Horse cavalry has definite advantages of silence and ability to negotiate
wooded country where tank travel would be extremely difficult. The Russians
are reported to have equipped their cavalry with antitank weapons, and used
mounted men in coordination with tanks and airplanes in a new and distinctive
type of action.
The following description of the packing of the "PTRD"
Protivo-Tankovoye Ruzhyo Degtyarev (Degtyarev* antitank rifle), a remarkably long-barreled, single
shot, bolt-action shoulder weapon, carried on a pack saddle or ordinary cavalry
saddle, was taken from an official Soviet source.
* * *
a. Transportation on a Cavalry-Type Riding Saddle (figure 1)
(1) Necessary Parts
For carrying an antitank rifle, the following pack equipment is used:
|(a) Metal device for mounting the AT rifle|| ||1 set|
|(b) Saddle bags||2 pairs|
|(c) Breastband with neck pad||1 set|
|(d) Breeching with tail strap||1 set|
|(e) Saddle-girth (an additional belly-band)||1|
|(f) Feed bag||1|
|(g) Wooden boxes for the ammunition||4|
(a) The metal pack device (below) consists of a beam (1) with five
holes to receive the U-clamps and the brackets (supports) -- one fixed (2) and one
movable (3). The fixed bracket is welded to the beam, and the movable bracket
is fastened to the beam with a bolt. The fixed bracket has a top strap (4) and a
lock (5) which are hinged. The movable bracket has a revolving yoke (6) with a
hinged fastening strap (7) and lock (8). Two U-clamps with nuts and washers (9)
hold the metal device to the saddle bows.
(b) The saddle bags carry the boxes with 120 rounds of ammunition.
(c) The breastband and the breeching with tail strap keep the saddle with
its packed load from slipping forward and backward with a change of pace or in going
over rough country.
(d) The saddle-girth (an additional belly-band) strengthens the whole
pack arrangement, including the feed bag and spare parts and appurtenances.
(e) The feed bag holds the things necessary for the horse's care, the spare
parts and the equipment belonging to the AT rifle.
(f) The wooden boxes carry the ammunition. The shape and dimensions
of the boxes correspond to the inside dimensions of the saddle bags.
The assembly of the riding saddle is carried out according to the following
directions. It is recommended that a second saddle cloth be put underneath for
(a) The breastband and breeching are fastened on by means of connecting
straps to the breeching and breastband rings of the saddle cloth cover on the right side.
(b) The breastband and breeching are next fastened onto the left side at the time of saddling and adjusting.
(c) The breastband is then connected to the front saddle bow by the neckpad straps.
(d) The breeching is finally connected to the rear saddle bow and the
tail strap by two straps fastened onto the bow and tail strap.
(e) The saddle bags are put on the saddle bows in the usual manner.
(f) The metal pack device is fastened to the saddle bows by two U-clamps.
For this the U-clamps are passed underneath the saddle bows so that they encircle
them and project across the clamps.
(g) The beam is placed fixed bracket forward with its holes over the
U-clamp bolts and is fastened down with washers and nuts tightened as far as possible.
(4) Method of Packing
The saddle as it is assembled is packed as follows (figure 1).
(a) The wooden boxes with the shells are put into the saddle bags and
fastened with pack straps.
(b) Saddle pockets with oats are packed on top of the front saddle bags and
fastened with pack straps.
(c) The feed bag with the articles necessary for the horse's care, and the
spare parts and equipment for the AT rifle are placed in the middle, across the
saddle, and fastened down with the saddle by the saddle girth.
(d) The AT rifle is then put into the bracket yokes, breech forward,
muzzle to the rear. The gun is placed so that the sight is up and the back plate in
a horizontal position; the mounting collar of the rifle must be even with the edges
of the yoke of the rear bracket. The rifle is fastened to the device by means of
the top straps and locks of the yokes. If the horse's neck permits, the gun may
be fastened from four to six inches forward of the normal position. Unpacking is
done in an order reverse to that of packing.
(5) Method of Firing From the Horse
When it is necessary to fire from the horse, the gun is removed only from
the yoke of the front fixed bracket, remaining fastened by the rear swivel yoke. It
is possible to fire at aerial targets up to an angle of 70 degrees in any direction
(figure 2). In firing from the horse at targets on the ground (figure 3), the horse
must stand 18 inches to two feet lower than the level of the gunner. To accomplish
this, a pit, trench, or any kind of irregularity of terrain must be used. Stumps,
fallen timber or rocks, can be used successfully. If there is no natural elevation
a soldier lying on the ground may be used to stand upon.
b. Transportation on a Pack Saddle,** 1937 Model
If the unit has a pack saddle, model 1937, it can be suitably used for
transporting an AT rifle with the addition of two pairs of saddle bags and the metal
device. The ammunition may be carried on a pack saddle, model 1937, in one of
the following ways:
(1) In the two pairs of saddle bags, as on the cavalry type riding saddle (figure 1).
(2) On a hanging metal frame, on which the ammunition boxes are placed
and fastened with rope (not shown as packed on horse).
(3) In hanging cases or ammunition boxes, into which the shells are put.
The pack saddle is assembled in the usual manner. The fastening of the
metal pack equipment and likewise the manner of packing in carrying shells is the
same as for the cavalry type riding saddle (figure 1). When hanging frames are
used for carrying the boxes it is necessary to have wooden platforms on the reversible
frames, made to the size of the frames, to which ammunition boxes are fastened
with ropes. The military unit must itself procure the wooden platforms. The
suspended frames and cases are hung from hooks of the saddle bows and secured
to the horse with the additional belly-band which goes with the pack saddle.
*Soviet ordnance engineer - and designer of machine guns.
**This saddle (figure 4) has the same appearance as the riding saddle. However,
the sketch has been carefully checked and is believed to be correct.