M.T. Kalashnikov entered the Red Army in Kiev 1938 where he attended tank mechanics school. In the army, he designed a device to count the number of shots fired by a tank as well as other useful tactical devices for tanks. After surviving fierce battles against the Nazi's in 1941 as a tank commander, he found himself in hospital recovering from serious wounds and battle fatigue. Here at the hospital he began to conceive ideas for a new machine gun which could provide high volume, light weight firepower for soldiers in mechanized infantry. While on temporary medical duty, stationed at Matai, he took advantage of the workshop facilities to prototype his weapon. In 1944 his first prototype was adopted for further development and finally in 1949 the soviet army adopted the Automatic Kalashnikov design of 1947 as their standard rifle. As of 1990, more than 70 million Kalashnikov automatic rifles of various designs had been produced. M.T. Kalashnikov was a self taught inventor.