From the authors, "In 1945, the Japanese deployed an entire armored division to the Philippine island of Luzon, where American forces included 20 tank and tank-destroyer battalions. The Type 97 Chi-Ha and the ubiquitous M4 were the best Japanese and American medium tanks of the Pacific war, and the battle of Luzon would see these two tanks fight the largest armored clash of the campaign. Looking at the role of armor in the Pacific and the tactics used in this unique theater, this book contrasts Japanese and American tank development and the consequences on the battlefield."
Osprey Publications Ltd has released "M4 Sherman vs Type 97 Chi-Ha - The Pacific 1945" as Number 43 in their "Duel" series. It is a paperback book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, information charts, illustrated cut-away views and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-638-7. As the title states, the book covers M4 Sherman vs Type 97 Chi-Ha tank warfare in the Pacific in 1945.
- Design and Development
- Technical Specifications
- The Combatants
- The Strategic Situation
- Statistics and Analysis
The book is well written and contains many excellent details about the American M4 Sherman and the Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks. Steven J. Zaloga has gone to great lengths to research the American M4 Sherman and the Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks, as well as other armor and weapons of both America and Japan. He provides a very well written and accurate history of them. Areas that have been researched and are discussed are the design and development of both the M4 Sherman and the Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks as well as technical specifications of both tanks such as firepower, protection and mobility. In regards to protection there are details such as the comparative armor thickness and the armor penetration from the 47mm vs the 75mm guns. Another area that is discussed is the command and control of tanks which details the fire controls, gun sights and communication equipment. There is also another section that discusses the Japanese vs the American tanks crews. Also discussed and detailed is the combat between the two tanks as well as information on specific battles such as the Reduction of San Manuel. The accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order, and their captions include information on the M4 Sherman and Type 97 Chi-Ha. Anyone interested in the American M4 Sherman and the Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks and their dueling in combat will find this book very informative and interesting. I didnít notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the text. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone but I take notice of them and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 49 black & white photographs throughout the book. The photographs range from showing the tanks in static positions to action photographs. There are two interior photographs of the Type 97-Kai showing the commanderís turret traversing wheel, the 47mm Type 1 gun and five ready rounds, the gunnerís station, the commanderís station and a pistol port as well as other details such as the rivet pattern and the vision ports. All of these photographs would be of a great benefit to the detail minded military armor modeler. There are no such detailed interior photographs of the M4 Sherman. Several of the photographs show Sherman tanks with the wading trunks still in place as one would expect from the island hopping campaigns. There are photographs of both the M4 Sherman and the Type 97 Chi-Ha that have been destroyed in combat. A benefit to these types of photographs is that they show details that are normally obscured from view by tracks and other such items. One photograph that is particularly interesting of the battle damage is of a M4A3 Sherman showing the penetration effects in its armor from the Japanese 47mm gun. Several of the photographs will be of use and interest to the scale modeler and several of them will be of interest to military enthusiasts that are interested in viewing the M4 Sherman and Type 97 Chi-Ha overall. Most of the photographs are well done, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them, and some appear to be too dark. All of that is typical for photographs of this period of time. Several are stills taken from period films, which would account for the lack of sharpness. However, the quality of the photographs is in no way the fault of the author. One thing that I appreciated about the photos is that a good majority of them are not the same old overused images that turn up when these two tanks are shown and discussed. It is always nice to see the lesser known pictures. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
Additional American armor and weapons shown and discussed other than the M4 Sherman:
- M3A1 37mm antitank gun
- 2.36in ďBazookaĒ rocket launcher
- M5A1 light tank
- M7 105mm HMC
- M5A1 light tank converted with the E7-7 (Q Model) Flame Thrower
Additional Japanese armor and weapons shown and discussed other than the Type 97 Chi-Ha:
- Type 95 tank
- Type 3 Chi-Nu tank
- 47mm Type-1 antitank gun
- Type 89 Chi-Ro Otsu medium tank
- Type 1 Ho-Ni gun tank
- Hino Motors Type 1 Ho-Ki armored carrier
- Type 98 Shi-Ke 4-ton prime mover
- 105mm Type 91 howitzer
- Type 96 SS Armored Engineer Vehicle
My favorite photograph in this volume was the one of the Japanese Type 96 SS Armored Engineer Vehicle on page 72. I had never seen this vehicle before and I was very interested in it. It almost looks more like something out of a science fiction movie instead of an actual vehicle used during World War II. I have provided a scan of it. Another of my favorite photographs is on page 42 and it is of three US Marines standing next to a Japanese Type 95 tank with its turret blown off and one of the Marines is holding a captured Japanese Type 96 machine gun.
There are 8 color illustrations by author Steven J. Zaloga, illustrator Richard Chasemore, and author Tom Laemlein that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:
- Type 97-Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha Tank, 7th Regiment, 2nd Armored Division
- M4A3(W) Medium Tank, Company C, 716th Tank Battalion
- Type 97-Kai Turret
- M4A3 Turret
- The crew layout of the Type-97-Kai tank
- The crew layout of the M4A3 medium tank
- 47mm Type 1 Telescope
- M71D Telescope
The color illustrations of the M4 Sherman and Type 97 Chi-Ha turrets show cut away 3-D type views of the interior of the turrets and show the layout of the turret, crew member positions, equipment, devices and ammunition storage. Items of interest are numbered and corresponding numbers are listed below the image explaining what the items are. The ammunition for both tanks is also shown and explained in the same manner. Again this type of information will be especially helpful to the detail minded military armor modeler and the armor enthusiast. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
There are two color maps in the book and they show operations in:
- Destruction of the Japanese 2nd Armored Division, January 1945
- Reduction of San Manuel, January 24, 1945
Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the maps for yourself.
There are seven charts throughout the book that are very well done, nicely detailed and provide information on:
- Ammunition penetration, 47mm vs 75mm guns
- Comparative armor thickness
- Comparative performance
- IJA 7th Tank regiment organization, January 1945
- Shigemi Group (Maj Gen Isoa Shigemi, CO, 3rd Tank Brigade)
- Ida Group (Col Kumpai Ida, CO, 6th Tank Regiment)
- Harada Group (Lt Col Kazuo Harada, CO, 10th Tank Regiment)
And as with several of the Osprey Publishing LTD books there is a key to military symbols and unit identification as well as a US/Metric conversion table provided.
Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the informational charts for yourself.
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations well. They provide such detailed information as the type and model of the vehicle shown, military units, officerís names and other such specific information. As with the text I didnít notice any spelling or grammatical errors I reading through the captions. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
All in all, I am very impressed with the book. The book allows the reader to examine combat between the American M4 Sherman tank and the Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha tank during the fighting in the Pacific in 1945 very well with the use of photographs, internal views, informational charts and a well written text. Osprey Publishing continues to release many great titles such as this one and I would have no hesitation to add more of their books to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
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