Recently, I ordered and received a book from Ukraine called M91/30 Rifles and M38/M44 Carbines in 1941-1945, Accessories and Devices. The rather utilitarian name accurately describes what this book is about: the Mosin-Nagant rifles during World War II.
Without a doubt, this is the best book I have read on the guns made during that period of time. The original manuscript was written by Alexander S. Yuschenko and translated into English by Ryan Elliott. Its publication date is 2016.
The author covers many aspects of the guns’ uses, manufacturing and importance during these critical war years. He documents all of the production numbers and other facts, and notes where historical records conflict.
In some cases – like with the 1941 production of 58,000 M91/30 rifles and M38 carbines from receivers “discovered” in the basement of Factory #74 – the author offers details on all of the conflicting explanations. If you’ve ever seen a M38 carbine marked with the imperial crest, it could very well have been one of these guns.
Additionally, the author offers interesting insight into the move toward the SVT-40 during the pre-war months, the political intrigue surrounding it, and the rapid move back to the Mosin-Nagant as soon as hostilities began. What was remarkable to me were the numbers of perfectly functioning SVT-40 rifles that were abandoned by soldiers on the battlefield in favor of the more reliable bolt action guns.
The book is packed full of charts that cover everything from production numbers to the types of failures these rifles experienced. ‘Incorrect usage’ accounted for nearly half of the rifle failures experienced with both the Mosin-Nagant and SVT-40 rifles, by the way.
The author documents cartouches and other markings on the guns. Additionally, he provides a very detailed look at all of the accessories – including the sniper scopes – used on the Mosin-Nagant rifles during the war.
Additionally, Yuschenko looks at some of the lesser known uses and accessories made for these rifles such as sound suppressors, rifle grenades, mine detection and harpoons.
The book is hard covered with quality, glossy pages inside. There are many historical photographs from the war. These older photos are in black and white. Newer photos showing different scopes and other equipment are in full color.
The amount of information in this book cannot be overstated. It is worth picking up if you have any interest in these rifles or this period of war history. The only complaint I have about the book is the formatting. The paragraphs run too long, making it somewhat difficult to read at times.
With shipping to the US, I paid $42, and I feel that I got a good bargain. The information contained within it show a sizable amount of research that I could never have done or afforded to pay someone else to do. From that perspective, the $42 is a real bargain.
Right now, it appears all of the books have been sold by the author. While it is possible that a few of these may turn up on eBay or similar sites, I suspect that most of these will be retained by the folks interested enough in the subject matter to order them in the first place.
I’m hoping that the author will consider a second run of these books, or perhaps consider expanding the book with more information in a second edition.