The Type 92 Heavy Armoured Car (九二式重装甲車 Kyū-ni-shiki Jyū-sōkōsha), nicknamed Jyū-sōkōsha, was a Japanese tankette used during the Second World War and it was the first light tank designed by Japan. After the First World War, the European countries tried to mechanize their cavalry. Japan could not afford to lag behind, and the Japanese cavalry experimented with several armored cars for their mechanization. However, the wheeled armored vehicles were not suitable to be used on the bad roads in China, so the Japanese cancelled the armored cars and studied tracked vehicles instead. They first experimented with amphibious vehicles. The first amphibious armored car was a curious vehicle, where both tracks and wheels in the opposite direction could propel it on both water and land. The Japanese experimented with various amphibious vehicles, but no model could convince the cavalry to proceed with production. Eventually, they gave up on the amphibious vehicles and decided that a new tracked vehicle would be developed only for land-based movement. The Type 92 was designed in 1931 by the Ishikawajima Motorcar Manufacturing Company for the cavalry, as a reconnaissance vehicle. There were four variants:
Prototype on wheels
Early production model
Late production model
Amphibious variant named the Type 92 A-I-Go, which was an experimental design.
After initial problems with the vehicle, the Type 92 proved well suited to the rough terrain and poor roads in China and had a speed of 40 km/h.
Disadvantages of Type 92 were the poorly sloped and thin, welded armor (6–12 mm in thickness) and the light armament, which was a 13 mm Type 92 heavy machine gun as the main weapon and a 7.7 mm Type 97 light machine gun as secondary weaponry. The production was plagued by technical problems and there were only 167 built between 1932 to 1934 by the Ishikawajima Jidosha Seisakusho. The Type 92 was eventually replaced by the Type 94 Te-Ke tankette during the Second World War.