Thursday 4 October 2018

PPD Woes

"December 26th, 1940
To: Chief of the GABTU, Lieutenant-General Fedorenko
Moscow, Red Square, 2nd NKO house

CC: Chief of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army
Moscow, Red Square, 2nd NKO house
CC: Military Department of the NSKM
Moscow, 8a Ryazanskaya St.

In accordance with the excerpt from the order of the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding #268ss issued on November 25th, 1940, the T-34 tank needs to carry a submachinegun (PPD) and at least 500 rounds of ammunition for it. According to the order, the submachinegun (PPD) must be installed to fire from the hatches.

One submachinegun, model 1934/38 #VF360 produced in 1940, and a brief instruction manual, were received from the Military Acceptance department of our factory. During the examination of the item, the following questions arose:
  1. Which hatches the PPD is meant to be fired from. The current ports in the turret are meant for firing the Nagant, and cannot be used to fire the PPD, as the diameter is too small. If the PPD is to be fired from these ports, the latter will need to be changed, and the ammunition rack in the turret changed as well. In addition, due to the size of the PPD, firing it from these ports will be impossible even if they are changed.
    We think the PPD will only be used after exiting the vehicle, to which we propose, instead, leaving the extra machinegun in the tank instead of the PPD, as it is a more effective weapon. A spare machinegun is included in every T-34 tank after the 11th one, for which there are also bags for carrying machinegun disk magazines for the crew (four bags per vehicle, one bag each, fitting four magazines).
    The spare machinegun is stored in the driver's compartment, in a separate crate, that allows it to be quickly removed for use by either the turret gunner or the radio operator.
    Using the PPD only outside the tank is confirmed by the addition of bags to carry the disk magazines, for each magazine separately, which are also to be stowed onboard.
    Due to the lack of clarity about the application of the PPD stored in the tank, I ask you to clarify if the spare machinegun is retained when the PPD is carried, and if spare barrels need to be stored for the machinegun, and if so, how many.
  2. According to the PPD manual attached with the submachinegun, each PPD is shipped with four 73 round magazines tuned to the gun. NKSM order #268ss orders the inclusion of 500 rounds, which is 7 magazines worth. Due to the conflict between the required number of ammunition and the amount mentioned in the manual, please clarify the amount of ammunition required in the tank.
Acting Chief Engineer, Makhonin."


  1. four 73 round magazines tuned to the gun? Is that their way of saying the magazines didn't always work for different guns?

  2. I imagine that the spring on a 73 round magazine could be quite finicky ...

  3. Yes, the drum magazines had to be modified (I never read about how, precisely) to feed reliably. The PPSh inherited the same issue. This only affected the drum magazines, the box magazines were fine.

    1. I sometimes wondered why the Soviets didn't use up their old PM M1910 Maxim style machine guns converted to heavy barrels as their turret machine guns. Unlike the infantry the weight would not of bothered tank crews and the ability to use belt feed would of made it possible to use a box with several hundred rounds. Either way from what I hear the PPSh 41 was a great gun. The PPD-40 not as good.

    2. I assume for parts commonality. If something broke in the turret MG you could fix it with parts taken from the hull MG. If the two guns are different then you are shit outta luck.

    3. The biggest mystery to me is why a tank version of the SG-43 was not developed simultaneously with the infantry version.

    4. The tankers had no interest in a belt fed machinegun.

    5. Peter. To be fair the large long side of our M-60A3 turrets let us put in a box capable of holding at least 300 rounds. I'm not sure such a box could fit in the smaller turrets of T-34s.