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How the Steel Was Tempered (Kak zakalyalas stal) (1942)

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How the Steel Was Tempered
(Kak zakalyalas stal)
KZS42 Poster.jpg
Original Theatrical Poster
Country SOV.jpg USSR
Directed by Mark Donskoy
Release Date 1942
Language Russian
Studio Kiev Film Studio
Ashkhabad Film Studio
Main Cast
Character Actor
Pavel Korchagin Viktor Perest-Petrenko
Fyodor Ivanovich Zhukhrai Daniil Sagal
Tonya Tumanova Irina Fedotova
Artyom Korchagin Viktor Bubnov
Dolinnik Aleksandr Khvylya
Sergei Bruzzhak Boris Runge
Viktor Leshchinskiy Vladimir Balashov
Pavel's mother Yelena Anufrieva

How the Steel Was Tempered (Kak zakalyalas stal, also released in English as Heroes Are Made) is a Soviet 1942 historical drama directed by Mark Donskoy and based on the eponymous novel by Nikolai Ostrovsky (1932-1934). The protagonist, Pavel ("Pavka") Korchagin, is a young man from small Ukrainian town of Shepetovka (currently Shepetivka) who joins Reds during the Russian Civil war.

This movie is the first screen adaptation of the original novel, followed by 1956 movie Pavel Korchagin and 1973 TV series, reworked in 1975 into two-part theatrical version. The novel was also adapted for screen in Yugoslavia in 1988 and in China in 2000.

The following weapons were used in the film How the Steel Was Tempered (Kak zakalyalas stal):


Nagant M1895

Red sailor Fyodor Ivanovich Zhukhrai (Daniil Sagal) uses a Nagant M1895 revolver when he hides in Korchagins' house. This is an authentic pre-1930 version.

Russian Nagant 1895, produced 1920s - 7.62x38R Nagant. The rounded front sight is a sign of revolvers produced from 1890s until 1930.
Zhukhrai holds a Nagant.
A good view of pre-1930 rounded front sight.
Zhukhrai prepares his revolver...
...but the pursuers dind't find him.


Walther PP

Several German Imperial officers carry out of time Walther PP pistols. Pavel Korchagin (Viktor Perest-Petrenko) steals a pistol from the room of German commandant.

War Time Walther PP Pistol - 7.65x17mm
A perfect view of Walther PP on the table in the room of German commandant.
Viktor Leshchinskiy (Vladimir Balashov) takes the pistol.
Pavka steals the pistol. When he leaves the room, the pistol switches to TT-33 (see below).
Pavka gives the pistol to Fyodor Zhukhrai (Daniil Sagal). Later Zhukhrai's PP again switches to TT during the chase after the German car.
A German Major (V. Krasnovitskiy) (at the left) fires a Walther PP at pursuing Reds.
Another view of same German officer with a PP in hand.


When Pavka Korchagin (Viktor Perest-Petrenko) steals a pistol from the room of German commandant, Walther PP switches to equally out of time TT-33. Later a TT is used by Fyodor Zhukhrai (Daniil Sagal). Some German officers carry TT holsters but the pistols aren't seen.

Tokarev TT-33 - 7.62x25mm Tokarev. Pre-1947 version.
An officer at the left carries a TT holster.
Pavka gets out the window, holding a TT instead of Walther PP, seen in previous moment.
Zhukhrai fires the TT during the pursue after the car with German officers.

Mauser C96

Several officers of German Imperial army and army of pro-German Ukrainian Hetmanate carry Mauser C96 pistols.

Pre-War dated Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" Commercial Version - 7.63x25mm Mauser
An Ukrainian officer (Dmitriy Kapka) carries a Mauser C96 in holster, marching in front of his soldiers.
Same officer draws his Mauser C96 when breaking in Korchagins' house in seach of Fyodor Zhukhrai.
The officer threatens Artyom Korchagin.
The lanyard ring of the grip is seen.
Another view of the scene.
German officers in a car escape from Red partisans. One of the officers holds a Mauser C96; next to him Viktor Leshchinskiy (Vladimir Balashov) holds a Luger P08.
Another view of same German officer with a Mauser in hand.

Luger P08

Viktor Leshchinskiy (Vladimir Balashov), Korchagin's archenemy from youth, holds a Luger P08 in one scene. Several German officers also use Lugers.

Luger P08 - 9x19mm
A German officer fires at Ukrainian Sotnik (Capt.) who tries to join escaping Germans.
Leshchinskiy, escaping in German car, fires a Luger at pursuing Reds.
Leshchinskiy and a German officer fire Lugers.
Leshchinskiy fires at Pavka Korchagin.
He drops the pistol, being shot by Zhukhrai.

Unidentified pistol

A Sotnik (Capt.) of Ukrainian army (Nikolai Bratersky) holds an unidentified pistol. It bears resemblance with FN Model 1910 but it's only a guess.

For comparison: FN Model 1910 - .380 ACP
A Sotnik, shot by a German officer, drops his pistol.


Mosin Nagant M1891

Revolutionary Russian soldiers, Red Guards, Red patrisans and Haidamaks (soldiers of Hetmanate army) are armed with Mosin Nagant M1891 rifles. Both Infantry and Dragoon versions can be seen.

Note: see additional images on talk page.

Russian Mosin Nagant M1891 Infantry Rifle - 7.62x54mm R
Russian Mosin Nagant M1891 Dragoon Rifle - 7.62x54mm R
Bolshevik Dolinnik (Aleksandr Khvylya) holds an M91 Dragoon rifle when speaking on a meeting.
Red Guards of Shepetovka with M91 rifles. Both Infantry and Dragoon rifles are seen.
Marching Haidamaks are armed with a mix of Mosin Nagant and Mauser rifles.
A Red partisan carries an M91 Infantry rifle.
An M91 Infantry rifle in hands of a partisan is seen at the foreground.
Fyodor Zhukhrai (Daniil Sagal), now the commander of Red partisans unit, carries an M91 Infantry rifle.
A partisan carries an M91 Dragoon rifle.
A partisan bayonets a German soldier.

Mosin Nagant M1907 Carbine

Some of Red partisans and Red Army men, notably brothers Artyom (Viktor Bubnov) and Pavel (Viktor Perest-Petrenko) Korchagins, are seen with Mosin Nagant M1907 Carbines.

Mosin Nagant Model 1907 Carbine - 7.62x54mm R
Artyom Korchagin holds an M07 Carbine. In next scene his gun switches to Arisaka Type 38 carbine (see below).
Pavel Korchagin, now Red Army cavalryman, carries an M07 carbine during the cavalry charge.
Pavel carries a carbine in another scene.
Pavel carries a carbine in another scene.
One of the local men carries an M07 carbine when he bids farewell before going to front.

Arisaka Type 38 Carbine

Artyom Korchagin (Viktor Bubnov) also carries an Arisaka Type 38 Carbine instead of previously seen Mosin Nagant M1907 carbine. A large number of Arisaka Type 30 and Type 38 rifles was purchased by Russian Empire from Japan during the Great War, among which no less than 30,000 carbines, so this weapon wasn't uncommon in the years of Russian Civil war.

Arisaka Type 38 Carbine - 6.5x50mmSR Arisaka
Artyom holds the Arisaka carbine with opened bolt.
A closer view of the barrel.

M98/29 Persian Mauser

German Imperial soldiers are armed with M98/29 Persian Mauser rifles, standing for correct Mauser Gewehr 98s. Same rifles are also used by Haidamaks. Such rifles, identified by the shape of front sight protector and the position of top sling swivel, were available after Iranian army was disarmed during Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. They are seen in several other Soviet movies, filmed in 1942-1944, like Neulovimyy Yan.

Note: see additional images on talk page.

Persian Mauser 98/29 with bayonet - 7.92x57mm
German soldiers with Persian Mauser rifles in action against Red Guards of Shepetovka.
Haidamaks march with Mosin Nagant M1891 and Mauser rifles.
A soldier with Mauser rifle on railway station.
Rifles in gun rack in barracks.
A German soldier in action against Reds, attacking the town.

Tokarev SVT-38

German Imperial soldiers are also armed with Tokarev SVT-38 rifles, chosen probably for their availability (in 1942 these rifles were mostly withdrawn from active service and moved to training units) and for uncommon outlook in comparison with Mosin rifles, making them more "foreign". Same usage of SVT rifles for German Imperial troops is seen in several other Soviet movies, filmed in 1942-1944, like Aleksandr Parkhomenko.

Tokarev SVT-38 - 7.62x54mm R
Several German soldiers at the right hold rifles that appear to be SVT-38s.
A soldier at the background with supposed SVT rifle. The barrel and bayonet of another rifle is seen at the left.


Single Barreled Shotgun

Some Red partisans are armed with Single Barreled Shotguns.

IZh-5 - 16 gauge
A partisan in center holds a single barreled shotgun. The shotgun bears resemblance with IZh-5, but it's only a guess.

Double Barreled Shotgun

Some Red partisans are armed with Double Barreled Shotguns.

Men at the right and at the background hold double barreled shotguns.

Machine Guns

Maxim M1910

Red Guards and partisans use Maxim M1910 machine guns.

Maxim 1910, simplified version with smooth water jacket - 7.62x54mmR
A Maxim of Red Guards of Shepetovka.
A Maxim on Red Army tachanka horse cart. The barrel isn't seen but most likely it's the same prop.

Maxim MG08

An MG08 is seen in German commandant's office.

Maxim MG08 on 'sledge' mount - 7.92x57mm Mauser
An MG08 is seen at the background.

Other Weapons

RG-14 Hand Grenade (dummy)

Fyodor Zhukhrai (Daniil Sagal) carries a pair of hand grenades. They appear to be mockups of RG-14, possibly training dummy version.

Model 1914 Russian hand grenade
Zhukhrai carries grenades in his belt. The general shape of these grenades is similar to Model 1914, but they lack a hole for fuze in the top of the body and safety pin on the grip.
Another view of Zhukhrai's grenades.


1944 English release poster

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