DP28 machinegun with hopper magazine

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
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JTV
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Re: DP28 machinegun with hopper magazine

Post by JTV » 21 Dec 2018 19:19

T. A. Gardner wrote:
19 Dec 2018 19:17
I suspect the Russians copied it, then found it to be impractical and ditched it for the "record player" magazine.
If the story told by D.N. Bolotin's "Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition" pages 145 - 146 is correct about this DP LMG prototype model 1938, that would be somewhat of an understatement:

"On the eve of war, however, the fate of Soviet light machinegun hang in the balance. A representative of a military headquarters informed Stalin that light machineguns captured from the Japanese during the Khalkhin Gol Battles overcome the Degtarjev in all respects. The peculiar feed system of the Japanese weapons was considered to be a great advantage. Cartridges were held under the pressure of spring-loaded lid on a hopperon the left side of the receiver. When the hopper had been emptied, the firer simply depressed the spring with his hand and dropped new cartridges in place. However the smallest handling error - lack of experience , or simply attempting to load in uncomfortable position - could make the lid snap shut, bruising or even amputating fingers.

Stalin told Boris Vannikov to clarify the problem. During the sitting in People's Commissariat of Armament, where the Japanese trophy had been displayed, the military commanders expressed favourable opinion on it. The head of Chief Artillery Directive, Marshal Grigory Kulik, sided with the commanders and even suggested that Degtyarev light machinegun should be replaced with Japanese model. Military industry representatives objected this course of action, stressing that the Japanese weapon chambered 6.5mm semi-rimmed cartridges of type that was not manufactured in the USSR. Creating a new machinegun with Japanese type hopper feed adapted to 7.62-mm cartridge, would not only require development time but also add weight to the system. In addition, the magazine of the Japanese machinegun was dangerous under fighting conditions and would inevitably cause injuries to the soldiers if mass-conscription [mobilisation?] occurred.

However, nothing in these arguments could change the military minds. Then, supported by Klimenti Voroshilov (who had been chairing the conference), Vannikov lay down, opened the hopper and placed thick pencil across the wall of the magazine wall. When released the lid cut the pen in two. Marshal Semen Budyonny, sitting in front row, immediately remarked "let those who want this thing fight with it. I would never go to war with something like this." The future of Degtyarev light machinegun was finally assured."

The info above was presumably based on Vannikov's memoirs.

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Re: DP28 machinegun with hopper magazine

Post by koczownik » 21 Dec 2018 20:09

You know, despite this story about the broken pencil and all, I have never heard any mentions of Japanese soldiers being injured by the lid of the hopper magazine on a Type 11. I have never fired one, so my opinion is not the best, but from videos I have seen of it being used/disassembled, it doesn't strike me that the lid of the hopper is so fast to snap down. Look, for instance, at how it closes at around the 2:20 mark in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH9VQGht8CU

He even takes his hand off it for a second and it stays put. No rapid drop with force enough to snap a pencil.

I have to wonder, did the Russians maybe assemble a hopper with a weak spring when they were testing it on the DP28...?

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JTV
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Re: DP28 machinegun with hopper magazine

Post by JTV » 21 Dec 2018 21:05

koczownik wrote:
21 Dec 2018 20:09
He even takes his hand off it for a second and it stays put. No rapid drop with force enough to snap a pencil.

I have to wonder, did the Russians maybe assemble a hopper with a weak spring when they were testing it on the DP28...?
On the other hand there is no way of knowing in what kind of shape the spring is on that thing after only God knows how much use and numerous decades.

There are also some other small arms designs, which are known for having certain tendency of capability of causing injury to soldiers operating them, but how common are the stories that mention it actually to have happened? By this I mean things like "Garand thumb" with M1 Garand and somewhat similar peril with Swedish AG-42.

What I wanted to express is that I take the story from Bolotin's book with a pinch of salt. It may tell what happened, or might be at least partially false information (memoirs written by persons themselves tend to have poor reliability as source materials). Either way it paints one kind of picture about what may have happened and the part about Japanese Type 11 captured in Khalkhin Gol being the inspiration for the prototype IMO seems quite reliable - the other parts of the story are more uncertain.

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Re: DP28 machinegun with hopper magazine

Post by koczownik » 21 Dec 2018 21:15

JTV wrote:
21 Dec 2018 21:05
On the other hand there is no way of knowing in what kind of shape the spring is on that thing after only God knows how much use and numerous decades.
Well, then take a look at this one, which is in good firing order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwi-3pSFKGc
You can see just after 1:30 mark that he has to push the lid down with his hand, it does not just snap shut when released. Like I said, I have never used one, but I have spoken to a couple men who used the Type 11, and I never heard any complaints about the hopper lid being dangerous. Mostly it was just the usual remarks about it being likely to jam in dirty conditions.
JTV wrote:
21 Dec 2018 21:05
There are also some other small arms designs, which are known for having certain tendency of capability of causing injury to soldiers operating them, but how common are the stories that mention it actually to have happened? By this I mean things like "Garand thumb" with M1 Garand and somewhat similar peril with Swedish AG-42.

What I wanted to express is that I take the story from Bolotin's book with a pinch of salt. It may tell what happened, or might be at least partially false information (memoirs written by persons themselves tend to have poor reliability as source materials). Either way it paints one kind of picture about what may have happened and the part about Japanese Type 11 captured in Khalkhin Gol being the inspiration for the prototype IMO seems quite reliable - the other parts of the story are more uncertain.
I agree, the story is useful as an example of how the Soviets tried to take inspiration from a captured Japanese design. As far as the pencil part, I will also have to take it with caution. Until I actually see reports of this dangerous hopper lid on Japanese-made guns, I am leaning toward assuming that either this pencil story is inaccurate, or it was due to shoddy quality on the Russian hopper magazine.

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Re: DP28 machinegun with hopper magazine

Post by Stiltzkin » 22 Dec 2018 06:11

Of course. You said "machineguns", so I didn't know you were excluding HMGs.

Regarding Japanese LMGs, Type 11 also took inspiration from Hotchkiss designs
My bad, that makes sense. I always thought that there might have been Czech Vz influence.

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Re: DP28 machinegun with hopper magazine

Post by koczownik » 22 Dec 2018 12:41

Stiltzkin wrote:
22 Dec 2018 06:11
My bad, that makes sense. I always thought that there might have been Czech Vz influence.
Maybe for Type 96 and Type 99 LMGs, I don't know, I am not as familiar with those two guns.

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