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As our regular readers can attest, we all make mistakes from time to time. Typos, mis-stated stats, loading the wrong photo. When that happens, we fix it and move on. Electrons are cheap and rectifying those kinds of problems is easy. Not so much, though, when your medium is metal.

So imagine artist Salavat Shcherbakov’s chagrin when it was pointed out to him that part of his recently unveiled tribute to AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov — a monument the New York Times, in their characteristically restrained way, called a “monument to murder” — included a rifle he hadn’t created. Instead, the clueless sculptor had included an image of a rifle the hated Nazis used had against the motherland in the Great Patriotic War.

Reuters has the story:

Workers on Friday cut out part of a new monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the Soviet Union’s legendary AK-47 assault rifle, after eagle-eyed Russians noticed that it mistakenly depicted a German weapon of World War Two.

Just three days ago, the monument to the creator of one of Russia’s best known export brands was unveiled with much fanfare in central Moscow.

A metal bas-relief behind a statue of Kalashnikov depicts the AK-47 and other weapons all supposedly designed by the engineer, who died in 2013.

And then someone noticed that one of the rifles attributed to Kalashnikov wasn’t Russian at all. It was an exploded view of a German Sturmgewehr 44, the original assault rifle.

“We will rectify this,” Shcherbakov said in comments broadcast by state-run Rossiya 24 channel. “It looks like this (mistake) sneaked in from the Internet.”

By Friday evening a square hole gaped where the German rifle had been depicted in the bas-relief.

How do you say faux pas in Russian?


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  1. The Stermgewehr while innovative, was not the first “Assault rifle” it was the first called buy that name. The Russian Fedorov Avtomat holds the distinction of being the first select fire detachable magazine intermediate cartridge rife mass produced. (6.5 Arasaka is slightly less powerful than 7.62X39)

    • The Lewis Assault Phase Rifle was actually the first weapon to use the words “assault rifle” in its name, but we’d call it a light machine gun today (full power, no select fire.)

      However, the first assault rifle to see deployment was the Chauchat CSRG, which predates the Federov Avtomat by exactly one year in both design and production. Meaning, of course, that they were developed simultaneously and independently, thereby rendering the question of which was first rather moot anyway.

      • Nope. If we apply the modern definition of an assault rifle, i.e., a select-fire rifle which fires an intermediate cartridge, the Chauchat doesn’t qualify since it fired the full-size 8x50mm Lebel rifle cartridge. It was also chambered in other calibers, including the American .30-06 and several others, but they were all full-size/power rifle calibers.

  2. At least they’re going to rectify the error. Yesterday I read a 2012 dated history of the M-1 carbine which declared that it first saw service “in Europe in 1942” and I pointed out (pointedly) that we didn’t have “troops on the ground” in Europe in 1942, only in North Africa at the time in the Western Hemisphere, and my comment was deleted. Oh, yeah. It was from an NRA publication, too.

    • According to Wikipedia, the m-1 carbine was indeed first deployed in 1942 with priority for troops in the European Theater…

      • The article said “in Europe”, not in the ETO. And that’s if you want to call North Africa (an entirely different continent) as part of the EUROPEAN Theater of Operations. We didn’t put “boots on the ground” in Europe (Sicily) until July of 1943 or the European mainland in Italy until September of 1943 with the invasion at Salerno.

      • We didn’t HAVE any troops in the ETO in 1942. Unless, of course, you want to count North Africa as being “European” (it being an entirely different continent). We didn’t have “boots on the ground” on what could properly be considered Europe until the invasion of Sicily in July of 1943 and the European mainland in September ’43 with the invasion at Salerno.

        • Unless the Allied troops were OSS operatives who were for some reason sent into occupied Europe armed with the M-1 carbine, we quite simply didn’t have anyone armed with that weapon in the ETO in 1942. If anyone can put paid to that assertion, please post it up. Even this septuagenarian isn’t too old to learn.

      • Isn’t Wikipedia a rumor control site, with no real research or sources other than users’ input? Not exactly authoritative.

        • The sources and citations are generally actually very good for firearms articles. It’s not a primary source but certainly good enough for an internet conversation 😀

    • Some Units training in Great Britain in 1942? Or lend lease weapons to Great Britain? Despite what the Brits say, they are still a part of geographic Europe.

  3. HOW IN THE HELL DOES A MISTAKE LIKE THIS HAPPEN???? An insult to Kalashnikov, and a funny hat tip to the AK’s lineage. You know mikhail was WAY inspired by the Stg 44

  4. I think a good meme would be to replace that AK with a guitar (there’s one of Johnny Cash with an AK slung on his back like his iconic guitar picture).

  5. Don’t change the statue, just change the plaque beneath it. “Here stands Mikhail Kalashnikov, holding a Sturmgewehr 44 and declaring, “Hold my vodka, I’m gonna go to my workshop and put this piece of shit to shame.'”

  6. Your site is impossible to use on a mobile device. Ads that take up the entire screen, the page constantly reloading to the top while you try to read… Never again, TTAG… Never again.


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