Type 3 Ho-Ni III
|Type 3 Ho-Ni III|
Type 3 Ho-Ni III tank destroyer
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|No. built||31 to 41|
|Length||5.52 m (18 ft 1 in)|
|Width||2.29 m (7 ft 6 in)|
|Height||2.39 m (7 ft 10 in)|
|Type 3 75 mm tank gun|
|Engine||Mitsubishi air-cooled V12 Diesel|
The Type 3 Gun tank Ho-Ni III (三式砲戦車 ホニIII San-shiki hōsensha) gun tank was a tank destroyer and self-propelled artillery of Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The Type 3 Ho-Ni III superseded the Type 1 Ho-Ni I and its variant the Type 1 Ho-Ni II in production, and gave better protection to the crew due to having a completely enclosed superstructure.
History and development
Previous gun tanks, Type 1 Ho-Ni I and Type 2 Ho-I, were not really optimized designs. Type 1 Ho-Ni I used an open casemate with frontal and side armour only for the main gun, which made the crew vulnerable in close combat situations. The Type 2 Ho-I, despite its enclosed rotating turret, was armed with a low-velocity howitzer more suitable against gun emplacements and fortifications and required specialized shaped-charge warhead ammunition in tank destroyer roles. The fully enclosed and armored casemate of the Type 3 Ho-Ni III with the Type 3 75 mm tank gun was intended to address these issues, and an order of 57 was placed with Hitachi Ltd in early 1944. Production was hampered by material shortages, and by the bombing of Japan in World War II, and only 31 to 41 were completed by the time of the end of the war.
The Type 3 Ho-Ni III utilized the chassis of the Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank. The main armament of the Type 3 Ho-Ni III was a Type 3 75 mm tank gun, which was based on the 75 mm Type 90 Field Gun; the field gun itself was loosely based on the French Schneider et Cie Canon de 85 mle 1927. The Type 3 75 mm tank gun was also used in the Type 3 Chi-Nu medium tank. The Type 3 Ho-Ni III 75 mm main gun was mounted in a fully enclosed fighting compartment with its flanks protruding beyond the hull sides, giving the appearance of a gun turret although in reality it was incapable of rotation. There was no provision for secondary armament, and no front hull machine-gun. It had several hatches, including a large one which opened to the sides, which was fitted "in the rear plate" of the superstructure.
Although the Type 3 Ho-Ni III were assigned to various combat units, most were stationed within the Japanese home islands to defend against the projected Allied Invasion. As the surrender of Japan occurred before that invasion, there is no record of the Type 3 Ho-Ni III being used in actual combat.
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