Type 3 Chi Nu Medium Tank ３式中戦車 チヌ
Desperate response to Shermans
In 1942, Japan initiated a new medium tank program of 3 projects, each being a different class of medium tank: a 47mm medium tank, a 57mm medium tank, and a 75mm medium tank. These tanks were supposed to be a new breed of anti-tank capable medium tanks. In short time, the 47mm class was seen obsolete and was upgrading to a 57mm tank project. Where as the remaining two projects merged into a single 75mm tank project. This 57mm tank project and 75mm tank project were the Chi-To and Chi-Ri tanks respectively. In 1943, development was being hindered to resource issues, thus the Japanese feared it would take too much time until either the Chi-To or the Chi-Ri could be ready. Thus a quick solution was devised, a stop gap tank which would become the Chi-Nu.
In 1944, The Chi Nu development started and was completed in the same year. The hull of the Chi-He was taking, the turret ring enlarged, and an early Chi-Ri turret design was taking and mounted on the hull. It retained the same engine from the Chi-He, 240 horsepower diesel engine. Top speed was 38.8kph. The Type 90 75mm field gun was modified and became the Type 3 75mm tank gun and mounted onto the tank. And thus production began in Japan in anticipation of an inevitable land invasion of Japan itself. Well over 100 units have been made out of meager resources. None have seen any action.
Turret front: 50
Turret side: 35
Turret rear: 25
Hull front: 50
Side hull: 25
Rear hull: 20
The Japanese had more plans with this tank. One adoption was the Chi Nu Kai which was formed by mounting a Chi-To turret onto the Chi-Nu hull giving it 75mm front turret armor and the powerful Type 5 75mm cannon. However only one was tested but results were successful. A planned production version would replace the Type 3 75mm cannon with the Type 5 75mm cannon in the turret that it already had.
Below, the top tank is the Chi Nu Kai. The bottom tank was the planned production version of the Chi-Nu. Both had the Type 5 75mm cannon.
“Japanese Tanks” Hara 1978
Maru December 2012