Komatsu G40

The Japanese were behind other major powers in the development of wartime construction equipment, but late in World War II this bulldozer was used in expanding airfields and roads in the shrunken Empire.


Join me for a brief look at the sort of machine many of us take for granted.

I must admit to knowing nothing about this sort of equipment.  At least until I read the brief write up on the kit instruction sheet!  Seriously, its not even on Wikipedia.



But according to Tamiya, the Japanese had no such construction equipment at the start of World War II. Airfields and other construction were done by hand tools. When the Japanese captured bulldozers during their rapid blitz across the Pacific early the war they recognized their own deficiency pretty quickly.  So in early 1942, the Komatsu Company, which was known for producing agricultural tractors, was ordered to design and produce a bulldozer for the Japanese military.



Starting in late 1943 the first of 150 were delivered for the Army and Navy.  Post War, several thousand more were built to rebuild the island nation.  Today Komatsu is a major manufacturer of construction equipment.


About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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11 Responses to Komatsu G40

  1. Theresa says:

    Yes the Japanese copied Caterpillar’s designs from the Bulldozers captured in Philippines.

    • atcDave says:

      I think tractor part was developed from the indigenous farm tractor. But it does seem likely the blade and hydrolics were were “borrowed”.

  2. Another fascinating article Dave, on a subject that I had almost no knowledge of at all. The bulldozer is such an innocuous, yet important piece of equipment. Very nice model too.

    • atcDave says:

      It was funny when I googled it, every single hit was about the Tamiya kit. So you and I aren’t alone for knowing nothing about it!

  3. An interesting addition to any model collection. Like many of these specialist pieces, they were essential to the war effort no matter who the user was and now sadly, largely forgotten!

  4. John says:

    Check out “The Fighting SeaBees”(1944)
    , all kinds of construction equipment. And John Wayne.

  5. Dave says:

    I could send you photos of the real one I saw.

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