Developmental History of the AK with Max Popenker

I am very happy to be joined today via Skype by Russian small arms researcher Max Popenker. You may know Max from his nearly 20 years publishing Modern Firearms, one of the original small arms reference web sites. He has also written numerous magazine articles and several books in both Russian and English.

Today, Max is going to discuss the development of the AK and address several questions that are not well understood in the US:

How did a neophyte designer like Kalashnikov produce such an excellent gun? Was he just a fake figurehead created for Soviet propaganda?

How much influence did German engineers have in the design and production of the AK?

When the whole story of the AK is understood – as Max does a great job conveying – lots of things make much more sense. The AK was just one element of a much larger program to create a wholly new small arms system in an intermediate caliber. The SKS, RPD, and AK were adopted as part of this program, filling the roles of infantry carbine, squad automatic weapon, and submachine gun. So settle in and join me for a history lesson from an expert int he subject!

61 Comments

  1. people been saying for years there was no evidence that russia saw any version of or evaluated any version of the stg44, but i always argued against that.

    • The claim they never SAW it is absurd. Did the Germans only equip ninja with them and make sure the ones on the eastern front dissolve in snow?

    • Ussr in years after ww2 did not have technical know-how, how to make reliable direct copy of stg44, even if they directly wanted it !
      Germany at that time, in 30s and 40s was world pioneer in stamped steel.

      Ussr went to thinner sheetmetal steel receiver route, but that was hardened, and not being experienced in that field it costed them many years before adopting improved AKM, switching to ludicrously expensive milling inbetween.
      If that was during war, timeframe and costs would be completely unacceptable.
      Thats another merit of stg, of developing above average working product in such short time (ar15 development anyone?)

      • “(…)experienced in that field it costed them many years before adopting improved AKM, switching to ludicrously expensive milling inbetween.(…)”
        Indeed, even if stamping would work from beginning as intended, time would be needed to rearm with new weapons. Nonetheless, if needed arises, Soviet Union had huge stock-pile of weapons produced during Great Patriotic War, which could be used to arm infantry units – note that while PPSh was inferior in reach to AK, it was still usable in case of land-based war with NATO.
        Wide usage of bombers by Allies was noticed in Soviet Union, combined with atomic weaponry, meaning for Soviet Union urgent need for pursuit aeroplanes able to reach and knock-out before-mentioned bombers. Here some Germans technology was used – namely in form of jet engines. http://www.muzeumlotnictwa.pl/zbiory_sz.php?ido=128&w=a

  2. It appears Russian military was much more open to new concepts and designs than there US counterparts. Garand was a good design, but should have had an intermediate cartridge. US failed to learn lessons from WW1

    • You have to keep in mind that the Russians have always been skilled at designing arms and apparently their procurement hasn’t been hampered by high brass claiming that the stores are full of 7.62x54R, thus ruling out an intermediate cartridge the way it did happen in the USA with the 30-06:)

      And the Russians have never skipped a good idea even if it was developed abroad, for example their application of the design of the Finnish drum magazine used in the Suomi smg.

      • “never skipped a good idea”
        I want to note that M.T.Kalashnikov and other Soviet designers taking part in competition for new avtomat in 1940s, were informed, that they might borrow other’s solution (both of domestic and foreign designer) if they see it fit for their weapons – unlike West counterparts, which needed to care about intellectual property / patent infringements / similar things.

    • Think it was designed to use the .273 but Army wanted .30 as they had a lot of it in stock. At least that is the story I heard for the M1 Garand.

      • Ten round en-bloc magazine in the .276 Pedersen cartridge. Yes, this was the variant initially designed and slated for adoption. .30-06 was the MG round, and production lines were already available for it, and yes, it was in war reserves… although a quarter of that ammunition went to the UK when the U.S. was still a “disinterested neutral” in 1940.

      • .276 Pederson, and MacArthur personally insisted on retaining .30/06 to address what he saw as a logistics quandary, and he was in a position to make that assertion.

        • .276 Pedersen was quashed by MacArthur, ’tis true. The .276 Garand rifle is much more manageable than the heftier .30-06 gas-operated, clip-fed, air-cooled, shoulder-fired M1 rifle we all know and love but don’t have to carry mile after grueling mile. One wonders if the .276 had been adopted if it might have obviated the perceived need for the M1 carbine PDW-avant-la-lettre program to “replace” (augment!) the M1911A1 .45 pistol? For that matter, just as the .30-06 “won” WWII and then was tweaked and made somewhat smaller in size for the T65/ 7.62x51mm foisted on Nato, if a kindred project for the .276 Pedersen might have produced a 7mm cartridge like, say, the 7x49mm or equivalent and might have then given the separate development track for high-velocity, small caliber (HVSC) cartridges like the .222/.223/5.56mm a run for the money? That the U.S. retained two calibers for infantry weapons–5.56mm and 7.62x51mm has persisted, albeit in WWII the desire for commonality with rifle, automatic rifle/BAR, and machine guns indicated the “need” for .30-06s retention…. Along with prodigious quantities of .30 carbine, .45 acp, etc. etc.

          Incidentally, as a Danish American, John Douglas “greatest gun designer in the world” Pedersen spelled his “frozen patronymic” surname “son of Peter” with “sen” so Pedersen.

    • “It appears Russian military was much more open to new concepts and designs than there US counterparts. Garand was a good design, but should have had an intermediate cartridge. US failed to learn lessons from WW1”

      Most North Americans thought the “lesson of WWI” was to double-down on isolationism and avoid messy “foreign entanglements” while the U.S. banksters floated loans to German so Weimar might make good on Versailles-mandated payments to France and England so those nations might pay the interest on the huge loans made from those same banksters!

      Not being critical here, just playing devil’s advocate a bit, but the fact that the Soviet self-loading rifle program of Tokarev and his team (who took over when the shortcomings of the SVT-38 reared up… producing the flawed-if-magnificent SVT-40) failed and instead the very long-in-the-tooth obsolete 19th-century Vintovka Mosina supplemented by cheap Shpagin PPSh41s implied for the Russians that they really, really did need a new suite of small arms!

      For the United States, the war “proved” that the U.S. armed forces possessed the most advanced rifle of the war… And that it could make up for any deficiency in the automatic rifle to boot! The only issue for U.S. planners was how to make the M1s successor make use of machinery and factory equipment designed by John C. Garand, and reduce the squad’s load-out from smg, carbine, automatic rifle, rifle to just one weapon… And so we see the M14 program! Eeesh.

      You are correct: The U.S. saw the Stg44 first-hand and up close and concluded it was just some sort of “product improved” sub-machine gun…

      • It is interesting that in U.S.A. they know about Kurz cartridge they did not decided to pursue idea of intermediate cartridge, but appreciated full-auto weapons chambered for 7,9×57 Mauser cartridge i.e. MG42 and FG42 to point of trying to make own version of MG42 chambered for 7,62×63 (then default cartridge) which resulted in T24 machine gun which proved to be catastrophe reliability-wise and T44 machine gun, which was crucial in development of (generally disliked) M60 machine gun.
        On the other hand Soviet Union did decided to pursue intermediate cartridge to even greater extent that Germans did – note that Soviet cartridge was from very beginning as ammunition to be used not only in individual weapons (carbines/rifles) but also what might be called squad automatic weapon i.e. machine gun for intermediate cartridge (RPD). German universal machine guns (MG34 and MG42) were examined in Soviet Union, but did not resulted in any serious further development of that weapons, even despite ability to make use of Werner Gruner knowledge. Moreover no urgent need for developing universal machine gun was detected – development of such weapon would commence in second half of 1950s and result in PK. In immediate postwar era, it was considered as satisfactory to have Goryunov machine gun (SG) and Degtyarov with belt-feed kit (RP-46).

    • It could stem from doctrine, because US in ww2 inflicted many casualties on its enemies with weapons above the simple rifle (aviation etc. not to mention big old fat boy and other”atomics”, enormous money was spent on that), but in Ussr it was a different story, of course being so lo tech infantry driven they could not avoid suffering great casualties themselves (in comparison to US in ww2, where they were minute). Also, Ussr was keenly interested in spreading the happy socialist family with brute force (Finland, Poland? etc.), and regular soldier in numbers, armed with reliable and effective rifle was most important for that project. Later when they could not do it directly, in decolonisation process, they shipped AKs as a tool for revolution. If the atom bomb was never invented, most likely you would have direct confrontation between two blocks in Europe maybe even already few years after 1945. and that would be a real horror among half ruined Europe (some german troops in the west believed it even then, thats why so many of them simply surrendered on that front).

      So, US decided wisely its main war tool was not simple rifle, which backfired somewhat in good ol’ Nam, where configuration of terrain and elusive enemy forced them in infantry battles, which they started to lose, at least in some percent due to imperfect small arms not suited for the job.

    • I watched it couple of years ago, but not lately. I came to realisation this is a major political tool, which is not without flaws. But yes, Russia should keep on ding this, if for no other reason than to teach young generation what it took to preserve the country. They may need this lesson in the future.

      Ya pozdravlyayu vsekh Russkikh s dnyom pobedy!
      I congratulate al Russians to victory day!

  3. This discussion should have come at least 10 years ago. But, on the other hand, lots of ‘knowledgeable’ authors on soviet small arms already wrote their books and earned couple bucks on it. Funny, isn’t it?

    Interesting to hear level of cooperation on part of German engineers stationed in Izhevsk. If they were not much of use, at least they had chance to learn cursing in Russian language 🙂

    • “Funny, isn’t it?”
      [M.T.Kalashnikov]: Make weapon which is compilation of mechanisms various known weapons, among others M1 Garand (locking), Remington Model 8 (Remington’s safety -> AK’s selector), ZH-29 (trigger details), but not any Hugo Schmeisser’s creations.
      [Some U.S. gun-writers active during Cold War era]: That is copy of Sturmgewehr. Its designer is copycat.
      Ironic.

      • Anti-soviet propaganda and the already beaten Nazis were made bigger than they were to make the victory that much more victorious and glorious. Those slavic subhuman unwashed commies were of course not able to design something themselves without help from the superiour Übermensch-Nazi-engineer. Yes, there certainly still is a western european snobby attitude towards eastern europe to this day , that the USA inherited. Also the during WW2 best friends instantly turned into enemies of all of mankind, freedom, liberty, democracy etc. etc. after the war of course. Not that Stalin ever has been a particularly good person.

        • Compared to the Kalashnikov design, the Haenel machine carbine system seems overcomplicated, to put it mildly.

          Also, the Haenel design isn’t really tolerant of too many changes in either dimension or material spec. As with the late-production StG-44, of which the British small arms intel operation noted that it could be disabled by simply leaning it against something and letting it fall over, due to the poor quality of the sheet metal in the stampings.

          This may explain why the postwar HK 91 series rifles are so over-engineered. At least one account has it that African nation troops used to open crates of supplies secured with typical steel strapping by using the barrels of their G3s as crowbars. And it’s true that G3s will continue to work after abuse such as being run over by jeeps, etc., that would reduce a FAL to post-modernist “sculpture”.

          cheers

          eon

          • “Compared to the Kalashnikov design, the Haenel machine carbine system”
            Also it is worth noting that Kalashnikov one is simply physically smaller. Which should be not surprising taking in account M.T.Kalashnikov service inside (cramped by modern standards) 1940s tanks.

          • Ive heard a story from ex soldier, obviously not a gun researcher, but more of a layperson, that claimed and measured quality of Uzi smg being in that once he and his buddies used the disassembled barrel as a rod for car jack, when they blew a tire on a jeep. And by his words quality being in that it supposedly shot just precisely as it did before.
            Now, are these judgements valid…

        • Sadly, certain perceptions will not change until next (and possibly last) sorting out. Btw. it is not just Russians, who are in minds of many in the West, still considered inferior.

          • The funny thing is that Russians are only considered inferior until we really get our scare on, and then they transform into superhumans who are capable of hacking into anything and of knocking over elections with a propaganda feather.

          • The parallels with the one of the many NSDAP contradictions are inescapable:

            “The Germans [WASP Americans] are the superior Aryan master race…
            Those inferior Jooz [Ruskies/Muzzies/Chinese] are crafty and are preying upon us / threatening us/ stabbing us in the back, and will annihilate us; unless you support [name and his policies] for furher…”

            Add to that, Gustav Schmoller’s gushing; “Furhership is a state of constant divine revelation”

            and the stage is set to receive a big learning experience from Nemesis, goddess of divine retribution.

        • “superiour Übermensch-Nazi-engineer. Yes, there certainly still is a western european snobby attitude towards eastern europe to this day , that the USA inherited.”
          I though such today such individuals are ridiculed as Wehraboo, with that word denoting people saying “Nazi tech best tech”, however maybe I do not understand that term correctly?

        • That is a product of internet era discussions in my opinion, I dont think in 50-60s anybody in the “west” was attacking the “AK47” from “nazi” Sturmgewehr point of view (like publicly glorifying Stg above Ak), or with any other german ww2 products and wunderwaffen,
          main confrontation was between US and USSR made stuff (like space program etc.) And with lack of information between them (which in russian side persists to this day, or maybe will forever?), some feats on both sides seemed mystified and phenomenal.

          • “mystified and phenomenal.”
            What I could say? Some journalists (or maybe I should say “so-called journalists”) acted in following way: if there is not eye-witness of accident create own (more or less believable) theory. Such behavior could be noted not only regarding Soviet Union actions, see for example Star Dust case:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947_BSAA_Avro_Lancastrian_Star_Dust_accident
            which crashed in August 1947, but search teams failed to localize it. Various explanations were published, among others, as you might guess: aliens! As it is today know crash was caused by navigation error, which also explains why they can’t find wreckage (it was in different location than everyone though it should be).
            Summing up people likes… imaginative explanations, even to point of discarding simpler ones. It is even better if anyone which could positively bust that first option is not giving it, either because he can’t (secret) or even if is doing it, might be called liar (“our opponents certainly do not tell truth to us!”)

      • Kalashnikov wasn’t a super genius, but he and his team recognized that adhering to Western “intellectual property protectionism” was stupid beyond reason. If gun works, it works, even if snobby neighbor’s “stolen” features were incorporated into the design. Response to “copycat” detractors: “I took the best features from the older guns I studied and put them together in a manner you did not consider before. The features were old, but the juxta-positioning of such features in a single package was relatively new. Therefore, the insistence of Westerners in believing that I merely STOLE a design and took credit for such is unreasonable and foolish, since they did not witness the work everyone else did during the Avtomat competitions.”

        • And when the AKM was slated to replace the SKS and earlier AK milled receiver variants, German Alexandrovitch Koborov designed the ТКБ-517, with the lever-delayed blowback system of John Pedersen and Pály Király which was ostensibly more cost efficient, a bit lighter, more accurate but still easy to maintain. Of course a variant of this delayed blowback system, with a fluted chamber, etc. served as the basic operating system of the 5.56mm FAMAS, about which, we must await Ian’s book!

          But by then, the tooling and factories and whatnot were all in place for Mikhail Kalashnikov’s iconic design.

          One wonders if Kurt Horn’s über-cheap Großfuß assault rifle with its odd friction + gas delay blowback made any impact on Soviet designers? I think they captured most if not all the prototype parts.

          https://www.forgottenweapons.com/stg-45-horn-prototypes/

          • “Horn’s über-cheap Großfuß assault rifle with its odd friction + gas delay blowback made any impact on Soviet designers? I think they captured most if not all the prototype parts.”
            Report from its examination can be found here:
            https://litresp.ru/chitat/ru/%D0%9F/ponomaryov-yurij/avtomat-horna
            as it is Russian language text would be of no use to somebody which do not know that language, however you can open this link anyway and look at drawings.

          • спасибо! Tovarish Daweo! I appreciate it!
            I had not seen such high-quality images of that crude Großfuß beast before now… I have to laugh a bit because when zee Germans got a hold of captured Stens, they naturally thought that such crude and awkward-looking guns must surely be injurious to the morale of the British Army!
            And, as we know, they were! Although at least one Scot Home Guard described relief at being issued one, because it was the first sign that the hide-bound leadership was really prepared to “do what it took” to actually win the war…

            The Germans started their own “primitiv-waffen” project that started development of plumbing turned lethal monstrosities such as the Erma Werke EMP-44 with its heavy, double MP40 twinned 32-round magazines. That project was cancelled because it produced unsightly, crude weapons that would harm the Landser’s morale if issued such a weapon! And, finally, during the attempt by the NSDAP leadership to get the German nation to commit mass-suicide and create the party militia, the Volkssturm, and call up any remaining reserves, the gun factories turned out what crude and cheap weapons they could irrespective of any such considerations, although the looted arms of Italy served in the main to arm the last-ditch Herrenvolk… Along with the excellent Panzerfäuste, which in turn helped the Soviets develop the RPG-2 and later RPG-7… Unless that association will be debunked soon on this very site?!

          • “(…)excellent Panzerfäuste, which in turn helped the Soviets develop the RPG-2(…)Unless that association will be debunked soon on this very site?!(…)”
            Not. Certainly RPG-2 was influenced by that earlier design, but it should be noted that RPG-2 itself is result of Soviet experiences with German Panzerfaust designs (usage of captured was quite wide-spread, though in Russian memoirs they more frequently* appear under name фаустпатрон) AND U.S. Bazooka (Lend-Lease). Note that RPG-2 while having over-caliber warhead and stabilizing fins like Panzerfaust, could also be reloaded (reusable launcher) unlike these German weapons.

            * not deep research but using search function on iremember.ru results in 159 hits for фаустпатрон and only 6 for панцерфауст.

    • “Cursing in Russian Language”

      I’ve learned a few Czech ones in the past year 😉

      A long standing friend just turned down a really good job offer in Pardubice.

      I’ve got to say, I’m a big fan of the products of both Brno and Pardubice. I’ve used lots of both, in recreation and at work.

  4. Thanks. One thing the video leaves unanswered, though, is the question of how Kalashnikov was able to design that first gun that got the attention of small arms experts. Or, rather, not so much the question of how he designed it but of how he built a prototype. How did a soldier recovering from a wound get access to a machine shop, in wartime Soviet Russia? Or did he make it with hand tools like a Khyber Pass gunmaker? Whatever the answer, I think it must be an interesting story.

    • As shown in Popenker’s video, Korobov attempted to field bullpup versions to compete against the AK but no bullpup AK was made until the Groza and AKU-1994 in the post-Cold-War period (1993-onward)

    • I think M.P. has gone thru it. M.T.K was picked up by authority and promoted into R&D center for infantry armaments. Apparently, CCCP did not want to waste any meaningful contribution by its citizen in time of high need. Citizens were encouraged to add to common goal – a key tenet of socialist system.

    • “how Kalashnikov was able to design that first gun that got the attention of small arms experts”
      M.T.Kalashnikov before being calling for service in Worker-Peasant Red Army, was working (1936-1938) for Turkestan–Siberia Railway (today in Kazakhstan), where he had co-worked with machinists, lathists (men working with lathes – I am not sure about correct English word here) and fitters (again I am not sure about correct English word here, I mean someone using such tools: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Museum_of_railway_carriage_depot_37.jpg?uselang=ru ).
      Naturally working there allowed M.T.Kalashnikov to observe bolt, rivets, nuts, levers and similar stuff acting in real applications.
      In fall of 1938 he was called to service and trained as механик-водител as was official name for tank drivers in 1930s Soviet Union, however first part was placed there not without reason, as they were also responsible for keeping mechanism of their tanks in good conditions. Here his mechanic inclination appeared as he created counter which indicated number of hours of work of engine. It was helpful, as then used engine required inspection after fixed number of hours of working. Production of this device was recommended in 1940, however it never started. It was considered to be invention of such importance that M.T.Kalashnikov was ordered to explain it to G.K.Zhukov.

      https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%88%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2,_%D0%9C%D0%B8%D1%85%D0%B0%D0%B8%D0%BB_%D0%A2%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BE%D1%84%D0%B5%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87#%D0%A1%D0%BB%D1%83%D0%B6%D0%B1%D0%B0_%D0%B2_%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BC%D0%B8%D0%B8

      • Thanks. Your comments plus that Russian Wikipedia page really do explain it. To quote from Google’s translation of it (slightly tweaked):

        “At the hospital, he really caught on the idea of ​​creating his own sample of an automatic weapon. He began to make sketches and drawings, comparing and analyzing his own impressions of the battles, the opinions of his comrades in arms, the contents of the books of the hospital library. The advice of one lieutenant paratrooper, who worked in some scientific research institute and knew the small arms system, as well as the history of their creation, was also useful.

        “By the direction of the doctors he was sent for rehabilitation on a six-month vacation. Returning to Matai, with the help of depot specialists after three months, he created a prototype of his first model of a submachine gun. From Matai he was sent to Alma-Ata, where he made a more perfect model in the training workshops of the Moscow Aviation Institute, which had been evacuated to the capital of Kazakhstan.”

        So he was already known as someone who could invent mechanical things, and was treated accordingly. He didn’t just hand-file all the parts in his hospital bed. Even that “six-month vacation” one might suspect was something he asked for, and was granted, in order to do weapons design rather than being a normal thing given to soldiers with that sort of wound.

        (In English, there’s no such word as “lathist”; it’s just a “machinist” again, it being assumed that someone who can operate a metal lathe can also operate a milling machine or other machine tool.)

        • In some ex yugo slavic languages there exist a word for “latheist” as you say (tokar), but similar word for milling machine operator does not exist, and wider name of the whole profession is something like machine locksmith (strojobravar, stroj = machine, brava=lock).
          But yes, under that name “tokar” you could understand it is machinist with knowledge of various tools and machines.

    • “(…)how about(…)PKM(…)”
      Look at barrel change mechanism of PKM. Then look at barrel change mechanism of SGM (Goryunov’s machine gun).

      • Yes, I know. Nobody creates anything without influence of previous work. Giants stand on shoulders of those, who were before them 🙂

        SG was well proven and probably not criticized in that particular part of its design, so M.T.K incorporated it. No need to blame him for that.

      • Btw., I had physical contact with SG in tank version during my training. I was impressed with it, very robust built, but realized this was not MG well suited for infantry role. I imagine the task given to M.T.K was along the same line. Where GS has machined parts, PK has stampings. No magic, but the skill put into it is apparent.

        • “not(…)well suited for infantry role”
          What could I say? Everything depends on perspective. Keep in mind that SG (and SGM) replaced Maxim 1910 in Soviet service. SG with wheeled mount mass is 36,9 kg – heavy from today perspective, but Maxim 1910 with wheeled mount, shield and water mass is 67,6 kg which mean SG was much appreciated by crews as they have over 30 kg less to tow/push/carry through battlefield. SGM version could be encountered both with wheeled mount and tripod, in latter case SGM with mount mass is 27,7 kg.

          • SG was also licence produced in Czechoslovakia, which by itself means a lot – Czechs had rarely a need to adopt foreign weapon. In all likelihood, the guns I encountered were license produced.
            https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/SG-43

            Among details which impressed me was robust belt advancing mechanism by slanted lugs cut into bolt carrier. Also, barrel in extremely thick just ahead of chamber, which may allow prolonged firing without exchange.

          • Or does a thick barrel shank just encourage conduction of heat back to the chamber?

    • That could be a good question, to have a thin barrel that heats quickly and cools also, or thick one that is completely opposite of that (heats slowly, cools slowly) ?
      Maybe there is some sweet spot of thickness to heating-cooling ratio.

  5. Before this, I was under the distinct impression that there was an intermediate cartridge development program in the thirties, which the Germans had also contributed to.

    If I understand Max properly, he’s saying that the M43 didn’t have its roots in that project…? I am taking from this video that he’s saying the M43 was developed because the Soviets encountered the 7.92X33 and the Haenel MkB, which I thought was incorrect… Wasn’t there an intermediate cartridge program with continuity going back quite a ways…?

  6. Re Soviet acquisition of Mkb42(H) late in winter 1942. Developmental History of the AK with Max Popenker 5:21 https://youtu.be/uTJO14uiQWM?t=321

    First deliveries Direct to HGr Nord
    In a teletype message from OrgAbt to ChefHRüstuBdE/AHA (copies to GenQu, GendInf, etc) re troop trials with the MP43 dated March 31, 1943, the WaA announced that the initial weapons would be ready during the firs week of April. To save time, it was planned to ship them directly from the Haenel factory to the divisions of HGr Nord, and not as usual via the Heereszeugamt (Ordnance Depot) at spandaou. In a teletype message to the AHA dated March 31, 1943, the OrgAdt requested an expeditious transport in co-ordination with WaPrüf2 and the GendInf to HGr Nord. In this message it was noted that the 1,500 weapons were mainly MP43s of the model “A” (Mkb42(H), while only a few “B”models (mp43/1) would be included in the delivery.

    Sturmgewehr! Hans-Dieter Handrich, Chapter seven, Carrying on Regardless (Part II) Page 191-192.

    AHA: Allgemaines Heeresamt (General Army Office)

    ChefHRüstuBdE: Chef der Heeresrüstung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres (Chif of Army Equipment commander of the Replacement Training Army

    GendInf: General der Infanterie (General of the Infantry (of the GenStdH/OKH) )

    GenQu:Generalquartiermeister des GenStdH (general staff officer in charge of supply and administration at the GenStdH)

    HGr Nord: Heeresgruppe Nord (Army Group North)

    OrgAbt: Organisationsabteilung des GenStdH ( Organisational Section of the GenStdH)

    WaA: Heereswaffenamt, Wehrmachtwaffenamt (Army Ordnance Department/office, Armed Forces Ordnance Department/office)

    WaPrüf2: Amtsgruppe Entwicklung und Prüfung des WaA (section 2 development and testing of WaA )

  7. As the AK was meant to replace submachine guns for tank crews, paratroopers and the like, I am surprised that the folding stock version was not made standard. Also, it would be very interesting to learn more about the bolt action rifle which had been meant for rear echelon troops. Were prototypes ever made, or did the project die before then?

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