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Type 97 Chi-Ha Shinhoto (Type 97-Kai / Improved Type 97)
Technical Information

Background
The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha medium tank. Literally,
Shinhoto means "new turret" in reference to the redesigned turret and larger main gun. Also designated the Type 97-Kai (Improved Type 97).

Development
After the Battle of Khalkhin Gol (Nomonhan Incident), the Japanese Army acknowledged the need for improvements on the Type 97 Chi-Ha and deveoped the Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Hi (Improved Type 97) with the same chassis with a new turret with the higher velocity Type 1 47mm gun with 120 rounds. This gun was more effective that the previous Type 90 57mm main gun (short barrel) used in earlier variants.

Wartime History
Several Shinhotos were rushed to the 2nd Tank Division fighting in the Philippines in 1942 and took part in the attack on Corregidor. They could penetrate the Sherman's armor, but only from the side and from the front at 500 yards or less.


Production
Built by Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Nihon and Sagami. A total of 2,092 (other sources state 2,208) Type 97 Chi-Ha and Type 97 Chi-Ha Shinhoto and were built between 1938 until 1943 making the Type 97 Chi-Ha was the most widely produced Japanese tank of World War II until production ceased to produce the newer Type 1 Chi-He medium tank.

References
Imperial Japanese Army - AFV - Type 97-improved Medium Tank "Shinhoto Chi-Ha"

Technical Details
Crew  4-5 (Driver, Gunner, Loader, Commander)
Weight  13 tons (empty) 15 (loaded)
Length  5.52m
Width  2.33m
Height  2.23m
Maximum Speed  25 mph
Armor (front) 25mm (side) 15mm
Armament  Type 1 47mm gun, 2 x 7.7mm machine gun (turret, coaxial)



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