In 1941, as the war in the Pacific broadened, Japanese forces looked to improve their military equipment. One shortcoming was the 37 mm Type 97 gun, based on the design of a similar German weapon, the PaK 35/36. In order to take on larger vehicles, the military looked to produce a bigger, more powerful anti-tank gun.
The result was the 47 mm Type 1, Japan’s only indigenously-made anti-tank gun of World War II. The gun was highly portable and reliable, with sponge-filled tires that could never go flat in combat. The Type 1 was capable of firing both armor-piercing and high explosive rounds.
Though deadly against China’s armored cars and small tanks, the Type 1 was less effective against the front armor of bigger tanks used by American combat units. The Type 1 did not see service until 1943 and there were never enough of them in the field to turn the tide against constant Allied advances. As the war went on, the Allies took back Japan’s major gains in the Pacific with overwhelming force and masses of fighting equipment.
Did you know?
Some 2,300 Type 1 guns were built at Japan’s Osaka Arsenal during World War II.