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The Type 69 is a rank V Chinese medium tank with a battle rating of 8.3 (AB) and 8.0 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".
At first glance, the Type 69 looks reminiscent of the preceding Type 59. Closer inspection reveals it to be quite an interesting tank. It can be visual differentiated from similar vehicles by the placement of the IR spotlight directly above the gun mantlet (Soviet tanks place the spotlight off to the side), a laser rangefinder next to it, and a unique fume extractor located near the tip of the barrel. It can be thought of as a cross between the Soviet T-55A and T-62. Like the former, it boasts improved mobility and gun handling from the original Type 59/T-54, and like the latter, it has a smoothbore gun firing HEAT-FS and APFSDS rounds. As the product of the PRC's first foray into indigenous technologies, it also boasts night vision, stabilizer, and laser rangefinder systems.
Players coming from the Type 59 will appreciate many of the Type 69's improvements, no longer having to deal with a glacial turret rotation speed, single plane stabilizer, and lack of night vision. However, its firepower is a sidegrade at best. Both tanks can use the Type 1973 HEAT-FS, but while the Type 59 could use APHE rounds like the BR-412D for instant knockouts against lightly armored tanks like the Leopard 1, the Type 69 has a poor-quality APFSDS round instead. No miracles should be expected from its gun.
Survivability and armour
The armor layout of the Type 69 is virtually identical to the Type 59 and T-54 (1951), with a rounded turret made of cast homogeneous armor and a highly sloped front glacis. While the frontal protection is good in terms of raw values, the Type 69 will face many tanks with powerful subcaliber/HEAT rounds that can penetrate its armor with ease. That said, it confers some resistance to the APHE rounds fired by contemporary Soviet tanks like the T-54/55.
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The Type 69 is armed with a 100mm Type 69 smoothbore cannon equipped with a two-plane stabilizer, capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT-FS, and HE rounds.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 0° Angle of Attack|
|Ammunition|| Type of
Mass in kg
| Fuse delay
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A 7.62mm SGMT machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main gun and a 12.7 DShK heavy machine gun is mounted on the loader's cupola.
Usage in battles
The Type 69 is somewhat paradoxical. Its laser rangefinder and smoothbore cannon may suggest that it is a good sniper, but the terrible penetration of its 1-72-85 APFSDS (worse than many APHE rounds), which also drops off significantly with range, can make this difficult against moderately or heavily armored opponents at longer distances. Meanwhile its two-plane stabilizer, improved engine, and faster turret rotation speed are more suitable for an offensive role, though it lacks the APHE enjoyed by the comparable T-55A for instant knockouts.
Terrible APFSDS is still APFSDS, and it enjoys better angled performance and post-penetration damage than many APDS rounds commonly used at its rank. It is effective against lightly armored opponents like the Leopard I and can still be used against enemy T-55s or T-62s when fired at the upper glacis at closer distances. When fighting more resilient targets, such as those that are hull down with good turret armor, the Type 1973 HEAT-FS is a better choice. Very similar in performance to the T-55A's 3BK17M (slightly lower muzzle velocity and TNT equivalent), it can penetrate virtually any opponent not equipped with composite or reactive armor. While not as easy to use as the APFSDS due to its lower velocity and propensity for detonating on bushes/fences, its high penetration and ability to hull-break light targets are very welcome. Finally, a 1-71-74 HE round is available, but with only 1.3 kg of TNT and 17mm of penetration, it is ineffective against all but the most lightly armored vehicles. It is better to take the HEAT-FS instead since it is far more useful and almost as good for hull breaking.
It should be noted that the post-penetration damage of the APFSDS and HEAT-FS are somewhat punctual, so effort should be taken to aim for ammo racks or catch as many crew members as possible in the line of fire. This is especially important since the Type 69's reload is rather sluggish and a crippled target could retreat or retaliate before a follow up shot is ready.
Mobility wise, the Type 69 is about the same as the T-55A. While not agonizing, it certainly won't be the first tank to arrive on the battlefield. Note that the reverse speed of -7 km/h is rather poor and it lacks neutral steering, so be careful about overextending.
Overall the Type 69 is a versatile tank, having tools for most situations at hand and no major weaknesses, though conversely it is not exceptional in any regard. It is best used as a flexible combatant, capable of flanking, pushing aggressively, or sniping when the situation needs it as long as the appropriate ammunition is chosen for the situation. Caution should be paid to its substandard mobility and sometimes finicky ammunition.
Pros and cons
- One of the earliest tanks in the game with APFSDS rounds
- APFSDS comes stock
- Has a two-plane stabilizer
- Access to night vision and a laser rangefinder
- Improved engine, turret rotation speed, and ammunition capacity compared to the Type 59
- Top mounted heavy machine gun is useful against aircraft
- Wet ammo storage
- APFSDS has abysmal penetration
- Does not have access to APHE
- Armour is identical to the Type 59, does not hold up very well at its rank
- Not particularly mobile
- Somewhat long reload
- Can be confused for Soviet tanks at a quick glance
After the Sino-Soviet split, the People's Republic of China was no longer able to receive military technical help from the Soviet Union. The Type 59, a licensed copy of the T-54A, was the the most advanced medium tank available to the PLA, but after a few years it became apparent that upgrades were necessary to keep up with the rapidly advancing technology of the time. The PLA ordered the development of a new "Type 69" tank in 1963 and the first prototype was manufactured in 1966; however, the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 and the ensuing purges impeded further development of the tank. The early Type 69 featured a smoothbore cannon, IR searchlight, laser rangefinder, and a new engine.
After the capture of a Soviet T-62, the latest Soviet technology was examined, copied, and implemented into the Type 69, creating the Type 69-I variant. During this time the smoothbore gun was found to be rather unsatisfactory, and Type 69 tanks in Chinese service were often refitted with the same 100mm rifled gun as the Type 59. Further development continued through the 1980s, culminating in the Type 79 series, which incorporated a new 105mm gun and numerous Western technologies.
The Type 69 series saw relatively limited service with the PLA but were more popular on the export market, purchased by countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Modified Type 69 tanks were still in the inventory of the Iraqi Army during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, though by this point they were no match for modern MBTs.
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|China medium tanks|
|Type 59 · ZTZ59D1 · Type 69 · T-69 II G · CM11 · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A|
|American||␗M4A4 · M4A4 (1st PTG) · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ␗M48A1 · M60A3 TTS|
|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|