Sunday, January 15, 2017

[WT] Type3 Chi-Nu II

With Patch 1.65 in full swing this holiday season, players have gotten to experience Japanese armour in its initial form. The long awaited tech tree that players have finally gotten their hands on, which had seemed nearly impossible not even 6 months ago. As Japanese tanks go through their closed beta test, players will eventually need some premium vehicles to aid their progression through the new tech tree. Gaijin has previewed the first Japanese premium tank that can be purchased with Golden Eagles not too long ago. Today we will take a look at the Chi-Nu II.

With the reality of an imminent American invasion of the Japanese home islands, Japan understood the need for developing tanks fit to defend against the American unit’s. The primary medium tank used throughout the war had been the Type 97 Chi-Ha, which was initially developed in 1936. Its armour was weak, its mobility outmatched, and its firepower now obsolete (despite its armament upgrade to a high velocity 47mm in 1941). Japan initiated three new tank programs in order to design and produce a new series of tanks capable to handle the Sherman tank face-to-face. The end results were the Chi-To and Chi-Ri medium tanks. Both of these vehicles were to use the powerful Type 5 75mm anti-tank cannon, which was certainly more than suitable to deal with Sherman’s and most other Allied tanks. However, these tanks would take time to produce in any sufficient numbers, and Japan needed an immediate solution. To counter this issue, the Japanese decided to put the initial Chi-Ri I turret design (production model Chi-To turret) on the Chi-Nu chassis and mount the new Type 5 75mm anti-tank cannon in the turret. This makeshift tank would become the Type 3 Chi-Nu II.

Type5 75mm anti tank gun. 
The Chi-Nu medium tank was Japan's last tank produced in large numbers, with 166 of them completed before the end of the war. It had been dubbed “The Last Line of Defense” for the tank corps. The Chi-Nu was armed with a turret-mounted variant of the Type 90 75mm field artillery cannon, the Type 3 75mm cannon. It had been chosen for its proven adequate combat performance against Sherman tanks in the field. The Chi-Nu turret’s had been rapidly produced off of the original Chi-Ri turret schematics, leaving many flaws in the design which would become apparent with the Chi-Nu’s. One such flaw was the lack of proper ventilation ports for the main cannon. Most of the discharge stayed inside the turret, eventually intoxicating its crew over a sustained period of firing. Many other small design flaws were scattered around the tank. Because of this, the head staff of the army realized the Chi-Nu needed to be standardized.

By 1945, the Type 5 75mm anti-tank cannon had finished its development. The cannon was successfully mounted in tanks such as the Na-To prototypes, the Chi-To prototypes & the two completed production model Chi-To’s, and the Chi-Ri prototypes. These prototype tanks were nearly done with testing, and would be capable of reaching mass production by the end of the war in sufficient numbers, but Japan did not have the time. In order to shorten the time in which the new anti-tank cannon could see operational status in vehicles, the Chi-Nu (which had been in production since 1943) was selected to become the rushed answer to Japan's problems once again.

Chi-Nu II. Never officially designated. It is the second production iteration of the Chi-Nu tank.

The Chi-To had been accepted into service as the Type 4. The tank's prototypes had been designed with a turret size larger than the production units. It was decided to use these, which were still equipped with Type 5 75mm cannons, to be mounted on the Chi-Nu chassis. In March of 1945, the Imperial Staff Office took one of the prototype Chi-To turret’s and mounted it onto Chi-Nu chassis No. 37 of Showa 19. The tank was labeled as the Chi-Nu Kai. On March 19th, the Chi-Nu Kai was sent to the Irago Firing Ground’s and performed a number of trial tests to determine the combat capability of the Type 5 75mm cannon. Test results came out overwhelmingly positive, and almost immediately the tank was scheduled for production, but the production model Chi-To turret design was chosen over the prototype turret design.

Chi-Nu Kai according to Tomio Hara. 

National Archive File C14011034800 - Chi-Nu production status as of Showa 19.

Production of the Chi-Nu II was delayed due to the war coming to a close. The Mitsubishi, Sagami, and Itachi factories, which were producing the Chi-Nu, were left unscathed during America's bombing raids. However, Japan was no longer capable of maintaining enough resources to mass produce armored vehicles by this time. Only a few Chi-Nu II’s were completed. Full scale production would have started with Chi-Nu chassis No. 211, but it never came to be.

Weight: 22.6t
Crew: 5-6 men varying
Length 5.73 m
Height: 2.61  m
Width: 2.33 m
Engine: Mitsubishi Type100
Cylinders: V12 Air cooled Diesel
Power Output: 240hp/1,400 rpm
Max Speed: 38.8kmh
Armament: x1 Type5 75mm, x1 Type97 7.7mm MG

Turret Armour:
Mantlet: 70mm
Front - 50mm
Cheeks: 35mm
Side - 25mm
Roof - 10mm
Rear - 25mm

Hull Armour:
Front - 50mm
Side Top - 20mm
Side Bottom - 25mm
Roof - 10mm
Rear - 20mm