Military Review

Unknown Kalashnikov


The gift of the inventor and designer Mikhail Kalashnikov showed even before the war. Being drafted into the Red Army in 1938, where he received the specialty of a driver, he developed a device for the TT pistol for more effective firing through the cracks in the tower tank, counters of gun shots and armored vehicles. The significance of the latter invention is evidenced by the fact that Kalashnikov was summoned with a report by the commander of the Kiev Special Military District, Army General Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov. Named watches became the first award of a young designer.

The Great Patriotic War, Mikhail Kalashnikov began in August 1941, the tank commander, in October in the battles of Bryansk was seriously wounded and contused. On a six-month vacation after injury, Sergeant Kalashnikov developed his first model of a submachine gun.

Since 1942, he has been working at the Central Research Grounds for Small Arms (NPSMVO) of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army. Here in 1944-m a prototype of a multiply-charged carbine was created, which did not go into the series, but served as a prototype of the machine gun. With 1945, Kalashnikov, taking into account international experience, began developing automatic weapons under the intermediate cartridge 7,62х39 of model 1943 of the year. In the 1947, the Kalashnikov assault rifle demonstrated the highest efficiency in competitive tests and was adopted two years later under the name AK-47.

At the same time, Mikhail Kalashnikov is sent to Izhevsk and enrolled in the staff of the department of the chief designer Izhmash, where he works today. In the design office of Kalashnikov created more than a hundred samples of military weapons.

“Pursuing my own business, I never thought about fame and wealth. My duty is to serve the Fatherland and the people. I have always been against the trampling of our cultural and spiritual values, advocated the respect of our fatherly faith and the revival of shrines. In his youth he was a staunch atheist. In 1950, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (there was no further pull). And fifty years later he received a church order from His Holiness the Patriarch himself. Paradox and only ... ”- Kalashnikov confessed to Patriarch Alexy II, accepting the Order of Blessed Prince Dmitry Donskoy from the hands of the lord.


In the Leningrad Artillery Museum, they decided to open a corner of Kalashnikov, exposing some samples of his weapons. Mikhail Timofeevich was invited to the opening, although at the time he was classified.

Forty people gathered in the assembly hall. The head of the museum presented Kalashnikov, and they immediately began to ask questions. The gunsmith answered without any pathos, accessible and simple. After the meeting, he was approached for autographs, he signed on books, tablets, in notebooks.


Kalashnikov created more than 100 types of small arms.

For the creation of the AK-47, Kalashnikov was awarded the Stalin Prize of the 1 degree. Later, the designer was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor for the AKM assault rifle and the RGS light machine gun. In 1964, Kalashnikov was awarded the Lenin Prize, in 1976 he received the second Sickle and Hammer gold medal, and in 1998 he won the State Prize.

Once the American philosopher and weapons specialist Edward Clinton Isell sent a letter with the following address: “USSR. Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov "and it reached the addressee.

The Kalashnikov assault rifle, along with the Wright brothers plane and the Ford car, is among the top three lists of thirty inventions of the 20th century that radically changed the life of humanity.

In the belfry of the St. Michael's Cathedral in Izhevsk is placed the 200-kilogram bell "Kalashnikov", molded to the 85 anniversary of the designer by Voronezh craftsmen.

On the anniversary of Mikhail Kalashnikov, IDGC of Center and Volga Region, JSC has opened a new substation, named after the legendary designer Kalashnikov.

Then Kalashnikov was invited to the museum's funds and began to show various samples of small arms, asking about the authors, the device, the advantages and disadvantages. Questions with overtones ... The youth of the designer, his brilliant ideas, the absence of higher education — all this gave rise to rumors that Kalashnikov had looked at his design of the machine gun from some foreign model. Mikhail Timofeevich responded slowly, clearly and specifically. One of the soldiers took out a machine gun-pistol with the words that the specialists could not identify the author of this weapon. It turned out that this is a sample that participated in the competition of the leading designers of the country and was tested in 1943 year. The author is Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov. What he confessed to those gathered in the museum.

From the memoirs of Livadia Georgievich Koryakovtsev, design engineer of the Kalashnikov design bureau:

"Shel 1959 year. I join the team after the institute. I just can't understand why they don’t show me the premises where the majority of the designers work! I could not even imagine that ten people with me - this is the whole team. The whole amount of work on the improvement of the AK-47 and the development of the machine gun were carried out only by them!

Having fairly cooked in the Kalashnikov kitchen, I will understand that the process of maturation is two-way construction: ideas move from designers to Chief and back. How many different solutions and proposals come from everyone trying to prove the correctness of his point of view! But only one makes a decision. He, Kalashnikov, and determines the place of each employee in the team and its promotion. Very often, he responded shortly, quietly, calmly to some of our proposals: “dead construction”, “will not work”, “is very difficult”, “this is not for the soldier”, “not for mass production”. Sometimes they just silently move the drawing aside and start doing their work. In such cases, it makes no sense to argue, you leave with your head down. But when his eyes were animated, interest flashed in them, and we were lit. Appeared unprecedented creative excitement and lift forces.

The ability to customize all the participants in the development: designers, technologists, production workers, other specialists - this is what Kalashnikov owns in a masterful manner and constantly does it. ”


In 1961, Mikhail Kalashnikov decided to invent a knife, but not a simple one, but a “general”, as he called it. Comfortable, beautiful - for fishing, hunting, picnic. In order not to be ashamed to give to the guests, who are often in Izhmash. 16 items in one small product - even a toothpick!

Together with the designer Vladimir Krupin, 10 made the first knife version for days: the handle was lined with a deer horn, you could see your reflection on the blade.

A copy of the number 1 presented to the Minister of Defense of the USSR with the inscription: “From the team of Izhmash. In total several samples were made, one of them was presented to Brezhnev - then to the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, when he arrived at the enterprise. Mikhail Kalashnikov accompanied the distinguished guest, and the knife was later to bring Krupin. An unusual gift alerted the guard of Brezhnev. Krupina detained, demanded an explanation. He replied that Kalashnikov’s gift to others cannot be ...

The future general secretary was happy like a child: a knife from the chief designer, with a dedication.

No more of these knives were made, over time, the drawings were lost.

Retired Colonel Nikolai Shklyaev has been working with Kalashnikov for forty years. In 1959, he was seconded to Izhevsk as a military representative, under his command were military facilities of Udmurtia, Kirov and Chelyabinsk regions. For the last thirteen years, the colonel has been the first assistant and referent of the celebrated designer:

“I first heard about the designer when I served in Germany. The newspaper "Red Star" was a small note about the designer of the AK-47 and AKM. And in 1954, the regiment where I served, AK-47 entered service. About the author was very scant information, it seems, I did not even know that he works in Izhevsk.

I met already here, on Izhmash. Kalashnikov developed and handed over his weapons to us, and we either approved his samples or returned them for revision with comments. Of course, disagreements happened. Mikhail Timofeevich and his associates zealously defended their projects, and I and my officers essentially held “for each letter” of the technical conditions. It used to be that they were arguing the whole working week, and at the weekend they were joking around the lake, enjoying the taste of perch soup ...

Now our working day with Mikhail Timofeevich begins with an acquaintance with the letters received. They send from all over Russia, from the former Soviet republics, from far abroad. Many inventive, rationalization proposals often ask for an interview or a shooting, namesakes usually cope with the relatives of the famous designer, and foreigners are fixated on autographs.

Every letter must be answered without fail. Especially thoroughly and intelligibly it is necessary to formulate the answers to amateur inventors. Almost every one of them thinks that he invented such a thing that did not reach even one mind in the world! Nevertheless, Mikhail Timofeevich demands to answer delicately in order not to offend a person. We ourselves have not been doing substantive design work lately, since there are no technical assignments for the Kalashnikov weapons class. But we are keenly interested in new products in this area, we are trying to keep track of the literature on weapons. ”
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