The most effective Japanese armored vehicle thus far met by U.S. forces is the Type 97 (1937) medium tank (improved), a 15-ton tank mounting a high-velocity47-mm gun as its chief armament.
This vehicle, which first appeared in the Philippines in 1942, has since been encountered in Burma and the Pacific theaters. A number of Type 97 mediums (improved) constituted a sizable part of the Japanese armored division which operated on Luzon in January and February 1945.
Although this tank is considered a superior fighting vehicle, Japanese armor on Luzon never mounted an attack with more than 16 tanks at any one time, and never employed the principle of mass. Instead of making use of the mobility of its tanks, the Japanese division chose, instead, to fight from fixed defenses and emplacements and to make piecemeal counterattacks. As a result, the Japanese armored effort resulted in little more than delay.