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The Special Type 2 Launch Ka-Mi (特二式内火艇 カミ Toku-ni-shiki uchibitei kami) was the first amphibious tank of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). The Type 2 Ka-Mi was based on the Imperial Japanese Army's Type 95 Ha-Go light tank with major modifications.
This project’s genesis can be traced back to 1928, when the Imperial Japanese Army conducted a series of trials to test the feasibility of the amphibious tank concept. These included prototypes like the Type 1 “Mi-Sha”, the SR-II Ro-Go or the Ishikawajima Amphibian. However, it was not until 1940 that the Navy took the matter in its own hands. The IJN devised a vehicle specifically tailored for the Imperial Navy’s Special Naval Landing Forces, for assaulting small Pacific islands devoid of pontoons or harbor facilities, as well as special operations. The Type 2 Ka-Mi was designed in 1941 and production started in 1942.
The designers choose the Type 95 Ha-Go as a base for development, keeping the engine, transmission, suspensions, drivetrain and chassis, although the hull and the turret were completely redrawn for the task. The plates were assembled by welding and rubber seals were used, instead of the usual riveted armor. Hollow pontoons made of steel plates were also designed to be fitted to the front and rear of the chassis, and could be quickly locked into place by hand. The front pontoon was divided into eight compartments, to reduce the internal flooding when hit. They could be easily jettisoned from the inside after landing. The engine transmission was modified to power the two shafts, providing a 6-knot speed on water (10 km/h), and a 150 km (93.2 mi) maximal range. The steering was provided by a pair of rudders, operated through cables running from the rear to the driver’s compartment.
Because the top of the hull could be flooded on rough seas, barriers were placed around the engine exhaust grid. A removable chimney was designed to be fitted over the exhaust pipe, with a watertight seal. It was covered by a bell-like dome and could be removed after landing. A raised-up “bridge” was also fitted on top the the turret when navigating. The turret itself housed both the 37 mm (1.45 in) Type 1 gun and a coaxial Type 97 machine gun, protected by an armored mantlet. The Type 1 was a standard AT gun, which could fire a 0.68 kg (1.5 lb) AP shell at a muzzle velocity of 700 m/s (2,300 ft/s). A second machine-gun was located inside the hull, protruding from the frontal glacis. The tank had a bilge pump, the road wheels had drain holes, and the bell crank suspension was internal. It was also one of the few Japanese tank fitted, from the start, with a radio and telephone intercom for the crew.
Girls und Panzer
The tank made its debut in the second episde of das Finale when two of these amphibious tanks are used by Chi-Ha-Tan Academy during their match against Ooarai GirlsAcademy in the second round of the
- The Ka-Mi is the first amphibious tank to appears in the series.