I have been to … the Artillery Museum, St Petersburg: The Kalashnikov ExhibitPosted: August 12, 2013
It is said that the most well-known brand in the world is McDonalds … but I suspect that the most well-know name in the world is probably Kalashnikov.
Mikhail Kalashnikov was born in Kuria on 10th November 1919. After training as a tank driver/mechanic in the Kiev special military district, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and posted to be a tank commander in the 108th Tank Division. During a battle near Briansk in September 1941 he was seriously wounded and sent to hospital to recover. It was whilst he was there that he conceived the design of his automatic weapon, a 7.62mm submachine gun.
His first design proved too complicated, but he persisted and designed a second, modified submachine gun whilst he was in the training workshops at the Moscow Aviation Institute, which had been evacuated to the city of Alma-Ata.
This submachine gun was not introduced into service with the Russian Army, but its design attracted the attention of General-Major of Artillery A A Blagonravov, a leading Soviet ballistics and small-arms specialist. He arranged for Kalashnikov to be transferred to the Central Research Small Arms Range at the Main Artillery Administration, where he remained for the rest of his service.
Kalashnikov’s most famous weapon design is without doubt the AK47 assault rifle.
It first became operational in the Soviet Army in 1949, and soon afterwards Kalashnikov received the Stalin Prize in recognition of his work. It was the first of numerous awards that Kalashnikov has been given during his career.
Since then the rifle and its derivative designs have been manufactured in over sixty countries and it remains in front-line service across the world. The exhibit contains examples of the many variants and derivative designs that have been manufactured as well as examples of other firearms design by Kalashnikov.
The exhibit also contains Kalashnikov’s personal UAZ-3151 car, his tarpaulin tent, and the camp-fire set he used when hunting.