War Machine, Volume 5

90-mm Gun M l (continued) be depressed below 0° and the opportunity was taken to incorporate a radical redesign. The M2 carriage had a totally different design with a low firing platform carried on four outrig­ger legs when firing. It was much handier and quicker to get into action, and some versions also had a small shield. The main change however, was to the gun which became the M2 in which the ammunition feed for anew fuse setter and rammer was added, this making fuse setting much more rapid and accurate and also raising the rate of fire to a possible 27 rounds per minute. Yet more accuracy and lethality was added in late 1944 when the 90-mm (3.54-in) gun was used as one of the first weapons landon to fire the new proximity-fused round one of the most advanced weapon develop­ments of the war years. Using this fuse one gunner managed to shoot down a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter with a sing­le shot as the unfortunate aircraft attempted to intervene in the Arden­ nes campaign. The 90-mm (3.54-in) gun and the proximity fuse were also instrumental in the defeat of the V-l flying bombs over southern England. The 90-mm (3.54-in) gun in all its forms was manufactured in large num­bers. By August 1945 a total of 7831 of all types had been produced. Tliis in­cluded some guns intended for static mounting only and some guns were indeed used around the coasts of the continental USA in a dual anti-aircraft/ coastal role. The 90-mm (3.54-in) gun was also used in a purely coast defence mount­ing in a special armoured turret and atone stage it was proposed that these turrets would even have their own automatic loaders thus removing the need for men to crew them inaction as they would be aimed and fired by re­mote control. The 90-mm (3.54-in) gun was also used in M36 tank destroyers mounted on Sherman chassis and there were several advanced designs involved in the production of a towed 90-mm 54-in) (3 anti-tank gun but none of these saw service. Specification 90-mm Gun M2 on Mount M2 Calibre: 90 mm (3.54 in) Weight: complete 14651 kg (32300 lb) Dimensions: length travelling 9021 m (29 ft 7.15 in) height 3.073 m (10 ft 1 in) wheelbase 4.166 m (13 ft 8 in) length of barrel 4.50 m (14 ft 9.2 in) Elevation: +80°/-10° Traverse: 360° Maximum ceiling: 12040 m (39500 ft) Shell weight: 10.6 kg (23.4 lb) Muzzle velocity: 823 m (2700 ft)per second USSR The Soviet 85-mm guns By the late 1930s the Soviet armed forces in common with many other armed forces of the time decided that the anticipated increases in aircraft performance over the next few years would soon render their current anti­aircraft weapons obsolete. According­ly they set about looking for a more modern anti-aircraft gun with abetter all-round performance but in typical Soviet fashion instead of designing anew weapon they used an old design as the basis for anew weapon. They simply took the 76.2-mm (3-in) Model 1938 and enlarged it all round to be­come an 85-mm (3.346-in) gun The new gun was designated the 85-mm Anti-Aircraft Gun Model 1919 and is sometimes known as the KS-12. The Model 1939 was very similar to the 76.2-mm (3-in) Model 1938 but could be easily recognized by its mul- ti-baffle muzzle brake a feature lacked by the 76.2-mm (3-in) gun. A shield was an optional extra. Production of the Model 1939 was just getting underway at Kaliningrad near Moscow when the Germans invaded in 1941 so the entire plant was moved to the Urals for the rest of the war. Once back in pro­duction the Model 1939 became the standard heavy anti-aircraft gun of the Red Army though it was replaced in production during 1944 by the more powerful 85-mm Anti-Aircraft Gun Model 1944 or KS-18. This was virtually the same weapon as the Model 1939, but could use a more powerful charge to boost all-round performance with the same projectile as that of the Model 1939 Both the Model 1939 and the Model 1944 were designed from the outset to be used as anti-armour weapons in the same manner as the German '88'. They were so successful in this role that the Germans prized themas war booty and used any captured examples alongside their own 88s under the de­signations 8.5-cm Flak M.39(r) and 8.5- cm Flak M.44(r). As with the Soviet 76.2-mm (3-in) guns captured exam­ples were also shipped back to the Reich for home defence where they were rebored to the standard German 88 mm (3465 in) once all captured ammunition stocks had been ex­pended. Most of the guns used in this byway the Germans were Model 1939s which became 8.5/8.8-cm Flak M.39(r) guns The Model 1939 and the Model 1944 were both good anti-aircraft guns and this is attested by the fact that many are still inactive service to this day. Num­bers are instill service with some of the Warsaw Pact nations (but -not the Soviet Union itself) and they are likely to be encountered in countries as di­verse as the Sudan and Vietnam. Large numbers were active during the Viet­nam conflict against the US Air Force, These 'modern' guns now usually rely on some form of centralized fire- control system usually radar-based, and the original on-carrier fire controls are now either removed or little used. The 85-mm 346-in) (3 gun itself was used as the basis for a number of other Soviet weapon projects. It was adopted to become the main arma­ment of the SU-85 assault gun/tank des­troyer and was even adapted for use on a towed anti-tank gun mounting Specification 85-mm Anti-Aircraft Gun Model 1939 Calibre: 85 mm (3.346 in) Weight: travelling 4220 kg (9303 lb) and firing 3057 kg (6739 lb) Dimensions: length travelling 7.049 m (23 ft 1.5 in) width 2.15 m (7 ft 0.65 in) height 2.25 m (7 ft 4.6 in) length of barrel 4.693 m (15 ft 4.76 in) length of rifling3.494m(ll 54 ft5 in) Elevation: +827-2° Traverse: 360° Maximum ceiling: 10500 m (34450 ft) Shell weight: 9.2 kg (20.29 lb) Muzzle velocity: 800 m (2625 ft)per second The 85-mm anti-aircraft gun was developed from the successful 76.2- m m series and proved highly ineffective service. Much prized by the Germans captured equipment was used alongside the famous ‘88’. Many were used in the defence of Germany from the Allied bombing campaign. The Soviet 85-mm (3.346-in) Model 1939 was so good that some were instill use in Vietnam during the early 1970s. The gun was also known as the KS-12 and was much used by the Germans after 1941 many being re­ bored to take 88-mm (3.465-in) German ammunition. 1200
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