Isuzu TX40

Once again, I fearlessly embrace utilitarian over anything actually interesting!

So let’s take a (hopefully) brief look at something necessary.

In 1937 the Japanese automotive industry was merged into a single state entity known briefly as the “Tokyo Automobile Corporation” before changing its name to Isuzu. Their first product, coming from a new factory in Kawasaki, was the TX40 truck. This was a wholly domestic product, no imported components allowed; this was a considered effort to reduce the military’s reliance on Ford and GM products.
The truck’s lineage really went back to 1934, but in TX40 form it entered military service at the end of 1938. About 1000 a year were built through the War years making it by far the most common vehicle in Imperial service.
It was rated as a 2 ton truck with limited off road capability.

Of course this is the tanker version of the basic platform. It is in Imperial Army colors. No location or unit assignment was indicated in the kit directions apart from the observation that both Army and Navy license plates contained mostly bogus information as part of Wartime security. It is the Hasegawa kit, so I will assume they know what they’re talking about.
Funny thing, it was a promotional add in with the first issue of their Ki-45 kit, so I have two more of it! I’ll eventually have to do one in Navy colors, which looks to me like the only meaningful distinction between trucks.

The kit also came with the always important airfield accessory, a fire extinguisher. Seriously, many World War Two aircraft types required an extinguisher for every start up. Very high performance engines, often less than ideal maintenance, and primitive conditions as a part of life meant the fire cart was usually close at hand at all times.

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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8 Responses to Isuzu TX40

  1. Ernie Davis says:

    OK, a rather stunning revelation: “About 1000 a year were built through the War years making it by far the most common vehicle in Imperial service.”

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Japanese industry was not fully developed. I guess that total was upped to 1500 a year for a while during reconstruction. Which is telling in its own way.

      Two quick thoughts; one, the Japanese never expected to fight a massive War of industrial power. Their whole grand strategy seemed to be based on the idea of demoralizing the enemy with a hard slap to the face then making peace.
      And two, if we had accepted their terms after a humiliating loss, they would then be in control of all the resources they needed to build a modern Empire with very little external pressure.
      At least that was the plan.

  2. Ernie Davis says:

    Now granted, they were very capable militarily, and did in fact dominate the Pacific for a time that could have been much longer had a few breaks gone their way, but with their entire strategy being based on “they will give up if we make it hard” they clearly miscalculated. As did the Germans with Britain, and the Russians.

    • atcDave says:

      I think also the “Germany First” policy could have bit us in the butt. In its purest form it truly was dangerous for us. IF, Japan had been left to develop their new resources they might have been far more dangerous in 1945 than they were. Fortunately, Ernest King of all people, was determined that the Japanese would not be allowed to sit back and build their industry and modernize across the board. He strongly advocated keeping the pressure up even if our main effort was focused elsewhere. There were those who claimed he wasn’t in favor of “Germany First” at all; I think that’s an exaggeration (although he did make some threats about taking his ships and playing elsewhere) but he certainly didn’t want to give Japan time.

      Its easy to see a couple ways that pressure served us well. For one, Japan did not have enough shipping to serve both their War aims and their domestic needs (they didn’t even grow enough to feed themselves, so the shipping was NEEDED for more than just military). Their civil sector was sacrificing from day one of the War. So by making them use those ships for troop and supply movements, and sinking as many as we could, austerity at home became a crippling problem pretty early on. Never mind expanding anything.
      One specific story I’ve seen, the best treatment for malaria of the time was Quinine. Japan captured the World’s largest resource of Quinine in the Dutch East Indies (Actually, I guess it originally came from Peru; but because of their heavy handed attempts to restrict its export the Dutch became the World’s primary supplier). So the US switched to Atabrine which we actually could manufacture in sufficient quantities, I think it was actually considered a superior treatment (although with more severe side effects). The Japanese were NEVER able to do anything with their newly acquired resource. They couldn’t ship it home, and couldn’t process it or redistribute it if they had. So Japanese soldiers in the tropics suffered and died with malaria in spite of their country having a near monopoly on Quinine. While Americans at the same locale were successfully treated and returned to serve.
      Obviously it could have been bad if they’d been left to move around supplies and improve domestic capacity on a variety of ways.

      • atcDave says:

        And of course Atabrine is closely related to something else that’s been in the news a lot recently…

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