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The Cut Down RPD

This is a pretty neat pictures. Above, the Rhodesian soldier is holding a cut down RPD. Using it in the Rhodesian Bush wars, the gun would have been a very handy and effective light machine gun in the brush of Africa. Cutting down the RPD was something down by the green Berets in SOG for their cross border missions during the Vietnam war.


A SOG recon man fires the cut down RPD on the range. I have read in several placves that SOG armorers some how fiddles with the drums that held 100 round belts to get them to hold 125 round linked belts. The RPD cut down offered a light, well balanced light machine gun that had the benefit of sounding like the enemy’s weapons and leaving the same empty cases and links as the PAVN guns An important consideration when running top secret deniable missions and greatly outnumbered.

The RPD does not have a quick change barrel like the M60 but was much lighter and the M43 round it uses ( 7.62x39mm) is much lighter than the 7.62MM NATO round used by the M60. Making it possible to carry a lot more. Even if some range and power was lost, it hardly mattered in the close quarter firefights in the jungles SOG operated in. The same things that made it attractive for the Special Forces in Vietnam no doubt made it attractive to the Rhodesian forces who had enough trouble with getting enough small arms as it was. Using the same ammo as the communist forces they fought would have been extremely practical. I have read several accounts of Rhodesians talking about being very limited in the amount of rounds they could fire though their MAG-58s at times with only 25 round belts loaded unless a more serious firefight broke out.

Since more than a few former US SF veterasn went to Rhodesia after Vietnam, I have to wonder if they brought the cut down RPD idea with them or it was such a good idea that it was a common modification.

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