RPD: The LMG Adapts to Modern Combat

Today we are looking at a Chinese Type 56 RPD, but we will be focusing on the basic design and why it was adopted in the Soviet Union rather than the details of its use in China. The RPD was the result of research into reduced-power cartridges to replace the 7.62x54R for infantry use. While that round was good for heavy machine guns on mounts, it was found to be excessively powerful for infantry rifle and squad machine guns. The problem is that a more powerful cartridge requires heavier and stronger guns, generates more recoil, and allows fewer cartridges to be carried for any given weight. The Soviet leadership found that the M43 cartridge (7.62x39mm) was sufficiently effective out to 800m, and that covered virtually all squad weapon use in the real world. And so, as the Great Patriotic War came to an end, the Red Army was working on a whole new family of infantry arms in 7.62x39mm.

The rifle adopted was the SKS, the AK served as a submachine gun (originally intended for specialty troops like paratroops and mechanized infantry), and the RPD was the squad support weapon. With its lighter action and cartridge, the standard load out of gun and 300 rounds of ammunition weighed almost half as much as the equivalent load out with the previous DP-27/RP-46 machine gun.

Mechanically, the RPD is a flapper-locked, gas-operated system, very similar to Degtyarev’s prior guns (the DP-27 and DS-39). It is belt-fed, with a drum-like carrier holding a 2-part, 100-round belt. It has a fixed barrel, on the principle that it is to be used for short, controlled bursts and not sustained or continuous fire. In theory, the barrel will overheat at about the same time as the standard 300-round load out is used up, so the added complexity and weight of a changeable barrel is not needed. This compromise was continued in the RPK, which replaced the RPD as a better logistical solution, once the AKM became the standard infantry rifle.


  1. The “idea is” that the RPD is not a machine gun, but a belt-fed assault rifle.
    Even if we leave aside the fact that in the mechanical aspect it is a fragile piece of shit, this is completely inconsistent with the tasks that a machine gun should solve.

    At least, even the USSR had enough brains to understand this.

    • Well, the RPD was envisioned as a squad-support weapon, which is mobile firepower for a squad of riflemen (semi-automatic rifles or bolt-action rifles here, not assault rifles). As such, the RPD isn’t being ordered to spray its entire ammunition belt in one go. Asking one infantryman in a 10-man group to hump a thirty-kilogram or so “proper” machine gun and all its accessories on his back while on a long march through the woods is a bid absurd. I could be wrong.

      • It is one of those widely-held pieces of “received wisdom” that the receiver was under-built for the locking system and the receiver walls would start to bow outwards behind the locking recesses at relatively low round counts. I can’t speak to whether or not this is true, but it’s often repeated.

        • “I can’t speak to whether or not this is true, but it’s often repeated.”(C)

          And there is.
          In addition, the receivers were corny cracking from the strenuous use.
          And the lugs shrank and frequent breaks of cases began. Less than DP, but more than acceptable.
          Separately, we should mention belts (which all sorts of fans of confirmed sources for some reason stubbornly prefer to forget about 😉 )
          It’s hard to say if these idiots were trying to save money, or just couldn’t. But to disfigure the German belt is only possible for the purpose of sabotage.
          The use of conventional steel instead of stainless steel made the belts not only noticeably heavier than the prototype and prone to corrosion, but also made them, if not disposable, then with a very limited service life.
          The links are corny cracking and breaking. And since the belt for the RPD is not considered a consumable and their number for each unit is limited, pretty soon this device from feeding from a belt turns into feeding from pieces of a belt.
          There are other “little things” too, but against the background of what has been said, one can ignore them.

    • I see the RPD as more of a belt-fed Automatic Rifle, rather than an LMG.

      LMG-roled weapons should be those that have quick-change barrels and the ability to be mounted to a tripod and served by a crew so that the gunner can concentrate on maintaining situational awareness over his targets. If he’s having to load his own and worry about other stuff, that’s not an LMG.

      It’s fine if you can do the one-man army thing with the weapon, but if that’s all you can do with it, then it’s not an LMG, it’s an AR-class weapon, regardless of how it’s kept fed.

      • Should have highlighted what that quick-change barrel enables and implies; the capacity to deliver sustained fire.

        • Yes, but there were lots of PM1910 made until 1945, so the postwar soviet army had lots of sustained firepower in their arsenal. And the air-cooled SG-43 machine gun for tripods. So the RPD was to fill the role of a very light machine gun to help a squad maneuver.

          Then a short time later the soviets got rid of it and replaced it with the RPK which is basically a sturdier AK with biger magazine and longer barrel to fill the light support role. Yes kind of what in the USA is called an “automatic rifle”. Also the PK machine gun was introduced giving some more fire power than the M43 cartridge, while still being light enough for footpatrol.

  2. Thanks for super presentation of this indeed forgotten weapon. Interestingly, this quintessential commie gun was never adopted by Czechoslovak military. Therefore, in that sense there was no similar weapon in its inventory. Next one up from vz.58 assault rifle, the UK59 was chambered in 7.62x54R. It was a different thinking about infantry tactics I guess.

    • I realize that I inadvertently jumped one generation. In time the RPD was fielded with Soviet, Chinese Armies and elsewhere, Czechs had vz.52 machinegun and vz.52 rifle with vz.24 SMG in some services.

        • @Daweo: The suite of Czechoslovakian small arms in the 1950s, prior to adoption of the select-fire VZ58 “broom” 7.62x39mm and standardization on Warsaw Pact munitions (1955) were pretty much the standard arms of the Cuban MNR during the revolutionary state’s consolidation of power, with fighting against opposition (la “lucha contra bandidos” or even la “limpieza del Escambray”) and the more famous CIA AB2506 at the Bay of Pigs/ Playa Girón:

          Czechoslovak samopal 23 and 25 SMGs, 9x19mm, 40-rd. magazine that feeds through the grip (here described by Denny as the vz.24 7.62x25mm, also the “vz. 26” or sa26)

          Vz52 she self-loading rifle, 7.62x45mm

          Vz52 LMG, fed from either belts or top-mounted box magazines, a bit like the British Bren or the zb26/30. Also 7.62x45mm

          ZB-52 tripod-mounted machine gun, 7.92x57mm.

          There were also very, very many Soviet PPSh41 7.62x25mm SMGs. One veteran I managed to interview used one during that period in the early 1960s.

          The MINFAR or armed forces retained the Belgian FAL, WWII-vintage Soviet artillery, the T34/85, SU100, etc.

  3. What you have on display is the “desire path” of weapons development; the idea was, we needed a belt-fed LMG in the same caliber as the basic individual weapon, rather than an Automatic Rifle in that role. And, that the full-power MG wasn’t needed down in the squads…

    Reality got its vote, and everywhere you look, it’s individual weapons/Automatic Rifles in the same intermediate caliber, and actual MG weapons in the fire support role. The nations that have maintained things like the M249 just aren’t finding those as useful due to the weight of hauling them around.

    Me? I like the RPD/M249 concept. Unfortunately, I’m in the minority. The Marines felt that they needed to move to the M27, and the Soviets felt like the RPK was a better choice than the RPD.

    I think it’s a matter of preferences, and how you intend to fight. Although, the reality is that just about everyone is defaulting to the two-caliber standard, and keeping things like the M240 down in the squads. The reality is, that weight of fire is needed, in order to deal with cover/concealment and the odd light vehicle.

    • I think I understand the problem. The belt-fed squad-automatic weapon is a good idea for regular infantry who are literally expected to carry everything on their backs. Having common ammunition makes resupplying the squad much easier unless the designated belt-gunner is told he’s going to reload his ammunition belts by himself. But like you said, Kirk, the full-power machine gun is still needed to deal with nitwits who try hiding behind pine trees, taxis, and huge rocks. Then again, huge rocks are usually poor cover against things like tanks and heavy field guns. I could be wrong…

      • Ammunition commonality falls down on the fact that the US issues M249 ammo in 200-round drums, linked. You’re only ever going to be linking your own stuff out of desperation akin to a Camerone or Alamo fight, and the “magazine-fed” option on the M249 is seriously hinky; I would never rely on that unless, again “Camerone or Alamo”. Whole issue is kinda a false premise; you could just as well have kept that 6mm round they were trying out back in the early days of the SAW program. You’re still having to worry about separate line items for supply.

        The main benefit of belt-fed is the volume of fire. You have a meeting engagement with a bunch of guys carrying just assault rifles, and it’s not all that bad. Hit someone with something like the RPD or the M249 in their force structure…? You will know the difference. Likewise, if you run into people with just the intermediate-cartridge weapons and no heavy MG support? You’ll know. Just like you’ll know if the bastards have PKMs or M240s, which you will absolutely not enjoy at all.

        I think the whole thing boils down to, again, how you mean to fight. If you’re a VC-style force at the extended end of a supply chain going back through a thousand miles of jungle, then getting spam cans full of loose ammo and rolling your own belts is a workable solution. If, on the other hand, you can get daily resupply from some base that’s only tens of miles away, well… yeah. Why not get your stuff in as separate line items of supply?

        In some situations, doing things as though you were in an incredibly austere environment is just plain stupid. In others, ’tis the path of wisdom.

    • The SEAL teams remain pre-eminent when it comes to small unit actions with a watery environment. Anywhere else? I really don’t take them as being at all the sort of people I’d want to be emulating–After all, how does one explain Operation Red Wings? That was a huge “WTF?!?!?!!” to all of us who’d actually, y’know… Been in Afghanistan. It’s like they planned not to be prepared for encountering “indigenous personell”, when anyone with a brain and some slight cognizance of the last twenty-odd years of operating in that part of the world would know that you’re almost certainly going to have to deal with shepherds and other sorts wandering through your area of operations at random. All respect and honor to Marcus Luttrell and his comrades, but for the love of God, what the hell were they thinking? Us “non-elites” doing operations in that area knew better, and we’re just a bunch of damn Engineer types out working on roads.

      The things that the elite units get up to don’t necessarily apply to the rest of the Army. I’m unsure of the benefits to be had with regards to a belt-fed weapon in the Automatic Rifle role; I personally like the idea, and support having the M249 in the squads right alongside the M240, but… I am open to argument that they tend to slow things down and are not the thing to have when you’re relying on maneuver and optempo to win your fights. I’m an Engineer; we get involved in doing infantry work, you’re gonna regret the outcome, because we’re not going to be leaving anything standing when it’s all over. There’s no finesse to what we do; it’s all brute force and ignorance, expressed with firepower and high explosives. Infantry units encountering sniper fire from a building tend to deal with that sort of thing via supporting fires. We Engineer types don’t get given access to the fire control nets, so we tend to approach the issue as “Well, if the building is rubble… They ain’t using it as a sniper hide, any more…”. If I wasn’t being lied to, the guys dealt with a sniper position in Iraq by firing a MICLIC over it, and then detonating it. Oddly enough, no more sniper fire was received by that unit. Ever. Word apparently got around.

      It’s all about how you mean to fight. I can see not having belt-fed weapons the same caliber as your individual ones, and I can see having them. Depends on what you plan to do, tactically and operationally.

      • For those who don’t know what Kirk means by a MICLIC, that’s an M58 MIne Clearing LInear Charge;


        Anything which can clear an avenue through a minefield 10 meters wide by 100 meters long in one go won’t have much trouble with any building smaller than that footprint and under four stories high.



  4. “(…)Soviet leadership found that the M43 cartridge (7.62x39mm) was sufficiently effective out to 800m(…)”
    Well, yet during development of this cartridge its usage in squad weapons was envisioned (c.f. 7,9 Kurzpatrone designed for individual weapons). Take for example
    History begins with ОКБ-44 getting request: to compute optimal bullet muzzle velocity for caliber 5,6 mm and 6,5 mm and 7,62 mm for pressure 3000 kg/cm^2 for barrel length to provide ability to knock human at distance 1000 m.
    Then results of December 1943 trials: experimental cartridges have satisfactory ballistic, bullet fly correctly up to 800 m.

  5. Sounds like all we need to win any conflict is the elite engineers. So we can disband everyone else. What Were those silly SEALS thinking?

    • More “What were those idiots in DC thinking?”

      The romanticizing of SpecOps forces goes all the way back to Rogers’ Rangers in the U.S., although it probably started with Leonidas and the “300 Spartans” at Thermopylae. In both cases, it sort of overlooks the facts that Rogers’ unit was a frontier exploration outfit, and that Leonidas and his men were backed up by about five times as many Thebans- and were still cut off, surrounded, and wiped out. A modern version that is seldom “romanticized” was Task Force Smith at Osan, 5 July 1950.

      The romanticization resulted in a variety of light forces units (U.S. Army Rangers, U.S. Marine Amphibious Force Recon, SEALs, SAS, SBS, and so on) which were essentially “raider” units. They were optimized for short-duration, “in-and-out” operations with specific and limited objectives, and most critically ones in which heavy resistance was not anticipated.

      (The one semi-exception was Marine AFR, which was originally conceived as doing scout recon for full-on main force amphibious assault, hence their name. Strictly speaking, they haven’t actually done that since Inchon in 1950, according to an old prof of mine who was AFR during the Pacific campaign.)

      The problem really began with U.S. Army Special Forces, aka the “Green Berets”. They were conceived as a fundamentally different type of force, to be dropped into enemy territory and organize indigenous resistance. They weren’t so much an extension of the Rangers as an elaboration of the OSS “Jedburghs” of WW2.

      In Vietnam, mainly thanks to JFK, LBJ & Co., the idea came about that such “light” forces could Do It All, disrupting or destroying the enemy’s main force by irregular indigenous action, raid, and assassination of enemy high-value targets, thereby avoiding the committal of main force units.

      Partly this was a result of the (IMAO) completely effed-up RoE of the war (“safe havens” for the enemy have no place on the modern battlefield, any more than they did after Gettysburg in 1863), but mostly it was because the Army’s and State Department’s PR machines went on and on about the “invincible A teams”, with help from the likes of SSgt. Barry Sadler, newsman and crime writer Robin Moore, and even John Wayne.

      What grew out of this was a belief that the “elite forces” could handle anything. In the Seventies, it was used as an excuse to drastically cut back on heavy conventional forces. That was mostly a budget thing; if you intend to only fight “little wars” except for The Last Big One (which would be “fought” with an exchange of ICBMs and SLBMs), what use are armored divisions, CVBGs, and etc.?

      As the old saying goes, it works OK- until it doesn’t.

      “Desert One” in Iran in 1980 should have been a heads up to the powers that be that they weren’t realistically assessing the problem. Instead, they formed CENTCOM as sort of an oversight for any future “Super Desert One”-type operations.

      The result was Mogadishu 3-4 Oct 1993. Which basically had to be “resolved” by sending in the heavy forces SecDef Les Aspin really didn’t even want in the AO to begin with.

      We’ve spent the last twenty years seeing the bill called due for this kind of thinking. Raider-type units working with indigenous personnel aren’t really effective against indigenous resistance by extended family “clans” with multi-generational, Hatfield-and-McCoy feuds going back literally centuries. All of whom view everyone from Outside as, well, an Outsider.

      (“I want to kill him because his great-great-great-grand-uncle stole my great-great-great-grandfather’s goat. But we both want to kill you for being an infidel. After we’ve killed you, we’ll settle things between ourselves.”)

      In that kind of situation, the “A team” approach just doesn’t cut it. Neither does a “hearts and minds” approach. Their minds and hearts are already made up, and you ain’t welcome.

      The moral is, send heavy forces with the authorization to go scorched earth, or don’t bother sending anybody.

      Any other approach will just get you casualties.



      • One of the egg-head reasons and rationales for embroiling the United States in the Vietnam War, was the determination that the United States had to develop a means of defeating communist insurgencies. Hence JFKs fascination with “Special Warfare.” Eisenhower-era military preparations looked to “mutually assured destruction” or conflict with the over-hyped-for-military-industrial-complex-reasons Soviet “Bear.” Meanwhile, there were wars of national liberation going on throughout the formerly and still colonized world…

        The Green Berets were a mirror of what military intellectuals, greatly influenced by French COIN theorists, thought Marxist-Leninist guerrillas operated. The Green Berets were to be a cadre organizing redoubtably anti-communist forces among the local populace of a given society. Latin America and Asia were to be their “beat.”

        The “hearts and minds” approach was thought to simulate the propaganda and social service provisions provided by the Marxist-Leninists. The doctrine of “counter-terror” was thought to be countering the use of revolutionary “terror”: If people do what the rebel force wants because they are afraid of them and what they might do, make them doubly so about us…

      • To be fair, heavy forces didn’t work for the Soviets in Afghanistan that well, either. While they were in of control all major population centers and the plains, they were unable to suppress the US and Pakistan supported rebels, which operated in the more difficult to reach regions of the country.

        • I think it was more that the Soviets failed to really grasp the nettle; they also thought that they were going after a semi-modern nation, where if they grabbed the infrastructure and cities, they’d won. Unfortunately, once you take the cities and the plains of Afghanistan, you’ve really taken nothing of value–The real centers of gravity in that so-called country are mostly in the minds of a large swath of the population. Those, you either have to kill or reform along a timeline that is generations long.

          Do note that the Chinese are dealing with their Uyghur population exactly as you’d have to deal with the Afghans, and if the Chinese do come into Afghanistan for the rare earth resources under it, that’s exactly what’s going to happen to the Afghans. If they’re lucky. If not, they’ll just be dead.

          The real center of gravity in the war wasn’t the cities or the plains; it was the madrassas and the minds of all the recidivist Afghans living throughout the country, and in the support cells of the ISI in Pakistan. They never addressed those, and to have done so would have necessitated killing pretty much every Afghan out in the country, and then either eliminating or denying the ISI support that kept everything going.

          Soviets could have won; after all, they did just that throughout Central Asia in all the various “-stans”, but the problem was that they’d lost their certainty of purpose and self-confidence to be able to take the draconian steps they’d used so successfully in the past. They wanted a cheap victory, in other words, and never really identified or went after the true centers of gravity for the war.

          US made similar mistakes, thinking that the ground in Afghanistan was the center. Reality? ISI offices in Abbottabad and throughout Pakistan are where the enemies are, and the US was dumb enough to pay them to pay Afghans to kill our troops. I personally suspect that there has been some level of collusion and payoffs at the political level, because the US counter-insurgency doctrine simply has not been followed–The whole “isolate the battlefield” requirement has simply been ignored or hand-waved away, and that’s why we’ve left the ISI alone. A cynic would point at the goings-on in Ukraine as a likely template for it all… Someone has been making money off the whole deal, and I look at what they’re actually doing and it smells of “going through the motions” more than really trying to make war with a mind to winning anything.

      • You contemplate the whole picture, and there’s a lot to be said for what Paul Fussell had to say in his essay “From Light to Heavy Duty” that’s at the beginning of his collection of essays entitled “Wartime”.

        Everybody wanted things quick and clean; the Soviets wanted to believe their own propaganda about the whole “Worker’s Paradise” BS that would lure the Afghan peasantry into the 20th Century, while the West thought it would bring those same backwards recalcitrants into the light of the 21st in much the same way. Both failed, and they failed because they wanted it all cheap and easy; “reforming” the Afghan peasant basically means destroying them, utterly, and then either replacing them with a more tractable population, or rebuilding something out of the wreckage.

        You want “victory” in that sort of thing, then you have to do what the Chinese are doing to the Uyghur, and neither the Soviets or NATO have the motivation or resources. China probably doesn’t either, over the long haul. The Soviets and the US both wanted to “fix” Afghanistan on the cheap, and with finesse. You can’t finesse that crap; it’s either “genocide the recidivists and rebuild on the rubble”, or it’s “leave the festering wound the hell alone until it either fixes itself or it dies on its own”.

        The whole “counter-insurgency through finesse” idea that permeates the concept of the Green Beret is one of sheer wishful thinking. It was wishful thinking when the Brits tried it on the Germans during WWII, and it was the same afterwards. Irregular warfare can do a lot of damage, but the reality is, it’s only ever an adjunct to the regular slogging sort of war that’s typified by a Red Army tank column entering Berlin. Do remember that for all the BS with the VC in Vietnam, the reality is that it was a column of tanks and NVA regulars that broke down the gates to the various palaces and other places of power in Saigon during the 1975 invasion.

        Irregular warfare is usually the sphere of dilettantes playing at the game of war; it was true for Churchill, it was true for Kennedy, and it’s pretty much true of anyone who thinks that they can somehow get around the raw facts of brute force. It. Does. Not. Work. At least, not all the time, and not in any really consistent way. You may think you’re wielding a rapier, elegant and precise… The true reality of it is that none of that crap really works out all that well, when confronted with the big bastards swinging around those heavy pikes and spears. War from the shadows is all well and good, but when someone turns on the spotlights and brings in the heavies, all that elegance and dash accounts for nothing more than a smear of blood and grease on the pavements.

        Brezhnev and his “advisers” wanted Afghanistan on the cheap, and they didn’t want to put forth the sort of effort by which Russians traditionally dominated Central Asia–Brute force. The Russia of the 1920s would have probably made very short work of Afghan resistance, but there wouldn’t have been much Afghan left in Afghanistan afterwards. As it was, they damn near depopulated the place, and that didn’t work out all that well for them–Likely, due to the fact that the Afghans had outside support based in Pakistan, unlike the unfortunate Central Asian nations that got dragged into the Prison of the Peoples that Lenin talked about and then made real.

        You can play all the games you like with your “intelligence agencies” and the sort of lightweight troublemakers typified by the Green Berets. In the end, it’s always going to come down to those tanks coming down the avenues of your capital. And, if you think any differently, well… History wants a word with you.

        • Yes. Exactly.

          The British lost four wars with the “Afridi” in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. With the destruction of their 44th Regiment of Foot and all its civilian dependents in the 1842 retreat from Kabul being the most costly;


          If the Afghans hadn’t killed Elphinstone and captured and eventually killed M’naughten, the Crown should have hanged the pair of them for that one.

          (Ironically, it was exactly 100 years later, in 1942, that the British would take it in the neck again in the region, at Singapore, for very similar reasons of command incompetence, but I digress.)

          And that was the First Afghan War. It took three more for the British to figure out the only answer that would work.

          Eventually, the British evolved a “policy” re Afghanistan which boiled down to;

          We don’t care what you do to each other in your clan feuds, but stay on your side of the border. If you come into British India, we will come after you with everything we have, kill you, kill your relations, kill every member of your clan, burn down your villages, and kill your goats. Nothing will remain.

          And you know damned good and well that your neighbors, who don’t like you either, will tell us exactly where to find you.

          So do whatever you want to each other. Just stay the Hell out of the Raj while you’re doing it.

          That. Finally. Worked. Until 1947, when the British left, and it’s been downhill ever since.

          No counter-insurgency. Just total destruction. Go big and then go home.

          In Vietnam, our victory over the Viet Cong in the Tet 1968 offensive was the greatest gift we could have given…the North Vietnamese People’s Army. Our forces completely destroyed about 85% of the VC’s “divisions”, and from that point on the VC were no longer a factor, either on the battlefield or in the political equation. No, the Hanoi regime’ was emphatically not interested in “sharing power” with the Viet Nam Cong San, no matter what Western academics, journalists, and Jane Fonda types believed.

          After Tet ’68, our forces were no longer facing VC, they were facing NVA regulars. Who had no interest in fighting a “guerrilla ” war; they just wanted to conquer South Vietnam “the old-fashioned way”. To do that, they had to get U.S. forces out of the way. Which their leadership correctly defined as a political problem, not a battlefield one.

          When they tried to invade in 1972 with U.S. forces still on the ground, they got mauled. In 1975, those forces were no longer in the way; it’s that simple.

          To defeat an enemy, it sort of helps to know what he wants, instead of making assumptions based on your own dogmas.

          Once you know that, then decide what you’re going to do about it. And how far you are willing to go.

          And if that doesn’t include “making the rubble bounce”, you probably shouldn’t even be there.



          • I’m not fond of the whole “incremental and nuanced” approach to war: Either go big, or don’t go at all.

            I still think that a sensible approach to Afghanistan would have been to go in, break the Taliban utterly, and then told Pakistan that either they hand over the entirety of the ISI (who, at a minimum, knew about the plans for 9/11…) for trial and execution as war criminals, or they faced economic blockade and having their country used as an international training area for weapons testing. I’d have also taken their nukes out, probably with a very pointed action including the production of an irradiated zone that would last for a few thousand years, around which I’d have erected signs reminding everyone of “why”.

            Pakistan and the Saudi Arabians got away with a deniable act of war on a superpower. We let them do it, and we let them escape the consequences. This was a bad, bad idea–One that George Bush is going to be remembered for, once the responsible historians connect the dots in a few generations. Assuming there are any.

            The enablement of the breakdown of the Westphalian system, wherein a nation-state is responsible for acts of war committed by its citizens? That’s not a good thing, in an era of easily-produced WMD. At some point, we’re going to pay the price for not grasping that nettle and holding the two proximate parties responsible for what they enabled.

            Although, reading between the lines, I somewhat suspect that the recent activity in Saudi Arabia may be some rather heavily fledged chickens coming home to roost, for the responsible parties in that nation. Someone in the Saudi government was responsible for scrubbing the hijacker’s passports and vetting them to the US State Department, and I’m pretty sure that the people who were supposedly “in charge” of the Saudi government didn’t know anything about it. Which is what you get when you have a nation-state run as a family-owned business, rather than an actual representative government. North Korea has nothing on the Saudis, and look like parvenus by comparison.

  6. Surprised no one has mentioned the weapon’s use by MACSOG. They took it on patrol, but not before sawing it off front and back, as they were wont to do. Getting 7.62, even linked, was probably no issue for SOG.

    I’ve also read that a piece of linoleum floor was used in the drum to stop it rattling.

    • I wonder how well that linoleum floor trick worked. Rattling of the drum was mentioned as one of the main shortcomings of the RPD in Finnish Army tests in the 1950s.

  7. soviets (back then) did the same mistake the USMC is doing these days. going from a beltfed platform on squat level to a magfed automatic rifle. moving to the rpk from the rpd was a bad idea IMO as soon as only a bit more surppressive fire would be needed. sure room for some improvement but rpd doesn’t seem any bad.

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