Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov

In 1938 Mikhail Kalashnikov, a self-taught inventor, joined the Soviet Army in Kiev and went to a tank mechanics school. There, among other useful tactical devices for armoured vehicles, he designed a device to count the shots fired by a tank.

Serving as a tank commander, Kalashnikov survived the fierce battles following the German invasion in 1941. Suffering from serious wounds and battle fatigue, he was sent to the rear to recover in hospital. He began to work on the idea of a new lightweight machine gun that could provide a high volume of fire for soldiers in mechanized infantry. While convalescing at Matai he had access to the workshop facilities and began work on the prototype of his weapon. In 1944 his first prototype was accepted for further development, and finally in 1949 the Soviet Army adopted the Automatic Kalashnikov design of 1947 or AK-47. As of 1990, more than 70 million Kalashnikovs had been produced.

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