The Djakonov Rifle Grenade System for Phoenix Command

The Djakonov Rifle Grenade System

Soviet soldiers wearing long coats, woolen winter hats, ordinary boots and carrying ammunition bandoliers
and model 1891-30 rifles with rifle grenade attachments. Picture from Petrasevitsh's 1932 book.

This is my second version of the Djakonov Rifle Grenade System. If you have additions or comments, please let me know.


  • -: Väliaikainen taisteluopas jalkaväen ryhmää varten - Suomennos venäläisestä ryhmän- ja joukkueenjohtajan taisteluoppaasta. Suojeluskuntain yliesikunta, Helsinki 1935.
  • Barker and Walker: Russian Infantry Weapons of World War II. Arms and Armour Press, London 1971.
  • Petrasevitsh, P.: Aselajit ja sotatekniikka. Valtion kustannusliike Kirja, Petroskoi 1932.
  • Stepakov, Viktor and Orehov, Dmitri: Paraatimarssi Suomeen - Talvisota venäläisten silmin. Werner Soderstrom Osakeyhtiö, Porvoo 1992.
  • Susitaival, Paavo: Ryhmä Susi talvisodassa. Werner Soderström Osakeyhtiö, Porvoo and Helsinki 1973.


      RM Rifle Grenade Launcher
         Weight: 0.6 kg (estimated)
         Length (grenade + launcher): 21 cm
         Weight: 1.0 kg (estimated)
      VDG1930 Rifle Grenade
         Weight: 360 g
         Range: 140 to 800 meters
         Number of shrapnel: 230
         Burst radius: 150 m

    Djakonov Rifle Grenade System
     RM Rifle Grenade Launcher:
       Weight unloaded: 1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
       Weight: 2.2 lbs (1.0 kg)
     VDG1930 Rifle Grenade
       Weight unloaded: 0.8 lbs (0.4 kg)
     L:      8
     AT:    14
     FL:    2 - 6
     R:    400
     Range From Burst in Hexes:
          C   0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8  10  12  14  16  18  20  
     PEN 3.1 2.9 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.4 1.4 0.7 0.7 0.7     
      DC 10   3   3   2   2   2   2   1   1   1    
    BSHC *71 *1  40  10   3   3  -1  -1  -1  -1    
      BC 94h 554 145 44  22  14  10   7   6   5   3   2   2   2   1   1
    Range 20  30  40  50  100  150  200  250  300  350  400 
     AOI   -   -   -   1    1    2    2    2    3    3    3
      BA  28  25  23  21   13    6   -1   -6  -12  -20  -28
     TOF   6  10  13  15   30   45   60   75   90  105  120

    We received rifles and grenades which could be fastened onto the rifle barrels. Well we tried them but they proved totally worthless. When you pressed the trigger the grenade flew only about five meters and failed to explode. We then turned all that junk in.
    Vitjuk I. M.
    Red Army soldier

    The Red Army was one of the pioneers of the rifle grenade. The Djakonov system consisted of a rifled RM launcher, which was fitted onto the standard model 1891-30 rifle, and its VDG1930 grenade.

    Before commencing shooting you were to place the rifle and the grenade on its barrel on a firm surface on the bipod and aim at the enemy (we could have figured that part out by ourselves) and then shoot with a regular cartridge. It was then that I started regretting having sinned and now being forced to haul the launcher around as extra weight. I threw the contraption away because at no point in the war were we issued any grenades for it.
    Bobkov A. A.
    Red Army soldier
    95th Infantry Division

    Unlike many contemporary rifle grenade systems, the Djakonov used a standard cartridge to fire the rifle grenade - there was no need to carry a special ballistite cartridge. The VDG1930 had a hole through the middle through which the bullet passed and the gases which sent the bullet on its way also propelled the grenade. The rifled launcher gave the grenade a spin for additional stability and on paper at least the grenade could fly up to 800 meters. The trajectory was high and thus it was possible to shoot over one's comrades.

    The VDG1930 looked somewhat like an artillery shell with a fragmentation jacket. It had a fuse which could be set to detonate after a time equal to a flight distance of 140 to 800 meters. There was no impact detonation and no safety device. There were apparently several different explosive loads for the grenade - and the provisional combat rule of 1932 mentions illumination rounds - but data is included for standard explosive type load only.

    Tactically, like the DP machine gun and the AVS-36 and SVT-38 automatic rifles, the rifle grenade was yet another weapon designed to provide Red Army platoons with firepower far superior to anything their prospective opponents had in the late Thirties. A tactical recommendation was to use the rifle grenade to drive entrenched enemies out into the open where they would be annihilated by automatic weapons.

    The enemy began shooting rifle grenades at the house we were in. First they hit the roof, throwing wooden roof shingles in all directions, then they hit the chimney. Looking like a rock flying through the air, the third one fell among us and blew up with a hushed bang. All of us - Kaunisto, my adjutant and a messenger - were so dumbfounded that we didn't even take cover, just crouched and waited for what was to come. The first thing I saw after the bang was Kaunisto's face and I noticed that his spectacles had been blown to smithreens, I guess by the blast. Very small pieces of glass were streaming down his face like tears. 'Did you hurt your eyes ?' I asked, worried. 'No, but without my glasses I can't see anything !' 'You won't need to see anything,' I replied hurriedly, 'your messenger will lead you by the hand, he knows the way. Off you go, to lead a counterstrike !'
    Paavo Susitaival
    Group Susi

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