Why did the Japanese have such rubbish tanks during the WW2?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by JulianWilliams, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. JulianWilliams

    JulianWilliams New Member

    They did most of the other stuff well, but their tanks were really rubbish. They were seriously under armored and they had no chance against the American tanks. Why didn't they build some proper tanks? Did they not see their value? Did they lack the necessary resources?
  2. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  3. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Plese let me know what confirmed you for their 'really rubbish' tanks? I don't think so! Basically hevy tanks were not required by the IJA and when they confronted M3 Stuart at Philippines with their Type 95, they did their best, pls recall.
    As per the Doctrine (Jap) these units had been mainly setup to support the infantry, thus independent TR never been adopted.
    Apart from this, the terrains of the PTO is very differnt than the ETO! Far East, South east Asia (been their areas of operation) are not suitable for HAW, which very much required for the ETO.
    The raw materials like steel, fuel and technical setups necessarily diverted to the IJN and IJAAF, which was most vital to cope with the Allies in South east. Their tanks did well during the Sino-Japs Conflict (2nd) too.
  4. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  5. JulianWilliams

    JulianWilliams New Member

    Well, they didn't have heavy tanks, which was a huge issue for them. The Russians for example really gave them a good beating in that mini land war that happened between Russia and Japan before the start of WW2, and the weakness of the Japanese tanks was a big factor in that conflict. I'm pretty sure that conflict was what convinced the Japanese to try to find their oil in SE Asia rather than in Russia, despite them being allied with Germany.
  6. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    There were multiple reasons for that.
    1. Japan could only produce 4 million tons of steel per year during WWII.
    Majority of their steel production went into building naval ships. They are an island nation after all, and they needed the strong navy.

    2. Japan's main opponent in WWII was China.
    China has worse armors mostly bought from varies European countries in the 30s, and they were not in great number either. Most of the Chinese armors were wiped out in urban warfare during the Battle of Shanghai due to lack of infantry coordination. After that, Japanese faced very few armors and mostly infantry. Their light tanks were enough to own infantry.

    By the way, Japanese tanks weren't rubbish. They were just outdated due to stuck on the 1930s' standards for lack of the need to upgrade.

    The only reasons why other nations' tanks got tougher and tougher was only due to the need to overwhelm enemy tanks.
    For example, Soviet T-34 was superior to any German tanks at first. Germany came up with Tiger and Panther to smash T-34. Then Soviets came up with IS and IS-2.

    There was no reason for Japan to upgrade their tanks early in the war. So they kept producing the same model of tanks from 1930s. By the time Pacific war started, there were very little tank to tank battle anyway. Most of the battles were in the sea and air.
    By the time the Soviet tanks rolled in from the north, it was too late to do anything about their tanks. They did purchase a German Tiger, a Panther for evaluation probably in hope of learn something to upgrade their own tanks, but they didn't have the time nor the resources to complete the task.
  7. JulianWilliams

    JulianWilliams New Member

    Thank your for the really elaborate reply. How much time do you reckon they would have needed to design and produce some better tanks after the Russians really gave it to them in that short war? Couldn't they simply have copied a captured T34 or maybe use some German plans?
  8. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    If you were referring to the war between Japan and USSR in the 30s, Japanese didn't conclude the cause for losing was due to inferior tanks. Soviets didn't have T-34 at the time either. The Russian tanks the Japanese faced were not that good, but it was rather the tank formation maneuvering move set the score. Thus the Japanese didn't think there was the need to upgrade their tanks.

    Think about the same case for the US. Sherman tanks were fine against early Panzer II, III, and IV. So the US military didn't think there was any need for heavier tanks until they faced Tiger and Panther later in the war.
  9. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    If you were referring to Soviet invasion of Manchuria in 1945, there was no way for Japan to upgrade their tanks. They had already run out of resources and manpower. The A-bombs were already dropped on them by the time the 1 million Soviets moved in from the North. It was a slaughter. The Russians defeated over 800,000 Japanese reserves and conquered a piece of land as big as western Europe in just a month.
  10. I agree with vashstampede, they didn't really need bigger tanks. The theater of operations was mostly small islands covered in dense rainforests that would make bigger tanks harder to move through. Also, their mindset was that of infantry support not heavy tank vs. tank battles.
  11. tri-n-b-helpful

    tri-n-b-helpful New Member

    On the question of resources, a pro-Hitler Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Menzies, decided to ship 300000 tons of ready made iron to Japan at the start of the war, in addition to the massive iron ore shipments to Japan since the 1920s. The rest of Australia tried to stop it, arguing that it'd all come back as bombs, which it later did.

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