|Type 97 ShinHoTo Chi-Ha|
Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha on display at the United States Army Ordnance Museum in Aberdeen
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|Length||5.52 metres (18 ft 1 in)|
|Width||2.33 metres (7 ft 8 in)|
|Height||2.23 metres (7 ft 4 in)|
|1 x Type 1 47 mm gun|
|2 x 7.7 mm Type 97 MG|
|Engine||Mitsubishi SA12200VD air-cooled V-12 diesel (21.7 litres)|
170 hp (125 kW) at 2000 rpm
|Speed||38 km/h (24 mph)|
The Type 97 ShinhoTo Chi-Ha was a Japanese medium tank used in World War II that was an upgrade to the original Type 97 Chi-Ha. This design was probably the best tank Japan produced in any large quantity up to 1945.
Japanese Army observers had watched tank developments in Europe and studied as avidly as any European military the operational experiences gained by German, Soviet, and Italian tanks in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). In order to improve the anti-tank capability of the Type 97 Chi-Ha, a new turret armed with a high-velocity 47mm gun was combined with the Chi-Ha's hull; hence the new name ShinHoTo (Japanese: "New Turret").
When the Type 97 entered service, properly equipped and supported mechanized infantry units were realized. The Type 97 ShinHoTo Chi-Ha first saw action at Corregidor Island of the Philippines in 1942. The skill with which Japanese commanders maneuvered their mechanized infantry divisions was then best seen in Malaya, where the lighter weight of Japanese medium tanks allowed for a rapid ground advance so heavily supported by armor that British defenders never had a chance to establish effective defense lines. The Type 97 ShinHoTo Chi-Ha served against allied forces throughout the Pacific and East Asia as well as the Soviets during the July–August 1945 conflict in Manchuria. While vulnerable to most opposing Allied tanks (the US M2/M3 Light, M4 Sherman, and Soviet T-34), the 47mm high-velocity gun did give the ShinHoTo Type 97 a fighting chance against them.
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