The Type 3 Chi-Nu (三式中戦車 チヌ San-shiki chusensha Chi-nu?) was another improvement over the Type 97 Chi-Ha line of medium tanks of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The Type 3 Chi-Nu mounted one Type 3 75 mm Tank Gun, one of the largest guns ever to be fitted on a World War II Japanese tank.
History and developmentEdit
Type 3 medium tank Chi-Nu was developed to cope with the American Sherman's after it was clear that the Type 1 Chi-He design was still inadequate. The Army Technical Bureau had been working on the Type 4 Chi-To medium tank as the counter to the M4 Sherman, but there were problems and delays in the program, and as a result a stopgap tank was required. Development on the Type 3 Chi-Nu started in May 1943 and was finished by October, just six months later. The low priority given to tank production by 1943 meant that the Type 3 did not actually enter production until 1944, by which time raw materials were in very short supply, and much of Japan's industrial infrastructure had been destroyed by American bombing.
A total of 166 units were produced (55 units in 1944, 111 units in 1945). The Type 3 Chi-Nu was the last tank that was fielded by the Imperial Japanese armed forces, and was still being produced at the end of the war.
The Type 3 Chi-Nu retained the same chassis and suspension of the Type 97 but in a large new hexagonal gun turret.
The main armament of the Type 3 Chi-Nu was the Type 3 75 mm Tank Gun with caliber of 75 mm, barrel length of 2.883 meters (L38.4). The gun could be elevated between -10 and +25 degrees. It had a muzzle velocity of 680 metres per second (2,200 ft/s) and an armor penetration of 90 millimeters at a range of 100 meters and 65 millimeters at a range of 1,000 meters. This gun was based on the Japanese Type 90 field gun which in turn was loosely based on the French Schneider et Cie Canon de 85 mle 1927.
The Type 3 was allocated to the Japanese home islands to defend against the projected Allied Invasion. At least 6 tank regiments were equipped with Type 3 Chi-Nu tanks on Kyūshū and Honshū, including the IJA 1st Armored Division and IJA 4th Armored Division based around Tokyo. As the surrender of Japan occurred before that invasion, the Type 3 was never used in combat.
One surviving Type 3 medium tank is on display at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Military Ordnance Training School at Tsuchiura, Ibaraki, Japan.