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Category: Armour

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Type 94 Tank (or tankette).

A Type 94 in China, 1940
Click to enlarge. BOUGAINVILLE, 1945-06-16. Brigadier J.R. Stevenson, 11 Brigade, inspecting a 'dead' 94.  Somewhere in the Pacific. An American GI surveys a Type 94 that has been knocked out Click to enlarge.
In the late 1920's, the Japanese purchased six British Carden-Loyd Mark machine-gun carriers, and two Mark Vl b carriers for testing. As a result of trials the Japanese decided to develop a small vehicle in Japan based on what was learned. The prototype was built in 1933-34 by the Tokyo Gas and Electric Industry (later known as Hino Motors) and after trials in both China and Japan it was standardized as the Type 94 tankette. Oddly, American sources have always referred to it as the Type 92 tankette. The Model 94 Tankette had a codename of "TK", which means "Tokushu (Special) Ken-in sha (Tractor)".

The hull of the tankette used a riveted construction, with the engine and driver at the front and the small turret at the rear of the hull. A large door was provided in the rear of the hull so that stores could be loaded. The front armour was well sloped. Armament consisted of a single 6.5mm machine-gun in a turret with manual traverse. The suspension was designed by Major Tomio Hara and was similar to most Japanese tanks. It consisted of four bogies, two on each side. These were suspended by bell-cranks resisted by armoured compression springs placed horizontally, one each side of the hull, externally. Each bogie had two small rubber-tired road wheels with the drive sprocket at the front and the idler at the rear. There were two track-return rollers. When in service, the Type 94 was found to be very prone to throwing its tracks when it made a high speed turn. Further redesign work was carried out on the suspension and the small idler was replaced by a larger idler, which was now on the ground... it did not solve the problem. 

Power was supplied by a air-cooled gasoline motor that developed 35hp at 2,500rpm. Armament initially consisted of a single Type 91 6.5mm machine-gun. In later model this was replaced by a single 7.7mm machine-gun. Some appear to have been fitted with a 37mm gun, but actual production of this variant is unknown.
The primary role of the Type 94 was to carry supplies in the battlefield area but it was often used in the reconnaissance role for which it was totally unsuited as its armour could be penetrated by ordinary rifle bullets. In 1936, each Japanese Infantry Division had a Tankette Company that had 6 Type 94s for use. It was often used to tow a tracked ammunition trailer in a fashion similar to the British and French tankettes of this period. The Type 97 (Te-Ke) replaced the Type 94 in service.

Type 95 Light Tank- "Ha-Go"

A restored Type 95 a type 95 in the field 1943

 Type 95 restored (left) and in the field 1943 (right)

The Japanese tank with the highest production number. It took part in  all the campaigns in the Far-East and the Pacific area. Despite its failings (lack of protection, insufficient gun, ...) its mobility made it popular with its crews. It stayed in production until 1943, long after better tanks had been produced. It stayed in service until the end.

Identification: Much larger than the tankette Type 94 TK or 97 Te-Ke, it did not have the trailing idler of the tankettes. The Type 98 Ke-Ni is very similar, but it had a third bogie, while the Ha-Go had only two.

Weight: 8.1 tons
Crew: three
Armour: hull front, sides and rear 12 mm; turret front, sides and rear 12 mm
Armament: one 37-mm Type 94 gun mounted in turret; one 7.7-mm Type 97 machine-gun mounted in turret; one 7.7-mm Type 97 machine-gun mounted in hull
Engine: one 110 hp six-cylinder air-cooled diesel engine
Dimensions: width 6 feet, 9 inches; length 14 feet, 4.5 inches; height 7 feet, 2 inches
Max Speed: 30 mph Max Range: 110 miles


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces