Monday, September 6, 2010

Unit 1: the AK 47: Russia's gift to the world

To celebrate the beginning of a new year learning Russian (yay!!!) I thought it would be nice to start the year with a bang, literally. This blog entry pays tribute to the only lasting product the old Soviet Union was able to create. Alongside depressing writers, failed political dogmas, and copious amounts of vodka the Автомат Клашникова 47, more commonly known as the AK-47 is Russia's biggest export. From video games to real fighting around the world this weapon has become a poor man's weapon of choice, carried by terrorists, the new Afgan Military police, and, regrettably, children who were brainwashed to fight in countries such as Liberia and Seirra Leone. Not only is it Russia's greatest export it is also the most successful assault rifle to date. More AK 47s, or copies of AK 47s, have been produced than any other assault rifle combined.
The idea for the rifle ironically began with the Nazis. During the war on the Eastern Front the Germans noticed that most firefights took place at distances under 300 yards. The Germans began to develop a weapon and bullet that would be easier to produce then their current standard rifle and better equipped to cope with close quarter combat. The Germans were able to create the first mass produced assult rifle, the Strumgewher 44. This had a profound effect on the Soviet military, which was attempting to improve its battlefield rifles and create thier own true assault rifle. During the war the Soviet military held competitions to see who could improve their combat rifles and create thier own assault rifle. In 1943 a man named Mikhail Kalashnikov entered a competition with a design based off the American M1 Garand, one of the greatest rifles ever created. He would later create a carbine that was rejected because it was too heavy. Eventough he lost, Kalashnikov began working on a true assault rifle, and in 1946 he entered a new rifle that utilized design cues from the Garand, older Browning rifles, and the infamous Strumgewher. The modern AK 47 was born and was adopted by Soviet Army in 1947.
Although the original AK 47 has undergone some revisions such as the creation of a carbine version and variations that take a smaller caliber bullet, the basic design has been barely changed. Utilizing a gas fed firing mechanism it fires 7.62mm assault rounds at the rate of roughly 300 rounds a minute. That being said its success has come from its legendary reliability. Since it is made of very few moving parts it is easy to disassemble and clean. It will almost never jam and can take a tremendous amount of punishment and abuse while still being able to fire. It was designed to weather the abuses of front line combat and adheare to a massed fire doctrine, in other words accuracy is not its forte. That being said, the AK 47 is a well designed weapon that has found success on the battle field and will continue to be successful for many years to come.

1 comment:

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