mardi 24 décembre 2013

Russia: Kalashnikov, a fabulous story*.

Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the rifle Soviet AK-47 assault weapon spent left this Monday, December 22, 2013 at the age of 94 years.
         Since its inception in 1947, more than 100 million copies (copies included) were put into circulation in the world. At the option of revolutions and other coups, the Kalashnikov continues through the bloody turmoil of history. Back on the eventful life of its inventor, nicknamed "The poet of Steel",
and the incredible saga of a gun legend.

Browning and injury.

         All began in 1935. Mikhail Kalashnikov is 16. The teenager is given by a buddy custody of a pistol, a Browning. Bulky gift. Hold a weapon U.R.S.S. is strictly prohibited. But Kalashnikov marveled:
"The aesthetics of this gun required that the take in his hand. I wanted to feel how it works, consider all mechanisms!".
         Thunderbolt is quickly upset. He denounces. Militia arrested him and requires that he be provided the gun. Kalashnikov is the fool says anything but does not yield. Despite the threats, he refused to reveal where the browning is hidden. Mikhail Kalashnikov has just caught the virus weapons. It did leave him. It is released.
         As it is now known under surveillance, he prefers, at age 17, leaving his family and his village rather than making the weapon. Too good story? Can be. It was not until the early 80s to see another chapter of his life, darker.
         On the occasion of the publication of his memoirs, Mikhail Kalashnikov evoke the pages injury never closed: the deportation in 1930 of his family in the Siberian region of Tomsk. His father, a farmer, was considered too rich and therefore presumed hostile to the doctrines of Stalin then collectivises land in the country. The future engineer will lose ten siblings, malnourished or dead by fevers.

A fairly simple machine gun.

         He is found in a deposit in Kazakhstan railway and Ukraine, where, under the flags, the young inventor is distinguished by developing a mileage counter and consumption for the tanks. In 1941, the sergeant here in a tank unit, where he was severely wounded. For him, the war is over. “At the hospital, he explained, I heard the injured complain. The Germans all have guns. Why not us? "

He thought. "How to create a fairly simple soldiers gun that could make any craft workshop?".

A factory of pans.

         With some friends, he tinkers a first prototype.
The idea is to design a comparable to formidable German
 "Sturmgewehr" submachine gun. He thinks of a gun that would not fire piecemeal but in bursts, a sort of intermediary, lighter, between the gun and the machine gun .
         He met Ekaterina, a young technician who became his wife. She is more talented than him for drawing, which drew up the plans of the weapon from which the military authority is invited to comment. End 46, the weapon is born. Its main merit is to use a unique ammunition 7.62 mm that allows to pull away and at a steady pace. But the army, at first, refuses.
         The invention of this little sergeant is very promising, but is that the use of this new weapon, dubbed AK-47, will not waste too much ammunition? Military hierarchy nevertheless decides to start production.
         The factory of Izhevsk in the Urals, is chosen. Formerly, it made frying pans and cooking utensils. Well, the factory fit! Kalashnikov received the Stalin Prize and in 1949, the soldiers of the Red Army received the first copies of the AK 47.

Baptism of fire.

         Kalashnikov is convinced that if every infantryman was equipped with his weapon, he would have an unparalleled firepower. Meanwhile, the rifle Simonov remains preferred weapon during military parades on Red Square. Kalashnikov is chomping. He knows the effectiveness of the weapons.
         In 1952, the AK-47 is still used during training, and to preserve the secrecy of his ammunition, he asked each soldier to recover the sockets. In October 1956. The AK47 knows the true baptism of fire in Budapest, during the insurgency.
         Western then realize the advance made ​​by the Soviets with the AK47. It is a real shock to Americans. They stubbornly believed that the equipment of the Russian army was obsolete!
         Success requires the Kalashnikov soon escapes the hands of its creator. And even many countries compete imagination to customize the weapon: the East German model released a foldable butt, Romania and Hungary, another with a second handle. Poland proposes an outright model still able to throw a grenade!

Nasser, customer of Russians.

         Egypt is also equipped with the machine gun. President Gamal Abdel Nasser, in disagreement with the West on the policy to be in the region want weapons to liberate Palestine. Since he can not get them to Westerners, the Rais turned to the U.S.S.R...which in fact is not far: Soviet instructors are already in the circle of Egyptian power!  "The Soviet Union was seen as a supplier of arms and not as an ideology to follow. Moreover, the time Nasser, many communists were thrown in jail",
specify the General Sadd Chazli, founder of the Egyptian airborne troops.

The World emotion

         On 17 August 1962, Peter Fechter, a mason of 18 years from Berlin is hit by border guards German Democratic Republic (G.D.R.) while trying to cross the wall to reach West Berlin. Badly wounded, he remained on the ground, dying at the foot of the wall, helpless. Police in West Berlin had no right to intervene and border guards Allied of Checkpoint Charlie did not intervene either.
         The border guards were equipped with a Kalashnikov. The World emotion ensuing make a huge publicity to the weapon described as "red"
referring to his producing country and the ideology that it is supposed to defend. The AK 47 has become the symbol of the separation between two worlds. And now the armies of the Eastern bloc are now all equipped with Kalashnikovs.

The honor of the Palestinians.

         Then nothing seems able to stop the progression of this
weapon in the ongoing conflict . In Vietnam, it enters the legend appear when the first Chinese-made Kalashnikov in the hands of Viet Cong soldiers .
         In 1967, after the Six Day War , Israel's occupation of the West Bank offers the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (P.L.O.) new perspectives control; China passed Yasser Arafat new weapons and when Palestinian leader, will discuss the Kalashnikov, he define it as "honor of the Palestinians".

300 dollars the "Karach".

         In the years that followed , German and Italian terrorist groups anti- imperialist Unleashed and take the Kalashnikov symbol of their struggle. In 1978, Lebanon, all factions have a Kalashnikov . At that time, 15 countries produce it , including Libya .
         In 1984, Afghanistan, war wreaks havoc on the side of the Soviets. Germany Democratic Republic sends it manufactures of Kalashnikovs wherever the money is taken. China takes control of world traffic. The U.S.A., this is the least expensive weapon. 300 euro, the machine guns are cheap. The undeniable success of the Kalashnikov continues to ensure good fortune of arms exporters in Russia. Alexey Sorokin, C.E.O. of gunsmiths group confided to the Voice of Russia:
"The Western buyer has an idea of the Russian -made weapon. According to him, it is simple and cheap (...) In general , it is very reliable. This is the idea of the West. This weapon is in its specific niche product at low cost".

         Simplicity, lightness, hardiness: three key words to define the worldwide success of the Kalashnikov. It was produced over a hundred million units, copies included. In two years, the company Izhmash, which manufactures the famous weapon, multiplied by twelve its export volume, which has now reached 12 million dollars.
         And the inventor, Mikahi Kalashnikov? Did he at least enriched with his gun? Nay! He never touched money on selling millions of guns bearing his name, intellectual property is collective in the Soviet law. And to those who asked him if he ever thought of all the deads that his invention had the little sergeant became lieutenant-general said the utmost seriousness: "My arms should serve to keep borders. To serve peace, not war".
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* Frantz Vaillant published on December 23, 2013.

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