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The Type 97 fired a 20x125mm Cartridge at a rate of up to twelve rounds per minute. Its magazine capacity meanwhile was seven rounds to a box type magazine which was inserted into the top of the rifle. The muzzle velocity of the weapon was around 750 meters per second. However, the Type 97 had an extremely violent recoil, so caution was advised when firing.
The total length of the Type 97 was around 210 centimetres while the total weight was fifty kilograms, unloaded. To protect the users, a small gun shield was provided and placed in front of the barrel. Furthermore, the low silhouette of the weapon made the Type 97 an effective ambush weapon.
The weapon could penetrate up to 30mm of armor at a range of up to 250 metres and 20mm at a range of 700 metres. This meant that although it could not penetrate medium tanks, it was still effective against light targets such as trucks, landing craft, light tanks, improvised pillboxes, etc. Considering that the weight of the weapon and accessories was over sixty-eight kilograms, several men were required for transport and setup took some time.
The Type 97 was developed circa 1935 to match other country's increasing developments into anti-tank weapons in anticipation of a future war. Thus, it used a 20mm cartridge similar to various other countries. In 1937, it was put into service with the IJA as a standard AT weapon. Thus, the weapon first saw service against the Red Army in 1939 during the Battle of Khalkin Gol. However, the weapon was disliked but still saw service in the later Pacific War. Taking into account that the weapon was not very mobile nor simple enough to be mass-produced, the Type 97 was later discontinued in favor of far more mobile options such as anti-tank grenades. Initial production ended in 1941 but a few extra examples were made in 1943 to refit the losing Japanese troops. In total, around 1,200 examples had been produced before and during the war for the IJA.
- ↑ http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Japan/IJA/HB/HB-9.html#II
- ↑ http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/AT.htm
- ↑ http://world.guns.ru/atr/jap/type-97-e.html
- ↑ http://www.forgottenweapons.com/japanese-type-97-20mm-anti-tank-rifle/