|Type 2 Ke-To|
Type 2 Ke-To light tank
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|Armor||6 – 16 mm|
|Model 1 37 mm gun|
|7.7 mm machine gun|
|Engine|| Mitsubishi Type 100 (air-cooled) diesel|
130 hp (97 kW)
The Type 2 Ke-To Light Tank (二式軽戦車 ケト Nishiki keisensha Ke-To ) was developed by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II as an improvement on the existing Type 98 Ke-Ni, which itself was built to replace the aging Type 95 Ha-Go. The designation “Ke” represented “light”, and “To” represented the number seven.
History and developmentEdit
Shortcomings of the Type 98 design had been evident to both field troops and the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff since the start of the Pacific War. Although the older design had been able to hold its own in the Second Sino-Japanese War in support of infantry operations against the poorly armed National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China (which lacked tanks or anti-tank weapons) it was a poor match for more heavily armed and armored Allied tanks such as the M4 Sherman. Development work on an improved version with more powerful armament was completed by late 1942; however, much of the steel needed for mass production was being diverted at that time into building more warships for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and the project was placed on hold. By the time production was committed to the Type 2 Ke-To in 1944, much of Japan's industrial infrastructure had been laid waste by the American strategic bombing campaign, and raw materials were in extremely short supply. Only 34 units were completed prior to the surrender of Japan.
The Type 2 Ke-To was based on the experimental Type 98B "Otsu" chassis, using the same engine and Christie-type suspension. However, the main armament was changed to the more powerful Type 1 37 mm gun, with a muzzle velocity of 810 m/s. This also necessitated a change in the design of the gun turret, which became large and more cylindrical.
Army planners initially envisioned the Type 2 Ke-To as a glider tank, capable of being air transportable to provide armored support for special forces and paratroopers, with a role similar to that of the British Army's Tetrarch tank. However, by the time production finally commenced, Japan lacked offensive military capabilities, and the few units completed were assigned individually to infantry divisions in the Japanese home islands awaiting the projected invasion of Japan. The war ended before any Type 2s were used in combat.
- Foss, Christopher (2003). Great Book of Tanks: The World's Most Important Tanks from World War I to the Present Day. Zenith Press. ISBN 0760314756.
- Foss, Christopher (2003). Tanks: The 500. Crestline. ISBN 0760315000.
- Zaloga, Steven J. (2007). Japanese Tanks 1939-45. Osprey. ISBN 1-84603-091-8.
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