Friday 8 December 2017

Partisan's Companion: Weapons of Combat

The Partisan's Companion is a book distributed among partisans in order to help them combat German forces more effectively. A few sections of the book deal with firearms. This one teaches the user how to handle domestically produced firearms, both military and civilian.

"IV. Weapons of Combat

Remember the main rules of handling weapons

No matter what conditions you are in always keep your weapons ready: clean and functional. Handle them carefully. The weapons must always be ready for battle. Do not plug the barrel, as that will burst the barrel when shooting. Before cleaning a gun, make sure your cleaning equipment is functional and complete (ramrod, rag, screwdriver, mallet, etc).

When checking your weapon, check:
Do the metallic parts have rust, scratches, dents, are mechanisms clean?
Are there cracks or dents in wooden parts?
Do the main mechanisms function correctly (bolt, sight, trigger, etc), is the barrel clear?
Know the main signs of a damaged barrel. You will see them when looking through it at the light:
  1. Rust: dark scum on the barrel. If you run a clean cloth through your barrel and see brown spots, it is a sure sign of rust in the barrel.
  2. Rash: scattered spots of rust around the barrel.
  3. Bulging: a perpendicular ring-shape (continuous or interrupted) along the barrel.
Inspection and handling ammunition

The ammunition should be clean and free of dents or cracks, burrs, patina. Check that the primer is not too deep, the bullet does not wobble, and is not sunk too deep into the casing. Wipe the functional ammunition with a clean cloth dabbed with grease. This will keep them from rusting.

Cleaning and lubricating your gun

Timely cleaning and correct lubrication make it function perfectly. If the gun is not used often, clean it no less than once every ten days. After shooting, clean the barrel and parts of the weapon that are affected by gases. When possible, clean the weapon completely, and lubricate it. In the following 3-4 days, wipe the barrel with a clean white cloth. If you see rust or fouling, clean it again. If not, lubricate the barrel.

Carry clean and soft cloths for cleaning, as well as soft hemp fibre. Only use the hemp for cleaning. 

Use a base compound for cleaning the gas system. Lubricate parts after cleaning them. Remember that excess grease dirties the gun, and makes it misfire. Wash hardened grease off complicated parts with gasoline or kerosene, then wipe them dry and lubricate them.

Cracks and other places where it is hard to insert a ramrod should be cleaned in the following way: sharpen a stick of the necessary size, wrap it in a rag saturated in a base, lubricant, or kerosene.

In the winter, use winter lubricant. Apply the lubricant in a thin layer with a cloth. A thick layer of grease will freeze, and the gun will not work.

If you don't have winter lubricant, use kerosene or liquid from #1 or #3 incendiary bottles, as it contains kerosene or gasoline. 

Always carry your gun with you and do not leave it unattended. Never disassemble all the unit's guns at once, cleaning should always be done in turns.

Fig. 40: Rifle model 1891/30
Fig 44: Self-loading rifle model 1940

Rifle model 1891/30
Purpose: a partisan's main weapon for striking the enemy with fire, bayonet, and stock.
Combat characteristics: best range is 400 meters. Combat rate of fire: 10 shots per minute. Maximum range: 2000 meters.

Self-loading rifle model 1940
Combat characteristics: best range is 400 meters. Combat rate of fire: 25 shots per minute. Maximum range: 1500 meters.

Fig. 43. Small caliber TOZ-8 and TOZ-9 rifles. 1 - stock; 2 - stock grip; 3 - barrel assembly; 4 - sight; 5 - barrel; 6 - front sight; 7 and 9 - barrel bed; 8 - trigger guard.

Small caliber TOZ-8 and TOZ-9 rifles
Combat characteristics: the small caliber rifle does not make a loud sound and has very weak recoil, simple to use, is disassembled easily, and is flawless in operation. These characteristics allow the TOZ rifles to be widely used in partisan squads.
The TOZ-8 rifle is single-shot, and the TOZ-9 has a five round magazine. The TOZ-8 has a rate of fire of 7 shots per minute, the TOZ-9 - 10 shots per minute.
The maximum range is 250 meters. 

Fig. 46: Grenade model 1933.

Grenade model 1933
Purpose and combat characteristics: to strike the enemy with fragments in defense and offense. Throw at a range of 30-40 meters. Radius of shrapnel: 25 meters with safety casing, 5 meters without safety casing.

Fig. 49. F-1 grenade.

Purpose: for striking the enemy only in defense. 

Impact type anti-tank grenade
How to throw the grenade: figure 52.
Take the grenade in your right hand, so that the safety is firmly pressed against the handle.
With your left hand, open the slider, and insert the fuse gently. The fuse should enter the grenade freely.
Remove the safety pin.
Throw the grenade and hide. The grenade will explode when it hits the target.
Do not touch a grenade that did not explode. Destroy it with another grenade or with a rifle.

Fig. 52. How to throw an anti-tank grenade.

Fig 53. SMG model 1940 PPD and SMG model 1941 PPSh

SMG model 1940 PPD and SMG model 1941 PPSh
Purpose: an SMG strikes the enemy with fire at close range. An SMG can fire single shots or in bursts (short bursts of 2-4 rounds or long bursts of 20-25 rounds).
Combat characteristics: maximum range: 500 meters. Rate of fire: single shot - 30 RPM, short bursts - 70 RPM, long bursts - up to 100 RPM.

Fig. 67. DP hand-held machinegun.

DP hand-held machinegun
Purpose: the DP hand-held machinegun is the main automatic weapon for destroying groups and important single targets up to 800 meters away, and aircraft up to 500 meters away.
Combat characteristics: rate of fire: 80 RPM. Fire in short bursts (3-6 shots). Maximum range: 1500 meters."

The next few pages are for mortars, which I will skip, as they fall outside the scope of this blog.

"Anti-tank rifle
The anti-tank rifle is a fearsome weapon against enemy tanks and armoured cars. The Red Army uses two anti-tank rifles: a single shot and a semi-automatic. Both use a 14.5 mm armour piercing bullet. Firing at tanks 150-200 meters away is best, but their bullets can penetrate armour even further.

Fig. 74. Single shot Degtyarev anti-tank rifle.

Single-shot Degtyarev anti-tank rifle
Weighs 16.5 kilograms, and is 2 meters long (fig. 74). The rifle is served by a crew of two: a gunner and an assistant. The single-shot rifle can make 5-6 aimed shots per minute. The rifle is loaded manually. Insert a bullet into the opening on the top and ram it in. Close the bolt with an energetic motion forward. If the bolt does not lock, you will get misfires. If there is a misfire, fire again after pulling back the firing pin once more. If there is one more misfire, extract the round and insert a new one. If there is a misfire again, check the firing pin and firing mechanism for dirt or damage.  

To carry the rifle, activate the safety. Pull the bolt far back and turn it up-right 90 degrees. When the firing pin enters the safety box, the rifle is on safe. 

To remove the bolt when cleaning, press the release button underneath the left side of the barrel assembly.

Make sure the rounds are slightly oiled. Dry rounds may cause misfires.

Fig. 75. Simonov anti-tank rifle.

Self-loading Simonov anti-tank rifle
Weighs 20.3 kg, 2.2 meters long (fig. 75). Practical rate of fire: 15 RPM. The rounds are loaded from a five round box magazine, into which a clip of five rounds is inserted. It is possible to insert the clip from the top without removing the magazine.

To remain invisible to the enemy, conceal yourself before battle. A reliable hiding place for an anti-tank rifle crew can be made in a simple anti-tank ditch. Hide in it if the tank is close, then emerge after it goes over and fire at its engine compartment. 

Also fire at the lower part of the turret, where there is usually ammunition, and at tracks next to drive wheels. When firing at an armoured car, aim for the engine and lower turret. If you hit the engine group, gas tank, or ammunition, the AP-I bullet will ignite or explode the tank or armoured car.

You may also fire at other targets: concentrations of enemy soldiers, guns (the bullet can penetrate their shields), machinegun nests, and airplanes.

Fig. 76. Anti-tank rifle grenade. Grenade warhead, stabilizer, fuse, striker, ramrod.

Anti-tank rifle grenade
The Serdyuk model 1941 anti-tank rifle grenade (VPGS-41) is used in cases where it is impossible to get closer than 40 meters to the enemy tank. The grenade consists of five parts: the warhead with an explosive substance, the striker mechanism, the fuse, the ramrod, and the stabilizer. The grenade is usually stored in parts. Assemble it before battle, as shown in figure 76. Put the stabilizer on the ramrod. Screw the ramrod into the striker casing, and then the warhead. In this condition, carry the grenade into battle.

The grenade should be armed in battle. Screw off the striker, and insert the fuse, making sure that the ends of the striker safety pins are 3-4 mm apart. Screw the striker into the warhead. Slide the stabilizer up the ramrod until the hull of the grenade.

The grenade is ready for battle. All you have to do is insert it into the rifle. Load the rifle with a round with no bullet. With you right hand, pull the safety pin from the grenade. You may fire.

Fire directly, at a range of 60-70 meters. Conceal yourself in a trench or behind a tree. If there is a group of tanks, fire at it indirectly from 120-140 meters, at an angle of 40-50 degrees.

Revolver and Pistol

Revolver model 1895
Purpose: to attack and defend at close range, and during hand to hand combat.
Combat characteristics: 7 shots in 15-20 seconds, caliber: 7.62 mm
Cleaning: A cleaning rod is used to clean and lubricate the barrel and cylinder. Thread hemp fibre or a cloth through the cleaning rod so it will enter the barrel with light pressure. Saturate it with a base solution. Put the rod into the barrel and move it back and forth 7-10 times, turning it in the direction of the rifling."

Fig. 77. How to remove the cleaning rod.

The copy of the Partisan's Companion that I have access to is, sadly, missing several pages from this section here.

"Know how to precisely strike the enemy
Aim at vulnerable places: chest, stomach, head. To aim properly, hold your head straight. Put your fingers on the pistol (revolver) handle like shown in figure 84, freely, without too much pressure.

Fig. 84. How to hold a pistol while shooting.

Press on the trigger with the first joint of your index finger. Your thumb should be parallel to the barrel. When shooting while standing or kneeling, hold your hand in the air gently and relaxedly. When shooting while braced, keep your hand with the pistol or revolver in the air. For additional stability, brace your left hand against something and hold your right hand at the wrist.

Know how to wield a shovel

Learn how to fortify your position during enemy fire. For this purpose, carry a shovel (small shovel, sapper's spade, pickaxe). If you don't have one, use any shovel with the handle shortened to 40-50 cm.

How to fortify

Before digging, examine your location and determine if it will be convenient to shoot from. If no, crawl to the side to find a better place. Then, begin digging.

Fig. 85. How to dig a personal trench lying down. 1) Put your rifle to the right. 2) Strike the dirt under you with your shovel. 3) Hold your head close to the ground.

Fig. 86. Using your personal trench.

Put the rifle with the bolt handle down to the right, at arm's reach. This way, it won't get in the way of your digging, and will be close enough to grab. 

Turn on your left side, without raising your head. Take the shovel with your left hand up and your right hand towards the blade and cut at the ground under you. First, throw the dirt forward, building up a parapet, giving you protection from enemy fire. Then, throw the dirt to the side. while digging, keep your legs apart, and keep your head to the ground (fig. 85).

When your hole is 20-25 cm deep, crawl back a little and deepen it for your torso and legs (fig. 86). 

Fig. 87. Required parapet thickness from various types of dirt. Sand, agricultural dirt, clay, swampy dirt, compressed snow, loose snow.

An open trench should be camouflaged using dirt, grass, and branches. Since different types of dirt resist a bullet differently, the parapet thickness depends on the type of dirt (fig. 87).

Digging in the snow

Remember, that if the snow is 40-50 cm deep, you can dig to the ground underneath. If it is deeper, you don't need to dig all the way down. Compress loose snow so that your cover is no less than 40 cm tall. Snow that you dig out should be thrown forward to thicken your parapet. When digging, make sure the snow is clean. Dark spots will reveal your position.

Use your surroundings

The forest, trees, ditches, stumps, bushes, etc, can protect you. You can use weaved or wooden fences as camouflage. Remember to make portholes in them. You can also use a building to hide from enemy bullets. Dig a trench inside the building, and use the dirt to reinforce the wall outside (fig. 88). 

Fig. 88. A trench in a building.

If you must use residential houses in battle, use lower and basement floors. Cover the windows with sand and dirt bags. Leave narrow portholes for observation and fire.

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