Dragon DRA60432 Imperial Japanese Army Early Production Type 97 "Chi-Ha" Medium Tank - Company 4, 34th Tank Regiment, North China, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"It goes without saying that when survival is threatened, struggles erupt between peoples, and unfortunate wars between nations result."
- Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II
During the development of the Type 97 Medium Tank, The Japanese decided to call it "Chi" as a code name of sorts for the medium tank. Because the Type 97 was the third medium tank created (the previous two being the Type 89 "Ko" and "Otsu"), the Type 97 was named as Chi-Ha (Ha is the third letter of the Japanese alphabet). Note that Chi had not been used before Type 97. Before that, the code name of the Japanese tank is a simple sequential name like Yi-Go, Ha-Go.
From 1942 onwards, the Type 97 tank was re-armed with the high velocity 47mm cannon and became known as the Shinhoto "Chi-Ha" (The term Shinhoto means "new turret"). Of course, mounting a larger cannon required a larger turret design than was originally envisaged for earlier versions of the Type 97. All things considered, this was probably the best designed tank that Japan fielded right up to the end of the war. Nevertheless, it was no match for their Allied counterparts, particularly the M4 Sherman series, which it was oftentimes forced to face.
One area where the Chi-Ha was deployed was China. Dragon Armors model depicts a tank belonging to the 4th Tank Company of the 34th Tank Regiment. This regiment belonging to the 1st Independent Tank Brigade was created in 1944; it was one of nine independent tank brigades formed at the end of WWII in Japan and northeast China to act as a mobile force. The 34th Tank Regiment spent the entirety of its short existence in China until the war ended. As well as being an Early-Production version, what stands out most on this model is the striking camouflage scheme consisting of three colors plus bright bands of yellow. Markings painted onto the hull suggest this tank was sponsored by members of the Japanese public, with the characters representing "patriotic". This attractive item allows collectors to field another Japanese tank from WWII. Now in stock!
Length: 4 inches
Width: 1 inch
Release Date: January 2012
Historical Account: "The Long War" - The Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7th, 1937 - September 9th, 1945) was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany, the Soviet Union (1937 - 1940) and the United States (see American Volunteer Group). After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1941), the war merged into the greater conflict of World War II as a major front of what is broadly known as the Pacific War. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the largest Asian war in the 20th century. It also made up more than 50% of the casualties in the Pacific War if the 1937 - 1941 period is taken into account.
Although the two countries had fought intermittently since 1931, total war started in earnest in 1937 and ended only with the surrender of Japan in 1945. The war was the result of a decades-long Japanese imperialist policy aiming to dominate China politically and militarily and to secure its vast raw material reserves and other economic resources, particularly food and labour. Before 1937, China and Japan fought in small, localized engagements, so-called "incidents". Yet the two sides, for a variety of reasons, refrained from fighting a total war. In 1931, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria by Japan's Kwantung Army followed the Mukden Incident. The last of these incidents was the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, marking the beginning of total war between the two countries.
Initially the Japanese scored major victories in Shanghai and by the end of 1937 captured the Chinese capital of Nanking. After failing to stop the Japanese in Wuhan, the Chinese central government moved to Chungking to continue resistance. By 1939, the war had reached stalemate after Chinese victories in Changsha and Guangxi. The Japanese were also unable to defeat the Chinese communists forces in Shaanxi, which performed harassment and sabotage operations against the Japanese. On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the following day (December 8th) the United States declared war on Japan. Japan surrendered in 1945.