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Degtyarev DPM LMG

Light Support / Vehicle Machine Gun

Soviet Union | 1943

"The DPM was an improved and modernized form of the 1928 DP light machine gun."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/15/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
While the Degtyarev DP series of light machine guns proved a highly serviceable suppression weapon in its position among the standard Soviet infantry squad during World War 2, it was rooted in the 1928 and not without some inherent shortcomings achieved in a design developed during peacetime. When the German Army invaded the Soviet Union through Operation Barbarossa, it served to showcase the limitations of the DP through rigorous usage. Regardless, the Red Army was reeling from defeat after defeat and any serviceable automatic weapon of note was placed into Red Army soldier hands.

The original DP models held two distinct weaknesses in their design. One lay in the rather fragile construction of the bipod which was prone to fractures and breakages in the heat of battle. The loss of the bipod limited proper handling and stability during firing until it could be repaired or replaced. The other drawback was in the internal return spring used in the gas-operated action which tended to warp due to the heat buildup caused by the barrel through heavy, repetitive firing. Work, therefore, began on an improved version of the weapon which were first made available in the campaigns of 1943-1944, ultimately becoming the mainstay Red Army light machine gun in 1945 - the final year of the war. The new "modernized" form was known under the designation of "DPM" to signify their modernized revision and changes included a heftier bipod assembly as well as a relocated return spring. The return spring was now fitted to the aft portion of the bolt which required the recoil spring tube to extend out over the rear of the receiver. This, in turn, prevented use of the original rifle-style grip handle seen in the DP. Instead, a conventional (though somewhat crude), stand-alone pistol grip was added which undoubtedly gave a better, more natural feel. A simpler shoulder stock was added. Beyond these changes, a new safety was introduced as well, doing away with the grip safety of old. Once in service, the DPM gave a good account of itself and was put to the test in the bloody Soviet offensives that ultimately drove the German Army back to Berlin. The wide ranging tank and artillery battles across expansive battlefields had now given way to bloody house-to-house fighting, spilling out into the streets of the German capital itself.

All other services of the DPM remained faithful to the original DP model. The type still fired the same 7.62x54mmR cartridge from a gas-operated action (the gas cylinder fitted under the barrel). The weapon was fed from a 47-round "pan" magazine mounted along the forward top of the receiver - reloading was still cumbersome and time consuming. The cyclic rate-of-fire was 520 to 580 rounds per minute with a 2,770 muzzle velocity reported. Overall, the Red Army machine gunner found the changes quite suitable for the modernization made for a more accurate and easier-to-handle automatic weapon system. The DPM continued in service with the Soviet military up until the 1960s when it was itself replaced by the newer, more modern, PK series of light machine guns.

Chinese military industry took on local production of the DPM as the "Type 53" and these saw longer use as frontline weapons than their Soviet counterparts.

DPM machine guns were also modified as tank machine guns in the DTM series. The weapon was fed by a 60-round pan magazine and general retained the consistent look of the DP/DPM series. The DTM replaced the outgoing DT tank machine guns in similar fashion.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the Degtyarev DPM LMG. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,270 mm
50.00 in
O/A Length
605 mm
23.82 in
Barrel Length
21.61 lb
9.80 kg
Gas-Operated; Automatic Fire Only
47-round pan magazine
Rear Tanget Leaf; Front Post.
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Degtyarev DPM LMG. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
2,755 ft/sec
840 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the Degtyarev DPM LMG Light Support / Vehicle Machine Gun family line.
DPM - Base Series Designation based on DP series of 1928; reloated return spring; new safety lever; heftier bipod construction; pistol grip; simplified shoulder stock.
Type 53 - Chinese designation for license-produced DPM.
DTM - Tank/Armored Vehicle Variant
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Degtyarev DPM LMG. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Kovrov Machine Gun Factory; Degtyarev - Soviet Union
National flag of China National flag of Finland National flag of North Korea National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Vietnam

[ Cambodia; China; Finland; North Korea; North Vietnam; Soviet Union; Vietnam ]
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Image of the Degtyarev DPM LMG
Front right side view of the Soviet DPM Light Machine Gun

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Degtyarev DPM LMG Light Support / Vehicle Machine Gun appears in the following collections:
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