Vasily Degtyaryov

Vasily Alekseyevich Degtyaryov (Russian: Васи́лий Алексе́евич Дегтярёв; 2 January 1880, Tula – 16 January 1949, Moscow) was a Russian engineer who specialised in weapons design.

Vasily Degtyaryov
Born(1880-01-02)2 January 1880
Died16 January 1949(1949-01-16) (aged 69)
OccupationWeapon designer


Degtyaryov was the Major General of the Engineering and Artillery Service, Doctor of Technical Sciences (1940), and Hero of Socialist Labor (1940; he received the second such award in its history just two weeks after Joseph Stalin himself). He became a CPSU member in 1941.

Vasily Degtyaryov headed the first Soviet firearms design bureau. He created several types of machine guns, submachine guns and anti-tank guns.

Vasily Degtyaryov was awarded the USSR's State Stalin Prize in 1941, 1942, 1944, and 1949 (posthumously). He was also awarded three Orders of Lenin, four other orders and different medals.


  • In 1927, the Red Army was equipped with the 7.62 mm light machine gun called ДП, or DP-28 (Russian: Дегтярёва Пехотный "Degtyaryov's infantry (machine gun)"). This design also led to
    • Two aircraft machine guns: ДА (DA) and ДА-2 (DA-2) (Дегтярёва Авиационный)
    • A tank machine gun: ДТ, or DT (Дегтярёва Танковый)
  • Degtyaryov also designed a few models of submachine guns, the best of which would be adopted by the Soviet Army in 1934 (modernized in 1940) as the ППД PPD-40 (from Пистолет-пулемёт Дегтярёва, "Degtyaryov's submachine gun").
  • In 1930, Degtyaryov designed a 12.7 mm large-caliber machine gun, the ДК, or DK (Дегтярёва Крупнокалиберный). In 1938, this machine gun was upgraded by Georgi Shpagin and called ДШК (DShK) (Дегтярёва Шпагина Крупнокалиберный).
  • In 1939, Degtyaryov designed his heavy machine gun called ДС, or DS (Дегтярёва Станковый). The DS-39 was issued to the Red Army and used in the Winter War of 1939–1940. The belt feed mechanism damaged the cartridge cases and the gun was found too complicated and liable to malfunctions and was withdrawn from service.
  • During the Soviet-German War, the Soviet Army adopted Degtyaryov's 14.5 mm anti-tank rifle the PTRD (ПТРД from Противотанковое Ружьё Дегтярёва).
  • Near the end of World War II, Degtyaryov designed a belt-fed light machine gun chambered for the 7.62x39mm intermediate cartridge, which entered Soviet service in 1946 as the RPD light machine gun and was exported to numerous countries worldwide.

Honours and awards


The engineer's room in the house-museum

On the day of the designer’s death, by a resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, monthly scholarships were established in his name :[1]

  • one is for graduate students (850 rubles) and one for is students (400 rubles) of the Leningrad Military Mechanical Institute;
  • two are for post-graduate students (850 rubles) and two are for students (400 rubles) of the Tula Mechanical Institute;
  • five are for excellent students (350 rubles) of the Kovrov College.

On October 17, 1954, a monument[2] was erected in Kovrov for Degtyaryov, and a bust and several plaques were installed on the territory of the weapons factory bearing his name. At the memorial of gunsmiths and designers, a bas-relief with his image was made. In the house, where the designer lived, on January 6, 1978, a museum was opened.[3] In addition, a technical school, a secondary school, a kindergarten, a recreation park, the House of Culture of Metal Workers and the former Komsomolskaya Street were named after him in Kovrov .[4] A pioneer camp near the village of Sukhanikha was named after Degtyaryov.[5] In many cities of the former USSR (Kharkiv, Novosibirsk, Lomonosov, Saint Petersburg) there are streets that perpetuate the memory of the gunsmith Degtyaryov in his name. November 6, 1979, as it was the 100th anniversary of the designer, the USSR Ministry of Communication issued a postal envelope with his image.[6] January 2, 1980 in Kovrov held a special cancellation of these envelopes. On August 18, 2004, the Russian Post also issued an envelope depicting Degtyaryov.

In popular culture

See also



  • Nagayev, Herman (1973). Russian gunsmith:Tales (rus. Русские оружейники: Повести). Moscow: Soviet Russia. p. 447.
  • Bakhirev, V.V. (1979). Designer Degtyaryov V.A.: Beyond the biography lines (rus. Конструктор В. А. Дегтярев: За строками биографии). Moscow: Voenizdat.
  • Bakhirev, V.V. (1987). Degtyaryov V.A.: Student-book (rus. В. А. Дегтярев: Книга для учащихся). Moscow: Prosvescheniye.


  1. Bakhirev 1979, p. 183, Last years of life (rus Последние годы жизни).
  2. Bakhirev 1979, p. 185, Last years of life (rus Последние годы жизни).
  3. Bakhirev 1979, p. 186, Last years of life (rus Последние годы жизни).
  4. Bakhirev 1979, pp. 184–185, Last years of life (rus Последние годы жизни).
  5. Bakhirev 1979, p. 184—185, Last years of life (rus Последние годы жизни).
  6. "Vasily Degtyaryov (1979)". Retrieved 2019-12-27.