KALASHNIKOV MONUMENT BLUNDER: Nazi Sturmgewehr Included in Memorial to Russia’s Top Gun Designer

It’s a blunder so bad it makes you look twice: On the new sculpture dedicated to Russia’s most famous small arms designer, there is an unintentional homage to a weapon of Russia’s hated adversaries during the Great Patriotic War. Behind the tasteful statue unveiled last Tuesday of Mikhail “Mikhtim” Kalashnikov cradling his invention like a fine instrument, there lies a sculpture panel dedicated to his inventions themselves – and, by accident, the Nazi Sturmgewehr of World War II. While the majority of the panel is filled with models of Kalashnikov’s inventions and derivatives, nestled in the backdrop of the representation of the AKS-74U compact assault rifle is a slab depicting an exploded view of the MKb42(H),, a World War II German assault rifle which helped serve as the inspiration for the program Kalashnikov’s rifle was designed to satisfy.

The exploded view of the WWII-era German assault rifle can be clearly seen inside the red circle, on the plate behind the relief depicting the AKS-74U Kalashnikov variant:

The error is almost too good to be true, given the abundance of internet conspiracy theories regarding the relationship between the AK-47 and the Sturmgewehr weapon family (theories that I have spent a considerable amount of time debunking). When I first saw the error, I assumed it had to be photoshop, but, alas, it appears on every photo of the monument available, and is therefore very likely all too real.

There will probably be some who will read into the mistake as the final proof of what they feel they’ve known all along: A secret hint by the sculptor regarding the “true” origin of the Kalashnikov rifle. In reality, it’s more likely that the sculptors simply searched the internet for AK-47 schematics, and got the same result that I did:

I don’t claim to be an expert on sculpture, but my guess would be that the error is simple enough to fix. The sturmgewehr’s schematic is on a flat bronze background, after all, and could probably be ground away and re-etched with something else. Whether the city will do this or not is anyone’s guess, though.

Kalashnikov Concern spokeswoman Sofia Ivanova commented on the monument, saying: “We are ready to provide all necessary support and technical consultation. The specialists at Kalashnikov Concern did not supervise the author’s creation of the sculptural composition and were not involved as consultants.”



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • 🦑 🐙

    Fake news on the internet strikes again! Hillary did this.

    • breeves2000

      See what happens when the Russians DON’T interfere? :-p

  • SP mclaughlin

    vatniks on suicide watch?

  • Dan

    In the spirit of butt-hurting AK fan-bois out there, I think they should grind it out, put in a Bulgarian AK, and then little Ian and Karl shoveling mud and trying to slam it into battery.

    • Herr Wolf

      Nyet- sculpture is fine as is!

      • Scott Willbanks

        Perfect.

  • Herr Wolf

    Giving credit where credit is due:)

  • kirk_freeman

    Unintentional? It’s an admission against interest. The Russians may have unintentionally admitted that Hugo designed the AK-47 while a guest there. But 100 million rifles and 100 million Russian lies cannot suppress the truth that Hugo Schmeisser is the true father.

    • Herr Wolf

      If the Germans didn’t come up with something then it wasn’t worth inventing.

      • Major Tom

        The assault rifle depending on who you ask was invented by either the French (Ribeyrolles machine carbine, converted Winchester 1907s), the Russians (Fyodorov Avtomat) or the Italians (Cei-Rigotti).

        The Germans didn’t invent jack diddly.

        • kirk_freeman

          The Germans, well, one German, did invent the AK-47, and the Russians just admitted it.

          • No one

            It’s amazing how this dumb myth has been disproven for so many years now and yet people will swallow this bull—- narrative because clearly Germans invented everything and how dare a Russian person get credit for anything!

            Then again, we have a post made earlier on this site filled mostly with Historical revisionist Nazi apologists so why am I surprised?

          • Nicks87

            “Historical revisionist Nazi apologists”? Wow, is it that time of month or what? Since when does having an interest in military history and historical firearms make you a “Nazi apologists”? Stop trying to correlate Nazi beliefs with interest in WWII German weapons technology. Sorry you cant see past the swastika and see the genius and innovation that the Germans have contributed to small arms technology over the past century.

          • No one

            Hence the “On a post made earlier on this site”, Try reading next time before making knee jerk reaction replies that make you look like you have no reading comprehension.

            But yeah, clearly the “100 million Russian lies!” and “implying Russians ever had an original idea” lines are indicators that people are simply unbiased appreciators of military and historical firearms history and no one ever over attributes advances in technology to Germans even when they didn’t invent something or try to take it away from someone else. (The Soviets/Russians in this case, clearly they’ve made no contributions to firearms technology over the past century though.)

          • Nicks87

            I responded to your comments “On a post made earlier on this site” so yeah, I read that article and the associated comments. You are making false equivalencies and are accusing people, that don’t agree with you, of being Nazis.

          • Auslander Raus

            Bwahahaha. Trolled that nobody good.
            (•_•)
            ( •_•)>⌐■-■
            (⌐■_■)
            Yeeeeaaaaahhhh

          • Um, pretty sure there were some honest-to-god Holocaust deniers in that thread, bro.

          • Don Ward

            Um, pretty sure Nicks87 was engaging in some honest-to-god Holocaust denying in that thread, bro.

          • I didn’t pay that much attention, I guess.

          • Nicks87

            “(The Soviets/Russians in this case, clearly they’ve made no contributions to firearms technology over the past century though.)”

            …the only person saying that is you.

          • Tom

            In a world were people believe the earth to be flat despite the fact that you can see its curvature with the naked eye its no wonder people seem to have a problem with the notion of convergent design. Though at this stage I am not sure how much is simple ignorance and how much is plain old fashioned trolling.

          • Squirreltakular

            Okay, waaay off topic, and I am not a flat earther, but where exactly, besides from the ISS, can you see the curve of the earth with the naked eye?

            Just trying to help people argue convincingly.

          • Brett baker

            It’s the Orloff, not the Gatling gun.

          • He used his Aryan telekinesis to design the rifle from 1,000 km away! That’s just how good German engineers are, true story.

          • iksnilol

            He couldn’t have done it without his KRUPP STAHL! All Germans keep a shard of it on their body.

          • kirk_freeman

            1,000 KM away? Hugo was there. Hands on, designing the AK-47.

          • Dakota Raduenz

            Nope. They cut out that portion of the statue.

          • kirk_freeman

            In order to hide what they knew, sure. It’s just like the Russians “correcting” photos and disappearing party members.

        • NukeItFromOrbit

          Germans were first to recognize it was something different from a doctrinal perspective however and issue it on a relatively wide scale.

      • winniepooh

        This, but unironically

      • mosinman

        Ha!

    • Why did he change from a tilting bolt to rotary, and abandoned his stamped receiver with 20 spacers to keep it together? ))

      Seriously though, it is possible that Schmeisser worked on the design, but the design itself shows nothing of his legacy. This would either mean that he had a commendable epiphany, or the AK design was created by a group of competent designers with the access to a whole lot of different designs, including but not limited to the StG 44.

      • Brett baker

        Dude, you make too much sense to be on the internet.

      • It’s not possible Schmeisser worked on the design. He was 1,000 km away.

        • Mr. Katt

          You might want to rethink that premise. It wasn’t until after the summer of 1945 that any Soviet intermediate weapons design remotely resembled anything close to either the StG44 or the AK47.

          Hugo Schmeisser was captured by the Russians in 1945. The Russians noted that Schmeisser had a team consisting of Kurt Horn and Werner Gruner, both from Grossfuss, and Oscar Schink and Karl Barnitske from Gustloff. This group and about a dozen other German weapons engineers were set up in Factory 74 – which is Ismash. If Grossfuss doesn’t sound familiar, research the MG-42, and the MkB42(H) at Haenel – which Schmeisser was the production manager, and oversaw production of the MP40, MG42, MkB42 and later the StG44.

          Schmeisser and other German small arms engineers would have had access to many captured M1 Garand and M1 Carbines to study.

          There is no coincidence that the AK47 has a trigger mechanism remarkably similar to that of the M1 Garand. It also has a rotating bolt that works on a similar principle as the Garand, despite being obviously quite different in design.

          But the AK bolt carrier and gas piston are remarkably Garandish, including the bolt being ‘carried’ along by that carrier and piston assembly. The captured recoil spring running inside the gas piston rod and carrier assembly is very M1 Garand.

          The StG44 left heavy mechanical influence on the eventual FN FAL with the bolt carrier lifting a tilting bolt. However, the sophisticated sheet metal stamping technology that the Germans had developed in the early part of WWII far outstripped anything the Soviets had at the time.

          Schmeisser worked in Izhevsk until he was released and returned to Suhl on June 9, 1952. He died in late 1953.

          • I would be flattered if called even an amateur, but I have an honest question: suppose you’re a late war / after war designer making a future gat. Would you evaluate guns that were IN the war? I mean, the entire design crew obviously had access to Garand. I wouldn’t put it past them to just take the principle and run with it, if it were beneficial. They wouldn’t need Schmeisser for that (especially since Schmeisser’s StG44 used the same gas piston / bolt carrier designs as the AK, the only common thing between them).

            But purely from an amateur’s standpoint, the thing I don’t see in the AK though, is the horrible mess of offset levers and actuators the Garand used for its action rod and gas system. Again, the gas rod / bolt carrier is the only thing that’s really common between StG 44 and AK.

          • Kalashnikov called Garand his “mentor”. Doesn’t exactly fit the narrative that Kalashnikov was under a gag order, does it?

          • Mr. Katt

            It is not uncommon to look to the success of past designs to develop future ones. Our own M60 GPMG is an example of taking the best of the MG42 feed mechanism with the FG42 trigger group and turning into something else. The M92 Beretta, the Italians basically modified the Walther P38 and combined the magazine capacity of the HiPower with the double action and locking system of the P38. New ideas don’t always necessarily come out of thin air.

          • Yeah, see the problem with that cute narrative is that the AK wasn’t designed in Izhevsk, that’s just where it was manufacturered. The AK was actually designed at the Degtyarov Kovrov, 1,000 km away.

            But if you don’t find that convincing, riddle me this: If it’s so obvious that Schmeisser designed the AK, did he also design the 20+ other assault rifles that came out of the Soviet Union going all the way back to 1943? Boy, that would be quite a trick, wouldn’t it?

            The simple fact is that this conspiracy theory’s lifeblood is the ignorance of the people who repeat it. It doesn’t fit any of the established facts of Soviet assault rifle development during the period. Which, I know, you’ll just say “durr, well, you can’t trust the Russkis!” But at that point, it’s basically just you and your opinion, then, isn’t it?

          • Mr. Katt

            Well, you obviously know it all, so there’s no point throwing facts into the mix. Merely because the design bureau that developed and refined the AK47 was based in Ishevsk must not mean anything.

          • Kaban

            It wasn’t until after the summer of 1945 that any Soviet intermediate weapons design remotely resembled anything close to either the StG44 or the AK47.

            Sudaev’s AS-44 was born earlier. Gas-operated, tilting-bolt, and just check that receiver outline and proportions! Gee, that is more likely candidate to be “StG clone” (not to belittle Sudaev’s contribution here).

        • JumpIf NotZero

          Duh, Skype, moran.

    • Yep, called it. You people will believe anything.

  • Brick

    I’d say Kalashnikov is…concerned

    (•_•)
    ( •_•)>⌐■-■
    (⌐■_■)
    Yeeeeaaaaahhhh

  • Wolfgar

    Or perhaps it was showing the evolution and triumph of their AK over the STG44.

    • Rick O’Shay

      Really, just apply some spin and adopt it as the official narrative. Can’t be that hard.

      • Guy

        Im sure the editors at RT and Sputnik are hard at work already.

      • Wolfgar

        Hey, if you got a lemon make some lemonade 🙂

        • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

          If you wanted lemonade you would reassemble the StG44

    • Dakota Raduenz

      Y’all are behind the news. It got cut out.

      On a completely fabricated matter, the designer has gone missing…. lol

    • Arnold Ziffel

      Nah, someone screwed up.

  • Jay Ross

    Wouldn’t there be copyright issues if they just yanked schematics off the internet and put it on their statue or something?

    • phuzz

      In Soviet Russia, copyright issues you!
      In modern day Russia though I have no idea, but I doubt they care much.

    • The sculptor is just an opportunistic hack. Good enough for government work, as they say.

  • Kaban

    An excellent addition to Mr.Sherbakov’s portfolio. He had already designed the monument “Farewell of Slavianka”, named after famous march, Part of the monument were two ornated shields, each surrounded by variety of Russian/Soviet small arms. Unfortunately, his team placed tow 98Ks (decently sculpted, by the way) among them.

    Yep, those charged with instilling moar patriotism in Russian citizens really do their homework. Stephen Hunter’s hilarious “I, sniper” comes to mind.

    I was actually sad when media said the slab will be removed. The Slab Is Fine. It is a monument to current…state of affairs in the country. A crystallization of narrative. A symbol of don’t know, don’t cares plaguing state-sponsored enterprises.

    And I was, of course, not surprised, but vexed by assortment of firearms displayed. For crissakes, MT’s contribution to AK as we know it, with top cover and all, was not major, as whole team was working to refine mediocre 1946 sample into something palatable, borrowing a lot from competitors. But the man himself did design at least four working, if gritty, prototypes: two subguns, his landmark 1944 carbine and 1946 sample that grew from it. And they did manage to place 1942 subgun on the monument, but that was all. Shameful.

  • Jim Slade
    • Rick O’Shay

      I will always laugh at Hitler acting like a sassy black lady.

      • Jim Slade
        • Gary Kirk

          And I just spit beer out my nose.. I’m currently listening to Machine Head as that opened..

          • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

            The song, album, or band?

            Im a big fan of Bush so my first thought was Hitler playing the opening riff of the Bush song, but when you listen to the band it gets even better.

          • Gary Kirk

            At the time it was the band Machine Head, song was Imperium..

    • john huscio

      Literally hitler.

  • demarcus

    Implying Russians ever had an original idea.

  • Ben

    I googled AK-47 schematics and blueprints and got no images of an stg44. It was just a bunch of AKs.

    • Kaban

      You’ll have to google in Russian to get a hit on the picture, like “автомат калашникова взрыв схема”. The exploded schematic of German rifle won’t be first in the output, but it will be first to use particular projection (from above and left), which they probably decided fits the monument better.

      • Ben

        Cool. It makes sense that they didn’t Google in English.

  • Chris22lr

    OK, this is just my interpretation, but I think that StG/MKb blueprint was added on purpose.

    Let’s take a closer look at this part of sculpture: visible are AKM drawings, tools, books – artist’s vision of how Kalashnikov’s workplace looked like. On top are effects of his job – various Kalashnikov’s designs, and off to the side – his inspiration and WW2 nemesis, the Sturmgewehr. The inscription is Kalashnikov’s quote “I created weapons to defend my motherland” – Sturmgewehr to the side is a symbol of German threat to Soviet Union, prime example of German then-hi-tech engineering, to which Soviets answered with the effective simplicity of AK rifle.

    Or I’m just wrong and sculpturer messed up!

  • forrest1985

    Just when you thought the “AK is a copy of the STG design” arguement was dead….BAM!

    • Paul Rain

      The truth will never die.

  • Vitor Roma

    I stick to the theory that the ak is a blend of m1 garand with the stg. No shame in having such nice parents.

    • Sam Damiano

      The SVT is the Russian M1.

    • int19h

      What exactly is there from the StG, except for the cartridge?

      It’s certainly a blend of things, but I don’t see anything StG-like in it.

      • DW

        The general layout. Other assault rifle predecessors have not had layout nearly as trimmed as the STG. Otherwise, nah.

        • int19h

          If you set aside the pistol grip (which is hardly a major item, given that numerous SMGs already had it by then), what else is there as far as layout?

          Piston and tube above barrel? AVS, SVT and PTRS all had that configuration long before StG.

          Receiver layout? They’re totally different – if anything, StG, with its split pivoting receiver is more like M16.

          What else?

      • Kaban

        Cue infamous “half-disassembled StG vs half-disassembled AK-46” picture. I wonder why it never came up here.

  • Alan

    “To drive your enemies before you and to hear the lamentations of the women (and copy their best designs)”

    Conan the sheet metal bender

    • john huscio

      So the russians know the riddle of steel?

      • Alan

        Flesh grows weak. Steel becomes brittle. But the will is indomitable.

      • DunRanull

        The Russians know the Riddle Of Steal…

  • Rock or Something

    “A symbolism of the AK series of rifles (Soviet Union) triumphing over her ancient enemy, a broken and divided STG rifle (Nazi Germany).” -Future Plate Inscription

  • PK
  • Miguel Sanchez

    Oh man, you just know, somewhere in Russia, in a vodka hazed stupor, Ivan Chesnokov is apoplectic & close to stroking out over this slight to glorious Slavic Avtomat design legacy.

  • Bradley

    Yeah I’m not totally buying it. It’s entirely possible that it’s a mistake, but it isn’t a huge leap for it to be intentional. I’m sure he did study the stg schematic thoroughly during the development of his own rifle. Seems like a strange choice, but how the hell would I know how Russians think?

    • Paul Rain

      The ‘unintentional reveal’ is a well known Russian trait.

  • Sam Damiano

    You are all wrong. William Ruger stole the design of his .22 from the SGT44!

  • free

    Its a brothership between 2 collectivist sozialist left anticapitalist ideologies:
    -National sozialism
    -Comunism, ….

    • Paul Rain

      Thanks borther. Tells us more about how the ‘left wing’ Freikorps engaged in brotherly love with 20’s Communists.

  • John

    The only true originals were cave people about 25,000 years ago, everything else since then has been a copy in one form or another. Get used to it.

  • int19h

    According to Kalashnikov guys, the one thing they did request about the monument (and kept an eye on), is that the AK model depicted is the original one, not AKM or Chinese copies etc. They did achieve that.

    The rest of it was basically up to the sculptor and his “flight of fancy”. Apparently, the idea to include the schematics was his, and he didn’t exactly share it prominently.

  • TP

    Not a mistake.

  • Mystick

    Well, Kalashnikov DID reverse engineer the MP-44 in some respects to achieve the AK-47 design. It was one of his achievements.

    • Paul Rain

      People act like it makes Kalashnikov a lesser man that he copied advanced German sheet metal engineering with nothing but a chisel and a brass hammer. His achievement is perhaps even more impressive than the original creators of the AK-47.

      • Question: If the AK’s stamping techniques were all the product of Schmeisser’s work, then why did the milled Type 2 and 3 AKs exist? I mean, after all, the Germans had already done the hard work, so what was stopping the Soviets from just copying it?

        See, the problem with that idea is that the not all stamping is created equal. The Soviet Union had to pave their own way on the AKM, which uses alloy steel flat sheet stamping, in contrast to the StG-44 which uses mild steel corrugated stamping.

        • mosinman

          the existence of the PPS 43 shows that the Soviets were no strangers to stampings

    • iksnilol

      How did he reverse engineer it when there’s nothing in common with the two rifles?

      They use completely different mechanisms and manufacturing.

  • Paul Rain

    Nathaniel F trying to hide the truth again.

    OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!

    • The fact that you’re saying this unironically pains me deeply. 😐

      • iksnilol

        He’s being serious?

        • mosinman

          i hope not

          • iksnilol

            Hope’s mighty dangerous ’round these parts, pardner.

    • Xero

      Yet the “truth” you tries to believe would turn out to be built up with a thousand lies.

  • Cosmoline ‘n’ Coke

    BBC is reporting it’s already been removed once it was realized it was a German gun.

    • Paul Rain

      Nathaniel F succeeds in destroying history again. This iconoclasm is shocking. Shocking.

      • Oh yeah, it’s my fault somebody in Moscow screwed up, JFC dude.

  • valorius

    The statue should have an inscription that says, “The AK cannot pass Ian’s mud test.”

  • Jim_Macklin

    Images are easy to confuse. One of my favorite mix-ups was a print ad for a Beech dealer in Albuquerque about 20 years ago. They had a picture of a Piper Tomahawk in an ad touting the Beech Skipper.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd1327afa895a934df4618a3314ae5b5d9813ce1565e99dc138a98c3722d598d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/861846ba04048279d68b1008ab58353db9dfae3e2c1a26723a4b7175732f4665.jpg

  • StylishFever

    Well, at least they admit it.

  • Fast Forward

    BBC News 22nd September.

    “Workers in Moscow have cut out part of a new monument to a Russian creator of the world famous AK-47 assault rifle because a weapon depicted on the statue was actually a German-designed firearm.

    Mikhail Kalashnikov’s monument was opened this week to great fanfare by government officials and members of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    But arms experts said a drawing on the base of the statue showed the StG 44 rifle used by the Nazis during WWII.

    It was removed by an angle grinder. A mistake has been made by the sculptor,” executive director of the Russian Military Historical Society Vladislav Kononov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

    The society commissioned the 7.5m (25ft) monument, which shows Kalashnikov holding an AK-47 in his arms.

    A series of modified AK rifles were etched on a metallic plate on the base of the statue, including the wrong drawing.

    Russian arms historian Yuri Pasholok was the first to point out the error, and several
    experts later confirmed this was the case. Sculptor Salavat Shcherbakov said
    earlier on Friday that “this is something we’re correcting”, adding that “we’re trying to avoid mistakes”, Russia’s Rossiya-24 TV channel reported.”

  • Kurt Ingalls

    From Wikipedia….” In October 1945, Schmeisser was forced to work for the Red Army and instructed to continue development of new weapons including the AK-47.”….Maybe they are acknowledging this……. 🙂

  • datimes

    The Russians caught the mistake. Photo of worker grinding off the image.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5791af34ab67100ca028e882ee15e78684781785c50ed4e16a75150da6915c32.jpg

  • Some Rabbit

    Is there anything the Russians supposedly “invented” that they didn’t “borrow” from someone else?

    • DW

      An94’s burst fire mechanism. Unless they borrowed them from aliens.