|This page is about the medium tank Chi-Ha (China). For other versions, see Chi-Ha (Family).|
The Type 97 Chi-Ha () is a medium tank used by the Imperial Japanese Army primarily in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Battles of Khalkhin Gol against the Soviet Union during World War II. It was also the most widely manufactured Japanese medium tank throughout the war. The Chinese People's Liberation Army acquired around 300 Type 97 tanks from the USSR after Japan surrendered in 1945. The Northeast Tank Brigade, the Chinese People's Army's first tank unit founded on December 1, 1945, was equipped with this tank. However, it was discovered that the Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank's reliability was poor, since it frequently broke down, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army nicknamed it the "Old Man Tank." Despite its inherent flaws, the "Old Man Tank" served as the foundation for the Chinese People's Liberation Army's armoured troops. Following World War II, it took part in bandit suppression activities, campaigns in the Yangtze River's south, the Battle of Jinzhou, and the Battle of Tianjin.
Introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision", the Chi-Ha served as the Chinese Army's first medium tank. It acquired many fundamental traits of Japanese tanks due to its origins in Japan during World War II, including inadequate armour, an inferior main gun, and good gun depression. It is mounted with a low-velocity 57 mm anti-tank gun designed for infantry support. The overall tank design is not intended to combat other tanks in the first place, as most of the countries that the Japanese invaded during WWII lacked credible tanks. Overall, it is a medium tank with a lot of weaknesses and must be played carefully in battles to achieve good results.
Survivability and armour
The armour of the Chi-Ha is light (35 mm max) but its complex layout makes it effective against weak guns (i.e. early French), weak shells (low-calibre HE), and in long-range engagements.
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, turret, cupola)
|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°)||11 mm|
|Turret|| 25 mm (9-41°) Turret front
35 mm Gun mantlet
|25 mm (10-11°)||25 mm (12°)||11 mm|
|Cupola||25 mm (cylindrical)||10 mm|
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
Armed with a low-velocity gun that requires good leading, the Chi-Ha nevertheless has a fast reload, and a great gun depression angle that allows it to fire from ridges, and its shoulder-stock stabilizer allows it to fire on the move, or more importantly keep the gun on target when braking, which is especially useful due to the low penetration of the shells.
The Type 3 HEAT shell should be the main shell for tank combat, It has more penetration that is kept over longer ranges and has a higher explosive mass.
|57 mm Type 97||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|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|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|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°|
|120||116 (+4)||112 (+8)||88 (+32)||68 (+52)||0 (+120)||No|
- Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.
- Right side only: 68 (+52) shells.
The Chi-Ha has a 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun mounted on the left side of the hull, and another on the turret roof, though they cannot be used if the there are only 2 crew remaining. While they have a lot of ammunition, this machine gun is just simply not good enough. The rate of fire is below average, the penetration is bad, and there are only about 25 bullets in each magazine, making it impossible to provide a continuous machine-gun fire. The one things these machine guns can do is to incapacitate the fully exposed crews on some vehicles, as even a bit of armour might block out the weak bullets. The roof mounted gun can ward off some low-flying strafing planes but it is still inferior comparing to other machine guns like the American M1919 or M2HB.
|7.7 mm Type 97|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The Chi-Ha is one of the most interesting Rank I Chinese tanks 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.
However, 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 knocked out with a single shot by common opponents like all Japanese tanks in this Rank.
But if facing a heavy tank or medium tank of early Rank II are very hard to versus from head-on and the fact that the 57 mm APHE rounds lack penetration to destroy it from the front. 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 capable of penetrating tanks that it previously couldn't - which is most tanks at rank I and II. In addition to this, the Type 3 HEAT has the potential to destroy lightly armoured and open-topped vehicles like LVTs or the Sturmpanzer with overpressure. 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.
Engine power is not that powerful, which then means that the acceleration will be slow to start up, but it will slowly get faster over time. But reversing is like all British tanks when they reverse, It's going to be slow. But this is compensated for the turning speed of this tank as it is better to turn and run in some cases then reverse.
Pros and cons
- Improved armour compared to the preceding reserve
- Quite fast (up to 44 km/h), allowing it to get to position somewhat quickly
- Lovely climbing ability combined with the amazing -15° gun depression, it is great at mountain combat
- The vertical stabiliser is a big advantage in a sudden encounter, as most tanks it faces don't have stabilisers, and therefore need to wait longer to fire
- Due to its curved 57 mm shell trajectory, it can shoot from behind cover without showing the tank to some degree
- Type 3 HEAT is powerful, it can frontally penetrate common targets like M3 Lee, and destroy tanks like the LVT(A)(1) with overpressure
- Great turning ability in low gear
- 57 mm armament may be underpowered in an uptier, especially in frontal engagements
- Although fast, it still gets outran by M3 and M5 Stuarts and the Sd.Kfz.234 series
- Thin armour gets penetrated by lots of guns. Beware of any tank with the PzGr.40 shells (Pz.II, FlakPz 38)
- Abysmal penetration on stock APHE, will struggle to penetrate most low-tier tanks like M3A1 Stuart and T-70
Japanese tanks like the Chi-Ha, captured by Soviet troops during the Manchurian campaign, given to the Chinese Communists, and others captured from the surrendering Japanese by the Chinese Nationalists, were used in the Chinese Civil War by both sides. After the war, the victorious Chinese Communists kept the Japanese tanks in their inventory, where they were used in the 1950 victory parade, until they were phased out with more modern Soviet tanks during the 1950s.
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|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries ()|
|Type 95||Ha-Go · Ha-Go Commander|
|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-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)|
|China medium tanks|
|Type 59 · ZTZ59A · ZTZ59D1|
|Type 69 · Type 69-IIa · T-69 II G|
|ZTZ88A · ZTZ88B|
|ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)|
|ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|ZTZ99A · WZ1001(E) LCT|
|Other||Т-34-85 Gai · Object 122MT "MC"|
|Japan||␗Chi-Ha · ␗Chi-Ha Kai|
|USA||␗M4A4 · ␗M4A4 (1st PTG) · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ␗M48A1 · ␗M60A3 TTS|
|USSR||␗T-34 (1943) · ␗Т-34-85 (S-53) · T-34-85 No.215 · Т-62 №545|