yesterday, while listing thru a book, I ran into this interesting little project of a vehicle, that might eventually appear in the Japanese tech tree. Meet the Ho-Ru, Japanese Marder.
The Ho-Ru project was started in 1945 as a response to the threat the American medium tanks posed in the Pacific. The problem was that apart from the Shinhoto Chi-Ha and the newest Japanese medium tank projects, Japan had little in the way of armor to deal with the enemy tanks. The project was based on the need to defend against those in case of enemy invasion of Japan itself.
It was based on the Type 95 Ha-Go tankette (by 1945 it was obsolete and useless against American and Soviet armor), possibly as a plan to utilize its hulls. A decision was made to convert them into cheap and agile open-topped tank destroyers, much like the German Marder series, but sleeker.
The chassis itself wasn’t changed too much, the suspension was of the Hara type. Only the tracks were changed, their width increased to 350mm.
A superstructure of sloped plates was made on the original tankette hull and the whole thing was armed with a 47mm gun. Sources differ on what type of gun it was: Zaloga states it was the “classic” Type 1 47mm gun, while other sources (Pejčoch) suggest it was a new Type 5 47mm gun with increased penetration (such a development did take place by the end of the war). Fedoseyev states that the gun had the initial shell velocity of 820m/s and could penetrate 50mm of armor at 500m.
The crew consisted of three men – the driver, commander/gunner and the loader. One prototype was allegedly made in 1945 and it took part in some trials, but the war ended before serial production could be started.
In World of Tanks, this vehicle might appear as a premium tank destroyer. The reason for it being most likely a premium TD is that its year of development (1945) doesn’t correspond to its power (it’s probably tier 2-3 material).
Weight: unknown, possible under 6 tons
Armor: 12mm front, 8mm sides
Engine: Mitsubishi A6120VD, 120hp
Maximum speeed: 45km/h+
Gun: 47mm (Type 1 or Type 5)