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{{DISPLAYTITLE:Chi-Ha (Family)}}
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{{DISPLAYTITLE:Type 97 Chi-Ha (Family)}}
 
 
 
 
 
== Description ==
 
== Description ==
 
[[File:Type 97 Chi-Ha with IJA officer.jpg|thumb|Type 97 Chi-Ha with IJA officer]]
 
[[File:Type 97 Chi-Ha with IJA officer.jpg|thumb|Type 97 Chi-Ha with IJA officer]]
The Type 97 ''Chi-Ha'' (九七式中戦車 チハ, ''Kyūnana-shiki chū-sensha Chi-ha'') was a medium tank used by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battles of Khalkhin Gol against the Soviet Union, and the Second World War. It was the most widely produced Japanese medium tank of World War II.
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The '''Type 97 ''Chi-Ha''''' ({{Annotation|九七式中戦車 チハ|Kyūnana-shiki chū-sensha Chi-Ha}}) was a medium tank used by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Soviet–Japanese border conflicts, and the Second World War. The tank was the most produced Japanese tank during the Second World War.
  
The 57 mm main gun, designed for infantry support, was a carry over from the Type 89 I-Go medium tank. The suspension was derived from the Type 95 Ha-Go light tank, but used six road wheels instead of four. The 170 hp Mitsubishi air cooled diesel engine was a capable tank engine in 1938.
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The Chi-Ha's low silhouette and semicircular radio antenna on the turret made the tank very recognizable from its contemporaries. Because of the Navy having resource priority, the Army had to keep this rather outdated tank in service, which got a turret overhaul in 1942 allowing for a third turret crewman and a [[Type 1 (47 mm)|47 mm Type 1 anti-tank gun]]. This remodel got the designation Type 97-''Kai'' (Improved) or Type 97 ''ShinHoTo'' (Improved turret) Chi-Ha.{{Clear}}
  
The Type 97's low silhouette and semicircular radio antenna on the turret distinguished the tank from its contemporaries. After 1941, the tank was less effective than most Allied tank designs. In 1942, a new version of the Chi-Ha was produced with a larger three-man turret, and a high-velocity Type 1 47 mm tank gun. It was designated the Type 97-Kai or Type 97 ''Shinhoto Chi-Ha''.{{clear}}
 
 
== Vehicles ==
 
== Vehicles ==
 
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===Rank I===
===Rank I Vehicle===
 
  
 
* [[Chi-Ha]]
 
* [[Chi-Ha]]
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* [[Chi-Ha Kai (China)]]
 
* [[Chi-Ha Kai (China)]]
  
===Rank II Vehicle===
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===Rank II===
 
 
[[Category:Family pages]]
 
  
 
* [[Chi-Ha Short Gun]]
 
* [[Chi-Ha Short Gun]]
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* [[Chi-Ha LG|Chi-Ha Long Gun]]
  
 
== History ==
 
== History ==
 
===Design===
 
===Design===
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.<ref name="ZalogaJapaneseTank">Zaloga Steven. ''Japanese Tanks 1939-1945'' Great Britain: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2007</ref>
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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-man turret. Armour was relatively thin, but quite standard for the 1930s. The first main gun on the Chi-Ha, being the [[Type 97 (57 mm)|57 mm Type 97 tank gun]] which had a slighter longer barrel than the [[Type 90 (57 mm)|57 mm Type 90 tank gun]] that was mounted on the [[I-Go Ko|Type 89 I-Go medium tank]] and used in an infantry support role. The bell crank suspension was the same as on the [[Ha-Go|Type 95 Ha-Go light tank]], but due to the Chi-Ha having a longer hull, the suspension as well had to be elongated and got 6 road wheels instead of four. The addition of these 2 new road wheels made the Chi-Ha more stable in a hilly environment which was an issue on the [[Ha-Go|Type 95 Ha-Go]].
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=== Development ===
 
=== Development ===
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==== [[Chi-Ha|Type 97 Chi-Ha]] ====
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[[File:Solo Chi-Ha.jpg|305x305px|thumb|Type 97 Medium Tank ''Chi-Ha'']]
  
==== [[Chi-Ha|Type 97 Chi-Ha]] ====
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As the [[I-Go Ko|Type 89 I-Go]] saw use in Manchuria and the problem of not being able to keep up with the motorized infantry emerged, a replacement program by the Imperial Japanese Army was started in the late 1930s. The plan for the new tank was to be an up-scaled version of the 4-man [[Ha-Go|Type 95 Ha-Go light tank]], with thicker armour and a more powerful engine to keep up with motorization.
[[File:Solo Chi-Ha.jpg|305x305px|thumb|Type 97 Chi-Ha Medium Tank|link=]]With the [[I-Go Ko|Type 89 I-Go]] fast becoming obsolete in the late 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) began a program to develop a replacement tank for infantry support. Experience during the invasion of Manchuria determined that the [[I-Go Ko|Type 89]] was too slow to keep up with motorized infantry. The new medium tank was intended to be a scaled-up four-man version of the [[Ha-Go|Type 95 Ha-Go light tank]], although with a two-man turret, thicker armor, and more power to maintain performance.
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The Tokyo Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Osaka Army Arsenal started their prototypes for the Army requirements, with Mitsubishi developing the more expensive ''Chi-Ha'' and Osaka the cheaper, lighter ''Chi-Ni''.
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Even though the requirement of the gun was to be a 47 mm, both Mitsubishi and Osaka Army Arsenal outfitted their tanks with the 57 mm found on the [[I-Go Ko|Type 89B I-Go Otsu]].
  
The Tokyo factory of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries completed a prototype designated ''Chi-Ha''. The second prototype was completed in June 1937. Although the requirement was for a 47 mm gun, it retained the same short-barreled 57 mm gun as the [[I-Go Ko|Type 89B]] tank. However, at the time IJA was also interested in the lighter and less expensive Type 97 ''Chi-Ni'' prototype proposed by Osaka Army Arsenal, which had the same 57 mm main gun. With the out-break of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, the peacetime budgetary limitations were removed and the more capable and expensive Mitsubishi ''Chi-Ha'' model was accepted as the new Type 97 medium tank by the army.{{clear}}[[File:ShinHoTo Turret Testing.jpg|alt=Chi-Ha being tested with the new ShinHoTo turret|left|thumb|204x204px|Unarmed ShinHoTo turret on Type 97 Hull|link=]]
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As the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out on the 7th of July 1937, the peace-time budget limits were removed. Because the Army now had a larger budget, they chose the more expensive and capable ''Chi-Ha'' by Mitsubishi and adopted it into service as the [[Chi-Ha|Type 97 Medium Tank ''Chi-Ha'']]{{Clear}}
  
 
==== [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai]] ====
 
==== [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai]] ====
The shortcomings of the [[Chi-Ha|Type 97]], with its [[Type 97 (57 mm)|low-velocity Type 97 57 mm gun]], became clear during the 1939 Battles of Khalkhin Gol against the Soviet Union. The [[20-K (45 mm)|45 mm gun]] of the Soviet [[BT-5]] and [[BT-7]] tanks out-ranged the Japanese tank gun, resulting in heavy Japanese losses. This convinced the army of the need for a more powerful gun. Development of a new 47 mm weapon began in 1939 and was completed by 1941. The [[Type 1 (47 mm)|Type 1 47 mm tank gun]] was designed specifically to counter the Soviet tanks. The 47 mm gun's longer barrel generated much higher muzzle velocity, resulting in armor penetration superior to that of the [[Type 97 (57 mm)|57 mm gun]]. The new version, designated Type 97-''Kai'' ("improved") or ''Shinhoto Chi-Ha'' ("new turret" Chi-Ha), used the 47 mm main gun in its new, larger three-man turret. It replaced the original model in production in 1942. In addition "about 300" of the Type 97 tanks with the older model turret and 57 mm main gun were converted.{{clear}}
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As the Soviet–Japanese border disputes continued, the Chi-Ha has been put in service on the borders. Their first major encounter against other tanks was during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. The [[Type 97 (57 mm)|low-velocity 57 mm Type 97 gun]] on the [[Chi-Ha|Type 97]] started showing its weakness as the faster and better gunned Soviet [[BT-5]] and [[BT-7]] out-ranged and out-manoeuvred the slow turning and short-range turret of the Chi-Ha. Due to this shortcoming, the battles ended with heavy Japanese losses.{{Clear}}
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[[File:ShinHoTo Turret Testing.jpg|alt=Chi-Ha being tested with the new ShinHoTo turret|left|thumb|Unarmed ShinHoTo turret on Type 1 Hull]]
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After hearing of these losses the Army was looking for a more powerful gun. The development of a new 47 mm anti-tank gun began in 1939 and was completed by 1941. This new gun specifically designed to counter Soviet tanks was adopted as the [[Type 1 (47 mm)|47 mm Type 1 anti-tank]]. The longer barrel of this 47 mm creating a lot higher muzzle velocity and resulted in greater armour penetration which far surpassed that of the [[Type 97 (57 mm)|57 mm gun]].
  
[[File:Type 1 Chi-He & Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai.jpg|thumb|[[Chi-He|Type 1 Chi-He]] on left and [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 ShinHoTo Chi-Ha]] on right]]
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As this gun was to be put on the Chi-Ha, a new turret was designed, which allowed for the [[Type 1 (47 mm)|Type 1 47 mm tank gun]] to be mounted and a 5th crew member as a loader. This variant of the Chi-Ha would be designated as Type 97-''Kai'' ("improved") or ''ShinHoTo Chi-Ha'' ("New turret" Chi-Ha"). The new [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 Medium Tank ''Chi-Ha Kai'']] would fully replace the regular [[Chi-Ha|Type 97 Medium Tank ''Chi-Ha'']] in 1942. Additionally, about 300 regular Chi-Ha's were converted with this new turret.{{Clear}}
  
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[[File:Type 1 Chi-He & Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai.jpg|thumb|[[Chi-He|Type 1 ''Chi-He'']] on left and [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 ''ShinHoTo Chi-Ha'']] on right]]
 
==== Further Development ====
 
==== Further Development ====
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 I|Ho]][[Ho-Ni III|-Ni]] assault gun series. The Type 97 Chi-Ha design was also improved upon multiple times with better armour and better guns, the last design that was based directly on Type 97 lineage was the [[Chi-Nu|Type 3 Chi-Nu medium tank]] with a [[Type 3 (75 mm)|75 mm main gun]] of which 144 were built from 1944 to 1945. The [[Chi-Nu|Type 3 Chi-Nu]] retained the same chassis and suspension of the Type 97 based [[Chi-He|Type 1 Chi-He tank]], but with a large new hexagonal gun turret and a commander's cupola. The [[Chi-To|Type 4 Chi-To]] was a separate design, the last Japanese medium tank design to be completed during the war, considered equivalent to the German Panther tank, but with only two known to be completed by war's end. By the time, the Japanese industry had been badly crippled by the American bombing campaign; as a result, few of these newer vehicles were ever built.
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Like most other countries having a main medium tank, the Japanese adapted the hull for a multitude of roles and variants to be used in other purposes. The Type 97 was improved plenty of times with field guns, command variants and engineering variants. Nearly a hundred self-propelled guns were built upon the Type 97 chassis.
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As the firepower of 1930s Japanese tanks was rather lacklustre and they weren't able to reliably penetrate the 1940s generation of Soviet, American and British armour, the need for tank destroyers rose, and guns ranging from 47 mm up to 127 mm were tested. But due to the Navy's priority, raw materials for the Army's production was limited, and building new guns or tanks was nearly out of question.
  
The IJA's need to supplement their tank units with artillery led to a need for self-propelled guns (SPGs). Subsequently, the Type 97 chassis was utilized to manufacture nearly a hundred SPGs, consisting primarily of 75 mm guns. Since the IJA's 1930's era tanks didn't have the firepower to penetrate the 1940s generation of Allied armor, a need for tank destroyers arose, and experiments ranging from 47 mm to 120 mm guns were conducted. However, due to naval priorities, raw materials for any IJA production were limited.{{clear}}
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The last Japanese tank directly based on the Type 97 lineage was the [[Chi-Nu|Type 3 Medium Tank ''Chi-Nu'']] which got the improved Chi-Ha hull from the [[Chi-He|Type 1 Medium Tank Chi-He]] but with a totally overhauled hexagonal turret and commander's cupola with a 75 mm gun.{{Clear}}
  
 
=== Combat History ===
 
=== Combat History ===
The Type 97 was deployed in China in combat operations in the Second Sino-Japanese War with considerable success, as the ill-equipped National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China forces were limited to only three tank battalions consisting of British exports of the Vickers, German Panzer Is, and Italian CV33 tankettes.
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As the first production of Chi-Ha's were completed, they were all moved to the Chinese front to support the infantry, and deal with the weaker tank force of Chinese imported Vickers, Panzer I's and CV33's. Under command of Hideki Tojo, who ignored the lessons they got out of previous tank usage under the Japanese army in 1933 ([[wikipedia:Battle of Rehe|Battle of Rehe]]) and spread out the tanks in a more infantry focused attack, which made battles where the Chinese had actual anti-tank guns a very tough battle for the Japanese with spread out, lightly armoured tanks. Due to this failure of tactic, the funds for tank production were cut down and tank brigades essentially shut down.
  
Its first real test in combat against opposing armor came with the Battles of Khalkhin Gol in July 1939 against the Soviet Union. The IJA 1st Tank Corps consisting of the 3rd and 4th Tank Regiments (Yasuoka Detachment) had been assigned to the Nomonhan region, under the command of Lt. General Yasuoka Masaomi. Of the two regiments, only the 3rd Tank Regiment had been supplemented with four of the new Type 97 medium tanks. One was selected as the regimental commander's tank.
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The first real combat test of the Chi-Ha happened during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol, Nomonhan, where the more successful combined arms force of the Soviets showed the weakness of Japanese infantry tanks as the Chi-Ha with short 57 mm was out-ranged and -gunned by the Soviet [[BT-5]]'s and [[BT-7]]'s.
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From this incident and successes of the Blitzkrieg tactic of the Germans in Europe, the Japanese started re-evaluating tank tactics and developments (see [[#Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai|Development: Chi-Ha Kai]]), though this came a little too late, as the Navy got resource priority due to the Chinese front coming to a stalemate, the expansion in South Asia and beginning of World War II for Japan as the Navy bombs Pearl Harbour.{{Clear}}
  
During fierce fighting against the Red Army, the 3rd Tank Regiment was assaulting an objective ringed with strung coiled wire (piano wire). The regimental commander, Lt Col. Yoshimaru Kiyotake's Type 97 tank became entangled up to its drive sprockets. Struggling to extract itself from the tank trap, Yoshimaru managed to move his tank rearward about 40 metres, when his machine stopped completely. Exposed to Soviet defensive positions, Yoshimaru's Type 97 was subjected to the fire of a dozen Soviet [[BT-7]] tanks and anti-tank guns. Soviet shells struck the tank's drive gear, hull, and the engine area, causing the vehicle to erupt into flames. When the fire reached the tank ammunition, the tank exploded, tearing off the turret and throwing it several feet away from the hull. Only the tank's gunner, who abandoned it, prior to the explosion, was uninjured. Yoshimaru's commander's body was recovered after the battle.{{clear}}
 
 
[[File:Chi-Ha Night Practice.jpg|left|thumb|1st IJA Tank Division, night practice shooting]]
 
[[File:Chi-Ha Night Practice.jpg|left|thumb|1st IJA Tank Division, night practice shooting]]
 
 
==== World War II ====
 
==== World War II ====
From 8 December 1941 and into early 1942, during the Battle of Malaya and the Battle of Singapore, Type 97 tanks were used by the 3rd Tank Group's 1st, 6th, and 14th Tank Regiments under the command of Lieutenant-General Yamashita. The 1st Tank Regiment was attached to the IJA 5th Division, which was among the first Japanese military units to land at Songkhla in southern Thailand. One of its medium-tank companies was the 3rd Tank Company under First Lieutenant Yamane's command (comprising ten Type 97 medium tanks and two [[Ha-Go|Type 95 Ha-Go]] light tanks), forming part of the "Saeki Detachment". The company was in the vanguard of the attack on northern British Malaya at the end of 1941. Later on, this same unit would be involved in forcing the defending British forces to abandon much of northern Malaya in the decisive Battle of Jitra at the start of 1942.
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As the war shifted towards a more island-hopping campaign, the Army successfully used the Type 97 Chi-Ha's during the Battle of Singapore and Malaya. Due to the light weight of the Japanese tanks, they could easily exploit the wet and thick jungles and attack the British from areas where they never expected to see any tanks coming from and effectively never placed defensive lines upon. The same tactics and movements of the Chi-Ha's were used during their campaign in Burma.
  
One key to the overall Japanese military successes in Malaya and Singapore was the unexpected appearance of their tanks in areas where the British did not believe tanks could be fielded. The thick and wet jungle terrain did not turn out to be a decisive obstacle for the generally light Japanese tanks. Later on, the 2nd and 14th Tank Regiments participated in the Burma Campaign from 1942.
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The first use of the Chi-Ha Kai was during the Battle of Corregidor. The new 47 mm made to have a more general tank role truly shined here and easily dealt with the armour of the American [[M3 Stuart (Family)|M3 Stuart light tanks]].
  
The [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 ShinHoTo Chi-Ha]] tanks were first used in combat in the battle of Corregidor in 1942. The updated [[Type 1 (47 mm)|47 mm gun]] was easily capable of dealing with the armor of the American [[M3 Stuart (Family)|M3 Stuart]] light tanks, although in later combat service it was shown only to be effective against the sides and rear of the [[M4 Sherman (Family)|M4 Sherman]] medium tank.{{clear}}
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But as the war progressed, the dated Chi-Ha started to fall behind. Still in a position of not being able to create better tanks with the production priority of the Navy, the Japanese capable tanks of the '30s, started facing the American 40's tank, the [[M4 Sherman (Family)|M4 Sherman]], and due to production limitations the Chi-Ha and other Japanese tanks were viewed upon as bad designs and incompetent tanks. As they misinterpret these outdated tanks as Japan's 40's tanks.{{Clear}}
  
 
[[File:M4A3 tank penetrations.jpg|thumb|[[M4A3 (105)|M4A3]] tank hull side armour after [[Type 1 (47 mm)|47 mm]] penetrations]]
 
[[File:M4A3 tank penetrations.jpg|thumb|[[M4A3 (105)|M4A3]] tank hull side armour after [[Type 1 (47 mm)|47 mm]] penetrations]]
During the Battle of Saipan on the night of 16–17 June, Type 97s of the 9th Tank Regiment, joined with Type 95s of the 136th Infantry Regiment in an all-out counterattack against the established beachhead by American Marines that had landed the day before. Led by the 44 tanks from the 9th, the Type 97s and [[Ha-Go|Type 95]]<nowiki/>s were knocked out by a Marine platoon of M4A2 tanks, several M3 75mm half-tracks, bazookas and 37mm antitank guns. It was the largest Japanese armor attack of the Pacific Theater of Operations. However, the Japanese Army seldom made major armored attacks during the Pacific War due to the limited maneuvering areas that prevailed on islands in the South Pacific ocean. Terrain dictated the battle and IJA tanks were emplaced in hull defilade positions or even buried up to their turrets.
 
  
During the Battle of Guam, 29 Type 97 and [[Ha-Go|Type 95]] tanks of the IJA 9th Tank Regiment and nine [[Ha-Go|Type 95]]<nowiki/>s of the 24th Tank Company were lost to bazooka fire or [[M4 Sherman (Family)|M4]] tanks. 
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With the M4 Shermans being a big problem for Japanese tanks, where the most front-line capable tank of taking them out, being the Chi-Ha Kai, was still only able to penetrate from either against the sides and rear.
  
At the Battle of Okinawa, 13 [[Ha-Go|Type 95]]'s and 14 [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai]] tanks of the understrength IJA 27th Tank Regiment faced 800 American tanks of eight US Army and two USMC tank battalions. The Japanese tanks were defeated in their counter-attacks of 4–5 May 1945.  
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The largest Japanese tank attack in the Pacific happened during the Battle of Saipan, where Type 97's and [[Ha-Go|Type 95]]'s from both a tank and infantry regiment charged an all-out counter-attack on the night of 16-17 June. As the Americans had landed the day before, they were fully prepared for a counter charge and knocked out about 44 tanks with the use of [[M4A2]]s, several [[M3 GMC]], M1 Bazookas and 37 mm anti-tank guns. As this attack was futile, it led to many Japanese losses.
  
Similar conditions were repeated in the Kwantung Army's defense against the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, although there was little tank-versus-tank action. The Soviet Red Army captured 389 tanks.{{clear}}
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From this moment on, all hope was lost for the outdated tanks which still had to see combat through, and most tanks would be used in a defensive position being emplaced in hull defilades or even buried up to their turrets.
  
 
==== After World War II ====
 
==== After World War II ====
Some Japanese tanks remained in use, under new ownership, postwar during the Chinese Civil War. After the end of World War II, Type 97 tanks captured by the Soviets were turned over to the Chinese Communist army. After victory, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) continued to use them in their inventory. The PLA's force of 349 tanks in 1949 consisted mainly of Japanese [[Ha-Go|Type 95 Ha-Go]] and Type 97 tanks.{{clear}}
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Some Japanese tanks, after being captured by Soviet troops during the Soviet–Japanese War in Manchuria and Korea, were given to the Chinese Communists to help their efforts in the Chinese Civil War. After their war, the Chinese kept the Japanese tanks in their inventory until 1949.{{Clear}}
 
 
== Variants (In-Game) ==
 
  
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== See also ==
 
=== Medium Tanks ===
 
=== Medium Tanks ===
  
 +
* [[I-Go Ko|Type 89 I-Go]] <small>(Predecessor)</small>
 
* [[Chi-Ha|Type 97 Chi-Ha]]
 
* [[Chi-Ha|Type 97 Chi-Ha]]
 
* [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai]]
 
* [[Chi-Ha Kai|Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai]]
* [[Chi-He|Type 1 Chi-He]] (Successor)
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* [[Chi-He (Family)|Type 1 Chi-He]] <small>(Successor)</small>
  
 
=== Gun Tank ===
 
=== Gun Tank ===
  
* [[Chi-Ha Short Gun|Type 97 Chi-Ha Short Gun]]
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* [[Chi-Ha Short Gun|Type 97 Chi-Ha Short Gun]] <small>(Navy Gun Tank remodel)</small>
  
=== SPG's ===
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===SPG's ===
  
* [[Ho-Ni I|Type 1 Ho-Ni I]]
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* [[Chi-Ha LG|Type 97 Chi-Ha Long Gun]] <small>(Navy Gun Tank remodel)</small>
* [[Ho-Ni III|Type 3 Ho-Ni III]]
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* [[Ho-Ni I|Type 1 Ho-Ni I]] <small>(Remodel to fit a [[Type 90 (75 mm)|Type 90 field gun]] on a Chi-Ha)</small>
* [[Ho-Ro|Type 4 Ho-Ro]]
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* [[Ho-Ni III|Type 3 Ho-Ni III]] <small>(Anti-Tank refit of the Ho-Ni Series)</small>
 +
* [[Ho-Ro|Type 4 Ho-Ro]] <small>(Remodel to fit a [[Type 38 (150 mm)|Type 38 howitzer]] on a Chi-Ha)</small>
  
 
== Media ==
 
== Media ==
 +
<!-- ''Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.'' -->
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 +
;Images
 
<gallery mode="packed-hover" heights="200px">
 
<gallery mode="packed-hover" heights="200px">
Chi-Ha on Shumshu.jpg|Type 97 Chi-ha medium tank of IJA 11th Tank Regiment, presumably during a manuever exercise on Shumshu Island, circa 1945.
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Chi-Ha & Ha-Go Chiba Exercise.jpg|Type 95 Ha-Go's and Type 97 Chi-Ha's of the Chiba Tank School during exercises, 1940
Chi-Ha Bukit Timah.jpg|Japanese troops supported by armor during the battle of Bukit Timah, Battle of Singapore, 1942.
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Chi-Ha Bukit Timah.jpg|Japanese troops supported by a [[Chi-Ha]] during the Battle of Bukit Timah, Battle of Singapore, 1942
Chi-Ha Kai Destroyed.jpg|Battle for Iwo Jima, February-March 1945.
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Chi-Ha (Kai) 11th Regiment.jpg|Type 97 Chi-Ha and Chi-Ha Kai from the Japanese 11th Tank Regiment, 1944
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Chi-Ha on Shumshu.jpg|Type 97 [[Chi-Ha]] of IJA 11th Tank Regiment, presumably during a manuever exercise on Shumshu Island, 1945
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Chi-Ha Kai Destroyed.jpg|Destroyed entrenched [[Chi-Ha Kai]], Battle for Iwo Jima, February-March 1945
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Chi-ha-120-1.jpg|Stored [[Chi-Ha Short Gun]], 1945
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
== References ==
+
;Videos
<references />
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{{Youtube-gallery|sbEOsa_3iBg|'''The Shooting Range #240''' - ''Pages of History'' section at 03:41 discusses the Chi-Ha.}}
 +
 
 +
* '''Historical'''
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{{Youtube-gallery|kPrj1r_nW_s|Type 97 & Type 95 - Imperial Japanese Army Armored Forces - Sep. 1943 & Tank Factory - Nov. 1942
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|dpTLAAT_jnA|Imperial Japanese Army Tank & Tankette Armored Forces - Type 97,  Type 95, Type 94/97 Te-Ke|-wIA6AuMBYo|Captured Experimental Long 12cm Chi-Ha}}
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 +
* '''Restored'''
 +
{{Youtube-gallery|cnfg-uKPeGo|'''Japanese tank Shinhoto Chi-Ha after restoration''' ''Russia''|T2R80QV-BCM|'''Type 97 Chi-Ha Japanese medium tank'''|OzhGnu1HjyA|'''Inside the Wannabe's Hatch: Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha''' - Potential History}}
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==External links==
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<!-- ''Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:''
 +
* ''topic on the official game forum;''
 +
* ''encyclopedia page on the tank;''
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* ''other literature.'' -->
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 +
* [[wt:en/news/4330-development-type-97-chi-ha-hope-of-the-army-en/|[Devblog] Type 97 Chi-Ha: Hope of the Army]]
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* [[wt:en/news/4349-development-type-1-chi-he-an-updated-classic-en|[Devblog] Type 1 Chi-He: An Updated Classic]]
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* [[wt:en/news/4361-development-type-3-ho-ni-iii-the-japanese-marder-en|[Devblog] Type 3 Ho-Ni III: The Japanese Marder]]
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* [[wt:en/news/4394-development-chi-ha-short-gun-naval-caliber-en|[Devblog] Chi-Ha Short Gun: Naval Caliber]]
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* [[wt:en/news/6840-development-chi-ha-long-gun-the-last-chance-gun-en|[Devblog] Chi-Ha Long Gun: The Last Chance Gun]]
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{{Template:Japan medium tanks}}
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[[Category:Family pages]]

Revision as of 11:39, 15 March 2021

Description

Type 97 Chi-Ha with IJA officer

The Type 97 Chi-Ha (九七式中戦車 チハ) was a medium tank used by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Soviet–Japanese border conflicts, and the Second World War. The tank was the most produced Japanese tank during the Second World War.

The Chi-Ha's low silhouette and semicircular radio antenna on the turret made the tank very recognizable from its contemporaries. Because of the Navy having resource priority, the Army had to keep this rather outdated tank in service, which got a turret overhaul in 1942 allowing for a third turret crewman and a 47 mm Type 1 anti-tank gun. This remodel got the designation Type 97-Kai (Improved) or Type 97 ShinHoTo (Improved turret) Chi-Ha.

Vehicles

Rank I

Rank II

History

Design

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-man turret. Armour was relatively thin, but quite standard for the 1930s. The first main gun on the Chi-Ha, being the 57 mm Type 97 tank gun which had a slighter longer barrel than the 57 mm Type 90 tank gun that was mounted on the Type 89 I-Go medium tank and used in an infantry support role. The bell crank suspension was the same as on the Type 95 Ha-Go light tank, but due to the Chi-Ha having a longer hull, the suspension as well had to be elongated and got 6 road wheels instead of four. The addition of these 2 new road wheels made the Chi-Ha more stable in a hilly environment which was an issue on the Type 95 Ha-Go.

Development

Type 97 Chi-Ha

Type 97 Medium Tank Chi-Ha

As the Type 89 I-Go saw use in Manchuria and the problem of not being able to keep up with the motorized infantry emerged, a replacement program by the Imperial Japanese Army was started in the late 1930s. The plan for the new tank was to be an up-scaled version of the 4-man Type 95 Ha-Go light tank, with thicker armour and a more powerful engine to keep up with motorization.

The Tokyo Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Osaka Army Arsenal started their prototypes for the Army requirements, with Mitsubishi developing the more expensive Chi-Ha and Osaka the cheaper, lighter Chi-Ni.

Even though the requirement of the gun was to be a 47 mm, both Mitsubishi and Osaka Army Arsenal outfitted their tanks with the 57 mm found on the Type 89B I-Go Otsu.

As the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out on the 7th of July 1937, the peace-time budget limits were removed. Because the Army now had a larger budget, they chose the more expensive and capable Chi-Ha by Mitsubishi and adopted it into service as the Type 97 Medium Tank Chi-Ha

Type 97 Chi-Ha Kai

As the Soviet–Japanese border disputes continued, the Chi-Ha has been put in service on the borders. Their first major encounter against other tanks was during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. The low-velocity 57 mm Type 97 gun on the Type 97 started showing its weakness as the faster and better gunned Soviet BT-5 and BT-7 out-ranged and out-manoeuvred the slow turning and short-range turret of the Chi-Ha. Due to this shortcoming, the battles ended with heavy Japanese losses.
Chi-Ha being tested with the new ShinHoTo turret
Unarmed ShinHoTo turret on Type 1 Hull

After hearing of these losses the Army was looking for a more powerful gun. The development of a new 47 mm anti-tank gun began in 1939 and was completed by 1941. This new gun specifically designed to counter Soviet tanks was adopted as the 47 mm Type 1 anti-tank. The longer barrel of this 47 mm creating a lot higher muzzle velocity and resulted in greater armour penetration which far surpassed that of the 57 mm gun.

As this gun was to be put on the Chi-Ha, a new turret was designed, which allowed for the Type 1 47 mm tank gun to be mounted and a 5th crew member as a loader. This variant of the Chi-Ha would be designated as Type 97-Kai ("improved") or ShinHoTo Chi-Ha ("New turret" Chi-Ha"). The new Type 97 Medium Tank Chi-Ha Kai would fully replace the regular Type 97 Medium Tank Chi-Ha in 1942. Additionally, about 300 regular Chi-Ha's were converted with this new turret.

Further Development

Like most other countries having a main medium tank, the Japanese adapted the hull for a multitude of roles and variants to be used in other purposes. The Type 97 was improved plenty of times with field guns, command variants and engineering variants. Nearly a hundred self-propelled guns were built upon the Type 97 chassis.

As the firepower of 1930s Japanese tanks was rather lacklustre and they weren't able to reliably penetrate the 1940s generation of Soviet, American and British armour, the need for tank destroyers rose, and guns ranging from 47 mm up to 127 mm were tested. But due to the Navy's priority, raw materials for the Army's production was limited, and building new guns or tanks was nearly out of question.

The last Japanese tank directly based on the Type 97 lineage was the Type 3 Medium Tank Chi-Nu which got the improved Chi-Ha hull from the Type 1 Medium Tank Chi-He but with a totally overhauled hexagonal turret and commander's cupola with a 75 mm gun.

Combat History

As the first production of Chi-Ha's were completed, they were all moved to the Chinese front to support the infantry, and deal with the weaker tank force of Chinese imported Vickers, Panzer I's and CV33's. Under command of Hideki Tojo, who ignored the lessons they got out of previous tank usage under the Japanese army in 1933 (Battle of Rehe) and spread out the tanks in a more infantry focused attack, which made battles where the Chinese had actual anti-tank guns a very tough battle for the Japanese with spread out, lightly armoured tanks. Due to this failure of tactic, the funds for tank production were cut down and tank brigades essentially shut down.

The first real combat test of the Chi-Ha happened during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol, Nomonhan, where the more successful combined arms force of the Soviets showed the weakness of Japanese infantry tanks as the Chi-Ha with short 57 mm was out-ranged and -gunned by the Soviet BT-5's and BT-7's.

From this incident and successes of the Blitzkrieg tactic of the Germans in Europe, the Japanese started re-evaluating tank tactics and developments (see Development: Chi-Ha Kai), though this came a little too late, as the Navy got resource priority due to the Chinese front coming to a stalemate, the expansion in South Asia and beginning of World War II for Japan as the Navy bombs Pearl Harbour.
1st IJA Tank Division, night practice shooting

World War II

As the war shifted towards a more island-hopping campaign, the Army successfully used the Type 97 Chi-Ha's during the Battle of Singapore and Malaya. Due to the light weight of the Japanese tanks, they could easily exploit the wet and thick jungles and attack the British from areas where they never expected to see any tanks coming from and effectively never placed defensive lines upon. The same tactics and movements of the Chi-Ha's were used during their campaign in Burma.

The first use of the Chi-Ha Kai was during the Battle of Corregidor. The new 47 mm made to have a more general tank role truly shined here and easily dealt with the armour of the American M3 Stuart light tanks.

But as the war progressed, the dated Chi-Ha started to fall behind. Still in a position of not being able to create better tanks with the production priority of the Navy, the Japanese capable tanks of the '30s, started facing the American 40's tank, the M4 Sherman, and due to production limitations the Chi-Ha and other Japanese tanks were viewed upon as bad designs and incompetent tanks. As they misinterpret these outdated tanks as Japan's 40's tanks.
M4A3 tank hull side armour after 47 mm penetrations

With the M4 Shermans being a big problem for Japanese tanks, where the most front-line capable tank of taking them out, being the Chi-Ha Kai, was still only able to penetrate from either against the sides and rear.

The largest Japanese tank attack in the Pacific happened during the Battle of Saipan, where Type 97's and Type 95's from both a tank and infantry regiment charged an all-out counter-attack on the night of 16-17 June. As the Americans had landed the day before, they were fully prepared for a counter charge and knocked out about 44 tanks with the use of M4A2s, several M3 GMC, M1 Bazookas and 37 mm anti-tank guns. As this attack was futile, it led to many Japanese losses.

From this moment on, all hope was lost for the outdated tanks which still had to see combat through, and most tanks would be used in a defensive position being emplaced in hull defilades or even buried up to their turrets.

After World War II

Some Japanese tanks, after being captured by Soviet troops during the Soviet–Japanese War in Manchuria and Korea, were given to the Chinese Communists to help their efforts in the Chinese Civil War. After their war, the Chinese kept the Japanese tanks in their inventory until 1949.

See also

Medium Tanks

Gun Tank

SPG's

Media

Images
Videos
  • Historical
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External links


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-B1* · Type 74 · Type 74 (F) · Type 74 (G)
Type 90 MBT  Type 90 · Type 90 (B)
USA  ▅M4A3 (76) W
  *ST-X is prototype stage for said MBT