Monday, 10 November 2014
Lieutenant-general Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (10 November 1919 – 23 December 2013) was a Russian general, inventor, military engineer, writer and small arms designer. He is most famous for developing the AK-47 assault rifle and its improvements, AKM and AK-74, as well as the PK machine gun. Kalashnikov was, according to himself, a self-taught tinkerer who combined innate mechanical skills with the study of weaponry to design arms that achieved battlefield ubiquity. Even though Kalashnikov felt sorrow at the weapons' uncontrolled distribution, he took pride in his inventions and in their reputation for reliability, emphasizing that his rifle is "a weapon of defense" and "not a weapon for offense". Because of his small size and engineering skills he was assigned as a tank mechanic, and later became a tank commander. While training, he made his first inventions, which concerned not only tanks, but also small weapons, and was personally awarded a wrist watch by Georgy Zhukov. He was wounded in combat in the Battle of Bryansk in October 1941 and hospitalised until April 1942. While in the hospital, he overheard some fellow soldiers complaining about the Soviet rifles of the time.
Although his first submachine gun design was not accepted into service, his talent as a designer was noticed. From 1942 onwards Kalashnikov was assigned to the Central Scientific-developmental Firing Range for Rifle Firearms of the Chief Artillery Directorate of the Red Army. Read more & watch the video...