Fred Datig question


#1

In the front of his “History And Development Of Imperial And soviet Military Small Arm and Ammunition, 1700-1986” Volume 16, Soviet Russian Postwar Military Pistols and Cartridges, it lists the proposed 18 volumes for the series, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me how many of these actually made it to print, or if the material for the other proposed volumes is even available.


#2

As far as I know, only two volumes were completed, Volumes 13 and 16. Volume 12 was “Soviet Russian Tokarev TT Pistols and Cartridges 1929-1953,” published in February 1991 by the Michael Zomber Company, of Culver City, California. Volume 16 was “Soviet Russian Postwar Military Pistols and Cartridges 1945-1986,” published in 1988 by the Handgun Press, Glenview, Illinois. Fed had the notes to Publish 18 Volumes, beginning chronologically with the year 1700, but he simply never got to them prior to his demise.

His Volume 16 is somewhat wanting, but it was the best information available at the time on Makarov, Stechkin, etc. The year 1988 still saw serious secrecy on these matters in the Soviet Union.

Much of his information for that volume, I believe from our conversations, came from the Chief of Staff of Ordnance of the Egyptian Army, at the time Egypt was under Nassar and quite friendly with the USSR.


#3

Thanks John, appreciate it.


#4

It would be nice if someone could compile and order his drafts and publish them as an “as-is” work. Even incomplete the info would be priceless.


#5

Jon,

I have no idea what happened to all of Fred’s notes on arms and ammunition. I suspect, however, that the project you suggest would take some one months or even years working a full 40-hour week on them.


#6

No doubt, but a worthy summer(s) task for a teacher or a newly-retired collector.


#7

When I was researching the German 9mm S-Patrone rocket cartridge, I learned that U.S. Army Col. George B. Jarrett headed up one of the teams of intelligence personnel who were just behind (and sometimes just ahead of) American troops advancing in Germany before its surrender. The British had similar teams. It’s actually pretty well known now that Jarrett found a handful of the little rockets at Walther and that they were returned to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, along with literally tons of other material. Later, Jarrett ran the Museum there and gave Fred Datig a couple of the rockets when Datig worked for Jarrett at the museum in 1949 and Datig loaned one of them to the Naval Ordnance Test Station in California to use as a model for the experimental U.S. Navy version of the German rocket. Datig confirmed this to me in correspondence in 2010.

While working at the museum for Jarrett, Datig expressed an interest in the Russian material; many firearms and lots of documentation. Since the museum had more specimens and literature than it could process in many years, Jarrett gave Datig access to everything Russian with the understanding that Datig would organize it and write a multi-volume book of the history of Russian arms.

I think it’s interesting that that’s the source of Datig’s reference material, which must have been the world’s best at the time, at least outside of Russia.


#8

Small Arms Review did a series of articles on Col. Jarrett in recent years noting all of the authors whom he influenced, including Datig.


#9

The material from Jarrett and the U.S. Ordnance Department certainly formed part of the material Fred had. It certainly was not the only source of the material. The principle weapons discussed in his first book on the subject of Russian arms and ammunition, Volume 16, not published until 1988, were the Makarov, Stechkin and PSM pistols. The Makarov and Stechkin were shrouded in secrecy in the USSR and virtually unknown to other countries until after formal adoption in 1951, and even then, little was known about the USSR variants until after Fred’s book was published. While having the best information at the time, his guess at the manufacturer of the Makarov, for example, was incorrect. It was actually not until after the demise of the USSR that the story of the Stechkin and Makarov pistols were accurately recounted in Russian Literature. It was not in the Jarrett material, I am sure. Likely, they were not even mentioned. The PSM didn’t come out until the early 1970s, some twenty years after the Makarov.

Fred had many sources for the information that he was able to obtain at all.
Today, information on these later weapons is easy to come by for those that take the time to search it out. It was not the case when Fred was writing his pioneer work on the Postwar Military Pistols and Cartridges of the USSR.

I obtained my first 9 x 18 mm Makarov round, an East German Specimen, at a time in the late 1960s or early 1970s, I forget now, that a single specimen of the ammunition was absolutely rare in the United States. Fred was able to find much information on the Russian ammo for this caliber very early (but not as early, I am sure, as the Jarrett-U.S. Ordnance files that he obtained), and he even had information on the PSM 5.45 x 18 mm cartridge, samples of which were bringing 100+ dollars in the U.S. even after his book was published, they were so scarce. His research efforts were commendable and went far beyond material he could have obtained in the late 1940s and early 1950s.