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Artic Paratrooper

Above: A German paratrooper defends the rums of the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 during the Allied campaign in Italy. The weapon used is the fully automatic Fallschirmjagergewehr 42. Note the Maschmenpistole MP40. or Schmeisser. to his right.

Right: Muslim militiamen streetfighting among the barricades of Beirut. Their Soviet-made AK47 assault rifles are excellent and find favour with guerrillas around the world who need weaponry _

and easy to maintain -

Stoner's superlative AR-15 (see pages 80-81) has demonstratively superior accuracy, the brute strength and dependability of the Kalashnikov makes it the ideal combat weapon for guerrilla forces and Third World armies. No other assault rifle can match the AK's performance in desert or Arctic conditions.

The AK47 was the first in a family of weapons: its successors, the AKM and AK74. have improved upon the original but retained a design continuity and hence a user-friendly continuity too. In the case of the latter there has been a move just as in the west, to a lighter cartridge of 5.45mm.

As mentioned, in the west there has been — due to NATO standardisation requirements — a drift towards a common calibre of 5.56mm. The pace-setter was the American Eugene

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