Although the Imperial Japanese Army fielded satisfactory medium tanks during World War II, about 80% of the armored vehicles production in Japan consisted of light tanks and tankettes, whose total number had risen to approximately 18,000 by 1945. Like the Italian ones, all the Japanese tank turrets and hulls were not cast in one piece, but they were built with riveted steel plates. Some of them were mechanically reliable military vehicles. However, they were lightly protected, with thin-skinned armor plates, and fitted with underpowered guns. They first saw combat action in the second half of the 1930s, in China, during the Sino-Japanese War. Although they performed well at the beginning, fighting against the poorly-armed and badly equipped Chinese Army, they were no match for the superior Allied tanks, especially the Sherman M4, which they met in the battlefields of the Pacific Theater of operations of WW2. They were easily destroyed also by the Bazooka and anti-tank guns used by the US Marines.
List of WW2 Japanese Tanks
Light tanks and tankettes
– Type 5 Ke-Ho. A 10-ton model, featuring a 37-mm gun
– Type 98-A Ke-Ni. It was a 7.2-ton light tank, armed with a 37-mm gun
– Type 3 Chi-Nu. A 12.5-ton tank, fitted with a 75-mm gun
– Type 4 Chi-To. Only two were built and never saw combat action. Weight: 30 tons
Below, the massively produced light tank Type 95 Ha-Go in China