Type 59

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RANK VI USSR
T-72AV (TURMS-T) PACK
cn_type_59.png
GarageImage Type 59.jpg
Type 59
AB RB SB
8.0 8.0 8.0
Class:
Research:120 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:300 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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Description

The Type 59 is a rank V Chinese medium tank with a battle rating of 8.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".

The Type 59 holds the distinction of being the first tank to be domestically manufactured by the People's Republic of China. It is a famous part of the PLA's Cold War tank inventory, saw service with many countries, and set the stage for many later developments.

A somewhat simplified, licensed produced version of the Soviet T-54A, the Type 59 looks very much like the T-54 (1951). The most noticeable differences are the fume extractor on the tip of the gun barrel and the different roadwheels, similar to the T-55A. Internally, the Type 59 differs from the T-54 by having a single-plane stabilizer and a different ammunition selection. It helps to get accustomed to this grandfather of Chinese tanks, as the later Type 69, ZTZ59D1, and T-69 II G are its descendants and handle similarly.

Succeeding the Type 59 is the Type 69, which improves on the Type 59 in many areas and has a new smoothbore cannon.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armourfront / side / back
Hull100 / 80 / 45
Turret200 / 155 / 65
Crew4 people
Visibility83 %

The armour layout of the Type 59 is identical to the T-54 (1951), having a rounded, egg-shaped turret with a highly sloped upper glacis. The armour is not bad per se, but most of its opponents use powerful APDS, APFSDS, or HEAT-FS rounds that can go right through it, an issue made worse by the fact that the Type 59 currently has a higher battle rating than the T-54. While it is mostly immune to APHE rounds from the front, few vehicles use them at its rank, and those that do are typically from the Soviet Union and unlikely to face the Type 59 in Realistic Battles. The full-caliber AP shells fired by the M103's 120 mm gun can penetrate the Type 59's hull armour quite easily.

Post-penetration survivability is questionable. Ammunition is scattered around the tank and none of the ammo racks are protected. The interior of the tank is cramped and penetrating hits are likely to take out multiple crew members. When the gun is pointed forward, the driver, gunner, and commander are all lined up for an easy one-shot kill.

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, Turret roof)
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, Gun mantlet)
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 100 mm (60°) Front glacis
100 mm (54°) Lower glacis
80 mm 45 mm (16°) Upper
30 mm (72°) Lower
30 mm Front
20 mm Back
Turret 160 mm (14-39°) Turret front
200 mm (4-78°) Gun mantlet
115 mm (45-50°) Upper
155 mm (10-30°) Lower
65 mm (9-35°) 30 mm

Notes:

  • Suspensions wheels and tracks are 20 mm thick

Mobility

Speedforward / back
AB56 / 9 km/h
RB and SB51 / 8 km/h
Number of gears5 forward
1 back
Weight35.5 t
Engine power
AB992 hp
RB and SB520 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB27.9 hp/t
RB and SB14.6 hp/t
Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 56 9 35.5 806 992 22.7 27.94
Realistic 51 8 460 520 12.96 14.65

The mobility of the Type 59 is the same as the T-54, decent to good but not the best. The top speed will only be reached on paved surfaces. The wide tracks make for fairly good off-road capability. The tank cannot turn in place and the reverse speed of -7 km/h leaves much to be desired. Speedy MBTs like the Leopard I will easily outrun the Type 59, though it can keep up with the M60 and is still faster than the Centurion Mk 10.

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB3 200 → 4 118 Sl icon.png
RB3 700 → 4 761 Sl icon.png
SB7 760 → 9 987 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications113 600 Rp icon.png
168 200 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 100 Ge icon.png
Crew training85 000 Sl icon.png
Experts300 000 Sl icon.png
Aces1 200 Ge icon.png
Research Aces720 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
110 / 160 / 210 % Sl icon.png
196 / 196 / 196 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
Tracks
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
Suspension
Research:
6 600 Rp icon.png
Cost:
9 400 Sl icon.png
230 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
Research:
6 600 Rp icon.png
Cost:
9 400 Sl icon.png
230 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
Filters
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
Transmission
Research:
7 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
11 000 Sl icon.png
270 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank engine.png
Engine
Research:
7 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
11 000 Sl icon.png
270 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Parts
Research:
3 800 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods extinguisher.png
FPE
Research:
4 300 Rp icon.png
Cost:
9 400 Sl icon.png
230 Ge icon.png
Mods tank reinforcement cn.png
Crew Replenishment
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
100mm_APHE_ammo_pack
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
Research:
6 600 Rp icon.png
Cost:
9 400 Sl icon.png
230 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
100mm_APCBC_ammo_pack
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
100mm_APCR_ammo_pack
Research:
5 900 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
Research:
7 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
11 000 Sl icon.png
270 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
100mm_APDS_ammo_pack
Research:
7 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
11 000 Sl icon.png
270 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
100mm_cn_HEAT_ammo_pack
Research:
7 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
11 000 Sl icon.png
270 Ge icon.png

Armaments

Main armament

Vertical stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in one plane while moving
Ammunition34 rounds
First-order20 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
11.2 → 8.6 s
Vertical guidance-4° / 17°
Main article: Type 59 (100 mm)

The Type 59 cannon is identical to the original Soviet D-10T used by the T-54 (1951) aside from its stabilizer and different choice of ammunition. The turret rotation speed is very poor, making it hard to respond to ambushes and proving to be a liability in urban combat. The vertical stabilizer allows the Type 59 to shoot accurately when driving under 40 km/h. The reload is quite slow and the average medium tank at the Type 59's battle rating will reload around 2 seconds quicker.

100 mm Type 59 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 34 -4°/+17° ±180° Vertical 9.5 13.2 16.0 17.7 18.8 11.18 9.89 9.12 8.60
Realistic 6.0 7.0 8.5 9.4 10.0

Ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
BR-412 APHE 218 213 192 169 148 130
BR-412B APHEBC 218 214 195 173 154 137
BR-412D APCBC 239 236 223 207 192 178
BR-412P APCR 224 216 186 153 127 105
Type 1959 APDS 299 298 291 272 253 249
Type 1973 HEATFS 390 390 390 390 390 390
OF-412 HE 19 19 19 19 19 19
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
BR-412 APHE 895 15.9 1.2 19 100.1 47° 60° 65°
BR-412B APHEBC 895 15.9 1.2 19 100.1 48° 63° 71°
BR-412D APCBC 887 15.9 1.2 19 93.94 48° 63° 71°
BR-412P APCR 1,050 8.53 N/A N/A N/A 66° 70° 72°
Type 1959 APDS 1,432 3.18 N/A N/A N/A 75° 78° 80°
Type 1973 HEATFS 1,000 10.05 0.05 0.1 1,180 65° 72° 77°
OF-412 HE 900 15.6 0 0.1 1,460 79° 80° 81°

The Type 59 has many ammunition types to choose from. The stock round is the BR-412 APHE. An uncapped shell, its performance is rather substandard for its rank and it might have difficulties against angled armour or at long distances. The BR-412B APHEBC round is slightly better at a distance and the BR-412D APCBC round is the best of the AP shells overall. These shells are best used against lightly armoured tanks like the Leopard I and AMX-30. Light tanks and SPAAs are also good targets, but some may have extremely thin armour that will not trigger the fuse.

The BR-412P APCR shell is currently modeled as having less penetration than the BR-412D round, so it is completely useless and should not be taken.

The Type 1959 APDS has identical penetration to the Soviet 3BM-8 APDS round with minor differences in the weight and muzzle velocity. The performance is generally comparable to the DM13 APDS. It has a high muzzle velocity and is thus the easiest to use at long distance, but the post-penetration damage is somewhat underwhelming.

The Type 1973 HEAT-FS has the same penetration as the T-55A's 3BK-5M HEAT-FS round. The muzzle velocity and weight are between the 3BK-5M and 3BK-5, but it has about 260 fewer grams of TNT equivalent due to the different filler. In practice, there is not a significant difference, and the HEAT-FS boasts the highest penetration out of all of the Type 59's rounds, going clean through almost any tank not equipped with composite armour or ERA. It is also capable of causing hull-breaks on light tanks and SPAAs. Unfortunately, the fuse is very sensitive and will trigger on bushes and fences.

The OF-412 HE shell only has 26 mm of penetration and is of limited utility. It is not large enough to cause any notable damage to MBTs, and while it can cause hull-breaks, so can the HEAT-FS.

Note that the Type 59 does not have access to the 3D3 smoke shell from the T-54 (1951).

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the T-54 (1951) (identical).
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
6th
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
34 33 (+1) 28 (+6) 23 (+10) 22 (+11) 21 (+13) (+33) No

Notes:

  • Turret empty: 28 (+6) shells.
  • Last rack only: 21 (+13) shells.

The ammunition storage of the Type 59 is not exactly safe, but to be fair, this applies to many contemporary tanks. Spare rounds are littered around the turret and fighting compartment, and there is a large rack next to the driver. It's best to take fewer rounds to at least clear out the turret. Carrying 21 rounds or fewer will completely empty the fighting compartment, which helps to prevent side-aspect shots from being instantly fatal.

Machine guns

Ammunition250 rounds
Belt capacity50 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate600 shots/min
Vertical guidance-10° / 60°
Ammunition3 500 rounds
Belt capacity250 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate600 shots/min
12.7 mm DShK
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Pintle 250 (50) 600 -10°/+60° ±180°
7.62 mm SGMT
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Coaxial 3,500 (250) 600 N/A N/A

Usage in battles

The Type 59 is best used similarly to the original T-54. The mobility is decent, but the turret rotation speed and gun elevation speed are quite agonizing. For those not used to this vehicle, it is better not to rush straight into the combat zone. Instead, stay behind other teammates, keep an eye on the surroundings, and anticipate where enemies may appear. The vertical stabilizer, an oddity for a high-tier vehicle, is effective up to around 40 km/h, which is a major step up from the familiar vertical stabilizers used by the M4 Sherman family and practically equivalent to two-plane stabilizer under most circumstances; the Type 59 will typically only exceed 40 km/h when driving downhill or on roads. Still, the crippling gun handling makes high-speed shooting risky since the turret will struggle with the rapid aim adjustments required. The stabilizer is a significant advantage when fighting unstabilized tanks since the gun does not need to settle before an accurate shot. Keep the gun pointed towards possible enemy positions and remember to turn the hull as well as the turret when rapid adjustments in aim are needed.

Helicopters start to become common around the Type 59's battle rating and can be a major threat if equipped with rockets or ATGMs. The Type 59 has limited options for offense or defense against helicopters since it has poor gun handling and no smoke grenades. The APDS might be able to take out very inattentive helicopter pilots with good aim and a healthy dose of luck. If they get closer, the heavy machine gun may be able to destroy or scare off unarmoured helicopters. When all else fails, hide behind buildings or among trees

Stay close to teammates if possible. The slow reload and poor gun handling make dealing with multiple enemies or flankers a difficult task without backup. A fast light tank, SPAA, or armoured car can circle around the Type 59 faster than it can react. It helps to bind the cupola mounted heavy machine gun to a separate key in case this happens; the DShK rotates fairly quickly and will rip through the sides of light targets like the AUBL/74 HVG with ease. If a healthy distance is maintained, the Type 59 has an easier time coping with its poor gun handling.

Pay attention to the battlefield and identify enemy tanks ahead of time. This allows the gun to be wrangled into position and the appropriate choice of ammunition to be selected. Thinly armoured enemies should typically be targeted with the APCBC round. Scoring one-shot kills is very helpful for the Type 59 since the slow reload makes follow-up shots risky. It is worth remembering that although the OF-40, STB-1, and Leopard A1A1 look very similar to the Leopard I, they are significantly more resistant to conventional rounds from the front. Shoot the OF-40 in the lower glacis, the STB-1 in the upper glacis (close to the turret ring) or gun mantlet, and the A1A1 in the hull.

Tanks with good protection as often seen in US, British, and Soviet models should be dealt with using APDS or HEAT-FS if sideshots are not possible. HEAT-FS is typically the better option since it has higher penetration and can be used to hull-break light targets in a pinch, but APDS is easier to aim at long distances (especially important since the Type 59 has no dedicated rangefinder) and cannot be stopped by ERA. Take some of both, perhaps more APDS on large maps. Aim for crew members and ammo racks when using these ammunition types.

This basic version of the Type 59 omitted the night vision systems from the T-54A, so it must rely on illumination flares for vision in night battles. The Type 69 is much more self-sufficient in this regard, so consider using that tank first if it is present in the lineup.

Overall, the Type 59 faces many challenges at its current battle rating, often being uptiered and having to deal with tanks far more advanced than it. Still, it is satisfying to destroy a thermal-equipped, APFSDS-slinging MBT from the late 1980s with a tank first produced in 1958, using an APCBC round introduced in 1951.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Powerful 100 mm gun with the same wide selection of ammunition as the Soviet T-54 (1951), including strong HEAT-FS and high velocity APDS
  • Good frontal armour
  • Has a top-mounted heavy machine gun for use against soft targets
  • Despite having a vertical stabiliser, it only stops working at speeds over 40 km/h - speeds that are rarely reached
  • Decent mobility
  • APHE is reliably and devastatingly effective against lightly armoured vehicles like the Leopard I from the front and other tanks from the side

Cons:

  • Long reload
  • Sluggish turret traverse
  • Armour does not hold up very well at its rank - APDS, HEAT-FS and APFSDS cuts through your armour, even at distance
  • No sources of smoke available
  • No night vision
  • No neutral steering
  • No laser or optical rangefinder, making long range sniping more difficult
  • Low gun depression of -4°
  • Not too impressive reverse of -7 km/h

History

During the early 1950s, the People's Republic of China purchased numerous tanks from the Soviet Union, such as the T-34-85 and the IS-2. Domestic industrial and engineering capabilities were quite limited at the time and the USSR agreed to assist in setting up a factory manufacturing the T-54A in China. The Chinese copies were designated Type 59 and featured several differences from the original T-54A, such as the deletion of the night vision and possibly stabilizer systems, at least initially.

The Type 59 was produced for a long period of time in several versions, finally appearing in large numbers to completely replace the highly obsolete T-34-85 after a few decades. Though it started out as a competitive design, it became apparent that the Type 59 was in need of some upgrades after a few years. An effort to create a replacement resulted in the Type 69, but this model was not very popular with the PLA, only seeing limited domestic service. As a result the Type 59 remained the premier tank of the PLA for most of the Cold War, seeing some usage in the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979 and at Tiananmen Square in 1989 and receiving limited domestic upgrades to the fire-control, automotive, and fire suppression systems. The reason for PLA's continued use of this first generation MBT was largely due to the political turmoils that was happening in China during the late 60s and early 70s. Efforts to produce domestic second generation MBTs to replace the Type 59, such as the WZ-122, were usually blocked as political ideology took hold of these projects attempted by skilled Chinese engineers.

When relations with the Western world began to normalize during the early 1980s, foreign technologies were available for integration, resulting in numerous upgraded variants like the Type-59-II, Type 59 D1, Type 59D, Jaguar, and VT-3. Soon afterwards domestic tank development accelerated and the Type 59 was superseded by more modern tanks such as the Type 80/88 series. Currently, the Type 59 is still present in the PLA's inventory in sizable quantities, but has been gradually relegated to reserve and training purposes, with more and more units being equipped with far superior Type 96 and Type 99 main battle tanks.

Like the original T-54/55 series, the Type 59 was a popular export item. It was used by the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War alongside its Soviet counterpart. It remains in use with countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Iran, often in heavily upgraded form. Chinese companies still offer comprehensive upgrades and conversions of the Type 59 for export customers. An estimated 10,000 tanks were produced between 1959 to the 1980s.

The tank was also shown in the famous photo of "Tank Man" on Tiananmen square.

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See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the vehicles;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

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China medium tanks
  Type 59 · ZTZ59D1 · Type 69 · T-69 II G · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ99
American  ␗M4A4 · M4A4 (1st PTG) · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ␗M48A1 · ␗M60A3 TTS · CM11
Soviet  ␗T-34 (1943) · ␗Т-34-85 (S-53) · Т-34-85 Gai · T-34-85 No.215 · Т-62 №545
Japanese  ␗Chi-Ha · ␗Chi-Ha Kai