Type 5 Chi Ri - Medium Tank prototype
At least one variant of the Type 4 was actually designed, complete with prototype, despite the fact that the production run of the Type 4 was itself extremely limited. This was the Type 5 Chi-Ri, which utilized a lengthened hull, replaced the hull LMG with a 37mm anti-tank gun, and featured a German designed aircraft engine as a means of propulsion. The weapon never got beyond the prototype stage, and it is doubtful that the prototype was even armed prior to the end of the war.
The Type 5 medium tank was the last medium-sized tank developed by the Japanese Army. This time, the Japanese Army finally opened up. It was no longer designed to support the infantry combat as the development goal, but to put the tank battle in the main position, so the firepower is and armor are greatly strengthened.
The total weight of the Type-5 medium-duty combat vehicle is 37 tons, which is about twice the total weight of the three-type medium-duty combat vehicle "Chinu" and more than 7 tons more than the Type 4 medium-duty combat vehicle. The Type 5 medium-class tankt was originally expected to be equipped with a Type-4 75mm main gun, and possibly later planned to be replaced with a Type-99 88mm anti-aircraft gun. As a result, no gun was actually installed on the experimental vehicle. In order to strengthen the firepower, the designer also placed a 37mm gun and a 7.7mm machine gun in front of the tank body.
In Japan, recent research has found documents about the Chi Ri`s development. There was never mention of installing an 88mm cannon in the Chi Ri or on any other Japanese tank. But what these old documents have revealed the reason why the turret was so large. It was meant for a 75mm belt-fed auto loader.
The front armor of the turret and hull was only 75mm. The side armor ranged from 25 to 50mm in thickness. Despite the size, it weighed only 37 tons. This is by no means armored like the 55 ton Tiger. The Chi Ri was not designed as a heavy tank; it was designed as a medium. Compared with the previous Japanese tanks, the Type-5 medium-class tank was no longer a paper box, and the thickest part of the body armor reacheed 75mm, which is similar to the enemy M4 Sherman.
The engine was originally expected to use a high-power air-cooled diesel engine, and later changed to a gasoline engine for a vehicle-mounted fighter because of the development cycle, etc., which is rare among the Japanese army that pursued the supremacy of diesel engines. The Type-5 medium-duty chariot was developed at the end of 1944. Because of the Allied bombing and other reasons, the progress was very slow, and the completion of an experimental vehicle body ushered in a final effort.
In September 1943, a plan 1 and a plan 2 were outlined for the Chi Ri. The goal of plan 1 was to use the current technology developed so far to produce a finished Chi Ri within 1 year. Plan 2 was an ambitious plan to push the edge of technology. The Chi Ri tank discovered by the American forces was the Plan 2 tank.
In 1944, the belt fed auto-loading cannon was abandoned. Likely due to the anxiety of trying to create a belt system that would move 900mm long shells around within the turret. However the large turret was already designed. In its place, a single tray auto loader was to be attached to the Type 5 75mm cannon instead thus still maintaining a fast rate of fire.
It is believed that very likely the Chi Ri underwent running and shooting trials in March 1945. However, the simpler Type 4 Chi To was selected over the Chi Ri for production.
|Type 5 Chi-Ri|
|Kawasaki Type 98 water-cooled aircraft engine, max 800hp but detuned to 550hp|
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