Type 3 Chi-Nu

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Type 3 Chi-Nu
Japanese Type 3 Chi-Nu tank 1.jpg
A Type 3 Chi-Nu at the JGSDF Ordnance School in Tsuchiura, Japan
Place of origin  Empire of Japan
Production history
Designed 1943
Produced 1944–1945
Number built 144 to 166[1][2]
Weight 19 tonnes (21 tons)[3]
Length 5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)
Width 2.41 m (7 ft 11 in)
Height 2.68 m (8 ft 10 in)
Crew 5

Armor 12-50 mm
Type 3 75 mm tank gun (L/38)
1 x 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun

Mitsubishi Type 100
21.7 L V-12 diesel
240 hp (179 kW) at 2,000 rpm

(12.63 hp/tonne)
Suspension Bell crank
210 km (130 mi)
Speed 39 km/h (24 mph)

Type 3 Medium Tank Chi-Nu (三式中戦車 チヌ San-shiki chū-sensha Chi-nu?) was a medium tank of Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. It was an improved version of the Type 97 Chi-Ha, incorporating a Type 3 75 mm tank gun, one of the largest Japanese tank guns during the war.

The Chi-Nu did not see combat during the war. All produced units were retained for the defence of the Japanese Homeland in case of an Allied invasion.

History and development[edit]

At the beginning stage of Pacific War, Type 97 Chi-Ha and Type 95 Ha-Go (light tank) were the backbone of the Imperial Japanese Army. As the war progressed, these tanks started to face significant challenges posed by Allied tanks. In Burma Campaign and Philippines Campaign, the firepower of the 57 mm cannon mounted on the Type 97 was proven to be insufficient against Allied tanks. The Imperial Japanese Army therefore developed the Type 1 47 mm tank gun which had higher armor penetrating power. This gun was mounted on Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha and Type 1 Chi-He medium tanks.

At the later stage of the war, large numbers of American M4 Sherman tanks arrived at the front line and put new pressure on Japanese armored forces. The Imperial General Headquarters (大本営 Daihon'ei) decided to develop a new tank to counter the enemy threat as well as a replacement for the Type 97 and Type 95.

The Army Technical Bureau had been working on the Type 4 Chi-To medium tank as the counter to the M4 Sherman, but there were problems and delays in the program. As a result a stopgap tank was required. The Type 3 medium tank Chi-Nu was developed to cope with the M4 Sherman.[4] Work on the Type 3 Chi-Nu started in May 1943 and was finished by October. The low priority given to tank production by 1943 meant that the Type 3 did not actually enter production until 1944, by which time raw materials were in very short supply, and much of Japan's industrial infrastructure had been destroyed by American strategic bombing.[5]

Type 3 Chi-Nu tank production line, 1945

A total of 144 to 166 units were produced by the war's end.[1][6] The Type 3 Chi-Nu was the last tank that was fielded by the Imperial Japanese armed forces, and was still in production at the end of the war.[7]


Armor and Protection[edit]

Side view of Type 3 Chi-Nu

The Type 3 Chi-Nu retained the same chassis and suspension of the Type 97 but with a large new hexagonal gun turret and a commander's cupola.[5] It was the last design that based directly on Type 97 lineage.[8] The hull of the tank resembled the hull of the Type 1 Chi-He but with an enlarged turret ring to fit the new turret.


The Chi-Nu used a lever system rather than a handle system. It had the same engine as the Chi-He, producing 240 hp and a top speed of 38.8 Kph.[9]


The main armament of the Type 3 Chi-Nu was the 75 mm caliber Type 3 tank gun. The gun could be elevated between -10 and +25 degrees. Firing a shell at a muzzle velocity of 680 metres per second (2,200 ft/s) it gave an armor penetration of 90 mm (3.5 in) at 100 m (110 yd) and 65 mm (2.6 in) at 1,000 m (1,100 yd).[10][11]

Service record[edit]

IJA 4th Armored Division with Type 3 Chi-Nu

The Type 3 was allocated to the Japanese home islands to defend against the projected Allied Invasion. As the surrender of Japan occurred before that invasion, the Type 3 was never used in combat.[12] The 4th Tank Division based in Fukuoka on Kyushu had a "significant" number of the Type 3 tanks which had been produced at its depot by the end of the war.[13]

One surviving Type 3 medium tank is on display at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Military Ordnance Training School at Tsuchiura, Ibaraki, Japan.


Chi-Nu 2.jpg
  • Type 3 Chi-Nu Kai prototype
One Chi-Nu was armed with the Type 5 75 mm tank gun (L/56.4) and a Type 4 Chi-To turret. The test was successful.[14]

See also[edit]

Tanks of comparable role, performance, and era[edit]


  1. ^ a b Zaloga 2007, p. 22.
  2. ^ Taki's IJA: Type 3 Chi-Nu Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  3. ^ Hara, AFV Profile 49 (1972)
  4. ^ Taki's IJA: "Tanks after Chi-Ha" Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Tomczyk 2005, p. 3.
  6. ^ Taki's IJA: Type 3 Chi-Nu Retrieved 2 May 2016
  7. ^ Taki's IJA: "Tanks after Chi-Ha" Retrieved 2 May 2016
  8. ^ Zaloga 2007, pp. 17, 21.
  9. ^ For the Record: Type 3 Chi-Nu Retrieved 3 October 2014
  10. ^ Tomczyk 2005, pp. 3, 5.
  11. ^ History of War
  12. ^ Zaloga 2007, pp. 21, 22.
  13. ^ Tomczyk 2005, p. 15.
  14. ^ For the Record: Type 3 Chi-Nu Retrieved 3 October 2014


  • Foss, Christopher (2003). Great Book of Tanks: The World's Most Important Tanks from World War I to the Present Day. Zenith Press. ISBN 0-7603-1475-6. 
  • Foss, Christopher (2003). Tanks: The 500. Crestline. ISBN 0-7603-1500-0. 
  • Tomczyk, Andrzej (2005). Japanese Armor Vol. 4. AJ Press. ISBN 978-8372371676. 
  • Zaloga, Steven J. (2007). Japanese Tanks 1939–45. Osprey. ISBN 978-1-8460-3091-8. 

External links[edit]