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B-17H Search and Rescue Flying Fortress

B-17H search and rescue variant of the Flying Fortress showing additional radar and rescue boat. This B-17H of the 6th Emergency Rescue Squadron was photographed at Floridablanca Airfield, Luzon, Philippine Islands in June 1945. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

B-17H Flying Fortress Search and Rescue SB-17G with Radar and Boat

U.S. Air Force Photo


 

Type 97 Medium Tank with 47-mm Gun

The following U.S. intelligence report on the Japanese Type 97 medium tank Shinhoto Chi-Ha with improved 47-mm gun was published in Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

TYPE 97 IMPROVED MEDIUM TANK WITH 47-MM GUN

A number of modified Japanese medium tanks were encountered on Luzon. They were basically an improvement on the Type 97 Medium Tank. The tank studied was manufactured at the Tokyo Army Arsenal in 1944.

Improved Japanese Type 97 Tank Shinhoto Chi-Ha with 47mm Gun

The tank was 18 feet 2 inches long, 7 feet 6 inches wide, and 7 feet high. It was equipped with a V-12, air-cooled, valve-in-head, diesel engine with Bosch fuel pumps. The transmission provided four speeds forward and one speed in reverse. Dual steering was employed, utilizing both clutch-brake and epicyclic gear steering systems. The turret had been changed from a circular type to a semi-rectangular over-hanging type that gave a long, low appearance. Racks were mounted on the turret sides for use with the Type 94 self-projecting smoke candles. Except for a portion of the turret, all armor was riveted. The track was the conventional Japanese center-guide all steel type, 13 inches in width.

The tank mounted two Type 97 (1937) 7.7-mm tank machine guns and one Type 1 (1941) 47-mm tank gun. One machine gun was mounted in the rear of the turret, the other forward in the hull. The ammunition racks hold 120 rounds of 47-mm and 2,500 rounds of 7.7-mm ammunition, the former being both APHE and HE. The Type 1, 47-mm tank gun was almost identical to the 47-mm anti-tank gun. It was 9 feet 7 inches long, allowing 15 degrees total traverse and an elevation from plus 10 to minus 10 degrees. The turret could be traversed 360 degrees.

See Also: “The Most Effective Jap Tank,” Intelligence Bulletin, July 1945.
 

Japanese Suicide Boats

The following U.S. intelligence reports on Japanese suicide boats were published in Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

NAVY SUICIDE CRASH BOATS:

Japanese suicide crash boats manned by Naval personnel were found in a tunnel on Corregidor. The boats were loaded on small carts which were mounted on rails running from the tunnel to the beach where they were to be launched.

The Navy Suicide Crash Boat was 16 feet 8 inches long and had a beam of 5 feet 8 inches. The hull was plywood construction throughout and was powered by an automotive type, 6-cylinder, in-line, gasoline engine. The explosive charge was built into the hull of the boat. This last feature was the main difference between the Army and Navy suicide boats.

The Type 98 explosive charge weighed 640 pounds and was located below the deck forward of the cockpit. The charge could be fired by three methods: 1) electrically on impact; 2) electrically by closing a switch; and 3) by use of a pull igniter.

From the disposal point of view, the boat was dangerous to anyone unfamiliar with the circuit and switch details. It would also have been simple to rig this boat as a booby trap either electrically or through the pull igniter.

The boat carried a big charge that would be effective against ships. The only defense that a ship had was, as in the case of the suicide plane, accurate gunfire.

ARMY SUICIDE CRASH BOAT:

Japanese suicide boats, to be manned by Army personnel, were recovered at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. These craft were the principal weapon of the Japanese Gyoro (“fishing”) battalions.

The army suicide boat was made of plywood with a length of 18½ feet and a beam of 5 feet 10 inches. It was decked with a forward hatch leading to the engine and has a cockpit aft. The boat was powered with a 6-cylinder Chevrolet automotive engine, about 85 horsepower. The maximum speed of the craft was estimated at 35 knots. The fuel capacity was about 56 gallons.

The two 120 kg depth charges were mounted on racks abreast of the cockpit. The charges could be either dropped close aboard or released when the boat crashed into the ship. At least one attack of the former type was made, resulting in damage to a merchant ship during the Luzon campaign.

Although parts of the release mechanism were not available, the operation is believed to have been as follows: the charges were fitted in the racks and held by an arrangement of slings and bars. Rods fitted to extend beyond the bow would be driven back releasing the charges during a collision with another ship. However, the coxwain could place a crossbar forward to release the charges.

 

Japanese Rockets and Launchers

The following U.S. intelligence report on Japanese spin-stabilized rockets and launchers was published in Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

ARMY 20-CM SPIN STABILIZED ROCKET AND TYPE 4 LAUNCHER:

Several of these projectiles, the first Army rockets recovered, and the Type 4 launcher, were used against our troops in the Manila area and east of Manila. The date of manufacture, late 1944, emphasized the trend toward increased use of rockets by the enemy.

In general appearance the launcher was similar to a large trench mortar. It incorporated traversing mechanism in the bipod and employed standard mortar fire-control devices. The tube, 20.3-cm inside diameter and 75 and 5/8 inches long, was open at both ends and contained a hinged opening for insertion of the rocket. It was fired with a 25-foot lanyard attached to a pull igniter.

Japanese WWII Army 20-cm SS Rocket and Type 4 Launcher

Army 20-cm SS Rocket and Type 4 Launcher

The explosive head was a thin-walled tube containing nose fuze, booster and filling of cast TNT. The motor threaded onto the explosive head and was equipped with six nozzles canted 25 degrees. The propellant was ballistite ignited by a black powder charge located just forward of the igniter, which screwed into the motor base plate. Projectile and motor had a combined weight of approximately 185 pounds.

Japanese WW2 Army 20-cm SS Rocket and Type 4 Launcher (Firing)

Army 20-cm SS Rocket and Type 4 Launcher (Firing)

The rocket was stable in flight, exploded high order, and had an approximate range of 3,200 yards at 800 mils.

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Japanese Type 98 Halftrack

The following U.S. intelligence report on the Japanese Type 98 halftrack personnel carrier and prime mover was published in Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

A Japanese combination personnel carrier and prime mover was recovered near Manila, Luzon.

The vehicle was without armor or armament of any kind. It had a folding canvas top and four wide seats providing seating capacity for approximately 16 persons. Storage compartments for equipment and luggage were provided under the seats. The vehicle was equipped with a large winch and towing pintle in the rear.

Japanese Type 98 Halftrack WW2

Halftrack Personnel Carrier and Prime Mover

The engine, a 6-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled diesel type, was connected to a four-speed forward, one-speed reverse, spur-gear transmission. The chassis layout was similar to the German standard half-track, while the suspension and steering followed the Opel truck half-track conversion. The front transverse leaf spring, independent wheel suspension was an original and effective feature. The vehicle was 18 feet 3 inches long, 6 feet 4 inches wide, 7 feet 10 inches high, had a ground clearance of 13 inches, 110 horsepower, and weighed approximately 6 tons.

Performance tests indicated a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour, an estimated radius of action of 125 miles, and proved that the vehicle could manipulate a trench 3 feet wide, a vertical wall 18 inches high, a 50% slope, and a stream 3 feet deep. Ample power and cross-country mobility were provided to allow it to fulfill the functions of a prime mover and personnel carrier.

 

Japanese Type 1 Ho-Ki Armored Personnel Carrier

The Japanese produced a limited number of the innovative Type 1 Ho-Ki, fully-tracked armored personnel carriers. The Ho-Ki APC was developed in 1941, but full-scale production did not start until 1944. A limited number of Ho-Ki were deployed with Japanese reinforcements to the Philippines in 1944, and several Ho-Ki were captured by the U.S. on Leyte and Luzon.

From Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

Although not encountered before our return to the Philippines, several of these vehicles were captured there by U.S. forces. One was recovered on Leyte, and at least four were found on Luzon.

Japanese Type 1 Ho-Ki APC Armored Personnel Carrier

Full Track Personnel Carrier

The vehicle was full tracked, armored, and powered by a six cylinder air-cooled Diesel engine. The bogie wheels and suspension were similar to those of the Type 95 Light Tank, but the track was both longer and wider than that of the tank. This carrier, 15 feet 9 inches long overall and 6 feet 8 inches wide, was protected with ¼-inch armor on all sides and rear, but was open at the top except for the driver’s compartment. There were doors at the rear and one on each side to permit personnel to leave the carrier rapidly. The driver’s compartment was on the left front of the body and was equipped with metal vision slits for driving under fire. The vehicle had four speeds forward in addition to high and low range transfer case and was equipped with a spring-mounted towing pintle.

Being much lighter than the Type 95 Light Tank, employing an engine of similar power, and having roughly the same track contact, the vehicle gave excellent cross-country performance. The addition of the transfer case increased the range and power as compared with a light tank. U.S. combat troops found these vehicles to be highly satisfactory artillery prime movers.

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Prisoners and Documents Captured on Luzon

Summary of Japanese prisoners and documents captured on Luzon from Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

Japanese Prisoners of War Captured on Luzon, Philippines

Oat of a total of 7,297 prisoners of war captured during the entire Luzon Operation, the divisions evaluated 4,932 and actually interrogated 3,421. They issued 2,387 interrogation reports, an average of 199 per division and RCT. Here again, the personnel involved were approximately 60 officers and enlisted men. Of the 3,421 prisoners interrogated, 2,646 were Japanese, the rest being Formosans and Koreans. Ninety-four percent of the Japanese prisoners evaluated were interrogated, whereas thirty-six percent of the Formosans evaluated were interrogated….

The corps evaluated 4,166 prisoners of war, of which 1,984 were interrogated; and 604 interrogation reports were issued. This was an average of 201 interrogation reports per corps. It is to be noted that most of these prisoners came directly from the divisions and were further interrogated….

The Army Language Detachment evaluated 1,166 prisoners of war, of which 207 were interrogated; and 165 interrogation reports were issued.

Enemy Documents Captured on Luzon, Philippines

Captured enemy documents were classified as follows:

“A”—Those documents containing information of any tactical value to any theater engaged in the war against Japan.
“B”—Those documents containing information of any strategic value to any theater.
“C”—Those documents of no military value.