AK Blyskawica

     Notes: A contemporary of the Strapoc BH (below), the Blyskawica (translates to “Lightning”) was another home-grown submachinegun used by Polish resistance forces during World War 2, and was a bit more polished and numerous weapon among Polish resistance fighters than the BH.  Often mistakenly referred to as a version of the Sten, the Blyskawica was actually an original design of two mechanical engineers, Waclaw Zawrotny and Seweryn Wielanier, neither of whom had any prior experience with small arms design. It was designed in 1942 and began production in 1943 in small machine shops around Poland, and used by Polish resistance forces throughout World War 2; the primary users were the defenders and resistance fighters in Warsaw.  The designers attempted to combine the best features of the German MP-40 and the British Sten, and do it while keeping the design as simple as possible.  Most Blyskawicas were destroyed after the war, but several made into museums, and some are in the hands of private collectors.

     Construction looked crude, but the Blyskawica was actually a designed that was fairly refined considering the circumstances of manufacture.  The Blyskawica is comprised almost entirely of machined steel, but for the most parts, the barrels of Stens no longer useable were used at first – it was easier for the Home Guard than trying to produce their own barrels, and allowed them to manufacture the Blyskawica much faster.  Later, shops were available to produce the barrels indigenously, using the Sten barrels as a pattern. The first prototypes encountered many problems as the designers refined their creation, but eventually they had a working product and production commenced.  Production was somewhat complicated by the need for secrecy, and in Warsaw alone, the parts were manufactured in over 20 places to keep the Germans from catching on to what they were doing.  Assembly was done in the basement of a Roman Catholic Church in Grzybowski Square.  The total number produced is unsure, but believed to be about 755.

     Operation is straight, simple blowback, firing from an open bolt.  The breech block and bolt are quite heavy to slow the cyclic rate and because making it that way was easier. (They are based on those of the MP-40, but reversed). Construction looks spindly, but is actually quite strong; the receiver is a simple steel tube (usually plumbing pipe), with a magazine well spot welded to it. A perforated barrel jacket covers from half the barrel. The Blyskawica had a wooden, checkered pistol grip, and a simple folding stock that folds under the receiver and behind the magazine well.  Internal parts were kept to a minimum to ease production and facilitate field stripping and maintenance by inexperienced persons; they were usually greatly simplified versions of the parts of an MP-40 or Sten. The most complicated part, the trigger mechanism, was designed as a single package that could be inserted directly into the underside of the receiver.  Nonetheless, field stripping, though easy in concept, was tedious, since the Blysawica was held together by a number of screws, bolts, and threadings; there was also a danger of accidentally losing parts because of this.  The magazines are simple rectangular halves with a zig-zag follower spring; Sten magazines could also be used.  The 7.76-inch barrel is fully interchangeable with a Sten’s barrel (specifically, the barrel of a Mark 3), but quality was often dependant on what materials were available.  The Blyskawica had only an manual trigger safety that prevents the weapon from accidentally firing if dropped or bumped, but that safety was prone to failures.  The Blyskawica also has no selector mechanism of any kind – it simply fires when the trigger is pulled.  (The low cyclic rate of 450 rpm makes squeezing off single shots easy, however.)  The sights are the worst part of the Blyskawica; they consist of a simple aperture rear sight and a fixed inverted V-shaped blade which, while designed for 100 meters, are poorly designed and were usually badly aligned.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: This is another example of the sort of homemade weapon that can be expected from simple machine shops in the Twilight 2000 timeline.  It is presented here as such an example.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Blyskawica

9mm Parabellum

3.83 kg

32

$301

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Blyskawica

5

2

Nil

2/4

1

2

20

 

Lucznik PM-63 Rak

     Notes: The PM-63 (also known as the Wz. 63) is basically a large automatic pistol in construction.  It is meant to be a light and handy weapon for vehicle crews, rear area troops, and senior command personnel.  Designed by famed Polish weapon designer Piotr Wilniewczyc, the PM-63 was one of the first of the PDW-type weapons to be mass-produced and issued on a large scale to troops.  The origin of the name by which the PM-63 is commonly known in Poland, the Rak, is a bit of a mystery; some say it is an acronym for Reczny Automat Komandsow (Commando Hand-Held Automatic Weapon), but it is more likely that it is based on the Polish slang word rakiem, meaning cancer.  Mr. Wilniewczyc was, during most of the design process, fighting a losing struggle against cancer, and it killed him before he could finish the PM-63.  (The weapon was actually finished by the rest of the design team he assigned to the PM-63.)  The PM-63 was (and may still be) used by Polish troops and police forces; other users and/or former users include several Arab countries, Vietnam, Cambodia, the former East Germany, and unfortunately some terrorist groups.  In addition, a version of the PM-63 was later supplied by China to other countries (see below).

     The method of operation is very much like a Browning M-1903 modified for automatic fire and made much larger.  The trigger is two stage; a light pull fires single shots, while a harder pull fires the weapon on automatic.  The bolt has been given a little extra weight to help reduce the rate of fire to manageable proportions.  Most of the cyclic rate reduction, however, is done by a weighted and spring-loaded rate reduction mechanism.

     The PM-63 has a detachable folding stock as well as a folding plastic foregrip (though early production models had no foregrip; versions without a foregrip could use the butt of the folded stock as a foregrip).  Most production versions use a folding stock that has a buttplate that pivots to fold under the weapon.  Aiming the weapon is virtually impossible in sustained fire, since the slide carries the rear sight, and it moves back and forth (again, like a pistol).   However, the muzzle also has a simple “muzzle brake” of sorts at the end of its 5.91-inch barrel; consisting of a simple extension of the frame, this does little more than direct the muzzle blast upward, but does a decent job of helping to reduce barrel climb (not enough, however, to count using the Twilight 2000 v2.2 rules).  The device is also strong enough to allow the shooter to cock his weapon one-handed by pushing it against a hard surface and shoving the weapon forward.  The PM-63 has a manual safety, but no fire selector; instead, the PM-63 uses a progressive trigger; if the trigger is pulled back to the first stop (about halfway), the shooter gets semiautomatic fire.  Pulling the trigger completely back gives the shooter automatic fire.  The manual safety mechanism is somewhat unusual in that it allows the slide and bolt to be locked fully back, halfway back (for stripping), or fully forward.

     A special holster was also designed for use with the PM-63, though only the 15-round short magazine would fit in the holster (the 15-round magazine fits flush inside the pistol grip).  40-round magazines for the PM-63 are relatively rare, as they are rather cumbersome in such a small weapon and somewhat disliked by the troops.

     There were a limited amount of PM-63s designed for use by special operations and certain espionage teams; this version had a threaded muzzle and omitted the spoon-shaped muzzle brake.  This allowed that version of the PM-63 to accept a silencer.  This silencer was designed for use only with subsonic ammunition, and standard Makarov ammunition will quickly destroy it.

     In 1971, an abortive attempt was made to produce an export version of the PM-63 chambered for 9mm Parabellum ammunition, called the PM-70.  However, the hoped-for demand for the PM-70 never materialized, and only 20 of the PM-70s were actually built.  Another version, the PM-73, was chambered for .380 ACP, but also produced only in a small evaluation batch and never placed into production. I have included both below for curiosity’s sake and for completeness.  The PM-63 was produced in the 1980s and early 1990s in China (without a license) and called the Type 82; the Chinese don’t appear to have used the Type 82, but politically-allied countries in Southeast and South Asia are known to employ them (reputedly including Iran).  For game purposes, the Type 82 is identical to the PM-63.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

PM-63

9mm Makarov

1.8 kg

15, 25, 40

$304

PM-63 (SOF Version, w/o Silencer

9mm Makarov

1.8 kg

15, 25, 40

$279

PM-63 (SOF Version, w/Silencer)

9mm Makarov Subsonic

2.35 kg

15, 25, 40

$389

PM-70

9mm Parabellum

1.81 kg

15, 25, 40

$307

PM-73

.380 ACP

1.77 kg

15, 25, 40

$291

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

PM-63

5

2

Nil

2/3

1

3

17

PM-63 (SOF, w/o Silencer)

5

2

Nil

2/3

1

3

17

PM-63 (SOF, w/Silencer)

5

2

Nil

3/4

1

3

14

PM-70

5

2

Nil

2/3

1

3

17

PM-73

5

2

Nil

2/3

1

3

16

 

PM-84/PM-84P Glauberyt 

     Notes: The PM-84 is a submachinegun designed in Poland around 1981, and final modifications and production of the weapon began in 1984 as part of a program to replace the aging PM-63.  The design was simplified; part of the model used for production was the Israeli Uzi.  The PM-84 is made of sheet metal stampings, thus keeping the cost of production low.  The PM-84P model is a slightly wider and heavier model, due to the chambering being in 9mm Parabellum.  Both models are equipped with an effective wire stock, but the Glauberyt is also quite well balanced and can be fired effectively with one hand or held with two hands like a heavy pistol instead of a submachinegun.  The PM-84 is used not only by the Polish military, but also the Polish police.  The export model has been widely available for law enforcement use (and in a semiautomatic version for civilians).  Both models have threaded barrels to accept the use of a suppressor.  The light bolt might normally cause a runaway rate of fire, but the Glauberyt uses a weighted rate reducer to keep the cyclic rate down to 600 rpm (the PM-84P has a slightly higher rate of fire at 640 rpm).  Standard magazines for the Polish military are 15 and 25 rounds; 20-round magazines are made mostly for export and for special purposes. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The PM-84P was produced only in very small numbers.

     Merc 2000 Notes: These weapons have sold extremely well on the international arms market.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

PM-84

9mm Makarov

2.07 kg

15, 20, 25

$294

PM-84P

9mm Parabellum

2.17 kg

15, 20, 25

$297

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

PM-84

5

2

Nil

2/3

1

4

20

PM-84P

5

2

Nil

2/3

1

3

19

 

PM-98/PM-98S

     Notes: This is a development of the Glauberyt.  They are basically PM-84s chambered only for 9mm Parabellum, and with mounts for a very wide variety of sights and other attachments.  The difference between the PM-98 and PM-98S is the rate of fire: 640 rpm for the PM-98 and 770 rpm for the PM-98S.  This has no practical effect on game play; GMs might allow an extra die of bullets (and ammunition usage) and perhaps have the PM-98S wear out a little faster or require more maintenance.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: This weapon does not exist in the Twilight 2000 World.

     Merc 2000 Notes: These weapons have sold as well as the PM-84 and PM-84P.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

PM-98/98P

9mm Parabellum

2.3 kg

15, 20, 25

$297

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

PM-98/98P

5

2

Nil

2/4

1

3

20

 

Strapoc BH

     Notes: This weapon is a good example of what weapons one can come up with when you have limited facilities, materials, and means.  Henryk Strapoc was the son of a blacksmith in the Kielce region of Poland, and when his uncle brought home a rather cheap Spanish .25 ACP pistol knockoff in 1937, when he was only 15, he was fascinated by it, as he already a budding mechanical genius.  His uncle never let him fire it, so he disassembled it on the sly, made drawings, and then made his own copy.  (He got in trouble with the local authorities over that, but that didn’t stop him from making three more pistols and a revolver before 1939.)

     Strapoc found himself a member of the Polish Resistance when the Nazis invaded, and the Soviets gobbled up the rest of Poland.  Naturally, he became a gunsmith for the Resistance. He spent a lot of time fixing and maintaining firearms that were becoming quickly worn out.  Sometime around 1942, he began work on an easy-to-build weapon: the BH.  This would be a submachinegun, designed to fight against reprisal raids by German units.  It looked crude, and was not produced in large numbers, but supposedly worked quite well.  This was before the SOE began airdropping weapons and ammunition into Poland, and the Resistance had to rely on their own abilities and ingenuity to procure weapons.  Automatic weapons were always hard to get a hold of, and harder to keep in working order. Operation was by blowback; in fact, it worked much like a large pistol, including a long slide at the top of the receiver that recoiled back over the back of the weapon. Construction was all steel, almost all of it milled, ground, etc, because it was easier in a small, ad-hoc shop than stampings.   Considerable use was also made of parts from various weapons which were no longer combat-worthy, particularly in the area of barrels; barrels could vary in length, but most were the neighborhood of 9.5 inches.  The BH was capable of both semiautomatic and automatic fire. Most magazines were also built by Strapoc and his fellow gunsmiths.  The BH was stockless in configuration.

     Most BH’s were destroyed in combat or after the war by the Pro-Soviet Polish government.  Today, only one example exists, and it has been deactivated so that it can no longer fire.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

BH

9mm Parabellum

2.43 kg

32

$296

BH

7.62mm Tokarev

2.43 kg

32

$261

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

BH (9mm)

5

2

Nil

2

1

3

25

BH (7.62mm)

5

2

Nil

2

1

3

19