The 85mm M1944 air defense gun (or "Model 1944" and also known as "KS-18") was nothing more than the original M1939 platform engineered to fire a more powerful charge and thusly offered up improved all-around battlefield capabilities. The type was pressed into service in 1944 and quickly overtook the original M1939 series on the Soviet production lines. Outwardly, the M1944 was more or less the same gun platform and it was the ammunition charge that truly set it apart from the original.
Like the M1939 before it, the M1944 could be towed into action with its four-wheeled carriage system. Once in place, the gun could be elevated to suit the target - be they air or land-based - thanks to its 360-degree traversing gun mount with +82 and -2 degree elevation specifications. Like the M1939 (and the German "88" for that matter), the M1944 retained full anti-tank capabilities as well as being an anti-aircraft weapon. For this role, the crew could switch to an anti-tank projectile.
M1939 systems became a battlefield prize for the German Army and the M1944 proved no exception thanks to their effectiveness on the battlefield. Captured gun systems and their ammunition supplies were reconstituted back into German Army service to be used against their former owners, often times alongside their 88mm guns for a truly dastardly effect. In this German guise, the guns came under the designation of 8.5cm Flak M.44(r). Still others were sent back to Germany, rebored to accept the standard 88mm projectile and set up in the homeland defense role under the designation of 8.8cm Flak M.44(r).
The M1944 survived the war and was fielded extensively across the Soviet sphere of influence during the Cold War. Examples were still in operation by the time of the American air war over Vietnam. The system can still be found in the inventories of several nations even today.
Albania; Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Nazi Germany; Hungary; Poland; Romania; Soviet Union; Yugoslavia
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.
✓Anti-Tank / Anti-Armor
Base model or variant can be used to track, engage, and defeat armored enemy elements at range.
✓Fire Support / Assault / Breaching
Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.
23.1 ft 7.05 m
7.1 ft 2.15 m
7.4 ft 2.25 m
10,505 lb 4,765 kg
5.3 tons LIGHT
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base 85mm Air Defense Gun Model 1944 (M1944) (KS-18) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
None. This is a towed artillery piece.
11.0 mi (17.7 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base 85mm Air Defense Gun Model 1944 (M1944) (KS-18) production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 85mm main gun
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Dependent on ammunition carrier.
85mm Air Defense Gun Model 1944 - Formal Series Designation.
KS-18 - Alternative Designation
8.5cm Flak M.44(r) - German Army designation for captured examples.
8.8cm Flak M.44(r) - German Army designation for captured examples; rebored for 88mm projectiles.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.