Soviet Submachine Guns of World War II
ISBN: 978 1 78200 794 4
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 20 Jun 2014
Full Title: Soviet Submachine Guns of World War II: PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS
Perhaps like many of you, when I would conjure up mental images of the typical WW2-era soldier from each country, I would typically see each wielding a rifle, whether it was a M1 Garand for the American, a Mauser Kar98k for the German, or an Arisaka Type 38 for the Japanese. My mental image of the typical Soviet soldier, however, distinguishes himself by having a submachine gun rather than a rifle. In Soviet Submachine Guns of World War II, author Chris McNab explored three important models of submachine guns that, while unsophisticated and often inaccurate, were perfectly suited for the under-trained Soviet conscript army. Despite the small size of the book (80 pages), the author went into surprising detail on the history of the three designs, their simple design for ease of manufacturing and ease of field maintenance, Red Army's reorganization at the company level to incorporate these new weapons, and their performance on the battlefield. Similar to other titles in Osprey Publishing's "Weapon" series, this book was richly illustrated with photographs, many of which were from Cody Images, Corbis, and other such private collections, thus some I had not seen before (as an aside, the photograph on page 45 of a boy soldier holding a PPS gave me the chills). The author argued successfully that while these Soviet submachine guns were unremarkable, they reliably served their function, thus it could be argued that these crude weapons were among the most deadly and most consequential pieces of equipment in WW2. Also, I enjoyed that McNab took the effort to explain some of the fundamental mechanics of a firearm, which this not-so-technical reader really appreciated. All in all, I found this to be a wonderful book on these iconic Soviet infantry weapons.
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