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M4 Sherman vs Type 97 Chi-Ha (Duel) [Paperback]

Steven J Zaloga

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Book Description

20 May 2012 Duel (Book 43)
Although US and Japanese tank forces first clashed in 1941, it was on in 1944 that tank-vs-tank action became more common as both sides poured larger numbers of tanks into the combat zone. These battles were a means of demonstrating each side's latest tank technology. For the US, the pinnacle of their tank machinery came in the form of the M4 Sherman and for the Japanese, their most notable feat of engineering was the smaller, yet still effective Type 97 Chi-Ha. The last two campaigns of the war - Iwo Jima and Okinawa - saw tanks used by both sides, the Japanese finally concluding that the fight against the US Army is a fight against his M4 tanks. The illustrations follow the usual Duel pattern with profile illustrations of the Type 97-kai Shinhoto Chi-ha and the M4A3, views showing the ammunition of both types, interior illustrations showing the turret layout in both types, and a battlescene showing the Type 97-kai in combat against US armour.

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Review

"This terrific tome deserves a spot in every WWII enthusiast's library."
--David L. Veres, www.cybermodeler.com

This is a very interesting and well-balanced read, condensed in true Osprey Duel style; a must for the American and Japanese armour enthusiast, and for those wishing to expand their knowledge of the Pacific theatre. --Military Modelcraft International

About the Author

Steven J Zaloga received his BA in History from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has worked as an analyst in the aerospace industry for over two decades, covering missile systems and the international arms trade, and has served with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank. He is the author of numerous books on military technology and military history, with an accent on the US Army in World War II as well as Russia and the former Soviet Union.

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steven Zaloga + Sherman Tank = 5 Star Book 10 Jun 2012
By Merkava - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As you might expect when Steven Zalgoa writes a book about the Sherman tank, this book is first-rate. Most works on World War Two tank warfare feature the Allies and the Germans, because most armor battles during this war took place in Eupope and North Africa. But this book looks at a little known story of World War Two armored warfare, in the Pacific. The Japanese Type 97 tanks were no match for the M4 Sherman tank or even the M7 Priest 105mm HMC, which many commanders peferred over the M4 because of it's heavier firepower. In fact, this book could have been called "M4 Sherman/M7 Priest Vs Type 97 Chi-Ha, " but I guess Osprey wanted the better known Sherman to get all of the attention! Anyway, this book is for anyone interested in World War Two tanks.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 8 Jun 2012
By Long Nguyen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another excellent book from Steven Zaloga. This cover the little known tank battles in the Pacific campaign. Focusing on the fighting in Philippines 1945. It have many pictures of Chi-Ha that I have never seen before. Also a nice cutaway image of both tanks. Well research and a joy to read. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for Any Pacific War Library 23 July 2012
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Even if you are a specialist reader with bookshelves groaning under the weight of books on the Second World War, it is unlikely that you have much (if anything) on battles between American and Japanese tanks in the Pacific War. Well-known armor historian Steven J. Zaloga fills that gap with M4 Sherman vs. Type 97 Chi-Ha, the 43rd volume in Osprey's popular Duel series. The author has a reputation for detail and insight, which is fully on display in this volume. Frankly, I was amazed at the consistent level of detail - from both sides - that the author was able to put into each armored action described. This is tactical military history at its best. The volume also is complemented by a superb graphics package, with great artwork and B/W photos. Overall, M4 Sherman vs. Type 97 Chi-Ha is one of the author's best works in recent years and warrants a place in any Pacific War library.

The author begins by sketching Japan's development of the Type 97 medium tank in the mid-1930s and the realization after the defeat by Soviet tanks at Nomonhan in 1939 that serious upgrades were needed. The Japanese took the existing Type 97 and upgraded it with thicker armor and a high-velocity 47-mm gun that had a better chance to defeat tanks like the Soviet BT-7. In addition to upgrading their current medium tank, the Japanese began to create armored divisions, in case they had to fight the Red Army again. The author then shifts gears and discusses the development of the M4A3 medium tank, which has also been discussed in two previous Duel-series titles. In technical specifications, the author compares the Type 97 versus the M4A3 Sherman in terms of firepower, protection, mobility and command & control; the M4A3 had a clear advantage in every area but mobility. In this section, there are two color plates depicting cut-away views of the interior of each tank's turret.

The next section discusses the combatants, with which discusses the composition of each tank's crew and their training, as well as battalion/regiment organization. This section was very interesting and detailed, but I was a bit disappointed that it lacked the profile sidebars that this series usually has. I'm guessing that the author could not find enough information on a specific Japanese tanker involved in this campaign to profile. I always found that these sidebars help to put a "human face" on the duel equation. The author also uses this section to set the stage for the Duel, which pits the Japanese 7th Tank Regiment against the U.S. 716th Tank Battalion. The author spends six pages discussing the strategic situation in the Philippines Campaign of 1944-45 and how these forces came to be deployed against each other. The section on combat covers several specific tank-on-tank actions in the Philippines in January-February 1945. In short, the 7th Tank Regiment was ordered to conduct a defense with limited artillery support and was gradually beaten to pieces by U.S. mixed tank-infantry teams. As the author notes, Japanese anti-tank ambush tactics were often conducted at point-blank range and could be very lethal. However, he also points out how Japanese senior commanders mis-used their armor by parceling it out in small groups and forcing it to defend too much terrain. The author's tactical narrative is highly detailed and supported by maps and very relevant photos. Overall, a very good addition to the Duel series and a fine piece of military history on a neglected subject.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilla in Manila - M4 Sherman vs Type 97 Chi-Ha 24 Jun 2012
By Karolus Magnus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must for anyone interested in tank battles between the IJA and US Army/Marines - a not-so-common occurence which is usually relegated to the backstage of American armor/military history especially when up against the much larger and epic US vs German tank battles fought in Western Europe.

For newbies, the book offers a nice short overview of both tanks - the main battle tanks for both forces during the entire war - without being too technical, as well as a lot of additional info on US operations during the recapture of the Philippines in 1944-45.

Steve Zaloga does it again.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare And Enlightening Insight 18 Aug 2012
By DiverEngrSL17K - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Steven Zaloga has, with his usual eye for detail and thorough, in-depth research, produced a fascinating insight into an all too-often ignored but highly important aspect of the Second World War. The Chi-Ha 97 ( or any other Japanese tank of the period, for that matter ) versus the M4 Sherman was the proportionate equivalent of Shermans versus Panthers in Western Europe --- not a very pleasant way to commit suicide.

There was nothing inherently wrong with Japanese tanks. From a mechanical standpoint, they were generally well-built and reliable, albeit cramped and noisy. They had the advantage of being equipped with diesel engines which provided good range, mobility, reliability and reduced fire risk when hit by enemy fire, as opposed to the gasoline-driven "Tommy-cooker" Sherman which had an unenviable propensity to burn very quickly and easily when penetrated. In terms of armored protection and firepower, however, the Sherman had enormous superiority.

The problem with most Japanese tanks was that they had been conceived primarily in the infantry support role and were therefore not equipped for tank-versus-tank combat, hence the great emphasis on close ambush tactics and dug-in positions. This was hardly the fault of the designers or the tank crews, who had to make do with what they had been given. Japanese tankers certainly did not lack for courage, imagination or tactical initiative.

The real roots of the problem lay in the poor and unimaginative requirements laid down by the Army General Staff, the lack of a continuous and consistent process of armored vehicle development after the mid-1930's that stemmed from this, the emphasis on weighting limited resources toward the Navy and Air Force first, the allocation of remaining resources to other branches of the Army ahead of the armored units, and the sometimes piecemeal deployment of the tanks. When properly used in conjunction with sound armored warfare doctrine, Japanese tanks were highly decisive in many campaigns such as the Battle For Malaya in late 1941 - early 1942 where, in contrast to long-held belief, they showed that tanks could operate effectively in close country against prepared anti-tank defences. There is an incorrect supposition that British and Commonwealth troops in Malaya were universally ill-trained and equipped to deal with tanks. While this might have been true for many units, there were also some properly-equipped units that offered strong organized resistance, such as at the Battle for Jitra in the northern state of Kedah, and the violent engagements at Milestone 61-62 on the main trunk road during the Battle of the Slim River in the state of Selangor. Japanese armor proved itself capable of dealing successfully with the anti-tank opposition in each and every case.
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