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Rank IV USSR | Premium | Golden Eagles
Tu-1 Pack
This page is about the Japanese medium tank Chi-Ha. For other versions, see Chi-Ha (Family).
GarageImage Chi-Ha.jpg
ArtImage Chi-Ha.png
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The Type 97 Chi-Ha (九七式中戦車「チハ」) was developed to replace the Type 89 I-Go and essentially be a 4-man version of the Type 95 Ha-Go as the 37 mm had little explosive power to deal with infantry. The Mitsubishi "Chi-Ha" competed with the cheaper design Osaka Arsenal "Chi-Ni", selected under the opportunity by the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War which increased the army's budget and left funds available for the more capable Type 97 Chi-Ha tank. Being the main medium tank of the Japanese after adoption, it would also serve as the main chassis for the army and variants.

It was introduced in Update 1.65 "Way of the Samurai" along with the initial Japanese vehicles of the Japanese Ground Forces Tree. Essentially a better armoured and engined I-Go Ko, the Chi-Ha seems rather mediocre at first glance. However, this tank can perform quite well at its battle rating provided that it is played to its strengths, those being its decent mobility and low-velocity cannon with a relatively high penetrating HEAT shell that can be lobbed over cover.

General info

The Type 97 Chi-Ha is an upgraded version of the earlier Type 89 I-Go. The engine has been upgraded, from the Mitsubishi A6120VD air-cooled straight-six diesel with 120 hp to a Mitsubishi SA12200VD air-cooled V12 diesel with 170 hp. As such, the top speed has increased from 27 km/h on the I-Go to 38 km/h on the Chi-Ha. The armament stays the same, with the same shells and gun characteristics. The 5.7 cm Tank Gun Type 97 is robust, but will get the job done. It still has four crewmen inside, no armour, and a 7.7 mm Type 97 in the hull. Overall, it's in general a better I-Go.

Survivability and armour

Armourfront / side / back
Hull25 / 25 / 20
Turret32 / 25 / 25
Crew4 people
Visibility75 %
Chi-Ha deflecting a shell to the driver port

Armour: Light, but effective against weaker guns (i.e. early French), weaker shells (low-caliber HE), and in long range engagements.

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 25 mm (12-32°) Front plate
17 mm (63-81°) Front glacis
15 mm (37-59°) Lower glacis
25 mm (40°) Top Left
25 mm (25-27°) Top Right
20 mm Bottom
20 mm (4-58°) 12 mm
Turret 25 mm (9-41°) Turret front
25 mm Gun mantlet
25 mm (10-11°) 25 mm (12°) 10 mm
Cupola 17 mm 6 mm


Speedforward / back
AB45 / 7 km/h
RB and SB40 / 6 km/h
Number of gears4 forward
1 back
Weight14.8 t
Engine power
AB324 hp
RB and SB170 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB21.9 hp/t
RB and SB11.5 hp/t
Chi-Ha reaching its top speed of 44 km/h
Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 45 7 14.8 263 324 17.77 21.89
Realistic 40 6 150 170 10.14 11.49

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB132 → 169 Sl icon.png
RB110 → 141 Sl icon.png
SB120 → 154 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications2 970 Rp icon.png
890 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost190 Ge icon.png
Crew training200 Sl icon.png
Experts1 000 Sl icon.png
Aces20 Ge icon.png
Research Aces96 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
10 / 10 / 20 % Sl icon.png
100 / 100 / 100 % Rp icon.png
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
50 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
165 Rp icon.png
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
165 Rp icon.png
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
250 Rp icon.png
75 Sl icon.png
65 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank engine.png
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Improved Parts
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
50 Ge icon.png
Mods extinguisher.png
Improved FPE
165 Rp icon.png
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods tank reinforcement jp.png
Crew Replenishment
250 Rp icon.png
75 Sl icon.png
65 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
50 Ge icon.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
165 Rp icon.png
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
250 Rp icon.png
75 Sl icon.png
65 Ge icon.png
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
80 Ge icon.png


Main armament

Shoulder stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in one plane while moving
Ammunition120 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
4.3 → 3.3 s
Vertical guidance-15° / 20°
Chi-Ha being able to depress at -15°
Main article: Type 97 (57 mm)

The gun is the same as on the I-Go. Not much to write home about, but we're hardly complaining, especially with the HEAT shell.

57 mm Type 97 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 120 -15°/+20° ±180° Shoulder 14.5 20.0 24.3 26.9 28.6 4.29 3.80 3.50 3.30
Realistic 9.0 10.6 12.9 14.3 15.2


Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Type 92 APHE APHE 21 21 19 16 14 13
Type 3 HEAT HEAT 55 55 55 55 55 55
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
Type 92 APHE APHE 349 2.58 1.2 9 103 47° 60° 65°
Type 3 HEAT HEAT 380 1.8 0.05 0.1 303.36 62° 69° 73°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the Chi-Ha
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
120 116 (+4) 112 (+8) 88 (+32) 68 (+52) (+120) No


  • Right side only: 68 (+52) shells.

Machine guns

Ammunition3 000 rounds
Belt capacity20 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
3.9 → 3.0 s
Fire rate499 shots/min
Ammunition1 000 rounds
Belt capacity20 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
3.9 → 3.0 s
Fire rate499 shots/min
Main article: Type 97 (7.7 mm)
7.7 mm Type 97
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Hull 3,000 (20) 499 ±10° ±15°
Pintle 1,000 (20) 499 0°/+60° -80°/+10°

Usage in battles

The Chi-Ha passing a disabled Chinese T-26

The Chi-Ha is the most interesting Rank I Japanese tank to play as it has little to no armour, a shot-put-like muzzle velocity and looks like a bus in some sense as to how long it is. But there is a way to play this tank despite all the negatives to this tank and to play it to the best of its abilities, one can play it as a support tank in every way (apart from long distance as the rounds drop like a brick after 500 m). Stay close to teammates and always play sneaky as the Chi-Ha can be easily taken out with a single shot by any opponent, like all Japanese tanks in this rank.

The Chi-Ha destroying another T-26

But when facing a heavy tank or early Rank II medium tank, issues can arise. These can be very hard to engage head-on and the fact that the APHE rounds severely lack penetration doesn't help. So the best option is to go up behind it or attack from the side to destroy them. Another problem that shows itself strongly in close quarter fights is that the Chi-Ha has a hand-cranked turret and turning the tank is painful at best. So it is best to plan ahead before attacking, think where the enemy may be and find a place to hide the bulky tank from the enemy and wait for the enemy to come to the firing range. The Type 3 HEAT shell changes this: with 55 mm of penetration, the tank is now capable of penetrating tanks that it previously couldn't - those being most tanks at Ranks I and II. In addition to this, the HEAT shell has the potential to overpressure lightly armoured targets like LVTs or the Sturmpanzer. Use the protection analysis feature to figure out which tanks you can and can't get through, and adapt your playstyle accordingly when those vehicles are encountered. Now, this is somewhat important: "Don't look for the enemy, let the enemy look for the Chi-Ha." Of course, the Chi-Ha could still go look for the enemy, but always be on alert and make sure to have a friend for firing support.

The engine is not that powerful, which then means that initial acceleration will be slow, but it will slowly get faster over time. Reversing, however is comparable to most British tanks: it's going to be slow. But this is compensated by the turning speed of this tank, so it is better to turn and run than reverse in some cases.

Pros and cons


  • Improved sloped armour compared to the reserve vehicles
  • Quite fast (up to 44 km/h), allowing it to get to certain spots in time
  • Lovely climbing ability combined with the amazing -15 degrees gun depression, it is great at mountain combat
  • Has a vertical stabiliser which most tanks don't have, allowing the Chi-Ha to get the first shot off
  • Due to the low shell velocity, can shoot behind cover without showing the tank to some degree
  • Effective HEAT shell, can frontally penetrate common targets like Pz. IIIs, and destroy lighter tanks like LVTs with overpressure
  • Great turning ability in low gear


  • Main armament may be inadequate in an uptier, especially in frontal engagements
  • Thin armour that can be penetrated by 20 mms /.50 cals up close
  • Abysmal penetration on stock APHE, will struggle to penetrate most low tier tanks like Stuarts and T-70s



Singular Chi-Ha driving on the road

The Imperial Japanese Army's main tank was the Type 89, adopted in 1929, but it was deemed obsolete as of 1935 and the IJA wanted something up to par with their battle style. The Type 89's main fault was its low overall road speed, which was unable to keep up with motorized infantry. Thus, the development of a new medium tank commenced with the goal of improved overall speed, low weight, and low cost.[1]

Two tank designs were developed with these specifications, both were produced by Mitsubishi. The first was the Chi-Ha which was powered by a 170hp diesel engine. The second was Chi-Ni, which was lighter, cheaper, and powered by a 135 hp diesel engine. The IJA chose at the time of 1937, when war with China broke out to the Second Sino-Japanese War. This war increased the IJA's budget and thus they decided to pick the better of the two design. This led to the finalization of the Type 97 Chi-Ha tank. Production started in 1938 all the way to 1942 for a total of 1162 tanks produced.[1][2]


The Type 97 Chi-Ha was a medium tank constructed with rivets in the armour plates. It had a crew of four with a two-men turret. The turret held the same low-velocity 57 mm gun from the Type 89. Armour was relatively thin, but quite standard at the time of 1930s, but this would become very vulnerable past 1941 when the Japanese war expands to the world.[1]

The Type 97 Chi-Ha, like the standard tanks of other countries, was used in a multitude of roles by adapting its chassis to another purpose such as the Ho-Ni assault gun series. The Type 97 Chi-Ha design was also improved upon multiple times with better armour and better guns, resulting in tanks like the Shinhoto Chi-Ha, Type 1 Chi-He, Type 2 Ho-I, and the Type 3 Chi-Nu.[1]

Combat usage

Japanese troops during the battle of Bukit Timah, Battle of Singapore

The Type 97 Chi-Ha would first see its main usage in the border conflict against the Soviet forces in the Battles of Khalkin-Gol. In the Japanese 1st Tank Group's total 85 tanks, there were four Type 97 mediums present in comparison to the 34 Type 89 I-Go, 35 Type 95 Ha-Go lights, and 13 tankettes.[2] Though the armoured units played a critical role in Japan's offensive against the Soviet Union, they were soon demolished by the Soviet armoured brigades, leading to their recall. The Japanese defeat at Khalkin-Gol did teach them a few lessons, first in that they were currently under-equipped for a fight against a large European force, which led to an enlargement of the Japanese armoured forces. Second was that the Japanese tanks were unsuitable for tank-to-tank fighting as the Soviet's main tank armament, the 45 mm cannon, was way more suitable than anything the Japanese had. This led to the development of a new anti-tank gun and tank gun for the Japanese Army, the Type 1 47 mm, though this would not see service until 1941.[1]

Knocked out entrenched Chi-Ha at Iwo Jima
Knocked out, entrenched Chi-Ha at Iwo Jima

The next major usage of the Type 97 would be in Japan's conflict during World War II against the Allies. The Type 97 made up a good portion of the Japanese armoured forces when they invaded the Malay peninsula of British territory in Operation Centrifuge[2]. The Japanese tank's successes against Britain is attributed to the British belief that the terrain around Singapore made it very hard to use armoured forces, thus there was a lack of Allied armour available in the battle. In a span of three months, Japan managed to completely overcome the defenses of the Malay peninsula and the Allied forces there surrendered. The Burma campaign soon followed, but the fighting there would last most of the war's time.[1]

Japan then invaded the Americans in the Philippines. It was here that the Japanese armoured forces baptized the American tankers in their first tank-to-tank combat with M3 Stuarts against Type 95 Ha-Go. It was during this campaign that Colonel Seinosuke Sonoda of the 7th Tank Regiment advocated for the placement of the new Type 1 47 mm gun as the main armament of the Type 97 Chi-Ha. This would lead to the development and production of the next generation Type 97s, the Type 97-Kai (Improved) Shinhoto (New turret) Chi-Ha, which would eventually encompass the regular Type 97's production. Though now surpassed by the Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai, the regular Type 97 would still see usage alongside its improved variant in the Pacific campaign against the Allies.



See also

Related Development

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Zaloga Steven. Japanese Tanks 1939-1945 Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2007
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Zaloga Steven. M4 Sherman vs Type 97 Chi-Ha: The Pacific 1945 Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2012

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (三菱重工業株式会社)
Light Tanks 
Type 95  Ha-Go · Ha-Go Commander
Medium Tanks 
Type 89  I-Go Ko
Type 97  Chi-Ha · Chi-Ha Kai
Type 1  Chi-He · Chi-He (5th Regiment)
Type 3  Chi-Nu · Chi-Nu II
Type 4  Chi-To · Chi-To Late
Type 5  Chi-Ri II
Chi-Ha Derived  Ho-Ro
Chi-He Derived  Ho-I
Chi-Ri Derived  Ho-Ri Prototype · Ho-Ri Production
Other  Na-To · Ro-Go Exp.
Captured  ␗Chi-Ha · ␗Chi-Ha Kai
Note  Most tank designs would be contracted by the Army Technical Bureau to Mitsubishi
See also  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (Post-War)

Japan medium tanks
Type 97  Chi-Ha · Chi-Ha Kai · Chi-Ha Kai TD · Chi-Ha Short Gun
Type 1  Chi-He · Chi-He (5th Regiment) · Ho-I
Type 3  Chi-Nu · Chi-Nu II
Type 4  Chi-To · Chi-To Late
Type 5  Chi-Ri II
Type 61 MBT  ST-A1* · ST-A2* · ST-A3* · Type 61
Type 74 MBT  ST-B2* · Type 74 (C) · Type 74 (E) · Type 74 (F) · Type 74 (G)
Type 90 MBT  Type 90 · Type 90 (B) · Type 90 (B) "Fuji"
Type 10 MBT  TKX (P)* · TKX* · Type 10
Other  Ka-Chi
USA  ▅M4A3 (76) W · ▅M47