Soviet Infantry Ammo Boxes - 35090



Introduction

The 7.62x54mmR (rimmed) is the oldest cartridge still in regular combat service with several major armed forces in the world.  Dating back to 1891 it was originally designed for the Russian Mosin Nagant bolt action rifle of the same year, and during WW2 it was used in other infantry weapons such as the SVT automatic rifle and DP light machine gun.

           Mosin Nagant:  The principal weapon of the RKKA (Red Army) soldier during WW2 it was produced between 1891 and 1965 with an estimated 37 million being made.  In WW2 alone 17.4 million were made principally the 1891/30 model, along with model 1938 and 1944 carbines (effectively a shortened version of the infantry rifle).  It was accurate and much favoured by Red Army snipers.

 

           SVT40:  Designed by Tokarev the SVT was supposed to make up 1/3rd of a Red Army infantry division’s rifles however severe losses to the Finnish and German Armies early in the war (when hundreds of thousands were captured and turned against their former owners) boosted production of the Mosin Nagant rifle. Around 5.8 million were produced including a sniper version.

 

           DP light machine gun:  The principal light support weapon of the Red Army infantry section/squad it was a typical ‘thirsty’ weapon needing constant resupply of its 47rd drum/pan magazines.  In service between 1928 and the late 1960’s around 795,000 were produced.

 

           Scale of issue: To give you an indication of the scale of issue of the above weapons a typical 1942 era Red Army infantry division would consist of 9435 men carrying 6474 rifles and 494 LMG’s ( the remainder being sub machine guns i.e. PPSH41, or heavy MG’s and AT rifles).  A rifle section c. 1942 consisting of nine men would be issued with 6-7 rifles, 1-2 LMG’s and 1 SMG.

 

           Post war: Dragunov (SVD) sniper rifle and PK series light machine guns which were used from the early 1960’s to the present day use this cartridge, seeing action in most theatres of conflict since the end of WW2, and used by almost 50 countries.

These weapons expend a huge amount of ammunition in combat and rely on constant resupplies.  These often take place during replenishment of other items such as water, food and medical supplies, during lulls in the battle.  Of course ‘replens’ can take place during action usually from reserves held at platoon or company level.

In its base form the ball ammunition left the factory in wooden crates and was unpacked at the front.  In WW2 the cartridges were packed on stripper clips in 15 rd boxes, then in galvanized tins soldered closed with pull tabs (300 rds per tin, 2 tins per crate, 600 rds total).  Post war, better packaging meant 2 tins of 440 rds could fit in a crate increasing capacity to 880 rds.

 Sometimes special carriers are produced for magazines; sometimes carried by the soldiers but often left with the troops vehicles. The DP drum magazine carrier held 3 x 47 rd drums for combat replens.

It is these two items that are the subject of this release from MiniArt…kit 35090 Soviet Infantry Ammo Boxes.


First look

The box art is typical MiniArt; well defined representations of the contents.  The box front depicts an artist impression of the ammo boxes and is a good source of instruction for painting.  The rear of the box shows construction guide, location guide for decals, and as usual lists of colours from six major suppliers including Vallejo, Tamiya and Humbrol.

In this case what you see is what you get; 66 parts (on 6 small sprues) to make….

           Six wooden packing crates for the 7.62x54mmR (rimmed) Russian cartridge which was used in the aforementioned weapons. And…

           Six metal ammunition carriers for three DP drum/pan magazines.

The parts are almost flash and seam free.  Only the DP carriers suffer from a small seam line running down the centre which should prove easy to remove with a sharp blade without removing any detail.  ‘knock out’  marks are tiny ( almost invisible) on parts of the crates but are on the inside so won’t be visible, as are larger ones on the DP carriers. 

Wooden crates:  consists of 8 parts…top and bottom, 2 ends, 2 sides and 2 carrying handles.  Wood grain is very well done, but is depicted only on the inside of the top and bottom pieces, and the steel band which seals the crate and gives it extra rigidity is molded in situ. You could show the crate open but would have to remove the band possibly damaging the grain detail or just turn the lid upside down.  The lack of grain on the crate interior ends isn’t a problem and can be rectified by a light abrasive.

DP drum carriers:  consists of 3 parts, middles and two sides. The drum carrier can’t be shown open without a bit of surgery, but it may be possible. It has a finely molded handle in place BUT the raised detail including the star is only shown on one side and it should be on both.

Decals:  are provided for the crates and these are perfectly in register…correctly depicting lot series, lot number, powder lot, factory code, caliber and quantity.  Markings are correct for the ammunition type (В обоймах or on stripper clips) and indicate the date of manufacture as November 1944, the ammunition type as light ball (used between 1910 and 1954) with a bimetallic cartridge case (copper over steel).  The only thing that conflicts with my references is the quantity…800 per crate instead of 600 for this era.  However, on saying that it is so tiny it’s not readable by the naked eye anyway so I wouldn’t worry about it, and it’s possible I could be wrong as it’s not a well documented field.


Summary

Pros: accuracy, excellent wood grain effect, correct markings

Cons: raised detail missing from one side of the DP carriers, banding molded in situ on crates, no interior ammo tins for crates.


Conclusion

An excellent set that can be used whenever depicting soldiers at rest/resupply, stowage for vehicles, or just to fill that little corner in your diorama. It would have been nice to see the detail on both sides of the DP boxes and internal tins for the crates but these little shortfalls can be easily sorted by careful positioning of the boxes or adding the tins using scrap plastic.

Considering the lengthy history of the weapons (around 45 million units, from 1891 to the present day) served by the cartridge and the ammo boxes you wouldn’t find these ammo boxes out of place in any theater of operations including WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Chechnya,  Soviet-Afghan War, Gulf war, Iraq and Afghanistan theatres; quite versatile then! 


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Marks: 86%


Review by Martyn Smith