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German tanks in Japanese service

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by Ae Sun, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Ae Sun

    Ae Sun New Member

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    Throughout the 15 Years' War, Imperial Japan had little contact with its ally, Nazi Germany. The only technology trade made were through submarine variables transferring Jet and other air equipment. However in on 1943 the Japanese bought 4 German tanks to be used for testing purposes in the Imperial Japanese Army. They were planned to be used to further Japanese tank projects, not used in combat. The Pacific theater was too complex for these German designs... that broke down easily enough in their own environments.


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    Photograph of the Japanese purchased Panzer V Panther.


    In 1943, Japanese sent 12 IJA Officers to go to Nazi Germany to conduct German armoured tanks and vehicles. The head of this group was Imperial Japanese Army's Colonel Ishide, an experienced Officer in the Japanese tank corps. These troops purchased 4 vehicles in total, being the Panzer VI Tiger, Panzer V Panther, Panzer III N, and Panzer III J. Japan spent a month in Nazi Germany conducting testing trials on these tanks, however they were not sent to Japan. Due to the war situation, Japan sold these tanks back to Germany.


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    Colonel Ishide and assistants with German officers in front of their Panther
    These tanks would have been minor contributions to Imperial Japan if had been sent back to the mainland. The Pacific theater is natural rainy and muddy, something German tanks were not developed to habituate, unlike the Japanese counterparts. By this point in the war setting Japan had begun their advanced tank projects, which would have outclassed outdated German equipment.​
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    Colonel Ishide testing the Panzer VI Tiger
     
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  2. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    good point here....big tanks were not suitable for a lot of the Pacific areas/coast land...could the Japanese have been able to produce these efficiently?? they were not used to building this type of machinery??
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Thanx, did not know that. But I can understand these tanks would not have been very good in jungle conditions.
     
  4. Ae Sun

    Ae Sun New Member

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    A Panther or Tiger could have been produced in a limited supply, but they could in the end. By this part of the war Japan had better designs they were working on,

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  5. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    A 30 tonns class tank would have served the Japanese well in Manchuria against the Soviets, and in Burma, in the "island hopping" campaign having something that could match a Sherman one on one would have been sometimes useful though tanks operating within the range of enemy naval artillery are not likely to have short lives. So the effort of building such a vehicle was probably not justified until very late in the war, tankettes were enough against the Chinese.

    And the Japanese needed very reliable, easy to maintain and fuel efficient tanks, the Germans had nothing to offer in that regard, the 40t Panther and 50t Tiger were not suited to the sort of warfare the Japanese were conducting and the Pz IV had reched the limit of the design by 1943.

    As a curiosity IIRC the Chinese did operate some Pz I against the Japanese.
     
  6. Ae Sun

    Ae Sun New Member

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    Germany sent tanks and equipment to China through the Sino-German cooperation. The Panzer I was useless against Japanese tanks in combat, however.
     
  7. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    That drawing looks like the 1944 Type 5 (CHI-RI ) prototype, but the only photo I've seen of it had 7 not 8 road wheels so it could be a later design. IIRC it was apretty advanced design with an autoloader for it's main gun
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, it is the Type 5 Chi-Ri, and it did have eight road wheels. Worthy of note is the 37mm bow gun, so, yeah, it is a Type 5.

    The seven road wheels was the Type 4 Chi-To...The photo was probably mislabeled because the two designs looked very similar.
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    Ae Sun,
    By the way, nice drawing.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    As to Japanese production capability, The Type 4 or Type 5 would have been produced in very limited numbers. I have seen the number of Type 4s vary from 2 to 6 vehicles, and for the Type 5, it was only the prototype. Even with the Type 3 Chi-Nu, their Sherman equivalent, the Japanese only produced some 166 tanks prior to the end of the war.

    The American bombing campaign and their submarine campaign were having their desired effect. And, we would have to consider where the Japanese would get the fuel supplies necessary for extended armor engagements.
     
  10. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    It wasn't the Pacific Islands themselves, nor the climate, that prevented the use of heavier tanks by the Japanese. It was their strictly limited resources, and a higher priority thereof being given to the air force and navy.

    Witness a M4 sherman carrying away a captured Japanese tankette on Kwajalein.

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    If the USA could operate a M4 tank on an Island Atoll, then it can't have been the climate preventing their use.
     
  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Does anyone have a photo of the Type 5, the "possibly mislabelled" one I have is dark but the cupola looks to the left of the turret unlike the type 4 were it seems to be on the right but the turret side MG in the drawing and in your picture seem to be missing, which leads me to suspect my picture is a Type 4 photo printed backwards.
     
  12. Ae Sun

    Ae Sun New Member

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    I would have to disagree with you on the first point. The Type5's production estimation was 250 units, going off the Type5 Chi-Ri II Kai, the Production design that too was partially built. The Japanese started to use different materials that were in a larger supply to fill the tank numbers as wanted.


    [​IMG]
     
  13. Ae Sun

    Ae Sun New Member

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    [​IMG]



    This is the only Type5 existing by the time the American forces stepped down into Japan. The gun was removed and other parts taken off the vehicle to prevent the US from finding out about the tank's full capability.


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    This is the Type4 Chi-To.
     
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  14. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    I always wondered why the Japanese never managed to secure plans and license from Germany to produce Panzerfaust. It seems much more in keeping with their style of fighting and industrial capacity.

    I didn't see one on the schematics but was a coax machine gun planned for the turret?
     
  15. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    the areas with the swamps/monsoons/etc.......maybe near the airfields, etc can be used for tanks, <>even then, hard going.....but not the inland areas....as someone pointed out, I think air and naval arty would take them out ''easily''...the area wasn't good for mass tank units, as Europe was....sure you can get a tank there......but, do you want to waste production/shipping/etc on an area that can't support a lot of tanks?
    sure they got the tanks there, but it wasn't like Europe...still hard going for the tanks....hard geography.....not many hard surfaced roads!!..
     
  16. Ae Sun

    Ae Sun New Member

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    Out of the 3 standard Type5 designs, only the Type5 Chi-Ri II Kai and Type5 Chi-Ri II (The one built with an autoloading gun) had a coaxial machine gun, on the left side of the turret. This goes for the Production design as well.
     
  17. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    Remember there are basically two kinds of islands in the Pacific. Coral Atolls, and Volcanic Islands. Both have hard surfaces. Yes Swamps may exist, and on occasion, even mangroves.

    On all but the most uninhabitable there remains a large amount of area for which an amoured vehicle provides a lot of needed and wanted support for the poor infantry. If the islands were so truly swampy, they wouldn't be used at all, by anyone, for anything.

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    Even in mountainous New Guinea: A Matilda

    Naturally, you're not going to see the large sweeping battles of encirclement involving Panzer Corps on an island. But just as the numbers of troops involved are less (measured in the 10.000s, rather than the millions), so too could just a few decent tanks make easier going in a tough fight. Which is why the US used armoured vehicles when it invaded islands.

    Given that the Japanese were on the defensive at this time, however, I'll concede that they would've been a complete waste of production resources and scarce fuel. Once the USN turned up off shore, nothing was going to save the Japanese Marines, short of sinking the aircraft carriers, and even a few dozen tanks on an atoll isn't going to do that.

    With that in mind, there really wan't anything the Japanese could produce that was going to alter the outcome.
     
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Good stuff, Ae Sun.
    I'm intrigued by this:

    I know Germany charged a rather extortionate price for the Japanese Tiger, but am interested if the Imperials might have got a decent refund on 'selling' it back.
    I knew of the sales deal, and that the machine was not delivered - going on to serve in France - but had not heard of a return 'sales' deal, having always thought it was technically 'gifted' back to Germany?
     
  19. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    the Solomons were not at all like the flat atolls or Iwo/Okinawa.......since you don't have the ''Panzer Corps'' type battles, because of the terrain, the leaders/etc did not think of tanks that much....they were more of the banzai type/fight to the death.........Ae said the German [ not American ] tanks were not habitable to the Pacific....would the Panther or Tiger make it in the sands??etc? the Japanese tanks at the Canal sand bar had one, and only ONE avenue of approach, because of the terrain, and they got blasted....not much room to maneuver....the US honey crew at the Canal, got killed by Japanese getting close because the terrain was jungle....thanks all replies
     
  20. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    from wikipedia:

    "The Solomon Islands archipelago is part of two distinct terrestrial ecoregions. Soil quality ranges from extremely rich volcanic (there are volcanoes with varying degrees of activity on some of the larger islands) to relatively infertile limestone.

    The islands contain several active and dormant volcanoes. The Tinakula and Kavachi volcanoes are the most active."

    My point about the types of Islands, was not that they all looked like Iwo Jima, but that they consist of either volcanic rock, or limestone, both of which tend to not hold large amounts of still water. Fresh water is a relatively scare resource on Pacific islands, outside of the rainy season. I'm not denying the presence of swamps, but pointing out that there is substantial areas of non-swamp. Swamp figures in the battles, precisely because of they represent a significant defensive feature.

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    M4 Sherman ground pressure 0.962 kg/cm2
    Panther Ausf D ground pressure 0.88 Kg/cm2
    Both numbers with zero penetration of surface.


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    M4 Sherman in action in the Solomons. Regardless of what "leaders" thought, I'm pretty sure the average US Marine was pretty grateful for the presence of the M4.

    http://ww2db.com/images/battle_solomons26.jpg
     

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