The Type 95 Light Tank (Ha-Go), developed by the Imperial Japanese Army, proved to be more successful than expected as a light tank. However, when deployed in the Pacific War that began in December 1941, it was noted on the front lines that the 37mm tank gun lacked firepower.
As a result, an effort was made to enhance firepower by replacing the main gun with the same 5.7cm tank gun as the Type 97 Medium Tank (Chi-Ha). The outcome of this modification was the Type 3 Light Tank (Ke-Ri), utilizing the same chassis and turret as the Type 95 Light Tank, with modifications to the main gun-related components such as the gun carriage to accommodate the Type 97 57mm tank gun.
Although the official designation “Type 3 Light Tank” was assigned, it was merely a derivative of the Type 95 Light Tank. The Type 3 Light Tank’s prototype was produced and subjected to trials in 1944. However, a significant drawback was identified: despite the enlargement of the main gun to 5.7cm, the reuse of the Type 95 Light Tank’s turret resulted in a cramped turret interior, making the operation of the main gun challenging.
As a consequence, the Type 3 Light Tank remained in the prototype stage and did not proceed to mass production.
The Experimental Type 3 Ke-Ri stands as a Japanese prototype light tank stemming from the Type 95 Light Tank. Notably, it integrated the Type 97 5.7cm gun into the standard Type 95 turret, with minimal alterations made to the overall vehicle design. However, a significant challenge arose due to the size of the cannon, making turret operation a complex task. The inclusion of the Type 97 5.7cm gun aimed to enhance the tank’s firepower without introducing extensive modifications, yet the practicality of operating the turret became a notable hurdle.
Specifications for diverse Japanese light tanks are outlined in the following table. Note that the Ha-Go is referred to as “Ke-Go” in this listing, and all details remain identical to the Ke-Ri, except for the main gun. The source of this information is currently unknown; however, it appears to stem from a post-war US intelligence report, evident from the inclusion of the Ke-Ho, a late-war design, in the list.
- Hull Armor: 12/12/10
- Turret Armor: 30/12/12
- Crew: 3 (Commander, Driver & Machine gunner)
- Mass: 7.7 Tons
- Mitsubishi A6120VDe 4-stroke inline 6-cylinder air-cooled diesel 120hp/1,400rpm
- Max Forward Speed: 48 KM/H
- Max Reverse Speed: 5.2 KM/H
- Main Armament: Type 97 57mm tank gun
Secondary Armament: Type 97 7.7mm vehicle-mounted Light Machine Gun
[Some stats are based on the already existing Ha-Go in the game]
Type 97 57mm tank gun
The ammunition that can be fired by the Ke-Ri is the same ones found on the Chi-Ha. This included Type 92 APHE & Type 3 HEAT which is the most capable shell with 55mm of penetration at all ranges.