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Interesting thoughts on the development of the AK.

1697 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Skeptic49
Re-reading The Gun By C.J. Chivers which is an interesting book. There's some really good information about the design and development teams. The opinion of the writer with supporting evidence is that the story of Kalashnikov, an army Sargeant being the "designer" of the AK-47 is mostly propaganda. Kind of a perfect class struggle success story, the humble sergeant beating out the well educated engineers.

During the design process, periodically they would all meet up for "competitions" to see where everyone was at in their designs. Design teams were encouraged to incorporate advantageous design features they saw on the arms of competing teams. Chivers uses this as an example of how a nation builds a rifle, and the M16 as an example of a rifle design accepted somewhat by default.

But one very interesting thing that was mentioned in the book was the fact that Hugo Schmeisser was held as a prisoner of war in Izhevsk where the design teams were working. I tend to think it's highly unlikely that they didn't involve Schmeisser at some point during the process. The AK-47 is very similar in appearance to the Schmeisser designed Mp-44, with additional influence obviously from the Garand (rotating bolt, long gas piston, clearly the fire control group).

I've had the opportunity to handle, disassemble and fire the Mp-44 and I have to say I was very favorably impressed, it was a very well thought out weapon.
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There was some info out recently that apparently Kalashnikov recently made a statement that more or less admitted that Schmeisser did have input in the design of the AK.

As I recall, the book mentioned that Schmeisser was held in the same town were Kalashnikov and Izhmash were and what he was doing was never mentioned by the Russians.
I'd think it stretches credibility to suggest the Russians were working all other German arms designers they got their hands on like dogs to develop arms, but did NOT use Schmeisser the then worlds expert on the design of stamped steel firearms and who designed exactly the type of rifle they were looking for.
After the war a LOT of MP44's wound up in Africa, where many of them are still in daily use, mostly by child soldiers.

The Soviets and their subjects like East Germany supplied the revolutionary movements with both AK's and ammo for many other weapons, including the MP44.
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