The Degtyaryov machine gun (Russian: Пулемёт Дегтярёвa Пехотный Pulemyot Degtyaryova Pekhotny "Degtyaryov's infantry machine gun") or DP is a light machine gun firing the 7.62×54mmR cartridge that was used primarily by the Soviet Union starting in 1928. The DP machine gun was supplemented in the 1950s by the more modern RPD machine gun and entirely replaced in Soviet service by the general purpose PK machine gun in the 1960s.
The DP-28 was an improvement of the earlier DP-26, both designed by Vasily Degtyaryov. The DP-28 was relatively cheap and easy to manufacture – early models had fewer than 80 parts. The DP was especially able to withstand dirt in a reliable fashion. In tests it was buried in sand and mud and was still capable of firing more than 500 rounds. One of the DP's main drawbacks though was its bipod; it could not withstand much abuse and broke easily. Furthermore, the recoil spring was located under the barrel, around the gas piston; this was one of the design problems of the DP, since the spring tended to lose its temper due to overheating. Also, the only magazine option, a pan with 47 rounds that fed in from the top, was relatively small and continuous fire for long periods could not be relied on as much as contemporary belt-fed weapons. The ammunition was troublesome for automatic fire. Degtyarov had to use a flat pan magazine, which could feed those cartridges reliably, but was too heavy itself, uncomfortable to carry and prone to damage. Due to the design of the magazine, reloading an empty magazine with cartridges took a very long time. A redeeming factor was that the DP's lower cyclic rate of fire did however reduce the risk of barrel overheating.
Despite its numerous problems the DP had a reputation as a relatively effective light support weapon. It was nicknamed the "Record player" (proigryvatel') by Red Army troops because the disc-shaped pan magazine resembled a gramophone record and its top cover revolved while the weapon was fired. Many were captured by the Finnish army in the Winter War and the Continuation War and partially replaced the Lahti-Saloranta M/26. The DP received the nickname Emma in Finnish service after a popular waltz. In the summer of 1944, the Finnish army had about 3400 Finnish-made Lahti-Salorantas and 9000 captured Soviet-made Degtyarevs on the front.
The Chinese Nationalists received 5,600 DPs from the USSR and used them in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. The Chinese Communists used the DP in the Korean War and copied the DPM as the Type 53.
A number of the RP-46 variant of the DP have been spotted in present day Somalia, in use with militant forces, and also among rebel forces in the 2011 Libyan uprising to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
DP-28's have also been recovered from Taliban fighters in Helmand Province, Afghanistan as recently as 2014.
Moreover, even DR or DPM are used in Northern Mali conflict.
- DPM, modernized version adopted in 1943–44, with a more robust bipod fastened to the cooling jacket and the recoil spring housed in a tube projecting from the rear of the receiver which necessitated a pistol grip for this model of the weapon (manufactured in China as the Type 53)
- DA, for mounting in aircraft (Дегтярёва авиационный, Degtyaryova Aviatsionny; ДА). Also used in tandem mounts known as DA-2. Employed in the early versions of the Tupolev TB-3 bomber and in the Polikarpov R-5 and Polikarpov Po-2 fighters. The DA weighted 7.1 kg empty and 11.5 kg with standard ammunition load. Its rate of fire was 600 rounds per minute. It was built between 1928 and March 1930 with 1,200 units delivered. It was soon superseded by the ShKAS, which had a much higher rate of fire.
- DT and DTM, for mounting in armoured fighting vehicles (Дегтярёва танковый, Degtyaryova Tankovy; ДТ and ДТМ)
- DTM-4, (ДТМ-4) quad mounted variant.
- RP-46 (Ротный пулемет - company machine gun): metallic-belt fed version adopted in 1946 with a heavier barrel to allow prolonged sustained fire. About 500 rounds could be fired continuously before the barrel had to be swapped or wait for it cool down. Also had a user-adjustable gas system, with three holes of varying diameters provided, to cope with varying environmental conditions and residue buildup. Although the empty weight of the RP-46 exceeded that of DP by 2.5 kg, when considered together with a single ammo box of 250 rounds, the RP-46 weighed 10 kg less than the DP together with the same amount of ammunition in DP pans. The RP-46 remained in Soviet service for 15 years before it was replaced (together with the SGM) by the PK machine gun. The RP-46 was later manufactured in China as the Type 58 and in North Korea as the Type 64. The RP-46 could still fire from DP-style magazines by removing its belt-feeding system.
The original DP is more commonly called the DP-28 (or DP-27), although there is some confusion as to whether these are official designations or not.
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- ^  at A-85