The Type 90 was intended as a standardized 75mm field gun for the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) heading into World War 2 (1939-1945). It was adopted in 1930 and entered service in 1932 seeing some 786 units built in all. However, its numbers proved limited for the 75mm "Type 38" - the series the Type 90 was set to replace - continued in service until the Japanese surrender in 1945 due to the direction of the war, no longer in favor of the Japanese military. The Type 90 received its designation from the year of acceptance according to the Japanese calendar, this showing 2590 for the year 1930.
As with other artillery pieces of the period, the Type 90 exhibited two modes - travel and firing. Its tow carriage came into play for both as it was used to tow the weapon (via mover vehicle) or split as two "legs" and dug into the earth for firing. Transportation and in-the-field traversal adjustments were aided by way of the two-wheeled carriage using solid rubber tires. The firing crew resided behind a smallish armored shield for some protection against incoming fire and other battlefield dangers. A complete gunnery crew numbered six to eight personnel - from gunner to director, gun layer to ammunition handlers. The gun's action was manual while the breech was of a horizontal sliding block type. Recoil was contained through a hydropneumatic system and aided by a muzzle brake over the barrel. The gun mounting allowed for an elevation span of -8 to +43 degrees while traversal was limited to 25 degrees to either side - or else the entire gun carriage had to be turned by the crew. Travel weight was listed at 4,400lb while the system (in its firing form) displaced at 3,080lb.
The gun's ammunition consisted of a 14.5lb 75mm projectile. A trained gunnery crew could fire up to fifteen rounds in a 2 minute period for heavy sustained fire support. Each projectile exited the muzzle at a 2,240 feet per second velocity while maximum range was out to 16,360 yards. Sighting was achieved through a panoramic optical installation. The Type 90 was cleared to fire High-Explosive (HE), shrapnel (anti-personnel), Armor-Piercing (AP), smoke and illumination rounds as required - on par with other designs of the time.
Prior to the adoption of the Type 90, the Japanese Empire relied on several foreign types beginning with German Krupp-made guns. After World War 1 (1914-1918), these guns were no longer available from Germany and Japanese industry lacked the capabilities for design, development and mass production of an indigenous like-system. Artillery requirements were then fulfilled by the purchase of French-originated field guns before an indigenous design overtook them. The local design, influenced by the French Schneider Model 1927 itself, became the "Type 90" for the IJA.
On the whole, the Type 90 proved a capable battlefield system suitable for ranged warfare in the 1930s and 1940s. As such it was fielded during the Soviet-Japanese Border Wars as well as the Second Sino-Japanese War leading up to, and throughout, World War 2. It's HE shells proved potent against dug-in enemy infantry while AP shells proved proficient against enemy armor. Other shells played their part in offensive and defensive maneuvers of the IJA across the Pacific and Asia when in support. Its success as a tank-killing weapon went on to influence the main gun selected for the Type 3 "Chi-Nu" Medium Tank to counter the American M4 Sherman Medium Tank. However, the tank arrived in 1945 in just 144 examples and too late for combat service in World War 2.
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