6 Jul:
Kalashnikov’s Killing Machine

Rerun. The AK-47 assault rifle, the 20th century’s deadliest weapon, went into production on 6th July, 1947. 

Designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, then a 22 year-old tank sergeant, the 600rpm gun was the winning entry in a national competition to find the next generation of Soviet weapons. It went on to be used in conflicts as diverse as Vietnam, Cuba and Iraq.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Kalashnikov researched and developed his killing machine; consider the ironic popularity of his weapon in the United States; and recall the end-of-life torment his invention ultimately brought him…

Further Reading:

• ‘July 6, 1947: The AK-47, an All-Purpose Killer’ (WIRED, 2009): https://www.wired.com/2009/07/dayintech-0706/

• ‘Kalashnikov inventor haunted by unbearable pain of dead millions’ (The Guardian, 2014): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/13/kalashnikov-weapon-inventor-spiritual-pain-dead-millions

• ‘Evolution of AK-47 Rifle’ (The Infographics Show, 2021):