Wednesday, June 13, 2007

AK-47, a History

AK-47 is a history of the famous Soviet assault rifle. Here is an ad for this book that is found on the author's website. The book covers the life cycle of the gun from its creation by a soviet tanker to its use in the various "wars of national liberation" of the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's down to the present day. Now the Russian have a new generation of assault rifles and have begun to replace the AK-47 at least in the Spetsnaz and other elite units. In the history of the Ak-47 is the the history of the world for the half century after the atomic bomb. A period of the Cold War and many, many small brushfire wars. In the small wars AK-47 shone in the hands of the badly trained, half trained and completely untrained "innocent bystanders". It is not a weapon for the professional millitaries with their detailed training schedules and maintenance rules.

The problem of creating an infantry weapon is different than a hunting rifle. A hunting rifle is used for a small number of shots a few days a year. After a small degree of use the hunting rifle is cleaned and put away. The infantry rifle might be used continuely. It cannnot be cleaned after each use. In the Great War Canada was saddled with the Ross Rifle because of the mendious incompentency of the Minister of Militia Sam Hughes. The best weapon isn't some panglossioan ideal. The best weapon is the one right right here, right now, working.

The safest times in history is when weapons and weapon systems are expensive and scarce. The dangerous times in history are when weapons and armies are cheap. In expensive days armies are few and small and precious. When weapons become cheap and easy small freelance armies spring up otherwise know as brigands. When the State no longer has the monopoly of force the State disappears. In one history there was a mention of the democratic nature of the Cowboy or Gaucho in the sense instead of being a "man on a horse" a phrase that has been applied to the officer/knight/squire the cowboy was a man on a cheap horse. The horse in some times and places in history are cheaper or more expensive to keep. When horses are expensive they are reserved for knights and officers. When horses are cheap and available cowboys and huge mongol armies are possible. What military resources are available dictate what tactics are available be it a small elite or some sort of Levee en Masse. A small professional army is given the best weaoins and training money can buy. A revoltionary situtation much like the French Revoltion means near total mobilization of the population resulting in ill equiped untrained parttime soldiers. The AK-47 is perfect for a Levee en Masse.

No comments: