Book Review
Soviet Submachine Guns
Soviet Submachine Guns Of World War II, PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Soviet Submachine Guns Of World War II, PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS by author Chris McNab and also features work from illustrators Steve Noon and Alan Gilliland and editing by series editor Martin Pegler.


** The submachine gun (SMG) came to embody the Soviet infantry’s fighting style during World War II. From 1941the Red Army’s preference for close-quarters combat resulted in some companies being equipped with nothing but SMGs. Such units were able to develop ferocious automatic firepower in urban warfare and position assaults, nullifying the German skills in armoured and manoeuvre warfare, artillery support and aerial bombardment. There Soviet SMGs then went on to arm generations of post-war irregulars and insurgents, from Korea to Afghanistan.

Fully illustrated, this engaging account explores the origins and development of the PPD-40, PPSh-41, PPS-42 and PPS-43, as well as post-war derivatives and copies such as the Chinese Type 54 and the North Vietnamese K-50M. It examines the tactical applications of these weapons in combat during and after World War II, and assesses their strengths and limitations when compared with firearms wielded by opponents. Featuring first-hand combat accounts, and clear technical explanations, this book is ideal for both the general reader and the firearms enthusiast. **

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.


Osprey Publications Ltd has released Soviet Submachine Guns Of World War II, PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS as Number 33 in their Weapon series. It is a softcover book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color photographs, color illustrations, an informational chart, and detailed captions. It has a 2014 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78200-794-4. As the title states the book details the Soviet Submachine Guns, PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS from their development and introduction during World War II and on through military history.


  • Introduction
  • Development
  • Guns for the masses
  • Use
  • Firepower on the Eastern front
  • Impact
  • The SMGs and the new world order
  • Conclusion
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index


The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Chris McNab covers the Soviet Submachine Guns, PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS from their development and introduction during World War II and on through military history in great detail. As well as discussing the weapons and their development Chris McNab goes on to cover some of the conflicts where Soviet submachine guns were used and groups that used them after World War II are shown and discussed. Some of the conflicts and wars mentioned and discussed are the Korean War, The War in Viet-Nam, the Hungarian Uprising, Somalia and Liberia. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the Soviet Submachine Guns, PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS from their development and introduction during World War II and on through military history to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.


There are a total of 40 black and white photographs and 24 color photographs. The majority of the photographs are very nice and they range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. The photographs are clear and easily viewable and I appreciate the fact that there are several photographs of just the weapons themselves as opposed to photographs that feature the weapons in a broad generalized military photograph. In my opinion it makes it much easier to study the various weapons and their details and variations. Author Chris McNab has stuck to the title of the book and the majority of the photographs are specific to the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to the military firearm enthusiast and military modeler due to the details they contain.

Some of the other weapons shown and discussed are:
  • German P38 pistol
  • German Mauser C 96 pistol
  • Finnish 9mm Suomi SMG
  • Russian Degtyaryov DP machine gun
  • Russian Simonov AVS-36 6.5mm automatic rifle
  • German MP 40 SMG
  • German Kar 98k rifle
  • American Thompson M1928 SMG
  • German MG 34 machine gun
  • American M2 Carbine
  • American Browning Automatic Rifle (B.A.R.)
  • North Vietnamese K-50M SMG conversion of the Chinese Type 50 SMG
  • German 7.92x33mm MP 44 assault rifle
  • Soviet AKM assault rifle
  • Soviet AK-47 assault rifle

Some of the photographs that I found to particularly interesting contain subjects such as:
  • Various color photographs of a PPSh-41 field stripped and various features of the weapon are shown from different angles
  • A color photograph of a Somali militiaman holding a PPSh-41 in 1992
  • A black and white photograph of Soviet troops with various weapons, including the PPSh-41, in a fighting position in Sevastopol in May 1944
  • A black and white photograph of Soviet ski troops, moving into action on the Eastern Front, all armed with the PPSh-41
  • A black and white photograph of Soviet troops firing their SMGs into the air after the liberation of Sevastopol
  • A color photograph showing the “business end” of a PPSh-41
  • A color photograph of a militiaman from the national patriotic Front in Liberia (NPFL) holding a PPS-43

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.


There are 4 color illustrations in this volume by illustrators Steve Noon and Alan Gilliland. There are no black and white illustrations. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:

The color illustrations are of:
  • Partisans, Belorussia, 1944
  • A one page illustration showing three partisans in a forest in Belorussia in 1944 cleaning their PPS-43, PPSh-41 and PPD-40 weapons
  • Stalingrad, 1942
  • A two page illustration showing a Soviet infantry squad engaging German troops in the ruins of Stalingrad in 1942
  • Dien Bien Phu, 1954
  • A two page illustration showing three Viet Minh soldiers armed with the PPSh-41 with 35 round box magazines charging a French position at Dien Bien Phu in 1954
  • There is 1 cut-a-way illustration included as well. The cut-a-way illustration is of the PPSh-41 Exposed. 7.62x25mm PPSh-41 Specifications
  • A two page illustration detailing 37 different items on the PPSh-41 as well as providing information such as weight, measurements, rate of fire, sights, etc

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.


There is 1 informational chart provided in this volume which provides information on:
  • Comparative data on Allied and Axis pistol cartridges
  • 7mm Nambu
  • 7.62x25mm Tokarev
  • 7.63mm Mauser
  • 8mm French Mle 92
  • 9mm Glisenti
  • 9mm Parabellum
  • 9mm Browning Short
  • .380 Revolver Mk 1
  • .38in Special
  • .45 Auto Colt Pistol
  • .455 Webley Revolver


There are 3 notes included in this volume and they are:
  • Author’s acknowledgments
  • Editor’s Note
  • Artist’s note


The captions are well written and are greatly detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. The captions go into very specific detail as to weapons and their type, caliber, model, area and era of use and other such pertinent information. I was very impressed by Chris McNab’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.


As with the other Osprey Publishing weapons series titles I was impressed with this volume. This is a very nice reference book that contains many close-up detailed subject specific photographs and illustrations and well detailed captions. It details Soviet Submachine Guns, PPD-40, PPSh-41 and PPS from their development and introduction during World War II and on through military history as well as other weapons such as the AK-47 and the STG-44. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.


The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Saturn Books Ltd.
Ian V. Hogg

Guns of the Reich
Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945
George Markham
Arms and Armour Press

German Automatic Weapons of World War II
Live Firing Classic Military Weapons in Colour Photographs
Robert Bruce
Windrow & Greene

Search inside the book on the Osprey web site
Osprey web site Live links

Look inside the book on the Amazon web site
Amazon web site Live links

Look inside the Kindle Edition of the book on the Amazon web site
Kindle Edition Live links

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
Highs: Well written text and captions. Subject specific photographs and illustrations.
Lows: I thought it was a little odd to feature other weapons other than the ones mentioned in the title.
Verdict: Another excellent volume in Osprey Publishing’s Weapon series. Definitely beneficial to the military small arms enthusiast and military modeler.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-78200-794-4
  Suggested Retail: US $18.95 / UK £12.99
  PUBLISHED: Jul 01, 2014

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


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