Chi-Ha Kai

From War Thunder Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai
General characteristics
5 peopleCrew
75 %Visibility
front / side / backArmour
25 / 25 / 12Hull
32 / 25 / 25Turret
15.0 tWeight
324 hp170 hpEngine power
22 hp/t11 hp/tPower-to-weight ratio
44 km/h forward
6 km/h back
39 km/h forward
5 km/h back
47 mm Type 1 cannonMain weapon
104 roundsAmmunition
3.3 / 4.3 sReload
-15° / 20°Vertical guidance
3 000 roundsAmmunition
3.0 / 3.9 sReload
20 roundsBelt capacity
499 shots/minFire rate
4 000 Rp icon.pngResearch
2 100 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png510 / 656/460 / 592/320 / 411Repair
600 Sl icon.pngCrew training
2 100 Sl icon.pngExperts
40 Ge icon.pngAces
100 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
30 % Sl icon.png20 % Sl icon.png20 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the Japanese medium tank Chi-Ha Kai. For other variants, see Chi-Ha (Family).


GarageImage Chi-Ha Kai.jpg

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

General info

Survivability and 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 (25 / 40°) Top

25 mm Bottom

15 mm (69°) Top

20 mm (5-57°)

12 mm
Turret 25 mm (9-10°) Turret front

30-35 mm Gun mantlet

25 mm (9-10°) 25 mm 10 mm
Armour Sides Roof
Cupola 25 mm 10 mm
  • Suspension wheels and tracks are 15 mm thick.


Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 44 6 15 263 324 17.53 21.6
Realistic 39 5 150 170 10 11.33


Main armament

Main article: Type 1 (47 mm)
47 mm Type 1 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 104 -15°/+20° ±180° Vertical 14.28 19.76 24.00 26.54 28.24 4.29 3.80 3.50 3.30
Realistic 8.92 10.50 12.75 14.10 15.00


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 1 APHE APHE 77 75 67 58 50 44
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
Type 1 APHE APHE 808 1.49 1.2 9 22.4 47° 60° 65°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the Chi-Ha Kai
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
104 75 (+29) 71 (+33) 66 (+38) 54 (+50) (+95) (+103) Yes

Turret empty: 66 (+48)

Machine guns

Main article: Type 97 (7.7 mm)
7.7 mm Type 97
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Hull 3,000 (20) 499 -8°/+10° ±15°
Pintle 1,000 (20) 499 -10°/+70° ±60°

Usage in battles

The Chi-Ha Kai (Kai means "improved) is an upgrade of the Chi-Ha that replaces the low-velocity 57 mm gun with the very good 47 mm Type 1 tank gun and adds one more crew to make a total of five with three in the turret. Compared to other rank I vehicles this gun is powerful and very good.

The 5th crewman, in a three-man turret, improves survivability accordingly. However it is still a lightly armoured vehicle with only moderate mobility, so the tactics used with the Chi-Ha are to stay close to teammates and always play sneaky remain the most important.

Another problem is that the Chi-Ha Kai retains the hand-cranked turret, which is quite slow to turn. So the best idea is to plan ahead before any attacks, 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 towards the position. Now, this is somewhat important "Don't look for the enemy, let the enemy look for the Chi-Ha Kai.", Of course, the Chi-Ha Kai could still go look for the enemy, but always be on alert and make sure to have a friend for firing support.

The engine provides adequate power - the power-weight ratio is comparable with other tanks of the late 1930's - but this tank was built from 1942 onwards so it is low compared to contemporary designs.


Tier Mobility Protection Firepower
I Tracks Parts Horizontal Drive
II Suspension Brake System FPE Adjustment of Fire
III Filters Crew Replenishment Elevation Mechanism
IV Transmission Engine Artillery Support

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 Kai to get the first shot off
  • Decent cannon can frontally penetrate common targets like M3 Lee and T-70
  • Great turning ability in low gear


  • 47 mm armament may be underpowered in an uptier, especially in frontal engagements against a B1 bis or Matilda
  • Thin armour can be penetrated by 20 mm/.50 cal up close



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


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 defences, 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 defence 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 force, 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 was 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]


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 defences in comparison to its previous battles. The Americans invaded Saipan on 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]

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, waiting 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 theatre 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 on 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-defence 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]


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Related development
Tanks of comparable role, configuration and era

External links


  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

Japan medium tanks
Chassis Chi-Ha  Chi-Ha · Chi-Ha Kai · Chi-Ha Short Gun
Chassis Chi-He  Chi-He · Chi-He (5th Regiment) · Ho-I · Chi-Nu · Chi-Nu II
Chassis Chi-To  Chi-To · Chi-To Late
Chassis Chi-Ri  Chi-Ri II
Type 61 MBT  ST-A1* · ST-A2* · Type 61
Type 74 MBT  ST-B1* · Type 74 · Type 74G
Type 90 MBT  Type 90 · Type 90 (B)
USA  ▅M4A3 (76) W
  *ST-X Is prototype stage for said MBT