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Old November 17th, 2020, 08:40 PM
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Default Historical Design Notes Thread

...EDITED--Go to the bottom now for the most modern one -- I went over the 25,000 character limit per post for the forum--
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Old November 18th, 2020, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

Continuing to work on the Japanese entry; I'll also make other entries for:

North Korea
South Korea

There's a lot of craziness involved in South Korea -- for example, did you know that the US created the "Korean Constabulary" (KC) to maintain internal security, and that on 4/5/1949 2 battalions of the 8th Korean Constabulary mutinied and crossed the 38th Parallel to join the NKPA?

West Germany
East Germany

I already have data on East Germany's tank acquisitions through the cold war:

The Kaisernierte Volkspolizei (Barracked People's Police) (KVP) requested 144 x IS-2s from the Soviet Union as part of a plan to form heavy tank and self propelled gun regiments, each of which would consist of 47 IS-2s and 22 x SU-100s. Due to only 47 IS-2's being supplied by the Soviet Union, only a single heavy tank regiment could be fully equipped; composed of:

Heavy Panzer Battalions (21 tanks)
consisting of
4 x Heavy Panzer Companies (5 tanks)

With the founding of the KVP's successor, the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA), the tanks were passed on to the NVA's 14th Panzer Regiment (7th Panzer Division) and the 21st Panzer Regiment (9th Panzer Division), with each Panzer Regiment deploying a single Heavy Panzer Battalion of 19 tanks each.
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Old November 18th, 2020, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

Updated the Japanese post; I think I'm done there.
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Old November 18th, 2020, 09:33 PM

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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

So what about the ARDB aka their new Marines?


"Only the dead have seen the end of wars" - Plato

"Wasted trip man! No one said anything about no stinking Tigers!" - Oddball

"The Senate decrees, the Grand Admiral calls,
the orders come down from on high,
It's 'On Full Kits' and sound 'Board Ships,'
We're sending you where you can die." - cadence of the Line Marines (Jerry Pournelle)
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Old November 22nd, 2020, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

I noticed that MBT doesn't have the lengthy design notes for each nation that WW2 does; so I started to do a first stab at it; to provide some background for Japan.



Crisis Support of the Korean War in Army Logistician by Kenneth W. Carroll
A History of Japan’s National Police Reserve 1950-1952: Army or Constabulary? by Thomas W. French (PhD thesis, 2010)
Maneuver and firepower : the evolution of divisions and separate brigades by John B. Wilson
Fear of World War III: Social Politics of Japan's Rearmament and Peace Movements, 1950-3 by Masuda Hajimu in the Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 47, No. 3 (JULY 2012), pp. 551-571

CIA Sources

https://www.tanknet.org/index.php?/t...apanese-tanks/ - TANK NET THREAD

THE U.S. ERA (1945-1950)

From 1945 to 1950, the defense and security of Japan was entirely the responsibility of the United States; which provided it through two Field Armies:

Sixth Army (September 1945 - 26 January 1946)
Eighth Army (September 1945 - July 1950)

Originally, the demarcation of control was along the line ITOUGAWA to ODAWARA, with Sixth Army taking control over Western Japan, while Eighth Army controlled Eastern Japan. However, due to Sixth Army being established much earlier and fighting longer, its units had many "high-points" men and the decision was made to withdraw it for demobilization, and give Eighth Army full control over Japan.

During this period, a significant policy change took place that would have effects for U.S. Forces in Korea. Because the M4 Sherman and M26 Pershing were too heavy for most bridges in Japan, Eighth Army placed them into storage, and instead relied on the M24 Chafee for in-theater tanks per U.S. Far East Command orders, as USFEC wished to avoid excessive damage to Japanese infrastructure.

The National Police Reserve (警察予備隊, Keisatsu Yobitai) Era (1950-1952)

Following the outbreak of the Korean War and the movement of most of Eighth Army to South Korea (where it has remained since then), pressure mounted to organize a Japanese (para)military force to provide for the security of Japan.

On 8 July 1950, General MacArthur presented a letter to PM Yoshida requesting the establishment of a "police force" to handle internal security in Japan. This was followed by a speech before the Diet by Prime Minister Yoshida on 7 August 1950, where he stated:

“The Korean War is not a fire across the river. Communist elements in this country are conspicuously baring their characteristics of fifth columnists as well as their traitorous plots. Accordingly, we are determined to take vigorous steps to prevent red disturbances.”

Three days later, on 10 August 1950 the National Police Reserve (警察予備隊, Keisatsu Yobitai) was accordingly established. On 17 August 1950, Japanese men all over the country took the entrance exam for the NPR at 180 places across Japan. By the end of the day, some 203,843 had applied for the 75,000 openings in the NPR (the ultimate total was 382,003 applicants).

By 28 September 1950, the first NPR cadre forces were ready, having undergone a four-week training period.

Initially, the NPR was rather lightly armed, having 480 vehicles and 75,000 carbines; being more of a paramilitary rear-area security force than an actual combat formation, as per MacArthur's wishes. The choice of the M1 Carbine as the primary infantry weapon for the NPR was another conscious decision as well; being seen as politically safer than using still-exant supplies of Imperial Japanese Army munitions left over in Japan.

During this time period, Colonel Kowalski of SCAP was informed in August 1950 that the final US division would leave Hokkaido in September 1950 for Korea, leaving the island bare of any defenses to a Soviet invasion. Accordingly, he was ordered to rush the training of 10,000 NPR troops and transport them to Hokkaido as quickly as possible.

Because of time pressure, there was no time to train the recruits at the induction centers; and these recruits were instructed in how to care for and use their M1 Carbines while on the trains transporting them to Hokkaido, and they arrived at their new camps in Hokkaido just as the US troops were departing for Korea.

A year later, the XVI (US) Corps, consisting of the 40th and 45th Infantry Divisions (both National Guard) arrived in Japan in April 1951, and were charged with the defense of Hokkaido and Aomori on 10 May 1951, plugging this perceived "hole" in Japanese security from Soviet invasion.

On 29 December 1950, the first basic organization of the NPR was published, consisting of four division equivalents of 13,000 men each, with the units being assigned as:

第1管区隊 (Kanto Plains and Central Honshu)
第2管区隊 (Hokkaido and Northern Honshu)
第3管区隊 (Southern Honshu)
第4管区隊 (Kyushu and portions of Southern Honshu)

However, Chinese intervention in the Korean War changed everything. Following the fall of Seoul on 3 January 1951, MacArthur reversed course and declared:

“in light of current conditions, the delivery of equipment and supplies to the National Police Reserve is a matter of critical urgency, as high a priority as any request related to the Korean War, and any delay in this is unacceptable.”

Accordingly, he then submitted to the Defense Department a “List of Weapons Required by the National Police Reserve of Japan":

36 x M24 Light Tanks
307 x M26 Medium Tanks
25 x M4A3(76) Medium Tanks
31 x M45 (105) Medium Tanks
41 x M32 Tank Recovery Vehicles
50 x Bulldozer Equipped Tanks
135 x M16 MGMG Quad .50 Half tracks
135 x M19 Duster 40mm SPAA Guns
2,198 x M20 Super-Bazookas (3.5")
228 x M2A1 105mm Howitzers
76 x M1 155mm Howitzers
155 x 4.2" Chemical Mortars
816 x Recoilless Rifles
2,480 x Machine Guns

A careful reading of existing US Army TO&Es of the period reveals that this basic package of equipment is equivalent to four US Infantry Divisions.

A few days later on 7 January 1951, the Defense Department replied to MacArthur's list by suggesting that the NPR be structured as light divisions, rather than heavy divisions.

MacArthur countered by pointing out that South Korean light divisions hadn't withstood the North Korean People's Army's tank assault, and that a National Police Reserve without heavy weapons wouldn't be able to respond to “any and all contingencies including an all-out invasion of Japan by foreign armies equipped and trained in line with the Communist doctrine.”

Unfortunately, delays in the approval of heavy weaponry for the NPR lasted through 1951 and into 1952, especially after MacArthur was fired in April 1951 and no longer could advocate for Japanese re-armament with his personal charisma and five-star rank.

For example, on 27 October 1951 the US Army planned to enlarge the NPR to:

8 Infantry Divisions by December 1952 (121,600 men in frontline combat units and 34,400 men in HQ & Service units)

10 infantry divisions, 37 artillery battalions, 40 anti-aircraft battalions, 3 combat engineer groups, 3 chemical mortar batteries, three armoured cavalry regiments and three medium tank battalions by December 1953 (300,000 men in total)

This was aborted by clashes with the State Department who believed that transforming the NPR into a military before the formal conclusion of a peace treaty with Japan could undermine support for such a treaty among wartime allies such as Australia and New Zealand.

General Matthew Ridgway, Commander-in-Chief, Far East (CINCFE) and one of the stronger "hawks" for Japanese re-armament agreed, and so, the introduction of heavy weaponry (defined by the State Department as: Tanks, Artillery, Recoilless Rifles, Mortars larger than 81mm, and rocket launchers larger than 3.5 inches) had to wait.

The training phases of the NPR were:

Phase I Training (August 1950 - January 1951) (Individual Training)
M1 Carbines
480~ unarmored vehicles such as the Jeep were provided

Phase II Training (January 1951 - May 1951) (Company Training)
M1919 Browning MG
60mm M2 Mortar (large issues began arriving around 20 June 1951)
75mm M20 RCL
M15A1 SPAA Gun (16 provided)
M16 MGMG SPAA Gun (48 provided)

Phase III Training (June 1951 - October 1951) (Battalion Training)
M1 Garand Rifles
M1911 Pistols
M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles (BAR)
81mm M1 Mortar (450 provided in September 1951)
2,130 miscellaneous vehicles provided in July 1951

Phase IV Training (October 1951 - January 1952) (Job Specific Training)

Phase V Training (February 1952 - June 1952) (Battalion + Special Skills Training)

M20 Super-Bazookas (3.5") (443 provided)

During Phase V training in March 1952, approval was given to establish the Soumagahara Special Training Unit to train NPR troops to handle heavy weaponry. Additionally, in a 24 March 1952 directive to all US military advisors attached to the NPR, they were notified that they would no longer have any direct command authority over Japanese forces as of 3 May 1952.

At Soumagahara, training of the NPR with tanks and howitzers began 7 April 1952 on a U.S. military base 21 days before the Treaty of San Francisco came into force; during a time that the US and Japan were still technically at war.

Phase VI Training (June 1952 - September 1952)

During this phase, the U.S. JCS finally approved the release of heavy munitions to the NPR in July 1952, with releases beginning in August.

M24 Chaffees (40 provided in August 1952)
105mm M2 Howitzers (154 provided in August 1952)
15,000~ miscellaneous vehicles provided in August 1952

The National Safety Force (保安隊, Hoantai) Era (1952-1954)

Following the enactment of the National Safety Agency Law, the National Safety Agency was established on 1 August 1952, and the National Police Reserve was subordinated to it.

This state of affairs lasted just two and a half months, until the National Police Reserve was amalgated with the Maritime Safety Agency on 15 October 1952 to become the National Safety Force (保安隊). Also created at the same time was a unified command structure, which would go on to become the JCS of the JGSDF.

Also during October 1952, additional heavy artillery arrived in the form of the 155mm M1 Howitzer, leading to the National Safety Force's end of October strength of:

190 x Tanks
72 x 155mm Howitzers
156 x 105mm Howitzers

Expansion of the NSF to 110,000 men was also authorized.

On 22 November 1952, the first operational tank unit of the NSF, the Independent 1st Special Vehicle Battalion (1特車大隊) was formed at Camp Shinmachi in Gunma Prefecture on the Northern Kanto plain with M24 Light Tanks.

The reason for the unusual naming of the tank units was political. Because of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, rather than calling armored vehicles tanks (戦車), they were instead called Special Vehicles (戦車, Tokusha).

Little more than a year later, on 8 July 1953, the 1st Special Vehicle Battalion moved to Camp Minami-Eniwa on Hokkaido, beginning the long standing Japanese practice of assigning the newest (or heaviest) vehicles in the force to Hokkaido to guard against any potential Soviet/Russian invasion.

The Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (陸上自衛隊; Rikujō Jieitai) Era (1954-Present)

On 1 July 1954, the National Safety Agency was reorganized into the Defense Agency (防衛庁), and the following changes took place:

The National Security Forces became the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF)
The Security Forces (former Coastal Safety Force & Minesweeping Force) became the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces (JMSDF)
The Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces (JASDF) were created.

1954: The M4A3E8 Sherman

During 1954, the JGSDF received what could be called their first "main battle tank", the M4A3E8 Sherman. Despite being considerably more powerful in both armor and firepower than the M24 Chafee, the Sherman was not as well liked by the JGSDF, due to several factors.

1.) The Sherman had been built around the average American male, presenting considerable ergonomic problems for the average Japanese driver who had difficulty in reaching the clutch pedals in certain positions, such as when standing up.

2.) The Chaffee was small enough to fit the average Japanese and had an automatic transmission, vastly simplifying driving.

3.) The Sherman was much heavier (33,700 kg versus 18,400 kg) than the Chaffee, making transportation of the Sherman throughout Japan a problem; something that has persisted to this day with JGSDF armor.

Despite all these issues, the Shermans were preferentially deployed to Hokkaido, in keeping with traditions of the heaviest and most capable equipment going there.

1955: Development of the Type 61 (61式戦車, Roku-ichi Shiki sensha) MBT

Around 1954, the United States made it known to Japan that the M46 Patton and M41 Bulldog tanks in service with US forces in the region would be modernized/rebuilt in Japan, and as such, they would become easily available for future MDAP aid, along with the more advanced M47 Patton.

In 1955, the development of a all-new main battle tank in Japan was begun, due to several factors:

A.) The ideal maximum width (at the time) of JGSDF tanks had to be 3 meters or less, due to the Japanese rail loading gauge. The M46 Patton was 3.51m wide, disqualifying it from serious consideration.

B.) Due to the ergonomic problems encountered with the Sherman, future tanks should be designed around Japanese stature, rather than accepting foreign equipment which may not fit.

C.) A desire to build an internal domestic defense industry, rather than relying on others for Japanese defense.

Early development goals in January 1955 for the Medium Special Vehicle (中特車) (ST) centered around a 25 tonne vehicle with a 90mm gun, a little bit in-between the M24's 18.4t combat weight and the Sherman's 33.7t combat weight.

By May 1955, the goals were a 30 tonne tank with 90mm gun with 2.8m width (or lesser). This was to change with the acquistion of two M36 90mm Tank Destroyers for research purposes in June 1955. Tests with the M36's revealed that a vehicle of 30~ tonnes mass was necessary for stable shooting of a 90mm caliber gun; and thus by December 1955, the ST had become a 35 tonne vehicle.

Testing of various ST prototypes (STA-1 through STA-4) continued through 1956-1960, until a final design had been settled upon, and in December 1960, it was decided to adopt the final ST design as the JGSDF's new MBT.

Accordingly, in April 1961, the ST was designated the Type 61. Due to problems in setting up production, the first production Type 61 MBT wasn't delivered until October 1962. Production continued from 1962 to 1974, with 560 vehicles delivered.

According to Japanese television, the Type 61 had it's formal retirement ceremony on 31 March 2001, though most tanks had been retired by the year 2000.

1954-1958 The First Post-War Japanese Paratroopers

In September 1954, the first Japanese students started training with the US 187th Airborne Regiment, and on 8 October 1954, the first post-war Japanese paratroopers went out the door from a C-46 Commando of the JASDF.

This was followed by the formal establishment of the 1st Airborne Brigade on 25 June 1958.

1960: The M41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank

Despite the introduction of the Type 61, there was still a desire for a lighter tank to complement the ST/Type 61, as it was felt that a 35 tonne vehicle would be too heavy for operation in the mountainous regions and rice paddies of Japan. Thus in 1960, it was announced that the M41 Walker Bulldog (at 23.2t) would replace the M24 as the JGSDF's front line light tank.

1962: Dropping Pretenses

On 18 January 1962, the JGSDF finally dropped most pretenses in their unit designations, with:

1st Special Vehicle Group (第1特車群) becoming the 1st Tank Group (第1戦車群)
101st Special Vehicle Battalion (第101特車大隊) becoming the 101st Tank Battalion (第101戦車大隊).

1964: Development of the Type 74 (74式戦車, nana-yon-shiki-sensha) MBT

With the pending introduction of more modern MBTs across the world such as the:

M60 Patton (USA)
Leopard I (W.Germany)
AMX-30 (France)

Japan began to look closely at improving their tank fleet. Apparently a single prototype Type 61 was modified with a larger caliber main gun [Type 61 (Revised) / 61式戦車(改) ], but in the end, the decision was made to go with an all new tank. Development of the various components took several years:

10ZF Air-Cooled Diesel (1965-1967)
MT-75 Semi-Automatic Transmission (1964-1967)

The first prototype (STT) initally used the engine and tracks of the Type 61 to test the hydro-pneumatic suspension; but in 1967, the 10ZF diesel and MT-75 transmission were installed for testing, along with a prototype 105mm turret. By 1969, two more prototypes (STB-1 and STB-2) had been completed, followed by STB-6 in 1970.

Interestingly enough, the STB-1 prototype had a passive infrared night vision system, but it was eliminated for the STB-2 prototype in favor of a cheaper active infrared system. The design was finalized in 1974 and production was undertaken by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries from 1975-1989, with 873 vehicles being built. Currently (March 2020) there are 136 Type 74 still in service.
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Old November 22nd, 2020, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

1970-1980s Threat Ranking According to the JGSDF and other Sources

NOTE: University of Maryland has a near complete copy of the English versions of Japanese Defence White Papers from 1972 to 1993. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I cannot access them.

According to EvanDP on TANKNET, when he talked with a former JGSDF servicemember from the 1970s, they ranked their greatest fears at the time (in order of danger):

1.) Global Thermonuclear Exchange.
2.) Spetsnaz Units
3.) Airborne Units
4.) Naval Infantry

By 1988, the Soviet Far Eastern Military District (Дальневосточный военный округ) had the following forces within "striking range" of Hokkaido:

51st Combined Arms Army
18th Machine Gun and Artillery Division (18-я пулемётно-артиллерийская дивизия) (Iturup Island)
33rd Red Banner Mot. Rifle Division (33-я мотострелковая Краснознаменная дивизия) (Southern portion of Sakhalin Island)
79th Sakhalin Mot. Rifle Division (79-я мотострелковая Сахалинская дивизия) (Middle portion of Sakhalin Island)

Motor Rifle Divisions had either an independent helicopter detachment (2 to 4 HIP and 6 to 8 Mi-2 HOPLITE) or a combat support squadron (4 to 6 HIND, 4-6 HIP, and 4-6 Mi-2 HOPLITE). In 1983, a Combat Support Squadron was at Burevestnik Airfield in the Sakhalins, according to the CIA.

Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, they apparently moved a Mi-24 HIND regiment (35 to 40 A/C) to Sakhalin, from whence they made fake attack runs on Japanese radar stations.

Meanwhile, the 68th Transport Helicopter Regiment was assigned to the Far Eastern Military District and was based at Birofeld (Бирофельд) in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast; some 400 nautical miles from Sakhalin. According to the CIA, a Transport Helicopter Regiment of 20-25 HOOKs and 35-45 HIPs can transport 2,200+ troops (one MRR) or 240 metric tons of materiel or any combination of both, over a 100 nautical mile radius in one regimental sortie.

The distance from the middle portion of Sakhalin where the 79th Motor Rifle Division was based in the 1980s is about 100 nautical miles from Hokkaido.

As for sea lift; the Soviets apparently did not have serious lift until the mid-1970s; when the 22nd Naval Landing Division (22-я дивизии морских десантных сил) was activated. This unit was composed of the following subunits, per http://www.ww2.dk/new/navy/22dimds.htm

14th Landing Ship Brigade
100th Landing Ship Brigade
77th Landing Ship Battalion

Individual subunits are detailed below:


14th Landing Ship Brigade (14-я Бригада десантных кораблей) was activated in 1978 and was located in Novik Bay, Russky Island.

Generally the 14th LSB had the following craft assigned to it via: http://www.ww2.dk/new/navy/14brdk.htm

Project 1174 (Ivan Rogov class)

4 x Ka-29 helicopters, 6 Project 1176 / Project 1785 landing craft or 3 Project 1206/ Project 1205 landing craft, (20 BTR-60P or 19 MBTs) and 500 troops
53 x MBT and 500 troops
80 x BTR-60P and 500 troops
1730 tonnes cargo

Ivan Rogov, 1.79 - 1994
Aleksandr Nikolaev, 4.83 - 1994

Project 1171 (Alligator class)
20 x MBT and 313 to 440 troops
47 BTR and 313 to 440 troops
52 trucks and 313 to 440 troops
1000 tonnes cargo

NOTE: Variance in troop numbers is due to there being two major subsets of Pr 1171, Group 1/2 and 3/4 with differing troop capacities.

Tomskiy Komsomolets, 1.68 - 5.7.94
Sergey Lazo, 1.69 - 5.7.94
50-Let Shefstva VLKSM, 1.70 - 5.7.94
Aleksandr Tortsev, 4.72 - 5.7.94
Nikolay Vilkov, 1.75 - 1994


100th Landing Ship Brigade (100-я Бригада десантных кораблей) was activated in 1951 and was located in Novik Bay, Russky Island from 1951 to 1994. This is about 500~ nautical miles (33~ hours at 15 knots) to Northern Hokkaido.

Generally the 100th LSB had the following craft assigned to it via: http://www.ww2.dk/new/navy/100brdk.htm

Project 775 (Ropucha class)

450 tonnes of cargo
10 medium tanks and 340 infantry
12 heavy tanks and 340 infantry

BDK-48, 10.75 - 5.7.94
BDK-63, 10.75 - 5.7.94
BDK-90, 3.76 - 5.7.94
BDK-119, 6.79 - 9.79
BDK-181, 2.77 - 5.7.94
BDK-197, 1.78 - 5.7.94
BDK-11 (Peresvet), from 8.91
BDK-14, 12.81 - 3.5.01
BDK-98 (Admiral Nevelskoy), from 1.83
BDK-101 (Oslyabya), from 4.82

Project 771A (Polnochny B class)

6 x T-54A and 204 troops
10 x trucks and 204 troops

SDK-73, 8.70 - 5.7.94
SDK-74, 9.70 - 15.4.80
SDK-84, 10.67 - 4.8.77
SDK-89, 12.67 - 1.94
SDK-96, 1.68 - 30.6.93
SDK-99, 2.68 - 5.7.94
SDK-111, 1.70 - 30.6.93
SDK-112, 2.70 - 4.1.80
SDK-171, 10.68 - 1980(?)
SDK-172, 9.68 - 19.3.92

Project 1176 (Ondatra class) (LCI clones)

1 x T-72 tank
2 x GAZ-66 Trucks
20 troops
50 tonnes cargo

D-282, 11.78 - 3.5.01
D-70, from 1983
D-704, 1979(?) - 12.2006


77th Landing Ship Battalion

Project 1205 (Gus class) LCAC
200 nmi at 49 kts
40 troops or 4 tonnes of cargo

D-219, ? - 1994
D-226, ? - 1.9.95
D-228, ? - 1.9.95
D-318, ? - 31.7.96
D-337, 5.75 - 30.6.93
D-369, 4.70 - 19.3.92
D-419, ? - 25.11.94
D-421, ? - 25.11.94
D-423, 2.75 - 25.11.94
D-424, 2.75 - 5.7.94
D-425, ? - 31.7.96
D-426, 2.75 - 25.11.94
D-429, ? - 25.11.94
D-433, ? - 25.11.94
D-434, ? - 25.11.94
D-437, ? - 25.11.94
D-442, ? - 25.11.94
D-446, ? - 25.11.94
D-702, 5.76 - 30.6.93
D-227, ? - 19.3.92
D-555, ? - 24.6.91
D-556, ? - 24.6.91

Project 1206 (Lebed class) LCAC
100 nmi at 50 knts
1 x T-54 tank
2 x PT-76 tanks
120 troops
37 tonnes of cargo

D-52, 1.81 - 30.6.93
D-277, 11.78 - 30.6.93
D-348, 10.80 - 30.6.93
D-379, 9.2.79 - 1988
D-435, 9.2.79 - 19.3.92
D-633, 1979 - 1988
D-703, 9.2.79 - 19.4.90
D-347, 1979 - 30.6.93

Project 12061 (Tsaplya class) LCAC

Lengthened version of LEBED class LCACs with heavier armament.

D-142, 1991 - 25.11.94
D-143, 1992 - 25.11.94
D-259, 12.87 - 25.11.94
D-285, 1988 - 25.11.94
D-323, 1990 - 25.11.94
D-447, 1989 - 25.11.94
D-453, 1985 - 25.11.94
D-458, 6.87 - 25.11.94
D-733, ? - 30.7.96
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

1979-80: Type 90 (90式戦車, Kyū-maru-shiki-sensha) MBT

While earlier subcomponent development had been going on since 1977, detailed systems design began in 1979-80.

The goal of the program was to develop a new vehicle to counter the Soviet 125mm tanks (T-64/T-72/T-80) that were slowly making their way to the Far Eastern Military District, along with the massive increase in credible Soviet sealift capacity that had arrived since the mid-1970s that made an amphibious invasion of Hokkaido a credible possibility for the first time since the early 1950s.

Six prototypes were manufactured during 1983-1985 and the testing phases were:

October 1983 to October 1986 (First Prototype; technical testing)
September 1987 - December 1988 (Second Prototype; platoon testing)
February 1989 - August 1989 (Practical GSDF testing)

On 6 August 1990, the new vehicle was finally type classified and 341 were built from 1990-2009.

2002: Type 10 (10式戦車, Hitomaru-shiki sensha) MBT

Development began in 2002, with the first mass production tank being unveiled on 10 January 2012. The Type 10 was designed to be more useful in MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) than the preceding Type 90, as well as being more strategically mobile than it's precedessor.

One of the major flaws of the Type 90 was it's relatively long hull; making it hard to manuver it in urban areas. The Type 10's hull is almost 1 meter shorter, and the tank is able to turn 360 degrees on it's centroid axis; making it much more manuverable in a built up city. Additionally, the Type 10's side armor makes up a larger proportion of the total armor mix than it did in the Type 90, along with fittings for modular armor.

A lot of attention has been paid to vision while buttoned up in the Type 10 -- the Tank Commander's thermal imager is placed up higher than in the Type 90 and it has a wider viewing angle and increased depression/elevation, enabling it to see very close to the sides of the tank in close situations, something not possible in the Type 90. The vehicle also has front, rear and side-looking cameras and an electronic "driver aid" of an undisclosed nature.

The Type 10 is also the first tank in the world with a continuously variable transmission (CVT); giving it an even greater acceleration and deceleration advantage over the Type 90, which was able to come to a complete stop from 50 kph in about 2 meters' length (with attendant bruising if the tank commander was outside of the hatch).

While the Type 90 had automatic target tracking as a killer feature; the Type 10's C4I features have apparently deeper and heavier networking than the US Army's Blue Force Tracker; making it possible for a Type 10 platoon to share networked enemy locations down to the individual tank amongst themselves, so that the Type 10 can expect an enemy tank to be at a certain location, enabling the hydro-pneumatic suspension to be adjusted ahead of time enabling a "roll out" to shooting position, firing with the minimum possible profile and a roll back to protected cover in the shortest possible time and minimum target profile.

2004: Type 16 Mobile Combat Vehicle (16式機動戦闘車)

Development of the MCV began with an outline in the 2004 Defense Program, followed by allocation of funding in 2007, enabling R&D to begin to begin. The first prototype was released in 2013, followed with procurement from 2016 onwards.

Unlike most wheeled vehicles of the 2000s, the Type 16 MCV doesn't have a blast-resistant V-hull intended to counter mines or IEDs. This is likely due to no real "corporate knowledge" of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, other than a small deployment.

The Type 16 is part of a larger reorganization of the JGSDF to be more mobile and to finally eliminate the last of the Type 74 MBTs.

Under the previous structure, JGSDF divisions had:

3 x Infantry Regiments
1 x Artillery Regiment
1 x Tank Battalion

The new structure for divisions equipped with the Type 16 MCV will be:

2 x Infantry Regiments
1 x Rapid Mobile Regiment (with MCV)

Additionally, it will be possible to transport the Type 16 MCV on the Kawasaki C-2, making it possible for Japan to rapidly air-deploy mobile protected firepower.

2013: Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (水陸機動団)


Japan from 2013 onwards began to constitute a genuine large-scale amphibious force, following Chinese statements that covered the Senkaku Islands (which Japan owns), instead of just Taiwan.

The core of the new ARDB is the Western Army Infantry Regiment (西部方面普通科連隊), a unit that was formed in March 2002 to recapture any of the 2,600 islands that Japan claims if a hostile force were to seize them.

In the new ARDB, the Western Army Infantry Regiment became the 1st Amphibious Manouver Regiment (第1水陸機動連隊). A second, and possibly third Amphibious Manouver Regiment will be raised.

The new Amphibious Manouver Regiments will consist of the following organization:

HQ&HHC Company
Combat Landing Company (AAV)
Heliborne Company (via CH-47J)
Boat Company (With Assault Boats)

To make all this happen; back in 2013 the JGSDF bought four AAVP7's for reference and testing, followed by orders for 54 more in 2016, for a total of 58 AAVP7s, broken down as:

6 x Command Vehicles (AAVC7A1 RAM / RS)
6 x Recovery Vehicles (AAVR7A1 RAM / RS)
46 x APC Vehicles (AAVC7A1 RAM / RS)

Deliveries took place in mid to late 2017. Once deliveries of all the AAV's had been completed, the new Amphibious Rapid Deployment Combat Landing Battalion (水陸機動団戦闘上陸大隊) that was to organizationally control all of the JGSDF's Amtracks, stood up in March 2018. Each Combat Landing Company in the Combat Landing Battalion is assigned to an Amphibious Manouver Regiment.

Further changes are already planned for the ARDB; with the V-22 Osprey having been chosen to supplement the more conventional CH-47Js already serving in the heliborne companies.

The Japanese have already developed a prototype unarmed amtrack for testing of concepts; it's likely that the AAV7Ps will be replaced in the next 10-15 years by a Japanese Amphibian Vehicle that we have yet to see.

Generalized Notes on Japanese Equipment and Organization

Due to Article 9 of their Constitution, Japanese military equipment cannot be exported to recoup development costs; and as such, due to high costs; most Japanese items are "cut short" or run off in small lots.

Additionally, due to being an island nation, Japan doesn't face the near immediate threat(s) of ground invasions that other major powers of the post-cold war period do; and as such, equipment tends to stay in service for an exceedingly long period of time and new types of equipment (Type 74 or Type 90 MBTs) or munitions (modern sabot projectiles) come long after other major powers have introduced equivalents.

Because of the physical geography of Japan (heavily mountainous) and location of threats (Soviet/Russian forces in the Kuriles), the newest and heaviest equipment is deployed to Hokkaido along with "heavy" organizations such as the 7th Division (第7師団, Dai-Nana Shidan), which previously was known as the 7th Mechanized Division (15 August 1962 - 1981) and 7th Armored Division (1981-??).

Another factor for deployments to Hokkaido (besides the Soviet/Russian threat) is logistics. A Japanese study of 17,920 bridges in Japan as of 2010 (http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/shi...i5/siryou1.pdf) rated the following passage rates:

Foreign MBT (60 tonnes): 40% of bridges in Japan (M1A2 and Challenger II, 62 tons; Merkava Mk 4, 65 tons)
Type 90 MBT (50 tonnes): 65% of bridges in Japan
Type 10 MBT (44 tonnes): 84% of bridges in Japan

By pre-deploying to likely combat zones, you eliminate the logistical headaches of shipping units to the combat zone.

Equipment Provided/Acquired by Japan under MDAP and other Deals with Service Dates

LINK to Japanese Wiki

60mm M2 Mortar (Jun 1951 - 1970s)
81mm M1 Mortar (Sep 1951 - early 1990s)

153 x 75mm M1 Pack Howitzer (1952 - 1981)
220 x 155mm M1 Howitzer (1952 - 1998)
378 x 105mm M2A1 Howitzer (1952 - 1998)
32 x 155mm M2 Long Tom (1952 - 1996)
70 x 203mm M2 (1954 - 1994)

40mm M1 Bofors (1951 - 1982)
90mm M1 AA Gun (1956 - 1974)
75mm M51 Skysweeper AA Gun (1958 - 1987)


1/4 Ton Truck (Jeep) (1950 - 1980) (Both WWII production and post-war production in Japan)
3/4 Ton Truck (Dodge WC) (1950 - late 1970s)

1,650 x GMC 2.5 ton truck (1950 - 1978)
NOTE: Japan built an updated version of the 2.5t GMC truck -- it was in service 1951-1988.


8 x M29C Weasels (1950s - 1960s)

Not used much due to the development of domestic snow vehicles.


36 x M3A1 Armored Car (1950 - 1981)

Originally issued to the National Police Reserve, they were used as HQ vehicle for tank units and special HQ units.


8 x M8 Armored Car (1950-1967)
4 x M20 Armored Car (1950-1967)

These were provided to the National Police Reserve, and they became part of the JGSDF. It seems that the original plans called for many more M8/M20 to be provided to the NPR, but the poor performance of these systems in Korea against the NKPA terminated this.


375 x M24 Chaffee (1952 - 1974)
232 x M4A3E8 Sherman (1954 - 1972)
80 x M32 Armored Recovery Vehicles (1954 - 1980)
147 x M41 Walker Bulldog (1961- 1983)


10 x M44A1 155mm SP Howitzer (1965 -- 1986)
30 x M52A1 105mm SP Howitzer (1966 - 1984)

With the introduction of the indigenous Type 75 155mm SPH from 1975~ onwards, these units were slowly sequentially retired.


98 x M15 CGMC Halftrack (1952 - Late 1980s)

They were kept in service rather late, despite the increasing difficulty of obtaining 37mm ammunition.

168 x M16 MGMC Halftrack (1952 - 1974)

Apparently, it appears that the M55 quad 50 turret on the MGMC was stored as "spare equipment" for a bit longer after the type's retirement.

35 x M19A1 SPAA (1953 - 1979)
22 x M42 SPAA (1960 - 1994)


These were provided for reference/test/study purposes:

2 x M36 Tank Destroyers
1 x M47 Tank
1 x M37 105mm SPH (for reference to make the Type 56 105mm SPH)
1 x M39 Armored Utility Vehicle
1 x M59 APC (for reference to make Type 60 APC)
1 x LVT(A)-5 for development of amphibious vehicles
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Old November 24th, 2020, 02:44 PM
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Mobhack Mobhack is online now
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

Mark Felton article just out, Japan's National Police Reserve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZSUdVn5QvI

(The previous story was about a record transatlantic glider tow, or what happens if your father in law really doesn't like you!)
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Old November 30th, 2020, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

Added this to my site:

EXCERPTS -- Soviet Amphibious Forces: Tasks and Capabilities in General War and Peacetime -- A Research Paper (June 1979)

It's an excerpted run through of the full paper, which you can find 3.1 MB PDF HERE

as a result of me going into the rabbit hole on Soviet thought on Amphibious landings

Might be of use to campaign/scenario designers for Cold War Gone Hot scenarios, for designing useful REDFORCES to use.

For example:

In recent years, many active and reserve Sverdlov-class cruisers equipped with 152-mm guns have undergone conversion or modernization, ensuring the continued availability into the early 1980s of large-caliber naval gunfire.

The last Sverdlovs left the fleet in like 1990.
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Old December 1st, 2020, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Historical Design Notes Thread

MANY years ago I did a classified brief on the Soviet Naval Infantry. And since I don't remember much of what I said I guess I'm not much of a security risk anymore
Suhiir - Wargame Junkie

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