The Type 98 "Ko-Hi" halftrack was developed by the Isuzu concern as a self-propelled air defense artillery system for use by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War 2. Taken collectively, the Type 98 AA system consisted of two major components designed to work in unison - the Type 98 half-track mover and the Type 2 anti-aircraft cannon system. The intent of the system was to provide a mobile-minded, fire-support vehicle for the protection of columns and key areas against low-flying enemy aircraft. If networked and operated properly, such systems could create an umbrella of defense against inbound aerial threats. The Type 98 Ko-Hi maintained an "experimental" status during its short tenure.
The Type 98 half-track vehicle consisted of a two-wheeled front axle with a tracked rear system. Half-tracks, in general, allowed for increased payload function across uneven or soft terrains while keeping speed with the main mechanized force. In fact, the base Type 98 form was considered a high-speed prime mover by the IJA, capable of maintaining up to 25 mile per hour speeds in ideal conditions when on a full load. The cab for the driver and a passenger was situated just behind the engine compartment, with vision provided for through a forward windscreen with open-air sides. A canvas roof was typically added for protection against the elements but there was little point defense available to the crew. The area to the rear of the cab was a flat bed designed to accept the Type 2 gun system. Power was supplied by a single V8 air-cooled, gasoline-fueled engine developing upwards of 130 horsepower and driving a tracked layout by way a drive sprocket with integrated road wheels. The chassis was set upon a bell crank suspension system and sported a length of 12.4 feet with a 6 foot width. The Type 98 was termed a 4-ton vehicle in IJA classification.
The Type 2 20mm anti-aircraft gun mount was nothing more than a single-barreled cannon (termed a "machine cannon" by the Japanese) designed to utilize timed-fuse projectiles intended for demolition of enemy aircraft. The gun was designed with an attack elevation limitation of -15 to +95 degrees. On its gun mount atop the rear section of the Type 98 half-track, the Type 2 could field a 360-degree firing arc, able to attack enemy aircraft at any incoming angle regardless of the directional facing of the half-track itself. Rate-of-fire was listed at 300 rounds per minute with a range out to 11,500 feet - though a maximum of 18,000 feet was possible though with reduced effectiveness. The gun itself was derived from the German FlaK 38 series as the German and Japanese governments maintained a working relationship during the war. The Type 2 weighed in at 1,200lbs which made the use of a half-track vehicle logical as its mover. The weapon system saw service beginning in 1942.
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