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Japan's Prototype No. 1

Design

The Japanese Army Technical Headquarters wanted a tank that could attack field fortifications, and still be mobile by road. The main gun was to be a 57 mm with a machine gun mounted pointing to the rear and one facing forward. The armor was to be strong enough to defend against 37 mm antitank guns. The proposed tank had to be transportable by railway.

Design work started in June 1925.

Success

For being the first Japanese designed tank it was quite a success compared to the other tanks available from other countries at the time.

Prototype

The first prototype was finished in February 1927. Osaka Army Arsenal found it difficult to build the prototype so they enlisted the help of nearby shipbuilding and railroad engine factories. Due to manufacturing difficulties the prototype had only mild steel plate for the armor.

Testing

Field testing started in June 1927 at the Fuji Training Ground. High ranking officers from Army Headquarters attended and were quite impressed with it's cross country capabilities and for the prototype being a stable firing platform.

Production

  • Prototype:
    • Production: February 1927
    • Manufacturer: Osaka Army Arsenal

Specifications

  Prototype No. 1
Crew 5
Commander, driver, gunner, gunners machine guns
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 18 tons
Length 6.03 m
Height with cupola 2.78 m
Height without cupola 2.43 m
Width 2.4 m
Ground clearance .4 m
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 57 mm
Secondary  
MG - turrets 2: 7.7 mm MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 110
Secondary  
MG 5,000
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 17
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-8
Capacity  
Net HP 140
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 6 forward, 2 reverse
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 20 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius 11 m
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing 2.5 m
Vertical Obstacle 1 m
Climbing ability 43°
Suspension (Type) Parallelogram with leaf spring
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 0.35 m
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Profile AFV Weapons #49 Japanese Medium Tanks, Lieutenant-General Tomio Hara, 1972
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site