When one thinks of Armor (Tanks), you do not think of Japan. Rather, one thinks of Germany and America and the great tank battles across North Africa and Europe. You think of the big tanks of Germany: the Panzer and Tiger tanks; and America: the Sherman and Christie tanks. During WW2, we even had Tank Destroyer Battalions. Springfield native, Bob De Roos, was in the 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion during WW2 in Europe. Why don't we associate Japan with tank warfare? The answer is so obvious you probably think the question does not need to be asked. It is because, of course, the war with Japan was fought mainly in the Pacific Ocean or in the island jungles of the Pacific Ocean where it was difficult to effectively use tanks on a grand scale. Consequently, the Japanese turned their attention to other tactically relevant weapons.
Before WW2, Japan was a leading nation in the development of the tank. Although not a direct participant in the WWI meat grinder, Japan was a keen observer in the use of tanks in Europe. Not only did the Japanese use big resources developing the tank, they also developed tactics to go along with using the tank in warfare. This made sense to the leaders because the Japanese were focusing most of their attention on China at the time, where tanks could be used effectively. When WWII broke out, and the Japanese saw it would be fought with America in the Pacific Ocean and on the islands, they made big cuts in their tank development. Tank warfare would have been useful against the Soviets, but the Soviets did not enter WWII until the end of the war when Japan was not capable of developing anything like a tank.
For a discussion of what Eisenhower, and most likely the US Army, thought of tank warfare in the 1920s, see the discussion below from Eisenhower submitted by Eugene Hornstra.
Leave a Reply.