DTM: The Soviet Tank Version of the DP-27 LMG

Almost as soon as the Degtyarev DP-27 was put into Soviet military service, variations were developed for aircraft (DA) and tank (DT) use. The tank pattern we have here is actually a later improved DTM model, but it shares most features with the DT. It has a collapsing stock to save space inside a vehicle, and a pistol grip in place of the more traditional DP stock and grip (the original DA and DT pistol grips would be implemented on the infantry DPM in 1944). The stock is crenelated to allow for different lengths, and these crenellations make it quite uncomfortable to use as a cheek rest, unless you put your hand between the stock and tour face.

The DT/DTM also discards the barrel jacket of the DP, and instead mounts a larger round bracket to fit the ball mount of a tank. It uses a 60 round drum instead of the 47-round infantry type, and the two are not interchangeable – the tank guns can only use the smaller-but-taller tank drums. The rear sight is higher than the DP to rise above the taller drum, and the front sight is a removable unit that is not used when the gun is mounted in a vehicle. The bipod and front sight comprise the dismounted-use kit, to allow the gun to be salvaged from a disabled tank.

DT machine guns were mounted in pretty much ll the early Soviet World War Two tanks, including the T-26, T-34, and KV-1. Uncomfortable stock and tall bipod aside, they are quite good guns, and were used extensively by Finns who captured them during the Winter War.

I’d like to thank DriveTanks.com for giving me the opportunity to bring you their DTM. They have a very cool collection of armored vehicles, artillery, and machine guns available for rental in Texas; check them out!


  1. “(…)uses a 60 round drum(…)”
    Source? All descriptions which I saw of DP and DPM said about capacity 63.
    BTW it was designed by G.S.Shpagin. He would later be responsible for feed system of DShK.

    “(…)crenellations make it quite uncomfortable to use as a cheek rest,(…)”
    Apparently there existed at least 2 different versions, with one of them have these on underside, see 1st photo from top: https://war-time.ru/foto/item/soldaty-s-pulemetom-dt-degtyarevym-tankovym-podborka-3

    “(…)DT machine guns were mounted in pretty much ll the early Soviet World War Two tanks, including the T-26, T-34, and KV-1.(…)”
    That being said even before Great Patriotic War there was urge to replace them with belt-fed weapons. Tank offspring of DS-39 was created and tested – namely 56-П-423Т see photos: https://warspot.ru/8159-drugoy-degtyaryov
    but it never went into mass production.

    • I suspect this change happened with the DTM; the DTM’s new recoil spring housing would have interfered with the stock catch, so they just flipped it upside down.

  2. Really dumb question: How long did it take the tank’s main gunner or bow gunner to change pan magazines under stress as the tank was moving?

  3. The DP-27 and its variants ‘somewhat’ ignored / less valued than they could be. Being ‘arguably’ as good as the Bren, more flexible (unlike it used in AFVs etc.) and ‘by report’ a lot easier and cheaper to produce – though hard, notably comparative figures ‘scarce’-non existent.
    Does anyone out there have such or experience with both and so able to offer an informed opinion?

    • The DT, as the other option is just too heavy to hump on the charge. Even if you use the M1919A6, it’s still quite massive…

      • That’s my thinking.

        If you look at it closely (and yes, I am fan of J.M.B’s designs), you find that M1917/19 has a muzzle booster. Why is that? Because if it did not, there would not be sufficient impulse left to drive mechanism. So, you managed to actually almost remove impulse, but in order to run it you need to add more! That is why it is so heavy. Kind of reverse thinking (like dog chasing his tale), but it was a ‘novelty’ and the time and level of progress. I take it for what it is.

      • “(…)too heavy(…)”
        Well, M1919 was firstly tank machine gun, which later spawned standalone version (M1919A2 “cavalry”), while in case of DP and DT it was reverse direction.

        “(…)hump on the charge(…)”
        DT as it names imply is tank machine gun, that is mainly for usage attached to armoured vehicles. Overall mass is not so important here – note that in postwar, tank version of Goryunov machine gun replaced DT in that role.

    Currently Norway is looking for new GPMG – currently they are using MG3 and FN MAG, competitors are FN Minimi Mk3 and M60E6 US Ordnance.
    It is interesting that both are (derivatives) of relatively old designs by now. Which one is more likely to be chosen? Will that change affect organization of Norwegian small units? Was M60 reliability issues removed in M60E6 variant?

  5. The difference in weight between the DT (20 lbs) and M1919 (31 ibs) is about 50 percent greater for the US gun. Having humped the A6 across the hills of PA as an ROTC cadet, I state that those 11 pounds add up – even for a moose like me (linebacker in HS). BUT, we’re talking about a TANK gun where those pounds are meaningless. And as an old tanker, let me tell ya, that “short bursts” stuff doe’t apply. Takers blast away the entire belt to hose down the Target. Israeli, US, German, British, Koreans, everybody does it. That’s when I want that mass, to survive that abuse. So, I’ll take TMB’s finest, thank you. Second, I’ve seen photos of T-34’s with a bow, coax and AA gun, all DTs. KV’s & IS’s with bow, coax and turret rear – DT’s – and AA – DSHK. And if ya wanna blow minds, the RF-8 (GAZ98) Aerosan Mk3 http://www.papercraftsquare.com/wwii-soviet-rf-8-gaz-98-aerosan-ver-3-free-paper-model-download.html

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