Type 97 Chi-Ha Japanese Tank Wreck

This Chi-Ha tank of the 11th tank regiment of the Japanese army was destroyed by the Russian troopers on the Shumshu island on August 18th, 1945 during an unsuccessful counterattack executed by the Japanese.

The tank is located somewhat off the beaten track in the midst of thick dwarf-pine bushes, and that’s why only the toughest and the most persistent of all tourists get to it.

The vehicle is quite well-preserved with only the runner and part of the armor protection of the engine missing, while the insides are completely destroyed due to the an ammunition explosion.

This is one of the two machines that managed to make it the farthest in the direction of the Takeda Beach and cape Kurbatov (Kokutan). The tank was destroyed by the massed fire of anti-tank rifles.

There is a shell hole in the right side of its body, the rear is shot through as well as the storage box. The sides of the turret have several holes in them, there are three on the right side.

There are also holes in the left side near the rear bustle, traces of hits on the mantlet, the tank cupola has holes in it as well. On the whole, it looks like a colander. The rear bustle of the turret is cracked as a result of the ammunition explosion. There were no survivors among the crew.

The tank allegedly used to belong to the commander of the 1st squadron of the 11th tank regiment, captain 船水達夫 (one of the possible pronunciations is Funamizu Tatsuo). This is how it is usually marked on Japanese maps made by the surviving veterans of the 11th tank regiment.

The list of the crew members that died inside the machine:
Taii (captain) Funamizu Tatsuo
Socho (sergeant major) Seizuka
Gunso (sergeant) Seto
Gunso (sergeant) Sato
Gunso (sergeant) Nishibe
Joto-hei (private first class) Eshida

This photo dates back to the 1970s. After that the fenders and other parts fell off because of deterioration processes and harsh weather and the tank entered its present state, like in the next photo that was taken in August 2015.


You can see the Kuril strait coast and cape Pochtarev (Kodomari) in the distance

A close-up shot of the turret

The insides of the vehicle. Everything is broken and destroyed, there is basically nothing left of the mechanisms, lining and other inner parts.


Another interesting thing about the tank is the partially preserved regimental crest, which is the hieroglyph “士” meaning warrior or samurai pictured on the rear bustle. If you look closely, you can still see the traces of the character.

Images by Exarchmk, reproduced with permission

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