Reconnaissance Car / Multi-Purpose Military Vehicle
The limited-production Type 95 reconnaissance car was comparable to the American jeep in its battlefield role for the Imperial Japanese Army.
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Heading into World War 2 (1939-1945), the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) relied largely on civilian cars and commercial trucks to serve in the required reconnaissance / local security roles - and many of these were American in their origin. The invasion, and subsequent occupation, of Manchuria under false pretenses showcased a dire need for a dedicated military-grade armored scout car and this gave rise to an indigenous design offered by Kurogane known as the "Type 95". Production eventually amounted to 4,800 examples and these arrived in various body forms though all were developed to a basic standard of qualities and utilized in similar battlefield roles.
The Type 95 gave good service in the Manchurian climate where its air-cooled engine could be depended upon to keep engines from not overheating and, since there proved few sources of good water available, there was no reliance on liquid-cooling these engines. A four-wheel drive system allowed for the needed cross-country capabilities and drive power came from a VIAF 2-cylinder gasoline engine of 33 horsepower. The gearbox incorporated a selective sliding type design and included three forward and a single reverse gear. To aid in traversing extremely rough terrains, a special set of tires could be installed to provide better traction. Overall weight stood at 2,425 pounds.
The general configuration of the car was traditional with the engine at front and passenger areas to the middle and rear. A light metal body was set atop the chassis which held its large roadwheels at the corners. Two persons sat side-by-side at the center of the car though there was only room for one in the rear seating area. The cars were seen in both open-topped and covered forms during their service time and a flatbed truck variant was also fashioned. Production spanned from 1937 until 1945 and, beyond their service in Manchuria and against China, they were also fielded against the Soviet Union. The vehicles held little value in the years following the close of the war and they were never wholly perfect solutions - they held little to no armoring for the crew but were nonetheless available in the numbers needed.