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The Battle of Bryansk (2–21 October 1941) was a nineteen-day fighting during World War II conducted in the Bryansk Oblast (the town, prior to 5 June 1944, was part of the Orel Oblast). See also: Vyazma and Bryansk pockets.

This battle served as the catalyst for the invention of the AK47.


In September 1941, the German troops of XXXXVII. Armeekorps (mot.) (commander General of Panzer troops Joachim Lemelsen) advanced towards, and crossed the Desna River in the region southwest of Moscow. During the breakthrough attack, the German troops broke through the Bryansk Front on 30 September, during the operation to encircle the 50th Army. This resulted in the penetration of the Front's position between the 50th and 13th Armies. The Bryansk Front commander General-Leutnant Andrei Yeremenko adopted a defence in depth strategy, with the Front's reserves consisting of two rifle, one tank division and one tank brigade concentrated in the Bryansk area. However in the course of the operation the troops of the XXXXVII Corps took Karachev and were able to advance to east of the city on 6 October while trying to link up with the XXXXIII Corps coming from the opposite direction.

This forced the Red Army's 50th and 13th Armies and the Operational Group of General Major A.N. Yermakov to withdraw in order to avoid encirclement, and consequently Bryansk was evacuated without significant fighting. Regardless of this, the city was subjected to heavy artillery and air bombardment which destroyed large parts of Bryansk.[1]

The Red Army, as part of the Orel-Bryansk Defensive Operation (30 September 1941 - 23 October 1941) lost over 80,000 killed in and around the area of the city.[2] Another 50,000 prisoners were taken, before XXXXVII Corps proceeded on to its next objective, Orel.[citation needed]

Inspiration for the AK-47

Mikhail Kalashnikov was a senior sergeant (tank commander) serving on the T-34s of the 24th Tank Regiment, 12th Tank Division[3] of the 8th Mechanised Corps [4] stationed in Stryi (31 KV-1 and 10 T-34 tanks) before retreating after Battle of Brody, with the regiment soon to become a part of the 159th Tank Brigade.[3] He was wounded during the battle, but made it to a hospital on foot, where he received medical attention. This was not Kalashnikov's first battle as he had also participated in the Battle of Brody where his division was part of the 8th Mechanized Corps that encountered the German 16th Panzer Division in battle around Leshuv.

While recovering from his injuries, Kalashnikov started experiencing flashbacks of the raid and "became obsessed with creating a submachine gun that would drive the Germans from his homeland."[2]


  1. [1] Orel-Bryansk Defensive Operation (in Russian)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kahaner, Larry. "Weapon changed pattern of modern war." 29 December 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 p.27 Perechen No.6
  4. 8 механизированный корпус

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