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The USSR acted a deep underground network of weapons manufacturers

В СССР действовала глубоко законспирированная сеть производителей вооружения

For decades the Soviet Union had a highly secret network of weapons manufacturers. Neither the police nor the Almighty KGB had nothing to do with these underground factories producing millions of units a non-lethal but quite effective weapons.

Miraculously in the conditions of total deficiency of the master procured the necessary tools and materials, and technology without the Internet almost instantly spread across the vast country.

Of course, we are talking about all kinds of homemade products, through which Soviet children mainly played “war games”. Every boy (and many girls) for life used not one or two toy “trunk”. Clumsy, ineffective, sometimes dangerous for their owners, they had an amazing beauty that can be found only in things made by their hands.

How did this unique phenomenon? Unique, since neither in America nor in the European countries it has not received such an extension. The kids played in the war is always the excavations in Novgorod was found a broken wooden swords, with which our medieval ancestors likened himself to adult men. In the Russian Empire, where it was permitted to freely bear arms, there was nothing surprising in the fact that the children bought the “Montecristo” is a real small caliber rifle. After the Civil war toy weapons, too, was useless due to the abundance of this: street Makarenko used for theatrical productions combat revolvers, only bullets were exchanged for a piece of tow.

But then guns became heavier. Soviet children grew up in an atmosphere of readiness for spiritual feats. Literature, cinema, educational conversations – all glorify the people who committed heroic acts. The vast majority of exploits were military. Malchish-Kibalchish, Budyonny with Chapaev, hero-pioneers – they had a variety of weapons and, as necessary, skilfully applied it. (Which is a 17-year-old Zina Portnova, which is on the run from someone else’s gun managed to kill three Germans – Yes Yul Brynner nervously Smoking in aside!)

However, in Soviet society, despite the military cult, there were very strict restrictions on everything connected with the weapon. Even hunters was much smaller than now, the police almost did not go with weapons. Actually, to courses of initial military training in high school is no way to hold in your hands the “weapons of war” did the guys.

The toy industry in the USSR was not too developed, there was also a taboo for the manufacture of pistols and machine guns, similar to these or suitable for alteration to weapons of war – were afraid that they can be used by criminals. Soviet weapons were produced poisonous and frivolous colours and is strikingly different from what we’ve seen in films, books and museums. (The best produced, as befits the anti-Soviet, Latvians factory Straume. It was the similarity of the Parabellum and Mauser-96, and even then usually not in black and in rainbow colors. In the socialist countries were issued pistols, quite accurately imitate historical patterns.)

Another problem was the monotony of the range. Will be delivered to the store some vulgar cap “Budennovets” and he lay there all those ten years, while you and all your friends – you will need to go on the warpath. So, of course, the design idea of the boys moving in the right direction. With sadikovskie of age and under 7 – 8 grade in garages, basements and kitchens were a bustle of activity on the production of various firing devices.

The situation was aggravated by the fact that it was impossible, now, to go to the store and purchase any material or tool. Fortunately, there was a strong network of technical circles, then carried materials: metal tube, fasteners, tape, glue, rubber, plastic. Another great source of materials were garbage and grandma’s attics. Said take wire. Come on, the wire will not find? And its found.

Many fathers worked on the production and, in principle, have encouraged the craving sons to the manufacture of homemade products. In the works yard on the guns they gave to the sons of mystery “chargeball”, “cooking fumes” and “headstocks”. Cons that are commonly worked in factories, cast model gun made of aluminum, turned on the machines – such a thing is strikingly different from plastic consumer goods, why were born and now half-forgotten definition of “mint”, “symanski” to mean “very good”. We did cast the guns, I sculpted a form from the clay on store sample, tried the old batteries, melted lead in a tin can, cut off the fin… it’s Hard to imagine that today someone would bother for toys.

But despite the steepness of metal models, they had one drawback: they didn’t shoot. Namely the possibility of firing was critical in the game of “war games”. Here, perhaps, is to tell you a bit about the game itself, because even the current 20 – to 25-year-old did not catch it in all its grandeur. The war was certainly the most massive yard game in the USSR. Though she had strict rules, but only General outline – the players were divided into two (sometimes more) opposing armies and sought to “destroy” each other or, for example, to capture the enemy headquarters. Sometimes the fighting was supplemented by the torture and executions of prisoners of war, betrayal, throwing in loopholes and other exploits that are abundantly regaled the cinema. It is noteworthy that in 70 – 80th years, the antagonists were divided almost exclusively into “ours” and “Germans”, yet a generation Deniska Korableva 50 – 60s he played in “red” and “white”. Apparently affected the mass production of war films on the 30th anniversary of the Victory and right after.

Now, “war” was good for everyone – and the opportunity to join the game at any time, and the combination of tactics with wild running, but posing as a heavy fire had with his own mouth apparatus. As quite rightly pointed out one of the heroes insist on screaming “CH-CH! PU-PU!”. Some guys were able to perfectly reproduce the whistling sound of gunfire that went to the authority. But as you Chiki, it is very difficult to prove that you’re the first shot of the enemy, and not Vice versa. Disputes broke out, sometimes figuring out – who in one hit – escalated into a real fight.


Photo: Zamir Usmanov/Interpress


Firing weapons has removed the urgency of the problem. In addition, you can shoot the targets, which ranged from cans and bottles to pigeons.

The first major device that people picked up in those years was the slingshot. This is a classic weapon, celebrated in literature and painting, actually appeared rather late – namely when the automobile became available torn camera. And this, by and large, happened only in the mid-twentieth century. Therefore, the slingshot initially, the city, not the village weapon. Contrary to popular cliché, the bullies didn’t go with slingshots – slingshots in a certain period of life went all.

The base was made of solid wood, the wiring in different cities and towns was what was at hand. Good medical bandage, rubber gas mask, old Velocimetry that stretch as well (especially appreciated red). Rural boys used the tubing from milking machines. Shot balls from bearings, nuts, small pebbles, crushed iron batteries, where it was really bad with ammunition – rolled and dried clay balls. There was a kind of slingshot for school – a small, wire and cable from model aircraft rubber. (Here in the North it was called “aviazione”, in other cities I heard the name “Hungarian”, and in Belarus, for example, “the sapphires”.) Of these slingshots fired special bullets out of aluminum wire (the names also differed: bullets-bobbins-pins-brackets-breakdown). In the right hands, the sling was a formidable weapon, but that’s why the people it was used rarely. At least not in the “war games”, knowing where it may lead. And different he was on a slingshot a real weapon. So by the early 80s slingshot looked archaic, at least in the cities.

Tried to make something more “real” – first of different kind of crossbows is basically the same slingshot, but with a wooden stock and trigger mechanism from a clothes-peg. Shot of them Rowan, peas or the same pellets. In the early 80s the country as the craze swept the fashion for “air rifle”.

The air rifle, she’s Duhart, was in General fully pneumatic gun. Usually it was made of a Bicycle pump or a frame from a clamshell. Cut out a felt piston, put the copper tube in the trunk, mounted on the wooden stock and pulled powerful rubber band. The laser was casinocanada that shot clay balls, and muzzle-loading, for which any suitable solid material, for example potatoes. Such guns were called “charcoal”. Hit from a rifle was quite noticeable, so the enemy almost always proved him a loud “ouch!”.

After such complex engineering structures have usually been a period of experimentation with all sorts of bombs, missiles, and firings. But we understand that this is beyond acceptable, and after our classmate from ignite knocked my eyes out, interest in firearms has declined dramatically. And the army was already not far off, in five years had to pick up a real weapon.

Now in the store you can buy almost any kind of toy weapons from Jedi sword airsoft gun. But improvised gunsmiths has not crippled it. Disappeared the culture yard games, the phrase “run on the garage” sounds wild, and the war being cut exclusively on the Internet.

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