Three-ruler or SVT: what rifle was on arms of infantry of Red Army in the first days of war?
We got used that in movies about an initial stage of the Great Patriotic War fighters of Red Army are armed with Mosin`s rifles - the well-known three-rulers with long trihedral bayonets. Unfortunately, film documents of the first days of war practically did not remain, not before filmings was at that time. If they were, we with surprise would find out that in hands of the fighters who met fascists at the western boundaries of the country, most often not three-rulers, but more perfect rifles of Tokarev: SVT - 38 and SVT - 40 .
In books the first days of war published in Soviet period about these rifles remembered with a reluctance that is quite explainable. Tokarev`s rifles considerably surpassed autoloading rifles G - 41, being on arms of Wehrmacht. By the way, in a fascist newsreel of the first days of war it is visible that the German infantry all is armed with rifles if sometimes and automatic machines, then at tankmen, motorcyclists or in reconnaissance divisions flash.
Thanks to an automatic perezaryazhaniye and shop on 10 cartridges, Tokarev`s rifles allowed to create the high density of fire, at the same time they possessed aim range of firing in one and a half kilometers. Presence at the Soviet infantry of such weapon was not entered in the version about superiority of infantry of Wehrmacht in arms in any way. In skillful hands of a rifle of Tokarev were the terrible weapon, considerably surpassing also Mosin`s rifles which for the objective reasons succeeded to them.
Rifle SVT - 38 (the full name “7,62-a millimetric autoloading rifle of Tokarev of a sample of 1938“) was taken advantage of Red Army on February 26, 1939 and already by the end of the year began to come to troops. Baptism of fire, and, in very severe conditions, it passed during the period sovetsko - the Finnish war. After that the rifle was finished that allowed to reduce considerably its weight, to improve the perezaryazhaniye mechanism (he reminds a little the fact that he was applied later in Kalashnikovs).
The new rifle which received the name SVT - 40, in April, 1940 was taken advantage and began to come to troops. The removable bayonet of the shortened sample was included in the package of a rifle. By the beginning of war more than one million rifles of Tokarev, including 35 thousand sniper were let out. Practically all of them were sent to the western districts and came to parts of the first echelon. First of all them reweaponed shooting parts and divisions where carbines or Mosin`s rifles remained with gunners, in technical, rear and special divisions.
Except Tokarev`s rifle during this period on arms of infantry there was a small amount of the automatic rifles of Simonov (AVS - 36) which had shop on 15 cartridges and allowing to fire turns. This rifle was difficult in production and service, insufficiently reliable, especially at severe climatic conditions. Therefore it was laid off when the main weapon of infantry made Tokarev`s rifles. Now rifles AVS - the 36th big rarity even in the museums.
In the first weeks of fights a significant amount of rifles of Tokarev was lost. The industry was not able to fill losses. Began to direct Mosin`s rifles stored in warehouses to arms of the formed parts in parallel having begun their mass production. These rifles were much simpler in production and are cheaper, than SVT and as they were simple in application and service, seized them recruits quicker.
But production of rifles of Tokarev did not stop, though considerably decreased. They continued to be sent to troops till January, 1945. In 1942 emphasis on production of modification of SVT - 40 - automatic rifles AVT - 40, allowing to fire short turns was put. Release of AVT - 40 continued not long and from the beginning of mass receipt in troops of the automatic weapon (PPSh and PPS) was stopped.
Despite complexity in service, in divisions where traditionally there was high level of the general preparation of staff, even after acceptance on arms of submachine guns, many fighters preferred Tokarev`s rifles. Especially it was characteristic of marines, paratroopers, intelligence agents.
If popularity of SVT - 40 in army remained until the end of war, then sniper rifles of Tokarev in troops did not get accustomed as they on range and accuracy of firing lost to sniper rifles of Mosin. Their release was stopped at the end of 1942, having managed to send more than 50 thousand to troops. Despite shortcomings of these rifles, they were used by many famous Soviet snipers. So, the sniper account of the lieutenant Lyudmila Pavlichenko who was at war with sniper rifle SVT - 40, exceeded 300 fascists. Having destroyed alone practically a battalion of enemy soldiers and officers, it became the Hero of the Soviet Union.
Tokarev`s rifles were used during all Great Patriotic War, but from the middle of summer of 1941 the main weapon of infantry were not any more. It is curious that Tokarev`s rifles taken during fights were used in the Finnish and German armies. At the same time trophy rifles of Mosin which was much more did not enjoy such popularity.
After war of a rifle of Tokarev were removed from arms. Their some quantity was sent to warehouses, and the others are transferred to hunting farms or sold to hunters - field men. Since then there passed more than 60 years, but SVT - 40 and today it is possible to meet at hunters and reindeer breeders. Often they are not used for hunting any more, and store as family relics and memory of years when fighters of Red Army protected them freedom of the Fatherland.