Soldier of the Hungarian People`s Army training with his country’s AK variant, the AMD-65 rifle
While part of the workers’ paradise in the 20th Century, the countries of Eastern Europe used a mix of cast off boomsticks and their own locally made guns that have faded from memory.
When the Iron Curtain came down across Europe in 1945, countries on the Eastern side of that geopolitical split were made to embrace Uncle Joe Stalin’s Soviet greater economic friendship and soon found themselves under Communist control.
By 1955, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union were all part of the “The Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance” — otherwise known as the Warsaw Pact.
Yugoslavia was never fully a member, they were in the same political sphere as the Soviet satellites though officially non-aligned in accordance with “Titoism.”
While the Warsaw Pact went the way of the Dodo Bird once the Soviet Union broke apart, and over the past 20 years or so most of the former member states have joined NATO, switching religions on combat doctrine, they rocked some pretty interesting gear during the bad old days of the Cold War.
These images are courtesy of Partisan 1943 a blog dedicated to the military history of former Eastern Bloc countries.
Yugoslav People´s Army soldiers operating a triple M55A4B1 20mm AA gun. The subguns really look like Finnish Suomi KP/-31s with banana mags and, as the German Army used a quantity of these Scandinavian burp guns during WWII, it is conceivable the Yugos may have inherited them in 1945. Another explanation is that they were gifted from the Soviets, who captured a number on their own during the conflict.
Yugoslav People`s Army troops with a pre-owned German MG42 and their own glorious Zastava made Yugo M59/66 SKS with the distinctive rifle grenade launcher attachment. All that’s missing in this scene is Patrick Swayze on a horse with an RPK.
Yugoslav army paratroopers used the WWII surplus German StG44 as late as the 1960s
Romanian Army soldiers in 1976 digging that distinctive AK forearm grip used on Kalash made locally.
Romanian “Patriotic Guards” with old German MG34 machine guns to go with their AKMs and oversized berets.
Polish marine with a Radom FB PM-63 RAK submachine gun. Go looking for one of these on the surplus market.
Paratroopers of the Czechoslovak People’s Army with some beautiful vz 58s. This gun is so money, even if the sky-soldier using it is rocking Roger Staubach’s high school football helmet.
Yugoslav People`s Army soldiers crossing a river M56 Submachine guns. These Yugoslavian-made room brooms were chambered in 7.62×25mm Tokarev and cloned from the classic German MP40.
Soldiers in the DDR for a time carried their own German-made SKSs, dubbed the Karabiner S, which this soldier of the Friedrich Engels Guard Regiment at the gate of the Neue Wache in East Berlin carries.
Czechoslovak People’s Army troops aim a locally sourced Skoda Tarasnice-21 recoiless rifle. An 82mm design similar to the Swedish Carl G 84, it was only used by the Czechs, East Germany and Albanians.
Czechoslovak border guard with Sa vz 23 subgun. These guns were were the first production-model SMGs with a telescoping bolt, beating UZI to the punch by a few years.
Albanian Peoples’ Army (Ushtria Popullore Shqiptare) troops chilling out talking about how good Communism is with their unique spiker AKM design guns made with the assistance of Red China after Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha stopped accepting Moscow’s calls.
Albanian People`s Army troops man an obsolete M1939 85 mm AAA gun while they carry that country’s unique SKS design with their distinctive extra-long gas tube covers. Albania withdrew from the Warsaw Pact in 1968 and after her already dated armament was frozen in time after that. Dig the Chinese style stripper-clip belts (you can see it really good on the signal guy).
Grassbacked Albanian troops with a Soviet-made Gorunov SG-43 machine gun. You know that’s some 7.62x54R love there…