Military Wiki
DShK on tripod with anti-aircraft sights of later series in Batey ha-Osef museum, Israel.
Type Heavy machine gun
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1938 – Present
Used by See Users
Wars Winter War
World War II
Korean War
Chinese Civil War
First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Laotian Civil War
Dhofar Rebellion
Cambodian Civil War
Cambodian-Vietnamese War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Six-Day War
Yom Kippur War
Iran-Iraq war
Northern Ireland
Lebanese civil war
Gulf War
Yugoslav wars
Iraq War
Afghan War
Cambodian–Thai border stand-off
Libyan civil war
Syrian civil war
Production history
Designer Vasily Degtyaryov, Georgi Shpagin
Designed 1938
Variants DK, DShKM , DSHKS, Type 54 HMG
Weight 34 kg (74.96 lb) (gun only)
157 kg (346.13 lb) on wheeled mounting
Length 1,625 mm (64.0 in)
Barrel length 1,070 mm (42.1 in)
Crew 1+

Cartridge 12.7×108mm
Action gas-operated reloading locking flaps
Rate of fire 600 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 850 m/s (2,788 ft/s)
Effective range 2000 m
Maximum range 2500 m
Feed system belt 50 rounds
Sights Iron/Optical

The DShK 1938 (ДШК, for Дегтярёва-Шпагина Крупнокалиберный, Degtyaryova-Shpagina Krupnokaliberny, 'Degtyaryov-Shpagin Large-Calibre') is a Soviet heavy machine gun firing the 12.7×108mm cartridge. The weapon was also used as a heavy infantry machine gun, in which case it was frequently deployed with a two-wheeled mounting and a single-sheet armour-plate shield. It took its name from the weapons designers Vasily Degtyaryov, who designed the original weapon, and Georgi Shpagin, who improved the cartridge feed mechanism. It is sometimes nicknamed Dushka (lit. "Sweetie", "Dear"), from the abbreviation. Alongside the American M2 Browning, the DShK is the only .50 caliber machine gun designed prior to World War II that remains in service to the present day


The requirement for a heavy machine gun appeared in 1929. The first such gun, the Degtyaryov, Krupnokalibernyi (DK, Degtyaryov, Large calibre), was built in 1930 and this gun was produced in small quantities from 1933 to 1935.

The gun was fed from a drum magazine of only thirty rounds, and had a poor rate of fire. Shpagin developed a belt feed mechanism to fit to the DK giving rise, in 1938, to the adoption of the gun as the DShK 1938. This became the standard Soviet heavy machine gun in World War II.

Like its U.S. equivalent, the M2 Browning, the DShK 1938 was used in several roles. As an anti-aircraft weapon it was mounted on pintle and tripod mounts, and on a triple mount on the GAZ-AA truck. Late in the war, it was mounted on the cupolas of IS-2 tanks and ISU-152 self-propelled guns. As an infantry heavy support weapon it used a two-wheeled trolley which unfolded into a tripod for anti-aircraft use, similar to the mount developed by Vladimirov for the 1910 Maxim gun.[1] It was also mounted in vehicle turrets, for example, in the T-40 light amphibious tank. In 1946, the DShK 1938/46 or DShKM (M for modernized) version was introduced.

In addition to the Soviet Union and Russia, the DShK has been manufactured under license by a number of countries, including the People's Republic of China, Pakistan and Romania. Today, it has been mostly replaced in favour of the more modern NSV and Kord designs. Nevertheless, the DShK is still one of the most widely used heavy machine guns.

In June 1988, during the conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles, a British Army Westland Lynx helicopter was hit 15 times by two Provisional IRA DShKs smuggled in from Libya and forced to crash-land near Cashel Lough Upper, south County Armagh.[2] DShKs were also used in 2004, against British troops in Al-Amarah, Iraq.[3]

In the 2012 Syrian civil war, the Syrian government said rebels used the gun mounted on cars. It claimed to have destroyed, on the same day, 40 such cars on a highway in Aleppo and six in Dael.[4]


DShKM on a Romanian TR-85 main battle tank

Jamiat-e Islami Mujahideen of Afghanistan in 1987 with a DShK

Albanian DShKM probably of Chinese origin - Close Air Defence version.

  •  Afghanistan[5]
  •  Albania[5]
  •  Algeria[5]
  •  Angola[5]
  •  Armenia[5]
  •  Azerbaijan[5]
  •  Bangladesh[5]
  •  Belarus[5]
  •  Bulgaria[5]
  •  Cambodia[5]
  •  Cape Verde[5]
  •  Central African Republic[5]
  •  Chad[5]
  •  Chile[6]
  •  Congo-Brazzaville[5]
  •  Cuba[5]
  •  Cyprus[5]
  •  Czechoslovakia: Produced DShKM variant.[7] (former user)
  •  Czech Republic[5]
  •  Democratic Republic of Congo[5]
  •  Egypt[5]
  •  Equatorial Guinea[5]
  •  Eritrea[5]
  •  Ethiopia[5]
  •  Finland[5]
  •  Georgia[5]
  •  Ghana[5]
  •  Guinea[5]
  •  Guinea-Bissau[5]
  •  Hungary[5]
  •  Indonesia[5]
  •  Iran: Manufactured DShKM variant.[8]
  •  Iraq[5] called the "Doshka" by Iraqis
  •  Israel[5]
  •  Kazakhstan[5]

Non-state users


See also


  2. Harnden, Toby (2000).Bandit Country:The IRA and South Armagh. Coronet Books, pp. 360-361 ISBN 0-340-71737-8
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mills, Dan (2007). "16". Sniper One. Penguin Group. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7181-4994-9. "They were Dshkes, a Russian-made beast of a thing that fires half-inch calibre rounds and was designed to bring down helicopters." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 (SANA)
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 5.23 5.24 5.25 5.26 5.27 5.28 5.29 5.30 5.31 5.32 5.33 5.34 5.35 5.36 5.37 5.38 5.39 5.40 5.41 5.42 5.43 5.44 5.45 5.46 5.47 5.48 5.49 5.50 5.51 5.52 5.53 5.54 5.55 5.56 5.57 5.58 5.59 5.60 Jones, Richard D.; Ness, Leland S., eds (January 27, 2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010 (35th ed.). Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5. 
  6. Gander, Terry J.; Hogg, Ian V. Jane's Infantry Weapons 1995/1996. Jane's Information Group; 21 edition (May 1995). ISBN 978-0-7106-1241-0.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. London: Salamander Books Ltd.. ISBN 978-1-84065-245-1. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 G3 Defence Magazine August 2010
  9. Mongolian military museum. Ulaanbaatar. Sights of intersest
  10. O'Halloran, Kevin. Rwanda: Unamir 1994/1995. Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 9781921941481. 
  11. "12.7mm DShK heavy machinegun". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  13. uncovering the irish republican army
  14. Al-Jazeera coverage of Libyan uprising

Further reading

External links

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