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I've no idea, as I said I am a mere amateur trying to make a research for a game. I want to improve the section with individual weapons and I can gradually post the info here, hopefully I'll receive feedback from more knowleadgeable posters. 

 

LE:

Right, I updated individual weapons section:

http://imgur.com/a/h7Mrt

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Interesting.  Didn't realize that the Romanians used the steel 5.45x39mm magazines.

 

What's the deal with that picture of the Md. 65?  The magazine looks like it's for 7.62x25mm.

 

It might be an early modification to use PPsh magazine. It was produced under license in Romania in 50s under the name PM PPȘ Md. 1952. It's very possible that it was designed mostly for training purpose since at the time when PM. md. 63/55 productions started, I imagine the ammo stocks of 7.62 x 25 mm were quite big. 

 

I don't recall to ever see a Romanian AK with that mag. 

 

SA6ZoQp.jpg?1

 

In picture you can see Romanian PPsh along with other weapons that were used by Romanian armed forces in 50s and early 60s. 

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Why are you so surprised? Some British units still had Sten in 1991 Gulf War. 

 

Oritas were in use into the '60s?  Wow.

 

I didn't know that the Romanians uzed Cz. 26s.

 

I think Orita were in use until 70s but not with Army or Minister of Interior (Securitate, Militia) but with Patriotic Guards which was an entirely different organisation and received whatever was phased out by Army. All kind of WWII vintage was used by them like MG42, ZB30, Maxim, PPsH, Orita and even rifles such as Moisin Nagant or ZB at its inception in 1968. 

 

Romania has a long history of importing Czech weapons and such imports were normal between Warszaw Pact states. Last time when I saw a Samopal was in 1989, my father told me it was Czechoslovakian weapon. 

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It is indeed different than the SVD it resembles; mainly in that it is worse.  SVD is a purpose-designed marksman's rifle, PSL is an RPK that's been kludged into a marksman's rifle.  Ammunition should be completely interchangeable with all 7.62x54R used anywhere, with the proviso that ammunition with a longer burning propellant can overgas the bolt carrier and cause it to bottom out against the rear of the receiver, which could loosen the rivets holding on the extension.

 

The Yugoslavian M76 is a much better effort at turning the basic AK action into a longer-ranged weapon.

 

It is not worse, it's the same quality, performance etc. I stumbled upon this article and it's not the first I've read which rates pretty well Romanian PSL.

http://www.dragunov.net/finn.html

 

Yugoslavian engineers were also consulted when this DMR was made but they eventually picked another model given the huge quantities of 7.92 mm Mauser ammo. 

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I'll see if I can find good pictures showing the receiver construction, and I can then explain what is so terribly bad about the PSL.  The article linked above rates it as on par in terms of accuracy with the SVD.  The problem isn't accuracy.  The problem is long-term durability.

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I'll see if I can find good pictures showing the receiver construction, and I can then explain what is so terribly bad about the PSL.  The article linked above rates it as on par in terms of accuracy with the SVD.  The problem isn't accuracy.  The problem is long-term durability.

 

Hopefully you talk from own experience because I've read tons of critics against Romanian made weapons and many are hugely exaggerated and I also read tons of praises. Designs may have flaws, sure, but this is a war approved weapon in service for decades. Also you stated that it's worse while most sources say it is about the same. However, I am curious to find out why it's basically worse from long term durability. PSL were sold in early 80s in Irak and are still in use after 30 yrs...

 

Also many don't take into consideration for what these weapons were made. These are not made to be heavily maintained or for special forces but for average Joe from a conscript communist army. Bear in mind that when you consider Romanian made weapons you should also consider that there are differences between those built for army and those sold on private market. Also some weaponry was modified/pimped in Army's technical facilities to suit needs of more specific units/missions/etc. Not all AKs, PSLs series are the same.  

 

Here is a quote from a US private contractor from Irak:

 

„Out of all the AK’s here in Iraq the Romanian AK’s are far superior to all others I have used. I tested 6 Romanian AK’s by firing thousands of rounds through them every week and then storing them in a damp conex over a 6 month period without a single cleaning and they still ran like new.

Those Romanian AK’s are still going to this day [coming up on 8 months without cleaning]. Even more impressive some of the Romanian AK’s I use and test were made as far back as 1961.

So if you are working in Iraq and you have a choice, get your hands on Romanian made AK’s”

From here:

http://sweeper.ro/ak-si-derivate/

 

Sadly old link is not available anymore.

 

So yes, I am aware some weapons may have some design issues but I do think that those were made with other purpose in mind and I do not take always as better what sounds on paper as a better design. Georgia 2008 reminded to many that old and less sophisticated designs may work better than brand new designs (e.g. old BMP turrets vs brand new Georgian IFV/APC turrets which jammed constantly). 

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The problem is only with PSLs.  Other Romanian AKs are fine; basically the same as anyone else's AKs.  Romanian AKs in general have a bad reputation in the US, but this is because of sub-standard, cheap rifles (usually called WASRs) that are imported here that are not made to military specifications.  WASRs are complete garbage, but actual military Romanian AKs of all variants are fine.  Except for PSLs.

 

I will try to explain it best I can with pictures from the internet.  There is a lot of technical jargon that I want to make sure is understood, and I'm not sure if English is your first language, so forgive me if this is a bit slow.

 

The first AKs that were mass-produced in the USSR used a milled receiver.  This meant that a heavy, solid piece of steel was forged into the rough shape of the receiver, and then a lot of metal was removed with milling machines in order to make space for the moving parts.
yh8zGIL.jpg

 

In the picture above you can see the raw forging of the AK receiver at the bottom, and the receiver after it was milled and coated with epoxy paint.

 

Ssk5kzh.jpg

 

And here is the milled AK receiver after the safety, trigger, and other moving parts have been installed.  You can see how the receiver only needs a few more parts in order to become a complete rifle.

 

The disadvantage of the milled receiver is that it takes a lot of time on milling machines to remove all the metal from the forging in order to complete the receiver.  That is why most AK receivers are stamped.  As an added advantage, stamped AKs are about half a kilogram lighter than milled AKs.  However, while stamping is faster and cheaper (for large production runs) than milling is, there is a lot that can go wrong in the stamping process.  The metal can bend out of shape, it can stretch into the wrong shape, and it can tear.  It took the Soviets several years to figure out how to get it exactly right, which is why the old milled AK-47 and SKS were kept in service for so long.

 

In a stamped AK, the receiver starts a piece of sheet metal that is 1mm thick (or 1.5mm for RPKs, PSLs and Yugoslavian AK variants).  Then holes are added to the piece of sheet metal, and the metal is bent in a few places with stamping dies to make it stiffer.  At this point, the piece of sheet metal is called a "receiver flat."  It looks like this:

 

LpUfsfR.jpg

 

Then the flat is bent into a "U" shape with another set of dies.  The holes that were cut out in the receiver flat before are the holes that will hold the trigger, hammer, sear, safety, etc.  So these holes have to line up fairly closely if the rifle is going to work.  But the metal doesn't always bend in exactly the way the stamping dies are shaping it.  Steel is a bit springy.  When steel is bent into a shape with a stamping die, the steel will spring back slightly towards its original shape.  So it takes a fair amount of trial and error to figure out how to get the dies to bend the receiver flat into the exact correct shape every time.  A friend of mine has a Russian book on steel stamping that is filled with complicated equations about how the steel will change shape when stamped... and at the end of the book it says that all of these equations are approximations, each stamping design will behave slightly differently, and if you want to get the best possible results you will need to re-design your stamping dies several times after trial and error.  Again, it took the Soviets years, and they had more resources than anyone else in the Eastern Bloc.

 

After the flat is bent, the front and rear trunnions are added to the receiver.  The front trunnion is the piece responsible for holding the barrel, and the piece that the bolt locks into:

 

H19UPKX.jpg

 

The rear trunnion is what the stock attaches to.  Here are the front and rear trunnion before they are attached to the receiver:

 

su09q3J.jpg

 

These are riveted in place because they have to be attached very securely to the receiver.  The front trunnion has to transmit all of the recoil from firing through the receiver, and the rear trunnion has to transmit all of the recoil from the receiver to the stock.  When the rivets are done correctly, this really isn't a problem for stamped AKs.  The trunnions will hold strong for tens of thousands of rounds, and when they start to break the barrel is worn out or close to worn out.

 

So, a stamped-receiver AK is a perfectly satisfactory weapon, once the stamping dies have been perfected and the heat treatment doesn't warp the receiver and the riveting process has been figured out, et cetera.  There is a lot of production engineering that goes into making good stamped AKs.

 

But we all know that the AK in 7.62x39mm is a short to medium ranged weapon.  In 5.45x39 or 5.56x45 it's a little better; basically a medium range weapon.  But let's say we want to make it a proper long range weapon.  That's going to require a new cartridge, one that's much more powerful.  Happily, all Eastern Bloc countries already had such a round in service, the 7.62x54R (Yugoslavians had both 7.92x57 and 7.62x54R in service because Yugoslavian logistics were a complete mess).

 

But here there is a problem:

 

IJ0MaXo.jpg?1

 

Left from right 7.62x54R, 7.62x39, 5.45x39, 7.62x51, and 5.56x45.  Look at 7.62x39, 5.45x39, and 5.56x45.  Even though the cartridge cases are different lengths, the overall cartridge length including the bullet is almost identical for all three; within a millimeter or two.  Re-designing an AK from the 7.62x39 it was originally intended for to either 5.45x39 or 5.56x45 is not too hard.  It will require new barrels, new bolts and new magazines, but they will all fit inside more or less the same receiver.  The dimensions of the existing moving parts can be left largely the same.  A Russian AK bolt carrier will fit in an Israeli galil rifle.  I don't know if it's a good idea to do so, but the parts will fit, because much of the design could be left the same.

 

But 7.62x54R (or 7.62x51) will require an extensive re-design of the AK's receiver because it is so much bigger.  A lot of things need to be lengthened.

 

The bolt and bolt carrier are both going to have to be enlarged to handle the longer and wider cartridge:

 

clDrczo.jpg

(PSL at top, standard AK at bottom)

 

 

And the hole for the magazine will need to be widened and lengthened:

 

YWZ09uo.jpg

 

Standard AK receiver flat at the top, PSL receiver flat at the bottom.  The PSL flat doesn't have several of the holes drilled yet, but you can see that the large rectangular hole (which is where the magazine will fit) is much larger than a standard AK.

 

You can also see that a PSL receiver flat isn't much bigger than a standard AK receiver flat.  But the cartridge it is firing is much longer, and the bolt and bolt carrier that are reciprocating within the receiver are also longer!  How can this work?

 

The answer is that the PSL has an extension on the rear portion of the receiver riveted on:

 

rDu0EsN.jpg

 

In English sources this is usually called the "receiver plate."  This extension gives the receiver the additional length required to accommodate the longer cartridge, bolt and bolt carrier.

 

And this is the problem with the PSL.  That receiver plate isn't very strong:

 

giATDCA.jpg?1

 

The plate itself can crack.

 

blnEZiv.jpg

 

It is also possible for the rivets to break (the heads have sheered off in this picture).

 

It is not a very good technical solution.

 

Whether or not a PSL breaks its receiver plate or receiver plate rivets depends on what ammunition is fired in it.  7.62x54R with lighter weight bullets, say 149 grains, (called "light ball" ammunition in the US) usually causes less bolt carrier velocity than heavier ball loadings (say, 170-180 grains bullet weight).  The faster the bolt carrier moves, the harder it strikes the rear of the receiver, and the more likely it is to break the receiver plate.  So PSLs hold up reasonably well if they fire only light ball ammunition (but it's not unheard of them to break with light ball.  The owner of the rifle in the second picture stated he only used light ball).  But the light ball is less effective at longer ranges than the heavier weight bullets are, because heavier bullets are more aerodynamic.  The PSL is supposed to be a long-range weapon, so why can't it use the very best long range 7.62x54R ammunition?  Again, it's not a very good technical solution.

 

Some gunsmiths have made adjustable gas blocks for the PSL, which can reduce the amount of gas flowing into the system when firing the heavy ball ammunition:

 

wzmhgab.jpg

 

While these would extend the life of the receiver, they don't exactly look robust.  Look at all those screw threads that could attract dust, or work themselves out.  Obviously, the military rifles don't have these.

 

It's worth noting that several Yugoslavian AK variants, including the M76, do have adjustable gas systems:

 

JHV1kgi.jpg?1

 

So, why would the Romanian engineers use such a bad design as the receiver plate?

 

It turns out that the spacing for the holes for the hammer, trigger, safety, and most other things besides the magazine well and trunnions are identical between standard AKs and PSLs.  Since stamping takes a lot of time and effort to get right, it appears that to save time the engineers modified the receiver flats for the PSL as little as possible from standard AKs.  This would have saved a lot of time and allowed the re-use of a lot of the pre-existing machines and tools used for AKs and RPKs to be re-used for PSL production.  So it was most likely a time and cost cutting measure, although it can't be said to have given entirely satisfactory results.

 

As for the SVD and M76, they use milled receivers:

 

gcBxZ38.jpg

 

LZHhNrm.jpg

 

This increased the cost and production time of these rifles, but it allowed exactly the right receiver design to be made with no compromises.

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Thank you very much for the extensive explanation, it was very educative. I suppose Romanian Army does not use heavier bullets since there were rarely any reports about breaking of the receiver plate and I didn't heard ex-users that I know complaining too much about it. Also is wasn't used as a sniper rifle but as a designated marksman rifle so probably light ammo was sufficient. As far as I know PSL will be probably upgraded at some point. 

 

Back to history, I'll post some maps with WP exercises for Cold War going hot in Balkans along with a translation of an article of a Romanian recent historian (original article here, in Romanian). Excuse my English, sometimes is hard to translate from Romanian while keeping the same meaning. 

 

Military exercises Balkan-89 from Bulgaria (4-9 June 1989)

 

Between 4 to 9 June 1989 in Bulgaria was held a joint military application of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, coded named 'BALKAN-89 ". The planned maneuvers of Joint Armed Forces Command (CFAU) participated in big units from Bulgaria, Soviet Union and Romania. in his memoirs ("Sentenced to discretion") Rear Admiral Stephen Dinu said that in 1989 "in southern Romania, two military applications quite important, in June -" Balkan 89 "and in August" Maritsa 89 ", both oriented towards the south to Greece, missions that they were assigned to Bulgaria by the Treaty of Warsaw". A series of information from former archive of CC (Central Committee) of PCR (Romanian Communist Party) completes general picture about military application "BALKAN-89", said the former head of the Intelligence Directorate of the general Staff. Thus, on 3 April 1989 Colonel-General Vasile Milea Nicolae sought approval to Ceausescu for sending Bulgaria a task force of the 3rd Army. This was in order participate in an application on the map in the first decade of June 1989 - in maneuvers organized by CFAU (Command of Unified Armed Forced of WP) of under the name "BALKAN-89". We note that, since September 1968, the Romanian army was involved very little in applications CFAU performed in other states. Typically, Romania was represented at such maneuvers by generals and officers who acted within Command and General Staff, distinct from the national staffs. Strategic and operational-tactical problems created by leaders of exercise were solved by the Romanian participants only on maps. Also, on 3rd April 1989, the Minister of National Defence proposed and Nicolae Ceausescu agreed that Lt. Gen. Constantin Călinoiu, deputy of Command for Infantry and Tanks to explore Bulgaria a for exercise "BALKAN-89", together with six Romanian officers between 25-28 April 1989. They were working all documents necessary for the Romanian side, in agreement with the Bulgarian General Staff.

 

ghxptku.jpg?2

 

As deputy manager of the exercise from Romanian Army side, Lieutenant General Constantin Călinoiu received as subordinates 18 officers and NCOs and was instructed to allow the participation of Romanian soldiers "in some activities politico-cultural that will take place during application". Simultaneously, Nicolae Ceausescu approved that Major General Dumitru Rosu, 3rd Army commander, to lead a task force, his headquarters to the application "BALKAN-89". This group was composed of Chief of Staff of the Army 3rd Major General Niculae Matei, 85 officers and non-commissioned officers, 24 conscript servicemen and 34 special vehicles for staff and transport machines. Moving to Bulgaria of military combat equipment used by them in the application "BALKAN-89" was carried by train and transportation costs were paid by the Romanian Ministry of National Defense.

 

Fictional Balkan War

 

Since 1966, common military exercises in which Romanian military forces were supposed to deployed were in South West Military Theather - usually the "Greek Operative Direction" These were aimed at "training of practical skills needed to organize , planning and conduct battle (operation) in echelon division-army ". Usually CFAU stated that the Romanian army should carry out joint exercises at the beginning of spring on operative-strategic map. To understand the general concept of military applications like "BALKAN-89", we appeal to the documents of the former archive of the PCR. For example, in the meeting of the Defence Council of 13 October 1972 it was approved an exercise in Romania during 12 to 21 February 1973 as an war game on the map, on "Conducting groups allied troops in the theater of military action, with simultaneous rejection of enemy aggression. Taking the offensive operation Front and warfare and maritime forces air defense troops of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty ". In the application were employed "frontline operational command groups, air defense of territory and Romanian, Soviet and Bulgarian Navy", in total about 400 generals and officers, of which only 100 were Romanian. For the first time since the creation of the alliance, provided that CFAU Romanian Front should have to act on the direction of Turkey, forcing the Dardanelles Straits. Until that time, the Romanian army had been engaged only in military games on operative directions North-Italian (until 1966) and Greek (1966).

 

7V6E0U0.jpg?2

 

In accordance with the request made by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Marshal Ivan Iakubovski would have lead the game of war as "supreme commander of the group of fronts in the theater of military action Southwest". It was also envisaged that the management of exercise to have only one deputy Romanian and Bulgarian unaccompanied by their working groups and operative activities of these officers should have been carrier out by Soviet officers. According to the concept of the war game "SOYUZ-73" forces of Army Group South (NATO) would have attacked Bulgaria and arrived on the line: South Sofia - North Gabcovo - North Burgas. Simultaneously, NATO aircraft forces engaged in a battle around Constanta and about 150 miles east and north of Burgas it would have been launched three amphibious operations in the flank of 3rd Southern Front (Soviet). Army Group South was composed of Greek 1st Army (three corps) and the Greek Army 4th Corps (three divisions), Turkish 1st Army (Corps 3, 5, and 2) and the Turkish Army 4th Corps (three divisions). At the same time, Army Group South have the support of the 6th Aviation Corps. 2nd South Front was formed by the Romanian Army composed of 10 divisions (two tanks divisions). Of these, three divisions were permanent combat capability, three divisions were ready for battle after 1-2 days of starting the war and four divisions were ready for battle after 3-4 days. Large group of Romanian units, framed on two sides by Soviet military would have advanced south of the Danube between Ruse and Nikopol. Operation crossing of the river by the Soviet and Romanian unfolded while NATO was supposed to use weapons of mass destruction to the mandatory pass from Isaccea, Braila, Giurgeni Vadu Oii Olteniţa - Turtucaia, Giurgiu - Ruse, Zimnicea - Belene, Turnu Magurele - Nikopol, Islaz - Somovit, Ship - Lom Palanka and Bechet-Oreahovo.

 

Conquest of Bosporus and Dardanelles

 

After passing of Danube would have been completed, the WP forces went on the offensive. Romanian units (Front 2 South) would have act on the territory of Bulgaria in cooperation with the 3 rd Soviet Front South, on the South - South East direction. At some point, the lines of action of the two fronts became divergent. Soviet forces were meant to attack Istanbul, while the Romanian army attempt to reach the Dardanelles and the Marmara Sea. For immediate mission Romanian 2nd South Front were established following elements: advancing depth (200-250 km), the pace of advance on the offensive (40-60 km / 24 hours) and duration to fulfill the mission (4-6 days ). Subsequently, a parachute Romanian regiment would have assault and engaged in battle east of the town Kanok (Turkey), on the 5th or 6th of opening hostilities. Its action constituted a prelude to a new offensive triggered by the Romanian army, for creating a bridgehead south of the Dardanelles. For the next mission of 2nd Romanian South Front were established following objective: deepest advance (200-250 km), the pace of advance (30 km / 24 hours) and duration to fulfill the mission (7-8 days). Simultaneously with the Romanian attack, units of 3rd Soviet South Front were to engage in combat against Turkish forces in southeastern Bulgaria to repulse them to Western Istanbul. Then a Soviet airborne division would have been launched in the 4th or 5th day after the opening of hostilities in northeast of Izmir (east of Istanbul), in close proximity to the Bosphorus Strait. In the Black Sea would engage two air - naval battles: first, 150 miles northeast Istanbul and the second about 50 miles east of Istanbul.

At the same time with the offensive against the Turkish 1st Army at the right flank of Romanian army Bulgarian forces would have conducted a similar military operation. Bulgarian Forces of the 1st Southern Front in cooperation with units of Soviet army would have repelled attacks of the 1st Greek Army liberating the Bulgarian territory occupied by NATO and than conquering Greek towns Komutini, Cavalla, Thessaloniki and Cojani, then pushing to the Aegean coast . The application "SOIUZ-73" reveals that Soviet military leaders were concerned about the quick conquest of Bosporus and Dardanelles in the situations of a war between NATO and the Organization of the Warsaw Pact. Also, it can be seen that Romanian army was put between two Soviet armies during military applications. This is understandable considering the problems that the Romanian authorities have been created to Moscow after 1968 events in Czechoslovakia. Of course, exercise "SOIUZ-73" and "BALKAN-89" were fictional scenarios but Moscow wanted by such actions to prepare better in military terms. Also, it seems that the Soviets were trying to discipline Romania. Coincidentally or not, the application in 1973 was named SOYUZ ( Union). A union of interests that Nicolae Ceausescu and Romanian generals were unable to ignore.

 

Further reading about other exercises in the same area:

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/1975-05-27.pdf

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