Type 38 (150 mm)

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The Type 38 15 cm howitzer was a 1905 German design adopted in Japanese service in the 38th year of Emperor Meiji's reign (1905).

Initially, most units were imported from Krupp until 1911, when the Army’s Osaka Arsenal was allowed to produce them domestically under license.

While outdated after WW1 and technically replaced by the Type 4 15cm howitzer (1915) and later the Type 96 15cm howitzer (1936), it would still see common use in heavy artillery units until 1945 due to the number of cannons produced and available, even being used on the Type 4 Ho-Ro from 1944 onwards.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

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Available shells

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 95 APHE APHE 38 37 35 33 31 31
Type 92 HE HE 55 55 55 55 55 55
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
Type 95 APHE 290 36.1 1.2 19 2,600 47° 60° 65°
Type 92 HE 290 36 0 0.1 7,020 79° 80° 81°

Comparison with analogues

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Usage in battles

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Pros and cons

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A Japanese crew fires the 15 cm Type 38.

Imperial Japan, seeking out new artillery equipment, acquired 150 mm L/12 howitzers from Krupp in Germany in 1903. Starting by ordering a total of 36 from the manufacturer, Japan then acquired the license to manufacture the howitzers domestically. The resulting howitzer in Japanese service was called the 15 cm Type 38 field howitzer (for the 38th year of Emperor Meiji's reign (1905)).[1]

Essentially unchanged from the Krupp L/12 model, the gun retained rather modern features such as an open box trail and interrupted screw breech.[2] The weapon was rather lightweight at 2.09 tons.[3], due in part to a simple recoil mechanism needed for the small propelling charges for the shell. Consequently however, the 150 mm Type 38 suffered from a short effective range of less than 6,000 meters. This led to future procurements of howitzers such as the 150 mm Type 4 that had a higher effective range than the Type 38.

Though replaced from front-line service with newer howitzers by the 1930s, the Type 38 were still used until the end of World War II.[3] The guns were notably used in the Second Sino-Japanese war,[4] and as the main armament of the Ho-Ro self-propelled gun, assembled at the Osaka Arsenal.[5]


An excellent addition to the article would be a video guide, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.

See also

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  • reference to the article about the variant of the cannon/machine gun;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

  1. Ness 2014, pg 252-255
  2. Ness 2014, pg 265-266
  3. 3.0 3.1 Taki "Type 38 15cm Howitzer"
  4. War Department 1944, pg 74
  5. Ness 2014, pg 507
  • Ness, Leland. Rikugun. Volume 2: Weapons of the Imperial Japanese Army & Navy Ground Forces. Helion and Company, 19 Dec. 2014.
  • Taki "Type 38 15cm Howitzer" Imperial Japanese Army Page, Website. Accessed on 20 Apr 2021 (Archive).
  • War Department Special Series No 25: Japanese Field Artillery United States Government Printing Offices, 15 Oct. 1944.

Japan tank cannons
37 mm  Type 94 · Type 100 · Type 1
47 mm  Type 1
57 mm  Type 90 · Type 97
70 mm  Type 94
75 mm  Type 90 · Type 99 · Type 3 · Lightweight Type I Model II · Type II Model I · Type II Model II
90 mm  Type 61
105 mm  Experimental Type 5 High Velocity · Type 5 · JSW L/52
106 mm  Type 60 (B)
120 mm  Taishō Type 10 · Navy short gun · Type 90 L/44 · TKG
150 mm  Type 38
155 mm  NSJ L/30
25 mm  Oerlikon KBA B02 (Switzerland)
35 mm  Oerlikon KDE (Switzerland)
75 mm  M6 (USA)
76 mm  M1 (USA) · M32 (USA)
88 mm  KwK36 (Germany)
90 mm  M3A1 (USA) · M36 (USA)
105 mm  L7A3 (Germany)
120 mm  Schneider-Canet 1898 (France)