Ho-203 (37 mm)

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A Ho-203 Cannon on display. This was the mainstay cannon of the IJA's Ki-45 heavy fighter weaponry. It was also tested in Schrage Musik Style cannons on modified Ki-46's.


The Ho-203 37 mm is a Japanese, early-rank cannon found on the Ki-45 (Family) of twin-engine fighters. It is a fast-firing, high-damage cannon that has the ability to one-shot many heavily armed planes. It is always paired with two fast-firing 20 mm Ho-5 cannons that allow you to preserve ammo by alternating which guns you use. They typically have a low ammo count but have a much higher fire rate than other 37 mm cannons, meaning trigger discipline is of the utmost importance. The low BR in which this cannon is found is a blessing in disguise because your opposition is generally moving at very low speeds, allowing you proper time to lead your shots.

The main downsides of the cannon are its low muzzle velocity and its inability to carry AP ammo. This severely limits its effectiveness in Ground RB, because you will be unable to get through any armor with this cannon. The low muzzle velocity makes it difficult to target small, nimble fighters.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

The cannon is a very fast-firing cannon in terms of its caliber, but it is still nothing compared to the fire rate of 20 mm cannons. It shines in the bomber-interception role, where it can be used to target large bombers. It usually takes a single hit to cripple a bomber or destroy it.

Available ammunition

  • Default: HEFI-T

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
HEFI-T 4 3 3 3 3 3
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
HEFI-T 610 0.44 0.4 0.3 35 79° 80° 81°

Comparison with analogues

The cannon is regarded as one of the fastest firing 37 mms when compared with other nations. However, it has a lower muzzle velocity and no access to AP ammo.

  • BK 3.7: Germany's only 37 mm cannon is probably the best 37 mm cannon of the war. Although it has a lower fire rate, the cannon is deadly accurate, has a ridiculous muzzle velocity, great penetration on AP shells, and much more ammo than its counterparts when mounted in the belly.
  • M4/M10: America's 37 mm found in the Kingcobra/Airacobra family of aircraft, as well as a few others. It has very poor accuracy and only half the fire rate of the Ho-203. It suffers from poor belt selection, and its AP rounds do not have much penetrating power. Its ammo count is what gives it a slight advantage when compared to the Ho-203
  • NS-37: There are many high-caliber Russian guns, but the variant that sees the same foes as the Ho-203 is the infamous NS-37. It has almost as fast of a fire rate as the Ho-203. It has very strong AP rounds as well, making it a really good pick for Ground RB. The only complaint pilots have is the inaccuracy of the gun and its tendency to jam incredibly quickly.
  • Breda Model 39 37/54: The Italian 37 mm has better velocity than the Ho-203, access to somewhat mediocre AP rounds, and a good ammo count. However, the rate of fire is absolutely abysmal. Found on some Italian Attackers, it suits a role different than the Ho-203.
  • Ho-204: Essentially an upgraded Ho-203. It boasts more than double the ammunition count, 40% more explosive filler, a faster muzzle velocity, an even faster fire rate, more accuracy, and less tendency to jam. It is only found on the elusive Ki-108 Kai, but it is a very solid interceptor cannon.
  • Type 94: Currently the only cannon in the game that is used in both a tank and a plane, the Type-94 was the first anti-tank cannon that Japan built. It has extremely poor penetration on tanks, a low muzzle velocity, and an obsoletely abysmal rate of fire (it is a tank cannon after all). It has no tracer filler on its HE rounds making leading shots almost impossible, coupled with the fact that it has poor muzzle velocity. The AP rounds have little penetration, however, they do have excellent post-penetration damage. Currently, the cannon is found on the Ki-45 otsu variant, as well as the Ha-Go and Ro-Go series of tanks. It is a very poor choice of aircraft cannon.

Usage in battles

Boasting an incredible fire rate and good explosive filler, the Ho-203 cannon shines in hitting large, slow targets like bombers. It is usually a one-hit kill and requires skill to lead your shots due to its low muzzle velocity. It is found on interceptor aircraft and is mounted in the nose of most planes, making it easier to hit the designated target.

Pros and cons


  • Very fast fire rate for a 37 mm cannon
  • Good explosive filler
  • Mounted in the nose
  • Will not jam quickly when upgraded
  • Fairly accurate


  • Poor muzzle velocity
  • No access to AP rounds
  • Very limited ammo


The story of the Ho-203 begins in World War I with the French Canon d'Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916 TRP which was designed as a man-portable weapon for destroying machine gun nests. After the war ended, Japan began licensing multiple designs from France including the Modéle 1916 TRP which became the Type 11 pattern 1922 (37 mm) Infantry Support Gun, which has a vertically sliding breech block and steel tube frame that replaces the original wheeled carriage. The Ho-203 is a variant of the Type 11 adapted for a long recoil action enabling automatic fire at a rate of 120 rounds per minute at a muzzle velocity of 1,900f/s (570m/s) and an effective range of 3,000 feet (900 meters). The Ho-203 is fed with a 15-round drum magazine and mounted as a bomber killer weapon for the Ki-45-KAI and in a Schräge Musik mount on Ki-46 for use as heavy fighters.


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

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

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

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.

Japan aircraft cannons
20 mm  Ho-1 · Ho-3 · Ho-5 · Type 99 Model 1 · Type 99 Model 2
30 mm  Ho-155 · Type 5
37 mm  Ho-203 · Ho-204 · Type 94
40 mm  Ho-301
57 mm  Ho-401
75 mm  Type 88
20 mm  M39A3 (USA) · M61A1 (USA) · M197 (USA) · MG FF (Germany) · MG FF/M (Germany) · MG 151 (Germany)
30 mm  GAU-13/A (USA) · M230E-1 (USA)

China aircraft cannons
23 mm  Type 23-1 · Type 23-2K · Type 23-3 · Type 23L
30 mm  Type 30-1
20 mm  AN/M2 (USA) · B-20E (USSR) · Hispano 404 (France) · Hispano Mk.II (Britain) · Ho-3 (Japan) · Ho-5 (Japan)
  M39A1 (USA) · M39A2 (USA) · M39A3 (USA) · M61A1 (USA) · M197 (USA) · ShVAK (USSR) · Type 99 Model 1 (Japan)
23 mm  NR-23 (USSR) · NS-23 (USSR) · NS-23K (USSR)
30 mm  GAU-13/A (USA)
37 mm  Ho-203 (Japan) · N-37D (USSR)