** In 1939, three machine guns dominated the Red Army's front-line infantry firepower -- the DShK 1938 heavy machine gun, the PM M1910 medium/heavy machine gun, and the Degtyaryov DP-27, a lighter, bipod-mounted support weapon. Confronted by cutting-edge German technology during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), the Soviets responded with the development of new weaponry, including the SG-43 medium machine gun and the improved version of the DP-27, the DPM. Fielded together, these weapons gave the Red Army a more practical range of support, better able to challenge the Germans for superiority on the battlefield. Illustrated with high-quality photographs and specially commissioned artwork, this study explains the technology and the tactical applications of the machine guns, from assault teams on the streets of Stalingrad to tank crew struggling for survival at Kursk. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications has released Soviet Machine Guns of World War II as Number 81 in the Weapon series. It is an 80-page soft cover book. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, detailed captions, informational charts, cutaway views and more. It has a 2022 copyright, a publication date of February 15, 2022, and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-4239-8.
- Tokarev, Degtyaryov and Goryunov
- Tactical fire support in total war
- The transformation of Soviet firepower
- Further reading
Author Chris McNab provides a well written text detailing various machine guns in use by the Soviets during World War II from their development, production and introduction throughout their trials and testing, improvements and on through to their issuance and use by the Soviet military. Some of the machine guns detailed and discussed are the Maxim M1905, M1910, M1910/30 and Maxim-Tokarev (M-T) machine gun, Degtyaryov DP light machine gun, DShK heavy machine gun, Goryunov SG-43 medium machine gun and others as well as their use in infantry support, anti-aircraft and armor mounted roles. Chris McNab provides an excellent description of all of the technical specifications of the weapons and accessories in an easy-to-read format which the detailed oriented reader will benefit from. I personally feel that Chris McNab has covered all areas and aspects of the weapons and left no area of the weapons undiscussed and detailed. In addition to his own words Chris McNab has also provided quotes from official accounts. The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on Soviet machine guns and other small arms used during World War II to their personal library will be pleased with this informative and interesting book.
A total of 49 black and white photographs and 14 color photographs are included in this volume. The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. The contain a combination of in-action photographs, photographs removed from motion pictures to photographs that have been staged for the photographer. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable; however, a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light. This is typical for the discussed period of history and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. Author Chris McNab stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to anyone interested in Soviet machine guns and other small arms used during World War II due to the details they contain.
There are 5 color illustrations included in the volume by illustrators Steve Noon and Alan Gilliland. Steve Noon completed the 2 battlescenes for this book. Alan Gilliland completed the 3 cutaway illustrations for this book. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
DShK infantry support fire and DP assault
- A one-page action illustration depicting a Soviet DShK HMG gunner and assistant gunner laying down fire on a German occupied village in the northern Caucasus to provide cover for a rifle squad to move forward.
Anti-aircraft fire – quad PM M1910/30 and SG-43
- A one-page action illustration depicting a Soviets firing a Soviet quad PM M1910/30 machine gun arrangement installed on a Soviet GAZ-AA truck firing at attacking German Junkers JU 87D Stukas while two Soviets on the ground pull a Goryunov SG-43 on a Degtyaryov mount into position at Kursk in July 1943.
The DP Exposed
- A two-page cut-a-away view showing the internal workings of the 7.62x54mmR Degtyaryov DP light machine gun. Also provided is a key which details 28 specific items that are pointed out on the weapon.
The DShK Revealed
- A two-page cut-a-away view showing the internal workings of the 12.7x108mm DShK heavy machine gun. Also provided is a key which details 28 specific items, including the anti-aircraft sight, that are pointed out on the weapon.
The SG-43 Unveiled
- A two-page cut-a-away view showing the internal workings of the 7.62x54mmR Goryunov SG-43 medium machine gun. Also provided is a key which details 21 specific items that are pointed out on the weapon.
The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown. The captions go into very specific detail as to the specific weapons shown, specific individuals, military units, associated equipment carried and used, specific items of interest shown, armor, vehicles, dates and locations and other such pertinent information. As I read through the captions, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. I was impressed by Chris McNab’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail.
There are 2 informational charts included in this volume and they provide information on the following:
- Aim Point Lead in Aircraft Silhouettes
- Personnel and Machine Guns in the Red Army Rifle Division, 1941-45
There is 1 note included in this volume and it is:
- Author Acknowledgements
- Artist’s Note
Osprey Publishing also offers Soviet Machine Guns of World War II as:
eBook (ePub) ISBN: 978-1-4728- 4240-4
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4728- 4237-4
Osprey Publishing’s, Soviet Machine Guns of World War II is also available as an electronic Kindle version through Amazon.com.
UK £14.99 / US $22.00 / CAN $30.00
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase. Thank you.