Japanese amphibious truck Su-ki on Ponape Island in Micronesia
Japanese amphibious truck Su-ki (スキ型4輪駆動水陸両用車) – four-wheel drive amphibious landing truck.
During operations in the Solomon Islands and the Gilbert Islands, as well as their planned Operation against the Ellice Islands, the Imperial Japanese Army, the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Special Naval Landing Forces encountered problems, they then tried to fix with new strategies, tactics and technologies. To do so an Amphibious Truck “Su-Ki” was developed and manufactured by the Toyota Motor Co., Ltd as a Japanese military vehicle. It entered service in 1943 and was deployed to Japanese forces in the Pacific Theatre during the Second Great War.
The Su-Ki is the two tonner amphibious truck developed by the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy. It is based on the Toyota 4×4 truck To-Ki. It had a steel boat shaped hull and could operate in either 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive. Su-Ki amphibious trucks were deployed to the Japanese military forces on Pacific islands during the Second Great War when they assaulted the Ellice Islands Campaign later in 1943 as well as in the Solomon Islands Campaign. They had a speed of 65 km/h by land, and up to 10 km/h by water. and with their open top some even featured heavy machien guns. In the end nearly 400 Su-Ki were produced overall.
The Ellice Island Campaign also gave rise to the later amphibious landing craft, the Toyota Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT), that had evolved out of the Su-Ki between 1943 and 1944. The Japanese had learned their lessons from some of the more costly and devastating landings early in the war. Because of this this new Toyota LVT, the Su-Ki II was well armored all around to protect the transported crew, just like other Japanese Landing Crafts started to do around this time. Because of the lessons hard learned for Japan, this landing operations were often accompanied by amphibious Ka-Mi and Ka-chi or other tanks, Japanese Navy ships and Japanese Army or Navy fighters or bombers. This led to the development of the Su-Ki II Medium Assault Landing Craft in late 1944, that had integrated machine guns to cover the beaches and other Landing Crafts alongside their Amphibeous Tanks.
While the Su-Ki and Su-Ki II could carry much fewer soldiers then regular Landing Craft, they offered much more protection and supporting fire, even if they had to make more trips to land a similar amount of troops. This system was increased with the Su-Ki III, that not only had integrated machine guns, but also grenade launchers to inflict heavy fire upon beach landing sides they had to capture, even without additional Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy Amphibeous Tank Support. This naturally meant that the Su-Ki III had even less place to transport landing forces then the Su-Ki and the Su-Ki II, or other more regular, older Landing Crafts and Landing Vehicle variants. Some variations were motorized, some mechanized.
Many islands with Japanese garrisons were not attacked by the Americans, but were isolated and starving for the end of the war. The Ponape garrison capitulated in September 1945 as part of the general surrender of Japan. Most of the equipment that was in service with the garrisons of these islands was handed over to the winners in good condition, however, due to the fact that most of the samples of equipment were out of date, it was unprofitable to withdraw them somewhere, so Japanese tanks, guns, etc. they just threw them in the places of their former deployment and now they rust in orderly rows, reminding the islanders about the past events.
Information provided by the website: https://www.alternatehistory.com