Back in Time is a newspaper type column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to re-live it several years later, on the date it had occurred.
For this incident, we go back in time to 1947.
Izhevsk, Sunday, 06 July: The next generation of Soviet-made assault rifles, known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova after its designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, went into production yesterday at the Izhevsk Machinebuilding Plant. The variant, popularly termed as AK-47 although still in its testing phase, has been highly anticipated by all, and is expected to be inducted into the Soviet Armed Forces by 1949.
Invented and designed by Tank Commander Kalashnikov after grievous injuries in the line of duty, the AK-47 is a selective fire, gas-automated assault rifle with rate of fire of over 500 rounds per minute, over a distance of 350 meters. It is said to be an improvement over the American M1 and German stG44 Assault rifles, and is expected to be a huge asset to the Soviet weaponry as tensions arise in Europe.
“I am proud of what I have achieved for my Mother Russia and the Party,” Kalashnikov commented. “Even Marshal Stalin was kind enough to congratulate and thank me for my service to our great nation.”
“It is revolutionary weaponry,” quotes an Ordnance Factory worker at Izhmash on the condition of anonymity. “It is not often that we see a weapon so elegant in its simplicity and yet, ruthless in its ability to kill. Additionally, it is also uncharacteristically durable and low on maintenance requirement.”
As of now 500,000 units of the AK-47 have been ordered by the CCCP, which shall be then accordingly allocated among the regular army and the Special Forces of the Red Army. Needless to say, this seems to be a new chapter in the brewing Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West.
Post-Scriptum: Almost seventy years after it began mass-scale production, AK-47 has attained an almost mythical status in the post-WWII era. No other Russian import, be it vodka or caviar, has had a more far-reaching impact on lives and nations than this durable assault rifle that can fire as easily in mud as it can under the scorching sun.
Today, AK-47 and its subsequent variants are the most widely used weapons in the world with its popularity undeterred among the armed forces of several countries, as well as among the many terrorist outfits across the globe. Above all, the AK-47 became a symbol of revolution for many, including the Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. Even the Mozambique flag has an AK-47 in its coat of arms.
Mikhail Kalashnikov passed away on 23rd December, 2013. His last regret, the uncontrolled distribution of the weapon that bore his name, among the few who went on to kill the many.