Type 95 Heavy Tank
|Type 95 Heavy Tank|
The Type 95 Heavy Tank.
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|Weight||26 t (29 short tons)|
|Length||6.47 m (21.25 ft.)|
|Width||2.69 m (8.8 ft.)|
|Height||2.89 m (9.5 ft.)|
|1x 70 mm tank gun|
|1x 37 mm tank gun, 2x 6.5mm MG|
|Engine||Inline 6-cylinder engine
|Speed||22 km/h (13.7 mph)|
The Type 95 Heavy Tank was the final result of Japanese multi-turreted tank design, and was in commission during the time period between World War I and World War II. Modeled on German and Italian tank designs, this tank featured 2 turrets, the main armament being a 70 mm cannon, and its secondary front turret mounting a 37 mm gun and a 6.5 mm machine gun in the rear turret. Four prototypes were produced, in 1934.
After World War I, major powers around the world quickly adopted the revolutionary design of French Renault FT light tank. One of the most successful features on the Renault FT was a 360 degree rotating turret. While developing new single-turreted tanks more closely based on the Renault FT, many countries, including Japan, also experimented with the possibility of multi-turreted designs.
Forerunner Type 91 heavy tank
The Imperial Japanese Army made the decision to develop heavy combat vehicles, which was prompted by the increasing threat posed by the Soviet Union, a potential enemy of Japan in East Asia. In 1931, Japan produced a prototype heavy tank that was designated the Type 91. It was a 18 ton, three turret tank with a BMW IV Inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine. The Type 91 had a Type 90 57 mm cannon as its main armament. Its two smaller auxiliary turrets were each armed with a 6.5 mm machine gun. The tank had a maximum armor plate thickness of 17 mm; same as the prior Type 87 Chi-I prototype. It had seventeen road wheels, which were supported by a "two-stage leaf spring suspension system". This first design was not successful, and the Type 91 project was soon canceled. However, this project became a stepping stone in the development of the Type 95 Heavy tank.
Development and firepower of the Type 95
The development of a new multi-turreted tank started in 1932 and completed in 1934. The overall shape of the Type 95 followed the design of the earlier Type 91, but it had thicker armor and its firepower was significantly improved. Its suspension system was modified from that of the Type 91. While still using a leaf spring suspension, it only had nine road wheels on each side. Its 26 tonne weight made it the largest Japanese tank at the time. Four prototypes were produced in 1934. However, the multi-turreted tank concept was cancelled. It proved to be slower in speed than desired, a complicated design, and had poor mobility. The Type 95 did not go into production.
Modeled on German and Italian tank designs, this tank featured 2 turrets, the primary weapon of Type 95 was a Type 94 7 cm tank gun specifically designed for it. The cannon could fire both Type 92 high-explosive shells and Type 95 armor-piercing shells. The gun elevation angle was 20 degrees and gun depression angle was -12 degrees. A 6.5 mm machine gun was mounted on the main turret. Two addition turrets gave Type 95 yet more firepower: one Type 94 3.7 cm tank cannon was mounted in one auxiliary turret, and the second auxiliary turret featured a 6.5 mm machine gun.
Two chassis were later used as platforms for:
- Experimental 105 mm SPG Ji-Ro or Ji-Ro Sha
- Experimental 150 mm SPG Hi-Ro Sha or Hiro-sha
- An SPG with 150 mm main cannon in Type 95 Heavy Tank chassis. A self-propelled howitzer.
- Hara, Tomio (1972). Japanese Medium Tanks. AFV Weapons Profiles No. 49. Profile Publications Limited.
- Tomczyk, Andrzej (2002). Japanese Armor Vol. 1. AJ Press. ISBN 83-7237-097-4.