KS-18 / 52-P-368 / M1944 - 85-mm towed anti-aircraft gun
At the end of the 1930s, it became obvious that the rapid development of aviation would lead to significant problems in the future in the event of opposition from aviation and air defense forces. Thus, the already available means of air defense could not adequately guarantee sufficient effectiveness. There was a need to give the army a long-range anti-aircraft gun, the weapon had to be powerful enough to hit high-flying armored targets.
During the Great Patriotic War, the main anti-aircraft gun of medium caliber of Soviet anti-aircraft gunners was the 85-mm anti-aircraft gun, model 1939 KS-12. Soviet anti-aircraft artillery played a very important role in the Great Patriotic War. According to official data, in the course of the fighting, 21,645 aircraft were shot down by ground means of ground defense of the ground forces, including 76 mm and more anti-aircraft guns - 4,047 aircraft, and 14,657 aircraft anti-aircraft guns. In addition to fighting enemy aircraft, anti-aircraft guns, if necessary, often fired at ground targets. For example, 15 fighter-anti-tank artillery divisions with twelve anti-aircraft 85-mm cannons took part in the Battle of Kursk.
The KS-12 gun had a combat weight of 3057 kg and a range of damage in height of up to 10.5 km. The rate of fire was up to 15 rounds per minute, anti-aircraft fire was controlled by PUAZO-3 and a stereoscopic rangefinder. By the end of the war, coarse targeting was carried out from the radar station RUS-2.
Mass production of the KS-12 continued until 1944, when it was replaced by an even more powerful 85-mm anti-aircraft gun (KS-18), which also became the main means of anti-air defense of the Red Army. The new KS-18 had a longer barrel and an increased powder charge, which increased the range of damage in height to 12 km. But the fire control device remained the same. The baseline data for the PUAZO-3 was obtained with the help of an optical stereo range finder, which made it difficult to aim in poor visibility even at night, so it had to switch from aimed fire to barrage.
The development of a new cannon to replace the 85-mm anti-aircraft gun of 1939 was carried out in the design bureau of the Kalinin Plant . The works were supervised by L.V. Lyulyev . In the period from 1945 to 1947, the design of the KS-18 gun with a synchronous-tracking drive and its modification of the KS-18A with a manual drive was developed. The development of a platform for a new anti-aircraft gun was engaged in Plant number 13. In February 1947, prototypes were manufactured and sent to factory and field testing. According to the test results, a number of defects in the tool platform were identified. After the elimination of comments in 1948 at the plant number 82 prototypes of the KS-18 gun and 2 samples of its modified version of the KS-18A were assembled. In 1949, the ground and military tests of the experimental guns were completed. In 1950, according to the directive of V. D. Sokolovsky, the second stage of military tests was conducted, after which the gun was recommended for use.
In October 1948, plant number 8 manufactured an experimental series of 4 guns. Of these, two with synchronous-tracking drive (KS-18) and two with manual drive (KS-18A). The KS-18A is a mobile gun mounted on a ZU-37 four-wheeled cart with torsion suspension and a course that is not separated in a combat position. The gun has a rammer and tray. The chamber and sleeve KS-18 and KS-18A are identical with the gun D-48. In March 1949, ground tests of the KS-18 were conducted, and in the autumn of 1949 - military tests of the KS-18A. Plant No. 8 manufactured 6 KS-18A cannons. In August 1954, all 6 cannons were assembled. In September-October 1954, four guns passed field tests at the NIAP. In December 1954, two KS-18A cannons, completed on the basis of field test results, were handed over. In June 1954, the technical design and working drawings of the 85-mm gun KS-18 with the GSSP-100M and AUV were completed in the OKB-8. The manufacture of two prototypes of them was postponed to the first quarter of 1955.
The KS-18 gun was a four-wheel platform weighing 3,600 kg with a torsion bar suspension, on which a machine with a weight of 3,300 kg was installed. The gun was equipped with a tray and shearer shells. Due to the increased length of the barrel and the use of a more powerful charge, the zone of destruction of targets in height was increased from 8 to 12 km. Kamora KS-18 was identical with the 85-mm anti-tank gun D-44. The gun was equipped with a synchronous tracking drive and receiving devices PUAZO-6.
The KS-18 gun was a four-wheel KZU-17 platform weighing 3,600 kg with a torsion bar suspension, on which a machine with a weight of 3,300 kg was installed. The gun was equipped with a tray and shearer shells. Due to the increased length of the barrel and the use of a more powerful charge, the zone of destruction of targets in height was increased from 8 to 12 km. The chamber KS-18 was identical with the 85-mm gun D-48.
In the conditions of the Great Patriotic War, when the average speeds of the bombers were within 400 km / h, the practical ceiling was up to 8000 meters, and navigation equipment made it possible to use bomber aviation at night, such characteristics of the main medium-caliber anti-aircraft gun were acceptable. But against reconnaissance aircraft, which went at an altitude of 12,000 meters, 85-mm guns were powerless. The Germans used the reconstructed Junkers-88 bomber as scouts.
The KS-18 gun was recommended for use by military anti-aircraft artillery and RVK anti-aircraft artillery instead of 85-mm anti-aircraft guns type 1939/1944. Already at the end of the war, the working heights of the bombers exceeded 10,000 meters, the speed rose to 500 km / h, and the navigation equipment and bomb sights made it possible to carry out targeted bombing in any weather. In this regard, in 1947, at the Sverdlovsk Machine-Building Plant under the leadership of designer Lev Veniaminovich Lyulyov, a 100mm KS-19 anti-aircraft gun was developed.
Over the years of production, more than 14,000 85-mm anti-aircraft guns of all modifications were produced. After the war, they were in service with anti-aircraft artillery regiments, artillery divisions (brigades), armies and RVK, and corps anti-aircraft artillery regiments (divisions) of military anti-aircraft artillery.
The 85-mm anti-aircraft guns took an active part in the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, where they showed themselves well. The barrage of these guns often forced American pilots to go to low altitudes, where they came under fire from small-caliber anti-aircraft guns. The 85-mm anti-aircraft guns were in service in the USSR until the mid-60s, until they were forced out of the air defense forces by anti-aircraft missile systems.
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