MANUFACTURER(S): Tokyo Motor Industries - Japan
OPERATORS: Imperial Japan
LENGTH: 12.07 feet (3.68 meters)
WIDTH: 5.91 feet (1.8 meters)
HEIGHT: 5.81 feet (1.77 meters)
WEIGHT: 5 Tons (4,750 kilograms; 10,472 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x Ikega 4-cylinder diesel generating 65bhp.
SPEED: 26 miles-per-hour (42 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 155 miles (250 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Type 97 Te-Ke Infantry Support / Reconnaissance Tankette.
Entry last updated on 10/16/2015.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Developed from an early Imperial Japanese Army request for a light tank in 1937, the Type 97 Te-Ke was simply outmatched against Allied armor. The system suffered from an undergunned main armament and light protection for the crew, relegating it to limited reconnaissance and infantry support duty and the occasional supply tow assignment. The system would prove moderately useful in the early years of Pacific domination, but that would soon change with America's involvement in the Second World War.
The Type 97 was a two-main light tank. Power was derived from a single Ikega-brand 4-cyliner engine of diesel type generating 65bhp. The system could achieve a maximum speed of up to 26 miles per hour in pristine road conditions and reach outwards of 155 miles. Armament consisted of a single 37mm cannon mounted in the turret. Original Type 97 Te-Ke designs were seen with the engine mounted forwards in the hull with the driver whilst the turret and commander were set back. Later production models addressed this by moving the turret closer to the driver and relocating the engine to the rear.
The Type 97 Te-Ke was utilized throughout the Pacific Theater and saw extensive action in China. Despite its widespread involvement, the system was far from ideal in the ever-changing frontlines where heavy armament and armor were becoming the keys to a tank's survival.
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