSM had its own interesting service (including combat), based on it were created tank, armored personnel carriers and even curved (for weapons of inconspicuous pillboxes) machine guns. But this applies to the post-war history of domestic weapons.


Cartridge 7,62x54R (7,62-mm rev.1908 g.)
The weight of the "body" machine gun 14,6 kg
The mass of the machine gun on the machine with a shield 44,5 kg
4,1 barrel weight kg
Machine weight 29,9 kg
The length of the "body" machine gun 1150 mm
Barrel length 720 mm
The length of the machine gun on the machine for shooting in the prone position 1700 mm
Initial bullet speed 865 m / s (light bullet) and 800 m / s (heavy)
Sighting range 2000 m (light bullet) and 2300 m (heavy)
Firing rate 600-700 rds / min
Combat rate of fire 200-250 (extreme - 350) rds / min
Power metal tape on 50 and 250 cartridges or canvas on 250 cartridges
Box weight with ribbon on 250 cartridges 10,25 kg

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  1. Mikhado
    Mikhado April 13 2013 09: 35
    Still, it’s still not clear to me on the DS-39 - did the problems with the liners happen only at a high pace or in both modes? If only on high, why not just block it? A riddle, but to ancestors. obviously, it was more visible in the difficult weeks of the outbreak of war. The return to Maxim, of course, was a blatant step back, as well as to the mosquito after SVT.
    And also in the DC, the question is fins - how should it be clogged with dirt in real conditions and reduce the cooling efficiency.
    In general, it is really a drama, "one of" at that difficult moment for the country.
    1. Construktor
      Construktor April 13 2013 14: 51
      "Still, it’s still not clear to me on DS-39 ..."
      Failure analysis of this machine. alas, no so far. True, there is one thing. Degtyarev did not make a single tape drive (Shpagin did it at DShK, I don’t remember who, but definitely not Degtyarev at PDM and RD). Maybe in the absence of KNOWLEDGE is the case. All the same, Degtyarev is self-taught and he did not have trained engineers then (with all due respect to his experience).
      "The return to Maxim, of course, was a blatant step back, as well as to the mosquito after SVT"
      It may be inappropriate to judge our grandfathers so "strictly" who solved such problems that we (God forbid!) Cannot solve. Better to put a worker in the army. albeit an old machine gun. than new. but working poorly. In battle, absolute trust in weapons is essential. Remember the contemptuous attitude of the front-line soldiers to the 45mm ATT. But this is due to the large number of defective shells in the initial period of the war. As the good ones went - "forty-five" reached Berlin. So it is with SVT. They began to be used as light machine guns. For what they are not designed. Result - liner breakage during extraction. And again, mistrust of weapons. Correctly returned the "mosinka").
      1. Mikhado
        Mikhado April 14 2013 01: 49
        Quote: Construktor
        It may not be necessary to judge our grandfathers so "strictly"

        I don’t judge, “Maxim” did his job, for the period of defense it was not bad due to the intensity and accuracy of shooting, but from this the necessity of this step does not cease to be such, alas. Fortunately, they did not have time to forget the technology of the production, and in those difficult months the quantity was most important.
      2. the47th
        the47th April 15 2013 11: 46
        Quote: Construktor
        "The return to Maxim, of course, was a blatant step back, as well as to the mosinka after SVT"

        I believe that they took a "step back", as in the case of Mosinka, because of their cheapness. In wartime, the question: "To make one SVT or three Mosinka?" is decided in favor of less modern, but cheaper weapons.
      3. Black Colonel
        Black Colonel 23 May 2013 17: 39
        SVT did not fire bursts. That's for sure.
  2. Beck
    Beck April 13 2013 12: 38
    Machine gun Goryunova. On the T-54 tanks (served in 1968-70) and 55 were Goryunov machine guns modified for tanks. On the T-54 there were two of them, twin and course. From the course, without sight, and visually through the triplex, the mechanic had to shoot if an enemy arose immediately in front of the tank. The mechanic could start the line and fan the tank either to the left or to the right. The shutter button was on the right lever.

    So, on two tanks, during some check, the absence of two detachable trunks from the machine guns was revealed. The case was, there were no trunks. As it turned out, these trunks, demobilized demobilization, were sold to local hunters (Primorye). The question was an edge to what hunters machine gun trunks with massive, longitudinal air-cooling fins? The investigation clarified the issue.

    The hunters had antediluvian rifles of Berdan produced in the late 1880s. Craftsmen hunters from their Berdan cut trunks, leaving only shutters in place. Cooling fins were drained from machine-gun trunks and the trunks were attached to the Berdan bolts. Well, they used modern machine gun rifle cartridges. In the Ussuri hills, roe deer were beaten from 1000 meters. Here she is a peasant savvy.
    1. old rocket man
      old rocket man April 14 2013 18: 31
      Quote: Beck
      . Craftsmen hunters from their Berdan cut trunks, leaving only shutters in place. Cooling fins were drained from machine-gun trunks and the trunks were attached to the Berdan bolts. Well, they used modern machine gun rifle cartridges. In the Ussuri hills, roe deer were beaten from 1000 meters. Here she is a peasant savvy.

      Maybe it was, but in view of the larger caliber of the Berdan rifle (10,67 mm) without substantialalteration of the shutter to use 7,67 mm barrel is not possible
  3. svp67
    svp67 April 13 2013 13: 32
    What a blessing that the PC is now in service. Only for this machine gun Kalashnikov can put a monument of platinum ...
    1. Mikhado
      Mikhado April 14 2013 01: 55
      Quote: svp67
      What a blessing that the PC is now armed

      So for sure, let me subscribe. Accustomed to its phenomenal reliability, you no longer understand how it could be otherwise. Having absorbed all the experience of the Second World War and the latest technology at the time, having won the hardest competition, the PC and the whole family right up to Pecheneg became for us just a symbol already, and obviously for a long time.
      I think it was worthy to take the baton from his illustrious "ancestors".
  4. svp67
    svp67 April 13 2013 19: 47
    Here is a strange photo of our soldiers with DS39 almost nonexistent, although they were released quite a few, but the Germans meet him
  5. bublic82009
    bublic82009 April 13 2013 21: 55
    he became equal in its combat properties to the German mg
    1. Aleks21
      Aleks21 April 14 2013 15: 45
      In simplicity, yes.
      But otherwise the MG-42 is the best 2MV machine gun
  6. Chukcha
    Chukcha April 14 2013 13: 46
    Will there be an article about curved machine guns (or a general one about "weapons from around the corner")? A very interesting topic.
  7. Bosk
    Bosk April 14 2013 15: 25
    I was reading about Skoka ... but I just found out about two modes, I probably mowed seriously at close range in air mode ...
  8. smershspy
    smershspy 3 May 2013 10: 35
    Quote: svp67
    What a blessing that the PC is now in service. Only for this machine gun Kalashnikov can put a monument of platinum ...

    Totally agree!
    Kalashnikov well done! Pride of the nation!
  9. Alex
    Alex 27 September 2013 20: 59
    I always knew that when creating his systems Kalashnikov used all the experience of the Second World War and all the ideas of Soviet designers. And the DS and SG machine guns are a vivid illustration of this.

    I especially bow to V.A. Degtyareva.

    A deep bow to all the designers who developed the Victory Arms!