20mm Antitank Rifle
Imperial Japanese Army – 500 built.

Design and active history :

The lack of Japanese antitank weapons is a well documented historical fact. However, many AT weapons types were conceived and manufactured, ranging from converted AA guns as antitank, to smaller infantry types like this one : The Type 97 Kyuunana-shiki jidouho. It was basically a scaled-up heavy machine-gun developed in 1937 by the imperial arsenal, firing 20mm ammunition. The muzzle velocity was sufficient against most lightly armored objectives and vehicles, like M3 and M5 light tanks on the rear or sides and most British light tanks. However medium allied tanks proved immune to this. Technically it was gas operated, full automatic only weapon, using two gas pistons located below the barrel.

Firing was from open bolt position, in full automatic mode, and to reduce the violent recoil, the barrel was buffeted by a large spring and the head fitted with a muzzle brake. Feeding was for top-mounted 7-rounds detachable box magazines. The Type 97 was probably one of the heaviest AT infantry rifle ever built, and came with a pair of U-shaped carrying handles. It could be also mounted and protected by its own 8mm thick armored shield, but was usually carried and operated by a crew of three, posted while using a bipod, elevated and firmly planted in the ground using the third butt adjustable monopod. The type 97 served later as a technical basis for the development of the Ho-1 and Ho-3 AA guns. Read more about the 97 Japanese AT rifle.

Type97 AT Rifle
Type 97 AT Rifle, fitted with a tripod and fired in a crouched position.

Technical data :

  • Weight & Dimensions: Weight unloaded 50 kg; Length 2100 mm (Barrel 1250mm)
  • Performances: Muzzle Velocity: 750 m/s (2,460 ft/s) Penetration 30mm/250m; Rate of Fire: 12 rpm
  • Ammo: Caliber 20×125; 7-rounds magasine.
Boys anti-tank rifle
Ordance QF 2 Pounder
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One Response to Type 97 Autocannon

  1. cliff says:

    i was wondering if you could add some information. What i was wondering is if you could track and or compare impact energy of different weapons
    exp… the 88mm had 2972365 J on average
    exp the brit 17 pounder had 3012512 J on average
    I think that the 120mm rated at 33.8 MJ
    and the 140 might have had 71.8 MJ

    You would have to check these numbers….i only googled them, and have no idea if they are true or not.

    thank you for your time

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