Type 1 Ho-Ki
|Type 1 Ho-Ki|
Type 1 Ho-Ki APC
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|Weight||5.5 tonnes (6.1 tons)|
|Crew||1 or 2 + 13 passengers|
134 HP/2000 rpm
Development and history
The Type 1 Ho-Ki was developed in 1942 as a result of a request from the army for a heavy armored artillery tractor which could also serve as a personnel transport.
Production of both tracked and half-track APCs began in 1941, and both versions were confusingly designated “Type 1" (See also Type 1 Ho-Ha half-track). The fully tracked Type 1 Ho-Ki was built by Hino Motors, but only in small quantities. Although the Japanese Army had employed mechanized infantry formations in China from the mid-1930s, the general view of field commanders was that armored transports were too slow compared with normal trucks, and were unable to keep up with the speed necessary for contemporary infantry tactics. Furthermore, the priorities of Japanese military production were on combat aircraft and warships, and other offensive weaponry and most experimental APC designs never made it past the prototype stage. By the time the Type 1 Ho-Ki entered mass production in 1944, raw materials were in very short supply, and much of Japan's industrial infrastructure had been destroyed by American bombing. The total number produced is unknown.
The Type 1 Ho-Ki had an unusual silhouette, in that the driver's cab did not reach across the front of the hull, but stopped short about mid-way across the center line. Only one driver was required (although two were typically employed), who manipulated the left and right movement of the tracks via a pair of tiny steering wheels. Transport capacity was thirteen men, and the maximum armor thickness was 6 mm.
As the Type 1 Ho-Ki had been designed to carry supplies, pull artillery as well as to carry infantry, it had no rear exit hatch, it was felt that the towed weapon might interfere with the rapid exit of any onboard riflemen. Entry and exit of troops was thus accomplished from the left (driver's) side via three doors mounted side by side. The hull was welded construction and it was "open-topped", akin to the Type 1 Ho-Ha. The engine, which was located at the right front of the body, was a 6-cylinder, in-line, valve-in-head, air-cooled diesel. The transmission was located in the rear.
The Type 1 Ho-Ki was not normally armed, but provision was made for mounting machine guns to the rear of the driver on the sides of the troop compartment. The Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun carried by Japanese infantry squads could be mounted accordingly. Although it was an APC, it was often mistakenly called a half-track.
Initial deployment of the Type 1 Ho-Ki was to China for operations in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Type 1 Ho-Ki was later deployed to Burma and the Philippines in 1944. However, most were lost when the transport ships carrying them were sunk by American submarines on the way, and only a few were available for Japanese commanders at the Battle of the Philippines.
- Foss, Christopher F (2002). The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles: The Comprehensive Guide to over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles from 1915 to the Present Day. Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 1-57145-806-9.
- Tomczyk, Andrzej (2003). Japanese Armor Vol. 3. AJ Press. ISBN 978-8372371287.