Military history


Prologue: Stalin’s Tools of War

1. Drawn from the author’s visit in 2004 to the test site and crater where RDS-1 was detonated, and interviews with the director of the National Nuclear Center of Kazakhstan, which is located on the grounds of the former Soviet institute, and the center’s museum director and staff. Also from David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy,1939–1956 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), pp. 213–20.

2. Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, pp. 213–20.

3. Interview with author, 2004.

4. Gene Roberts, “Enemy’s Soviet-Designed Rifle Slows Marines’ Drive in Hue. AK-47 Makes Sniper a ‘Machine Gunner’ Who ‘Can Tie Up an Entire Company’—Cannons Used to Root Out Foe,” New York Times, February 9, 1968.

5. Interview in 2002 of Ashrat Khan by author.

6. Interview in 2010 of retired general William M. Keys, president and chief executive officer of Colt Defense LLC, the principal manufacturer of the M-16 line. Colt had manufactured roughly 7 million M-16s and seven hundred thousand M-4 carbines. The weapon and its knock-offs have also been made in smaller quantities in several other factories in Singapore, Canada, and South Korea, by a division of General Motors and elsewhere in the United States.

7. Marius Broekmeyer, Stalin, the Russians, and Their War (Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000), pp. xiv–xv.

8. A useful and accurate English-language guide is Joseph Poyer, Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations (Tustin, Cal.: North Cape Publications, 2004), which expands upon the aggregation done by Edward Ezell’s Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man (Cobourg, Ontario: Collector Grade Publications, 2001).

1. The Birth of Machine Guns

1. E. Frank Stephenson, Jr., Gatling: A Photographic Remembrance (Murfreesboro, North Carolina: Meherrin River Press, 1993), p. 4.

2. “Death of Dr. Gatling, Former Indianapolitan Who Achieved World-Wide Fame, Inventor of the Gatling Gun, Grain Drill and Other Devices Which Have Benefited Many,” in Gatling’s obituary on February 27, 1903, in the Indianapolis Journal, his impression from the caskets was quoted from an earlier interview. “The losses of life by disease rather than wounds caused me as a physician the idea that to shorten war would be to ameliorate it. This idea I got from looking at the boxes of dead bodies in the Indianapolis depot. I conceived a gun which should do the greatest execution in a brief space, by a revolving series of barrels loaded with a particular ammunition and shooting a double range.”

3. This letter from Gatling to Miss Lizzie Jarvis on June 15, 1877, is cited in many books, including on page 27 of Julia Keller’s Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel: The Gun that Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It (New York: Penguin, 2008).

4. Stephenson, Gatling, p. 10.

5. From a letter by Hugh O. Pentecost, Gatling’s son-in-law, to the editors of the Hartford Courant, March 2, 1903. In Stephenson, Gatling, p. 81.

6. “Made The Gatling Gun. Inventor Sought to Decrease the Horrors of War. An Interview with Dr. Gatling,” Washington Post, October 29, 1899.

7. Frink’s role has not been widely documented. He is mentioned by Dr. Charles A. Bonsett in “Medical Museum Notes,” a column in the December 1988 issue of Indiana Medicine. Dr. Bonsett cited a 1914 article about Gatling that described Frink as a “mechanical genius of this city [Indianapolis].” Personal communication to author from Charles Bonsett. Charles A. Bonsett, “Medical Museum Notes,” from Indiana Medicine, December 1988, Vol. 81, No. 12. See also Fred D. Cavinder, Amazing Tales from Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1990), p. 36.

8. From United States Patent No. 36,836, “Improvement in Revolving Battery Guns,” awarded to Richard J. Gatling, November 4, 1862, by the United States Patent Office, p. 1.

9. A. Bouvieron, An Historical and Biographical Sketch of Fieschi, with Anecdotes Relating to His Life (London, 1835), p. 68. The dimensions were taken from the report of M. LePage, gunsmith to the king, who examined the device.

10. A copy of the patent submission is reproduced in George M. Chinn, The Machine Gun: History, Evolution, and Development of Manual, Automatic, and Airborne Repeating Weapons, Volume I (Washington: Bureau of Ordnance, 1951), p. 18.

11. “A New System of Artillery for Projecting a Group or Cluster of Shot,” lecture presented to the Royal United Services Institute on May 9, 1862, and published in the institute’s journal the following year, p. 377.

12. Chinn, The Machine Gun, p. 36.

13. The term was used in 1914 by Dr. Charles Dennis, a medical beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, writing under the pen name Dr. Oldfish.

14. Indianapolis Daily Journal, May 30, 1862.

15. From “On Mitrailleurs, And Their Place In The Wars Of The Future,” by Major G. V. Fosbery, Her Majesty’s Bengal Staff Corps, Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, 1870, p. 543.

16. Charles B. Norton, American Breech-Loading Small Arms: A Description of Late Inventions Including the Gatling Gun and a Chapter on Cartridges (New York: F. W. Christern, 1872), p. 240.

17. Lieutenant Skerrett’s letter to Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, chief of the Navy’s ordnance bureau, is printed in full in Norton, American Breech-Loading Small Arms, p. 241.

18. From Joseph Allen Minturn, The Inventor’s Friend; or, Success With Patents: A Practical Book Telling How to Discriminate Between Valuable and Worthless Inventions; How to Avoid Mistakes and Disappointment; How to Patent and Protect Inventions, and How to Dispose of the Monopoly (Indianapolis: Meridian Co., 1893), p. 83.

19. Butler, who was nicknamed the Beast by the Confederacy, would become even more hated during Reconstruction. But long before that he was loathed. His military skills were virtually nonexistent. Volume II of History of North Carolina from the Earliest Discoveries to the Present Time,by John W. Moore, 1880, summarized his reputation on p. 261: “Such had been his conduct that the Confederate government had, by proclamation, set a price upon his head and instructed its armies to show him no quarter, but slay him like a wild beast wherever captured.”

20. Lieutenant W. W. Kimball, “Machine Guns,” published in Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, November 16, 1881, p. 407. Lt. Kimball did not cite his source for this information, and historians of the Civil War have largely concluded that the Gatling gun was not widely used in the war.

21. Paul Wahl and Don Toppel, The Gatling Gun (New York: Arco Publishing Co., 1965).

22. Louis M. Starr, Bohemian Brigade: Civil War Newsmen in Action (New York: Knopf, 1954), pp. 222–24.

23. General Ripley presents historians with a curious case. The nemesis of would-be arms dealers to the Union, he has been derided by many of Gatling’s chroniclers as a small-minded officer who missed an opportunity to field a decisive weapon against the Confederacy. Interestingly, he also resisted the introduction of repeating rifles, missing another chance to equip his army with more lethal arms. He is, in this portrait, petty, unimaginative, inclined toward bureaucracy, and unresponsive. Ripley had a singularly difficult job. He needed to sort through the issues of arming a force that swelled severalfold within months, all the while puzzling through ways to keep the weapons flowing into service compatible with one another, and managing the weapons’ disparate ammunition needs and soldiers’ training. John Ellis, in his acidic treatise, The Social History of the Machine Gun (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), called him “an inveterate standardiser.” Given the circumstances, this seems a reasonable approach, although standardization also thwarted the fielding of valuable weapons at a time when arms development was proceeding at a rapid clip. Ripley was hardly the first armorer who fought for standardization of infantry arms; the philosophy he embraced has become a foundation of modern military training and logistics. Standardization is part of the core of the Kalashnikov system, and one of the reasons for its martial success and its emergence, in the eyes of those who would more fully regulate the international small-arms trade, as a global scurge.

24. David Lloyd George, War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, 1915–1916 (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1933), p. 81.

25. David A. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats: The Machine Gun and the United States Army, 1861–1916 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982), p. 10.

26. W. Reid McKee and M. E. Mason, Jr., Civil War Projectiles II: Small Arms & Field Artllery, With Supplement (Orange, Va.: Moss Publications, 1980), p. 8.

27. The rumor was not substantiated and is offset by evidence otherwise. The Confederacy was no more disposed toward rapid-fire arms than the North. Whether the rumor was a product of war hysteria or a malicious plant by a competitor is unknown. But history would show that Gatling lived in the North, worked from the North, and saw himself as a man of Northern industry. No scholar of the Civil War has yet turned up evidence that he worked surreptitiously for the South, or offered his weapons for sale to the Confederacy.

28. This letter has been reproduced in several books about machine guns, gunnery, and Gatling. Chinn’s work, The Machine Gun, is most useful, as it reproduced the original handwritten note, which shows Gatling’s own underlining for emphasis.

29. William H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), p. 232.

30. McKee and Mason, Civil War Projectiles, p. 10. The data on the velocities and penetrating powers of the era’s musket balls all come from this source, including the charts and text on p. 10.

31. Frank R. Freemon, Gangrene and Glory: Medical Care During the American Civil War (Cranbury, N.J.: Associated University Press, 1998), p. 48.

32. Ibid.

33. From Hannah Ropes, Civil War Nurse. The Diary and Letters of Hannah Ropes, John R. Brumgardt, ed., (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 1980), p. 68.

34. Ibid., p. 88.

35. Nugent and Palmer litigated over the American patent from 1861. Ager received British patents for the gun in 1866. If the possibility of riches from future sales motivated the disputes, it was a battle over not much. There were no riches to be had. By the end of the war, in 1865, the Repeating Gun had been discredited due to its frequent jamming.

36. For many of the weapons described in these pages, a more thorough description of their design and operation can be found in Chinn, The Machine Gun, in this case, Vol. 1, pp. 37–40.

37. Robert V. Bruce, Lincoln and the Tools of War (Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1989), p. 119.

38. The prices were published by Lt. Col. Calvin Goddard, chief of the Historical Section of the U.S. Army’s Chief of Ordnance, in Army Ordnance: The Journal of the Army Ordnance Association, and were reprinted in The Machine Gun: The Period of Recognition, Ordnance Department, Washington, 1943.

39. In fact, neither the Ager nor the Gatling were true machine guns, but Mills was the first to succeed in closing a sale of a rapid-fire weapon, and his sale presaged the widespread distribution of weapons of this sort in Europe and beyond.

40. Kimball, “Machine Guns,” p. 406.

41. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats, pp. 18–19.

42. Test report of January 20, 1865, on file at Connecticut State Library, Record Group 103, Subgroup 12. Hereinafter referred to as “on file at Connecticut State Library.”

2. Machine Guns in Action

1. From a letter to the Royal United Service Institute in 1875 by Captain Ebenezer Rogers.

2. Copy of contract on file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

3. Quoted from a letter of July 14, 1866, from T. G. Baylor, captain of ordnance, to Major-General A. B. Dyer, the army’s chief of ordnance. In Norton, American Breech-Loading Small Arms, p. 243.

4. Quoted from the report of three officers to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, May 30, 1868, in Norton, Breech-Loading Small Arms, p. 244.

5. Minturn, The Inventor’s Friend, p. 83.

6. On file at Connecticut State Library.

7. Tatiana Nikolayevna Ilyina, Voyenniye Agenty i Russkie Oruzhiye (Military Agents and Russian Weapons), (Saint Petersburg: Atlant, 2008), pp. 75–83.

8. Peter Cozzens, Eyewitness to the Indian Wars, 1865–1890: Conquering the Southern Plains (Mechanicsburgh, Pa: Stackpole Books, 2003), p. 69.

9. Gatling’s System of Fire-Arms with Official Reports of Recent Trials and Great Success. This undated brochure, printed by C. W. Ames in New York, is on file at Indiana State Library.

10. The test results are published in Norton, American Breech-Loading Small Arms, pp. 268–74.

11. Copies of correspondence are on file at Connecticut State Library.

12. Fosbery, “On Mitrailleurs,” p. 547.

13. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, February 3, 1868. Gatling told Love that he expected the French to buy his guns. “The best of the officers are of the opinion that the 1-inch Gatling gun will supercede the ordinary field guns now in use,” he wrote. “If such should be the case, then making guns must soon grow [into] a large business.”

14. Cited in Norton, American Breech-Loading Small Arms, p. 238.

15. Brevet-Colonel Edward B. Williston, “Machine Guns in War,” Army and Navy Journal, May 20, 1886.

16. Major General Beauchamp, from the transcript of remarks at the Royal United Service Institution after a presentation, “Machine-Guns and How To Use Them,” by W. Gardner. In Ordnance Notes No. 198, 1882, p. 7. That mitrailleuses were carted off no one disputes. It seems unlikely, however, that the quantity was 600; another officer noted that the year before the war, the French had 190 mitrailleuses.

17. Kimball, “Machine Guns,” p. 413.

18. A series of letters in late 1869 between the secretary of state for war in Great Britain and officers of the Gatling Gun Company provide details. On file at Connecticut State Library.

19. Abridged Treatise on The Construction and Manufacture of Ordnance in the British Service, July 1877, p. 262.

20. Gatling’s System of Fire-Arms with Official Report of Recent Trial and Great Successes (C. W. Ames, printer, circa 1874), pp. 6–7. On file at Indiana State Library.

21. Letter from W. H. Talbott, August 31, 1871. On file at Connecticut State Library.

22. G. A. Henty, By Sheer Pluck: A Tale of the Ashanti War (Glasgow: Blackie & Son, 1884), p. 197.

23. H. A. Brackenbury, captain, Royal Artillery, The Ashanti War: A Narrative Prepared From The Official Documents By Permission of Major-General Sir Garnet Wolseley, Vol. II (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1874), p. 44–45.

24. John H. Parker, Tactical Organization and Uses of Machine Guns in the Field (Kansas City, Mo: Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co. 1899), p. 35–36.

25. A full copy of the handwritten test report is on file at Connecticut State Library.

26. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, October 26, 1873. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

27. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love. August 1, 1873. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

28. Letter from Edgar T. Welles to General John Love, August 2, 1873. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

29. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, November 30, 1873. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

30. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General Love, November 8, 1873. On file at Indiana Historical Society.

31. Ibid.

32. “Letter from the Secretary of War Recommending Appropriation for Gatling Guns,” Government Printing Office, 1874. On file at Connecticut State Library.

33. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, May 10, 1874. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

34. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, March 26, 1874. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

35. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, May 30, 1874. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

36. “List of Guns Sold and Paid For,” on file at Connecticut State Library.

37. “The Place of the Mitrailleurs in War,” reprinted from Saturday Review in Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Vol. XII, July to December 1870 (New York: E. R. Pelton, 1870), pp. 725–28.

38. Nature, September 1, 1870, p. 361.

39. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, August 28, 1873. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

40. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, November 9, 1873. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

41. Letter from William Folger to General John Love, July 11, 1874. On file at Indiana Historical Society Collection.

42. Fosbery, “On Mitrailleurs,” p. 557.

43. Ibid., p. 572.

44. Captain Rogers made a presentation, “The Gatling Gun: Its Place in Tactics,” at the evening meeting of the Royal United Services Institution on April 19, 1875. The full text of his speech was published in the institution’s journal, No. 19, 1876, London. The excerpt here is from p. 423.

45. Ibid., p. 427.

46. Letter from R. J. Gatling to General John Love, April 27, 1874. Letter on file at Indiana Historical Society.

47. Letter from R. J. Gatling to Love, May 30, 1874. The letter has a telling cross-out. After writing “five pounds” Gatling had originally added “or 10 pounds.” The second amount was crossed out with four lines, suggesting that while Gatling sought Rogers’s assistance, he wanted to secure it at minimal expense.

48. Rogers, “The Gatling Gun,” p. 438.

49. Ibid., p. 440.

50. Red Horse was interviewed in 1881 by an army surgeon. His account was published by the Government Printing Office in 1893 and reproduced in Lakota and Cheyenne, Indian Views of the Great Sioux War, 1876–1877, ed. Jerome A. Greene, p. 37.

51. “On Little Big Horn with General Custer,” Army Magazine, June and July 1894; republished in Peter Cozzens, ed., Eyewitness to the Indian Wars, 1865–1890: The Long War for the Northern Plains, p. 318.

52. Williston, “Machine Guns in War.”

53. Peter Cozzens, ed., Eyewitness to the Indian Wars, 1865–1890, Volume Two: The Wars for the Pacific Northwest (Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Press, 2002), p. 377.

54. Donald R. Morris, The Washing of the Spears: The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation (Cambridge, Mass.: De Capo Press, 1998), p. 567.

55. Ibid., p. 569.

56. “The Zulus Badly Whipped,” New York Times, July 24, 1879.

57. Morris, Washing of the Spears, p 572.

58. Kimball, “Machine Guns,” p. 410.

59. W. Gardner, “Machine Guns and How to Use Them,” in Ordnance Notes. No. 198, Washington, D.C., June 1, 1882, p. 2.

60. Ibid., p. 6.

61. Ibid., p. 8.

62. Lakeside Press, Cleveland, N.Y., April 2, 1881.

63. Paul Wahl and Donald R. Toppel, The Gatling Gun (New York: Arco Publishing, 1965), p. 100. The authors cited the August 27 issue of the Army & Navy Journal.

64. Chinn, The Machine Gun, p. 58.

3. Hiram Maxim Changes War

1. “Evening News” of Baltimore, date illegible. From the Sir Hiram S. Maxim Collection, 1890–1916. Archives Division, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

2. This number is from Maxim’s memoirs, My Life (London: Methuen and Co., 1915). In another account, to the Royal United Services Institution, Maxim said he had fired seven rounds.

3. “Sir Hiram Maxim, Inventor, Dies,” Rochester Herald, November 25, 1916.

4. Hiram Maxim, My Life, p. 38.

5. Personal communication from Dr. Joseph Slade, of the University of Ohio, who has researched Maxim’s life and holds copies of some of Maxim’s personal papers.

6. Maxim, My Life, p. 40.

7. Ibid., p. 48.

8. Ibid., p. 86.

9. Brooklyn Eagle, November 24, 1916.

10. Maxim, My Life, p. 132.

11. Hiram Percy Maxim, A Genius in the Family: Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim Through a Small Son’s Eyes (New York & London: Harper & Brothers 1936), pp. 21–25.

12. Maxim, A Genius in the Family, pp. 17–20.

13. Census data from personal communication from Dick Eastman, genealogist. Dr. Slade, who had researched Maxim’s life, said, of Maxim’s move to Canada during the war, “His wanderings are certainly suspicious” (personal communication with author).

14. “How I Invented Maxim Gun—Hiram Maxim. Outbreak of World-War Moves Veteran American to Describe for The Times His Epoch-Making Invention,” New York Times, November 1, 1914. This was how Maxim himself quoted the advice in 1914. A briefer version is commonly cited: “Hang your chemistry and electricity! If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each other’s throats with great facility.” The second quotation has been used by many sources, including by Chinn in The Machine Gun (p. 128), and the many gun writers who borrowed from him. The reference to a “Jew” appears in Dolf Goldsmith, The Devil’s Paintbrush, Sir Hiram Maxim’s Gun, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Collector Grade Publication, 1993) p. 7, citing the London Times.

15. Chinn, The Machine Gun, p. 128. It was 1883. The idea was ahead of its time—machine guns were still struggling for military acceptance, and Maxim had conceived of an assault rifle, which would not be carried into combat for decades.

16. Maxim, My Life, p. 157.

17. P. Fleury Mottelay, The Life and Work of Sir Hiram Maxim (London: John Lane, 1920), p. 10.

18. A transcript of Maxim’s presentation to the Royal United Services Institution on December 11, 1896, entitled “The Automatic System of Fire-Arms: Its History and Development,” is on file at the Smithsonian. The account is taken from the opening page. Archives Division, National Air and Space Museum.

19. Ian V. Hogg, Machine Guns: A Detailed History of the Rapid-Fire Gun, 14th Century to Present (Iola, Wisc.: Krause Publications, 2002), pp. 34–35.

20. Goldsmith, The Devil’s Paintbrush.

21. Maxim, My Life, p. 163.

22. Ibid., p. 170.

23. Chinn, The Machine Gun, pp. 134–35.

24. Julian Symons, England’s Pride: The Story of the Gordon Relief Expedition (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1965), p. 196.

25. Lord Charles Beresford, The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, Volume I. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1914), p. 263.

26. Symons, p. 198.

27. Ibid., p. 203.

28. Alex MacDonald, Too Late for Gordon and Khartoum: The Testimony of an Independent Eye-Witness of the Heroic Efforts for Their Relief and Rescue (John Murray, publisher, 1887), p. 241.

29. Beresford, Memoirs, p. 267.

30. The Nineteenth Century and After, vol. 13, James Knowles, ed. (London: Sampson, Low Marston & Co., 1903), p. 91.

31. Chinn, The Machine Gun, p. 131.

32. Maxim, My Life, p. 203.

33. Ibid., p. 238.

34. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats, p. 175

35. Williston. “Machine Guns in War.”

36. “Robari (The Story of A Very Little War.)” MacMillan’s Volume LXXXI, Nov 1899–April 1900, pp. 99–105.

37. Details of Rattray’s travels and life were provided to the author by his grandson, Alan Swindale.

38. Rattray’s letter is posted on, a British genealogy website.

39. “I am glad to learn the Fletcher note has been paid,” Gatling wrote in a letter to General John Love, January 30, 1874. On file at Indiana Historical Society. The “Fletcher note” refers to the debt.

40. “Statement of the Condition of the Company,” handwritten by Gatling for the shareholders, October 4, 1876. On file at Connecticut State Library.

41. “Cash Receipts and Disbursements during the year ending Sept. 30, 1889.” On file at Connecticut State Library.

42. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats, p. 77.

43. Wahl and Toppel, Gatling Gun, p. 135.

44. Letter from Frederick W. Prince, secretary of the Gatling Gun Company, to the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance, September 22, 1894. On file at Connecticut State Library.

45. Norton, American Breech-Loading Small Arms, p. 242.

46. Army and Navy Gazette of London, May 7, 1892.

47. G. S. Hutchison, Machine Guns: Their History and Tactical Employment (London: Macmillan and Co., 1938), p. 67.

48. The notes on Maxim’s workplace personality are from a section of Maxim Nordentfelt Days and Ways, quoted at length in Goldsmith, The Devil’s Paintbrush, p. 58. The details on overcapitalization are from a directors’ report, quoted at length in the same book, p. 59.

49. “An Abridgement of Mr. Hiram S. Maxim’s Lecture delivered at Dartford, March 16th, 1897,” p. 5. On file at the Smithsonian.

50. John H. Parker, History of the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, At Santiago, With a Few Unvarnished Truths Concerning that Expedition (Kansas City, Mo.: Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co., 1898), p. 11.

51. Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Since Its Establishment in 1802, supplement vol. VI-A, 1910–20 (Saginaw, Mich.: Seemann & Peters Printers, 1920), pp. 642–44.

52. Parker, History of the Gatling Gun Detachment, p. 20. Parker’s book, like his actions outside Santiago, was prescient. His suggestions for machine-gun employment presaged World War I. The book also serves as social criticism of the American army circa 1900. Parker championed the enlisted man, and his writing was spiced with his observations—and derision—of the machinations of army generals for status and power, and, chillingly, of what he saw as the abandonment by the army of soldiers in Cuba who had contracted tropical diseases. These men, he said, were not provided for as the army sailed home for victory parades. He was a tactical visionary. He was not popular.

53. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats. p. 83.

54. Goddard, Army Ordnance, pp. 8–9.

55. “The Yuma Penitentiary. One of the Most Remarkable Prisons in the United States. Filled With Desperate Characters. In Many Years but One Has Escaped,” New York Times, March 1, 1896.

56. Times of London, February 22, 1879. On file at Connecticut State Library.

57. All three newspaper clippings are on file, undated, at Connecticut State Library.

58. Peter Cozzens, Eyewitness to the Indian Wars, Volume Five: The Army and the Indian (Mechanicsburg, Pa: Stackpole Books, 2001). A soldier’s diary on p. 319 describes the encounter. “With one Gatling on board, we started up the river Yellowstone. Had a lively target practice this a large brown bear which was seen ahead on a sandbar. He made a lively retreat for the shore and into the thicket as we drew near. The men forward gave him a volley, but he still kept on.” The entry thus is not fully clear, and can be read in two ways. The Gatling was certainly present, and the order of the writing strongly suggests it was fired. The phrase “gave a volley” indicates that the soldiers might have fired their rifles simultaneously. Armstrong, in Bullets and Bureaucrats, documented six uses of a Gatling gun against Native Americans from 1874 to 1878; p. 80.

59. Parker, History of the Gatling Gun Detachment, p. 14.

60. Ibid., p. 10.

61. “The Story of San Juan. How Parker and His Gatlings Turned The Tide Of Battle,” undated newspaper clip, circa 1898, on file at Connecticut State Library. The report was written by Parker, who was given a tag line.

62. John H. Parker, History of the Gatling Gun Detachment. From the preface, written by Theodore Roosevelt.

63. Ibid.

64. Hutchison, Machine Guns, p. 67.

65. Ismat Hassan Zulfo, Karari: The Sudanese Account of the Battle of Omdurman, translated by Peter Clark (Bath, U.K.: Pittman Press, 1980), pp. 96–100.

66. Ibid., pp. 172–73.

67. Winston S. Churchill, The River War (originally published in 1900; reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, 2004), p. 150.

68. Hutchinson, Machine Guns, p. 69.

69. Rudyard Kipling, “Pharaoh and the Sergeant,” 1897. First published in the New York Tribune.

70. Maxim, My Life, p. 182

71. Hiram S. Maxim, Li Hung Chang’s Scrap-Book (London: Watts & Co., 1913). The first two quotations are excerpted from p. 19; the last quotation from p. 368.

72. Not long before his death, Maxim wrote of the inferiority of the freed slaves, describing his frustration at trying to keep the Kimball House lit and heated through a night with the help of only a black man. The company engineer had the same problem, he said, and finally told him he had concluded that “no amount of beating would keep a nigger awake at night.”

73. New Zealand Free Lance, September 15, 1900.

4. Slaughter Made Industrial: The Great War

1. Sergeant A. J. Rixon papers, letter of March 17, 1915. On file at Imperial War Museum, London. Rixon added: “Not the St. Patrick’s Day I’m used to.”

2. Chinn, The Machine Gun, describes Browning’s discovery and the series of experiments on pp. 160–63.

3. Ibid., pp. 150–70; also Major B. R. Lewis, Machine Guns of the U.S., 1895–1944, a series in Army Ordnance.

4. Chinn, The Machine Gun, pp. 209–10.

5. Julia Keller, Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel (New York: Viking, 2008), p. 203. The text of Dr. Gatling’s letter thanking his son for the five hundred dollars appears on p. 203.

6. Historians have excoriated Western officer corps for what would later seem monumental ignorance; it has become a bromide. Ellis’s Social History of the Machine Gun portrayed the British generals thoughtlessly sending a generation to its doom.

7. Richard Meinertzhagen, Army Diary: 1899–1926 (Edingburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1960), p. 8.

8. Ellis, Social History of the Machine Gun, pp. 54–55.

9. “The United Service,” New York Times, July 15, 1903.

10. Kimball, “Machine Guns,” p. 417.

11. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats, p. 133.

12. Ibid., pp. 126–29.

13. Ibid., pp. 136–37.

14. Ellis, Social History of the Machine Gun, p. 55.

15. Hutchison, Machine Guns, pp. 82–83.

16. Charles À Court Repington, The War in the Far East: 1904–1905 (New York: Dutton, 1908), p. 315.

17. Tadayoshi Sakurai, Human Bullets: A Soldier’s Story of Port Arthur (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1907), pp. 152–53.

18. Hutichison, Machine Guns, p. 89.

19. B. W. Norregaard, The Great Siege: The Investment and Fall of Port Arthur (London: Methuen & Co., 1906), p. 71.

20. Louis A. La Garde, Gunshot Injuries: How They are Inflicted, Their Complications and Treatment, 2nd Revised Ed. (New York: William Wood and Company, 1916). The precise losses remain a matter of dispute. La Garde, who apparently was working off medical data, put the number of Japanese killed in action at more than forty-seven thousand. With disease factored in, the number likely rises significantly.

21. Sakurai, Human Bullets.

22. Ibid., pp. 232–38.

23. Hutchison, Machine Guns, p. 84

24. Armstrong, Bullet and Bureaucrats, p. 139.

25. La Garde, Gunshot Injuries, p. 411.

26. Repington, War in the Far East, p. 490.

27. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats, p. 140.

28. From the handwritten letters of Alfred Dougan “Mickey” Chater, a captain in a Territorial unit who served on the Western Front from fall 1914 through March 1915, when he was struck in the face by a piece of shell. Captain Chater survived, but the injury and disfigurement were horrible. Letters on file at the Imperial War Museum, London.

29. David Lloyd George, War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, 1915–16 (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1933), pp. 61–74.

30. Goldsmith, The Devil’s Paintbrush, pp. 131–60. The question of how many machine guns the Germans had at the war’s outset has been clouded by unattributed guesses and estimates. Goldsmith provides the text of a report by “The German Government Agent at the Anglo-German Mixed Arbitral Tribunal,” dated October 5, 1928. The report provided depot-by-depot totals from the former chief of the German Machine Gun Department.

31. Meinertzhagen, Army Diary. pp. 90–94. Meinertzhagen, a British intelligence officer, globe-roaming ornithologist, and self-aggrandizing figure, kept exhaustive diaries. His journals are both interesting and suspect, and his writings have been found to contain frauds. In this case, his account of the battle of Tanga is consistent with other sources, and one of his conclusions, that troops felt disgraced by being defeated by black soldiers, was consistent with many of the misapprehensions of the ways that machine guns were changing warfare.

32. Chater, letter of December 13, 1914. On file at Imperial War Museum.

33. Martin Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme (New York: Norton, 1972). Soldiers were surrounded by signs that, though the age of industrial warfare had arrived, many officers leading the army did not understand what this meant.

34. Ibid., p. 11.

35. Arthur Anderson, from a ninety-five-page hand-written manuscript. On file at Imperial War Museum.

36. Paddy Griffith, Battle Tactics of the Western Front (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), p. 49.

37. La Garde, Gunshot Injuries, p. 422.

38. Tim Ripley, Bayonet Battle (London: Pan Books, 2000), pp. 34–35.

39. A. J. Rixon, diary entry of April 1. On file at Imperial War Museum.

40. Rixon, diary entry of May 26, 1915.

41. Rixon, diary entry of September 25, 1915.

42. C. E. Crutchley, Machine Gunner 1914–1918: Personal Experiences of the Machine Gun Corps (South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military Classics, 2005), p. 15.

43. Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme, p. 21.

44. André Laffargue, The Attack in Trench Warfare: Impressions and Reflections of a Company Commander (Washington, D.C.: United States Infantry Association, 1916), p. 27.

45. Ibid., p. 12.

46. Anderson, from his diary.

47. Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme, p. 81.

48. Ibid., p. 106. The quoted section at the end of the excerpt is from Middlebrook’s interview with Private W. J. Senescall of The Cambridge Battalion.

49. Ibid., pp. 137–38.

50. Ibid., p. 185.

51. Ibid., p. 123.

52. Anderson, from his diary.

53. Maxim, My Life, p. 313.

54. Ibid., p. 315.

55. Wilfred Owen, “The Spring Offensive,” 1918. Owen, a lieutenant, was killed by a bullet a week before Armistice, roughly a month after writing these lines.

56. Crutchley, Machine Gunner, p. 15.

57. W. H. B. Smith, and Joseph E. Smith, The Book of Rifles (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1965), pp. 62–73.

58. Hans-Dieter Götz, German Military Rifles and Machine Pistols, 1871–1945, trans. Dr. Edward Force (West Chester, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, 1990), p. 222.

59. Ian V. Hogg and John S. Weeks, Military Small Arms of the 20th Century, 7th Edition (Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 2000), p. 93.

60. Louis A. La Garde, and John T. Thompson, “Preliminary Report of Board to Determine Upon Bullet for Military Service Pistol.” Written in Chicago, Illinois, March, 18, 1904.

5. Stalin’s Contest: The Invention of the AK-47

1. Kalashnikov: Oruzhiye, Boyepripacy, Snaryazheniye, Okhota, Sport. Special Issue, 2004, p. 18. The polygon is also described several times in Kalashnikov’s memoirs.

2. M. T. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep to the Kremlin Gates, (Moscow: Military Parade, 1997), p. 203.

3. Ibid., p. 164.

4. Dmitri Shirayev, “Legendarn Kalashnikov—Ne Oruzheinik, a Podstavnoye Litso,” Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 3, 2002. Moskovsky Komsomolets is a Russian-language newspaper published in Moscow. Various sources say the artillery commission received from ten to fifteen submissions. Fifteen, the number provided by S. B. Monetchikov’s Istoriya Russkogo Avtomato is used here, in part because Monetchikov lists the contestants’ names. His book was published by Atlant in Saint Petersburg, 2005.

5. According to the State Statistics Committee in June 1946, out of 24 million workers and office employees who received their full wages or salaries 5.6 percent were paid about 100 rubles; 9.2 percent from 101 to 150 rubles; 10.7 percent from 151 to 200 rubles; 8.8 percent from 201 to 250 rubles; 8.7 percent from 251 to 300 rubles. Less than one-third of laborers and white-white collar workers were paid from 300 to 600 rubles. Research by Nikolay Khalip.

6. M. T. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep. The quotations from this section are taken from p. 152 and p. 166. This section was written by weaving together multiple sources, including Kalashnikov’s memoirs, the displays and materials at the Museum in Izhevsk and St. Petersburg, Kalashnikov’s speeches from 2004 to 2008, and multiple interviews with the author.

7. Kalashnikovs’ stepdaughter’s published remarks describe his relative material wealth in the postwar Soviet Union. Also, in Mikhail Kalashnikov and Yelena Kalashnikov, Trayektoriya Sudbi (Moscow: Vsya Rossiya Publishing House, 2004), Katya is shown in a knee-length fur coat in the photograph section between pp. 96 and 97.

8. Letter from M. T. Kalashnikov to Edward Ezell, dated June 1973. In the unsorted collection of Ezell’s papers at Defence College of Management and Technology, Shrivenham, UK.

9. Letter from Edward C. Ezell to “Hal,” dated September 18, 1973. Hal was Harold E. Johnson, an expert on Eastern bloc arms who worked at the Foreign Science and Technology Center of the U.S. Army Material Development and Readiness Command. He was also the author of the once-classified volume Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide—Eurasian Communist Countries, published by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. In the Ezell Collection, College of Management and Technology, UK Defence Academy.

10. Personal communication to author from Dmitri Shirayev, a former Soviet arms design official.

11. The early versions of Kalashnikov’s memoirs draw heavily from D. N. Bolotin’s Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition (Hyvinkää, Finland: Finnish Arms Museum Foundation, 1995); later versions draw from A. A. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty (Moscow: Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, 2000). Translation by Michael Schwirtz.

12. Personnel communication to author by Maksim R. Popenker, editor of the website and author of several books on Russian small arms.

13. Kalashnikov, From A Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 128.

14. Mikhail Kalashnikov, at Rosoboronexport, summer 2007. In presence of the author.

15. Harold E. Johnson, “Assessing Soviet Progress in Small Arms Research and Development,” Army Research and Development News, November–December 1974, pp. 31–32.

16. Y. A. Natsvaladze, Oruzhiye Pobedy: Kollektsiya Strelkovogo Oruzhiya Sistemy A.I. Sudayera v Sobranii Muzeya (Leningrad, 1988), pp. 4–17.

17. Marius Broekmeyer, Stalin, the Russians and Their War, 1941–1945 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999), p. 4.

18. Ibid., p. 45.

19. Georgy K. Zhukov provides an officially approved summary in his 1969 memoirs, The Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov. In the English-language edition, published in 1971 by Jonathan Cape, Ltd., of London, the summary appears on pp. 138–39.

20. N. Yelshin, “Soviet Small Arms,” Soviet Military Review, 2, 1977, p. 15.

21. C. J. Chivers, “Izhevsk Journal: Russia Salutes Father of the Rifle Fired Round the World,” New York Times, November 11, 2004. At the ceremony for Kalashnikov’s eighty-fifth birthday, in Izhevsk, where he worked from 1948 until the present day, officials at the arms plant gave these figures.

22. Arthur J. Alexander, Weapons Acquisition in the Soviet Union, United States and France. The paper was prepared for a conference on Comparative Defense Policy at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1973. In the unsorted Ezell Collection.

23. Adam Ulam, Stalin: The Man and His Era (Boston: Beacon Press, 1989), p. 464.

24. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, p. 107.

25. M. T. Kalashnikov, speaking at the sixtieth anniversary jubilee of the birth of the AK-47, in Moscow, 2007, in presence of the author.

26. Götz, German Military Rifles, pp. 198–204.

27. Ibid., p. 208, citing Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Rudolf Forenbacher, from the journal Werhkunde, 1, 1953.

28. Aberdeen Proving Ground Series, German Submachine Guns and Assault Rifles of World War II (Old Greenwich: W.E., Inc., 1968), pp. 1–10. The description of the development of the Kurz cartridge and the sturmgewehr was largely derived from Götz and from this document; the production numbers are listed on pp. 5 and 7.

29. P. Labbett and F. A. Brown. Technical Ammunition Guide Series 3, Pamphlet 2: The 7.62mm x 39 Model 1943 Cartridge Communist (London: September 1987), p. 1. The authors were skeptical of the official Soviet account and Soviet sources that relied on them. “Reliance has, perforce, to be placed almost entirely on Russian narratives, without original documents or other evidence being available. The total accuracy of Russian sources is hard to assess and the motivation and inspiration for the design and development of this cartridge may not have been exactly as the Russians portray it.” This summarizes one of the central problems of assessing the Kalashnikov legend.

30. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, p. 97.

31. Ibid., p. 113.

32. Monetchikov, Istoriya Russkogo Avtomata, p. 24.

33. Broekmeyer, The Russians and Their War, pp. 12–13.

34. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, p. 113.

35. Monetchikov, Istoriya Russkogo Avtomata, p. 25.

36. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, p. 126. Hogg claims that nine thousand of Fedorov’s avtomats were made, though he did not provide a source. Bolotin cited Soviet archives. His estimate is used here.

37. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, pp. 126–27.

38. Ibid., p. 54.

39. Ibid., p. 252. Bolotin provided a list: Tukhachevsky, Uborevich, Dybenko, Kuybyshev, Alksnis, and Unshlicht.

40. Yuri Sergeyev, Tekhnika i Vooruzheniye, No. 12, 1970.

41. Perry Githens, “How Good Are Russian Guns?” Popular Science, March 1951, p. 109.

42. Mikhail Kalashnikov with Elena Joly, The Gun that Changed the World (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2006), p. 3.

43. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 25.

44. Ibid., p. 24.

45. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 4.

46. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 31.

47. Ibid., p. 404.

48. Ibid.

49. The first version is from From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 408–9. The second version is from The Gun That Changed the World, pp. 10–11.

50. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 412–413.

51. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 26.

52. Ibid., p. 33.

53. Interview of Mikhail Kalashnikov by Nick Paton Walsh, who shared the notes of his interview with the author.

54. Catherine Merridale, Ivan’s War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939–45 (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), p. 84.

55. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 73.

56. Broekmeyer, The Russians and Their War, xiv–xv.

57. Vladimir N. Zhukov, Second Birth, translation by Army Foreign Science and Technology Center (Charlottesville, Virginia, 1974). Originally published by Voyenizdat, Moscow, 1963, p. 58. An official Soviet biography of Kalashnikov. Kalashnikov embraced this biography, and presented it as fact to his first Western biographer. Many passages are demonstrably false or at odds with Kalashnikov’s later accounts.

58. Kalashnikov and Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 19.

59. Ibid., p. 35.

60. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 75.

61. Zhukov, Second Birth, pp. 59–63.

62. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 76.

63. Some sources, particularly in the English language, say Kalashnikov was treated at Kazan. These stories appear apocryphal; the principal sources, including Kalashnikov himself, describe his treatment in Yelets.

64. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 92–93.

65. Ibid., p. 87.

66. Zhukov, Second Birth, p. 85.

67. Kalashnikov: Oruzhiye, Boyepripasy, Snaryazheniye, Okhota, Sport. Special Issue, 2002, p. 17.

68. From interview of Kalashnikov by Edward Ezell in July 1989. A partial transcript of the interview was published in “Conversations with Kalashnikov,” in the Small Arms World Report, December 1992, p. 5.

69. Zhukov, Second Birth, pp. 108–9.

70. Mikhail Degtyarov, in “Istoki ‘Kalashnikov’” Kalashnikov: Oruzhiye, Boyepripasy, Snaryazheniye, Okhota, Sport. Issue 5, 2003, pp. 6–9. The year of birth of Kalashnikov’s son, Viktor Mikhailovich, is from the museum in Izhevsk.

71. Kalashnikov has refused over the years to discuss the mother of his son, Viktor, saying only that she died when Viktor was young and he then received custody of the boy. The reasons Kalashnikov is otherwise silent on the subject are not clear.

72. Ezell, “Conversations with Kalashnikov,” Small Arms World Report, December 1992, p. 5.

73. M. Novikov, “This is Kalashnikov,” Volksarmee, No. 1, January 1968, p. 9. Volksarmee was the magazine of the National People’s Army, the military of the German Democratic Republic.

74. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 122.

75. Ibid., p. 121.

76. Ibid., p. 132.

77. Ibid., pp. 133–34.

78. Viktor Vlasyuk, “Weapons Designer Vasily Lyuty,” Zerkalo Nedeli, No. 12, March 23–29, 1996. Vlasyuk quotes Lyuty in the section cited. Translated by Viktor Klimenko.

79. Ezell, Small Arms World Report, December 1992, p. 6.

80. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 237–38.

81. Ibid., p. 216.

82. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 61. Here Kalashnikov said that a year had passed before he returned to the Schurovo polygon for the competitive field tests.

83. Ezell, Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man, p. 71. A photograph of the disassembled rifle appears on this page; the external shape of the AK-47 is evident, but the guts of the weapon have not yet been worked out.

84. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, p. 69, quoting remarks by Kalashnikov published on September 20, 1957, in Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the official newspaper of the Red Army.

85. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 64.

86. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty, chapter 9.

87. Ibid.

88. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 220.

89. Ezell, Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man, p. 72.

90. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 209.

91. Ibid., p. 210.

92. The available sources differ on this point, and Kalashnikov has published inconsistent accounts. Bolotin listed three finalists: Kalashnikov, Bulkin, and Dementyev. The museum in Izhevsk listes four: Kalashnikov, Dementyev, Bulkin, and Sudayev. (The addition of Sudayev appears to be an error; he died in summer 1946, long before the rifles’ field trials. His weapon was used as a control.) To these lists, Kalashnikov has at times added Sphagin and Degtyarev, two of the best-known figures in Soviet arms design.

93. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 213.

94. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, p. 69, citing Red Star newspaper, September 20, 1957.

95. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 63.

96. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty, chapter 9.

97. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 62.

98. Ibid., p. 63.

99. Ezell, Small Arms World Report, December 1992, p. 7.

100. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, p. 70.

101. Bolotin’s book was both accurate and authoritative enough, in Kalashnikov’s view, that he cited it in his own memoirs, although not on the subject of Zaitsev’s design contributions to the final AK-47 prototype.

102. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty. Chapter 9 includes excerpts from a letter by Zaitsev. The book was published by the Russian Ministry of Defense and serves as both an official chronicle of the tests and a fuller account than Kalashnikov provided. Only five hundred copies were printed, and its circulation was tightly limited.

103. Pravda.Ru, a Russian news site, published its version on August 2, 2003, thirteen years after Lyuty died.

104. Vlasyuk, Zerkalo Nedeli.

105. Personal communication to author from Maksim R. Popenker.

106. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 65.

107. Small Arms World Report, December 1992, pp. 7–8.

108. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 225–26.

109. In 1989, according to the transcript of their interview, Kalashnikov told Ezell he met Degtyarev during his early work at NIPSMVO, when Kalashnikov was still “a single country bumpkin.” Small Arms World Report, December 1992, p. 6.

110. Zhukov, Second Birth, pp. 146–47.

111. Ronald F. Bellamy and Russ Zajtchuk, “Chapter 3: The Evolution of Wound Ballistics: A Brief History,” Textbook of Military Medicine, Part 1: Warfare, Weaponry and the Casualty Conventional Warfare: Ballistic, Blast and Burn Injuries (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Surgeon General, United States Army, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 1989), pp. 83–106.

112. Sergeyev, Tekhnika i Vooruzheniye, p. 27.

113. Robert H. Clagett, Jr, “How the Infantry Tests a Rifle,” American Rifleman, October 1953, pp. 27–30. Clagett, a major, was a test officer for Army Field Forces No. 3 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

114. G. E. Hendricks, “Test Results Report on AK-47,” November 7, 1962, Report No. DPS-800, to U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, and “Trial Report Soviet Machine Carbine 7.62mm Kalashnikov (AK),” August 1958, from the G-2 to the Netherlands General Staff. The Dutch report is on file at the Leger museum in Delft.

115. Small Arms World Report, December 1992, p. 7.

116. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 231.

117. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 66.

118. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty, chapter 9. Kalashnikov has written that tests ended on January 10.

119. Novikov, from Volksarmee.

6. The Breakout: The Mass Production, Distribution, and Early Use of the AK-47

1. A. A. Grechko, The Armed Forces of the Soviet State: A Soviet View (Moscow: Ministry of Defense of the U.S.S.R., 1975). Translated and published by the U.S. Air Force, pp. 6–7.

2. Such reasoning has anchored popular assessments of the Kalashnikov line. The conventional wisdom runs like this: The AK-47 is an excellent and almost failsafe assault rifle, therefore it is ubiquitous. This is insufficient.

3. This sentiment informs Russian pride in Russian firearms to this day. Russia cannot point to a wide range of industrial successes. Against this background, the AK-47 and its related arms are Russian products that actually work.

4. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 234.

5. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 70.

6. Val Shilin and Charlie Cutshaw, Legends and Reality of the AK: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the History, Design, and Impact of the Kalashnikov Family of Weapons (Boulder, Co.: Paladin Press, 2000), p. 28. There is no question that Kalashnikov, by mid-1948, began work here. But sources other than Kalashnikov point to a roundabout route, and say he first worked in Tula and Kovrov, but was unsatisfied with his professional life at both places, perhaps because of competition with other designers. (Bulkin, Simonov, and Tokarev worked at Tula, Degtyarev in Kovrov.)

7. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty, Chapter 10.

8. Ibid.

9. Shilin and Cutshaw, Legends and Reality of the AK, p. 28.

10. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 247–51. The dates here shift in Kalashnikov’s multiple tellings; he said the meeting was in 1944, when Kalashnikov was working at Kovrov. But in 1944 Kalashnikov was not yet working on the AK-47, and was not yet assigned to Kovrov.

11. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 74.

12. This work fell to Valery Kharkov. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty, Chapter 12.

13. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty, Chapter 11, translation by Michael Schwirtz. Other changes were driven by economic concerns, including substituting expensive materials used on the prototypes with less expensive materials better suited for cost-conscious mass production. A few changes were minor: The screw fixtures in the stock and near the barrel were replaced with stronger fittings. The accessory panel at the butt plate, which provided access inside the stock for storing small items, such as rifle-cleaning materials, was changed to be similar to that of a carbine designed by Evgeny Dragunov, another Soviet armorer. One change was to an accessory: Because it could fire automatically, the AK-47 built up more heat than most of the rifles and carbines that preceded it. A steel clip was added to the shoulder strap to prevent it from burning where it came into contact with the barrel.

14. For data on its imprecision, see the ballistic studies performed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, including G. E. Hendricks, “Test Results on AK-47 Rifle,” published on November 7, 1962, and filed as Report #DPS-800.

15. Dmitri Shirayev, “Who Invented the Automatic Kalashnikov?” Soldat Udachi (Soldier of Fortune), Moscow, September 2000, pp. 30–34.

16. Personal communication to author in July 2009 from Norbert Moczarski, a German biographer of Schmeisser. Almost twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union, Schmeisser’s activities at the time of the AK-47’s development remain shrouded. There is no question of his presence in Izhevsk during the 1950s. But the Soviet archives have not been opened to allow an examination of how Schmeisser passed his time there and the reasons he had been sent to such a place. His biographers in Germany remain unsure what role, if any, he played in the development of the Kalashnikov prototypes, the fine-tuning and mass production of the AK-47 design, and the tooling of the Izhmash assembly line.

17. The first view was put forth by Russian Life magazine. Shirayev’s quotation is from a personal communication to the author.

18. Shilin and Cutshaw, Legends and Reality of the AK, p. 29.

19. The heavier AK-47 that resulted from it probably reduced recoil, too.

20. Shilin and Cutshaw, Legends and Reality of the AK. Shilin does not provide his source.

21. Malimon, Otechestvenniye Avtomaty, Chapter 12.

22. After the monetary reform in 1947, the typical urban worker in the Soviet Union received a salary of five hundred to one thousand rubles a month (data of the Soviet State Statistics Committee; research conducted by Nikolay Khalip).

23. Irina Kedrova, in the Russian-language newspaper Tribuna, quoted Nelly Kalashnikov, Mikhail Kalashnikov’s stepdaughter, in November 2004.

24. Mikhail Kalashnikov, in public remarks at sixtieth anniversary celebrations of the AK-47, in offices of Rosoboronexport, Moscow, in 2007, in presence of the author.

25. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 429–30.

26. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 98.

27. Ibid., p. 104.

28. Ibid., p. 105.

29. William Taubman, Khrushchev (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003). Taubman provides a vivid description of Beria’s last minutes on p. 256. The excerpt from Beria’s letter, written on July 1, 1953, is from the translation of the document posted on the Virtual Archive of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, at

30. Vojtech Mastny and Malcolm Byrne, A Cardboard Castle: An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2005). The documents quoted were retrieved from archives and translated by the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The document cited here, “General Provisions of the Warsaw Treaty Armed Forces Unified Command,” is from pp. 80–81.

31. Mastny and Byrne, A Cardboard Castle. The language is from the Statute of the Warsaw Treaty Unified Command, Part II, Section B, p. 81.

32. Grechko, The Armed Forces of the Soviet State: A Soviet View, p. 342.

33. The Czechs resisted developing an AK variant and produced their own assault rifle, the vz-58, which fired the M1943 cartridge and superficially resembled the AK-47 but was otherwise a different rifle.

34. Guy Laron, “Cutting the Gordian Knot: The Post WW-II Egyptian Quest for Arms and the 1955 Czechoslovak Arms Deal,” Cold War International History Project, Working Paper No. 55. See also Jon D. Glassman, Arms for the Arabs. The Soviet Union and War in the Middle East(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1955).

35. Much of the information about the Chinese delegation and the details and dates of technical transfers are from the memoir of Liu Zhengdong, titled Zhu Jian. The book, a limited-edition memoir (press run, two thousand copies), was published in China in 2007. Its contents have never been distributed in English, and begin to fill in blank spots in the history of communist Chinese small-arms production. The translated title is Casting of the Sword: Memoir of an Old Armorer. Liu Zhengdong held positions within the Chinese defense industries for several decades. The account of Liu Shaoqi’s visit to Stalin is from Together with Historical GiantsShi Zhe’s Memoirs. Shi Zhe was Mao’s Russian-language interpreter. His memoirs were published in Beijing in 1992. The description of Mao’s telegram to Stalin in the Korean War is from Witness to Sino-Soviet Military Relations of the 1950s—Memoir of Military Staff of Marshal Peng Dehuai. The marshal was the Chinese minister of defense in the 1950s. Translations by Lin Xu, an independent arms researcher.

36. Jenó Györkei and Miklós Horváth, Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary (Central European University Press, 1956), pp. 54–61. The order of battle is published on p. 59.

37. László Eörsi, The Hungarian Revolution of 1956: Myths and Realities (New York: East European Monographs, 2006), p. 14, with further notes on p. 28.

38. Ibid., p. 11.

39. Testimony of József Tibor Fejes, at closed-court hearing on January 20, 1959. From the Fejes file at Budapest Municipal Archives. Translated by Kati Tordas.

40. Paul Lendvai, One Day That Shook the Communist World: The 1956 Hungarian Uprising and its Legacy trans. Ann Major (Princeton University Press, 2008), pp. 58–62.

41. Eörsi, The Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

42. Transcript of conversations between the Soviet Leadership and a Hungarian Workers’ Party delegation in Moscow, June 13 and 16, 1953, appearing in Uprising in East Germany, 1953, Christian F. Ostermann, ed. (Central European University Press; republished in 2001 by the National Security Archive), pp. 145–46.

43. Ibid., p. 147.

44. Ibid., p. 149.

45. Erwin A. Schmidl and László Ritter, The Hungarian Revolution, 1956 (Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2006), p. 7.

46. Ibid.

47. From the “Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium, October 23, 1956,” an electronic briefing book prepared by the National Security Archive, Washington, 2002, and in The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents, eds. Csaba Békés, Malcolm Byrne, and János Rainer (New York: Central European University Press, 2002), pp. 217–18.

48. Eörsi, The Hungarian Revolution, p. 8.

49. The first translation is from Eörsi, The Hungarian Revolution, p. 191. The second is from The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents. The sources excerpt from the same document.

50. Györkei and Horváth, Soviet Military Intervention, pp. 54–61.

51. Schmidl and Ritter, The Hungarian Revolution, 1956, p. 57.

52. Court record Nb. XI. 8083/1958. szam. In the Budapest Municipal Archive, hereinafter referred to as the Fejes Court File. Fejes admitted to shouting “Russkies Go Home” but said he shouted no other demands.

53. Fejes Court File.

54. Fejes Court File, in this case, testimony by Fejes in response to a question from the presiding judge on January 20, 1959.

55. Fejes Court File. Prosecutors accused Fejes of stealing the watch from a Russian officer; he denied this in court and said he had taken it from a civilian.

56. The background on Fejes was from the court file. Further details were provided by László Eörsi, the Hungarian historian, who has spent years studying the Hungarian fighting groups and their members. The material from Eörsi was translated from Hungarian by András B. VágvÖlgyi, director of the film Kolorado Kid, which chronicles part of the revolution.

57. Götz, German Military Rifles, p. 223. The MP-18 was too well regarded to disappear outright; a license was issued by the German firm that made them to the Swiss Industrial Company, SIG, which manufactured them for export in the 1920s.

58. Appointment letter of Captain John T. Thompson to the board of officers tasked with conducting the test. U.S. War Department. October 6, 1903.

59. La Garde, Gunshot Injuries, p. 135.

60. Report of the Surgeon General of the Army to the Secretary of War for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1893, pp. 73–96.

61. The quotations and descriptions of the Thompson–La Garde tests are from the officers’ account of the tests, in the forty-three-page “Preliminary Report of a Board of Officers Convened in Pursuance of the Following Order, War Department, Office of the Adjutant General, Washington, Oct. 6, 1903,” which was submitted to the War Department on March 18, 1904.

62. Ibid.

63. The cadaver-livestock tests did confirm that bullets encased in metal—so-called full-metal jackets—tended to cause less serious injuries than bullets that had lead exposed. The latter expanded on impact, often causing larger wounds.

64. William J. Helmer, The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar (Highland Park, N.J.: Gun Room Press, 1969), p. 77.

65. Ibid., p. 53.

66. Ibid., pp. 78–79.

67. From Memorandum of Discussion at the 302nd Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, November 1, 1956, 9–10:55 A.M., in The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents, p. 324.

68. Györkei and Horváth, Soviet Military Intervention, p. 257.

69. The chronology here is drawn from the fuller timeline published in The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents.

70. Report of Georgy Zhukov to the CPSU, November 4, 1956, in The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents, p. 384.

71. Y. I. Malashenko, “The Special Corps Under Fire in Budapest. Memoirs of an Eyewitness,” in Györkei and Horváth, Soviet Military Intervention. Malashenko led the operations section of the Special Corps.

72. The casualty estimates come from various sources, which all acknowledge the uncertainty of their numbers due to complicating factors: closed Russian archives, secret burials, wounded people who sought treatment in homes and not in hospitals, where they might be discovered, and so on.

73. Fejes court file.

74. Fejes court file, from the minutes of his police hearing on March 31, 1958.

75. Production of the solid-steel-receiver AK-47 was ceased in the Soviet Union, though its replicas would be made in other places—including China, North Korea, and Europe—for many years, and a few of these early style AK-47s are still made in the United States by Arsenal Inc. of Las Vegas, primarily for collectors. Mikhail Miller’s work on the Soviet AKM is briefly discussed in Shilin and Cutshaw, Legends and Reality of the AK. Different sources give different weights for AK-47 and AKM. The weights used here are from Maksim Popenker.

76. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 87.

77. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 278.

78. Ibid., p. 275.

79. Bolotin, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition, pp. 175–77.

80. The myriad knockoffs of the Kalashnikov would come with changes in barrel lengths, stocks, sights, muzzle brakes, flash suppressors, and other components, giving each weapon its distinctive differences. In later years some variants would change the caliber, often to the NATO-standard .223 round. None fundamentally altered the main Soviet design. All are often referred to as Kalashnikovs, some even (erroneously but almost universally) as AK-47s.

81. Design of the SVD began in earnest in 1958, when Evgeny F. Dragunov, a former army gunsmith who had become a designer in Izhevsk, competed against another konstruktor, Aleksandr Konstantinov, to make a prototype. As with the PK, longer range was necessary, and the prototypes were chambered to fire the Russian 7.62x54R cartridge. The competition lasted five years, and gradually, as Soviet officials demanded modifications, the two weapons—like Bulkin’s and Kalashnikov’s prototypes—began to grow similar. Dragunov’s version remained more accurate, and in July 1963 it was selected as the new Soviet sniper rifle. A special solid-steel bullet was designed concurrently, which gave the rifle the ability to penetrate body armor and helmets, and to be a greater threat to vehicles, helicopters, and other heavy equipment.

82. This Soviet-era manifestation of rancor would resurface later, when Kalashnikov’s colleagues would claim he had not given adequate credit to the people whose work had made the AK-47 possible.

83. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 285–88.

84. Götz, German Military Rifles, pp. 154–58. Götz offers a plant-by-plant description of end runs on the treaty by German industrialists and military officers. Many German people considered the treaty an insult and did not betray work that should not have been hard to detect.

85. From Christa and Erika Schreiber, descendants of Kurt Schreiber. Interview with author in Wiesa, February 2005.

86. From Heinz Muhler, former employee, in interview with author, February 2005.

87. Interview with Dietrich Thieme, local historian, January 2005.

88. Details of the hiring procedures, the work conditions, and the oath were provided to the author by former employees of the gun works, and other residents of Wiesa, during the author’s visits to the plant and the town in January and February 2005.

89. Personal communication to author from Dr. Thomas Mueller, former curator of Waffenmuseum in Suhl.

90. Interview with Peter, a former worker who asked that his surname be withheld. February 2005.

91. Schreiber interview, February 2005.

92. Personnel communication to author from Markku Palokangas, of the Finnish War Museum in Helsinki.

93. Personal communication from Markku Palokangas and Robie Kulokivi, a Finnish arms researcher.

94. Trial Report, Soviet Machine Carbine 7.62mm Kalashnikov (AK). Submitted to the Netherlands General Staff, August 1958. Copy provided to author by the Legermuseum, Delft, The Netherlands.

95. Yugoslavia had fought off the Axis without the Red Army’s direct support, and it emerged from World War II without Soviet troops on its soil and with pride in the success of its partisans. Relations were further strained by the Soviet crackdown in Hungary in 1956 and the Soviet Union’s deception during the arrest of Imre Nagy.

96. Personal communication from Branko Bogdanovic, a historian at the Zastava plant.

97. Ibid. The Yugoslavs had no Soviet license and were on tricky diplomatic trade grounds as they manufactured weapons based on Soviet patterns. After Yugoslavia was dissolved and the archives were assumed by Serbia, the identity of the nation that leaked its AK-47s did not become publicly known.

98. The Zastava team hoped to make an entire family of arms based on the Kalashnikov system and experimented with means to modify the line, changing barrel lengths and adding features.

99. Personal communication to author from Branko Bogdanovic.

100. In time, Zastava would become a major Kalashnikov supplier and exporter, including export to the Pentagon’s proxies in Afghanistan and Iraq, where Yugoslav Kalashnikovs are abundant.

101. Armstrong, Bullets and Bureaucrats, p. 152.

102. La Garde, Gunshot Injuries, p. 33.

103. At least two studies challenged the old guard: “Rifle Accuracies and Hit Probabilities in Combat” by Leon Feldman, William C. Pettijohn, and J. D. Reed, November 1960; “An Estimate of the Military Value and Desirable Characteristics of Armor Helmets for Ground Forces,” a report published in 1950.

104. Those tests are covered in detail in the next chapter.

105. ORDI 7-101, Soviet Rifles and Carbines, Identification and Operation (published by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, May 1954), p. 1.

106. Report No. OTIO-471. The available documents accompanying the translation suggested that the United States military did not yet have possession of the new Soviet automatics and that technical intelligence officials had not yet tested and evaluated them. One line on the cover letter when the translation was submitted to the Army’s chief of ordnance noted that “the technical accuracy of the source data has not been verified,” indicating the military had not yet handled a specimen arm.

107. The Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), the successor organization of the Army Foreign Science and Technology Center, said that record searches had not found most of the relevant documents from the era. The author assembled the records discussed here independently, from a range of sources, including the National Archives and several museums. Among the reports the U.S. military did find under a Freedom of Information Act request was a 1961 technical report on what the American army called a “Chinese AK-47.” This report references two previous classified technical exploitations of the Soviet original—one published in mid-1956, the other in early 1957. The brief discussions of these reports in the 1961 document point to the first American military acquisition and tests of the AK-47.

108. Edwards’s scoop carried whiffs of an insurgency within the army’s ordnance department; reading between the lines suggests that his sources included American technicians who were testing the AK-47, and that they might have let him participate in a sample shoot.

109. William B. Edwards, “Russia’s Secret All-Purpose Cartridge,” GUNS magazine, September 1956.

110. Ibid. An editor’s note said that Edwards’s article had been ready for publication six months before, but the U.S. Army’s chief of ordnance had asked the magazine not to print it. The magazine’s staff complied. “GUNS was happy to cooperate with the Army in the interests of national security,” the editors wrote, though it is hardly clear, looking back, what this national security interest was. By 1956, the AK-47 was no secret at all; Soviet newspapers and magazines had written about the rifle at length.

111. Personal communication to author from Casper van Bruggen, of the Legermuseum, in Delft. The Dutch unit had no further firefights with the Indonesian forces before the two sides reached a United Nations–brokered agreement in October, so the Dutch soldiers did not use their AK-47s in combat.

7. The Accidental Rifle

1. Personal communication to author from Alfred J. Nickelson.

2. The battalion’s designation as a “landing force” allowed the Pentagon to exceed troop-level authorizations Congress had approved for Vietnam. Because it was formally assigned to ships, the Special Landing Force’s Marines did not count against the number of troops on the ground though they spent most of its tour off the ships and in Vietnam.

3. Research & Analysis Study ST67-013, “Update: The NVA Soldier in South Vietnam.” Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam, October 3, 1966, pp. 56–57.

4. Study ST67-064, “VC/NVA Techniques of Small Arms Fire,” Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam, August 4, 1967, p. 8.

5. Technical Intelligence Study 66-12, “Viet Cong Munitions,” March 26, 1966, p. 11.

6. One of the claims the AR-15’s proponents would make was that the rifle had been proven to be highly reliable. In truth, the data was mixed. In some tests the weapon performed well. In others it did not. And from the beginning its manufacturer, ArmaLite, was in a poor position to know the behavior of its own products thoroughly: The company had a handful of employees and limited ability to subject its rifles to the examination that rifles in larger companies or in government development are subjected to.

7. “Rifle Squad Armed With A Lightweight High Velocity Rifle.” Final Report, U.S. Army Combat Development Experimentation Command, May 30, 1959, p. 3.

8. Secret Memorandum from Robert S. McNamara to the Secretary of the Army, October 12, 1962. Declassified and on file at the National Archives.

9. A Historical Review of ArmaLite, published by ArmaLite, Inc., April 23, 1999.

10. William G. Key, “The ArmaLite Weapons System: Background Memorandum,” Fairchild Engine & Airplane Corporation, December 7, 1956.

11. “Flight of the Friendship,” Time, April 21, 1958.

12. R. Blake Stevens and Edward C. Ezell, The Black Rifle (Cobourg, Ontario: Collector Grade Publications, 1994), p. 56.

13. Dimensions and weights for the .222 Remington round are from W. H. B. Smith and Joseph E. Smith, The Book of Rifles (Harrisburg, Pa.: The Stackpole Company, 1965), p. 533.

14. The Army’s Infantry Board at Fort Benning organized a series of evaluations of ArmaLite and Winchester test rifles in mid-1958 to assess their potential as replacements for the M-14. A review of the results by General Wyman’s Continental Army Command endorsed the concept’s merit: “Both test weapons were superior to the control weapon in lightness of weight and ease of handling. The significance of the weight-saving in the rifle-ammunition combination is such that a soldier with a battle load of 22.39 pounds, including his weapon and magazines, carries three times as much ammunition with either (SCHV) weapon as with the M-14 (actually about 650 rounds versus 220 rounds.)” The AR-15 had problems: the barrel of a test rifle had ruptured when fired after being subjected to simulated rainfall and water had collected in its bore. But the weapon was brand-new, and weapons early in their development cycle often showed mechanical and design problems. The supporters of the SCHV theory said it had “sufficient potential to justify continued development.”

15. Letter from Paul A. Benke, president of Colt’s Firearms Division to Earl J. Morgan, counsel to the Special Subcommittee on M-16 Program, August 24, 1967, p. 5.

16. Personal communication to author from Paul A. Benke. Benke described MacDonald as “a knowledgeable man but not a gracious man. Outspoken. He understood how to use a knife and fork, and how to use a soup spoon. He came from a good family. But gruff.”

17. “Practical Penetrating Characteristics of the Colt AR-15 Automatic Rifle Chambered for the Caliber .223 Cartridge,” August 15, 1960. On file at the Ezell Collection at Shrivenham.

18. Later tests would show that jacket rupturing seemed to be especially common when the bullets hit bone, which typically shattered into fragments that radiated through tissue and caused more damage. But the jacket fragmentation often occurred, ballistic tests would show, when the bullets did not hit bone.

19. Secret Fact Sheet “AR-15 Bullet Lethality” from Major General G. W. Power, Acting Chief of Research and Development, to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, April 24, 1963. Also, Secret Memorandum for Record on “Wound Ballistics” from the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army, April 23, 1963. Records declassified and on file at the National Archives.

20. Confidential memorandum from Colonel Cao Van Vien to Commanding Officer of R&D Center, May 24, 1962. Declassified and on file at the National Archives.

21. “Report of Task No. 13A: Test of ArmaLite Rifle AR-15,” submitted on August 20, 1962, by the Advanced Research Projects Agency. Declassified and on file at the Army War College Library.

22. Stevens and Ezell, The Black Rifle, p. 112.

23. In the six decades since the Thompson–La Garde pistol tests, questions had been raised in research circles about the utility and merits of firing into cadavers and live animals to determine how bullets wound human beings. Was there really a demonstrable correlation between injuries to cattle, pigs, and goats and injuries to men? These questions were unsettled, and at times the opposition to animal and cadaver tests was driven by concerns ideological as much as scientific. By the 1960s, newer means were available for assessing terminal ballistics, including firing into blocks of gelatin designed to simulate human tissue. The army’s ballistics community had accepted these methods, but had continued with the old manner of testing, too.

24. Arthur J. Dziemian and Alfred G. Olivier, Wound-Ballistics Assessment of M-14, AR-15, and Soviet AK Rifles (U.S. Army Edgewood Arsenal, Biophysics Division, March 1964).

25. The preexisting state of knowledge about rifle injuries should have been adequate to put into context the damage to the heads and limbs of guerrillas shot in Vietnam. But the lethality tests at Aberdeen might have put the Project AGILE report into proper perspective once and for all, had the test results not been smothered.

26. The Biophysics Division would massage its data until March 1964, when it finally published its full report, which was not released to the public for almost five decades. After repeated inquiries, the author obtained a copy of the report in summer 2009.

27. Office Memorandum, from the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army to Lieutenant General R. W. Colglazier, April 6, 1963. Declassified and on file at the National Archives.

28. Memorandum for the Secretary of the Army, signed by R. W. Colglazier, Lieutenant General, April 8, 1963. Declassified and on file at the National Archives.

29. Forty-nine years after the Project AGILE report, Paul A. Benke, the president of Colt’s Firearms Division in the mid-1960s, referred the author to the report as a reference describing the M-16’s merits.

30. Secret Memorandum for Secretary of the Army, “Comparative Evaluation of the M-14, AR-15 and Soviet AK-47 Rifles,” January 14, 1963. Declassified and on file at the National Archives.

31. Stevens and Ezell, The Black Rifle, pp. 118–23.

32. Ibid., p. 99.

33. Office Memorandum from Director, FPAO, to General Johnson, November 30, 1966. Declassified and on file at National Archives.

34. William C. Westmoreland, A Soldier Reports (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1976), p. 158. Westmoreland’s recollections did not square with accounts of the M-16’s performance in the same battle as described by Harold G. Moore and Joseph Galloway in their book We Were Soldiers Once… And Young (New York: Random House, 1992). Moore commanded the battalion whose experience was cited.

35. Stevens and Ezell, The Black Rifle, pp. 196–97. The authors have excerpted from James B. Hall’s background paper, “Acquisition of the M16 Rifle,” 1975.

36. Ellsworth S. Grant, The Colt Armory: A History of Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Inc. (Lincoln, R.I.: Mowbray Publishing, 1995) p. 179.

37. “In Defense of the M-16,” Shooting Times, October 1966.

38. “M-16: Beauty or Beast?” Shooting Times, November 1966.

39. Letter from Paul A. Benke, president of Colt’s Firearms Division, to Earl J. Morgan, counsel to the Special Subcommittee on the M-16 Program, August 24, 1967, p. 13.

40. The percentages come from U.S. Army Technical Note 5-66, “Small Arms Use in Vietnam: Preliminary Results, by the Human Engineering Laboratories, Aberdeen Proving Ground,” August 1966.

41. Ibid.

42. Presley W. Kendall, “The M-16 in Vietnam,” American Rifleman, May 1967, pp. 24–25.

43. “Trip Report, Headquarters AWC, Rock Island, Illionois,” October 26, 1966, to Colt Inc., by Robert D. Fremont, Manager, Military Engineering, Colt’s Firearms, October 28, 1966.

44. Letter from Lieutenant Colonel Herbert P. Underwood, who led an Army Weapons Command survey team in Vietnam, to Colonel Yount, October 30, 1966.

45. Letter of Koni Ito, a Colt engineer, to Robert Fremont, Colt’s manager of military sales, October 30, 1966. On file at the National Archives.

46. Memorandum for the Record of Corrosion Control Meeting at Colt’s Firearms Division, December 1, 1966.

47. List of Rifles of Lot # FC 1821 that malfunctioned, October 21, 1966.

48. Colt’s Transcript of IBM tape received from David Behrendt, November 11, 1966, Tape #1.

49. Ibid., Tape #2.

50. Trip report to Colt’s officials from J. B. Hall, Vietnam, November 5–9, 1966.

51. Colonel Richard R. Hallock, “Memorandum For Record: Vietnam Malfunction Information,” November 15, 1966.

52. Stevens and Ezell, The Black Rifle, p. 210.

53. “Secret Memorandum For Deputy Chiefs of Staff, et al., from Department of the Army, Office of the Chief of Staff, November 7, 1966.” Declassified and on file at the National Archives.

54. Unsatisfactory Equipment Report MCSA # 6069, February 8, 1967.

55. Letter from Marine Corps Supply Activity, Philadelphia, to Commanding General, U.S. Army Weapons Command, March 16, 1967.

56. “Vietnam Arms Race,” Washington Daily News, unsigned editorial, March 26, 1967.

57. Appointment letter, on file at Western Historical Manuscript Collection–Columbia, at Ellis Library, University of Missouri. The collection is hereinafter referred to as WHMC-C, U. Mo.

58. Letter from Representative Ichord to Representative Charles Raper Jones, February 8, 1968. On file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

59. Personal communication to author from Ray Madonna, who commanded Hotel Company, Second Battalion, Third Marines during spring 1967 in Vietnam.

60. Personal communication to author from Thomas R. Givvin, who commanded Third Platoon, Hotel Company, Second Battalion, Third Marines in 1967 and participated in the actions related here.

61. Letter of Lance Corporal Larry R. Sarvis to Representative Ichord, June 17, 1967. On file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

62. Personal communication from Raymond C. Madonna.

63. From unpublished manuscript of Raymond C. Madonna, who has written his own memoir of the Hill Fights, incorporating his recollections and his interviews of many of the Marines formerly under his command. Ord Elliott, who commanded First Platoon during the attack in which the Marines fixed bayonets, also discussed the events of that day with the author.

64. Personal communication from Charles P. Chritton, a lieutenant in Foxtrot Company, who witnessed the scene at the landing zone. The description of pins near the trigger assembly working loose is from Ord Elliott, David Hiley and Cornelio Ybarra Jr.

65. The shortages pointed to supply failures and to pilferage. Logistics units had not pushed an adequate amount of cleaning equipment to the troops in the field. But the light hands of war were a factor, too. Colt’s included brass cleaning rods inside the cases of rifles shipped to Vietnam. One rod was shipped for every rifle. Colt’s field teams later found the rods were disappearing even before the rifles were handed out, apparently as local Vietnamese employees on American bases stole them to sell on the scrap-metal market. It was frustrating for Colt’s. This was a problem it could not fix. “They used them to make rice bowls or something,” said Paul Benke, Colt’s president at the time (personal communication to author).

66. “‘Causing Deaths’—Marine Hits Faulty Rifles,” Asbury Park Evening Press, May 20, 1967. After the letter was published, it was sent to Secretary McNamara by James J. Howard, a congressman from New Jersey, on May 22. Howard’s letter is on file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

67. Memorandum to Honorable Richard H. Ichord, from Ralph Marshall, May 31, 1967. On file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

68. Letter from a Marine to his family, May 17, 1967. On file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

69. “Memo to Mr. Findley re M-16 Events on Friday While You Were Gone,” October 7, 1967. Mr. Findley is Paul Findley, then a Republic congressman from Illinois. The memo noted a call from Senator Dominick’s office describing the incident in Vietnam and noting the senator’s irritation. On file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

70. The account of the night ambush was cited in a letter from Representative Dante B. Fascell to Representative Richard Ichord, August 2, 1967. The concerns of the navy lieutenant and army sergeant preparing to ship to Vietnam were sent directly to Representative Ichord. All three letters are on file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

71. “M-16 or AK-47? The Right Rifle For the Right Job,” a six-page fact sheet, dated November 25, 1968, intended to show the M-16’s superiority to the AK-47. Circulated by Colt’s, and on file at the Ezell Collection in Shrivenham.

72. Interviews with veterans still provoke disgust. Many believe they were guinea pigs. Charles Woodard, a young officer in the battalion at the time, called Colt and the military leadership’s decisions “unconscionable.” Givvin (see note 60, above) said the military leadership of the time “had blood on their hands.” David Hiley, a platoon radio operator at the hill fights, said “They ought to give a million dollars to every Marine who had to carry one of those things.”

73. Combat After-Action Report of Battalion Landing Team 2/3, July 30, 1967. Declassified and on file at the Library of the Marine Corps, Marine Corps Base, Quantico.

74. Interviews of Michael Chervenak by the author; the physical description of Chervenak came from Marines he served with in Vietnam.

75. The Marine Corps had not shown interest in the AR-15 as Colt’s and its salesmen made the rounds with it in the 1950s and early 1960s. It wanted its rifle and machine gun to be of the same caliber, thereby simplifying logistics. Though the Soviet Union had taken this step in the 1950s—fielding both the AK-47 and the RPK, which used the same cartridge—the United States was only beginning to go down the road toward a lightweight assault rifle and had no companion machine gun, even in the research-and-design phase, to fire the same cartridge. This would come later, as the M-249, the Squad Automatic Weapon, known as the SAW.

76. “Marines Hail M-16 Rifle, Army Accepts it Fully,” UPI, published in the Hartford Times, May 11, 1967.

77. “House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War,” April 23, 1971. From the transcript, Congressional Record vol. 117, part 10, which was introduced into the public record on May 3, 1971.

78. Accounts of these inspections and function tests held at sea were shared with the author by former Marines who participated in them, including officers and staff noncommissioned officers who supervised them. These include Mike Chervenak, Chuck Chritton, Ed Elrod, Tom Givvin, Ray Madonna, Chuck Woodard, and Dick Culver.

79. Text of letter from First Lieutenant Michael P. Chervenak, USMC, to the Barnesboro Star, the Washington Post, Senator Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.), and Congressman Richard Ichord (D-Mo.), as published in the Barnesboro Star, August 10, 1967.

80. A copy of the letter to Representative Ichord is on file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

81. Personal communication to author from Thomas Tomakowski.

82. Personal communication to author from Charles Woodard.

83. From Hallock’s brief biography in “The Hallock Soldier’s Fund and Metro Works Columbus Home Ownership Center.” Hallock entered the real estate business and died wealthy. He is a member of the OCS Hall of Fame at Fort Benning.

84. “Report of the Special Subcommittee on the M-16 Rifle Program of the Committee on Armed Services,” October 19, 1967 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office).

85. William G. Bray, “The M-16: A Report,” Data, April 1968, p. 6.

86. Lieutenant Chervenak’s letter took a winding course to public light. The Barnesboro Star published it in August. Senator Kennedy never replied. Representative Ichord’s staff lost the letter (for which the congressman later apologized). The Washington Post held it, inexplicably, for three months. Throughout summer and fall 1967, as the M-16’s problems were a national story, no one helped Hotel Company as its new rifles continued to jam.

87. The letter was a black mark on Lieutenant Chervenak’s otherwise promising career. Although promotion from first lieutenant to captain is almost automatic, the more so in times of war, Lieutenant Chervenak was denied promotion when his time came. He served an extra year in the lieutenant rank. This effectively docked his pay.

88. Lieutenant Givvin wrote a letter detailing his platoon’s experience in the same fight, and it was forwarded to the Marine Corps, which did not investigate. Lieutenant Charles Chritton, who was briefly the commander of Foxtrot Company, wrote to Congress describing his company’s experiences with the rifle. One of the senators from his home state read the letter at a press conference on Capitol Hill, but there was no official reaction. The letter to the Washington Post changed the conversation.

89. Letter from Kanemitsu Ito to William H. Goldbach, vice president and general manager of Colt’s Military Division, December 3, 1967.

90. Dick Culver, “The Saga of the M-16 in Vietnam (Part 1).” Culver served a career in the Marine Corps. Some of his experiences with the M-16 when he commanded Hotel Company, Second Battalion, Third Marines are posted on, p. 5.

91. Letter from Ito to Goldbach, December 3, 1967.

92. Patent No. 3482322, “Method of Preventing Malfunction of a Magazine Type Firearm and Gauge for Conducting Same.” Filed with U.S. Patent Office on November 6, 1967.

93. Letter from Kanemitsu Ito, Colt’s field representative, to Misters Benke, McMahon, Hall, Fremont, December 9, 1967, re: “Return from Bear Cat to Saigon.”

94. Daniel C. Fales, “M16: The Gun They Swear by… and At!” Popular Mechanics, October 1967.

95. “Memorandum for Record, Debrief of Colt’s Vietnam Field Representative—Mr. Kanemitsu Ito,” December 28, 1967. Prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Engle, Project Manager Staff Officer, Rifles.

96. Personal communication to author by Paul A. Benke.

97. Lewis Sorley, A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam (Harcourt Books, 1999), p. 164.

98. “Memorandum for Army Chief of Staff, G4, Fact Finding Visit to 199th Infantry Brigade,” March 28, 1968, by Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Semmler, Chief, PM Rifles, Vietnam Field Office.

99. Personal communication to author from Jack Beavers.

100. Contents of tape recording received from K. Ito and J. Fitzgerald, September 27, 1968.

101. Letter from John S. Foster, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, to Representative L. Mendel Rivers, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, February 2, 1968. On file at WHMC-C, U. Mo.

102. The poem, “Rifle, 5.56MM,XM16E1,” is by Larry Rottmann, who served as an Army public-affairs officer in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. Excerpted with permission of the poet from Winning Hearts and Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans (1st Casualty Press, 1972).

8. Everyman’s Gun

1. This is the official German version; Abu Daoud, who claimed to have organized the attack, later said it was false. As with many accounts of terrorism, many sources contradict one another. Given the speed with which the terrorists located the Israelis’ apartment, their prior infiltration would seem probable.

2. “Munich 1972: When the Terror Began,” Time, posted August 25, 2002 on

3. Ibid.

4. Simon Reeve, One Day in September (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2000), p. 2.

5. This section was assembled using information from several sources, including Serge Groussard’s The Blood of Israel: The Massacre of the Israeli Athletes (New York: William Morrow, 1975), the most thorough and painstaking account of the act, by a journalist who covered the siege live and then investigated it. Reeve’s One Day in September, and reconstructions by Time magazine were also helpful, as was a visit to the site as part of a lecture series on the attack for students of the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, attended by the author in 2005.

6. Personal communication to author from Lin Xu.

7. Mike O’Connor, “Albanian Village Finds Boom in Gun-Running,” New York Times, April 24, 1997. The factory manager is quoted as saying production reached twenty-four thousand AK-47s a month.

8. Descriptions, and a limited selection of photographs from within the Artemovsk cache, were provided by several people who have been inside the caves. The author was denied entry.

9. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 302–3.

10 The account of Fechter’s killing at the Berlin Wall was assembled from German newspaper and academic accounts, as well as from records in the archive of the Stasi, the West Berlin police, and the Ministry of State Security. Von Schnitzler’s quotation is from the transcript of the program he hosted, Schwarze Kanal (Black Channel), on GDR-TV, August 27, 1962. Research conducted by Stefan Pauly.

11. From “Meeting Notes taken by Chief of the Hungarian People’s Army General Staff Károly Csémi On Talks with Soviet Generals to Discuss Preparations for ‘Operation Danube,’” July 24, 1968, in The Prague Spring ’68: A National Security Archive Documents Reader” (Central European University Press, 1998), p. 277.

12. OTIA 6129 Technical Report, bullet, ball. Report a.k.a. “Preliminary Technical Report, Egyptian 7.62mm, ball.”

13. Neil C. Livingston and David Halevy, Inside the P.L.O. (New York: Quill/William Morrow, 1990), p. 38.

14. On visits in the United States, Kalashnikov has been gracious about the M-16, and complimented Eugene Stoner in person. Later, he placed flowers on Stoner’s grave. But Kalashnikov is both competitive and attuned to his audiences. In Russia, away from Americans, he routinely criticized the American rifle. A sample, from public remarks at Rosoboronexport’s offices in Moscow in April 2006, in the presence of the author: “They said that an American soldier would never take a Soviet AK-47 assault rifle in his hands. Oh how they lied! In Vietnam, the American soldiers threw away their capricious M-16s and took a Soviet AK-47 assault rifle from a killed Vietnamese, counting on captured ammunition. It all did happen, because the conditions in Vietnam were not as clean as conditions in the States where the M-16 works normally. Why am I talking about the past? You see it every day on TV. In Iraq, they openly show Americans with my machine guns, my assault rifles.”

15. The theoretical range gains were offset to a degree by the short distance between the front and rear sights of the AK-74. This reduced accuracy with iron sights is a simple matter of geometry, and one of the trade-offs associated with having a shorter barrel.

16. Hogg and Weeks, Military Small Arms, p. 271.

17. Similar processes were at work elsewhere. In the 1960s, the Israeli military carried the Fabrique Nationale FAL automatic rifle. The FAL was a European competitor against the M-14 during tests in the United States in the 1950s. Like the M-14, it fired the standard NATO cartridge. The Israeli soldiers found it unsatisfactory, due to its heavy weight, its powerful recoil, and its performance shortcomings in the dusty conditions of war in the Middle East. After the Six Day War, the Israelis set out to find a better weapon. They were intrigued by the Kalashnikov’s performance in the hands of their Arab enemies, and in the ensuing contest between arms two designers for Israeli Military Industries, Yisrael Galili and Yaacov Lior, submitted an assault rifle that knocked off elements of the AK-47 but chambered for the same American round fired by the M-16—the .223. The result—the Galil—was a fine example of convergence: the Soviet rifle design made to the American cartridge. It was fielded in the early 1970s. The rifle did not enjoy especially high popularity with Israeli soldiers, who at about the same time as the Galil became available were also issued American M-16s, which by then were largely debugged and were considerably lighter than the Galil.

18. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 431.

19. Author’s visit to Kurya, 2004.

20. Anthony Sampson, The Arms Bazaar: From Lebanon to Lockheed, (New York: Viking Press, 1977), pp. 28–29.

21. New York Times Magazine, September 24, 1967.

22. Ian Johnston, “Death of a Despot, Buffoon and Killer,” Scotsman, August 17, 2003.

23. Mustafa Mirzeler and Crawford Young, “Pastoral Politics in the Northeast Periphery in Uganda: AK-47 as Change Agent,” Journal of Modern African Studies 38, 2000, pp. 416–19.

24. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 17.

25. From “Programma Doprizyvnoi Podgotovki Yunoshei,” published by the Ministry of Defense of the Soviet Union.

26. “Protocol of Pre-Draft Youth Competitions of Pripyat School No. 1.” The handwritten ledger of student performance was found by the author in June 2005 in the gymnasium of the school. Translated by Nikolay Khalip.

27. Small Arms Weapons Systems, Part One: Main Text, published in May 1966 by the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command, Experimentation Command, Fort Ord, Table 4-1.

28. Similarly, a contest between two Russian soldiers at Mikhail Kalashnikov’s eighty-fifth birthday celebrations in Izhevsk in 2004 was won by a soldier who disassembled and reassembled his Kalashnikov in twenty-six seconds. Author’s observation.

29. Many sources describe the system that armed Afghan insurgents against the Soviet Union. This was condensed from Mohammad Yousaf and Mark Adkin, Afghanistan—The Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower (Havertown, Pa.: Casemate, 1992).

30. Ibid., p. 109.

31. Lawrence J. Whelan, “Weapons of the FMLN—Part Three: Database Overview,” Small Arms World Report, Vol. 3, Nos. 1 and 2, February 1992. Published by the Institute for Research on Small Arms in International Security, pp. 1–9.

32. Mao Tse-Tung, On Guerrilla Warfare, transl. Samuel B. Griffith II (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000), p. 83.

33. Lawrence J. Whelan, “Weapons of the FMLN—Part Two: The Logistics of an Insurgency,” Small Arms World Report, Vol. 2, No. 3, May 1991. Published by the Institute for Research on Small Arms in International Security, p. 3. Also “Weapons of the FMLN,” Small Arms World Report,Vol. 1, No. 4, August 1990, p. 3.

34. “Weapons of the FMLN,” Small Arms World Report, Vol. 1, No. 4, August 1990, p. 3.

35. David Schiller, “Security Problems After Germany’s Reunification,” in News from the Institute for Research on Small Arms in International Security, Vol. 2, No. 2, February 1991, pp. 3–4.

36. Center for Peace and Disarmament Education/Saferworld, “Turning the Page: Small Arms and Light Weapons in Albania,” December 2005, p. 6.

37. Personal communication to author from an international arms dealer in Ukraine.

38. There are many accounts of Minin’s deals with Liberia. The facts here are condensed from the work of two international arms-transfer researchers, Brian Wood and Sergio Finardi, in Chapter 1 of Developing a Mechanism to Prevent Illict Brokering in Small Arms and Light Weapons—Scope and Implications, published by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, 2007, pp. 4–6.

39. Interview with Patrick Okwera.

40. Heike Behrend, Alice Lakwena & the Holy Sprits: War in Northern Uganda 1986–97 (Oxford: James Currey Ltd., 1999), p. 47.

41. Ibid., pp. 59–60.

42. From “L.R.A. Religious Beliefs,” an unpublished twelve-page manuscript prepared primarily by Captain Ray Apire, a former LRA commander and spiritual leader who defected from the LRA, and Major Jackson Achama, a former LRA administrator and “technician.” Edited by Lieutenant Colonel R. W. Skow, a former defense and army attaché at the U.S. embassy in Kampala.

43. Ibid. Interview with Captain Apire.

44. Author’s interviews with more than a dozen former LRA members and officers.

45. Interview with Lieutenant Colonel F. A. Alero.

46. Interview with Richard Opiyo, a child soldier in the LRA for six years.

47. Interview with Ray Apire, former LRA officer.

48. Interview with Dennis Okwonga, a child soldier in the LRA for slightly less than two and a half years.

49. Nearly two dozen students’ or instructors’ notebooks from several camps were collected in Afghanistan by the author and by David Rhode, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, in late 2001. See further, C. J. Chivers and David Rhode, “The Jihad Files: Al Qaeda’s Grocery Lists and Manuals of Killing” and “The Jihad Files: Afghan Camps Turn Out Holy War Guerrillas and Terrorists,” New York Times, March 17–18, 2002. For a detailed description of one of the notebooks, a 190-page handwritten record made by a student in a camp run by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see “A Dutiful Recruit’s Notebook: Lesson by Lesson Toward Jihad,” by the same authors, New York Times, March 18, 2002.

50. Kofi Annan, A. “Small Arms, Big Problems,” International Herald Tribune, July 10, 2001.

51. Author’s observation at gun show.

52. Mirzeler and Young, “Pastoral Politics,” p. 419.

53. Michael Bhatia and Mark Sedra, Afghanistan, Arms and Conflict. Armed Groups, Disarmament and Security in Post-war Society (New York: Routledge, 2008), p. 42. The historical trends in Kalashnikov prices are from this work, published in Chapter 2.

54. Author’s observations and interviews in Iraq in 2003.

55. Author’s interviews with Chechen insurgents in the Caucasus, 2005.

56. Author’s interview in Norway in 2008 with Sharpuddi Israilov, a Chechen who had a vehicle impounded in this way before fleeing Chechnya.

57. Yousaf and Adkin, Afghanistan–The Bear Trap, p. 92.

58. Author’s observations and interviews with arms dealers, customers, and intelligence officials in Iraq in 2006. For a further discussion, see “Black Market Weapons Prices Surge in Iraq Chaos,” by C. J. Chivers, New York Times, December 10, 2006.

59. This is a commonly cited version, attributed to James R. Whelan, in his 1989 book Out of the Ashes: The Life, Death and Transfiguration of Democracy in Chile (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1989.) Other accounts differ, including one that claims the inscription read: “For Salvador, From his comrade-in-arms Fidel.”

60. Like many of the legends of the automatic Kalashnikov, this account has been the subject of considerable dispute.

61. Author’s interviews with Palestinian fighters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2002.

62. Livingston and Halevy, Inside the P.L.O., p. 278.

63. Interview with author in 2008.

64. Margarita Antidze, “Georgian Army Replaces Kalashnikov with U.S. rifle,” Reuters, January 18, 2008.

65. Author’s observation and interviews with Russian soldiers during Russian-Georgian War, August 2008.

66. From a memorandum in Mullah Omar’s laptop, obtained in Afghanistan in 2001 by Alan Cullison, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, who allowed the documents to be reviewed by the author. The contents of one particular memo—“In the name of God, most Merciful, most Benificent, Thank God and prayers and peace upon the prophet, Following is the cost of preparing one mujahid with weapons and costume”—are reproduced here.

67. “SUBJECT: Blue Lantern Level 3: Pre-License End-Use Check on License 50129249, United States State Department.” Correspondence, unclassified, between the U.S. Embassy in Tblisi and Washington.

68. Author’s interviews with officials at Colt Defense LLC, 2010.

69. Personal communication to author from Timothy Sheridan, who brokered the American purchase of more than one hundred thousand Kalashnikovs for Iraqi and Afghan forces.

70. Ellsworth S. Grant, The Colt Armory: A History of Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Inc. (Lincoln, R.I.: Mowbray Publishing, 1995), p. 180.

71. Personal communication to author by Francis Olero Okwonga, former lieutenant colonel in the LRA and a commander of Kony’s security detachment.

72. United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, July 2001.

73. Personal communication to author from Dr. Michael Brabeck. The section covering Mahmoud’s and his friend’s wounds was assembled from multiple interviews with participants, including Karzan Mahmoud, Balan Faraj Karim, Ramazan Hama-Raheem, and Qais Ibrahim Khadir.

74. Author’s interviews with Karzan Mahmoud in Ottawa in 2007.

75. Edward Ezell, “Draft Trip Report, Izhevsk,” November 6–14, 1994.

76. Author’s interviews with officials at Rosoboronexport, the Russian state arms-export agency, in 2004 and 2007.

77. Interview with Mikhail Kalashnikov by Bryon MacWilliams, correspondent in Russia for Newsweek magazine, in Izhevsk in 2004. Mr. MacWilliams shared notes of his interview with the author.

78. Nadia Popova, “Russia’s Obama Offers Change Kirov Can Believe In,” St. Petersburg Times, May 5, 2009. See also “Kalashnikov Producer to Pay Wages in Sugar,” Russia Today, April 10, 2009.

79. Remarks by Mikhail Kalashnikov in presence of author at the exhibition center in Izhevsk in August 2007.

80. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 143. Interviews by author with workers at plant in 2004.

81. Michael Gordon, “Moscow Journal: Burst of Pride for a Staccato Executioner,” New York Times, March 13, 1997.

82. Igor Gradov, Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 9, 2004. Gradov published an interview with Kalashnikov in this Moscow newspaper on the day before the designer’s eighty-fifth birthday.

83. An interview with Kalashnikov by M. Novikov appeared in the January 1968 issue of Volksarmee, published in Berlin.

84. “Brand Name: Mikhail Kalashnikov,” New York Times Magazine, May 29, 1994.

85. “Report No. OTIO-471: Translation of a Soviet Manual Concerning a 7.62mm Rifle,” September 13, 1955. Submitted to the Chief of Ordnance by H. H. Himmer, technical assistant, Ordnance Technical Intelligence Service. The report and a copy of the original Soviet manual are on file in the unsorted Ezell collection at Shrivenham.

86. Guy Martin, “(the killing machine),” Esquire, June 1997, p. 76.

87. DP No. 1195, issued from the Kremlin on July 5, 2007. Translated by Nikolay Khalip.

88. Author’s observation.

89. MacWilliams interview with Kalashnikov.

90. Interview with author.

91. Holcomb B. Noble, “Eugene Stoner, 74, Designer of M-16 Rifle and Other Arms,” New York Times, April 27, 1997.

92. Interviews in Russia by author. See also Nabi Abdullaev, “Russian High School Students Learn ABCs of War,” Moscow Times, November 16, 2006.

93. Interview with author, 2004.

94. Mikhail Kalashnikov, Ya S Vami Shol Odnoi Dorogoi (Moscow: Vsya Rossiya Publishing House, 1999), p. 179.

95. Grador, Moskovsky Komsomolets.

96. Kalashnikov with Joly, The Gun that Changed the World, p. 112.

97. Ibid., p. 82.

98. Interview with Kalashnikov conducted by Nick Paton Walsh, July 3, 2003, at Kalashnikov’s dacha at Izhevski Prud. Paton Walsh provided the interview notes to the author.

99. Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, pp. 260–261.

100. Letter from Andropov to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, February 18, 1973. From the Andrei Sakharov KGB file maintained by Yale University.

101. The quotation about Azeris and Armenian is from John Kampfner, from “Living Legend: The Private World of Mikhail Kalashnikov,” Telegraph magazine, p. 20. The quotation about moans and screams is from Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, p. 162.

102. “Paton Walsh interview” with Kalashnikov.

Epilogue: The Twenty-first Century’s Rifle

1. From author’s inventory of the weapons used in the training.

2. Author’s observation. In scores of patrols with the Afghan National Army and Police, the author identified seven Russian AK-47s with date stamps of 1953 or 1954.

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