- What is this?
- History of terminology. The first machine in the world
- Assault rifles of the Russian Empire. Prerequisites for their creation
- Begin development
- New cartridge of Vladimir Grigorievich Fedorov
- WWI weapons
- Assault rifles of the Soviet Union
- Intermediate Chuck
- Project selections
- Kalashnikov's invention
An assault rifle is a weapon without which it is now impossible to imagine the work of any power structure, and not only in the vastness of our vast Motherland. It is an integral part of the equipment of infantry and air force fighters. Such a wide distribution of automatic machines was facilitated by their ease and productivity in use. But before becoming one of the most versatile types of weapons, these products have come a long and difficult way. Such a chain of inventions, upgrades and improvements originates during the First World War, when the very first machine gun appeared. The history of these weapons in Russia consists of two main chapters: samples of Tsarist Russia and models of Soviet Russia. In order to understand what the difference between the weapons of these eras is, you need to find out what is called a machine gun today.
What is this?
Next, we'll look at who invented the first submachine gun, a hand-held weapon capable of single shots or high-density rapid bursts of fire. It self-reloads and continues to fire if the trigger is held down. Distinctive features of modern modelsserve: the use of an intermediate cartridge, a large capacity of a replaceable magazine, the ability to fire bursts, as well as a comparative lightness and compactness.
History of terminology. The first machine in the world
If you pronounce the word "automatic" in Europe, in most cases it will be misunderstood, since this concept is used to refer to a variety of weapons only in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Similar weapons in foreign countries may be understood as "automatic carbine" or "assault rifle", based on the length of the barrel.
When did the first machine appear? For the first time in history, this term was applied to a rifle designed by Vladimir Fedorov in 1916. The name was proposed by Nikolai Filatov four years after the creation of the weapon itself. Back in 1916, the first machine gun in the world was known as a submachine gun, and was adopted as a 2.5-line Fedorov rifle. In the Soviet Union, submachine guns began to be called that, and in 1943, after the creation of an intermediate Soviet-style cartridge, the name was given to the weapon that we know by the word "automatic" today.
Assault rifles of the Russian Empire. Prerequisites for their creation
The military of the beginning of the 20th century understood the need for the production and introduction of a new type of weapon. It was obvious that the future lay with automatic models, so the first firearms began to be developed during this period. A clear advantage of such a weapon was its speed: reloading was not required, which means thatthe shooter did not have to break away from the target. The task was to create a relatively light weapon, individual for each fighter, which would use less powerful cartridges than rifles.
With the outbreak of the First World War, the issue of weapons arose especially acutely. Everyone understood that weapons with rifle cartridges (with a bullet range of up to 3500 meters) are used mainly for close attacks, consuming excess gunpowder and metal, and also reducing the ammunition of the military. The development of the first machines was carried out around the world, Russia was no exception. One of the developers who took part in such experiments was Vladimir Grigoryevich Fedorov.
The first Fedorov assault rifles were created at a time when the First World War was in full swing, but Fedorov was engaged in his development of new weapons back in 1906. Before the start of the war, the state stubbornly refused to recognize the need to create new weapons, so gunsmiths in Russia had to act independently, without any support. The first attempt was to modernize the well-known three-line Mosin rifle and turn it into a new, automatic one. Fedorov understood that it would be very difficult to adapt this weapon, but the huge number of rifles in service played a role.
The developed project of the first Russian machine gun eventually showed how unpromising this idea was - the Mosin rifle was simply not suitable for alterations. After the first failure, Fedorov, together withDegtyarev plunges into the development of a completely new original design. In 1912, automatic rifles appeared using the standard 1889 cartridge of the year, that is, 7.62 mm caliber, and a year later they developed weapons for a new, specially designed 6.5 mm caliber cartridge.
New cartridge of Vladimir Grigorievich Fedorov
It was the idea of creating a cartridge of less power that served as the first step towards the appearance of an intermediate cartridge, which is used in our time in automatic weapons. Why is there such an urgent need to introduce new ammunition, if weapons are traditionally designed for a cartridge put into service? Extreme cases require extreme measures. The Russian army needed a machine gun.
Vladimir Grigoryevich Fedorov sees that the shortcomings of the three-line cartridge - the rim and excessive power - hang like a dead weight, hindering development. Cartridges made for rifles cannot be used in machine guns due to their strength. Their excessive power provokes strong recoil and makes it difficult to conduct accurate fire, creating an unacceptably large spread of bullets. In addition, the same mechanism of the machine gun has to constantly work at its maximum loads, which leads to a quick failure of the weapon.
To solve the problems, it was decided to develop a completely new cartridge, lightweight, but providing enough power. The ammunition on which the gunsmiths settled was a 6.5 mm pointed bullet and a cartridge case withoutprotruding rim. The new cartridge weighed 8.5 grams, had an initial bullet speed of 850 m / s and a muzzle energy reduced by 20-25% relative to the rifle. According to modern parameters, such a cartridge could not yet be called intermediate, since it had too much energy. Rather, it is a modified rifle cartridge with a smaller caliber and reduced recoil. The cartridge of Vladimir Grigorievich Fedorov successfully passed all the tests, but was not released into mass production - the war prevented.
Russia was sure that its weapons stocks would be enough for any war, but with the outbreak of World War I, the state clearly realized how acute the issue of developing and introducing a new type of weapon was. Unfortunately, all the weapons factories were overwhelmed with orders, so any opportunity to establish a fundamentally new production was completely excluded.
To reduce the urgent need for weapons, Russia began to purchase Japanese Arisaka rifles, which were supplied with 6.5 mm cartridges. Vladimir Grigoryevich Fedorov urgently begins to remake his invention for new Japanese cartridges, to which he had access, and as a result submits his already full-fledged machine gun to the commission.
The machines of the First World War are very different from modern ones. Technically, they did not use intermediate cartridges. Therefore, under the modern term "automatic" they do not fit. But it was from this moment - with the invention of the first machine gun in Russia by Fedorov - that one of the mostcommon weapons in the world. In 1916, after successfully passing all the tests, Russia adopted this model.
The first use of the new device in combat operations was made on the Romanian front, where companies of submachine gunners were purposefully formed, as well as in a special team of the 189th Izmail regiment. The decision to form an order for the production of twenty-five thousand machine guns for supplying the army was made at the end of 1916. The first obstacle on the way was a mistake in choosing a contractor for this important order. It was given to a private company, which never started its implementation, as the economic war inside the country was already gaining momentum.
By the time the order for the production of a batch of Fedorov assault rifles was transferred to the Sestroretsk plant, a revolution had begun in Russia. With the collapse of Tsarist Russia, this enterprise ended up on the border with Finland, which did not seek to maintain friendly relations with Soviet Russia, and therefore, the question arose of transferring weapons production from Sestroretsk to Kovrov, which also did not help speed up the execution of the order. As a result, the release of the machine gun into mass production was pushed back to 1919, and by 1924, the development of machine guns, unified with the invention of Fedorov, began.
The Red Army used the machine gun of Vladimir Grigorievich until 1928. During this period, the military put forward new requirements for infantry weapons - the possibility of defeating armored vehicles. Bullet caliber 6.5 mminferior to the rifle, the stocks of cartridges purchased in Japan during the First World War were coming to an end, creating our own production seemed uneconomical. These factors overlapped each other, and it was decided to remove the Fedorov assault rifle from production. Despite the fact that this weapon was practically forgotten over time, Vladimir Grigorievich forever went down in history as the man who invented the first machine gun.
Assault rifles of the Soviet Union
The plan of Vladimir Grigorievich Fedorov, which consisted in reducing the power of the cartridge, could only be carried out in the USSR, when the volleys of the Second World War died down. Post-war automatic weapons developed in two directions: rifles (automatic and self-loading) and submachine guns. In the forties, the West had already developed the first weapon that allowed the use of reduced power cartridges, the Soviet Union did not want to lag behind in anything. As active European models, the German MKb.42 and the American M1 self-loading carbine were in the hands of the Union.
Authorities decide to immediately develop a lightweight interim cartridge and the latest weapons capable of making the most efficient use of such ammunition.
Intermediate is a cartridge used in firearms. The power of such ammunition is less than that of a rifle, but more than that of a pistol. The intermediate cartridge is much lighter and more compact than the rifle cartridge, which allows you to increase the wearableammunition of a soldier, as well as significantly save gunpowder and metal in production. The Soviet Union began the development of a new weapon complex focused on the use of an intermediate cartridge. The main goal was to provide the infantry with weapons that allow them to attack the enemy at distances exceeding the performance of submachine guns.
Taking into account the goals set, the designers began to develop new types of cartridges. At the end of the autumn of 1943, information on the drawings and specifications of the new cartridge model of Semin and Elizarov was sent to all organizations specializing in the development of small arms. Such ammunition weighed 8 grams and consisted of a pointed bullet (7.62 mm), bottle casing (41 mm) and a lead core.
The use of the new cartridge was planned not only for machine guns, but also for self-loading carbines or weapons with manual reloading. The first design that attracted everyone's attention was the invention of Sudayev - AS. This machine has passed the stage of refinement, after which a limited series was released and military tests of the new weapon were carried out. Based on their results, a verdict was issued on the need to reduce the mass of the sample.
After making adjustments to the main list of requirements, the development competition was held again. Now the young sergeant Kalashnikov participated in it with his project. In total, sixteen draft designs of automatic machines were announced in the competition, among which the commission selected ten for subsequentimprovements. Only six were allowed to make prototypes, and only five models were produced in metal. Among those selected, there was not a single one that could fully meet the requirements. The first Kalashnikov assault rifle did not meet the requirements for accuracy of fire, so development continued.
By May 1947, Mikhail Timofeevich presented an already modified version of his product - AK-46 No. 2. The first Kalashnikov assault rifle had many differences from what we are used to calling AK today: the arrangement of automation parts, the reload handle, the fuse, the fire translator. This sample was presented in two versions: Ak-46№2 with a permanent wooden stock designed for infantry use, and AK-46№3 with a folding metal butt - a version for paratroopers.
Kalashnikov assault rifles at this stage of the competition took only third place, losing to models designed by Bulkin and Dementiev. The commission again recommended that the weapons be finalized, and the next stage of testing was scheduled for August 1947. The designers of the machine - Mikhail Kalashnikov and Alexander Zaitsev - decided not to modify, but to completely rework the weapon. This step paid off. AK-47 left its competitors behind and was recommended for mass production.
The Kalashnikov assault rifle passed military tests and was accepted for mass production, despite the fact that complaints about the accuracy of fire were still relevant. The solution was this:eliminate in parallel without delaying the release of the series. In 1949, on June 18, the first machine gun of the USSR, developed by Kalashnikov, was put into service in accordance with the order of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Its release was carried out simultaneously in two versions: with a wooden and folding mechanical butt. Thus, the weapon was suitable for use by both infantry and airborne troops.
Since 1949, the Kalashnikov assault rifle has undergone more than one modernization to come to the way we know it today. The fact that the emergence of new types of weapons did not make him give up his positions clearly demonstrates how great this invention was. Many countries appreciated it.