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Old 06-20-2011, 07:02 AM   #1
Feuer Frei!
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Default The AK-47. How much does it owe to German Design? A LOT!

Ever thought about this? I have, here's the Deal:

Cartridge
In 1943 the USSR made the short M43 (7.62 x 39 mm) as a basis for a new weapon. / In the mid-1930s, the Germans began developing smaller rounds. In 1938, Polte Werke developed a 7.92 x33 mm round the Heereswaffenamt (Armaments Ministry) accepted and designated the 7.92 mm PP Kurz.

Concept
The idea of combining the features of a submachinegun and a bolt-action rifle was German. It came about from the realisation that modern mobile combat tended to present targets at ranges nearer than 300m, for which the standard rifle and its round were over-powered. This hybrid concept naturally lent itself to the incorporation of the now-ubiquitous fire selector switch. This feature was first introduced by Hugo Schmeisser, in 1924, as an upgrade to the MP18. / The idea to copy a clever, innovative design that decimated their soldiers was Russian.

Design Submission
In 1945 (or 46—sources differ), the USSR held a contest to design an automatic assault rifle using the M43 round. In 1946 (or 47—sources differ), designers led by Mikhail Kalashnikov submitted the AK-47. In 1949 it was adopted by the Soviet Army. / In 1939, the Heereswaffenamt issued a contract for competitive development of a Maschinenkarabiner (machine carbine, MKb), chambered for the new Kurz cartridge. Hugo Schmeisser headed the design team at Haenel that produced the prototype MKb 42 in 1942. A limited run of 8,000 units was then produced for field testing and issued to Ostfront troops. The Heereswaffenamt selected it for development over a Walther candidate in 1943. After minor design modifications, the resulting MP43 (later renamed MP44, then StG44) went into full production.

Receiver
Although the initial production run attempted to copy the German stamped sheet metal receiver, this process could not be mastered, and production was switched over to machining the receiver from a 4 lb block of steel into the 1.5 lb finished component. The revised model, AKM, which came on line in 1959, simplified production by re-introducing stamped sheet-metal. / The Germans had incorporated this stamping concept—proven in previous weapons—into their StG44 design from the outset (1943).

Gas Piston
The gas system and layout of the Sturmgewehr 44 were copied. The AK-47’s gas piston stroke is 50% longer than necessary, giving it the capability to overcome fouling or lack of lubrication. / The StG44 gas drive utilises a long-stroke piston.

High Tolerance Concept
Kalashnikov claimed credit for developing the concept of high tolerance, or loose fit, in which the gas piston and bolt carrier’s parts fit loosely in the receiver, making the mechanism less susceptible to jamming owing to carbon build-up, lack of lubrication, rust, dirt or mud. But, in fact, Alexey Sudayev had previously incorporated this principle into his AS-44. / According to C.J. Chivers in the Gun, the AS-44 is a blatant knock-off of the StG44, so it can be surmised that it featured this concept. However, the Germans definitely incorporated this concept into their MG42 design from the outset, when they decided to replace the MG34 specifically because its precision engineered, low tolerance parts were too prone to jamming. And there is no doubt whatever that captured MG42s were closely scrutinised, nullifying any claim of Soviet invention in this regard.

Trigger
The trigger, double locking lugs and unlocking raceway were copied from the US M1 Garand.

Banana Magazine
The AK-47 borrowed this design from the AS-44. It more ergonomically fit the stubby short rounds, thereby reducing jamming. / Again, if the StG44 magazine was not copied directly, it’s copy, the AS-44 certainly was.

The Master Himself
Any lingering doubt ought to be quashed with one last little fact. Herr Schmeisser, who headed the design team at Haenel that produced the prototype MKb 42, and, after the Heereswaffenamt selected it for development, its offspring, the StG44, was one of the German scientists/engineers scooped up by the Soviets in the Operation Paperclip sweep.

Popular Mechanics in 2010 gave, albeit some credit to the German StG44.

Point in case:


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Old 06-20-2011, 07:41 AM   #2
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The comparison is pretty famous. AFAIK the AK-47 is not a clone of the StG 44, there are substantial differences between them, but its final design was indeed heavily influenced by it.

However...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feuer Frei! View Post
Concept
The idea of combining the features of a submachinegun and a bolt-action rifle was German. It came about from the realisation that modern mobile combat tended to present targets at ranges nearer than 300m, for which the standard rifle and its round were over-powered. This hybrid concept naturally lent itself to the incorporation of the now-ubiquitous fire selector switch. This feature was first introduced by Hugo Schmeisser, in 1924, as an upgrade to the MP18. / The idea to copy a clever, innovative design that decimated their soldiers was Russian.
Not true. The concept of what is now the assault rifle was developed even before World War I, and as far as I know the Germans did not have such designs until much later. The first weapon introduced into service that fit is the Russian Fedorov Avtomat in 1915, a weapon which had a relatively low power rifle cartridge (6.5x50mm Arisaka, though Fedorov's original design included a specially designed cartridge) and included such features as a detachable magazine and selective fire.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:54 AM   #3
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Parts of the design were also borrowed from the M1 Rifle and Carbine and the Browning designed Remington Model 8.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:01 AM   #4
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Well it was a good rifle, put it together with some other ideas the Germans didn't have, or put in it within the few years they worked on it. You have a very good rifle, and as we see with the 47, reliable gun. (though i think the 44 looks better)

Though id also say that the FG 42 was the closer to the first assault rifle.

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Old 06-20-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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[/QUOTE]Not true. The concept of what is now the assault rifle was developed even before World War I, and as far as I know the Germans did not have such designs until much later. The first weapon introduced into service that fit is the Russian Fedorov Avtomat in 1915, a weapon which had a relatively low power rifle cartridge (6.5x50mm Arisaka, though Fedorov's original design included a specially designed cartridge) and included such features as a detachable magazine and selective fire.[/QUOTE]

Got to agree with you here there where Russian gun designers working on the assault rifle concept before anyone else.Also the Germans and the Soviets both began studies of combat actions as early as late 1941 and they both came to the same conclusions by and large one of them being the development of an intermediate powered round and the need for a weapon that would fire them and take the best features of the sub machine gun and the rifle that idea became the modern assault rifle.The Soviets where developing assault rifle concepts during the war they just never came to fruition until later.

The AK-47 and the STG 44 happen to look very similar from an external glance and many people like to assume that the AK-47 is largely a copy of the 44 when in all reality it truly only uses some of the concepts.Also many features on the STG 44 where not new either there where several weapons already employing curved magazines before the STG the Bren gun is an excellent example but not the only one.

Also in the end most firearms borrow concepts from previous designs but the STG 44~AK-47 being a major copy is not true and there are other weapons where this is very much the case with the AK-47 it is not.

I have never understood why where something is Russian designed and has concepts from other designs(something everyone does) people want to point out how much of a copy it is.But you dont see this so much if the design comes from some place other than Russia but is obviously a copy or uses design concepts from others. Did you know that the Panther was largely inspired by the T-34? In fact one German firms entry to the competition that the Panther won was a more or less exact copy of the T-34.Or that the Germans copied largely the SVT-40 ending in the G43? I am not Russian by the way but I am a fan of being fair and seeing things for what they are.

There is a book called "The Gun" about the AK-47 in which the author takes an unbiased view of the AK-47 and Kalashnikov.The author explains much about the design process of the AK but also explains how much of it is mythology that was common in USSR times and still lingers some bit with the AK-47.No doubt that they studied STG 44s while designing the AK-47 did they use concepts from it yes did they pound for pound copy it no.

Here are two weapons that are also very similar from an external view and obviously use concepts found on most assault rifles/firearms they both are quite different internally they perform the same basic function but that is truly not copying.IF one says this then all assault rifles are copies.

http://world.guns.ru/userfiles/image...as33/vz58p.jpg

http://world.guns.ru/userfiles/image...s01/ak47_3.jpg

I'd say that the FG42 was one of the first examples of what a poorly designed assault rifle is(mainly because it was too expensive to mass produce and fired full powered rounds and that magazine placement) and the STG 44 is an example of what a well designed AR is.

The FG42 has a "twin" as well the M1941 Johnson machine gun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1941_Johnson_machine_gun look how similar to the FG42 but it came out a bit eralier a great of example of guns using the same concepts as others but not truly being copies.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:09 PM   #6
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the picture you posted is a typical abuse and hoax. Stg is either made smaller or AK-47 is made bigger. When you compare these two somewhere else, AK-47 looks like a toy.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:27 PM   #7
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Stg 44 37" length

AK-47 34" length

3" is not that much.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealhead View Post
I'd say that the FG42 was one of the first examples of what a poorly designed assault rifle is(mainly because it was too expensive to mass produce and fired full powered rounds and that magazine placement) and the STG 44 is an example of what a well designed AR is.
How can it be a poorly designed assault rifle when it wasn't an assault rifle at all? The FG-42 was intended to be an all-inclusive paratrooper weapon that could serve as a rifle, SMG and light machine gun.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:37 PM   #9
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I can agree with you here the FG42 is not truly an AR(from our modern concept) but if you put into that category it is a poor one but it was trying to perform the same role that an AR does (the light MG is ill advised but other AR also tried to fill this) so I see no foul in calling an AR.You will also see it found in most every technical source or book listed as an AR even Ian V. Hogg one of the leading firearms/military equipment writers of his time classifies the FG42 as an AR.I know that the weapon was supposed to fill multiple roles for paratroops but by and large any weapon that attempts to combine the roles of an SMG and a rifle can be considered an AR or you could call it an OCTFTMRFPKEW:Overly Complex Attempting To Fill Too Many Roles For Paratroopers Kinetic Energy Weapon if you want to.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:39 PM   #10
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I though the concept was introduced by this?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondrag%C3%B3n_rifle
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:43 PM   #11
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IIRC, Kalashnikov denies that the sturmgewehr 44 influenced his design.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:53 PM   #12
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He also denies that anyone or anything influenced his design which is obviously a lie.According to that "The Gun" book that I mentioned the author stated that there is no assessable information as to whether or not Schmeisser ever worked directly on the AK-47 but they where never at the same location for any period of time.The AK-47 is a gun like any other gun it uses design concepts from previous designs and incorporates them it seems different with the AK because the AK has such a pop culture aura about it.He did find strong evidence that the late Degtyaryov designer of the DP-28 and the DHSK among others had much influence on the final prototypes.




There is some evidence that Kalashnikov was not the true brains behind the AK-47 but that the weapon was a combination of many different concepts and different individuals but Soviet culture being what it was Mr.Kalashnikov became the poster child because he fit the Soviet ideal of a person to "glorify" which the USSR very much wanted to do in the case of the AK because no one else had such a weapon in mass production like it at that time period(early 50s')
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealhead View Post
I can agree with you here the FG42 is not truly an AR(from our modern concept) but if you put into that category it is a poor one but it was trying to perform the same role that an AR does (the light MG is ill advised but other AR also tried to fill this) so I see no foul in calling an AR.You will also see it found in most every technical source or book listed as an AR even Ian V. Hogg one of the leading firearms/military equipment writers of his time classifies the FG42 as an AR.I know that the weapon was supposed to fill multiple roles for paratroops but by and large any weapon that attempts to combine the roles of an SMG and a rifle can be considered an AR or you could call it an OCTFTMRFPKEW:Overly Complex Attempting To Fill Too Many Roles For Paratroopers Kinetic Energy Weapon if you want to.
The FG-42 can't really be placed into a specific weapon category, because it was only designed to solve a specific problem. Since the Germans had a terrible system for executing combat drops, their weapons had to be airdropped separately and were often not available when needed (See Battle of Crete), so they developed a weapon which could fulfill the roles of all traditional infantry weapons, even if not ideally. If you look at it from that context, it makes sense. For example, it's difficult to produce in large quantities, but that's not such a big problem because it was only intended to be issued to paratroopers, not to dozens of army divisions.

It had its flaws, of course, but you can't really label it as a failed assault rifle as it wasn't designed to be an assault rifle in the first place, even if it does have similarities to one.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:14 PM   #14
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Another reason the FG-42 fails to meet AR requirements is its ammo. AR dont use full sized rifle cartridges but intermediate I always was told.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:18 PM   #15
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This being the Internet it is essential to ascribe all things German as engineering marvels from which the rest of the world can only produce inferior copies. Such too is the frequent editorial stance of technical bibles like Popular Mechanics magazine.

You know, the same people who every decade predict the flying car?

It doesn't matter; German weapons, ships, planes, soldiers, leadership and blah, blah, blah all worshipped as superior to all else and the root of everybody successful designs.

Never mind the external and internal similarities between the original AK-47 and the much earlier SVT-40 that was in large scale service with Soviet Naval Infantry before Barbarossa. (I have owned and used both)

Never mind that in engineering similar problems tend to result in similar solutions and this is seldom more true than in the field of military hardware.

This is an existential discussion akin to the question of how many angels can swim in the head of a beer. Those who are already convinced of the superiority of all things German will just ignore the vast amount evidence to the contrary while seeking refuge in semantics and the splitting of hairs.
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