The Soviet anti-aircraft weapon KS-19 entered production in 1947. It was developed to replace old WW2-era 85 mm anti-aircraft guns. It is now very old, but the defenders of Ukraine are still using these weapons because they need to defend their country. But where did they get such old weapons from? And can they still be effective at all?
The Armed Forces of Ukraine uses anti-aircraft guns KS-19, which entered service with the Army of the USSR in 1947 – 76 years ago. All the people involved in the development of this anti-aircraft gun are long dead. The KS-19 is a 100 mm gun designed to replace the 85 mm guns of World War II.
A video appeared on the Internet showing as many as 4 KS-19 guns in the hands of the defenders of Ukraine. The Ukraine Weapons Tracker does not exclude the possibility that these anti-aircraft guns are used against ground targets – the KS-19 is definitely suitable for that. In fact, the KS-19 has been used for direct and indirect fire against lightly armoured vehicles or personnel positions for the entirety of its service life.
Defense Express notes that these KS-19 may have appeared in the Armed Forces of Ukraine as trophies, seized during the counterattack campaign in the Kharkiv region. The Ukrainian army then captured at least 4 KS-19 guns. However, it is possible that these anti-aircraft guns were dragged out from Ukraine’s own weapon storage.
Ukraine stored multiple KS-19 guns in Balakliia, a city in Kharkiv Oblast at the beginning of the Russian invasion. This city was then captured by the advancing Russian forces. Invaders did use these KS-19s, sometimes even as decoys to divert the attention of the Ukrainian reconnaissance.
However, as Russian positions in the Kharkiv region weakened, Russia was swiftly kicked out of Balakliia and Ukraine retook its KS-19 and other weapons.
Journalists note that, despite its age, KS-19 can be useful for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The characteristics of this weapon allow shooting at ground targets at a distance of up to 20 km, and air targets can be reached at an altitude of up to 15 km.
The shooting rate of the KS-19 is up to 15 rounds per minute. The entire weapon weighs just under 10 tonnes and needs a crew of 15 people, but for modern trucks that is hardly an issue. Attacking large air targets with the KS-19 now might be tricky, but smaller drones can feel the wrath of this ancient weapon.
The main problem with such old weapons is the availability of ammunition. It is possible that Bulgaria, which also operates the KS-19, helped with the ammunition. Ukraine probably had some suitable 100 mm rounds stashed as well as this system has been in use for decades.