[Would you like to see this in-game?]
TL;DR: A M52 HMC in Japanese service.
The need to motorize artillery was felt by the US military as early as WW1. Many projects attempted to satisfy this need, which was always evolving as time passed and technology improved, most failures but some successful. One such rare success was the M44 HMC and its lighter parallel development, the M52, the latter being a lightweight and very mobile turreted 105mm howitzer carrier based on the chassis of the successful M41 Bulldog. As soon as the Korean War began, it became apparent that the M37 HMC just wasn’t going to cut it. It’s casemate and open-topped nature was no longer suitable for such a low caliber artillery piece and the M24 Chaffee had been on its way out for a while. As such, developments to mount a 105mm howitzer onto a more modern platform began. The obvious choice for this was the developing M41 Bulldog. The finished M52 would be based on a reversed M41 Bulldog chassis with the transmission, thankfully, being reversed as well. A 105mm M49 howitzer was installed into a 120 degree traversing fully enclosed turret at the rear of the hull. The M52 would be accepted for standardized production in 1951, however, complications with the design prevented its immediate deployment in the Korean War. By the time the M52 was issued, it was already 1955 and the Korean War was long over. The US now had way more M52s than would be needed in peacetimes and they did not want the excess. As such, they were practically given away to anyone that was willing to take them. Around the same time, Japan was struggling with the development of their own domestic motorized artillery platforms, with the M24-based Type 56 SY being in turbulent development. Eventually, Japan decided to obtain an M52 and M44 for trials. Both SPGs passed trials and were adopted, with JGSDF receiving 30 M52s, which would serve until they were replaced by the Type 74 SPH.
Place In War Thunder:
Quick derp vehicles have always had their fair share of fans. Their high-risk high-reward playstyles are very attractive to those just looking to have a good time. Japan’s tank destroyer line, specifically Rank III, has always been horrendously anemic, with the mediocre Na-To being the only vehicle there. The M52 HMC would provide a faster back up to Japan’s 4.0 - 4.3 lineup and assist in closing the 3.3 - 5.7 tank destroyer gap. Playstyle would be rather unique. Your decent mobility could allow you to potentially appear in places where you are not expected. Your thin armor would still require you to play with caution, however. Out of sight and out of mind is what you should strive for. As previously stated, the best placement for this vehicle would be in the tech tree, bridging the tank destroyer gap between 3.3 and 5.7, however, since Japan has access to the indigenous Type 74, which features a fully traversable turret, the M52 could also be added as a squadron or premium vehicle.
Armament: 105mm M49 howitzer and 1x 12.7mm HMG
Dimensions: 6.16m, 3.24m, 3.11m (L,W,H)
Armor: Proof against small arms fire and artillery splinters
Ammunition: Same as M4A3 (105) in-game plus HESH, HE-VT, and Smoke
During A Parade:
TM 9-717A by Departments of the Army and the Air Force
105mm SPH M52
105mm SPH M52
JAPAN: JAPANESE SELF-DEFENCE FORCES IN TOKYO MILITARY PARADE. - British Pathé