One of the guns that had the greatest impact on World War II was the AK-47. This powerful, accurate, and reliable weapon revolutionized the way in which warfare was fought.
Designed for War
The AK was developed in the Soviet Union by Russian small-arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov. It was the originating firearm of the Kalashnikov (or "AK") family of rifles. While still in the military, Mikhail produced several designs that lost out to competitors before eventually producing the first AK-47. The name of Kalashnikov's greatest invention stands for Automat Kalashnikova 1947, his name and the year it was first produced. In 1949, the AK-47 became the assault rifle of the Soviet Army.
Easy to Use
The weapon itself was incredibly simple to use and maintain. While most of the rifles used an open-bolt firing mechanism and a telescoping gas system, AK Rifles such as the AK-47 are gas operated, not blowback, and are designed to be fired from a closed bolt. The magazine was designed to hold 30 rounds of ammunition. This was an incredibly high capacity for a rifle of the time and made it much more effective in extended firefights.
The AK was also incredibly versatile and was able to fire in semi-automatic and automatic modes. This gave it a greater range of applications than other weapons of its time, such as the M1 Garand. It could also be used as an anti-tank weapon with the addition of the panzerfaust-type grenade launcher.
The rifle was manufactured in a variety of styles for use by different types of troops at the time including a version intended for use by paratroopers, and the training and prototype versions.
The AK 47 was used extensively by both Axis and Allied forces in World War II. It was instrumental in the success of the Soviet war effort and was adopted by many other countries after the war, including Germany.