Dragon DRA60583 Imperial Japanese Navy Type 2 "Ka-Mi" Amphibious Tank (Combat Version) - The 5th Naval Ground Base Guard (II), Saipan, June 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"I have always considered Saipan the decisive battle of the Pacific offensive (it was) the naval and military heart and brain of the Japanese defense strategy."
- Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, Commander of the US Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific, July 1944
The Special Type 2 Launch Ka-Mi was the Imperial Japanese Navy's first amphibious tank. The Type 2 Ka-Mi was based on the Imperial Japanese Army's Type 95 Ha-Go light tank with major modifications, and was a capable armored fighting vehicle on both land and at sea.
The Type 2 Ka-Mi was based on the Army's Type 95 Ha-Go light tank, but with an all-welded hull with rubber seals in place of the riveted armor. It was intended to be water-tight. Large, hollow pontoons made from steel plates were attached to the front glacis plate and rear decking to give the necessary buoyancy. The front pontoon was internally divided into eight separate compartments to minimize the effects of damage from flooding and shellfire. These flotation devices could be jettisoned from inside the tank once the tank landed and commenced ground combat operations.
The Type 2 Ka-Mi's gun turret with a high-velocity Type 1 37 mm gun and a coaxial Type 97 light machine gun was able to rotate 360. A second Type 97 light machine gun was located in the tank's bow. Occasionally Type 2 Ka-Mi's were armed with a pair of naval torpedoes; one on either side of the hull. The Type 2 Ka-Mi could also be launched from the deck of a submarine.
The Type 2 Ka-Mi was capable of attaining speeds of 10 km/h in the water with a range of 150 km through two propellers situated at the rear of the hull, powered by the tank's engine. Steering was in the control of the tank commander, who operated a pair of rudders from the turret through cables. That the crew included an onboard mechanic is an indication of the complexity of the design.
Dragon earlier produced a simply stunning 1/35 scale Smart Kit of the Japanese Type 2 Ka-Mi amphibious tank, and now the company has used it as a platform to create a 1/72 Dragon Armor version. The Type 2 was the first amphibious tank used by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). It was designed for Japanese landing forces performing amphibious invasions of Pacific islands that didnt have regular port facilities. Production commenced in 1942 and a total of 184 Type 2 amphibious tanks were made, although the design was really too late to participate in Japans island-hopping campaign. When used in water, large pontoons were attached to the glacis plate and rear deck to give it a top speed of 10km/h. These pontoons could be shed as soon as it reached land. The turret featured a 3.7cm Type 1 gun and coaxial Type 97 machine gun.
Dragon Armors 1/72 scale model is extremely accurate, as its based on measurements taken from a surviving tank on Peleliu (present-day Palau). The tank is shown without its flotation pontoons, and it represents a vehicle from the 5th Naval Base Ground Guard (II). This unit was based in Saipan in the Mariana Islands, and it was heavily involved in the pivotal fighting there from 15 June-9 July 1944. Although its a very small model, its rich with detail. The vehicles period battleship gray color tone is authentically reproduced, as are the eye-catching IJN flags painted on the turret. This is a swimmingly good miniature of a fascinating subject! Sold Out!
Length: 4 inches
Width: 1 inch
Release Date: July 2014
Historical Account: "Stepping Stones" - The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from June 16th - July 9th, 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on June 5th, 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was launched. The U.S. 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith, defeated the 43rd Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito.