The most characteristic feature of the Type 95 KE-GO Light Tank was its simple suspension system. The tracks were driven through the front sprocket. Two bogie wheels were suspended on a single bell crank with two bell cranks per side. There were two return wheels.
For all its ruggedness and simple maintenance, the suspension system had a tendency to pitch so badly on rough ground that the crew sometimes found it impossible to drive at any speed. In the close confines of the hull, motion sickness was often a problem.
The Type 95 was modified more than any other Japanese tank. In 1943, Type 95s were equipped with a 57mm gun and redesignated the Type 3 KE-RI. The following year, more Type 95s were modified by adding the turret used on the Type 97 medium tank and a 47mm gun; it was redesignated the Type 4 KE-NU.
An amphibious version, the Type 2 KA-MI, was also built. It carried a fourth crew-member, responsible for amphibious preparations and two detachable pontoons. This amphibious version was used primarily by Special Naval Landing Forces, but by the time it entered service, most Japanese amphibious landing operations were over.
The Type 2 KA-MI was encountered by the United States Marines and Army in the Marshall and Mariana islands, particularly on Guam, where it was used -- and largely wasted -- in static defense positions.
A final modification, designated the Type 98 KE-NI, traveled at 31 miles per hour and was somewhat lighter than the original Type 95, even with its heavier (.62 inch) armor. It entered production in 1942, but only about 200 were manufactured.
Like the Type 89, the Type 95 and its variants were used in all theaters of the Great East Asian War, primarily to support infantry or as cavalry reconnaissance and, to a lesser extent, as raiding vehicles. When the war ended in August 1945, hundreds of Type 95s were left in China. They were reportedly used by the army of the People's Republic of China during the Korean War.
Continue to the next page to learn the specifications of the Type 95 KE-GO Light Tank.