The was an infantry support gun used by the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.
History and development
The Type 11 infantry gun entered service in 1922. It was intended to be used against enemy machine gun
positions and light tanks
, and in a modified form was used to equip some early Japanese tanks (the Japanese Renault NC27
and some early Type 89 I-Go
medium tanks). It had been largely been superseded by the Type 94 37 mm Anti-Tank Gun
by beginning of the Pacific War
The Type 11 infantry gun was based on the French Canon d'Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916 TRP
(US Army M1916
, for which Japan bought a production license after World War I
, and modified to suit Japanese requirements. It fired from a tubular steel tripod and used a vertically sliding breechblock
, that was opened and closed by a lever on the right side of the gun. The gun was fired by pulling sharply on a cord hanging from its rear, which drove a lever into the firing pin, which impacted and initiated the percussion cap
in the rear of the shell.
It was intended to be carried into action by its gunners using the rear legs of the gun as carrying poles and lacked wheels entirely, with a pair of removable poles at the front allowing four men to lift the weapon. The rear legs of the weapon were fitted with spades to firmly fix the gun in position.
The gun fired the Type 12 high explosive shell, which contained 41 grams of explosive, as well as an ineffective anti-tank shell.
The Type 11 infantry support guns were typically assigned in groups of four to combat infantry regiments
. Each weapon was manned by a squad of 10 men (a squad leader
, four gunners (two of whom stood in reserve a little distance from the gun), three men to carry ammunition and two men who handled the pack horses
used with the gun), and was kept in contact with the regimental headquarters (typically up to 300 meters) away by field telephone
or messenger runners.
The gun was effective in the early stages of the Second-Sino-Japanese War for its intended purpose of providing heavy infantry firepower against semi-fortified positions, such as pillboxes, machine gun nests, and lightly armored vehicles. However, its low muzzle velocity, small caliber and low rate of fire rendered it quickly obsolete against Allied forces equipped with tanks, and it was seldom seen outside of reserve units during the Pacific War.
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