Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai

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Arcade Realistic Simulator

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General info

The Chi-Ha Kai in the garage.

The Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai is a Rank I Japanese medium tank with a battle rating of 2.0. It was introduced along with the initial Japanese Ground Forces tree in Update 1.65 "Way of the Samurai".

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

General play style

The Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai is an amazing tank for it's rank and BR. To put it in a couple of words, it would be like this "it's a swiss army knife...but a tank". But this is only present in ranges of 0-750 m as the shell available to the Chi-Ha Kai only has an effective range of 800m, anything past that range the shell will do little to no damage against armoured vehicles.

But like most Japanese tanks during World War 2, it has a hand cranked turret, which can prove fatal in close quarter combat. So to counter this problem, plan ahead and guess where the enemy is and if they turn to be in another area turn the entire tank with the turret and then go for the kill. GOLDEN RULE: always go with a team mate or a friend if you're in squad because going alone is not the best idea.

Use the Chi-Ha Kai's excellent gun depression and low visibility rating. This tank is fantastic for firing from over and around hills. Once the engine, filters, and transmission are upgraded the Chi-Ha Kai's maneuverability increases significantly. Combining this with the Type 1's fast reload rate, the APHE's stopping power, and direct 822 m/s muzzle velocity, makes the Chi-Ha Kai lethal in the right hands.

Vehicle characteristics

Tactics

Play the Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai akin to a tank destroyer, hide-shoot-scoot. Due to the Chi-Ha Kai's weak armour, it is imperative to land the first shot in an engagement or the enemy could tear apart the tank in one shot.

Specific enemies worth noting

The Chi-Ha Kai's armour is quite weak against its typical enemies. A specific note is needed on vehicles with autocannons and heavy machine guns at close ranges, as their rapid fire could tear apart the armour and interior of the Chi-Ha Kai easily.

Counter-Tactics

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 47 mm cannon can do good damage.
  • Excellent reload rate.
  • Good gun depression.
  • Chi-Ha chassis mean experience with Chi-ha can be used.
  • One of the first truly competitive turreted Japanese tanks. The gun is far more capable of dealing with more well armoured tanks.

Cons:

  • The armour of the Chi-Ha is insufficient, not even thick enough to protect you from AA autocannons.
  • Slow turret.

Specifications

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Arcade Realistic Simulator

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Armaments

1 x 47 mm Type 1 cannon (104 rounds)
1 x 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun (3,000 rounds)

Main armament

1 x 47 mm Type 1 cannon
  • Ammunition Capacity: 104 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -15°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 8.9°/s (Stock), 12.4°/s (Upgraded), 15.0°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 26.5°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 4.3s (Stock), 3.8s (Full Crew), 3.5s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 47 mm Type 1 cannon
  • Ammunition Capacity: 104 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -15°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 8.9°/s (Stock), 10.5°/s (Upgraded), 12.8°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 14.1°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 4.3s (Stock), 3.8s (Full Crew), 3.5s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 47 mm Type 1 cannon
  • Ammunition Capacity: 104 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -15°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 8.9°/s (Stock), 10.5°/s (Upgraded), 12.8°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 14.1°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 4.3s (Stock), 3.8s (Full Crew), 3.5s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
Ammunition
Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay
in m:
Fuse sensitivity
in mm:
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
Type 1 APHE 88 83 69 50 40 33 APHE 822 1.4 1.2 15 43° 30° 25°
Ammo racks
Ammo racks for the Chi-Ha Kai.
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
6th
rack empty
Recommendations Visual
discrepancy
104 75 (+29) 71 (+33) 66 (+38) 54 (+50) (+95) (+103) Turret empty: 66 (+48) Yes

Secondary armament

1 x 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun (Bow machine gun)

Crew

  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Loader
  • Driver
  • Machine Gunner

Total: 5 Crew members

Armour

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 25 mm (11-31°) Front plate
15-17 mm (62-80°) Front glacis
15 mm (37-59°) Lower glacis
25 mm (24-27°) Top
20 mm Bottom
17 mm (70°) Top
20 mm (5-57°)
12 mm
Turret 25 mm (3-9°) Turret front
30 mm (1°) Gun mantlet
25 mm (9°) Front half
15 mm (9-10°) Back half
12 mm (1°) 10 mm
Armour Sides Roof
Cupola 17 mm 6 mm

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels and tracks are 15 mm thick.

Engine & mobility

Weight: 14.8 ton

Max Speed: 44 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 263 hp @ 2000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 17.77 hp/ton

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 324 hp @ 2000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 21.89 hp/ton
Weight: 14.8 ton

Max Speed: 40 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 150 hp @ 2000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 10.13 hp/ton

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 170 hp @ 2000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 11.49 hp/ton
Weight: 14.8 ton

Max Speed: 40 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 150 hp @ 2000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 10.13 hp/ton

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 170 hp @ 2000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 11.49 hp/ton

Modules and improvements

History of creation and combat usage

Development

In 1939, the Type 97 Chi-Ha first saw service in the Imperial Japanese Army. It was an improvement over its predecessor the Type 89 I-Go with its improved road speed and armour. However, it still had the same low-velocity 57 mm armament. While adequate against infantry and fortifications, it lacks in anti-tank power to slug it out in a tank-to-tank fight. This came to light when Colonel Seinosuke Sonoda, commander of the 7th Tank Regiment, called for an improvement in the Type 97's armament to the newer 47 mm gun when it was found that the Japanese tanks had trouble fighting even the American M3 light tanks. The request led to the retooling of the factories prepared to produce the 47 mm armed Type 1 Chi-He to instead integrate the turret onto the existing Type 97 chassis. This improved variant of the Type 97 medium tank design was called the Type 97-Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha (Kai for "Improved" and Shinhoto for "New turret").[1] This new Type 97 would start mass-production in early 1942 next to the original Type 97 model until the 47 mm gun production can keep up with the demand, which did and the Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai became the standard Type 97 model from 1942 to 1943. Up to 930 Type 97 Chi-Ha Kais would be produced in this production lifetime.[2]

Combat Usage

1942-1943

The new Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai first saw use in the Philippines campaign, where the complaint first arose of the inadequacy of the Japanese tank armament. Five were used in the Matsuoka Detachment during the Corregidor landing on 5 May 1942. These tanks helped surmount American defenses, which were inadequate in dealing with tank assaults. This eventually led to the Japanese victory in the Philippines on May 6. After these conquests, Japanese doctrinal changes from an offensive standpoint to a defensive one led to a shift in priorities. The defense of Imperial Japan's new territorial gain required a large navy and airforce to provide support in a large distance. The tanks, seen as an offensive type of weapon, were deemed unnecessary in the priorities attached with the industry. Combined with the rejection of any notion of hostility towards the Soviet Union, which would require a large tank forces, led to a drop in tank production from priority A1 to a flat D. While tank development continued to progress for improved tanks, this led to the Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai to be the best tank Japan could field out to their garrison stationed in China and the Pacific islands, meaning this was all they had against the incoming American, Commonwealth, and Chinese ground forces.[1]

Regardless, the Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai trucked onwards in the IJA. In the 1942 campaign in the Southwest Pacific, the islands were mainly forested and hilly so it produced an unsuitable environment for tanks. A dozen were used at Guadalcanal as part of the Sumiyoshi Force landing in October as the 1st Independent Tank Company. These tanks helped the Japanese attack the Matanika River, but the Chi-Ha Kais were simply knocked out by 37 mm anti-tank gun the U.S. Marines brought in, leading to an end to armoured operations. The tank force saw more usage in the Central Pacific islands, but in these stages at 1943 and 1944, they faced against superior M4 Sherman fielded by America. With the increasing vulnerability of Japanese tanks to American anti-tank capabilities, commanders often resort to keeping the tanks in entrenched and fixed locations to reduce their exposure and hopefully catch an enemy medium tank by the sides, which the 47 mm can penetrate.[2]

1944-1945

The Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai would see more usage in the Battle of Guam and Saipan when tanks from the 9th Tank Regiment were sent to defend these two vitally important islands. As the Type 97 Chi-Ha Kais were the only tanks able to reasonably defeat the M4 Shermans, it was a substantial upgrade in the Japanese defenses in comparison to its previous battles. The Americans invaded Saipan in 15 June 1944 along with two tank battalions consisting of M4A2 Shermans and flamethrower-equipped M3A1 Stuarts. Another weapon to add to the U.S. invasion arsenal was the bazooka, which now presented any U.S. infantry formation with the power to destroy even the heaviest armoured Japanese tank. In the first three days of the Battle of Saipan, the armoured forces were thrown against the American beachhead forces. The first two days had small sporadic units attack the American beachheads, all were annihilated by American bazookas and tank guns. On the night of June 16-17, the entire 9th Tank Regiment's forces of 44 tanks attacked the American lines. Illuminated by navy light flares, all the Japanese tanks in the one of the largest Japanese tank attack of the Pacific war were subsequently destroyed by 37 mm anti-tank guns, M4 Sherman's 75 mm guns, and 60 mm Bazookas. Only a dozen of the tanks committed survived that encounter, but these would only fall victims to the Marine's tanks later in the campaign. These same events happened in Guam, which also had the Chi-Ha Kais of the 9th Tank Regiment, and further showed the technological disparity between the two nations.[2]

A relatively more successful usage of the Japanese tanks was during the Battle for the Philippines that took place from 1944 to 1945. The Japanese employed the 2nd Armoured Division on Luzon while the Americans fielded up to 500 armoured fighting vehicles in 10 different battalions. While outnumbered, a change in battle strategy gave the Japanese armoured forces a fighting chance. The Japanese recognition of the weakness in the Japanese's armour led to many commanders hiding their tanks in dense foliage, awaiting for American tanks to come by to nail them in their side armour. Though the battle was still lost, the entrenchment of the tanks in static positions and the strategy of ambushing incoming Allied armour allowed the Japanese tanks to dish out more damage on the Americans than had they charge into the fray like in Saipan. The strangest use of the tanks in this campaign, and perhaps as a show of Japanese desperation, was the use of explosives on five tanks used in a "kamikaze" fashion to ram Sherman tanks before exploding; this strategy took out two Sherman tanks.[1]

By the last years of the war, Japanese armour hopelessly obsolete. Iwo Jima had only a portion of the 26th Tank Regiment with a few Chi-Ha tanks in pillbox formats. Okinawa had 13 Ha-Gos and 14 Chi-Ha Kais facing against 800 Allied tanks. The Burma Campaign that lasted from 1943 to 1945 had the 14th Tank Regiment with Chi-Ha Kais annihilated by British and Indian forces with Shermans and M3 Lees, a show of how obsolete tanks of the European theater can be superior to even the best Japanese tanks. Perhaps the final blow to Japan's armour was in Manchuria when the Soviet Union invaded in August 1945. The Soviets, whose standard tanks were now the T-34-85 and the IS-2, fielded up to 5,000 armoured vehicles against Japan's 1st and 9th Tank Brigade. The final Japanese tank battle came in August 18, three days after Japan's surrender with the United States, when Soviet forces landed at Shimushu Island. The 11th Tank Regiment, even with the knowledge of their country's surrender, attacked the Soviet forces under the rights of "self-defense if attacked" with 39 Type 97s and 25 Type 95s. The fighting between the Japanese armour and Soviet forces happened until August 20, when a cease-fire is placed.[2]

Post World War II

Even after the war, the Type 97's fight was not over. A large quantity left behind by Japanese forces in China were consequently snatched up and used by both sides in the Chinese Civil War. A few of the Japanese tanks captured by Soviet forces were also supplied to the Chinese and Koreans. The French also used a few captured Japanese tanks in an ad hoc unit known as 'Commando Blindé du Cambodge' in the First Indochina War. [2]

Screenshots and fan art

Skins and camouflages for the _____ from live.warthunder.com.

Additional information (links)

[News] Newsflash from IgroMir 2016! New ships and first look at Japanese Ground Forces! (Type 95 & Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai)

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zaloga Steven. M4 Sherman vs Type 97 Chi-Ha: The Pacific 1945 Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Zaloga Steven. Japanese Tanks 1939-1945 Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2007
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jp_type_97_kai.png

Icon-country-jap.png Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai
Nation Japan
Type Medium tank
Rank 1
Battle Rating
2.0
2.0
2.0

   Metric✓       Imperial   

   Metric       Imperial✓   

Characteristics
Weight
14,800 kg
32,628 lb
Number of Crew 4
Hull armour thickness
25/25/20/11 mm
0.98/0.98/0.79/0.43 inches
Statistics
Engine power (stock)
263 hp
150 hp
150 hp
Engine power (upgraded)
324 hp
170 hp
170 hp
HP/ton ratio (stock)
17.77
18.05
10.13
10.30
10.13
10.30
HP/ton ratio (Upgraded)
21.89
22.24
11.49
11.67
11.49
11.67
Max speed
44 km/h
27.6 mph
40 km/h
24.9 mph
40 km/h
24.9 mph
Main Weapon
1 x 47 mm Type 1 Cannon
Ammo stowage 104 rounds
Vertical guidance -15°/20°
Secondary Weapon
1 x 7.7 mm Type 97 Machine gun
Ammo stowage 3,000 rounds
Mount Hull mount
Vertical guidance -8°/10°
Horizontal guidance -15°/15°
Economy
Required RP 4,000 RP
Vehicle cost 2,100 SL
Crew training cost 600 SL
Max repair cost (Stock)
270 SL
450 SL
440 SL
Max repair cost (Upgraded)
350 SL
583 SL
570 SL
Free repair time (Stock)
16m
32m
32m
Free repair time (Upgraded)
5m
10m
10m
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