Type 1 47 mm anti-tank gun

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Type 1 47 mm anti-tank gun
Japanese Type 1 Anti-Tank gun.JPG
Type 1 47 mm anti-tank gun at the U.S. Army Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii
TypeAnti-tank gun
Place of originJapan
Service history
In service1942 - 1945
Used byImperial Japanese Army
WarsSecond World War
Production history
Designedcirca 1939
No. built2,300
VariantsMain gun on the Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha, Type 1 Chi-He and Type 3 Ka-Chi
Mass753 kg (1,660 lb)
Barrel length2.53 m (8 ft 4 in) L/53.7

Shell47×285 mm. R
Shell weight1.4 kg (3 lb 1 oz)
Caliber47 mm (1.85 in)
ActionBreech loading
Elevation-11° to +18°
Muzzle velocity840 m/s (2,723 ft/s)
Maximum firing range6,900 m (7,546 yds)
SightsStraight telescope

The Type 1 47 mm anti-tank gun (一式機動四十七粍速射砲, Isshiki Kidō yonjyūnana-miri sokushahō) was an anti-tank gun developed by the Imperial Japanese Army, and used in combat during World War II.[1] The Type 1 number was designated for the year the gun was accepted, 2601 in the Japanese imperial year calendar, or 1941 in the Gregorian calendar.[2]

History and development[edit]

The Type 1 47 mm anti-tank gun was accepted into service in 1942. The design originated as an improvement to the prototype “Experimental Type 97 (1937) 47 mm anti-tank gun” (試製九七式四十七粍速射砲), which was tested between 1938 and 1939. The prototype weighed 567 kilograms with a barrel length of 2,515 mm, a traverse range of ±50 degrees and an elevation range of between minus 10 and plus 20 degrees, and a muzzle velocity of 730 m/s. The prototype was not accepted into service because it was considered to not have sufficient performance.

After the Nomonhan Incident, the Imperial Japanese Army started the development of a new anti-tank gun, considering that the Type 94 37 mm anti-tank gun would likely be ineffective against the new Soviet tanks. The design was the first completely indigenous anti-tank gun design completed in Japan, and production was assigned to the army's Osaka Arsenal. In terms of performance, the design was still somewhat inferior to advanced contemporary designs in western nations, but was considered suitable by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff due to the anticipated lack of armor by the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, and by the belief that Japan would face only light tanks fielded by the Allied nations in case of a more general war.[3] The Type 1 47 mm AT Gun was introduced in 1942, and approximately 2,300 were produced.[4]


The Type 1 47 mm AT gun was a relatively modern design compared to other Japanese Second World war designs, being relatively light and easy to handle. As with many Japanese designs, it had a very low profile and was intended to be operated from a kneeling or prone position. The gun had a gun shield to protect the gunner. The carriage appears to have adopted a number of design features from the Soviet ZIK 45 mm anti-tank gun[citation needed], a number of examples of which were captured by the Japanese during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol (Nomonhan) in 1939. It used a semi-automatic breech block with a horizontal sliding wedge. When the gun was fired the spent shell casing was automatically ejected, and upon loading a fresh shell, the breech block closed automatically. A hydro-spring recoil mechanism was housed under the barrel. The weapon had a split trail which opened to an angle of 60 degrees for firing to improve stability.[3] Transport was by towing behind a truck or horse, via two steel disc wheels fitted with sponge rubber filled tires.


The Type 1 fired six types of shells:

Type 1 APHE shell[edit]

The APHE shell weighed 3.37 pounds (1.53 kg) and used a Mark 2 base fuse, the complete round weighing 6.1 pounds (2.8 kg). It had a small explosive charge of 0.04 pounds (18 g) consisting of RDX phlegmatized with 10% paraffin. The round also had a tracer.[5]

Armor penetration of Type 1 APHE shell[6]
Range Penetration at 0° Penetration at 30°
250 yards (230 m) 3 inches (76 mm) 2.25 inches (57 mm)
500 yards (460 m) 2.75 inches (70 mm) 2 inches (51 mm)
750 yards (690 m) 2.45 inches (62 mm) 1.7 inches (43 mm)
1,000 yards (910 m) 2 inches (51 mm) 1.4 inches (36 mm)
1,500 yards (1,400 m) 1.6 inches (41 mm) 1.2 inches (30 mm)

Type 1 HE shell[edit]

The HE shell weighed 3.08 pounds (1.40 kg) and used the Type 88 instantaneous or short delay fuse with a complete round weighing 5.4 pounds (2.4 kg). It contained 0.2 pounds (91 g) of explosive, consisting of a small block of picric acid and a larger block of TNT.[5]

Combat record[edit]

The Type 1 47 mm AT gun was introduced to combat service only in 1941, with the intent of it replacing the Type 94 37 mm (1.5 in) anti-tank gun. It was very effective for its role, with American personnel calling it "an excellent weapon, with mechanized carriage and a high muzzle-velocity" that "proved most effective in combat", though it was not always available in sufficient numbers. It had a high rate of fire and with AP shells was capable of perforating the front armor of the M4A6 (a slightly more heavily armored variant of the M4 medium tank[citation needed]) at 800 yards (730 m), though standard doctrine was to wait until tanks got closer if possible to ensure good shot placement.[7][8] The weaker APHE shell, while incapable of penetrating the M4 Medium's 93 mm (3.7 in) of effective front armor, could still penetrate the tank's side (38–45 mm (1.5–1.8 in))[9] of vertical armor), the most likely part of the tank to get hit, at a distance of more than a kilometre.[10] It was issued to armored units as well as independent anti-tank units, and was fielded in a wide variety of areas, but most notably the Philippines and Okinawa, and continued to be used with diminishing effectiveness until the end of World War II.[11]

After World War II the Type 1 47 mm AT gun was used in the Indonesian National Revolution by the Indonesian Army. In the Battle of Surabaya Dutch forces and British forces suffered moderate casualties among their convoy which consisted M3 Stuarts and M4 Shermans.[citation needed]

Type 1 47 mm tank gun[edit]

Type 1 Chi-He medium tank mounting the Type 1 47 mm tank gun

A variant known as the Type 1 47 mm tank gun was used as the main armament of the Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha, Type 1 Chi-He, Type 3 Ka-Chi, and Type 5 Ke-Ho tanks.[12] The tank gun had the following specifications:[13]

  • Calibre: 47 mm
  • Barrel length: 2.250 m (7 ft 4.6 in) (L48)
  • Elevation: -15 to +20 degrees
  • AZ angle of fire : 20 degrees
  • Muzzle velocity: 810 m/s (2,700 ft/s)
  • Penetration: 55 mm (2.2 in) at 100 m (110 yd), 40 mm (1.6 in) at 500 m (550 yd), 30 mm (1.2 in) at 1,000 m (1,100 yd)


  1. ^ Bishop. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II
  2. ^ War Department TM-E-30-480. Handbook on Japanese Military Forces September 1944 p 400
  3. ^ a b Chant, Artillery of World War II. p. 61
  4. ^ Taki's Imperial Japanese Army: "Type 1 47mm Anti-Tank Gun"
  5. ^ a b Japanese Explosive Ordnance, TM 9-1985-5
  6. ^ US Department of War, Japanese Tank and Anti-Tank Warfare. United States Government Printing Office. Washington D.C., pp. 109–112.
  7. ^ Huber, Thomas. "Japan's Battle of Okinawa, April–June 1945". Leavenworth Papers, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth. p. 69: "the 47-mm gun would perforate... any armor of the M4A6 tank... at all ranges... up to 800 yards."
  8. ^ "Enemy on Luzon: an intelligence summary." Headquarters, Sixth Army. 1945. p. 193: "Widely employed on Luzon was the 47-mm anti-tank gun, Type 1 (1941). It was an excellent weapon, with mechanized carriage and a high muzzle-velocity (2750 f/s). It proved most effective in combat, and tests showed penetration of 4.5 inches (114 mm) of armor at close range and direct angle of impact." If the standard U.S. Army testing procedures were followed, as in the above table for the APHE shell, "close range" should be 250 yards.
  9. ^ AFV Database
  10. ^ US Department of War, Japanese Tank and Anti-Tank Warfare Archived 2012-11-16 at the Wayback Machine. United States Government Printing Office. Washington D.C., pp. 109–112.
  11. ^ MacLean.Japanese Artillery; Weapons and Tactics
  12. ^ Foss, Tanks: The 500, p. 218
  13. ^ Taki's Imperial Japanese Army: "Tank Guns" Type 1 47mm Tank Gun


  • Bishop, Chris (eds) The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. Barnes & Nobel. 1998. ISBN 0-7607-1022-8
  • Chant, Chris. Artillery of World War II, Zenith Press, 2001, ISBN 0-7603-1172-2
  • Foss, Christopher (2003). Tanks: The 500. Crestline. ISBN 0-7603-1500-0.
  • McLean, Donald B. Japanese Artillery; Weapons and Tactics. Wickenburg, Ariz.: Normount Technical Publications 1973. ISBN 0-87947-157-3.
  • Nakanishi, Ritta Japanese Infantry Arms in World War II, Dainipponkaiga Company 1991, ISBN 4-499-22690-2
  • US Department of War, TM 30-480, Handbook on Japanese Military Forces, Louisiana State University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8071-2013-8
  • War Department TM-E-30-480 Handbook on Japanese Military Forces September 1944

External links[edit]