Gaso.Line Gas50172M Imperial Japanese Navy "Ka-Mi" Light Tank (1:50 Scale)
"Duty is heavier than a mountain but death is lighter than a feather."
- Japanese proverb
As early as 1928, the Imperial Japanese Army had been developing and testing amphibious tanks. They created several experimental amphibious tanks such as the SR-II, the Type 1 Mi-Sha, and the Type 92 A-I-Go. In 1940, the Navy took over development of amphibious vehicles and two years later came up with the Type 2 Ka-Mi. The Type 2 was designed for the navy's Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces for the invasion of Pacific Islands that were bereft of port facilities.
The Type 2 was based on the Type 95 Ha-Go light tank and was a capable armoured fighting vehicle both on land and at sea. It was capable of attaining speeds of 10km/h in the water with a range of 150km by utulizing two propellers at the rear of the hull which were powered by the tank's main engine. Steering was handled by the commander, who controlled the tank's pair of rudders with cables from the turret. The tank was generally water-tight because of the Type 2's welded armor and rubber seals in the hull. Large hollow pontoons made from steel plates were placed on the glacis plate and rear decking was used to float the tank. The front pontoon was divided into 8 compartments to minimize flood and shell-fire damage. These floatation devices could be jettisoned from inside the tank with pincer-clamps. The Type 2 could also be launched from the deck of submarines.
The Type 2's high-velocity Type 1 37mm gun was able to rotate 360° and a Type 97 machine gun was located in the tank's bow and another co-axially in the turret. Occasionally Type 2's were armed with a pair of naval torpedoes on each side of its hull. The Type 2 had a large crew including a crewman to handle the tank's innovative radio and telephone intercom and an on board mechanic. Late in the war, the Type 2 was used in a more stationary role as fixed defenses and entrenched pillboxes on various Pacific islands.
From 1942 onward, only 184 Type 2 Ka-Mi's were built due to the tank's complex design. Furthermore, it had to be completely hand-built, which further slowed down the production process.
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.