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"U.S. Forces Encounter Old Jap Tankette" from Intelligence Bulletin, Sept. 1945

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   Report on the Japanese Type 92 (1932) tankette encountered by U.S. forces on Luzon, from Intelligence Bulletin, September 1945.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy equipment and tactics published for Allied soldiers. More accurate data on Japanese weapons and equipment is available in postwar publications.]


On Luzon, U.S. forces encountered the Type 92 (1932) tankette for the first time. Newsreel addicts will be very familiar with this vehicle, since the Japanese used it throughout their China campaigns.

[Type 92 (1932) tankette, front view]
Type 92 (1932) tankette, front view.

Though it had not been expected that this obsolescent 3-ton, two-man tankette would prove other than an extremely vulnerable vehicle, actual inspection of a captured specimen indicates that it is even less useful than anticipated. Tests indicate that it has value chiefly as a prime mover, and only limited usefulness as a light reconnaissance vehicle. Its armor is effective only against the lightest small-arms weapons. Besides there being no protection against small-arms bullet splash in any of the vision slots and openings, caliber .30 AP can penetrate the rear door at ranges up to 300 yards. Caliber .50 can penetrate the front, side, rear, and turret at ranges up to 600 yards. The maximum armor thickness is .47 inch (12 mm), but most of the armor in the hull and turret is only .39 inches (10 mm). The thinnest armor on the vehicle is .2 inch (5 mm).

The Type 92 tankette is weakly armed, mounting only a Type 97 7.7-mm tank air-cooled machine gun in the turret. The ball mounting permits a traverse of 30 degrees, and an elevation from minus 5 to plus 10 degrees. Stowage is provided for about 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

The tankette is very maneuverable. The use of an outside track guide, however, causes a tendency to throw the track during sharp turns. A further drawback is the high rate of air flow through the vehicle, which should make it very difficult to operate during a smoke concentration.

[Type 92 (1932) tankette, left side view]
Type 92 (1932) tankette, left side view.


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