|This page is about the Chinese medium tank ZTZ88B. For the other version, see ZTZ88A.|
The ZTZ88B (Chinese: ZTZ88B式主战坦克; industry code WZ122E) belongs to the WZ122 family of MBTs and is the first mass-produced variant of the ZTZ80/88 series. The WZ122 series traces back to the Object 122, which emerged after Chinese engineers embarked on a campaign to develop new armoured vehicles for the PLAGF in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Although the program was canceled after direction changes, one of its prototypes, WZ1225, made it to PLAGF evaluation and was later designated as the PLAGF's new 2nd generation MBT, retaining its industry code WZ122. The tank was first manufactured as the ZTZ80-I for evaluation, and with a need for new MBTs and the 3rd generation MBT (Project 784; later renamed WZ123 and ZTZ99) still being in development, the a fusion of the hull of the ZTZ85 and the turret of the ZTZ80-I later joined the PLAGF as the ZTZ88B and was first shown during 50th National Day Parade.
Introduced in Update "La Royale", the design shares many similarities with its successor, ZTZ88A, with a longer 105 mm cannon. For players who struggled with the rather slow turret traverse speed and top speed of the previous ZTZ59/69 series, the ZTZ88B now enjoys a better gun laying system and is equipped with commander override for the gun, as well as experimental applique armour for extra protection against both kinetic and chemical shells. Alongside a new 730 hp engine for better mobility in both directions, the ZTZ88B makes a good training vehicle for later PLAGF MBTs.
Survivability and armour
When viewed from a distance, players may mistake the ZTZ88B for another tank in the T-54/55 or Type 59/69 family due to its similar appearance. However, upon firing on or approaching the target, they will notice several significant differences. Firstly, their shots may fail to penetrate the UFP of the ZTZ88B, thanks to its applique armour and the main armour angled at 68° (compared to 60° on the T-54 series). Secondly, the ZTZ88B features 6 road wheels and an integrated FCS channel (for daytime, night, and laser rangefinding) on the left side of the turret. While the applique armour may not provide the best protection against chemical shells compared to its Soviet counterparts (such as the T-62M-1 or T-55AM series), even some short-rod APFSDS shells at higher calibres might fail to penetrate the UFP, which offers up to 360 mm RHA equivalent protection.
However, the ZTZ88B also marks a reduction in side armour for PLAGF tanks. Instead of the 80 mm found on previous tanks, the side armour has been reduced to 60 mm. This makes it more vulnerable to autocannons, which can easily penetrate the sides even with APHE shells. Although the skirt armour may mitigate some of the penetration, in most cases, flanking autocannons will have no trouble dealing with the ZTZ88B. While angling the tank might provide some protection, it should not be relied upon as a foolproof defense.
Another weakness lies in the turret, which features full CHA armour. Despite retaining the oval-shaped turret reminiscent of Warsaw Pact and early Chinese designs, at its tier where APFSDS and HEAT shells are common, they will have no trouble penetrating the turret from any angle, causing fatal damage to the crew or turret compartment and effectively disabling the ZTZ88B. Therefore, caution must be exercised when deciding the direction to turn the turret. Sometimes slight angling might help deflect some incoming shots, allowing for a chance to return fire. It is important to remember that the crew of 4 and the tank's compartments are tightly packed near the center of mass. As a result, the crew is susceptible to being knocked out by penetrating shots and their shrapnel or by fuel or ammunition detonation.
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 100 + 20 mm (68°) Upper
80 m (51°) Lower
| 60 mm Top
50 mm Bottom
|45 mm (4°)||30 mm|
|Turret|| 200 - 300 mm Turret front (Volumetric)
70 - 400 mm Gun mantlet (Volumetric)
|100 - 200 mm (Volumetric)||60 - 70 mm (Volumetric)||30 mm|
|Cupola||80 mm||80 mm||80 mm||30 mm|
|Composite Armour||Frontal Effective Protection|
|Hull||100 mm Kinetic / 100 mm Chemical|
The ZTZ88 series shares the same NORINCO 12V150ZLC engine with 730 hp output. Although it is not comparable to NATO counterparts, it is a vast improvement over Soviet tanks at its BR, giving the tank more flexibility on assaults as it can push the tank to up to 57 km/h while having faster acceleration. While the transmission has been upgraded to a planetary gear system, the gear ratio for reverse/first gear is not very satisfactory and only gives around 9 km/h reverse speed. In the event of a retreat, this limitation could pose a major problem, as enemy tanks will have no trouble pursuing the ZTZ88B.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
The ZTZ88B retains the same calibre gun as the previous ZTZ59D1, although it is designated as the 88B-105T. Despite the different name, the ballistic performance of both guns is identical. The main differences lie in the turret traverse speed and reload rate: while the ZTZ59 series suffers from a slow, hand-cranked turret, and the ZTZ69 improves upon this to some extent, the ZTZ88B introduces a hydraulic drive for the turret, significantly increasing its rotation speed to 20°/s. While this improvement is welcomed, it still lags behind most NATO tanks of its tier. The reload rate is below 10 seconds, which is not as quick as NATO tanks with spacious turrets. Nevertheless, the ammunition available is still sufficient to take down most encountered enemies. However, caution should be exercised when facing later Soviet MBTs equipped with autoloaders and composite armour. It is advisable to plan ahead and position the turret in anticipation of enemies since the ZTZ88B lacks the reaction time for sudden attacks.
|105 mm 88B-105T||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
|45||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__|
Like most Chinese tanks before the late 1990s, the ZTZ88B equips the Type 54 (DShK) by the commander hatch while the coaxial MG was replaced by Type 86 (PKT). While the ammo pool on the Type 54 is rather low, its calibre can certainly cause some problems for low-flying helicopters or lightly armoured targets.
|12.7 mm Type 54|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|7.62 mm Type 86|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
Although ZTZ88B still appears to be a T-54/Type 59 derivative from its oval shape turret and hull design, but when players hear the similar engine sound to a T-72 and the gun has heat sleeves, as well as seeing the composite applique armor on the front, ZTZ88B will become the tank that will hit them hard.
One of the most distinctive differences is the main cannon - instead of 100 mm cannon, Chinese upgraded their fleet of medium tanks/MBTs with 105 mm L7 equivalents since 1980s; ZTZ88B is no exception. Thanks to the advances of technology in 1980s (albeit lagging behind mainstreams), the turret traverse speed and penetration of types of ammunitions is vastly improved than earlier PLAGF tanks; the shells on ZTZ88B is identical to its tech-tree predecessor ZTZ59D1 though, but now it has better reaction time than the latter while still enjoys most of the FCS features minus the TVD channel, so players will have to rely on their naked eyes to seek for enemy targets, 8x is suitable for engages at around 800m, but fixed magnification also means lesser flexibility at close-quarter brawling or long-range sniping. The other distinctive feature is the engine, there can be occasions that enemy players hear a very unpleasing engine sound from the V-46 used on T-72 or 12V150ZLC/D on ZTZ96(A), but when they see the source of sound, they will be surprised by the source - 12V150ZLC diesel engine on ZTZ88 series. Thanks to upgrades to the production of diesel engines, the engine which was based on V-54 now has similar horsepower of the early series T-72 at 730 hp, a vast improvement from any T-54/62 series and now pushes the tank faster. Sometimes, when the tank was hit by enemies on the UFP or having gunner knocked-out, one thing would be no effective damage on UFP thanks to the composite applique armor or the tank could still fire back thanks to the commander override; underestimating enemies is fatal after all.
While having improvements onboard, there are still some flaws in terms of protection and flexibility; the design of ZTZ88B still retains the iconic, casted oval turret with similar protection of Type 59, it might be enough for full-caliber kinetic shells from lower tier, but APFSDS or HEATFS is more than enough to penetrate and disable the turret at once, possibly knocking out crews at the turret. This is also the first Chinese tank to have reduced side armor to 60 mm, autocannons even with only full-caliber shells can very likely penetrate the sides with ease during a sudden strike. And in case for a retreat for whatever reason, due to the transmission limits, the fastest it can go in reverse is only at 9 km/h, so plan ahead for where you should appear; not over-extending is a good way to increase overall survivability while still contribute to the team by stalling enemy team or even push them back.
Overall, ZTZ88B offers a mobile and flexible options for Chinese tech tree players from the ROCA M60A3TTS with inferior mobility; while its introduction by 1990s meant being obsolete at the time, it can still be a good training tank for future PLAGF tanks.
Pros and cons
- Improved gun handling and reload rate to previous tanks
- Commander override leaves the opportunity for a revenge shot on enemies
- Vastly improved mobility to T-54/55 series
- Composite applique armour on UFP for extra protection
- Accurate licensed L7 gun
- The turret has no ERA protection, unlike ZTZ59D1
- Fixed 8x gunner optics channel, embarrassing at both short and long range engagements
- Tightly packed interior and crew layout
- Lacks TVD for faster target acquisition
- Relatively slow reverse rate to NATO counterparts
Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the vehicle in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the vehicle and adding a block "/History" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/(Vehicle-name)/History) and add a link to it here using the
main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using
<ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with
<references />. This section may also include the vehicle's dev blog entry (if applicable) and the in-game encyclopedia description (under
=== In-game description ===, also if applicable).
- Object 122MT "MC" - The nominal ancestor of WZ122 series MBT
- ZTZ88A (WZ122G) - ZTZ88 with longer ZPL94 cannon
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.
|China North Industries Corporation (中国兵器工业集团有限公司)|
|Type 62||▂Type 62 · Type 62|
|Type 63||Type 63 · ZTS63|
|Main Battle Tanks|
|WZ120||Type 59 · ZTZ59A · ZTZ59D1|
|WZ121||Type 69 · Type 69-IIa** · T-69 II G**|
|WZ122||ZTZ88B · ZTZ88A · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)|
|WZ123||ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|WZ1001||WZ1001(E) LCT · ZTZ99A|
|Tank Destroyers||AFT09 · PTL02 · WMA301** · PTZ89 · ZLT11|
|SPAA||ZSD63/PG87* · WZ305** · PGZ09 · PGZ04A|
|China medium tanks|
|Type 59 · ZTZ59A · ZTZ59D1|
|Type 69 · Type 69-IIa · T-69 II G|
|ZTZ88A · ZTZ88B|
|ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)|
|ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|ZTZ99A · WZ1001(E) LCT|
|Other||Т-34-85 Gai · Object 122MT "MC"|
|Japan||␗Chi-Ha · ␗Chi-Ha Kai|
|USA||␗M4A4 · ␗M4A4 (1st PTG) · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ␗M48A1 · ␗M60A3 TTS|
|USSR||␗T-34 (1943) · ␗Т-34-85 (S-53) · T-34-85 No.215 · Т-62 №545|