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Since its adoption by the Soviet Union in 1947 the AK-47 has been seen in every conflict around the world The weapon was used by all communist countries and played a dramatic role in the spread of communism The weapons inventor Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was born on November 10 1919 to a peasant family in Alma-Ata in southeastern Kazakhstan He was enlisted in the Red Army in1938 and displayed natural mechanical talent After basic training he attended a tank driving school and served as a tank commander in Marshal Katukovs First Tank Army in 1941 In September of that year during the battle for Bryansk his tank was hit by a German shell and he was wounded While he lay in a near by hospital he and his comrades shared stories of the front We had only rifles against the Fascists submachine guns Another of his wounded comrades remarked Weve got submachine guns too but the trouble is that there are so few of them Hearing this conversation Kalashnikov thought he could contribute to the war effort by designing weapons for the Red Army The next few years he spent his time studying and designing small arms in the Soviet armaments program One particular project he was working on was an automatic rifle that could fire the 762 x 39mm cartridge This new automatic rifle had to be made reliable in operation compact light weight and simple in design Finally in 1946 Kalashnikov had a working automatic that proved valuable on the testing ranges and was put into production for the Red Army in 1947- Automatic Kalashnikov 1947 or AK-47 Orders to produce the first model of the AK-47 were made to fit the Red Army of World War II Between 1948 and 1951 an estimated five hundred thousand to one million guns were produced A changeover of weapons would occur with the introduction of a second model
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