Before the arrival of surface-to-air, anti-aircraft missiles, nations depended on simple artillery-based guns to protect airspace. All of the major participants of World War 2 understood the value of these close-in defensive network systems and the Soviets proved no exception. At the end of the war, development continued on more powerful and capable anti-aircraft artillery systems to combat the forces of the West. These endeavors eventually produced the "KS-19" series of 100mm caliber in the late 1940s. The 100mm systems were intended to replace the aged 85mm systems then in use. Design of the KS-19 was attributed to L.V. Lulyev and these guns saw considerable combat actions in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, naturally on the side of the communists. Approximately 5,000 KS-19 guns were produced - some still seeing frontline active service with nations today.
Design-wise, the KS-19 was highly conventional in its approach and clearly showcased its World War 2 influence based on German and Soviet experiences. The system consisted of several major components making up the overall weapon which included the barrel, gun mount, platform and the transport carriage. The 100mm (3.94inch) barrel was of notable length and rifled for accuracy, further capped by a multi-baffled muzzle brake that dispelled gases away from the gun and crew. The barrel was set within a heavy duty mount which contained the recoil mechanism, elevation/traverse controls and gunnery platform for the operating crew. The carriage was wheeled with single rubber tires fitted to each corner of the assembly along steel rims with a folding vehicle tow loop installation at one end. Recoil absorbing "legs" were extended from the carriage sides and lowered for a firmer firing stance. Elevation was limited to +85/-3 degrees with a 360-degree traverse, this accomplished manually via various hand wheels. The crew would sit behind a small-area armored shield for some basic protection though no overhead, side or rear protection was given from the elements or battlefield dangers. The vehicle was traditionally towed by a heavy duty Soviet military tractor for it weighed over 21,000lbs and sported a 31 foot length to which the gun barrel was locked down for transport at one end of the carriage assembly. The firing action of the KS-19 consisted of a semi-automatic, horizontal sliding wedge breechblock system with a powered rammer and an automatic fuse-setter. All of this was tied to a PUAZO-6/19 directional system and a SON-9 series fire control radar array. The KS-19 crew consisted of no fewer than 15 personnel making up the various gunnery specialists, traverse/elevation personnel, ammunition handlers and setup/take down crew.
As an anti-aircraft defense weapon, the KS-19 was issued standardized high-explosive (HE), high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) and general fragmentation (FRAG) type single-piece, ready-to-fire projectiles. These served the weapon system well in their timed, area-detonated action in which the skies could be littered with exploding devices as enemy aircraft attempted to traverse the targeted airspace. Furthermore, the Soviets - like the wartime Germans before them - found the KS-19s inherent firepower and penetration values suitable for the anti-armor role and developed equally suitable Armor-Piercing Tracer (AP-T) and Armor-Piercing Capped Tracer (APC-T) projectiles for this specific role. The KS-19 was also cleared to fire other like-minded 100mm-based projectiles as needed from the Soviet inventory, expanding its tactical, logistical and battlefield usefulness even more. A well-trained and experienced crew could let off up to 15 rounds per minute, provided good barrage fire into the sky - especially when linked to a network of such gun systems in defense of a given target area. Ranges against aircraft were out to 49,200 feet utilizing the proximity fuse and approximately 41,600 feet with the timed fuse. When used in the anti-armor role, the gun - now being fired horizontally as opposed to vertically - fielded a range of up to 13 miles.
The "KS-19M2" was one known variant of the KS-19 family line. In Chinese Army service, the gun was designated as the "Type 55".
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