When Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the three Soviet military districts, as well as the personnel and equipment, remained there in the form of the newly minted Ukrainian Ground Forces, or Ukrainian Army. These units, by and large, continue to use the same weapons platforms and equipment they inherited by their defunct parent nation, meaning much of their equipment is in dire need of upgrades – an effort that has been underway since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.
But don’t mistake outdated for outgunned, because when it came to firepower, the Soviets were no slackers. Enter the legendary DShK Heavy Machine Gun. First developed in the 1920s, the DShK is often compared to the NATO standard Browning .50 caliber machine gun, as its massive 12.7×108mm cartridge is so close in size that an urban legend eventually surfaced about the rounds of these two power-packed platforms being interchangeable. Of course, they’re not – the dimensions are ever so slightly off, and the linkage on the belt fed rounds is of a completely different design. Depending on who you ask, you would likely be able to hand feed a 12.7×108mm cartridge into a .50, but that’s about as far as you could get without damaging the weapon.
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