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
No. built 144 to 166[1][2]
Specifications
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
Main
armament
Type 3 75 mm tank gun (L/38)
Secondary
armament
1 x 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun
Engine

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

(12.63 hp/tonne)
Suspension Bell crank
Operational
range
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?) ("Imperial Year 2603 Medium tank Model 10") was a medium tank of the 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 outbreak of the Pacific War, the Type 97 Chi-Ha and Type 95 Ha-Go designs comprised the mainstay of the armored units of the Imperial Japanese Army. As the war progressed, these tanks started to face significant challenges posed by Allied tanks. In the Burma and Philippines Campaigns, 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][2] 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.[4]

Design[edit]

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 1 Chi-He, but with the addition of an enlarged turret ring for the large new hexagonal gun turret with a commander's cupola.[3][6] It was the last design that based directly on Type 97 lineage.[7]

Type 3 Chi-Nu during assembly process, showing its transmission and partially installed controls

Armament[edit]

The main armament of the Type 3 Chi-Nu was the 75 mm Type 3 tank gun. The gun could be elevated between -10 and +25 degrees. Firing a shell at a muzzle velocity of 680 m/s (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).[8][9] Later APHE shells (695 m/s) were available giving the gun 100 mm (3.9 in) of penetration at 500 m.[citation needed]

Mobility[edit]

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.[10]

Service record[edit]

IJA 4th Tank Division with Type 3 Chi-Nu tanks

The Type 3 was allocated to the Japanese home islands to defend against the projected Allied Invasion. They were to be part of the "Mobile Shock Force" to be used for counter-attacks.[11] 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.

Variants[edit]

  • 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]
Type 3 Chi-Nu in 1945

See also[edit]

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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Zaloga 2007, p. 22.
  2. ^ a b Taki's Imperial Japanese Army: Type 3 Chi-Nu Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Hara 1972, p. 18.
  4. ^ a b Taki's Imperial Japanese Army: "Tanks after Chi-Ha" Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  5. ^ Tomczyk 2005, p. 3.
  6. ^ Tomczyk 2005, pp. 3, 32.
  7. ^ Zaloga 2007, pp. 17, 21.
  8. ^ Tomczyk 2005, pp. 3, 5.
  9. ^ Taki's Imperial Japanese Army: "Tank Guns" Type 3 75mm Tank Gun
  10. ^ For the Record: Type 3 Chi-Nu Retrieved 3 October 2014
  11. ^ Rottman & Takizawa 2008, p. 16.
  12. ^ Zaloga 2007, pp. 21, 22.
  13. ^ Tomczyk 2005, p. 15.
  14. ^ For the Record: Type 3 Chi-Nu Retrieved 3 October 2014

References[edit]

  • 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. 
  • Hara, Tomio (1972). Japanese Medium Tanks. AFV Weapons Profiles No. 49. Profile Publications Limited. 
  • Rottman, Gordon L.; Takizawa, Akira (2008). World War II Japanese Tank Tactics. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1846032349. 
  • 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]