During World War II, the Soviets developed the 7.62 x 39 cartridge, designating it the M-43 (7.62 Boevoy Patron - 1943). This round was directly copied from the German 7.62 x 33 'intermediate' cartridge that was used in the Wehrmacht's 'Sturmgewehr' assault rifle and its variants. The Russians were so impressed with the 'Sturmgewehr' and its cartridge that they eventually came up with their own assault rifle, the legendary AK-47. But the first weapon they developed for their new 7.62 x 39 round was the SKS Simonov-45 carbine. Utilizing the bolt and locking concept of their PRTS antitank rifle, the Soviet designers came up with a durable, accurate semi-auto carbine that was easy to field strip and maintain. The SKS first saw service at the end of World War II and is still in use in many third world countries today. It became very popular in communist countries throughout the world and was produced in huge quantities for many years. The East Germans had a variation called the "Karabiner-S\ the Chinese designated theirs the 4Type-56\ the North Korean version was called the Type-63' and the Yugoslavian 'M59/66' had an integral grenade launcher attached to the barrel. Along with the AK, the SKS was encountered in large numbers by U.S. troops during the Vietnam War and a few were seen in the recent conflict in Grenada. Although the SKS is no longer in service in the U.S.S.R., it is still being used by certain Russian Honor Guard units and drill teams.
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