Type 95 Kurogane file photo [16906]

Type 95 Kurogane

ManufacturerNippon Nainenki Seiko, Tokyo, Japan
Primary RoleTransport


ww2dbaseThe Type 95 Scout Car was the Japanese Army's equivalent to the American Jeep or Soviet GAZ-67 light transportation vehicle. Commonly known as the Kurogane, or "Black Medal", the Type 95 was developed after Japanese experiences in the Manchurian region of northeastern China had revealed the need for a small fast scout car capable of operating on the edge of the battlefield. This was the only native vehicle of its kind used by the Japanese Army before and during World War II, most others being of American origin or pattern. Built in closed cab, truck and convertible versions, the Type 95 was fairly typical of pre-war Japanese car manufacture, being light and rather under-powered but proved to be an excellent vehicle for operations in northern China where it coped well with the local temperatures and its air-cooled engine was not reliant on the limited supplies of unpolluted water to be found in the region.

ww2dbaseThe Type 95 did, however, have some good features. The front suspension was independent, using coil springs, the four-wheel-drive was adventurous for a car of that size, and the economy of fuel was impressive. Special tyres with heavy rubber treads were provided to cope with difficult terrain but brakes were fitted only on the rear wheels. The Type 95's transmission was a selective sliding type with three forward and one reverse gear.

ww2dbaseAlthough it was almost too light to be able to stand up to active service use on the battlefield it was nevertheless more than adequate for general employment in the home islands or in the rear areas of overseas theatres. Early models were issued with just two seats but Service use rapidly realised that this would not enough and the later vehicles had a third seat in the rear. In total about 4,800 were built by Nippon Nainenki Seiko between 1934 and 1945.

Ian V Hogg & John Weeks, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Military Vehicles (Hamlyn, 1980)
Philip Trewbitt, Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Dempsey-Parr, 1999)

Last Major Revision: Jan 2013


Type 95
MachineryOne Kurogane V-1-A-F 2-cyl four-stroke air-cooled vee petrol engine rated at 33bhp
ArmamentNone; capacity for up to 2 passengers or 300kg of cargo
Length3.38 m
Width1.52 m
Height1.68 m
Weight1.1 t
Speed75 km/h
Range450 km


Japanese Army Type 95 Kurogane scout car, date unknownJapanese Type 95 Kurokane scout car being bogged down by the flood caused by intentional opening of Yellow River dikes by Chinese troops, Henan, China, 17 Jun 1938Soviet troops with captured Japanese Type 95 scout car, Battle of Khalkhin Gol, Mongolia Area, China, 1939

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