Monday, December 23, 2013

Kick Lenin, too, while you're at it.

28 comments:

Joel said...

I think he probably knew the job was dangerous when he took it, Tam.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

But he's a GOOD commie.

Critter said...

I'll miss him. He was a walking piece of history.

staghounds said...

What, you think if given the choice Mike wouldn't have been as patriotic as J.M.B?

Douglas Hester said...

Stalin, Mao and the others better kick in some scratch as well.

Corvette said...

Tami keep in mind John C Garand gave his design for the M1 to the US gov as well.

Keith said...

Now I feel like I should send his estate a check for all the happy AK times I have had.

Angus McThag said...

Yes, Herr Kalashnikov, get all of the royalties they denied you... Work the groin...

I will be waiting, we have much to talk about.

-- H. Schmeisser.

Tam said...

You are SUCH an iconoclast! Daring!

Appetite for Destruction said...

I guess he'll have to settle for immortal fame.

Heath J said...

Immortal flame indeed.

I've enjoyed the shit out of his designs over the years.

Rest in peace, Sir.

Goober said...

The Stg44 looked like an AK 47...

Sort of.

Other than that I'm afraid herr schmeisser would have a hard time claiming much else from mk

Peter O said...

I think the Duffel Blog might have won the report of death competition though.
http://www.duffelblog.com/2013/12/mikhail-kalashnikov-dead/
- Dead AK-47 Inventor To Be Buried In Mud For A Week, Cleaned Off, Then Put Back To Work

Tam said...

Goober,

There are those who say that Hugo Schmeisser refined, if not outright designed, the AK during his period of captivity with the Russians.

There are also those who say that this is urban myth, not supported by Soviet records of his captivity, and a fabrication of the Deutsche leg-humping crowd who think that only the Germans ever make good guns and there's no way some Russian could have made a cool gun.

It's dropped in conversations about the AK the way hipsters drop some piece of knowledge to let you know that they were listening to your favorite band before you were.

Reno Sepulveda said...

NPR was downright effusive in eulogizing Comrade K. and singing the praise of his most famous creation.

I was driving around having one of those Twilight Zone moments listening to the NPR guy gush about an assault rifle.

They also pointed out he donated the design to the State and that it pleased him to do so because he was a devout socialist through and through.

Goober said...

Tam:

I'd only ever heard the accusations that MK just stole his design from captured Stg 44s, and was making the point that it is a common misconception that the two rifles were similar enough to each other that one is a knockoff of the other.

Other than looks (which aren't all that similar) the rifles are different enough that I don't think its a fair claim to make.

I'd never heard the other thing you said, about MK getting credit for Schmeisser's coerced design (from captivity). Seems kind of strange to assume that a country that developed the best battle tank in WWII, and that more or less single-handedly brought down the German Reich by themselves (with some help at the very end after they'd done all the heavy lifting) couldn't have developed a fine combat assault rifle on their own, without German help.

Tam said...

I think our views of history (as well as the awesomeness of the T34) differ somewhat. ;)

Goober said...

Yeah, I get that a lot. It isn't exactly a popular opinion, but...

Just look at the Nazi numbers committed to the eastern front vs. the numbers committed to the western front and you'll see where I'm coming from.

If memory serves it was 3 to 4 million Nazis in Russia vs less than a million (or thereabouts) in the European fronts.

So somewhere between 75 to 80 percent of Germany was fighting the Russians and not fighting us.

When one says 80% of forces were committed to one front, I generally view the other front as a side show as opposed to the major theater. I'm not saying this to denigrate the job our boys did, but the Russians had it just a tad worse than we did, and it was calculated by our leaders that it would be so - they purposely waited until Russia started winning to open up the second European front, with the intent of fighting desperate and thin-spread Germans rather than the entire 3rd Reich.

As for the T34 being the best tank in the war, other than creature comforts, we'l have to agree to disagree.

Tam said...

I am well familiar with WWII history. It would not be an exaggeration to say I have many hundreds of books on the topic in my library.

I would suggests "Why The Allies Won" and "Why The Germans Lose At War" as a couple of good reads if you're looking for something out of the ordinary for the holidays. :)

Goober said...

I am trying not to hijack, so I'm being very simplistic in my assessment, Tam. I'm pretty well read on the subject, too.

To elaborate a bit more, three things won the war against Germany:

1.) Allied Air Superiority
2.) American productive capability and supply logistics
3.) The Russian Army

You might add other things, such as the fact that Hitler grew increasingly insane towards the later years and made some serious strategic blunders, too. But we could have won without that (or, in my assessment, any of the other factors). The three things listed above are the cornerstones.

Leave any one of those things out, and the War goes very, very differently. Take out any other factor (for instance, the opening of a second front in Normandy) and Germany still loses, just not so quickly and with a greater loss of life and different socio-economic repurcussions at the end. Most history books greatly under-represent the importance of the Russian resurgence. Without it, I doubt very seriously that we would have had any chance of beating the Germans within the 7 years or so that the American public would ave supported the War, and we'd have sued for peace with the entirety of Europe looking very, very different.

I got my ratios wrong, BTW. It was 1.5 million Nazis on the Western Front to 7 million on the Eastern. Sorry, I'll go away now and stop hijacking.

Tam said...

You have not told me any numbers of which I am unaware.

IME, love of WWII history tends to follow a predictable arc. First one reads the books in the school library, which teach that WWII started in 1941 then America saved the world at D-Day and then Hiroshima.

Then one reads some more military history books and finds out the sheer size of the numbers on the Eastern Front; the staggering scope of Citadel and Bagration, and feels lied to. Why, the Russians won WWII! All by themselves!

I think there's yet another phase beyond that.

Anyway, for my personal belief, understand that I think the best outcome Germany could have hoped for was a negotiated peace with England in late '40. They couldn't have beaten any one of the Allies single-handedly, let alone any two or three together.

Angus McThag said...

I don't wear glasses OR have a neck beard!

Another apt comparison is Schmeisser lost out on a lot of royalties he should have gotten from Bergmann, a little like how Tesla signed away some of his best work to Edison.

T Putnam said...

Tam, your comments on history have sent me on protracted wikiwanders on subjects related. This, while not the most organized method of attempting to rebuild the web upon which your educated comments are woven, certainly help me fill some of the larger gaps in my knowledge.

Cheers!

Ed said...

It is curious that a stamped sheet metal design (like German designs and the American M3) was chosen before the CCCP had the production capability, so that early AK47's were machined from billet.

Almost the reverse of SIG going from stamped sheet metal to billet machined weapons now that CNC machining is so much less expensive.

markm said...

Goober: There's one more thing to remember about the Russian part in WWII - most of their losses and suffering would not have happened but for their tolerance of Stalin and other utterly psychopathic leaders. First, in 1600 Russia was in a better position to industrialize and to exploit Siberian natural resources than the USA was in 1800 - so why was Russia poorer than the USA by 1900? That's because the Tsars did their damdest to hold Russia back in the middle ages, yet by 1914 an industrial revolution was in full swing. (E.g., Russia manufactured more combat aircraft for WWI than the British Empire - and the USA hardly made any.) The Bolsheviks aborted that, and then claimed credit for the much lower growth rate of their "five year plans". So Russia was by far the poorest major combatant going into WWII thanks to consistently allowing their worst people to run the country.

Then Stalin prepared to meet the rebounding German threat by:
1. Purging the best officers.
2. Conspiring with Hitler to divide up Poland - eliminating the buffer that would have guaranteed at least six weeks warning of German aggression
3. Putting most of the Red Army on the new border, where a surprise attack could cripple it before they could react.
4. Ignoring the many intelligence leads warning that Hitler would attack, because no way could Hitler be as cynical and backstabbing as Stalin...

Under a competent Russian leader, Hitler's forces would have had to start from Pomerania and never even neared Minsk, and a few months later the Germans would have shot Hitler and pled for peace. Under a merely incompetent Russian leader, the Germans might have carried a blitzkrieg deep into Russian territory, but they'd have got into deeper trouble than Napoleon ever did, and the Nazi-Russian war would have ended with the Russians victorious in 1942. It took a truly malignant genius to screw things up so badly as to have to fight battles like Stalingrad.

ravenshrike said...

Except of course that Kalashnikov himself admitted to 'help' from Schmeisser in 2009

Tam said...

Yes. And?

Tam said...

(I'll note that Mikhail didn't make little air quotes with his fingers.)