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Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) - Artillery

Only one character is used to indicate the type classification. This character is "Shiki". It appears on artillery shells, bombs, small arms, guns, howitzers, fuzes,etc., but always in association with numerals of one or two digits. These numerals are abbreviations for dates in the Japanese calendar. The Type 88 is a Japanese design of 1928, corresponding to 2588 of the Japanese calendar "from the foundation of the empire".

1939-45all types13,350
Anti-tank and infantry artillery
1937Type 97AT rifle 20-mm?
1938Type 98 AA/AT automatic cannon 20-mm?
1936Type 96 AA/AT automatic cannon 25-mm?
19xxType 1 37-mm?
1922Type 11 Infantry gun37-mm?
1934Type 94 Infantry gun37-mm?
1937Type 97 AT gun37-mm?
1941Type 1 AT gun47-mm?
1932Type 92 Howitzer70-mm?
1898Type 31Mountain gun75-mm?
1908Type 41 Mountain (infantry) gun 75-mm?
Ya Sen HoHei / Field Warfare Gun Troops
1905Type 38 Gun Improved 75-mm?
1930Type 90 Mobile field Gun 75-mm?
1928Type 88 AA Gun 75-mm?
1934Type 94 Mountain (pack) Gun 75-mm?
1908Type 41 Cavalry Gun 75-mm?
1935Type 95 Field Gun 75-mm?
1905Type 38 Field Gun 105-mm?
1925Type 14 Field Gun 105-mm?
1931Type 91 Howitzer 105-mm?
1932Type 92 Field Gun 105-mm?
1939Type 99 Mountain Howitzer 120-mm?
1905Type 38 Howitzer 120-mm?
1905Type 38 Howitzer 150-mm?
1915Type 4 Howitzer 150-mm?
1936Type 96 Howitzer 150-mm?
1936Type 96 Field gun 150-mm?
Ju HoHei / Heavy Gun Troops
1929Model 89 gun150-mm?
1912Model 45 howitzer240-mm?
1936Model 96 howitzer240-mm?
19xxModel 18 howitzer300-mm?
1918Model 7 howitzer, short305-mm?
1918Model 7 howitzer, long305-mm?
19xx Howitzer, siege410-mm?
Self-Propelled Artillery
1941Type 1 Ho-Ni I75-mm26
1941Type 1 Ho-Ni II105-mm54
1942Type 2 Ho-I75-mm31
1942Type 2 Ho-Ri120mm1
1943Type 3 Ho-Ni III75-mm31
1944Type 4 Ho-Ro150-mm12
1944Type 4 Ha-To300-mm4
1944Type 5 Ho-Chi150-mm0
1944Type 97Short Barrel Gun Tank120-mm14
1944Type 97Long Barrel Gun Tank120-mm1
1944Type 5 Ho-Ru47-mm1
1945Type 5 Ho-Ri105-mm0
1945Type 5 Na-To75-mm2
Railway Artillery
1930Type 90 Railway gun240-mm?
Anti-Aircraft Artillery
KoKaku Ho/ High-Angle Gun
1938Type 98 20-mm2,500
1942Type 2 20-mm?
1942Type 4twin-mount 20-mm500
1936Type 96 25-mm33,000
1922Type 11 75-mm44
1928Type 88 75-mm?
1938Type 4 75-mm70
1938Type 99 88-mm?
1938Type 98naval AAA 100-mm 68
1925Type 14 105-mm?
1914Type 3naval AAA 120-mm?
1929Type 89naval AAA dual 127-mm?
1945Type 5 150-mm2
Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Artillery
19xxTa-ha I?
1938Type 98 'Ta-se'?
1938Type 98 4-ton?
1938Type 98 AA Ko-Hi?
19xxTa-ha II?
Anti-Aircraft Surface to Air Missiles
1945Funryu-2 -mm0
1945Funryu-4 -mm0
1921Type 10 50-mm?
1929Type 89 50-mm?
1938Type 98 50-mm?
1922Type 11 70-mm?
1943Type 3 81-mm?
1937Type 97 81-mm?
1939Type 99 81-mm?
1934Type 94 90-mm?
1937Type 97 90-mm?
1936Type 96 150-mm?
1937Type 97 150-mm?
FunShin TsuJo Dan / Rocket Launchers
1944Type 4 203-mm?
19xxModel 10 -mm?
19xx 200-mm?
19xx 447-mm?
19xxExperimental 200-mm?
Because of her complete isolation for such a long period of time, Japan ranked far behind other nations in the development of modern artillery weapons and tactics. Her artillery program was instituted in 1905 with the production of two types of field guns and two types of howitzers. These were identical to, or modifications of, European designs, as was her artillery of later times.

The most critical lesson of the Russo-Japanese War was the absolute necessity of employing indirect fire - the era of direct fire on the field of battle in view of the enemy was unquestionably over. Two points stand out in artillery officer's writing about the War; the first was the seemingly widespread agreement among them about the applicability and relevance of the lessons of the war for the artillery, and the second was the absence of repeated references to the American Civil War or the Franco-Prussian War - both of which figured prominently in writings by infantry and cavalry officers. As far as interpreting any lessons was concerned, it was apparent that artillerymen everywhere found more to agree with than to haggle over.

It was the Japanese who understood this principle from the outset, whereas the Russians initially held to standard practice and employed their guns close together in the open, on forward slopes, and on hilltops. Thus, at the first encounter at the Yalu 30 April to 01 May 1904,, the Rusians emplaced their artillery accordingly. As expected the Japanese, completely destroyed the Russian batteries on the morning of the attack. The Russians were totally surprised, and completely demoralized by the accurate - and worse yet - unseen fire falling in their midst. the Japanese were masters of the first Russian line; the fight had lasted for less than 2 hours and had cost them about 600 men.

The actors in the struggle were all impressed by the effects of modern artillery. One soon gets accustomed to infantry fire, writes Captain Soloviev, in his "Impressions of a Company Commander"; but artillery fire produces a very strong impression. On those unaccustomed to war, common shell produces the greatest impression; on those inured to war, shrapnel. Young soldiers in the skirmishing line bury their faces in the ground at the bursting of the projectile. It is absolutely impossible to cross an exposed zone under artillery fire, not only in column, but even in deployed formation.

The Russians learned fast. Numerous episodes showed that the most energetically conducted frontal attacks failed if the defender was not shaken by artillery fire. The Russians actually possessed the better and heavier field pieces, and of all the branches, the Russian artillery eventually turned out to be a match for the Japanese; the Japanese equipment was inferior in quality, although they enjoyed a numerical advantage. The Japanese also experienced problems with mounts - their draft horses were wretched animals which struggled under the weight of the guns and limbers.

The fact of the matter was that improvements in all aspects of artillery, such as modern fire-control equipment, range finders, and crater analysis, had progressed to the point where well-trained artillerymen could ascertain the probable location of an enemy gun, or at least an approximate azimuth to it, within a reasonable amount of time so as to direct counter-battery fire against it.

Japanese models were invariably lighter than their foreign counterparts. This lightness was achieved by reducing the weight of the tube, equilibrators, recoil system, and trails, which make up the bulk of the weight of conventional artillery. Sometimes, this practice resulted in a loss of range, and some accuracy was sacrificed. On the other hand, these sacrifices were more apparent than real. Most of the Japanese artillery which was used in any great numbers was light artillery. The supporting function of artillery dictated that it be brought as far forward as possible for employment. Furthermore, most of the fire was aimed fire which, at the same time, had to be observed fire. Thus, the decrease in range with the lightening of the pieces was not a great loss.

Prior to mobilizing for the conflict with China, in the 1930s the Japanese Field Artillery consisted of 17 infantry divisions, of which 14 had as their divisional artillery one regiment of field artillery, composed of three 75-mm. battalions and one 105-mm. howitzer battalion, while the remaining three divisions, organized for mountain warfare, had one regiment of pack artillery, composed of three 75-mm. pack howitzer battalions. There was no corps artillery, the Japanese having no unit between the division and the field army. The field army, which varies in strength and composition but would perhaps average 5 divisions of which one would be pack, usually includes as army artillery at least a brigade of medium artillery, an independent regiment of pack artillery, and a battalion of horse artillery, the latter for work with the army cavalry.

The standard light gun was a 75-mm Krupp type, manufactured in Japan. It had the sliding type of breechblock, hydraulic-spring recoil system, modified open box trail. Equilibrators and trunnioning of the tube back of the center of balance provide for high-angle fire without the necessity of digging a recoil pit. The gun was equipped with an excellent panoramic sight of Japanese manufacture. The range for shrapnel is about 9,000 yards, and with shell about 11,800 yards. The weight of the gun limbered was about 4,500 pounds. The fourth battalion of the divisional regiment is armed with a 105-mm. howitzer, which is a split-trail type having a range of about 12,000 yards. Its weight is believed to be about the same as that of the 75-mm gun.

The Medium Artillery 155-mm howitzer regiment consisted of a headquarters battery, a regimental combat train, and two battalions, each composed of a headquarters battery, a combat train, a field train, and three batteries. The howitzer was the old 1905 model, redesigned to break down for transport into two six-horse loads instead of the one former eight-horse load.

By now, in contrast to the situation during the Russo-Japanse War, the draft animals were excellent small, compact, animals, averaging about 15 hands one, and about 1,100 lbs. The majority had been bought at about two years, and issued to troops after having been kept at the remount stations until they reach 5 years of age. The majority are half bred Percheron or better. After being issued to troops they receive special remount training for one year before being turned to duty. Consequently by the time they were turned to duty they were very well trained, and go quietly in draft. Yearly automatic replacement was 1/10.

In point of discipline and morale, the Japanese troops deserved to be ranked as high as any in the world. The Japanese had been for many centuries an essentially military people, and for many years a strictly regimented people. This combination, aided by the attention that is given to the inculcation of a spirit of military discipline and of loyalty to government and constituted authority, produced a high degree of loyalty, discipline and esprit.

Since all ranks were comparatively young and vigorous, and since the Japanese were from childhood accustomed to discomfort and frugal living, the hardships of field service present nothing novel to them. The Japanese officer or soldier never grumbled or expressed dissatisfaction. Company punishment was rare. Relations between officers and men were pleasant; officers treated the men with courtesy.

Another noteworthy thing was that in training, the Japanese totally disregard the frills, and have as their objective tactical training always under service conditions. Little attention is paid to eyewash or to spooniness in personal attire, either of officers or men. The Japanese would consider anyone insane who would suspend training on Saturday morning for the sake of seeing that everything was shined up. As to condition of materiel, they were much more concerned with its serviceability than its outward appearance; there were no fixed inspections to determine these things. Parade-ground drills and maneuvers were largely omitted; conditioning of men and animals for long, hard field marches was considered of more importance. In brief, the Japanese training was for war, not for garrison.

The Japanese were training for war, but the wrong war. The war for which they were training was the last war, the Great War. The Japanese Army neglected to keep pace with other major armies in the development of modern artillery techniques. They resorted to Greaet War techniques. Japanese artillerymen who opposed US troops did not demonstrate an ability to mass fires rapidly on new targets. It is true that, when given the time and opportunity to use their own methods, the Japanese were able to deliver accurate fire with single guns, sections, or batteries. And, under the same conditions, they proved themselves capable of delivering concentrated fire against such predetermined targets as beaches, or areas in front of long-established defenses. However, such targets are registered upon by each battery prior to an anticipated attack, and, once the battle was joined, fire control was decentralized to each battery.

This antiquated technique emphasized the principle difference between US and Japanese field artillery methods. There was no evidence that the Japanese made use of the fire-direction center - a central command post which gave fire commands to all batteries of a battalion for rapid registration of massed artillery units upon targets of opportunity. They were unable to use their field artillery in mass in a mobile situation. Because of the absence of modern fire-control and fire-direction methods, Japanese artillery used much time and many rounds to register itself. It was not adequate for counter-battery, nor was counter-battery a real mission of Japanese artillery. Since Japanese AA artillery was also inadequate, the field artillery was very vulnerable to observation and destruction from the air. Consequently, Japanese artillery did not fire long from any one position and was kept constantly on the move as a passive measure to protect it from hostile counterbattery and aircraft. The greater accuracy which heavier equipment might have given was really not required when the registration of pieces was accomplished as it was and when firing sites were so frequently changed.

By American standards, relatively few rounds were expended on any one target, but those that were fired usually were accurate. It was not unusual for the Japanese to attempt to keep gun positions concealed by withholding fire until the moment US guns were fired. This common ruse also tends to mislead US infantry troops into believing their own shells are falling within their own lines. The Japanese also fired harassing missions by one battery to conceal the fact that an other battery is registering simultaneously on a new target. Japanese artillery support generally broke down to the point where one battery supported one infantry battalion, and was not readily available to join a companion battery in rapidly ad justed mass fire upon a single target. Because Japanese Army doctrine placed so much emphasis upon the role of the individual infantryman and his bayonet, infantry commanders often were inclined to disregard the value of their artillery, or try to force their ideas of artillery employment upon their supporting arm.

Even before the war, the Japanese had begun to plan a domestic series of self propelled guns for artillery and anti-tank support. With the formal entry of Japan into the Second World War (or rather, the war outside China), the need for a self-propelled gun was considered to be quite critical, and the project was rapidly moved toward completion.

The first practical series of self-propelled guns in the Japanese Arsenal was the so called "Ho-Ni" self propelled gun chassis, which entered service very rapidly beginning around 1940. Three such vehicles were produced - the Type 1 in 1941, armed with a short 75; the Type 2 in 1942, armed with a short 105; and finally, the Type 3 in 1943, armed with a long 75. While the 105 had been intended to provide close artillery support, all three were eventually used in a largely anti-tank role.

All three of the Ho-Ni SPGs followed the same, basic pattern. An armored gun shield was provided mounted atop a slightly cut down Type 97 Chi-Ha chassis. No defensive armament was provided, and top and rear protection was light or completely non-extant for the gun compartments. Type 3 attempted to correct this, and a few examples of the Type 3 were even deployed with completely enclosed gunnery compartments, but these were comparatively quite rare. Crew was generally around three individuals, but the Type 3 increased its crew capacity to five.

The Ho-Ni was typical of all self-propelled guns. It provided a fast and relatively reliable means of direct anti-tank or artillery support for infantry (and armor) formations. It was also far more useful in a defensive role, had limited weapon articulation, and suffered badly when deployed unsupported by infantry. Unlike their Axis allies, the Japanese never seem to have thought much of the idea of providing defensive machine guns for the Ho-Ni, although pistol ports were provided. This made them doubly vulnerable in close assault. In all, a little less than two hundred examples of all marks were produced.

A Japanese report on an electric gun given to members of the US Scientific Intelligence Survey of Japan in September and October 1945. "Work on this projector was started in 1942 with the aim of using it as a kind of artillery piece. The principle was that of the induction motor; the projector being the stator and the projectile, the rotor. Power was supplied by a 2000 VA 1500 cycle, 3-phase generator.. Theoretically, a velocity of 500 meters/sec for a 10 kg projectile is possible, but the best results obtalned were 350 meters/sec for a two kg projectile. This was not considered a practical field weapon, but was used as a projector for models of winged rockets." Reference to electric guns were also seen in several old popular science magazines.

IJA Self-Propelled Guns

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Page last modified: 19-06-2019 18:27:03 ZULU