|Type 5 Ke-Ho|
Type 5 Ke-Ho light tank
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|Type 1 47mm tank gun|
|Type 97 7.7mm machine gun|
|Engine||straight six-cylinders supercharged air cooled diesel|
History and development
By the start of the Pacific War, Japanese field commanders realized that the standard main battle tank of the Japanese army, the Type 95 Ha-Go was obsolete. It had performed well against the lightly armed National Revolutionary Army of the China in the Second Sino-Japanese War, however, its 37mm gun could not penetrate the armor of the British Matilda tanks, and its thin armor made the Type 95 increasingly vulnerable as Allied forces realized that standard infantry weapons were capable of penetrating its minimal armor. Its firepower was insufficient to take on other tanks such as the M4 Sherman or the M3 Stuart tanks. Attempts to address these shortcomings via the Type 98 Ke-Ni and the Type 2 Ke-To were steps in the right direction, but were still insufficient, Therefore, a complete design review was held and a prototype for a new standard light tank was completed by 1942. At this point the project was shelved, as the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff wanted to concentrate production capacities on medium tanks and warplanes. Mass production was finally authorized in 1945, by which time it was too late. Production was impossible due to material shortages, and by the bombing of Japan in World War II. Only a single prototype was completed by the end of World War II.
The Type 5 Ke-Ho made use of the Type 95 Ha-Go chassis and basic layout, but with much needed improvements to the armor, and a larger, more powerful Type 1 47 mm tank gun. Power was from an air cooled diesel engine yielding 150 HP, for a top speed of 50 km/h. While a much superior tank to the older Type 95, it still remained inferior in firepower and armor protection to the American M4 Sherman.
- Zaloga, Steven J. (2007). Japanese Tanks 1939-45. Osprey. ISBN 1-84603-091-8.
- Foss, The Great Book of Tanks
- Zaolga, Japanese Tanks
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