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Korean War Burp Gun (7.62mm Soviet PPSH41)

As with most Soviet weapons, the PPSH41 was very reliable. It used the powerful 74 grain P1 pistol cartridge, 340-400 ft-lbs muzzle energy (about half that of the US M1 Carbines), with a 1500 fps exit velocity at 900rpm. Utilizing the simple blowback action, the PPSH fires from the open bolt position, which provides the fast rate of cooling that permits its high volume of fire. With a 35 round detachable box magazine, or 71 round drum, late models were capable only of automatic operation. The PPsh-43 was a folding-stock replacement, using only the 35 round box.

M1 - M3 Carbines

M3A1 Grease Gun

burp gun
burp gun

PPSh 41 - 7.62mm Soviet Submachine Gun - Burp Gun


In Afghanistan, 50 years after Korea

PPSh 41
Pistolet-Pulemyot Shpagina obr 1941G
Caliber: 7.62x25mm Soviet auto
Length: 33 in ( 838mm)
Weight (unloaded): 8 lb (3.64kg)
Barrel: 10.5 in (266mm), 4 groove, right-hand twist
Magazine: 35 round detachable box or 71 round drum
Ammunition: Type P1; 86 gr bullet, 8 gr charge (1.35in)
Type P-41; 74 gr bullet, 8 gr charge , AP/Incdy (1.36in)
Rate of Fire: 900rpm
Muzzle Velocity: 1500 fps P1; 1600 fps P-41

North Korea began its invasion of South Korea armed largely with Soviet weapons such as the Model PPSh41. China entered with a great variety of weapons, acquired during their years of guerilla warfare against Nationalist China, but did have an indererminate number of Burp Guns as well.

Designed by George Shpagin to meet desperate need, following the USSR's bitter war with Finland and the invasion by Germany, the PPSh submachine gun utilized the simple blowback action, and fires from the open bolt position. The semi or full auto selector is located within the trigger guard allowing easy access. Late models were capable of only automatic fire.

A very reliable weapon firing the powerful Soviet P1 pistol cartridge 62x25 (interchangeable with 7.63 Mauser) at a high rate of fire and with a large magazine capacity. Operation was selective, full-automatic and semi-automatic. The PPSh41 was ideally suited to the requirements and tactics employed by the Soviet and satellite Forces.

The predominant tactic used by the Chinese in assault was to equip one platoon with nothing but bags of grenades, and another with submachine guns. The Chinese occasionally attacked in massed, or "human wave" assaults, when it was considered absolutely essential to take a vital point. More often the attacks were in company strength, using every form of concealment and surprise. Their concept of a line of battle was essentially to flow around obstacles with the idea of assembling at their objective for a final assault.

One battle-experienced Marine, listening cynically to press reports describing attacking hordes of Chinese, asked "How many hordes are there, in one Chinese platoon ?"

For the CCF concept of fluid infantry warfare, violent submachine gun and grenade attack was very effective. When met by determined and entrenched infantry resistance, supported by artillery and well-positioned machine guns and air supremacy, the concept failed. With terrible losses.

PPSH41 Box

The high capacity of the drum magazine increased the firepower but the magazines were too slow to refill and not too reliable, so in 1942 the USSR had developed a curved box magazine. This magazine held 35 rounds and was much more comfortable to carry in pouches. Early magazines were made from .5 mm sheet steel and were somewhat unreliable. Later magazines were made from 1 mm steel and were completely satisfactory. Usually, infantrymen carry one drum in the gun and some box magazines in the pouches or pockets.

The Chinese did not arm primarily with Soviet weapons until after the 1st year of the KW. At that time they also began extensive manufacture of their own models of Soviet weapons, such as the Chinese burp gun, using the box magazine for reasons much the same as the USSR.

Chinese winter camp

Chinese mountain position

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