Mihail Kalasnikov is admitting he was "helped" by the German inventor and arms maker Hugo Schmeisser to create the AK-47 assault rifle
-- The German inventor developed the first assault weapon Sturmgewehr 44 during WWII. After the end of the war Schmeisser was displaced and forced to work in the Soviet Union
February 17 16:09
Famous Soviet arms builder Mihail Kalasnikov recently acknowledged he didn't worked alone at the design and development of the AK-47 assault rifle, but he benefited from the help of Hugo Schmeisser, the most prolific small arms inventor of the Third Reich. Kalashnikov and Schmeisser meet each other at the small arms factory of Izhevsk, writes Life.ru as quoted by Agerpress, the Romanian national news agency.
According to the Russian historian Aleksei Korobeinikov, Schmeisser arrived in Ijhevsk immediately after the war. The city of Suhl, Schmeisser's hometown in defeated Germany, was situated in the Soviet occupation zone. Schmeisser and another couple of dozens German small arms specialists received from the Soviet occupiers an offer they "couldn't refuse": to work at a Soviet small arms factory in the Urals. How the Soviets were making these types of "generous offers" after the war isn't a secret for anyone anymore. So as a result of the Soviet "proposal" a train with German specialists arrived at Izhevs on October 24th 1946. Together with Schmeisser and his colleagues, the train carried all the blue prints and plans the Soviets could grab from their occupation zone. Truth be told, the Western Allies did exactly the same thing.
Mihail Kalasnikov and Hugo Schmeisser
The Russian experts are claiming that it is pretty hard to determine Hugo Schmeisser contribution to the design and development of the AK-47 assault rifle because all official documents referring to this episode are still classified (gee, I wonder why?) and Schmeisser didn't left behind any kind of memoirs or letters about his life in the Soviet Union.
Referring to this period, Schmeisser evasively said "I gave the Russians some advice".
The German arms maker left behind in Izhevsk only a couple of letters and photographs. The house in which Schmeisser and his colleagues used to live is now in ruins. Aleksandr Ermakov, an employee of the Kalashnikov Museum declares: "only a few letters are in our possession in which Schmeisser is petitioning the Soviet Defense Minister for improving the substandard living conditions, complains about the food and asks for an increase in salary and a travel permit to visit his homeland.
Many historians are claiming Michail Kalashnikov has "stolen" the AK-47 design from the Germans. In opposition, the Russians claim that Schmeisser only role was to implement the new manufacturing technologies for mass producing the new assault rifle.
The assault rifle designed by Hugo Schmeisser during WWII (STG 44 - Sturmgewehr 44, also known as MP 43 and MP 44) looks very similar with the AK-47, designed by Kalasnikov. But the Russians are claiming that the similarities are stopping once you get to look inside the rifle. Kalashnikov is claiming he started work on his design in 1943 and by 1946 his rifle was already in the testing phase. However, denying the German contribution to the mass production of the AK-47 rifle would be a another Soviet lie historians say; it is undeniable that at Ijhevsk, Schmeisser took care of the AK-47 stamped receiver manufacturing process. Moreover, the merit for the mass production of the stamped receiver, the ammunition magazine and other important parts of the rifle are undeniably the product of Schmeisser's efforts.
Translation from Ziua Online by Transsylvania Phoenix
For the naysayers who say comrade Kalashnikov couldn't have been helped by Hugo Schmeisser in the design of his AK-47 rifle because he started working on his project in 1944 and the German inventor only arrived in the Soviet Union in 1946: you forgot a little detail, my friends.
And that is Schmeisser's StG-43/44 was already in service and issued to German troops in 1944. Not coincidentally, it was the same year Kalashnikov started his work on the AK-47.
So here is an easy question for you: on who's desk do you think the first Stg-43/44 captured by the Soviet troops on the battlefield landed once it arrived in the Moscow?
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to guess the answer: the Kalashnikov bureau of reverse engineering, or however the Russkies may have called it at the time.
Edited on December 27, 2013 to add:
Dear readers: although you just discovered this blog just today please keep in mind the article you just read was published in February 2009 so it is five years old (see date at the top). It is my word for word translation from the Romanian newspaper Ziua Online. Ziua Online quoted and linked Life.ru ( a Russian newspaper) as the original source where the article was published first.
However, Ziua Online ceased to exist in January 2010 (see link). The Russian website Life.ru where the original article was published does not have a searchable internet archive going back five years; therefore both the Russian and the Romanian sources are no longer available.
That being said: feel free to approve or disapprove the validity of the arguments made in the article above. Everybody is entitled to have his own opinions in a free country. However, accusing me that I "made up" the claims in the article myself will guarantee the rejection of your comment. Feel free to waste your time.