Type 92 Jyu-Sokosha
Armored Car / Tankette / Light Tank Tracked Combat Vehicle
The Type 92 Jyu-Sokosha was classified by the Japanese Army as an armored car though it was more akin to a light tank - or tankette.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Exposure to foreign "tankette" types led the Empire of Japan in design and production of its first local tankette product - the Type 92 "Jyu-sokosha". Design work began in 1931 which led to production spanning 1932 into 1939. Some 167 of the vehicle were produced in time for World War 2 (1939-1945).
As built, the vehicle showcased a weight of 3.5 tons and a crew of three. Dimensions included a length of 13 feet, a width of 5 feet, 4 inches and a height of 6 feet. Armor protection ranged from 6mm to 12mm which would prove suitable against small arms fire. Main armament was a 13mm Type 92 series heavy machine gun coupled with a 7.7mm Type 97 light machine gun. Power was served from an Ishikawajima (Franklin) Sumida C6 model air-cooled, inline 6-cylinder, gasoline-fueled engine developing 45 horsepower. Operational range was limited to 120 miles with a top road speed of 25 miles per hour. The hull was suspended atop a Bell crank suspension system. The superstructure showcased both flat and angled panels with a traversing turret affixed on the superstructure roof. The track-over-wheel arrangement exhibited six, double-tired road wheels, a forward-mounted drive sprocket and a rear-mounted track idler. Three track return rollers were used along each hull side. The engine was fitted to the rear of the hull.
The Type 92 appeared at a time in military history when many cavalry-based components were entering a period of modernization, essentially brought about by more viable mechanized vehicles stemming from actions in World War 1 (1914-1918). The Interwar period saw many designs emerge which intended to bring about protection, speed and firepower through wheeled and tracked designs. Light tanks and "tankettes" initially proved the norm, their speed becoming vital to any fast-moving offensive alongside infantry elements. One of the most influential of the tankette designs emerged from Britain under the Carden-Loyd Brand label.
After years of experimentation, the Type 92 emerged from testing and research as a viable end-product for the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). As can be expected with any first locally-designed and produced product, the Type 92 was initially fraught with mechanical problems which limited the type in service and popularity. With the relatively few built, these were pressed into military action in Manchuria with adequate results - mechanical issues continued and both armament and armor protection proved light. Additionally, as a fast tankette, the vehicle's top speed left something to be desired when compared to her contemporaries. As time soon passed the design by, a more modern tank system was adopted in the Type94 Te Ke series. In comparison, 823 of these vehicles were built to the Type 92's 167 units.