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Japans Box Tank O-I

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O-I

 

The O-I (オイ車 Oi-sensha) was a super-heavy tank prototype designed by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War after the Battles of Nomonhan in 1939. The O-I is one of the Second World War’s more secretive tank projects, with documentation regarding the tank being kept private for over 75 years at Wakajishi Shrine, Fujinomiya. Surviving files have been purchased by FineMolds Inc., and publicly previewed in mid-2015. The multi-turreted 150-ton tank was designed for use on the Manchurian plains as a supportive pillbox for the Imperial Japanese against the Soviet Union. The project was disbanded four years after the initial development began, deemed unsatisfactory for continuation in 1943 after the lack of resource material for the prototype.

 

pn5bAGO.jpg

 

History and development

 

 

After 1939, the Imperial Japanese Army quickly came to realize that previous forms of mechanized warfare were proved inefficient after their defeat at Khalkhin Gol.
 

Development of the super-heavy project was spearheaded by Colonel Hideo Iwakuro, the head of the Ministry of War of Japan (陸軍省 Rikugun-shō). Iwakuro opposed Japan’s advances towards the Soviet Union in 1939, and with the Japanese defeat, he decided to initiate a project to construct a heavily armored tank capable of withstanding large-caliber field cannons. Iwakuro assigned Colonel Murata of the 4th Technical Research Group to design and construct the super heavy tank in 1939. Colonel Murata noted Iwakuro’s words as described;
 

「満州の大平原で移動トーチカとして使えるような巨大戦車を作ってほしい。極秘でだ。」
“I want a huge tank built which can be used as a mobile pillbox in the wide open plains of Manchuria. Top secret.”

 

「今の戦車の寸法を2倍に延ばして作れ。」
“Make the dimensions twice that of today’s tanks.”

 

The 4th Technical Research Group began designing the super-heavy vehicle throughout 1940, attempting to meet Colonel Iwakuro’s vague instructions on the ultimate goal of the project. By March 1941, the research group had finished initial tank design and was ready to begin construction. The following month, a group of pre-selected engineers were chosen to partake in the building of the super-heavy tank. One recorded engineer was Shigeo Otaka, who stated they were sent to the 4th Technical Research Group’s previous headquarters in Tokyo. There, they were guided through a barracks containing multiple small fitting rooms, where they were to conduct meetings and reports on the progress of construction of the super-heavy vehicle. Towards the end of the barracks facility was a fully-enclosed room devoid of windows, with soundproofed walls to prevent external personnel from overhearing discussions related to the project. Each officer present possessed a portion of the project’s blueprint, which, when assembled, projected the full design of the tank, labeled "Mi-To". The name originated from a collection of the Mitsubishi industry and the city, Tokyo; given to the vehicle to uphold secrecy of the tank’s project.

 

 

pADjs4J.pngYmrhrPk.jpg

Colonels Murata and Iwakuro 

 

The chosen engineers voiced their concerns regarding the Mi-To’s design noting that previously, the largest-sized Japanese tank had been the prototype Type95 Heavy in 1934. Issues that had been noted with heavy tank experiments in the years preceding the Mi-To showing Japan’s generally unsuccessful testing on multi-turreted vehicles exceeding the weight of standard armored vehicles. However, with the threat of a second Russo-Japanese conflict becoming more apparent, the project continued despite the engineer’s doubts on the size and mobility of the vehicle.

 

eT02m7U.jpg

Four engineers who survived to record the dealing had with the project

On April 14th 1941, the engineers began the construction of the Mi-To under secretive means. This entailed privately-made mechanical parts and equipment being shipped to the construction zone. Colonel Murata’s original concept was to complete the super-heavy tank three months after the initiation of Mi-To’s construction. This, ultimately, did not come into fruition; as technical issues on the project began to arise. Due to the limitation on material consumption by the government, the amount of parts that could be secretly shipped-in began to dwindle. By the first month of construction, essential construction resources had been depleted and the issues with the vehicle’s cooling system further caused delays. The construction of the Mi-To was postponed until January 1942, a delay of nine months.
 

After the Mi-To’s construction was resumed, the hull was completed on February 8th 1942. The tank had reached near-completion and was being prepared for mobility testing. Mitsubishi built the four turrets for the tank in May of the same year. Initial assembly of the tank’s armament took place soon after the turret’s superstructures were completed. However; the project once again did not have the necessary resources needed for the few remaining parts required for the final assessment. Due to this, the primary turret was removed as it lacked a 35-millimeter-thick roof plate, which had not yet arrived. Thus, the project was put on standby, until further development could continue. The total weight of the vehicle at the time was 96 tons, due to the lack of remaining structural plates and absent 75mm bolted-on armor.

 

40.jpg
O-I documents previewed by FineMolds

 

The date on which the construction of the tank resumed is unknown, although active testing of the tank was scheduled for late 1943. The tank was unveiled to the Imperial Japanese Army’s highest command in 1943, and received a name change to O-I. This followed Japanese naming convention (O translating to Heavy, I for First, making it "First Heavy") that was standard. In his place was Lieutenant Colonel Nakano, Murata's assistant and colleague. Tomio Hara, head of the Sagamia Army Arsenal, was also present. Following the demonstration, senior officials within the IJA requested that field trials begin in August of the same year. The tank was disassembled at 2:00 AM one night in June of 1943 and sent to the Sagami Army Arsenal in Sagamihara, 51 kilometers from Tokyo. The vehicle arrived at the depot in June, and was reassembled and tested on the 1st of August.

On the day of the trials, the O-I performed satisfactorily until the second hour of the tests. While maneuvering on off-road terrain, the tank sank into the ground by up to a meter; attempts at traversing the hull to extricate the vehicle proved fruitless, resulting in further sinking due to the vehicle’s suspension coils compressing. The tank was eventually towed out, and further testing was continued on concrete. However, the earlier damage to the suspension resulted in vehicle’s movement damaging the concrete, which in turn, further damaged the suspension bogies to the point that further testing could not continue. The trials were postponed, and later canceled the following day.
 

Nevertheless, the trials conducted at the testing field were considered to be a success, and the vehicle was deemed ready for use in spite of its flaws. The engineers began disassembly of the tank on the 3rd of August due to resources being limited and the inability to maintain the tank in the field. Disassembly of the tank was completed on August 8th. Two days later, the engineers noted in a log that they were to inspect the parts and conduct research to fix the issues the O-I would face.
 

The fate of the O-I after its field-trials which took place on the 1st of August is unclear. Russian reports claim the Japanese were in possession of a wooden O-I mock-up mounting a Daimler-Benz DB 601A engine in 1945, however other sources point to the scrapping of the remaining parts of the same year. The remains of the O-I reside at the Wakajishi Shrine, with a track link of the prototype still present.

 

hkTivIt.jpg

Remaining track link of the prototype O-I tank

 

Design

 

The O-I was conceived out of the necessity to produce an armored vehicle capable of withstanding modern weaponry being able to return fire with similar firepower. The O-I was designed to act as a mobile pillbox, supporting infantry and mechanized groups along the border  of the Soviet Union. The tank had a length of 10.1 meters, width of 4.8 meters, and a height of 3.6 meters. The dimensions of the vehicle closely matched those of the Panzer VIII Maus. The tank was envisioned to have a standard thickness of 150 millimeters front and rear, in order to protect against common anti-tank weapons of the time, yet it was constructed with armor 75 millimeters thick. However, an additional armor plate could be bolted on to bring the total thickness of the armor to 150 millimeters. The use of additional armor allowed for ease of construction and transportation, while also providing the tank with additional defense. Side armor on the hull superstructure was 70 millimeters thick. The additional armor plates were 35 millimeters thick,  but armor surrounding the suspension was only 35 millimeters thick. This made the tank’s theoretical armor on the side 75 millimeters.  There were eight wheel-supporting beams located on both sides of the suspension area which added an additional 40 millimeters of armor to specific locations on the side of the O-I. 40 ladder pieces were placed around the tank to provide crew with the ability to climb onto of the vehicle with ease.

 

The two 47mm cannons used in the two frontal turrets were also modified to fit the armor layout of the tank. The weapon’s barrels were reinforced with steel to secure them to the tank, due to the standard gun not adequately fitting into the turret.

 

zOdKM6P.png

 

 

The tank was both designed and built with two inner armor plates to divide the interior into three sections; walls with two doors each and an ultimate thickness of 20mm. This allowed the crew and modules to remain relatively safe while the structure was kept safe with supporting stands. These supports allowed the interior armor plates to stay stable and also prevented collapse. Inside the O-I were two Kawasaki V-12 engines, both located in the rear, parallel lengthwise, to give room for the rear turret operator and transmission. The transmission copied that of the Type97 Chi-Ha’s, but used larger parts and gears making the total weight heavier. The vehicle had a coil spring system, with eight 2 wheeled boggies, totaling 16 individual wheels.

 

 

pKe3rnM.jpg

 

 

Data Sheet

 

 

General


Name: O-I

Factory: Private - Mitsubishi

Units Produced: 1

Type: Super Heavy Tank

Year Built: February 8th 1942

Length: 10.1 m

Width: 4.8 m

Hull Width: 4833 mm

Height Full: 3.6 m

Turret height: 1065 mm

Track width: 800 mm

Track Pitch: 300 mm

Track Thickness: 58 mm Half, 108 mm Full

Total Weight: 150t (96t prototype)


Engine


Name: Type98 V12 Kawasaki

Power: 550hp (1100hp total with second engine)

Weight: 1020kg

Gears: 6

Lubricant type: Oil

Maximum speed: 40kmh onroad (prototype),  29.4 kmh (design) onroad


Hull


Hull height: 2530 mm

Hull Width: 4833 mm

Upper Front Plate: 150mm @ 56,29°

Lower Front Plate: 150mm @ 45°

Lowest Front Plate: 70mm @ 70,5°

Side plate:  35mm @ 0° + Bolted 35mm @ 0°

Superstructure side plate: 75mm @ 0°

Upper Rear Plate: 150mm @ 18°

Lower Rear Plate: 150mm @ 33,01°

Lowest Rear Plate: 30mm @ 75,99°

Top plate: 50mm @ 0°

Bottom plate thickness: 30mm @ 0°


Turret Primary


Turret height: 1065 mm

Turret side faces: 150mm @ 90°

Turret top: 50mm @ 0°

Turret Ring: 1870 mm


Armament


Model: Type96 15cm Howtizer

Weight: 4,140 kg

Elevation: -5 ° to + 20 °

Amount of ammunition: 100+

Type of ammunition: Type95 APHE, Type92 Spifire HE, 4th Year HEAT


Ammunition Types


Name: Type95 APHE

Shell weight: 36000g

Fire speed: 540m/s

Penetration: 125mm @ 230m, 120mm @ 510m, 112mm @ 755m, 102mm @ 1000m

Explosives: 6150g


Name: Type92 Spifire HE

Shell weight: 36000g

Fire speed: 540m/s

Explosives: 6150g


Name: 4th Year HEAT

Shell weight: 21040g

Fire speed: 650m/s

Explosives: 6150g



Secondary Armament


Model: Type1 47mm Experimental

Weight: 600(+/-) kg

Elevation: -10 ° to + 20 °

Amount of ammunition: 100+

Type of ammunition: Type1 APHE, Tungsten Alloy Toku Kou Prototype


Name: Type1 APHE

Shell weight: 36000g

Fire speed: 810m/s

Penetration: 65mm @ 200m, 65mm @ 500m, 50mm @ 1000m, 45mm @ 1500m

Explosives: 17g


Name: Tungsten Alloy Toku Kou Prototype

Shell weight: 36000g

Fire speed: 810m/s

Penetration: 85mm @ 0m, 79mm @ 200m, 70mm @ 500m, 56mm @ 1000m, 45mm @ 1500m

Explosives: 17g

 

 

 

Sources
 
O-I documentation, Finemolds
O-I project report notebook 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 (Finemolds)
- JP Tank Perfect Guide
- 日本の戦車 原乙未生 (Hara's book)
 
(Old sources)
帝国陸軍陸戦兵器ガイド1872-1945
日本陸軍の火砲 野戦重砲
戦車と戦車戦
太平洋戦争秘録 日本・秘密兵器大全
 
 
----------------------
 
​Since the article Soukou and Daigensui wrote long ago is filled with inconsistencies and errors, decided to make something thats actually accurate to the reports. Wrote it on Google Docs initially, posted it to WT earlier. Will be present on Ritas blog and eventually Wikipedia. 

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So is there any truth to the existence of multiple versions like the old O-I article and WG depict?

 

Not at the moment based solely off these reports. The prior knowledge of the O-Ni and O-Ho converges with the O-I 150t, so its safe to assume they aren't real. At least at the moment history wise. The designs may have been alternates to the original, but theres no evidence supporting that.

 

The O-I prototype WG made does not match up the historical model. They recreated it to make it appear unique to the players. 

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O-Ni and O-Ho are called O-I 100t and O-I 120 t in the game files, for whatever that's worth. The actual O-Is are called Mi-Tos for some reason

 

O-Ni and O-Ho are names WG created to prevent a line of "O-Is". They were called the 100t and 120t prior to WG implementing them, thats why.

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And I swear the Japanese heavies in game attract the highest percentage of scrub 43 percenters playing them.

 

I know they're little more than napkin-waffe but these designs make the Germans look sane. 

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Out of curiousity, did Japan ever come up with any tank designs in the more "normal" range for heavies (such as about 50-75 tons, or thereabouts)?

 

 

And I honestly lost my shit at this line;


「今の戦車の寸法を2倍に延ばして作れ。」
“Make the dimensions twice that of today’s tanks.”

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Out of curiousity, did Japan ever come up with any tank designs in the more "normal" range for heavies (such as about 50-75 tons, or thereabouts)?

 

 

And I honestly lost my shit at this line;

 

Yes, sort of. Theres a 35/40 ton heavy Japan did use and serviced. However I'm not allowed to share to you the details yet, its still private.

 

But Japan ignored heavies for the most part. They couldnt afford to mass produce them with their logistical errors and lack of resources. 

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Most of those resources went to the Imperial Navy, as I recall

 

It was a matter of internal warring  between political groups and the military. The Navy tended to get the better side of the higher ups and in result got major priority over the Army. 

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To be fair it was an Island country that had gotten by on blind luck/sheer incompetence of the enemy (not to say early war victories against the British weren't impressive feats, but the buck largely stops there, and further offensive actions into Burma turned into a real shitshow) when it came to ground battles (that mattered) and quick victories by sea

 

You shell anything enough its not gonna matter that you would take more casualties than necessary and it will take needlessly longer than a nation with more modern equipment and doctrine on the ground, its still going to be a win in the strategic sense, and the sea battle that made it happen mattered to Japan arguably more than any ground battle every will

 

Fact is dosent matter if the Japanese had assault rifles and main battle tanks if their fleet is still decimated, their commerce fleet bleed white, and their outposts outside the home islands are isolated.

 

A loss at sea has far reaching effects.

 

Sure the fact that American marines more often than not went up against a Japanese soldier with antiquated weaponry with and a inefficient at best and suicidal at worst chain of command helped, but what helped a hell of alot more is that 16 of his buddies died from the month long coastal bombardment, and 10 others starved to death or died of dysentery when everything but the clothes on their backs and weapons in their hands were lost in the mass retreat away from the devastating air and seaborne onslaught. 

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The two 47mm cannons used in the two frontal turrets were also modified to fit the armor layout of the tank. The weapon’s barrels were reinforced with steel to secure them to the tank, due to the standard gun not adequately fitting into the turret.

 

 

 

Could you elaborate on what this means?

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Nevertheless, the trials conducted at the testing field were considered to be a success, and the vehicle was deemed ready for use

 

This was the line that had me snickering the most. I wish this article had been around when that South African wierdo was claiming WG had fabricated literally everything in the Japanese heavy line. If I recall correctly, he claimed the surviving track link was from actually from a Liebherr mobile crane, tinfoil-hat style.  

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This was the line that had me snickering the most. I wish this article had been around when that South African wierdo was claiming WG had fabricated literally everything in the Japanese heavy line. If I recall correctly, he claimed the surviving track link was from actually from a Liebherr mobile crane, tinfoil-hat style.  

Links?

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I must be used to dealing with really epic levels of crazy, because that barely pinged my meter. Still sounds very much like a certain person I know IRL though.

 

Has he mentioned a pet theory regarding the holographic universe hypothesis?

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Sigh, at this rate, I may have to admit I was wrong about you if you keep making good, high effort posts like this.

 

In all seriousness, This is a great contribution.

Who are you and what have you done with the real Mech? :P

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Sigh, at this rate, I may have to admit I was wrong about you if you keep making good, high effort posts like this.

 

In all seriousness, This is a great contribution.

 

I appreciate the comment. However it took me over a week and half to translate everything [needed] from old kanji to english, and it has stressed me a good amount. So another article on this scale might not come up for some time. 

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​Since the article Soukou and Daigensui wrote long ago is filled with inconsistencies and errors, decided to make something thats actually accurate to the reports. Wrote it on Google Docs initially, posted it to WT earlier. Will be present on Ritas blog and eventually Wikipedia. 

 

 

Hello Waffentrager,

 

I am making my first post on these boards in concern to what you wrote in the quote above. "The article" must be implying a single article about Japanese heavy tanks which I will assume is the one I will link below.

 

http://ftr.wot-news.com/2013/11/19/superheavy-japanese-tanks/

 

First correction is that Daigensui had no involvement in "Superheavy Japanese Tanks." She contributed to the STB-1 article, not to "Superheavy Japanese Tanks."

 

Second correction, "to make something thats actually accurate to the reports" can be interpreted that the same sources were available when "Superheavy Japanese Tanks" was created. That is incorrect. "Superheavytanks" was posted in November 2013. Including the process of searching for and acquiring the books, the article was the result of many months of research. In respects to those materials, "Superheavy Japanese Tanks" attempted the most accurate and fair presentation possible out of materials that presented different interpretations.

 

What is changing what is now acknowledged as true history about the O-I are the materials you sourced below:

 

O-I documentation, Finemolds
O-I project report notebook 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 (Finemolds)
 
These documents were not available at the time. They only just became available in the Autumn/winter of 2015, about two years after "Superheavy Japanese Tanks." There was no way of knowing what and when such new information would be released.
 
What would have been fair to say is instead of "to make something thats actually accurate to the reports" but something to the effect of "upon the release of new information about the O-I".
 
Please do be more careful about how you reflect on previous work of others. Congratulations on your article.

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      However, the biggest flaw the J2M1 had was poor reliability. The MK4C engine was not delivering the expected performance, and the propeller pitch control was unreliable, failing multiple times. (1) As a result, the J2M1 failed to meet the performance set forth in the 14-shi specification, achieving a top speed of only 577 kph, well short of the 600 kph required. Naturally, the climb rate suffered as well. Only a few J2M1s were built.
       
      The next version, the J2M2, had several improvements. The engine was updated to the MK4R-A (3); this engine featured a methanol injection system, enabling it to produce up to 1,800 horsepower for short periods. The propeller was switched for a four blade unit. The extension shaft in the J2M1 had proved unreliable, in the J2M2 the cowling was shortened slightly, and a cooling fan was fitted at the the front. These modifications made the MK4R-A more reliable than the previous engine, despite the increase in power.
       
      However, there were still problems; significant vibrations occurred at certain altitudes and speeds; stiffening the engine mounts and propeller blades reduced these issues, but they were never fully solved (1). Another significant design flaw was identified in the summer of 1943; the shock absorber on the tail wheel could jam the elevator controls when the tailwheel retracted, making the aircraft virtually uncontrollable. This design flaw led to the death of one IJN pilot, and nearly killed two more (1). Ultimately, the IJN would not put the J2M2 into service until December 1943, 21 months after the first flight of the J2M1. 155 J2M2s would be built by Mitsubishi (3).
       
      By the time the J2M2 was entering service, the J2M3 was well into testing. The J2M3 was the most common variant of the Raiden, 260 were produced at Mitsubishi's factories (3). It was also the first variant to feature an armament of four 20mm cannons (oddly, of two different types of cannon with significantly different ballistics (2); the 7.7mm machine guns were replace with two Type 99 Model 1 cannons). Naturally, the performance of the J2M3 suffered slightly with the heavier armament, but it still retained its excellent rate of climb. The Raiden's excellent rate of climb was what kept it from being cancelled as higher performance aircraft like the N1K1-J Shiden came into service.
       

       
      The J2M's was designed to achieve a high climb rate, necessary for its intended role as an interceptor. The designers were successful; the J2M3, even with four 20mm cannons, was capable of climbing at 4650 feet per minute (1420 feet per minute) (2). Many fighters of World War 2, such as the CW-21, were claimed to be capable of climbing 'a mile a minute', but the Raiden was one of the few piston-engine aircraft that came close to achieving that mark. In fact, the Raiden climbed nearly as fast as the F8F Bearcat, despite being nearly three years older. Additionally, the J2M could continue to climb at high speeds for long periods; the J2M2 needed roughly 10 minutes to reach 30000 feet (9100 meters) (4), and on emergency power (using the methanol injection system), could maintain a climb rate in excess of 3000 feet per minute up to about 20000 feet (about 6000 meters).
       
       
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
       

       
      Analysis in Source (2) shows that the J2M3 was superior in several ways to one of its most common opponents, the F6F Hellcat. Though the Hellcat was faster at lower altitudes, the Raiden was equal at 6000 meters (about 20000 feet), and above that rapidly gained superiority. Additionally, the Raiden, despite not being designed for maneuverability, still had a lower stall speed than the Hellcat, and could turn tighter. The J2M3 actually had a lower wing loading than the American plane, and had flaps that could be used in combat to expand the wing area at will. As shown in the (poorly scanned) graphs on page 39 of (2), the J2M possessed a superior instantaneous turn capability to the F6F at all speeds. However, at high speeds the sustained turn capability of the American plane was superior (page 41 of (2)).
       
      The main area the American plane had the advantage was at high speeds and low altitudes; with the more powerful R-2800, the F6F could more easily overcome drag than the J2M. The F6F, as well as most other American planes, were also more solidly built than the J2M. The J2M also remained plagued by reliability issues throughout its service life.
       
      In addition to the J2M2 and J2M3 which made up the majority of Raidens built, there were a few other variants. The J2M4 was fitted with a turbo-supercharger, allowing its engine to produce significantly more power at high altitudes (1). However, this arrangement was highly unreliable, and let to only two J2M4s being built. Some sources also report that the J2M4 had two obliquely firing 20mm Type 99 Model 2 cannons in the fuselage behind the pilot (3). The J2M5 used a three stage mechanical supercharger, which proved more reliable than the turbo-supercharger, and still gave significant performance increases at altitude. Production of the J2M5 began at Koza 21st Naval Air Depot in late 1944 (6), but ultimately only about 34 would be built (3). The J2M6 was developed before the J2M4 and J2M6, it had minor updates such as an improved bubble canopy, only one was built (3). Finally, there was the J2M7, which was planned to use the same engine as the J2M5, with the improvements of the J2M6 incorporated. Few, if any, of this variant were built (3).
       
      A total of 621 J2Ms were built, mostly by Mitsubishi, which produced 473 airframes (5). However, 128 aircraft (about 1/5th of total production), were built at the Koza 21st Naval Air Depot (6). In addition to the reliability issues which delayed the introduction of the J2M, production was also hindered by American bombing, especially in 1945. For example, Appendix G of (5) shows that 270 J2Ms were ordered in 1945, but only 116 were produced in reality. (Unfortunately, sources (5) and (6) do not distinguish between different variants in their production figures.)
       
      Though the J2M2 variant first flew in October 1942, initial production of the Raiden was very slow. In the whole of 1942, only 13 airframes were produced (5). This included the three J2M1 prototypes. 90 airframes were produced in 1943, a significant increase over the year before, but still far less than had been ordered (5), and negligible compared to the production of American types. Production was highest in the spring and summer of 1944 (5), before falling off in late 1944 and 1945.
       
      The initial J2M1 and J2M2 variants were armed with a pair of Type 97 7.7mm machine guns, and two Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannons. The Type 97 used a 7.7x56mm rimmed cartridge; a clone of the .303 British round (7). This was the same machine gun used on other IJN fighters such as the A5M and A6M. The Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannon was a clone of the Swiss Oerlikon FF L (7), and used a 20x101mm cartridge.
       
      The J2M3 and further variants replaced the Type 97 machine guns with a pair of Type 99 Model 1 20mm cannons. These cannons, derived from the Oerlikon FF, used a 20x72mm cartridge (7), firing a round with roughly the same weight as the one used in the Model 2 at much lower velocity (2000 feet per second vs. 2500 feet per second (3), some sources (7) report an even lower velocity for the Type 99). The advantage the Model 1 had was lightness; it weighed only 26 kilograms vs. 34 kilograms for the model 2. Personally, I am doubtful that saving 16 kilograms was worth the difficulty of trying to use two weapons with different ballistics at the same time. Some variants (J2M3a, J2M5a) had four Model 2 20mm cannons (3), but they seem to be in the minority.
       

       
       
      In addition to autocannons and machine guns, the J2M was also fitted with two hardpoints which small bombs or rockets could be attached to (3) (4). Given the Raiden's role as an interceptor, and the small capacity of the hardpoints (roughly 60 kilograms) (3), it is highly unlikely that the J2M was ever substantially used as a bomber. Instead, it is more likely that the hardpoints on the J2M were used as mounting points for large air to air rockets, to be used to break up bomber formations, or ensure the destruction of a large aircraft like the B-29 in one hit. The most likely candidate for the J2M's rocket armament was the Type 3 No. 6 Mark 27 Bomb (Rocket) Model 1. Weighing 145 pounds (65.8 kilograms) (8), the Mark 27 was filled with payload of 5.5 pounds of incendiary fragments; upon launch it would accelerate to high subsonic speeds, before detonating after a set time (8). It is also possible that the similar Type 3 No. 1 Mark 28 could have been used; this was similar to the Mark 27, but much smaller, with a total weight of only 19.8 pounds (9 kilograms).
       
       
       
      The first unit to use the J2M in combat was the 381st Kokutai (1). Forming in October 1943, the unit at first operated Zeros, though gradually it filled with J2M2s through 1944. Even at this point, there were still problems with the Raiden's reliability. On January 30th, a Japanese pilot died when his J2M simply disintegrated during a training flight. By March 1944, the unit had been dispatched to Balikpapan, in Borneo, to defend the vital oil fields and refineries there. But due to the issues with the J2M, it used only Zeros. The first Raidens did not arrive until September 1944 (1). Reportedly, it made its debut on September 30th, when a mixed group of J2Ms and A6Ms intercepted a formation of B-24s attacking the Balikpapan refineries. The J2Ms did well for a few days, until escorting P-47s and P-38s arrived. Some 381st Raidens were also used in defense of Manila, in the Phillipines, as the Americans retook the islands. (9) By 1945, all units were ordered to return to Japan to defend against B-29s and the coming invasion. The 381st's J2Ms never made it to Japan; some ended up in Singapore, where they were found by the British (1).
       

       
       
      least three units operated the J2M in defense of the home islands of Japan; the 302nd, 332nd, and 352nd Kokutai. The 302nd's attempted combat debut came on November 1st, 1944, when a lone F-13 (reconaissance B-29) overflew Tokyo (1). The J2Ms, along with some Zeros and other fighters, did not manage to intercept the high flying bomber. The first successful attack against the B-29s came on December 3rd, when the 302nd shot down three B-29s. Later that month the 332nd first engaged B-29s attacking the Mitsubishi plant on December 22nd, shooting down one. (1)
      The 352nd operated in Western Japan, against B-29s flying out of China in late 1944 and early 1945. At first, despite severe maintenace issues, they achieved some successes, such as on November 21st, when a formation of B-29s flying at 25,000 feet was intercepted. Three B-29s were shot down, and more damaged.

      In general, when the Raidens were able to get to high altitude and attack the B-29s from above, they were relatively successful. This was particularly true when the J2Ms were assigned to intercept B-29 raids over Kyushu, which were flown at altitudes as low as 16,000 feet (1). The J2M also had virtually no capability to intercept aircraft at night, which made them essentially useless against LeMay's incendiary raids on Japanese cities. Finally the arrival of P-51s in April 1945 put the Raidens at a severe disadvantage; the P-51 was equal to or superior to the J2M in almost all respects, and by 1945 the Americans had much better trained pilots and better maintained machines. The last combat usage of the Raiden was on the morning of August 15th. The 302nd's Raidens and several Zeros engaged several Hellcats from VF-88 engaged in strafing runs. Reportedly four Hellcats were shot down, for the loss of two Raidens and at least one Zero(1). Japan surrendered only hours later.

      At least five J2Ms survived the war, though only one intact Raiden exists today. Two of the J2Ms were captured near Manila on February 20th, 1945 (9) (10). One of them was used for testing; but only briefly. On its second flight in American hands, an oil line in the engine failed, forcing it to land. The aircraft was later destroyed in a ground collision with a B-25 (9). Two more were found by the British in Singapore (1), and were flown in early 1946 but ex-IJN personnel (under close British supervision). The last Raiden was captured in Japan in 1945, and transported to the US. At some point, it ended up in a park in Los Angeles, before being restored to static display at the Planes of Fame museum in California.
       
       

       
       
      Sources:
       
       
      https://www.docdroid.net/gDMQra3/raiden-aeroplane-february-2016.pdf#page=2
      F6F-5 vs. J2M3 Comparison
      http://www.combinedfleet.com/ijna/j2m.htm
      http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/japan/Jack-11-105A.pdf
      https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015080324281;view=1up;seq=80
      https://archive.org/stream/corporationrepor34unit#page/n15/mode/2up
      http://users.telenet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/fgun/fgun-pe.html
      http://ww2data.blogspot.com/2016/04/imperial-japanese-navy-explosives-bombs.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3008.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3013.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3014.html
       
       
      Further reading:
       
      An additional two dozen Raiden photos: https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/japan/aircrafts/j2m-raiden/
       
       
    • By N-L-M
      Restricted: for Operating Thetan Eyes Only

      By order of Her Gracious and Serene Majesty Queen Diane Feinstein the VIII

      The Dianetic People’s Republic of California

      Anno Domini 2250

      SUBJ: RFP for new battle tank

      1.      Background.
      As part of the War of 2248 against the Perfidious Cascadians, great deficiencies were discovered in the Heavy tank DF-1. As detailed in report [REDACTED], the DF-1 was quite simply no match for the advanced weaponry developed in secret by the Cascadian entity. Likewise, the DF-1 has fared poorly in the fighting against the heretical Mormonhideen, who have developed many improvised weapons capable of defeating the armor on this vehicle, as detailed in report [REDACTED]. The Extended War on the Eastern Front has stalled for want of sufficient survivable firepower to push back the Mormon menace beyond the Colorado River south of the Vegas Crater.
      The design team responsible for the abject failure that was the DF-1 have been liquidated, which however has not solved the deficiencies of the existing vehicle in service. Therefore, a new vehicle is required, to meet the requirements of the People’s Auditory Forces to keep the dream of our lord and prophet alive.


       
      Over the past decade, the following threats have presented themselves:

      A.      The Cascadian M-2239 “Norman” MBT and M-8 light tank

      Despite being approximately the same size, these 2 vehicles seem to share no common components, not even the primary armament! Curiously, it appears that the lone 120mm SPG specimen recovered shares design features with the M-8, despite being made out of steel and not aluminum like the light tank. (based on captured specimens from the battle of Crater Lake, detailed in report [REDACTED]).
      Both tanks are armed with high velocity guns.

      B.      The Cascadian BGM-1A/1B/1C/1D ATGM

      Fitted on a limited number of tank destroyers, several attack helicopters, and (to an extent) man-portable, this missile system is the primary Cascadian anti-armor weapon other than their armored forces. Intelligence suggests that a SACLOS version (BGM-1C) is in LRIP, with rumors of a beam-riding version (BGM-1D) being developed.

      Both warheads penetrate approximately 6 cone diameters.

      C.      Deseret tandem ATR-4 series
      Inspired by the Soviet 60/105mm tandem warhead system from the late 80s, the Mormon nation has manufactured a family of 2”/4” tandem HEAT warheads, launched from expendable short-range tube launchers, dedicated AT RRs, and even used as the payload of the JS-1 MCLOS vehicle/man-portable ATGM.
      Both warheads penetrate approximately 5 cone diameters.

      D.      Cascadian HEDP 90mm rocket
      While not a particularly impressive AT weapon, being of only middling diameter and a single shaped charge, the sheer proliferation of this device has rendered it a major threat to tanks, as well as lighter vehicles. This weapon is available in large numbers in Cascadian infantry squads as “pocket artillery”, and there are reports of captured stocks being used by the Mormonhideen.
      Warhead penetrates approximately 4 cone diameters.

      E.      Deseret 40mm AC/ Cascadian 35mm AC
      These autocannon share broadly similar AP performance, and are considered a likely threat for the foreseeable future, on Deseret armored cars, Cascadian tank destroyers, and likely also future IFVs.

      F.      IEDs

      In light of the known resistance of tanks to standard 10kg anti-tank mines, both the Perfidious Cascadians and the Mormonhideen have taken to burying larger anti-tank A2AD weaponry. The Cascadians have doubled up some mines, and the Mormons have regularly buried AT mines 3, 4, and even 5 deep.

      2.      General guidelines:

      A.      Solicitation outline:
      In light of the differing requirements for the 2 theaters of war in which the new vehicle is expected to operate, proposals in the form of a field-replaceable A-kit/B-kit solution will be accepted.

      B.      Requirements definitions:
      The requirements in each field are given in 3 levels- Threshold, Objective, and Ideal.
      Threshold is the minimum requirement to be met; failure to reach this standard may greatly disadvantage any proposal.

      Objective is the threshold to be aspired to; it reflects the desires of the People’s Auditory Forces Armored Branch, which would prefer to see all of them met. At least 70% must be met, with bonus points for any more beyond that.

      Ideal specifications are the maximum of which the armored forces dare not even dream. Bonus points will be given to any design meeting or exceeding these specifications.

      C.      All proposals must accommodate the average 1.7m high Californian recruit.

      D.      The order of priorities for the DPRC is as follows:

      a.      Vehicle recoverability.

      b.      Continued fightability.

      c.       Crew survival.

      E.      Permissible weights:

      a.      No individual field-level removable or installable component may exceed 5 tons.

      b.      Despite the best efforts of the Agriculture Command, Californian recruits cannot be expected to lift weights in excess of 25 kg at any time.

      c.       Total vehicle weight must remain within MLC 120 all-up for transport.

      F.      Overall dimensions:

      a.      Length- essentially unrestricted.

      b.      Width- 4m transport width.

                                                                    i.     No more than 4 components requiring a crane may be removed to meet this requirement.

                                                                   ii.     Any removed components must be stowable on top of the vehicle.

      c.       Height- The vehicle must not exceed 3.5m in height overall.

      G.     Technology available:

      a.      Armor:
      The following armor materials are in full production and available for use. Use of a non-standard armor material requires permission from a SEA ORG judge.
      Structural materials:

                                                                    i.     RHA/CHA

      Basic steel armor, 250 BHN. The reference for all weapon penetration figures, good impact properties, fully weldable. Available in thicknesses up to 150mm (RHA) or 300mm (CHA).
      Density- 7.8 g/cm^3.

                                                                   ii.     Aluminum 5083

      More expensive to work with than RHA per weight, middling impact properties, low thermal limits. Excellent stiffness.

       Fully weldable. Available in thicknesses up to 100mm.
      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 1 vs CE, 0.9 vs KE.
      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.33 vs CE, 0.3 vs KE.
      Density- 2.7 g/cm^3 (approx. 1/3 of steel).

      For structural integrity, the following guidelines are recommended:

      For light vehicles (less than 40 tons), not less than 25mm RHA/45mm Aluminum base structure

      For heavy vehicles (70 tons and above), not less than 45mm RHA/80mm Aluminum base structure.
      Intermediate values for intermediate vehicles may be chosen as seen fit.
      Non-structural passive materials:

                                                                  iii.     HHA

      Steel, approximately 500 BHN through-hardened. Approximately twice as effective as RHA against KE and HEAT on a per-weight basis. Not weldable, middling shock properties. Available in thicknesses up to 25mm.
      Density- 7.8g/cm^3.

                                                                  iv.     Glass textolite

      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 2.2 vs CE, 1.64 vs KE.

      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.52 vs CE, 0.39 vs KE.
      Density- 1.85 g/cm^3 (approximately ¼ of steel).
      Non-structural.

                                                                   v.     Fused silica

      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 3.5 vs CE, 1 vs KE.

      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 1 vs CE, 0.28 vs KE.
      Density-2.2g/cm^3 (approximately 1/3.5 of steel).
      Non-structural, requires confinement (being in a metal box) to work.

                                                                  vi.     Fuel

      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 1.3 vs CE, 1 vs KE.

      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.14 vs CE, 0.1 vs KE.

      Density-0.82g/cm^3.

                                                                vii.     Assorted stowage/systems

      Mass efficiency vs RHA- 1 vs CE, 0.8 vs KE.

                                                               viii.     Spaced armor

      Requires a face of at least 25mm LOS vs CE, and at least 50mm LOS vs KE.

      Reduces penetration by a factor of 1.1 vs CE or 1.05 vs KE for every 10 cm air gap.
      Spaced armor rules only apply after any standoff surplus to the requirements of a reactive cassette.

      Reactive armor materials:

                                                                  ix.     ERA-light

      A sandwich of 3mm/3mm/3mm steel-explodium-steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.

      Must be spaced at least 3 sandwich thicknesses away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 81% coverage (edge effects).

                                                                   x.     ERA-heavy

      A sandwich of 15mm steel/3mm explodium/9mm steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 3 sandwich thicknesses away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 81% coverage (edge effects).

                                                                  xi.     NERA-light

      A sandwich of 6mm steel/6mm rubber/ 6mm steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 1 sandwich thickness away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 95% coverage.

                                                                 xii.     NERA-heavy

      A sandwich of 30mm steel/6m rubber/18mm steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 1 sandwich thickness away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 95% coverage.

      The details of how to calculate armor effectiveness will be detailed in Appendix 1.

      b.      Firepower

                                                                    i.     2A46 equivalent tech- pressure limits, semi-combustible cases, recoil mechanisms and so on are at an equivalent level to that of the USSR in the year 1960.

                                                                   ii.     Limited APFSDS (L:D 15:1)- Spindle sabots or bourelleted sabots, see for example the Soviet BM-20 100mm APFSDS.

                                                                  iii.     Limited tungsten (no more than 100g per shot)

                                                                  iv.     Californian shaped charge technology- 5 CD penetration for high-pressure resistant HEAT, 6 CD for low pressure/ precision formed HEAT.

                                                                   v.     The general issue GPMG for the People’s Auditory Forces is the PKM. The standard HMG is the DShK.

      c.       Mobility

                                                                    i.     Engines tech level:

      1.      MB 838 (830 HP)

      2.      AVDS-1790-5A (908 HP)

      3.      Kharkov 5TD (600 HP)

                                                                   ii.     Power density should be based on the above engines. Dimensions are available online, pay attention to cooling of 1 and 3 (water cooled).

                                                                  iii.     Power output broadly scales with volume, as does weight. Trying to extract more power from the same size may come at the cost of reliability (and in the case of the 5TD, it isn’t all that reliable in the first place).

                                                                  iv.     There is nothing inherently wrong with opposed piston or 2-stroke engines if done right.

      d.      Electronics

                                                                    i.     LRFs- unavailable

                                                                   ii.     Thermals-unavailable

                                                                  iii.     I^2- limited

      3.      Operational Requirements.

      The requirements are detailed in the appended spreadsheet.

      4.      Submission protocols.

      Submission protocols and methods will be established in a follow-on post, nearer to the relevant time.
       
      Appendix 1- armor calculation
      Appendix 2- operational requirements
       
      Good luck, and may Hubbard guide your way to enlightenment!
    • By Jagdika
      All photos were taken by myself in year 2016 during my visit to Beijing. Tanks are from the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution and the Tank Museum(currently closed). Enjoy.
       
      No.1: Type 94 Light armored car (Tankette) in the Tank Museum
       





       
      This is the early version of the Type 94 Tankette. It was found in a river in 1970s. It is the best preserved Type 94 Tankette in the world.
       
      No.2: Type 97 Medium Tank in the Tank Museum
       




       







      This is a late version Type 97 medium tank. It carries the old small 57mm gun turret but has the revised engine ventilation port. This tank was donated by the Soviet 7th mechanized division  before they withdrew from China in 1955.
       
      No.3: Type 97 Medium Tank Kai in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution
       

       


       
       
       
        This Type 97 Medium Tank Kai's combat serial number is 102. It belonged to the former China North-East tank regiment. It took part in the attack of Jinzhou against KMT army on 1948-9-14, and did great contribution for knocking out their bunkers and MG nests by shooting and ramming. Thus after the battle this tank was awarded with an honored name:"The Hero(功臣号)“ About the tank itself, it was assembled by the Chinese army themselves by using destroyed or damaged Chi-Ha parts after the surrender of Japan. This particular tank was built up with a normal Type 97's chassis(57mm gun version) early model, and a Type 97 Kai's Shinhoto(New turret for the 47mm gun). However there are other saying claim that this tank was modified by the Japanese. It was the first tank that roared over the Tiananmen Square during the Founding Ceremony of China on 1949-10-1.
       
       

      The same tank on 1949-10-1. China's tank army origins from old IJA tanks.
       
      No.4: Type 97 Medium Tank in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution
       

      Sorry, only one photo was taken. This Type 97 Medium Tank has a chassis from Type 97 Medium Tank Kai and a turret from a normal Type 97 Medium Tank. It was merged together by the Chinese army.
       
      No.5: Type 95 Armored Track(Train track) Vehicle in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution
       



       
      Only two samples survived. One is in China here and one is in Kubinka, Russia (Maybe now it is transfered to the Patriot Park? I don't know).
       
       
      Hope you enjoy the photos I took! No repost to other places without my permission.
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