By Rob Arndt

This hideous monstrosity was the Soukou Sagyou SS-Ki which was Japan's first CEV (Combat Engineer Vehicle).


Developed in 1935, it was based on the Japanese Type 89B Medium Tank, a modified version of the first tank to go into production in Japan which was based on an imported British Vickers Medium C tank and retained the characteristic Vickers suspension.

Early Japanese Type 89 tank

The SS-Ki as CEV was designed to perform a multitude of tasks:
01) Destroying fortifications with 300 kg (660 lb) demolition charges
02) Flame Throwing
03) Removing mines with mine rakes
04) Breaking through obstacles
05) Bridge layer
06) Crane
07) Excavating trenches
08) Generating smokes screens
09) Chemical agent dispersal
10) Disinfecting gas attacks

The "Manchurian Incident" showed that the vehicle was too small to perform all these tasks perfectly. The vehicle was redesigned and the tasks required of it were decreased. The last type was called the "SS SS-Ki Bo Gata" and could only do tasks 1, 2, 3 and 5 listed above.


When the Pacific War with the U.S. began, the SS-Ki was sent to the South Front, as a bridge layer. In the battle of Philippines, 1945, the US captured 8 SS-Ki, without bridges. So the US forces mistakenly classified the SS-Ki as a flame throwing tank.


A total of 119 were produced (of all types, Kou, Otsu, Hei, Tei, Bo).




Crew: 5
Weight: 16 tons
Length: 5 meters
Width: 2.3 meters
Ground Clearance: 0.4 meters
Engine: 1x 145 hp Mitsubishi Straight 6 Diesel
Speed: 37 Kph
Armor: 25 to 65 mm
2-3 Flamethowers
1 x MG





Japanese Strange Vehicles



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