Type 92

The Type 92 Heavy Armoured Car was the Empire of Japan's first indigenous tankette. Designed for use by the cavalry of the Imperial Japanese Army by Ishikawajima Motorcar Manufacturing Company (currently Isuzu Motors), the Type 92 was designed for scouting and infantry support. Although actually a light tank, it was called sokosha (armored car) in Japanese due to political sectionalism within the Japanese Army (tanks were controlled by the infantry, whereas the new weapon was intended for the cavalry). Exactly the same device was used in America with the M1 Combat Car.

Type 92
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Ishikawajima Jidosha Seisakusho
Production Period 1932 - 1939
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1931
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1932 1939 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Ishikawajima Jidosha Seisakusho 1932 1939 167 View

After World War I, many European countries attempted to mechanize their cavalry. In parallel, Japanese cavalry also experimented with a variety of armored cars with limited success. These wheeled armored cars were not suitable for most operations in Manchuria, due to the poor road conditions and severe winter climate. Japan's army (like the US, French, British and Russian armies) tried various methods to integrate modern armor into their traditional horse cavalry formations.

From the early 1920s, the Imperial Japanese Army Cavalry School based in Chiba prefecture tested a variety of European light tanks, including six Carden Loyd tankettes and several Renault FTs, and a decision was reached in 1929 to proceed with the domestic development of a new vehicle, based largely on the Carden Loyd design and intended to address the deficiencies of wheeled armored cars.

The development of the Type 92 began with a hybrid amphibious car; this had both tracks and wheels and was able to drive in forward and reverse, both in the water and on land. The experiment was not entirely successful, and the Japanese cavalry was not impressed with the performance. After this, the amphibious car concept was abandoned, and the design was changed to a tracked vehicle for land use only.

Production was initiated by Ishikawajima Motorcar Manufacturing Company in 1932. Production was plagued by technical problems and in total only 167 units were built between 1932 and 1939. After some initial problems with the running gear, the Type 92 proved well suited for the rough terrain and poor roads of Manchuria and China, and was able to attain a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). Some vehicles were equipped with two searchlights for night operations and Type 94 Mk 4 Otsu radios (this 1934 model had a range of 0.6 mile and weighed 88 lb; it used a 23 ft (7.0 m) long antenna of "reverse L" shape).

The Type 92 was eventually replaced by the Type 94 Te Ke during the Second Sino-Japanese War, although both British and American sources often confused the two models.

The Type 92 tankette was deployed primarily with the Kwantung Army in Manchuria and with the Chosen Army in Korea.

Notable actions in which the Type 92 participated included the Battle of Harbin with the 1st Cavalry Brigade and the Battle of Rehe with the 1st Special Tank Company of the 8th Division.

Other DesignationsType 92 [or Model 93 (1933) Light Tank]
Manufacturer(s)Ishikawajima Jidosha Seisakusho
Production Quantityn.a.Production Periodn.a.
TypeTankette/Light TankCrew3
Length /hull (m)3.94Barrel Overhang (m)0
Width /with skirts (m)1.62Height (m)1.83
Combat Weight (kg)3520Radio Equipmentn.a.
Primary Armament2 x 6.5mm Type 91 MG (turret, hull)Ammunition Carried1650
Traverse (degrees)(360°)Elevation (degrees)n.a.
Traverse speed (360°)n.a.Sightn.a.
Secondary Armament-Ammunition Carried-

Engine Make & ModelMitsubishiNo. of Links/Trackn.a.
Type & DisplacementAir, In6Track Width190mm
Horsepower45hp@1600rpmTrack Ground Contact3048mm
Power/Weight Ratio12.8 hp/tGround Pressure8.6 psi
Gearboxn.a.Ground Clearance (m)0.28
FuelGasoline (Petrol)Turning Radius (m)n.a.
Range on/off road (km)200Gradient (degrees)35°
Mileage (liters/100km)n.a.Vertical Obstacle (m)0.60
Fuel Capacity (liters)n.a.Fording (m)0.80
Speed on/off road40 km/hTrench Crossing (m)1.70
Armor (mm@degrees)FrontSideRearTop/Bottom
Hull6mm to 22mm

End notes