Oil pressure gauge : Japanese Type 95 Ha Go light tank

Place Oceania: New Guinea1, Papua New Guinea, Papua, Milne Bay
Accession Number REL36909.002
Collection type Technology
Object type Technology
Physical description Aluminium, Chrome-plated metal, Glass, White metal
Place made Japan
Date made March 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Oil pressure gauge taken from one of the Japanese Ha Go tanks destroyed by Australian forces at Milne Bay in August 1942. The guage has a white metal body and a chrome bezel. The black dial is marked with white numerals graduated from 0 to 7. There are also a number of Japanese markings and a serial number '209204'. The centrally mounted needle is painted a pale green, and may have been luminescent. The alloy face of the dial has been damaged by corrosion (probably caused by condensation or the entry of water) and the numeral '2' and the area surrounding it have been completely eaten away. On the back of the instrument are a number of screws and an entry port for the sender, which was unscrewed when it was removed from the vehicle.

History / Summary

This oil pressure gauge was taken from one of the Japanese Type 95 ‘Ha-Go’ light tanks used against Australian forces at Milne Bay in late August 1942. O the night of 27 August, two Type 95 tanks attacked Australian positions near the KB Mission, which were defended by elements of 2/10 Infantry Battalion, AIF. The tanks were impervious to Australian small arms fire, and using their headlights to see and support each other, cruised among the positions, machine gunning and attempting to run over individuals. This action caused the Australians to withdraw to Homo Creek and later to Gama. Later that night, the Japanese attacked other Australian positions defended by 2/10 Battalion. As the Japanese advanced, SX1603 Corporal John O'Brien engaged one of the tanks with a .55 calibre Boyes anti tank rifle. Before he was wounded, O'Brien was able to put three shots into the vehicle, killing the driver and halting the advance of the tank. The two remaining crew members kept firing into the Australian positions and with the help of supporting Japanese infantry eventually forced the Australians to withdraw. Corporal O'Brien was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions. A further attack was met by elements of 25 (AMF) Battalion, who faced the tanks when the retreating 2/10 Battalion passed through them. The tanks pressed the advance, forcing 25 Battalion to withdraw as well. Finally, on 29 August, patrolling Australians found both Japanese tanks bogged and abandoned. They remained in situ for some weeks before being salvaged and taken to Australia for examination. During this time, several parts were souvenired by Australian troops, and this gauge was removed by VX25962 Corporal Douglas Arthur Head, who served with 6 Battery, 2/2 Australian Anti Aircraft Regiment, AIF. Head, who enlisted in June 1940, served in North Africa and the Pacific and was discharged in November 1945.