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  Type 89B Otsu Yi-Go Medium Tank (No. 1)  
4th Southsea Garrison Unit
38th Independent
Mixed Brigade

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Australian Army
May 24, 1945

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William Bartsch 1975

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Josh McDade 1999

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Yoji Sakaida 2005

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Justin Taylan 2005

Tank History
Built by Mitsubishi, Otsu model built between 1931-1939.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 4th South Sea Garrison Unit formed at Wakayama on June 26th 1943. Transported from Japan via Truk to Rabaul. One of four tanks transported aboard the Bunsan Maru to Tarlena during September 1943 and deployed in northern Bougainville. In July 1944, the tanks were assigned to the 38th Independent Mixed Brigade.

After the American landing at Torokina, the Japanese carefully concealed their tanks until early March 1945 then attempted to move them along the north coast road.

Spotted on March 3, 1945 at 10:50am by a pair of RNZAF 18 Squadron F4U Corsairs patrolling the Ruri Bay area. Without bombs, the pair strafed the tanks, and reported them, returning with another F4U to drop 1,000 lbs bombs, and discovered a third tank. Later in the day, seven more aircraft from Piva bombed the tanks and left one on fire, and strafed the third tank which had not moved. It was hit and its ammunition exploded, 'completely wrecking it'.

During the morning of March 4, 1945 tanks in the jungle had been moved, but one of them was discovered by a Boomerang in the late afternoon, heavily camouflaged under trees. As soon as it was reported, three F4Us of 18 Squadron took off to bomb it. It was dark when they reached it, but the reconnaissance pilot marked the target with tracer fire.

The last tank was attacked on the morning of March 5, 1945. Attacked by nine 18 Squadron F4Us. Two of the bombs were almost direct hits and blew off the tank's turret and two doors.

Only one tank was lost in the attack, likely another Type 89 further north, Possibly this tank was dug in as a fixed position. Abandoned during May 1945 when the unit withdrew to Numa Numa.

This tank is located on the west side of the north coast road on the west of Ruri Bay, souh-east of Bonis. The main gun has been missing since at least 1975.

Official History Royal New Zealand Air Force, page 299-300
Senshi Sosho Vol. 58, Page 164-165
Thanks to Akira “Taki” Takizawa for additional information
After The Battle Issue 147 "The Japanese Tanks of Bougainville" by Justin Taylan

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Last Updated
August 19, 2018


Tech Info
Type 89

RNZAF Account

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