Friday 10 November 2017

Taubin's Automatic Grenade Launcher

In the mid 1930s, an automatic grenade launcher made by engineer Taubin was tested in the USSR. There were some good things about it, like a satisfactory shrapnel radius for grenades and a high rate of fire: 436 RPM! However, there were also many problems. It jammed a lot (7.2% of the shots), and the extractor had to be replaced 30 times over 587 shots. The precision, especially on the horizontal axis, was unsatisfactory.

However, Taubin did not give up. He wrote to Molotov, Voroshilov, and Kaganovich, with pleas to produce his mortar, complaining the the Red Army lacks the ability to suppress strongholds on reverse slopes at a range of 500-1200 meters at the company level. The letters contained such gems as: "The production of an automatic grenade launcher, the value of which was identified by the army in December of 1937, is being held back intentionally... The employees of Design Bureau 16 consider it necessary to create a commission in order to confirm the facts stated in this letter and identification of the parties guilty of artificially delaying the progress of the automatic grenade launcher."

In response to these claims, Division Commander Grendal sent his own letter, remarking that the Red Army possesses company level mortars for such tasks, and "In order to reduce the amount of correspondence between us in the future, it is suggested that your workers ask Artkom in person (available from 14:00 to 17:00) regarding issues they do not understand."

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