SHAKO: Mikhail Kalashnikov, John S.D. Eisenhower Obituaries
Rest in Peace
The Russian who designed the most popular automatic weapon ever built and the son of the top U.S. World War II commander in Europe who went on to become a noted military historian have died.
Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Soviet soldier who designed the AK-47 assault rifle — the world’s most popular infantry weapon, died Monday (December 23) at the age of 94.
The AK-47, which stood for “Avtomat Kalashnikov” and the year it went into production is the world’s most popular firearm — favored by guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies, according to the Associated Press. An estimated 100 million guns are spread around the world. It fires over 700 rounds a minute.
The weapon’s suitability for jungle and desert fighting made it nearly ideal for the Third World insurgents backed by the Soviet Union, and Moscow not only distributed the AK-47 widely but also licensed its production in some 30 other countries, the AP said.
Kalashnikov started out as a sergeant in the Red Army during World War II and rose to become a lieutenant (three star) general. His role in the rifle’s creation carried him from conscription to senior positions in the Soviet arms-manufacturing bureaucracy and ultimately to six terms on the Supreme Soviet, the Soviet Union’s legislative body, according to the New York Times.
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John S.D. Eisenhower, the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower — who went on to his own distinguished career as an Army officer and military historian, died Saturday at his home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was 91.
The younger Eisenhower graduated from West Point on June 6, 1944, the same day as the Allied invasion of France — commanded by his father, who was supreme allied commander in Europe. John Eisenhower went on to intelligence and staff jobs in Europe during the war. Various commanders feared young Eisenhower’s combat death or capture would have a negative effect his father’s command decisions, so the son was not allowed in combat, the New York Times reported.
But in 1952, John Eisenhower saw combat at the beginning of a year-long tour in Korea. He retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1963 and rose to brigadier general in the Army Reserves.
Eisenhower wrote military histories of the Mexican-American War, “So Far From God,” the Battle of the Bulge “The Bitter Woods,” World War I and World War II: “Yanks: The Epic Story of the U.S. Army in World War I,” “Allies: Pearl Harbor to D-Day,” as well as several works with, or about, his father including: “General Ike: A Personal Reminiscence.”
Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, News Developments, SHAKO, Technology, Traditions, Unconventional Warfare, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: AK-47, Army, assault rifle, John S.D. Eisenhower, Kalashnikov, obituaries, President Dwight Eisenhower, Russia, Topics.