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Russian 85mm AA Gun


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I'm curious about the usage of this thing in-game. From what I can tell, it was almost exclusively employed as a static weapon against high-altitude level bombers, so it won't be relevant for AA purposes in CM (as it isn't effective against fighters/dive bombers). Zaloga writes that is was rarely issued to Army units and seldom used in the AT role, with a few exceptions. I presume it will just be a rare weapon that can serve as a powerful AT gun if necessary?

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Zaloga is wrong. Every tank and mech corps had a battalion of 12 of these specifically dedicated to ground antitank use, by mid 1943. The Russians deployed thousands of them, in AA divisions at army level, beyond that, for force air defense but also for any other purpose that came up. They were the Russian's 88 Flak, and the only reason anyone thinks the German gun was used more often for ground fire is they have read more German accounts than Russian ones.

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Real examples of 85mm M1939 in dedicated ATG role: 752nd Antitank Battalion (12 85mm guns), 4th Guards Tank Corps, 1st Guards Army, 1st UKRAINIAN FRONT. L'vov-Peremysh' Operation, 13 July 1944.

756th Antitank Battalion (12 85mm guns), 8th Guards Mechanized Corps, 1st Guards Tank Army. Rest as above.



You're welcome to run the counts for yourself, but a 12-gun 85mm M1939 AT Battalion per Corps isn't much, relative to other ATG resources. In Konev's 1st UKRAINIAN FRONT, I count a mere 6 battalions, not even one per Army. I think you'd agree that 13 July 1944 is a very good time frame for our Operation Bagration purposes, right?


John Kettler

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JK - German panzer divisions had 12 88 Flak, sometimes only 8 in fact. They didn't find it an insufficient number. The standard Russia ATG force could handle standard German AFV threats, but when facing uparmored types were not sufficient. Adding some guns that readily handled uparmored types gave the Russian force commander a tool in his combined arms kit, and could restrict the way the enemy could use such threat AFVs etc.

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