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Osprey author Leigh Neville completes his series examining the small arms used by the Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) during the Vietnam War. This week he looks at the Russian DP or Degtyarev light machine gun (LMG).

The DP (commonly known as the DP27 in Russian service and type-classified as the DP28 in the West) was a 7.62x54mm magazine fed light machine gun that served as the Red Army’s standard LMG during the Second World War. ...In a similar fashion to the iconic British Lewis and Vickers-K machine guns, the DP featured a top mounted drum magazine, in the DP’s case holding 47 rounds.

Variants of the DP equipped both VC and NVA units as their standard section or squad support weapon for much of the early years of the war in Vietnam. Chinese copies of the slightly modernised DPM were supplied as were DP variants from a number of Warsaw Pact nations. The NVA and VC also used the RP-46, a belt fed version facilitated by the provision of a new heavier barrel and the more modern 7.62x39mm RPD, the precursor to the RPK, variants of which (chiefly the 5.45x39mm RPK-74) remain in service with today’s Russian Army.

Along with the DP, RP-46 and RPD, the NVA and VC also received stocks of the SGM and SG-43 Goryunov, a belt fed medium machine gun also chambered for the 7.62x54mm. The SGM was famously employed in the Battle of Long Tan with at least one recovered, complete with its wheeled mount, by Australian forces after the battle. 


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