Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vasily Alekseyevich Degtyarev

Born on 2 January 1880 at Tula, south of Moscow, Vasily Alekseyevich Degtyarev was to become a prolific Russian weapons engineer. For this work his titles and honours would include Major General of the Engineers and Artillery Service, Doctor of Technical Sciences in 1940, and two weeks after Joseph Stalin had been awarded Hero of Socialist Labour that year, Degtyarev received the second such award in its history. Interestingly for a man so closely involved with the Soviet Union, he did not become a Communist Party member until 1941.

Degtyarev was the first head of a Soviet small arms bureau. The bureau designed and developed the DshK1938 and DT machine guns, the PPD 34/38 and 40 submachine guns and the PTRD-41 anti-tank rifle. For this work Degtyarev received the State Award of the USSR in 1941, 1942 and 1944. He was also awarded the Order of Lenin three times, along with numerous medals and awards. After his death on 16 January 1949 in Moscow, he was posthumously awarded his fourth State Award of the USSR.

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