Research and photos by Konstantin G. Mantzouranis, IMAS EOD Level 3 Operator, UXO Tech. I
Submitted to www.ww2wrecks.com and used by permission
EOD personnel stumbled on the sad remnants of this Japanese military truck that must have sustained a direct hit on March 31st, 1944, during Operation Desecrate One, that destroyed critical infrastructure—in this case two huge radio transmission towers in the state of Ngatpang, in the main island of Babelthuap in Palau.
One of these antennae is clearly visible from satellite as it lies twisted & flat on the ground. The other tower, (approximately 70 meters to the east) suffered a similar fate, but it was cut at the (concrete) base and presumably recycled as scrap!
It was originally presumed it was a Toyota, Model KB, made from 1938 to 1942, as the vehicle was equipped with an inline six-cylinder (see image of engine block) water-cooled engine, but the grille was a bit “off” but again…. photographic details were fuzzy!
After ripping out a bunch of weeds, I saw a brand name (in Japanese) in addition to the engine-block serial number(s).
A former colleague from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Japanese partner NGO (Japan Mine Action Service) was contacted, who identified the Japanese sign (in raised-relief on the cast-iron engine block) as Katakana script, spelling “Nissan”.
Moreover, she did some research on her own through Japanese sites and some further searching online, where she IDed the vehicle as a 1941 Nissan, Type 180 utility truck! The grille matches at 100%.
Further research at other historical military vehicle sites, revealed specs, such as length, width, wheel-base and other data, utterly irrelevant when a few hundred-pound high explosive bomb falls on it and tears it up back to its primordial components….
A twisted view of its half-buried chassis can be discerned and not much else. The cab must be in the same place where its hapless occupants ended up; mainly everywhere!
The visual outline of the frame, seem to match the dimensions of the chassis that correspond to the prescribed maximum load capacity of 1.5 tons. After the war, Nissan continued to produce the very same truck up to the early 1950s…
NOTE: The hapless vehicular carcass is the civilian version.
I presume that military versions were shipped to active 1941-42 fronts, while the (relatively military backwater at the time) colonial possessions received the civilian versions…
Nissan 180 Truck
- Introduced Year: 1941
- Weight: 2.90 ton
- Dimensions: 5.895 x 2.00 x 2.14(h) m
- Speed (max): 75 km/hr
- Engine: Gasoline Engine 80 HP
- Loading Capacity: 1.5 ton
- Manufacturer: Nissan