Type 97 Te-Ke

Type 97 Te-Ke

Infobox Weapon |is_vehicle=yes
name=Type 97 Te-Ke

caption=A Type 97 Te-Ke in New Britain in 1945
origin= flag|Empire of Japan
length=3.70 meters
width=1.80 meters
height=1.77 meters
weight=4.7 tonnes
suspension=2-wheel bogie
speed=42 km/h
vehicle_range=250 kilometers
primary_armament=37 mm Type 94 gun
armour=4–16 mm
engine=Ikega air-cooled 4-cylinder diesel
crew=2 (commander, driver)
engine_power=48 hp (36 kW)
pw_ratio=10 hp/tonne

The nihongo|Type 97 TK tankette|九七式軽装甲車| Kyū-nana-shiki kei sōkōsha was a tankette used by the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War and in World War II. It was designed as a replacement for the earlier Type 94 TK.

History and development

The origins of the Type 97 lay in a prototype diesel-engine version of the Type 94 Te-Ke developed by Hino Motors in 1936. Although the prototype had a more powerful engine and larger gun, initial trials were not successful and the Japanese Army demanded numerous changes before acceptance. Hino responded with a modified prototype in November 1937, in which the engine was moved towards the rear of the chassis. This design was accepted and full production began in 1938. A total of 557 units were produced from 1938-1942 (56 units in 1938, 217 units in 1939, 284 units in 1940). [Zagola Japanese Tanks 1939-45]


Although the chassis was similar in appearance, the design of the Type 97 was different than the Type 94 in several significant areas. The engine was at the rear and the gun turret (and commander) moved to the middle of the tank - this put the driver to the left of the commander in a much better position to communicate with each other. As with the Type 94, the interior was lined with heat absorbing asbestos sheets.

The main armament was the Type 94 37 mm tank gun, with 96 rounds, barrel length of 1.3585 m (L36.7), EL angle of fire of -15 to +20 degrees, AZ angle of fire of 20 degrees, muzzle velocity of 600 m/s, penetration of 45 mm/300 m, which was also used by Type 95 Ha-Go. However, due to shortages in the production of this weapon, most vehicles were fitted with a 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun instead. [Foss. Tanks: The 500]

In spite of these improvements over the Type 94, the Type 97 was still ill-suited in many ways as a light tank. The hull was still much too small to accommodate more crewmen, which left the loading and firing of the main gun to the commander. Another shortfall was the severely deficient armor protection. Much like its predecessor, the armor on the Type 97 was unable to withstand even small arms fire. [ [http://www.wwiivehicles.com/japan/tankettes/type-97-te-ke.asp WWIIVehicles.com ] In addition to these two flaws, the 37 mm cannon was ineffective against any contemporary Allied tank.

A number of variants of the Type 97 were produced, including the Type 98 So-Da APC, which was was designed as ammunition carrier and as a troop transport.

Operational Service

Typically, Type 97s were distributed in pairs to support infantry divisions, where they were very often used as armored tractors and supply vehicles.

Despite various design weaknesses, the Type 97 was successfully used in combat in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1938-1945, as the Chinese National Revolutionary Army had very few tanks or anti-tank weapons to oppose them. Their lightness meant they could be transported easily across the sea or rivers. The Type 97 was first used in combat against the Soviet Union at the Battle of Nomonhan.

With the start of World War II, the Type 97 contributed significantly to the Japanese victories at the Battle of Malaya and the Battle of the Philippines, as its light weight enabled the tank to traverse unsupported bridges which would be unable to take heavier tanks, and its small size allowed it to travel along the long winding and narrow roads at that time.


*cite book
last = Foss
first = Christopher
year = 2003
title = Great Book of Tanks: The World's Most Important Tanks from World War I to the Present Day
publisher = Zenith Press
location =
id = ISBN 0760314756

*cite book
last = Foss
first = Christopher
year = 2003
title = Tanks: The 500
publisher = Crestline
location =
id = ISBN 0760315000

*Gander, Terry J (1995). "Jane's Tanks of World War II". Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-470847-4
*cite book
last = Zaloga
first = Steven J.
year = 2007
title = Japanese Tanks 1939-45
publisher = Osprey
location =
id = ISBN 1-84603-091-8

External links

* [http://www.wwiivehicles.com/japan/tankettes/type-97-te-ke.asp WWII vehicles]
* [http://www.onwar.com/tanks/japan/data/t97teke.htm OnWar.com]
* [http://www.military.cz/panzer/tanks/japan/teke/index_en.htm Photo gallery at military.cz]
* [http://www.militarymuseum.org/type97b.html California Military Museum with photo of survivor]


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