Type 5 Ke-Ho

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Type 5 Ke-Ho
Type 5 Ke-Ho.jpg
Type 5 Ke-Ho light tank
Type Light tank
Place of origin Empire of Japan
Production history
Designed 1942
Produced 1945
No. built 1 (prototype)
Weight 10 tons
Length 4.38 meters
Width 2.23 meters
Height 2.23 meters
Crew 4

Armor 8-20 mm
Type 1 47 mm tank gun
Type 97 7.7mm machine gun
Engine straight six-cylinders supercharged air cooled diesel
150 HP
Suspension Bell crank
Speed 50 km/h

The Type 5 light tank Ke-Ho (五式軽戦車 ケホ?, Go-shiki keisensha Keho) was a prototype light tank developed by the Imperial Japanese Army at the end of World War II.

History and development[edit]

In 1938, development began for a new light tank for the Japanese army.[1] While the Type 95 Ha-Go had performed well against the National Revolutionary Army of the China in the Second Sino-Japanese War and successfully engaged United States M3 Stuart light tanks on the Bataan Peninsula in December 1941,[2] it was quickly growing obsolete. Although its 37mm gun was adequate for most light armor designed and built in the 1930s, the Ha-Go, like the tanks of the US Army prior to 1941, was not designed to fight enemy tanks, but rather to support the infantry.[3] The Type 95's light armor made it vulnerable to .50 caliber machine gun fire[1] and attempts to address these shortcomings via the Type 98 Ke-Ni and the Type 2 Ke-To were steps in the right direction, but were still insufficient.[4] Therefore, a complete design review was held and a prototype for a new standard light tank was completed by 1942. At this point the project was shelved, as the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff had to concede to the Imperial Navy's needs of raw materials necessary for the production of warships and warplanes. Mass production was finally authorized in 1945, by which time it was too late. Production was impossible due to shortages of materials such as steel, and the bombing of Japan.[5] Only a single prototype was completed by the end of World War II.



The Type 5 Ke-Ho had armor of up to 20 mm, and a Type 1 47 mm main gun, an improvement over existing Japanese light tanks. The tank weighed 9 tonnes due to increased armor thickness and a bigger engine. Turret layout drew previous design experience from Type 97 Chi-Ha and Type 1 Chi-He. [6]


It was powered by an air cooled diesel engine yielding 150 HP, for a top speed of 50 km/h. Details about the engine design still remains unknown. One theory indicates it was an improved version of the Chiyoda EC engine manufactured by Tokyo Gas and Electronics Industry in 1937. The tank also had a fuel tank capacity of 130 L. [7]

Planned variant[edit]

  • 75 mm SPG Ku-Se
A self-propelled gun (SPG) with 75 mm Cannon in a Type 5 Ke-Ho chassis. The turret was to be removed, and a Type 99 mountain gun placed in the hull similar to Ho-Ni/Ho-Ro SPGs.


  1. ^ a b Zaloga 2007, p. 18.
  2. ^ Hunnicutt (Stuart) p. 395
  3. ^ Zaloga (Armored Thunderbolt) p. 18
  4. ^ Foss, The Great Book of Tanks
  5. ^ Zaloga 2007, pp. 15, 22.
  6. ^ For the Record: Type 5 Ke Ho – Japanese light tank
  7. ^ 九五式軽戦車 ハ号


  • 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. 
  • Zaloga, Steven J. (2007). Japanese Tanks 1939–45. Osprey. ISBN 978-1-8460-3091-8. 

External links[edit]