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DShK-1938/46 Heavy Machine Gun

DAYTON, Ohio - The DShK-1938/46 Heavy Machine Gun on display in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The DShK-1938/46 Heavy Machine Gun on display in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The DShK-1938/46 Heavy Machine Gun diorama in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The DShK-1938/46 Heavy Machine Gun diorama in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A Deadly "Sweetie"

Used by communist forces in Southeast Asia, the Degtyarov-Shpagin Krupnokaliberny (DShK) machine gun presented a deadly threat to low-flying aircraft-like the Forward Air Controllers (FACs). Sometimes called Dushka (meaning "Sweetie"), they could be mounted on armored vehicles or tripods as anti-aircraft (AA) weapons. To avoid these weapons, aircraft had to fly higher, making them vulnerable to heavy-caliber anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) and surface-to-air missiles (SAM). 

This DShK-1938/46, an improved version of the DShK-1938 used by Soviet forces in World War II, incorporated a more reliable feeding mechanism for its 12.7mm x 108mm ammunition (Krupnokaliberny translates as "large-caliber") which was roughly equivalent to the American .50 caliber. From the 1940s on, the DShK was manufactured by many communist nations and still remains in use today around the world. 

TECHNICAL NOTES:

System of operation: Gas, automatic
Maximum effective range: 1,100 yards
Rate of fire: Approx. 600 rounds per minute 

Click here to return to the Southeast Asia War Gallery.

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