MACHINEPISTOLS, PART 2:

Captured and Bought

 

7,62 mm M/34 and M/34-38 PPD:

(Pistolet-pulemet Degtjareva obr. 1934 g., PPD-34)

(Pistolet-pulemet Degtjareva obr. 1934-38 g., PPD-34/38)

PICTURE: M/34 PPD submachine gun with 25-round magazine. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (50 KB).

PICTURE: Late version barrel jacket) of M/34-38 PPD submachine gun with 73-round drum magazine. While early version had similar barrel jacket as in M/34 PPD the late version had this same kind of barrel jacket as in M/40 PPD. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (50 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 x 25 Tokarev

Length:

785 mm (M/34) / 779 mm (M/34-38)

Barrel length:

260 mm (M/34) / 269 mm (M/34-38)

Weight:

3,12 kg (M/34) / 3,3 kg (M/34-38)

Fire-rate:

800/minute

Magazine:

for both: arch of 25, for M/34-38 only: drum of 73

Official abbreviations:

"7,63 kp venäl." and "763 KP 38"

Country of origin:

Soviet Union

Prototype:

1931

Production:

4,174 manufactured between 1934 - 1939.

Finnish use: Issued to Finnish coastal troops and home-front troops during Continuation War (1941 - 1944).

Earliest known Soviet submachine gun prototype was Tokarev M/1927 chambered for modified 7.62 mm x 38R Nagant revolver cartridge. But soon the Soviets found better cartridge designs for this purpose - their first choice was 7.63 mm x 25 Mauser pistol cartridge, which was later replaced with 7.62 mm x 25 Tokarev cartridge based to it. Hence 7.62 mm x 25 Tokarev introduced with TT-30 and TT-33 pistols), also became the standard cartridge for their future submachine guns. Degtjarev, Korovin and Tokarev designed submachine gun prototypes, which the Soviets tested around 1932 - 1933. The first of these prototypes to get approved for production was V.A. Degtjarev's M/1934, which had proved to the best of the prototypes tested that far. Degjarev's M/1934 prototype was accepted to use of Red Army in June of 1935 and got named as PPD-34. However at that time Soviet Red Army had considerable doubts about usefulness of submachine guns in military use, so the weapon was saw only very limited production before Winter War. As far technical principles were concerned, as most of submachine guns of this time also PPD-34 submachine guns had its roots in German MP/18-I submachine gun of World War 1 fame. PPD-34 submachine gun had curved removable 25-round box-magazine, whose compatibility with individual PPD-34 submachine guns proved quite questionable early on. Another weakness found in PPD-34 was magazine catch, which proved unreliable. To solve these problems Degtjarev designed improved version of PPD submachine gun, which got named as PPD-34/38. Other main changes introduced with PPD-34/38 were intended to simplify its manufacturing process. Both PPD-34 and PPD-34/38 were select-fire weapons capable to both semiauto and full-auto fire. Both weapons were also true 1st generation submachine guns - manufactured from machined parts and hence both difficult and expensive to manufacture. Several improvements were introduced during production of PPD-34/38. Perhaps the most notable of these was replacing old barrel jacket with new one, which had smaller number of longer cooling holes. The Soviets also introduced the improved PPD-34/38 new 73-round drum magazine, which was slightly modified version of Finnish 70-round (72-round) drum designed by Y. Koskinen for Suomi M31 submachine gun. Due to its one piece stock design PPD-34/38 could not use exact copy of the Finnish magazine, so the Soviets added the magazine a feeding pipe.

Soviet Red Army pre Winter War TO&E issued submachine gun only to very few specialist units (It has been noted that many of the high-ranking Soviet officers of that time were very much against submachine guns). Because of this only 4,174 PPD-34 and PPD-34/38 submachine guns were manufactured before Winter War. February of 1939 Soviet Red Army even stopped manufacturing of these submachine guns and gathered existing weapons from their troops and put them on storage. So, when Red Army troops marched to Winter War in November of 1939 they had no submachine guns among their weapons. But once they found themselves in receiving end of Suomi M31 submachine guns while lacking submachine gun of their own they learned the harsh lesson real fast. They promptly re-issued existing PPD-34 and PPD-34/38 to their troops in end of December 1939 and reintroduced PPD-34/38 to production. However even this time the production of PPD-34/38 lasted only few weeks before it got replaced by new improved version. This new improved version of PPD submachine gun PPD-40 and replaced earlier version in production in February of 1940.

During Winter War Finnish troops captured only 178 Soviet submachine guns. All of these captured weapons were PPD-34 and PPD-34/38. At that time Finnish military had no idea about the official names that the Soviets were using for their submachine guns. So Finnish Army decided to simply name them 7,63 mm kp M/venäl. (= 7,63 mm SMG M/Russian). Finnish military also did not make difference in between 7,62 mm x 25 Tokarev cartridge from identical looking 7,63 mm x 25 Mauser cartridge, from which it had previous experience with Mauser M/96 pistols. During early Continuation War Finnish military captured much larger number of PPD M/34 and M/34-38 submachine guns. Hence by end of World War 2 Finnish Armed Forces weapons inventory included about 600 M/34 PPD and M/34-38 PPD submachine guns. Due to not having readily available ammunition supply for 7.62 x 25 ammunition captured submachine guns were of limited use for Finnish frontline troops, who captured them. Finnish soldiers knew the value of having as much firepower as possible in form of automatic weapons. So naturally the Finnish troops, who captured submachine guns often pressed them immediately to their own use. But after captured ammunition run dry acquiring more ammunition was problematic. Another major issue against large-scale frontline use may have been limited number of captured magazines - year 1943 Finnish Army issued PPD-34 and PPD-34/38 with only two drum or box magazines per weapon, which is very small number for this sort of weapon. In addition of occational frontline soldiers there were also more organised users among Finnish military - during Continuation War much of these captured submachine guns were issued to Finnish coastal troops and troops stationed in home front. During late Continuation War captured Soviet submachine guns in use of coastal troops were slowly replaced with other submachine guns while they were reissued to home front troops. Finnish reports note that the 73-round drum with "feeding pipe" used with M/34-38 had been found to be unreliable. In addition the trigger mechanism and the bolt system used in both of these two submachine gun models were somewhat unnecessarily complicated. As usual with Soviet submachine guns neither M/34 nor M/34-38 had parts interchangeable between individual weapons, which complicated their maintenance and repairs. The lack of standardisation concerning their parts included even their magazines, which did not necessary work with other weapons besides the individual submachine gun that they had been issued with. Also replacing gun barrel in the field was basically impossible. Year 1960 remaining PPD submachine guns were sold to Interarmco and shipped abroad.

One can only question how reliably these weapons functioned use of Finnish Coastal troops and home front troops. There is good reason to believe that these units received mostly 7.63 mm x 25 Mauser ammunition (which was milder load than Soviet 7.62 mm x 25 Tokarev) for Soviet submachine guns issued to them. During World War 2 Finnish Armed Forces did not list 7.62 mm x 25 Tokarev and 7.63 mm x 25 Mauser ammunition separately, but named and treated them like they were the same. For notable reasons the quantity of captured 7.62 mm x 25 Tokarev cartridges Finnish frontline troops sent forward probably was not very large. During Winter War Finnish military bought one million rounds of 7.63 mm x 25 Mauser from FN. Using this kind amount of ammunition only with less than 400 Mauser M/96 pistols issued to home front troops simply does not make any sense. The conclusion if pretty obvious - the 7.63 mm x 25 Mauser cartridges were issued also to units using captured Soviet weaponry in 7.62 mm x 25 Tokarev calibre.

 

7,62 mm M/40 PPD

(Pistolet-pulemet Degtjareva obr. 1940 g., PPD-40)

PICTURE: Early version of M/40 PPD submachine gun with 71-round drum. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (53 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 x 25 Tokarev

Length:

777 mm

Barrel length:

269 mm

Weight:

3,5 kg

Fire-rate:

800/minute

Magazine:

drum: 71

Official abbreviations:

"7,63 kp venäl." and "763 KP 40"

Country of origin:

Soviet Union

Prototype:

1940

Production:

1940 - 1941

Finnish use: Used by Finnish coastal troops and troops stationed in home front during Continuation War (1941 - 1944).

PPD-40 was submachine gun based to earlier PPD-34/38. V.A. Degtjarev designed it in between December 1939 - February 1940, when the Soviets due to their experiences in battle against the Finns found need to immediately equip their own troops with submachine guns. It was a select-fire fire weapon capable for both full-auto and semiauto fire. Like earlier Soviet submachine guns it was 1st generation submachine gun, meaning it was mostly built from milled parts, which were slow, expensive and difficult to manufacture. The previous one-piece stock of PPD-34/38 had been replaced with of two piece stock, which had separate butt-part and forward part. This new stock came with new 71-round drum magazine, which no longer needed the "feeding pipe" used in PPD-34/38 drum magazine. While the 73-round drum magazine used in PPD-34/38 was modified version of Finnish 70-round (72-round) drum magazine designed by Y. Koskinen for Suomi M/31 SMG, the 71-round magazine of PPD-40 was even more exact copy of Y. Koskinen's design. The new magazine improved reliability of whole weapon while making it much more practical. Bolt with spring-loaded firing pin introduced in PPD-34/38 was first replaced and with bolt, which had fixed firing pin, but this proved to decrease the weapons reliability, so soon bolt with spring-loaded firing pin was reintroduced.

As mentioned the Soviets introduced PPD-40 to manufacturing in February of 1940. While PPD-40 was first Soviet submachine gun introduced to real mass-production its days of glory proved short. Due to sheer size of their military forces the Soviets needed easier to mass-produce submachine gun design than PPD-40. Soviet industry manufactured 86,986 PPD-40 submachine guns in 1940 - 1941 before cheaper and easier to mass-produce PPSh-41 submachine gun replaced it in production early 1941. Even if the manufacturing time of PPD-40 was this short, some improvements were still introduced for its design during production. The most notable improvements included new larger trigger guard and replacing old rear sight with a new one. While the old rear sight was fully adjustable with tangent adjustable to 50 - 500 meters the new one had L-shaped head, which could be flipped to two-settings: One for 100 meters and another for 200 meters. German military called PPD-40 submachine gun MP 716(r)

Finnish troops captured few hundred PPD-40 during Continuation War and issued them to coastal troops and home front troops. As usual also Finnish frontline troops often took these captured submachine guns to their own use until they run out of ammunition captured with them, at which point they were handed over to proper channels. As with other Soviet submachine guns, year 1944 also captured PPD-40 were issued with only two drum magazines per weapon, which was very small number for submachine gun. As mentioned Finnish troops had trouble correctly identifying PPD-submachine guns, so they were officially known only as 7,63 mm kp M/venäl. (7,63 mm submachine gun M/Russian). Also, everything that has been mentioned above about Finnish military treating 7.62 mm x 25 Tokarev and 7.63 mm x 25 Mauser cartridges as same ammunition applies also with these weapons. PPD-40 was one of the two captured submachine guns that were considered to be modified for 9 mm x 19 ammunition and Finnish magazines around 1942 - 1943, but that project did not get beyond prototype-stage, as submachine gun M/44 production was seen as better alternative. As seems to have been usual with Soviet submachine guns, the parts of PPD-40 were not interchangeable between individual weapons. Finnish report also notes that it had similar somewhat complicated trigger mechanism as used in earlier PPD-series submachine guns. Replacing barrel in the field was also basically impossible. After the war PPD-40 submachine guns of good condition were warehoused until most of them were sold to Interarmco in 1960. Remaining 71 PPD-40 were deactivated and sold to collectors between 1969 - 1971.

 

7,62 mm M/41 PPSh

(Pistolet-pulemet Spagina obr. 1941 g., PPSh-41)

PICTURE: Soviet made M/41 submachine gun with 35-round arch magazine. Notice the tangent-model rear sight, which indicates this is early production Ppsh-41. Also notice crossbolt in wrist of the stock. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (80 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 x 25 Tokarev

Length:

840 mm

Barrel length:

266 mm

Weight:

3,2 kg

Fire-rate:

900/minute

Magazine:

arch: 35, drum: 71

Official abbreviations:

"7,63 kp/venäl." and "763 KP 41"

Country of origin:

Soviet Union

Prototype:

1940

Production:

1940 - late 1940's, estimated 5 million made.

Finnish use: Some 2,500 captured 1942 - 1944. Only used by Finnish frontline-troops until running out of ammo and only small numbers of PPSh41 were used by Finnish home front troops in 1942 - 1944.

PPSh-41 submachine gun was developed by Georgij J. Spagin, both prototype and test series was made in 1940 and this weapon was accepted to production in December of 1940. Mass production started in autumn of 1941 and continued until late 1940's. So, unlike other earlier Soviet submachine guns PPSh-41 wasn't removed from manufacturing, when new submachine guns were introduced to production. Soviet industry manufactured almost 1.6-million of these submachine guns just in years 1941 - 1942. Post-war manufacturing countries included China, Hungary, Poland and North Korea.

PICTURE: Another production Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun. This one is without magazine, but the magazine catch is in locked position. Besides tangent-type rear sight these weapons typically had also removable front sight cover. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (47 KB).

PPSh-41 was a cheap 2nd generation submachine gun designed to be mass-produced cheaply and with limited machinery. Its basic structure was simple with only few milled parts, while most parts were pressed and welded. There was little need for special machinery, making manufacturing both fast and easy. Initially slightly modified version (*) of 71-round drum magazine very similar to one earlier introduced for PPD-40. The notable main difference in between PPD-40 drum magazine and PPSh-41 drum magazine was feed lips, which PPD-40 drum had only one, while PPSh-41 drum had two. Early on 71-round drum was the only magazine type issued with PPSh-41, but in February of 1942 the Soviets approved also new 35-round arch-shaped box magazine. They had learned that the 71-round drum magazine too difficult to manufacture in huge numbers comparable to production of PPSh-41. Besides this they also considered the drum magazine too unreliable, difficult to load with ammunition and excessively heavy (**). However also the early version of 35-round magazine manufactured from 0.5-mm thick steel plates proved problematic. It was found to be structurally too weak, due to which in November 1943 Soviet industry shifted into using notably more robust 1.0-mm thick steel as manufacturing material for this magazine type. While 35-round box magazine must have been cheaper and easier to manufacture in massive numbers, filling it to full capacity without loading tool is not easy, the magazine is a single file design and after about 20 rounds or so the spring pressure makes loading in more ammunition a real struggle.

Just like earlier Soviet submachine guns also PPSh-41 was a select-fire weapon capable for both full-automatic and semiautomatic fire. The selector switch for this is located inside trigger guard in front of the trigger. The safety switch is in cocking knob of the bolt and intended to be used for locking the bolt in its most rearward position by sliding the switch into notch that is in the receiver. PPSh-41 is about as easy to disassemble and re-assemble as submachine guns can be on their best. The whole receiver will neatly fold open and only three parts (bolt, recoil spring and buffer) need to be removed for basic maintenance. Early on the weapon had fully adjustable rear sight with tangent, which had settings between 0 - 500 meters. But later some manufacturers started using new rear sight with L-shaped two leaf design, which could be flipped to two-settings: One for 100 meters and another for 200 meters. The 100 meter setting is marked with "10", while 200 setting has "20" marked in it. Other improvements implemented to PPSh-41 during production included more simple front sight guard, stronger magazine well, stronger receiver and chroming bore of the barrel. It must be noted that due to hasty production in variety of factories parts of individual PPSh-41 submachine guns are not compatible - in other words parts taken from one PPSh-41 do not necessarily fit to another PPSh-41. And this incompatibility includes even magazines, which were marked with serial number of the weapon, which they were intended to be used with. German military knew PPSh-41 submachine gun as MP 717(r).

PICTURE: Late version of Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun disassembled for basic maintenance. Notice the folding magazine release (folded out), late rear sight and parts (bolt, main spring and buffer) removed from the weapon. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (105 KB).

Finnish troops captured their first PPSh-41 submachine guns in 1942 and some 2,500 had been captured by end of Continuation War. PPSh-41 was one of the two captured Soviet submachine guns that Finnish military considered for modification to 9 mm x 19 ammunition and Finnish magazines around 1942 - 1943. But that project did not succeed getting beyond prototype-stage, as manufacturing of domestic M/44 submachine guns was considered a better alternative. Because of this most captured PPSh-41 were warehoused for rest of the Continuation War, while only small number was issued to Finnish home-front troops. After World War 2 warehousing of these weapons continued and in 1950's they even were refurbished at that time. Then situation changed, Finnish military deactivated remaining PPSh-41 and sold to them to military personnel around 1965 - 1971.

(*) 71-round drum magazine used in PPD-40 and 71-round drum magazine used in PPsh-41 are very similar, but not identical in such degree that they would be compatible. The reason for this is differences in magazine catch system and especially in the systems used for locking the magazines to the weapons.

(**)Considering the Soviet 71-round drum magazine was basically copy of Finnish 70-round drum, comparing the two makes interesting comparison. Also the Finns found the drum magazine to be rather complicated and expensive to manufacture, but as the 50-round box magazine proved much too unreliable the 70-round drum became most commonly used magazine with Suomi M/31 submachine gun during World War 2. Finnish military soldiers were very much aware about difficulties in using of drum magazines, but they typically do not seem to have consider it too heavy and complaints about reliability were not common either. These differences might be explained by two factors. Weight of the weapon in which the magazine was used could have been the factor - while PPSh-41 weight 3.2 kg the two Suomi M/31 versions weight 4.75 kg and 4.9 kg. When it comes to reliability issue the higher manufacturing quality of sole Finnish drum magazine manufacturer, Tikkakoski, may have been an important factor.

PICTURE: Drum magazine of PPSh-41 (left) and drum magazine of Suomi M/31 (right). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (15 KB).

Writer's personal (limited) experiences concerning shooting PPSh-41 submachine gun: This is pretty handy submachine gun and the cartridge is pretty much ideal for submachine gun-use due to its high muzzle velocity, which results low trajectory. Selector-switch is easy to operate, but safety-switch seems like it could be result of poor after-thought and is not very practical. Due to ammunition, recoil behaviour of the gun is bit more aggressive than with 9 mm x 19 caliber submachine guns of about similar weight, but still quite manageable. Sights are pretty good, but adjusting them demands special tool. Since the particular weapon had not been sighted in, it is difficult to say anything specific about accuracy. The individual test-fired weapon produced unacceptable number of jams during test firing of about 100 rounds - two double-feeds (attempt to feed two cartridges to chamber simultaneously) and five or six times failure to extract cartridge case. These reliability problems may be partly due to ammunition, which was mostly commercial Sellier & Bellot, that was used in test after running out of wartime Soviet ammunition.

 

7,62 mm M/42 and M/43 PPS:

(Pistolet-pulemet Sudaeva obr. 42 g., PPS-42)

(Pistolet-pulemet Sudaeva obr. 43 g., PPS-43)

PICTURE: Soviet made M/42 SMG with 35-round arch magazine and the weapon's butt extended. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (17 KB).

PICTURE: Soviet made M/43 SMG with 35-round arch magazine and the weapon's butt folded. Structure of butt used by Soviets in these weapons is obviously closely related to design used by Germans in MP-38 and MP-40 submachine guns. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (104 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 x 25 Tokarev

Length:

890 mm (M/42) / 825 mm (M/43)

Barrel length:

270 mm (M/42) / 254 mm (M/43)

Weight:

2,9 kg (M/42) / 3,0 kg (M/43)

Fire-rate:

600/minute

Magazine:

arch: 35

Official abbreviations:

"7,63 kp/venäl." and "763 KP 43"

Country of origin:

Soviet Union

Prototype:

1942

Production:

M/42: 1942 - 1943. M/43: 1943 - 1946(?)

Finnish use: Only by Finnish frontline troops until running out of ammo 1943 - 1944. Finnish 9 mm submachine gun M/44 was developed from these two weapons.

PPS-42 designed by Aleksei I. Sudaev was even easier and cheaper to mass-produce than PPSh-41 and won tests the Soviets kept in July of 1942. Some features Sudaev used in PPS submachine gun originated from earlier prototypes of I.K. Bezruchko-Vysotsky. PPS-42 could be manufactured with even less machinery than PPSh-41, while also less raw materials and work were needed. Only non-metallic parts in PPS-42 are grip panels. The weapon has folding metal butt and is capable for full-automatic fire only. Needless to mention these submachine guns are also considerably lighter and more compact than earlier Soviet submachine guns. Unlike PPSh-41 this submachine gun could not be used with 71-round drum, as its magazine holder had been designed for 35-round arch shaped box-magazine only. The 35-round magazine designed for PPS-42 was a new design, which was not compatible with magazines used in PPSh-41. The magazine used in PPS-42 and PPS-43 not only remarkably simple and economical to manufacture even compared to 35-round magazine of PPSh-41, but also quite easy to load into full capacity without tools of any kind. It didn't matter that the magazine wasn't structurally terribly strong, since the magazine well had been designed this in mind - soldier gripping the magazine well during shooting didn't cause the weapon to jam unlike with many other submachine guns. From structural point of view PPS-42 and PPS-43 are incredibly simple, which makes their disassembly and re-assembly for routine maintenance very easy. Routine maintenance disassembly and re-assembly can be done in matter of seconds. Simple push of disassembly button and the weapon can be folded open with bolt and recoil spring + buffer combination being the only parts that need to be removed for basic maintenance. Magazine release switch is located inside rear part of magazine holder and safety switch with its two settings (safe + fire) next to front section of trigger guard. Button, which releases the butt mechanism when the butt has been extended, is located on top of the rear receiver and the disassembly button is in rear of lower receiver. Front sight post is screw-like and can be rotated with a correct tool for zeroing in the weapon. Windage-wise front sight base seems to be drift adjustable. Rear sight has L-shape head, which can be pivoted to two settings, which are marked with "10" (100 meters) and "20" (200 meters).

Both of these submachine guns were manufactured in Leningrad, but PPS-42 seems to have been manufactured there exclusively, while PPS-43 was manufactured also elsewhere in Soviet Union. Mass-production of PPS-42 started early 1943, but less than 47,000 were manufactured before it got replaced in production by improved version called PPS-43 in late 1943. The Soviets organised production of PPS-submachine guns so, that it was manufactured in factories, which had not earlier manufactured firearms. So, unlike earlier submachine guns PPS-submachine guns didn't actually replace any other weapon in production, but were manufactured in addition of other weapons already in production. Hundreds of thousands of PPS-43 were manufactured in Soviet Union before end of World War 2. It seems that that Soviet manufacturing of PPS-43 ended in year 1946, but this was far from the complete end to its manufacturing, since it was easy design for other Communist countries to manufacture after World War 2. The Germans called PPS-43 "MP 719(r)". After World War 2 copies and improved versions of PPS-43 submachine guns were manufactured in China, Vietnam and several Eastern-European countries (at least Hungary and Poland).

PICTURE: Soviet-made PPS-43 submachine gun disassembled for basic maintenance. Notice the removed magazine, bolt and main spring + buffer combination. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (111 KB).

Finnish troops captured first PPS-42 submachine guns in summer of 1943, later (mainly in summer of 1944) large number of PPS-43 were also captured. Finnish Army got interested about these submachine guns and designing a version, that would use 9 mm x 19 ammunition and same magazines as Suomi M/31, this lead into introduction of Finnish 9 mm submachine gun M/44. In typical manner Finnish troops that captured PPS-42 and PPS-43 used them as long as ammunition captured with them lasted and handed them out to ordnance administration after running out of ammo. By end of Continuation War few hundred PPS-42 and PPS-43 submachine guns ended up to Finnish Army depots in this way. They remained warehoused until being sold Interarmco in 1960.

PICTURE: Arch-shaped box magazines of PPSh-41 (left side) and PPS-42/43 (right side). As can be seen the two are not compatible - PPS-42/43 is smaller size and the parts that lock the magazine to weapon are very different. Not to mention that PPSh-41 magazine is single row, while PPS-42/43 magazine is double-row. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (129 KB).

 

9 mm version of PPD-40 and Ppsh-41:

Finnish military captured little over 4,000 Soviet 7.62-mm submachine guns during World War 2. Number was still too small for adding Soviet 7.62 x 25 ammunition to those ammunition types used by Finnish front-line troops, but at the same time there was also constant demand for more submachine guns. So Finns decided to study if captured Soviet submachine guns could be modified to use 9 mm x 19 (Parabellum) ammunition and Finnish magazines. January of 1942 Ordnance Department of Finnish Armed Forces General Headquarters required offer about this from Tikkakoski Oy. Tikkakoski considered PPD-40 and PPsh-41 were reasonably easy to modify, as only new barrel and new magazine holder were needed for this. After this Tikkakoski manufactured five prototypes in spring of 1943, all or most of these modified submachine guns were PPSh-41. 5th of July 1943 order of 200 modified Soviet submachine guns was made, but Tikkakoski was so busy with its earlier orders, that work had not yet even started when the order was cancelled 14th of April 1945. So, ultimately this Finnish project for modifying captured Soviet submachine guns for 9-mm ammunition and Suomi-submachine gun magazines didn't get beyond prototype-stage. Also the Germans tried same kind of modification program for Ppsh-41 SMG during World War 2, but that project didn't lead to large-scale production either.

 

7,65 mm and 9 mm M/Neuhausen MKMS:

(Maschinen-karabiner Militärmodell Seitlich m/34 - MKMS)

PICTURE: Swiss made MKMS SMG. Magazine has been folded inside front stock. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (42 KB).

Calibre:

7,65 mm x 21 Parabellum / 9 mm x 19 Parabellum

Length:

1025 mm

Barrel length:

500 mm

Weight:

3,9 kg

Fire-rate:

800/minute

Magazine:

box: 40

Magazine weight:

0,28 kg empty / 0,71 kg full

Official abbreviations:

"7,65 kp/Neuh." and "765 KP NEUHAUSEN"

"9,00 kp/Neuh." and "900 KP NEUHAUSEN"

Country of origin:

Switzerland

Prototype:

1933 (earlier version)

Production:

At late 1930's.

Finnish use: Finland bought 282 MKMS machineguns during Winter War, but they arrived too late for that. They were issued to Finnish home front troops, supplies units and coastal defence during Continuation War (1941 - 1944).

Year 1933 weapons designer Gaetzi of Swiss Neuhausen factory designed MKMO submachine gun (according some sources Gottard End co-designed it with Gaetzi). Year 1934 bolt and extractor of the weapon were improved and this improved version was named MKMS (Maschinen Karbiner Militärmodell Seitlich). Both of these submachine guns had also shorter police-versions - MKPO and MKPS. MKMS submachine guns were manufactured in several calibres: 9 mm x 19 Parabellum, 7.65 mm x 21 Parabellum, 9 mm Colt and 9 mm Steyr. Between 1933 - 1939 S.I.G. (Schweizerische Industrie Gesellscharft Neuhausen) manufactured 1,228 of these four (MKMO, MKPO, MKMS and MKPS) submachine gun models in small manufacturing lots. From these four submachine gun-models the police-versions were manufactured only in very small quantities, but the longer models didn't sell to well either. So, in the end S.I.G. manufactured only few hundred MPMS. Compared to most submachine guns of that time MKMS is very long and has magazine-holder structure that allows folding magazine forwards inside weapons front stock. Presumably this folding mechanism was designed to improve the weapons bayonet-fighting capability. As typical to first generation submachine guns parts of MKMS are milled from steel. The firing mechanism used in this submachine gun was somewhat unusual - its trigger had two stages, one stage for single shots of semiautomatic fire and another stage for full automatic fire. The barrel used in MKMS was also one of the longest ever used in submachine gun and thanks to this the distance between sights was also very long (450-mm) for a submachine gun. The rear sight has settings 1 - 10 (for 100 - 1000 meters), which can only be considered both very optimistic and quite ridiculous at the same time. While the weapon was designed to accept to Swiss-designed bayonet, Finnish military acquired its MKMS submachine guns without them. The magazines had been designed so, that once magazine was fired empty, it locked the weapons bolt in its rear position. The 40-round box magazine used in this weapon was 25.5-cm long and weight 710-grams full / 285-grams empty.

PICTURE: Wartime Finnish military photo showing MKMS sub machinegun with its magazine removed. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 113065). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (112 KB).

During Winter War Finnish military had shortage of just about everything, including submachine guns. In that desperate situation Finland was willing to buy just about any submachine guns and these Swiss weapons happened to use same ammunition as already used in Finland. So Finland bought 282 MKMS submachine guns, but they arrived bit too late for Winter War. The first batch of 40 weapons arrived just five days after ending of that war. The rest were delivered in four delivery batches that all arrived April - July of 1940. 242 of these weapons were 9 mm x 19 calibre version and the other 40 were of 7.65 mm x 21 calibre version. Finland paid 90,121 Swiss francs for the 242 9-mm weapons and 16,100 Swiss francs for the 40 7.65-mm submachine guns. Delivery of these weapons included also 4,800 spare magazines and some spare parts. As mentioned apparently only few hundred MKMS were ever manufactured, so likely Finland was the largest customer for this submachine gun-model. During Continuation War these submachine guns were issued to home front troops, supplies units and coastal defence units. During the war VKT (Valtion Kivääritehdas = State Rifle Factory) manufactured spare barrels for them. Year 1943 Finnish Army issued each MKMS with five magazines and loading tool. About one third of these weapons were destroyed or lost during Continuation War. After the war remaining MKMS submachine guns were warehoused until remaining 7.65-mm weapons were declared obsolete and sold and exported in year 1960. The remaining 9-mm MKMS submachine guns remained warehoused until being declared obsolete, deactivated and sold to military personnel and collectors in early 1970's.

 

Delivery date

Amount

March 1940

42

April 1940 (*)

40

May of 1940

100

July 1940

100

Total

282

 

9 mm MP 28-II "Schmeisser" :

(Maschinenpistole 28/II)

PICTURE: MP 28-II submachine gun. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (29 KB).

Calibre:

9 mm x 19 Parabellum

Length:

812 mm

Barrel length:

200 mm

Weight:

4,3 kg

Fire-rate:

500/minute

Magazine:

box: 32

Magazine weight:

0,31 kg

"9,00 kp/Schm." and "900 KP SCHMEISSER"

Country of origin:

Germany/Belgium

Prototype:

1924

Production:

?

Finnish use: 171 bought from Belgium in during Winter War. They arrived too late for that war (in spring of 1940). During Continuation War (1941 - 1944) they were used by Finnish troops located to Lapland, home front troops and supplies units.

German Hugo Schmeisser designed Maschinenpistole 28-II (MP 28/II) submachine gun based to earlier MP/18-I and its further development Bergmann submachine gun. The main manufacturer of the weapon was German factory C.G. Haenel in Suhl, but in 1930´s to circumvent restrictions of Versailles treaty it was also manufactured under license in Belgium and Spain. The Belgian license manufacturer was Anciens Etablissements Pieper S.A. in Herstal. Belgian military adopted MP 28-II as model 34 and it became standard Belgian submachine gun until German invasion in year 1940. The weapon did not prove to much of a commercial success before World War 2, but it was sold to Spain, Portugal and several countries in South America. The British also introduced their own version known as Lanchester. During World War 2 MP 28-II submachine guns was among the sub machineguns used by German military.

During Winter War (1939-1940) Finland had shortage of weaponry so Finnish representatives tried their best acquiring suitable weaponry from abroad. These representatives managed making two MP 28-II deals. The deal made in Belgium included 171 of these submachine guns while the deal made in France included 215. However it seems that the 215 submachine guns the Finns purchased from France with million French francs never arrived. They seem to have been still in France when the Germans invaded in 1940 and the Germans probably captured them. Anyway, the 171 weapons bought from Belgium with 414,400 Belgian francs arrived in spring of 1940. The MP 28-II submachine guns that arrived to Finland were quite a mixed bunch: Originally they had been 7.65 mm x 21 calibre and manufactured in Germany, but later they had been modified to 9 mm x 19 calibre in Belgium. Some of them had markings suggesting they had been used or intended to country using Spanish or Portuguese language and some had attachment points for German Mauser-bayonet. During Continuation War these submachine guns were used by Finnish troops located to Lapland (where also some German units used MP 28-II SMG), home front troops and some supplies units. Year 1943 Finnish Army was issuing these submachine guns with only two magazines per weapon, which is very small number for submachine gun issued to frontline infantry. In addition equipment issued with each weapon at that time included spare barrel. Year 1951 still 126 remained and they were kept warehoused until year 1971. That year almost 100 MP 28-II were deactivated and sold to collectors, the last remaining 30 sub machineguns were given to Finnish museums and military collections by mid 1980's.

 

9 mm MP-38 and MP-40:

(Maschinenpistole 38 and Maschinenpistole 40)

PICTURE: MP-40 (top) and MP-38 (bottom) submachine guns. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (69 KB).

Calibre:

9 mm x 19 Parabellum

Length:

856 mm (butt extended) / 625 mm (butt folded)

Barrel length:

250 mm

Weight:

4,0 kg

Fire-rate:

500/minute

Magazine:

box: 32

Magazine weight:

0,31 kg

"900 KP 40." and "900 KP SAKSAL."

Country of origin:

Germany

Prototype:

1936

Production:

MP 38: 1938 - 1940, MP-40: 1940 - 1945

Finnish use: Some 150 - 160 weapons ended up to Finnish hands during Continuation War. They had been delivered with the German vehicles bought at that time. They saw some combat use during that war - mainly with the vehicle crews of the vehicles they had been delivered with.

Among other restrictions Versailles treaty ending World War 1 had prohibited submachine guns from German military, but once the Nazis got into power in year 1932 Germany refused to anymore to follow it and started massive rebuilding of its Armed Forces. During World War 1 Germany had been the first to introduce practical submachine gun - MP 18/I designed by Hugo Schmeisser. In 1920's and 1930's variety of submachine gun designs based to MP 18/I appeared and one of the most radical of these designs was maschinenpistole 38 (MP 38). Berthold Geipel designed it for Erma, but utilised many of the previously existing patents of Hugo Schmeisser. The development work of this submachine gun and its predecessor prototype maschinenpistole 36 (MP 36) was financed by German military, which approved MP 38 for military use in year 1938. After proving its worth during German Campaign in Poland in year 1939, a decision was made to issue MP 38 in much larger extent. However, since main parts of MP 38 were milled, it was very expensive weapon to mass-produce in huge numbers. Due to this reason a much cheaper to manufacture version, called maschinenpistole 40 (MP 40) was designed and it replaced MP 40 in production in year 1940. Estimated total production of MP 38 was only about 42,000 weapons. Production methods wise MP 40 was a revolutionary design - a first 2nd generation submachine gun manufactured mainly from stamped metal parts. MP 40 became the standard submachine gun of German Armed Forces for World War 2 and over one million were manufactured by end of the war. Besides Erma, the manufacturers included also Steyr and Haenel. During World War 2 MP 40 was the most common submachine gun used by German military, but not in extent that the Hollywood films sometimes suggest. During the war Haenel developed a version known as maschinenpistole 41 (MP 41), which was manufactured only in limited numbers and exported to Romania. During World War 2 captured MP 38 and MP 40 were apparently popular with allied soldiers, no matter their nationality. After the war large number of these submachine guns saw use with several Armies (Austria, Israel, Norway). MP 40 also effected some later submachine gun designs, like Spanish Star Modelo Z-45 and Yugoslavian Zastava M56.

Design-wise MP 38 was very innovative design. Unlike earlier submachine guns, it had no wooden parts and relied to folding metal stock. While it didn't have any wood, the weapon had both Bakelite (plastic) and aluminium parts (receiver housing and frame) - both of which were new materials in submachine guns. Recoil spring was a multi-part telescoping structure related to those used in earlier Erma designs. Early version had a safety issue - the weapon could fire if dropped. This safety issue was solved by adding a slot, which allowed the bolt handle used for locking the bolt into its rear position. 32-round removable box magazines used in MP 38 and MP 40 were similar to used in earlier Erma EMP. The all-steel folding butt folds under the receiver. Both MP 38 and MP 40 are blowback full-auto only weapons firing from open bolt. Front sight is adjustable and rear sight has two available settings - 100 meters and 200 meters. Magazine release button in located on side of the magazine well. The whole design is very modern for its time and structurally very simple.

PICTURE: MP-40 submachine gun with butt folded. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (69 KB).

Finnish Armed called these submachine guns MP-38 and MP-40. Finland never bought any of them separately. But a small number arrived with certain German vehicles (such as 59 Stu 40 G assault guns, 15 Pz-IVj medium tanks and some soft vehicles), which Finland bought from Germany during Continuation War. Typically each of these German vehicles arrived with one MP-38 or MP-40 submachine gun included among the equipment reserved for use of the vehicle crew. In this way Finnish military ended up with about 150 - 160 MP-38 and MP-40 submachine guns. The large majority of these weapons were MP-40. During Continuation War the submachine guns saw use (typically) with crews of the vehicles they had arrived with. After the war some saw use with Finnish prison administration. Otherwise they remained warehoused until most were either scrapped or deactivated and sold in early 1970's. Only small number of them was saved for museum purposes.

Writer's personal (limited) experiences concerning shooting MP-40 submachine gun: The 32-round magazine is quite easy to fill - early on, but without loading tool it gets notably harder once getting closer to full capacity. The submachine gun itself is quite compact and ergonomics seem to be pretty good. The folding metal stock provides rather sturdy support and the sights are very utilitarian (large front sight post and U-notch in rear sight). Due to slow rate of fire, firing of accurate two round bursts is very easy and after some trigger practice firing even single shots should be possible, even if the weapon in full-auto only. Hitting normal military falling plate targets (upper torso) from 150 meters proved quite easy, but smaller sniper falling plate targets (head and little bit of shoulders) proved a challenge from that distance.


SOURCES:

Markku Palokangas: Sotilaskäsiaseet Suomessa 1918 - 1988 osat 1 - 3 (= Military Small Arms in Finland 1918 - 1988 parts 1 - 3)

D.N. Bolotin: Soviet Small-Arms and Ammunition.

Thomas B. Nelson: The World's Submachine guns (Machinepistols)

Thomas B. Nelson and Hans B. Lockhoven: The World's Submachine guns (Machinepistols), Volume I

Jan Kronlund: Suomen Puolustuslaitos 1918 - 1939 (= Finnish Defence Department 1918 - 1939)

Small Arms of the World by E.C. Ezell.

Mika Pitkänen and Timo Simpanen: Suomalaiset sotilaspatruunat 1918-1945 / The Finnish military catridges 1918-1945.

Finnish Military archives, archive reference T18419.

Finnish Military archives, archive reference T19043.

Finnish Military archives, archive reference T20206.

Finnish Military archives, archive reference T20207.

Finnish Military archives, archive reference T20209.

Report concerning common Soviet small arms dated 7th of January 1943. Ordnance Department documents, Finnish Military Archives, archive folder T-19052/32.

Article: Neuhausen "MKMS"-konepistooli - aseharvinaisuus Suomen lähihistoriasta by Markku Palokangas in Ase magazine vol. 2/1982.

Article: Neuhausen MKMS-konepistooli by Markku Palokangas in Kaliberi magazine vol 4/2010.

Article: Saksalainen konepistooli 1918-1945 in Ase magazine vol. 2/87.

Article: MP 38/40 - historia ja lyhyt oppimäärä by Pekka Liimatta in Ase-lehti vol. 1/2004.

Article: MP-38, iskee kuin miljoona volttia by Jarkko Koskinen in Rekyyli magazine vol. 3/2004.

Military manual: Neuhausen-konepistooli. Rakenne, toiminta ja käsittely by Puolustusministeriön Taisteluvälineosasto (1940).

Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki.


SUGGESTED LINKS FOR MORE INFO:

Bill's Ppsh-41 page More info about Ppsh-41 SMG


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