The Ki-To: An Honest Foray into Self-Propelled AA

Prototype Anti-Aircraft Tank Ki-To, Rank I

[Does the Ki-To Belong in War Thunder?]
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Development

The development of the Prototype Anti-Aircraft Tank Ki-To is the marriage of two separate systems with their own interesting histories, the Type 98 20 mm AA machine cannon, and the chassis, the Type 97 Te-Ke tankette.

Type 98 20 mm AA machine cannon

Type 98 20 mm AA machine cannon

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The Type 98 20 mm AA machine cannon was developed as the Imperial Japanese Army recognized the need for a light anti-aircraft weapon to help combat the rapid development of aircraft during and after WW1. At its caliber, it would deal with aircraft flying at low altitudes. A high rate of fire would be necessary to deal with the ever-increasing speed of aircraft during the interwar era. Furthermore, after the IJA became increasingly entangled in China after the Mukden Incident in 1931, it found it had insufficient weapons to deal with such threats, being restricted to using light and heavy infantry machine guns on AA mounts. As such, Tokyo Army Arsenal would begin development of the Type 98 on the basis of the 13.2 mm caliber Hotchkiss M1929 machine gun. Interestingly, the Army was keen on the Type 98 having dual-purpose capabilities and was thus designed to deal with armored vehicles from the outset. The effects of this are easily seen in-game with the Type 94, Ta-Se, and So-Ki*.

The So-Ki should actually have the Type 2 20 mm AA machine cannon, which has much better RoF and muzzle velocity.

Type 97 Te-Ke tankette

Type 97 Te-Ke tankette



Designed in 1936-1937, the Type 97 Light Armored Car Te-Ke was the finale of Japan’s domestic tankette line that began with the introduction of the Type 92 heavy armoured car in 1932. The Te-Ke was of excellent design, built for fast reconnaisance. It could travel up to 42 kph (26 mph) using its diesel-powered Ikegai air-cooled inline 4-cylinder that gave 65 hp. Furthermore, the tankette was heavily armed for its type, featuring the somewhat obsolecent Type 94 37 mm tank gun, the improved Type 98 37 mm tank gun, or a Type 97 MG. The tankette would go on to provide the chassis of the Ki-To.

With the introduction of the Type 98 AA gun into anti-aircraft artillery regiments and independent anti-aircraft artillery battalions in 1937, the decision was made to mechanize them to ease their deployment and otherwise aid the Army’s overall mechanization efforts at the time. The gun was initially mounted on the Type 94 six-wheeled truck, as we see in the game.

Wishing to take these efforts further, the Army directed that the gun be mounted on a tracked vehicle to improve off-road capabilities. This chassis would come from the Type 97 Te-Ke tankette.

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Army Technical Headquarters was responsible for carrying out the modification of the Te-Ke, which began in the late 1930s, possibly as late as 1941. The turret and side-mounted muffler were removed to make way for the gun. Additionally, the chassis was lengthened and an extra roadwheel added to help stability and crew operation. Suspension was also doubled to this end. From my understanding, the gun was not mounted on a turntable, as it could traverse 360 degrees on its own. It was instead mounted using its default tripod. Two wheels were carried on the rear of the chassis to allow the gun to be converted for ground use, as you can see in the picture below. Two gun lengths were tested, L/70 and L/100. A port for a 7.7 caliber Type 97 heavy tank machine gun was added for anti-infantry purposes.

Ki-to Image 3

Despite the modifications of the vehicle, the Te-Ke still restricted how much could actually be done to make it a more effective AA tank. Any sort of shield for the Type 98 gun could not be added, since it would block the driver’s hatch or further decrease the amount of working space for the crew. Overall armor protection would not be increased from basis of the Te-Ke. Additionally, problems still remained with the stability of the vehicle given the Te-Ke’s light construction, making firing and driving difficult. Due to these issues, the Ki-To remained a prototype. Nonetheless, the Ki-To was a groundbreaking and important first step in the design of tracked self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery for the Empire of Japan.

Ki-To Specifications

Additional Information Regarding Armament

The Ki-To featured a Type 98 20 mm AA machine cannon. It could elevate to 85 degrees and depress to -5 and was capable of traversing a full 360 degrees. It had a rate of fire of 300 rpm and had a muzzle velocity of 830 m/s. With this, the Type 98 had a maximum firing range of 5.5 km (3.4 mi) at the horizontal, and 3.5 km (11,000 ft) when fully elevated. The gun was limited to 20 rounds per magazine. As seen in-game, it could fire the Type 100 HE and Type 100 AP rounds* As the L/100 gun features the best muzzle velocity, only this one should really be added.

As usual with Japanese armored vehicles, it also carried a Type 97 MG as a secondary weapon, capable of firing 500 rpm.
* If anyone knows of any experimental rounds, feel free to comment!

  • Armament: Type 98 20 mm AA machine cannon
  • Secondary Armament: Type 97 heavy tank machine gun
  • Armor:
    • Front: 6 mm upper glacis, 12 mm lower glacis
    • Side: 10 mm
    • Rear: 8 mm
  • Dimensions: 3.68 m length, 1.9m width
  • Weight: Unknown, likely no more than 4.7 tonnes, the weight of the Te-Ke.
  • Maximum Speed: 42 kph
  • Crew: : 4 (Commander, Driver, Gunner, Radio Operator/Assistant Gunner)

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Additional Images

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Sources

(九八式二十粍高射機関砲 - Wikipedia)
Type 97 light armored car - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Experimental Anti-Aircraft Tank Ki-To | FirearmCentral Wiki | Fandom
Fully tracked Quito - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ki-To SPAAG - Passed for Consideration - War Thunder - Official Forum
Experimental Anti-Aircraft Tank Ki-To (wardrawings.be)

7 Likes

+1

1 Like

+1 hopefully alongside the So-To.

1 Like

So-To?

1 Like

It’s an experimental 37mm gun carrier based on the same chassis. No pictures of it exist but it was built and might have even seen service.

Spoiler

1 Like

Added a new picture I’ve never seen before. Shows the rear and parts of the gun tripod quite nicely
Ki-to Image 3

5 Likes

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Still interesting to think it would remain usable.

1 Like

I found three rounds listed for 20x143 Type 98:
-Type 100 AP-T - 162g
-Type 98 HEI-T - 136g - 4g Cyclonite
-Type 100 HEI-T SD - 132g - 4.5g Cyclonite
SD of course stands for Seld Destructing.

4 Likes

+1
Could be a cheap low tier premium. Seeing we don’t have a auto-cannon as a rank 1 premium.

2 Likes

honestly might be better as a premium. The Ki-To might be worse than the Type 94 since it has no protection lol

1 Like

SPAA cannot be premiums or events. Will always end up in the normal Tech Tree. Most likely be at 1.3 with the Type 94 SPAA.
+1

The russian premium spaa would like to have a word with you

3 Likes

Here is more data about the self-destroying HE round from CINCPAC Bulletin 85-45, Japanese Projectiles Vol 1. Tracer for 12 seconds probably means the round wouldn’t be that useful in game.

2 Likes

+1.

I like it. I think it will probably be marginally better than the Type 94 since the driver will have pretection from pellet guns.

The bit I read about the two different barrel lengths has me super interested. Would love to see both. With one being a TT vehicle the other could get away with being an event vehicle. Can’t wait for Pz. II at home.

3 Likes

Depends on how Gaijin does it. The Ki-To has only protection for the driver. 0 for the ones on top while the Type-94 has no protection for any of the crew.

1 Like

Sure a definite +1 from me

1 Like