General, Inventor and Military Engineer

Mikhail Kalashnikov is described on Wikipedia as a "general, inventor, military engineer, writer and small arms designer." This is in accordance with Wikipedia's standard practice of crediting any individual with as many strings to their bow as possible. Just as any drummer who's ever received a songwriting credit is a songwriter, and if they've ever played a cowbell they're a percussionist.

According to, Kalashnikov "eventually earned the rank of general", but the rank formally afforded to him in Wikipedia's introduction is Lieutenant–General – the rank immediately below general. The truth would appear to be that Mikhail Kalashnikov was a very junior soldier, aged 21 or 22, when he decided (creditworthily enough) that the Soviet army needed a new rifle. His design was so successful that he seems to have spent the rest of his career designing weapons, and probably never saw active service again. Whatever rank he did ultimately attain, it seems to have had little to do with success in the field of battle or in determining military strategy.

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