By Larry Kahaner
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Additional resources for AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of War
Pentagon officials do not know if the chopper was shot down or suffered mechanical problems. A pilot who made it back safely said, “It was coming from all directions. ” For all of the billions of dollars spent by the United States military on space-age weapons and technology, the AK still remains the most devastating weapon on the planet. Its banana-shaped magazine gives this gun a familiar silhouette that makes it a symbol of third world rebellion and power. Unlike the scourge of land mines in the world, the eighty to one hundred million AKs manufactured and distributed since the rifle’s invention in 1947 pose a more dangerous threat because they can be easily transported, repaired, and used by roving bands of assailants.
Instead of sending all his troops directly to Moscow, an overconfident Führer rejected the advice of his generals and diverted one of his three armies south to occupy the Ukraine, which was rich in oil and gas resources. After more than a month on this distraction, Hitler was running out of time; the harsh Soviet winter was coming fast. Mud roads were becoming frozen slabs and his troops were not prepared for the frigid weather. By November, the Germans had reached within seventeen miles of the Kremlin, but could advance no further due to a Soviet counterattack aided by temperatures dropping to minus twenty-nine degrees Fahrenheit.
The M1 was simple and reliable and the first self-loading rifle to be adopted by any army as standard issue. Warfare was changing, however, and the M1 was falling behind. The rifle was heavy, clunky, and held only eight rounds in its magazine. Most important, it was not an automatic weapon. 30-caliber round, the Springfield Armory’s position and that of the army remained steadfast. This was seen most dramatically during the waning years of World War II when the army had begun working, albeit halfheartedly, on an automatic weapon.
AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of War by Larry Kahaner