Category Archives: Military

17 cm mittlerer Minenwerfer Trench Mortar (17cm mMW a/A) Found in Dowagiac, MI, WWI Memorial

My wife and I were walking around downtown Dowagiac, MI, when I spotted a memorial with an odd little piece of artillery sticking out above a bush located by the intersection of South Front and Main Street.

I walked over and realized I had no idea what it was.  Given it was a WWI monument, it had that “WWI Look” and the wooden steel clad wheels – even I could figure out it was a WWI piece but what was it?  Somebody had spray painted part of it with some brass/bronze paint that was fading but it was actually in surprisingly good shape.

My first thought was that it was some kind of short barreled howitzer but didn’t turn up anything.  I then realized it might be some type of large mortar so I searched on WWI mortar photos.  Being a visual person, I can scan a ton of photos fast and I found it pretty quick.  It was an early generation Imperial German 17 cm mittlerer Minenwerfer (17 cm mMW a/A) made by Rheinmetall.

These large mortars were for destroying fortifications in trench warfare.  Interesting minenwerfer means “mine projector”.  About 2,360 of them were made between 1913 and 1918.  Only 150 were available at the start of WWI.

The minenwerfers played a critical role in destroying fortifications – notably those containing machine guns and artillery as well as clearing field obstacles such as barricades and barbed wire.

They were compact but at 525KG (about 1,157 pounds), they were difficult to maneuver in a rush.

As far as I can tell, the Dowagiac minenwerfer is a 17cm mMW a/A with the last meaning Alter Art which means it is the early model before they increased the barrel length in a newer model known as the 17cm mMW n/A – with the last part meaning Neur Art – or the “new alteration”

The next photo caught my eye due to the Rheinmetall logo that I also have on HK G3 magazines made my Rheinmentall.

The monument is for the men who lost their lives in WWI from Dowagiac and also Cass County.  Note the quote “It is an investment not a loss when a man gives his life for his country”.

I can’t help but wonder how the German mortar wound up in Dowagiac.  I didn’t see a plaque anywhere but hope to research it more some day.  I also hope they preserve it.  Unless I missed it, the mortar is standing on its own wooden wheels and it would be a shame if it fell.

In case you are interested, here are some great resources to learn more about the 17 cm mMW a/A:

The following page has GPS coordinates and names of the decesed:

Here’s a Google Satellite View of the WWI Memorial – it where I put the red circle:

Here’s the link to the Google Maps page – click here.


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RARE ORIGINAL GERMAN SPIKED HELMET WWI PRUSSIAN PICKELHAUBE OFFICER'S NCO WW1

$52.00 (3 Bids)
End Date: Friday Oct-5-2018 16:49:36 PDT
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Pickelhaube/Spiked Helmet-Original German WW1 Wartime Grey Steel Spike Bolts

$35.00
End Date: Thursday Oct-25-2018 17:20:46 PDT
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WWI IMPERIAL GERMAN IRON CROSS 2ND CLASS-RING MARKED “800”

$9.99 (1 Bid)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-2-2018 18:25:32 PDT
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g WWI German Imperial Army Model 1916 Ersatz Bayonet w Frog

$180.00
End Date: Thursday Oct-25-2018 10:29:51 PDT
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WWI GERMAN PRUSSIAN XV 15 YEAR HONORABLE SERVICE MEDAL

$35.00
End Date: Thursday Oct-25-2018 18:12:58 PDT
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Original WWI German Helmet Chin Scale Half Set

$0.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Sep-30-2018 8:23:07 PDT
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Original WWI German Helmet Chin Scale Half Set

$0.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Sep-30-2018 8:24:00 PDT
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Original - WW1 German Pickelhaube Leather Helmet

$128.00 (2 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-2-2018 18:30:24 PDT
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ORIG ANTIQUE WWI GERMAN BAYONET MARKE M 9920 COF 44 MATCHING NUMBERS SCABBARD

$74.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-29-2018 12:09:44 PDT
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WWI WWII GERMAN GERMANY 4 1/2'' x 5'' BULLION

$49.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-2-2018 4:28:30 PDT
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WWI German officer identification bracelet/dog tag

$12.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Sunday Sep-30-2018 16:20:26 PDT
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WWI/WWII German Belt

$50.00
End Date: Friday Oct-19-2018 7:20:46 PDT
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Original WWI German Belger & Sohn Leather Rifle Ammo Pouch 1915 Dated

$11.50 (3 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Sep-26-2018 18:12:01 PDT
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halloween WWI GERMAN HELMET BRASS ACCENTS PRUSSIAN PICKELHUBE IMPERIAL OFFICER

$33.90
End Date: Thursday Oct-25-2018 20:10:12 PDT
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WWI GERMAN M1915 TORNISTER FIELD BACK PACK

$85.18
End Date: Thursday Sep-27-2018 17:02:13 PDT
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WWI Imperial German/Austrian Heraldic Enameled Glass Royal Crown

$29.99 (0 Bids)
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WWI GERMAN M1893 BREAD BAG-OCHER REDDISH BROWN

$30.14
End Date: Wednesday Oct-24-2018 16:00:50 PDT
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2 Original WW1 Leather German Army 8mm Mauser K98 Ammunition Pouches 1915 1916

$0.99 (1 Bid)
End Date: Monday Oct-1-2018 14:50:25 PDT
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WWI WWII German Heer / Army Trench Fighting Knife with Scabbard

$21.94
End Date: Saturday Oct-20-2018 10:17:09 PDT
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WWI GERMAN M1915 PICKELHAUBE HELMET-PRUSSIAN

$92.92
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World War I: The Definitive Visual History (Hardcover)

2014 marks the centennial of the start of World War I — DK will mark the occasion with the publication of World War I: The Definitive Visual Guide, a vividly illustrated, in-depth account of the Great War.

Written by historian R. G. Grant, and created by DK’s award-winning editorial and design team, World War I charts the developments of the war from a global perspective. Using illustrated timelines, detailed maps, and personal accounts, readers will see the oft-studied war in a new light. Key episodes are set clearly in the wider context of the conflict, in-depth profiles look at the key generals and political leaders, and full-color photo galleries showcase the weapons, inventions, and new technologies that altered the course of history.

A vivid portrait of the confrontation on land, sea, and sky, World War I: The Definitive Visual Guide offers readers a bold and thoughtful new look at this complex and explosive moment in history.


Features:  World War I The Definitive Visual History
By (author):  R. G. Grant

List Price: $40.00
New From: $107.66 USD In Stock
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Videos: M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer Instructions and Firing

My post about the old M1A1 in the Battle Creek Memorial Cemetary got me to thinking.  The Internet is an amazing place and I wondered what videos I could find that might feature the old howitzer.

Right off the bat, I found the following fascinating old WWII-era USMC training film on the M1A1:

A collector actually owns one and this next video gives a bit of history and shows the howitzer firing:

The next is historic combat footage of an M1A1 being fired in Saipan:

And last is historic footage of a pack howitzer being unloaded by a crew and assembled at Fort Hale, CO.

These videos pretty much satisfied my curiosity.  After all these years, I finally know a bit more about the old howitzer and got to see it operate.


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Eyewitness to World War II: Unforgettable Stories and Photographs From History’s Greatest Conflict (Hardcover)

The unforgettable story of World War II is told through the words of those who lived it—America’s greatest generation—both on the battlefield and the home front. Personal writings create a dramatic tapestry of wartime experience, and recollections of Roosevelt, Hitler, and Patton, as well as letters composed by soldiers at battle and diaries of women serving in the military at home, present an absorbing narrative that tells the entire history of the war from several perspectives. Hundreds of images capture fateful moments of triumph and defeat that defined the era, including rare photographs and artifacts, many never-before-seen from private collections that are placed in context with more famous photographs from the period. More than 20 authoritative National Geographic maps detail military movements and decisive battles in the European and Pacific theaters of war. These incredible, first-person stories, amazing moments of heroism, compelling imagery, and illuminating maps bring the entire history of World War II to life in vivid detail.

Features:  National Geographic Society
By (author):  Stephen Hyslop

List Price: $40.00 USD
New From: $19.20 USD In Stock
Used from: $14.58 USD In Stock
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M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer on an M8 Carriage in the Battle Creek Memorial Cemetary

One of the things I wanted to do for a long time is start taking photos of war memorials and the hardware that is often there. In the Battle Creek, MI, Memorial cemetery is this M1A1 75mm pack howitzer with an M8 carriage.

My dad always told me was a pack howitzer and I never really ask him what that meant other than him telling me it was mobile. In Reading, it is interesting because it was to be carried by 7 mules if necessary as well as dropped out of airplanes via 9 parachute loads or whatever the case may be. In short, it would break down into component parts and could be packed somewhere. At 1,436 pounds, it weighed a fair amount when assembled.

As you can see in the next photo of the howitzer’s breach area, it is an M1A1 made by General Electric in 1943. 2,592 pack howitzers were made that year. I find it interesting that they designated that it could be used with the M2 and M3 vehicle mounts as well as in the pack configuration.

The M1A1 had a modified breach block and breach ring.

M8 Carriage

The M8 carriage configuration gave it pneumatic rubber tires as opposed to the original wood spoke with metal rim wheels.

There are welds all over the unit to demil it

The above photo is of the Hannifin Manufacturing plaque on the carriage. You can see the welds they did – they went to great lengths to make it inert.

Here are some photos of the muzzle end – the rifling is still there.

Here are a few more photos:

I was pleased to see it was still in fairly good shape. The howitzer is up on metal blocks so the tires aren’t bearing the load. The flag, Old Glory monument and the howitzer make for a nice combination to reflect.


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The Things Our Fathers Saw: The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation from Hometown, USA-Voices of the Pacific Theater (Paperback)

The telephone rings on the hospital floor, and they tell you it is your mother, the phone call you have been dreading. You’ve lost part of your face to a Japanese sniper on Okinawa, and after many surgeries, the doctor has finally told you that at 19, you will never see again. The pain and shock is one thing. But now you have to tell her, from 5000 miles away.

— ‘So I had a hard two months, I guess. I kept mostly to myself. I wouldn’t talk to people. I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I got home. How was I going to tell my mother this? You know what I mean?’ ~Jimmy Butterfield, WWII Marine veteran

~From the author of ‘The Things Our Fathers Saw’ World War II eyewitness history series~
How soon we forget. Or perhaps, we were never told. That is understandable, given what they saw.

— ‘I was talking to a shipmate of mine waiting for the motor launch, and all at once I saw a plane go over our ship. I did not know what it was, but the fellow with me said, ‘That’s a Jap plane, Jesus!’ It went down and dropped a torpedo. Then I saw the Utah turn over.’ ~Barney Ross, U.S. Navy seaman, Pearl Harbor

At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew Rozell tracks down over thirty survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay. 

— ‘Rage is instantaneous. He’s looking at me from a crawling position. I didn’t shoot him; I went and kicked him in the head. Rage does funny things. After I kicked him, I shot and killed him.’ ~Thomas Jones, Marine veteran, Battle of Guadalcanal

These are the stories that the magazine could not tell to the American public.

— ‘I remember it rained like hell that night, and the water was running down the slope into our foxholes. I had to use my helmet to keep bailing out, you know. Lt. Gower called us together. He said, ‘I think we’re getting hit with a banzai. We’re going to have to pull back. ‘Holy God, there was howling and screaming! They had naked women, with spears, stark naked!’ ~Nick Grinaldo, U.S. Army veteran, Saipan

By the end of 2018, fewer than 400,000 WW II veterans will still be with us, out of the over 16 million who put on a uniform. But why is it that today, nobody seems to know these stories? Maybe our veterans did not volunteer; maybe we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to the younger generation, when a history teacher told their grandchildren to ask.

— ‘I hope you’ll never have to tell a story like this, when you get to be 87. I hope you’ll never have to do it.’ ~Ralph Leinoff, Marine veteran Iwo Jima, to his teenage interviewer

This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war that left no American community unscathed.

— ‘After 3½ years of starvation and brutal treatment, that beautiful symbol of freedom once more flies over our head! Our POW camp tailor worked all night and finished our first American flag! The blue came from a GI barracks bag, red from a Jap comforter and the white from an Australian bed sheet. When I came out of the barracks and saw those beautiful colors for the first time, I felt like crying!’~Joe Minder, U.S. Army POW, Japan,1945

As we forge ahead as a nation, we owe it to ourselves to become reacquainted with a generation that is fast leaving us, who asked for nothing but gave everything, to attune ourselves as Americans to a broader appreciation of what we stand for.

Featuring over a dozen custom maps and never-before published veteran portraits. Extended notes and website.


By (author):  Mr. Matthew A. Rozell

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Cool New Soviet KGB Vodka Flasks – Awesome Conversation Starters

So I was surfing one day and stumbled across these cool souvenir personal liquor flasks from Russia that hark back to the Soviet era.  They looked really cool in the photos and were brand new so I figured why not get one and check it out.  Thus, out came the credit card and I got one from worldgifts1 on eBay.  I should point out that a number of vendors are selling these and they all look the same.

The below are photos of my exact flask.  I actually bought two – one for myself and one for my buddy Scott.  They really are nicely done – the chrome plate is good and what really caught my eye is the coat of arms – the CCCP is the abbreviation of the Cyrllic words “Союз Советских Социалистических Республик” that translate as the Union of Soviety Socialist Republics.  The КГБ is the Cyrllic abbreviation for Комите́т госуда́рственной безопа́сности which translates as the Committee for State Security, which we better know as the KGB.

I bought this strictly as a novelty plus as a place to keep either vodka or, gasp, my beloved tequila.  I think I am in big trouble for the tequila comment 🙂  It’s definitely a cool conversation starter and you could put whatever drink you want in there of course.

At any rate, it arrived as you see above and is water tight.  I sloshed some soapy water around inside, rinsed it out several times and then let it dry and it was good to go.

In my opinion it is a good deal – sure you can get cheaper generic flasks but they scream “boozer” vs. being a conversation starter.  I’d recommend these and they do make flasks with other insignia too – I opted for the KGB one due to growing up during the Cold War and tons of spy movies.

World Gifts is not the only seller and while I suspect they are all being made at the factory, I can’t speak to the quality of other sellers’ products.  Below are flasks from eBay including stuff from a number of sellers and at the bottom I have a link to the KGB Flask as sold by World Gifts on Amazon.

8 oz. Stainless Hip Flask Canteen w/ Russian Soviet Military Badge KGB CCCP USSR

$19.79
End Date: Saturday Sep-29-2018 14:55:46 PDT
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Collectible Russian Lenin KGB CCCP Insignia Badge Stainless Steel 8oz Flask

$17.40
End Date: Tuesday Oct-16-2018 18:43:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $17.40
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Stainless Steel Russian Hip Flask

$6.95
End Date: Wednesday Oct-24-2018 13:10:40 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $6.95
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RUSSIAN CCCP VODKA WHISKEY HIP FLASK 8 OZ. STAINLESS STEEL DARK FAUX LEATHER

$7.45
End Date: Tuesday Oct-2-2018 8:13:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $7.45
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Antique Vintage Russian Beverage Flask

$19.00
End Date: Wednesday Oct-3-2018 13:38:28 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.00
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VINTAGE CCCP KGB RUSSIAN Military Hip FLASK Stainless Steel

$32.00
End Date: Sunday Sep-30-2018 14:12:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $32.00
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Empty Russian Stainless Steel Flask

$10.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Sep-26-2018 15:28:12 PDT
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5 oz Stainless Steel Russian Military Flask

$18.00
End Date: Saturday Oct-20-2018 15:07:56 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18.00
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Russian USSR Coat Of Arms Souvenir Gift Set Flask

$3.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-29-2018 9:29:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $7.99
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ORIGINAL USSR RUSSIAN ARMY FLASK MILITARY WATER CANTEEN

$17.00
End Date: Friday Sep-28-2018 22:11:56 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $17.00
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8 oz. Stainless Steel Alcohol and Spirits Flask Canteen w/Russian Soviet Military Army Badge KGB USSR CCCP

Made in Russia, this curved drinking flask makes a great gift. Latched screw top and decorated with 2 Soviet Era badges. Suitable for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Soviet/Russian Army/KGB souvenir – stainless steel Flask 8 oz. Military collectibles and Military Memorabilia

Features: 

  • Stainless Steel Drinking flask 8 oz. for Vodka, Cognac,Whiskey, Scotch, etc.
  • 5″L x 3.75″W x 1″
  • Russian Military badges KGB
  • Faux Leather Wrap
  • Suitable for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks

List Price: $21.99 USD
New From: $21.99 USD In Stock
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Video: Rare Weapons of Saddam’s Iraq 1979 to 2003 by jmantime

       

I like jmantime’s videos – lots of photos, organized and set to music.  He assemble this video around the weapons found in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign between 1979 and 2003.  The video ranges from Tariq handguns and Tabuk rifles all the way up through through tanks, the Babylon Gun, rocket launchers and so forth.  This video is only 14:39 video and worth the time given all that he has assembled.

I mainly focus on firearms:

  • Tariq 1, Semi-automatic pistol, 7.65x17mm
  • Tariq II, Semi-automatic pistol, 9x19mm
  • Tabuk, Assault RIfle, 7.62x39mm  [Their licensed version of the Yugo M70]
  • The Golden Tabuks they found in palaces
  • Tabuk, Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR), 7.62x39mm
  • Al-Kadesih, Semi-automatic Marksman Rifle, 7.62x54R [Their version of the Dragunov]
  • AI-Quds, Light Machine Gun, 7.62x39mm [Their licensed version of the Yugo M72B1]

From there it covers tanks, self-propelled guns and so forth.  All in all, it’s a neat video with lots of photos that jmantime collected.


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We Got Him!: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein (Kindle Edition)

When U.S. forces exterminated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1, 2011, the world cheered not only the death of the 9/11 terrorist mastermind but the unmatched might, skill, and perseverance of America’s military elite. It was a brilliant example of history repeating itself in the most positive way; less than a decade earlier, the capture of Saddam Hussein, a triumph of military strategy in and of itself, opened the door for the most recent and essential victory in the War on Terror. Here is the riveting account of a grand human saga that tested every element of character and fortitude: the six-month manhunt that ended at a hole on the bank of the Tigris River, and the blow-by-blow plays of the actual raids that netted Saddam, culminating in the electrifying quote heard around the globe, “We Got Him!”

No other event in Operation Iraqi Freedom caught the attention of the world like the hunt for and capture of Saddam Hussein. Square in the middle of the search, living in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, were Lt. Col. Steve Russell and his men of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. Packed with rare photos and insider information, We Got Him! chronicles the day-by-day search and the successes and dead ends as regular and special-operations soldiers tore into Saddam’s social networks. This is the definitive account of this major historical event and of the sacrifice that made it happen. It also provides a rare look at the enemy side of the action. With his extensive journal notes, combat reports, and painstaking research, Steve Russell has preserved the story as only someone who lived the experience can do.

By (author):  Steve Russell

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Video: Troops training with the Zastava M76 and M91 Designated Marksman Rifles (DMRs)

  

 

This video from 2016 shows US, Latvian and other troops firing the Zastava M76 and M91 rifles.  Some may call them sniper rifles but they are more DMRs to me.  It’s always interesting to see rifles in practical use and hear some of the coaching going on.  Please note that these are like giant AK rifles that are oversized to handle the larger rounds.  In contrast, the Dragunov is a different design including:  A short stroke piston that is separate from the bolt carrier, ,the bolt carrier does not have any provision for a piston so it has far less mass, the trigger is in a removable cardtridge and the operating spring is mounted in a locking dust cover.

 


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Video: Zastava Arms 160 Years Marketing Video, 2015

I like Zastava firearms – notably their rifles – M70, M72, M67, M77, and M92.  I’ve owned variants of all of those at one time or another and think highly of the designs and the quality of manufacturing.  I ran across this short 160 year commemorative video released in 2015 and thought I would share it:

 


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Video: Inside the Kalashnikov Factory: Home of the World’s Most Reliable Weapon AK-47 – In Russian With Subtitles

There are some great scenes of machinery and firearms in the Kalashnikov factory by Russian Insider.  This was released in March 2017 and is pretty cool.  You’ll also see a lot of firearms we never get to see over here.  I’m fascinated about the evolution of the Russian arms industry.  Growing up we heard about how backwards they were in terms of processes and equipment but in these videos you see a fairly modern plant with well laid out work centers, clean, a lot of CNC equipment and so forth.  If you are interested in Kalashnikov firearms and manufacturing, then you’ll want to watch this video.

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something from one of the Amazon links, or use one of the links to go to Amazon and buy something completely different — as long as you use one our links to go and buy something from Amazon, it helps us out.  For each item you purchase, we get a small bit of ad revenue from Amazon to fund the blog.  The same is true for eBay as well — we don’t get anything unless you buy something.