Thanks to the National Museum of the U.S. Marine Corps., the American Heritage Museum has added the last known WWII Japanese Ho-Ro self-propelled gun to the Pacific War exhibit.
The Type 4 Ho-Ro was a self-propelled 150mm gun that saw limited service with the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Japanese engineers based the Type 4 Ho-Ro on the German “Grille” (German for “Cricket”) using the chassis from Type 97 Japanese tanks. The Type 4 Ho-Ro was rushed into service and typically deployed in batteries of four, that saw combat as part of the 2nd Tank Division during the Philippines campaign. The remaining units were deployed to Okinawa for island defense, but were quickly decimated by American artillery during the Battle of Okinawa.
This Ho-Ro saw its last action at the Battle of Luzon near Clark Airfield in the Philippines, January 1945. It was under command of an Independent Gun Company alongside the Japanese 8th Infantry Division with additional support by the Japanese 2nd Tank Division with units of Chi-Ha Kai medium tanks. The battle was short-lived with the crew abandoning the cannon and forced to retreat into the forest.
Even though the Type 4 Ho-Ro was designed as an offensive weapon, because of its late introduction in the war, it was forced to become a defensive one. In the end, its limited quantity and outdated design led many Type 4s to be destroyed by Allied artillery.
The Type 4 was never mass-produced. As a result, only 12 Type 4 Ho-Ro’s were made. This Type 4 Ho-Ro was captured at Luzon and is the only example that remains in the world.