Japanese Armor Bleg

Courtesy of our correspondent in Saipan, here’s a picture of the hulk of a Japanese armored vehicle on the island. My knowledge of WWII Japanese armor would fit into a thimble, so if any of you out there have any insight into the type or history of the vehicle, please let me know. In fact, any insight into armor fighting on Saipan would be welcome.


Little remembered today in most circles, the invasion of Saipan was a huge battle. It was a huge fight against the Japanese, and it led to a battle between the Marines and the Army as well. Suffice for now to say that there were distinct differences in the way the two services approached fighting, and more than one ego was involved. After acrimony involved with the fighting there, it was no surprise that the Army insisted that Okinawa be fought under Army command, not Marine.

6 thoughts on “Japanese Armor Bleg”

  1. Wasn’t that the one where the Army CG said he never wanted Army personnel to be put under the command of a bunch of “beach runners?”

  2. Suffice it to say that the Army felt the 27th ID was badly used under the rather splenetic H.M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith. As I mentioned, there’s a reason Buckner ran 10th Army for Okinawa, and not the Marines.

  3. My guess is Type 97 Medium, with short 57mm gun.

    The “good site” on Japanese WWII hardware is Taki (http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/).

    Ref the “War of the Smiths,” there are points to be made from both sides. Most historical accounts lean toward the H.M. Smith side of the dispute. While I really think the “Army” Smith deserved to be sacked at Makin (where he drug his feet badly, and was indirectly responsible for the loss of an escort carrier while the Navy supported his adventure), at Saipan he was probably more right than wrong, IMO.

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