August 25, 2010Did Schmeisser Design the Kalashnikov?
Compiled by Gary G
When did the Russians ever invent anything?
If Kalashnikov was a real gun designer, how come in his long career he never invented anything that wasn't based on his "original" system.
After WWII, as General Designer of small arms for the Soviet Army, his design subordinates included the Germans Hugo Schmeisser, designer of the StG-44, and Werner Grüner (of MG 42 fame) who was a pioneer in sheet metal embossing technology in the 1950s.
Beyond Mikhail Kalashnikov's 2009 admission that Hugo Schmeisser "helped" design the famous AK-47, which strongly resembles Schmeisser's StG44, little is known of Schmiesser's life during this period, until 1952 when he and other German specialists returned home to Germany.
On April 3, 1945, American troops began to occupy the city of Suhl. Weapons manufacturing was completely prohibited during this time. Hugo Schmeisser and his brother Hans were interrogated for weeks by weapon expert teams of the American and British Secret services. At the end of June 1945, American troops evacuated Suhl and all of Thuringia. One month later, the Red Army assumed control over the area, starting a civilian works project to manufacture weapons for the Soviet Union. By August 1945, the Red Army had created 50 StG44s from existing assembly parts, and had begun inspecting their design. 10,785 sheets of technical designs were confiscated by the Soviets as part of their research. In October 1945, Schmeisser was forced to work for the Red Army and instructed to continue development of new weapons.
Schmeisser's brilliance continued to impress the Red Army, and he, along with other weapons designers and their families, were relocated to the USSR. On October 24, 1946, the German specialists rode a train to Izhevsk in the southern Ural Mountains, where a center of Russian firearms development was located. Schmeisser's work while in Izhevsk (1946-1952) is shrouded in darkness.
Beyond Mikhail Kalashnikov's 2009 admission that Schmeisser "helped" design the famous AK-47, which strongly resembles Schmeisser's StG44, little is known of his life during this period, until 1952 when he and other German specialists returned home to Germany. With short notice, his stay in the Soviet Union was extended beyond that of the other weapon specialists by a half year. He finally returned home on June 9, 1952. Schmeisser died on 12 September 1953, and was buried in Suhl.
While the name of Hugo Schmeisser is known internationally, it is unknown to most Germans. The 50th anniversary of his death was honored by a ceremony held in Suhl, as he is recognized as one of the most important technical designers of infantry weapons of the 20th century.
More on Schmeisser
Comment by Jim:
Good comparative insight regarding the origins and design of these two weapons. If you set one of each side by side, break them down and look closely you'll immediately recognize that the AK-47 is a plagiarized design based on the [Nazi] StG-44.
Article revolves on common mistake based on STG44's similar appearance with AK47. These weapons are similar only by appearance and being gas piston powered assault rifles. There are differences. For example STG uses tilting bolt, when AK uses rotating bolt, Also recoil spring is different, and trigger mechanism of Kalashnikov is from American M1-Garand. AK47's design is inspirated from STG but weapon itself is just not the copy of STG.
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Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at