Saturday, September 6, 2014

Armor Profile: Japanese Type 92 Tankette

In 1925-29, the Imperial Japanese Army Cavalry School based at Chiba tested several foreign tanks for its needs. The Carden-Lloyd tankettes appeared to be the best suited for their purposes.  The Japanese purchased several of these British tankettes and served as a basis for the first Japanese tankette in 1929.  The production went to Ishikawajima Motorcar Manufacturing Company (now Isuzu). As vehicles were intended for the cavalry corps it couldn't has been classified as a tank but was officially called a “Heavy Armored Car” instead, taking the number 92 in the imperial army ordnance register.

Here's the ASL counter:

The Type 92 was larger than most tankettes of the time, having a one-man turret and a crew of three.  The armament was generally two machine guns. The main gun was a 13.2mm Type 92 heavy machine gun. The weapon had limited traverse, but included a pivoting eyepiece on the gunsight optics and a high-angle mount, allowing anti-aircraft use. Secondary armament was a 6.5 mm Type 91 machine gun, replaced later by the 7.7 mm Type 97 light machine gun mounted in the manually traversed turret. The armor was thin, between 6mm in the hull to 12 mm in the turret.  The thin armor and light armament allowed the weight to be kept to 3 tons.  This proved to be problematic, though, as the armor was not thick enough to be able to withstand any machinegun fire. 

The vehicle underwent several modifications, especially in the drive train and suspension.  An initial variant was designed to be amphibious, but this model was dropped for the early Type 92.  However, the later Type 92 had a significantly improved suspension and wheel configuration, which allowed for better performance. 

Here are a few photos and drawings of the tankette:

This is a photo of the early model with two light machine guns.  

This is a drawing of the late model with the 13.2mm MG in the bow and the improved suspension.

A drawing of the early model with the 13.2mm MG in the bow.  

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