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TM-E 30-480: Handbook on Japanese Military Forces
Technical Manual, U.S. War Department, October 1, 1944
[DISCLAIMER: The following text and illustrations are taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Technical Manual. As with all wartime manuals, the text may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the contents of the original technical manual. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

Chapter X: Equipment

Section I: Introduction

1. GENERAL. a. Most Japanese equipment shows evidence of careful thought to adapt it to the needs of the soldier. The Japanese Army expects to fight, mostly on foot, in all the varied climates and terrains of Asia, where roads often are lacking. The equipment therefore is made as light in weight as is practicable, and, when possible, is arranged to pack on horses or to be carried by men. The Japanese have given much attention to animal pack, and there are a great variety of pack saddles for specialized purposes. All of the organic heavy infantry weapons are designed for animal pack and can be manhandled when necessary.

b. The two-wheeled military cart is the most common vehicle. This cart, of which four types are known, is built almost entirely of wood. The smallest has a capacity of about 400 pounds. It is strong and light and is pulled by one horse which the driver leads. A larger type, of greater capacity, is pulled by two horses. A heavier military vehicle also has been developed which often is designed to carry artillery spare parts or other heavy equipment. This vehicle is pulled by either 2 or 4 horses.

c. Most of the Japanese Army's automotive equipment is of foreign design and construction. However, Japanese models have been designed and constructed. These are of two general types: a 4-wheeled commercial design of about 2 tons capacity, and a 6-wheeled military vehicle of larger size, made in several capacities but according to the same general design. Originally, these heavier vehicles were equipped with 6-cylinder, heavy-duty, gasoline engines, but later types have Diesel engines. This trend toward Diesel power no doubt will be intensified.

d. Japanese engineering equipment is fairly complete, and includes a wide variety of amphibious, construction, maintenance, and demolition equipment. Heavier equipment, however, does not appear to have been developed on a scale comparable with the American standard. The following types of Japanese equipment are described in the chapters indicated below:

Type of equipment          Chapter
Air corps equipment4
Chemical equipment9
Armored unit equipment9
Personal equipment11

Definite information concerning ordnance and other mobile maintenance equipment has been omitted because of lack of available data. There is sufficient evidence, however, to conclude that such equipment exists in the Japanese Army.

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