The WZ305, or the PGZ80 as it would have been designated by the PLAGF, was an SPAAG that was based on the design of the ZSU-57-2 but mounted on a ZTZ79 chassis. In the late 1970s, the PLAGF recognized the need for a new SPAAG, as they had an abundance of towed anti-aircraft guns but lacked self-propelled systems. The plans included reverse-engineering ZSU-23-4s exchanged from Egypt and developing their own domestic systems. Additionally, they aimed to create a SPAAG with a relatively high-calibre weapon for field air-defense. Chinese engineers likely acquired the ZSU-57-2 from either Vietnam or Egypt, and the twin-barrelled turret was finalized by the mid-1980s. However, due to its inferior performance against third-generation jets and the development of new domestic SPAA systems, the WZ305 never entered service with the PLAGF. Instead, it was exported to Middle Eastern countries.
Introduced in Update 1.95 "Northern Wind", the WZ305 serves as the Chinese counterpart to the infamous ZSU-57-2. Veteran users of the "Sparka" will find the WZ305 very familiar. While it shares similarities in appearance, there are some differences. The hull of the WZ305 was developed from a later variant of the Type 69, unlike the ZSU, which used a chassis derived from the T-54. Cosmetic variations include headlights mounted on the fenders, side skirts, and the retention of all five road wheels. The WZ305's hull has improved armour, although this also adds approximately three tons to its weight, and it features a slightly more powerful engine. In terms of firepower, it benefits from a new DKY-1 airburst HE shell, making it much more effective against aircraft. The WZ305 can dispatch light targets, secure flanks, and clear the skies, making it a valuable asset in battle.
Survivability and armour
The armour of the WZ305 is very poor. While the upper glacis is now about as strong as a T-34, this level of protection does not amount to much at its rank. The paper-thin turret means that enemies with heavy machine guns or autocannons can mow down the turret crew and potentially knock out the tank with a single burst. The open roof renders the WZ305 highly vulnerable to overpressure damage, so nearby artillery, bombs, and rockets will often knock out the crew.
Compared to the ZSU-57-2, the upper glacis is significantly thicker at 45 mm of RHA compared to the original 13.5 mm. The side armour is 20 mm (+5 mm difference) and the rear armour is 30 mm (+20 mm difference). The turret is slightly thinner than the original but the difference is negligible.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
|Hull|| 45 mm (60°) Front glacis
45 mm (54°) Lower glacis
|20 mm|| 30 mm (17-49°) Top
20 mm (73°) Bottom
|Turret|| 12 mm (14-57°) Turret front
12 mm (25-64°) Gun mantlet
|12 mm (9-61°)||12 mm (4-59°)||N/A|
- Suspension wheels and tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 12 mm thick.
- Hatches and air intake are 15 mm thick.
- Side skirts consist of rubber-fabric screens 3 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The mobility of the WZ305 is about the same as the ZSU-57-2, with a hp/ton ratio of 19, a top speed of 50 km/h, and a reverse speed of -7 km/h. While not lightning fast, it is considerably more mobile than contemporary Chinese MBTs like the Type 59 and should have few issues keeping up with teammates. Flanking should be done with caution since proper light tanks and some MBTs are more mobile, especially on-road, and may appear suddenly.
Modifications and economy
Although this is an AA vehicle, its twin 57 mm cannons are still equally deadly against ground units. When stock, their accuracy isn't good so the shells fly all over the place as the distance increases, and the stock belt is made up of half APCBC, half HE, meaning it is not the most efficient belt when dealing with either planes or tanks. Therefore the best tactic for a fully stock WZ305 is to shoot the enemies' side up close or to target low-flying helicopters. The full APCBC belt should be the priority to research with the HE-VT behind it.
When the BR-281 belt (full APCBC) is available, the player can go into full anti-tank mode as this shell packs quite a punch, and it can penetrate pretty much any tank's side armour (excluding the Maus) and some tanks' frontal armour. In a flank the WZ305 can finish off a group of opponents with an unbelievable speed. Two shells will slice through their side armour and explode with a single click of the mouse, so theoretically one clip is enough to wipe out four tanks in a row (aiming at the crew compartment only, of course). A few seconds later, another set of clips will be loaded, ready to hunt more prey.
The APCBC shell also performs alright in the AA role, since its calibre is quite large for planes, and a direct hit usually critically damages the plane, if not destroying it instantly. However, it is best to use the deadly HE-VT belt for anti-air duties. Killing planes will be much easier since now you don't have to hit right on target (which requires lots of careful leading and adjusting). Those near-misses will all deal quite a bit of damage, thanks to the 450 g TNT, over 1,000 m/s of velocity and the 6 m trigger radius for each shell.
Note that the WZ305's gun handling is worse than the ZSU-57-2's. The turret rotation speed is roughly 40% slower, which makes it more difficult to track aircraft or react to ground targets in close quarters fighting. It still rotates significantly faster than other Chinese tanks, so this is not unbearable.
|57 mm WA318 (x2)||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Mode||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal||Stabilizer||Stock||Upgraded||Full||Expert||Aced||Stock||Full||Expert||Aced|
- Default: HE* · APCBC - 50% of this belt are useless against tanks or planes. However, against other SPAA this belt can reliably take out crew, armament, ammo and engine. Having one belt in reserve does not hurt.
- BR-281SP: APCBC - For use against ground vehicles. With around 150 mm of penetration at point blank, this belt can go through side armour and take out lightly armoured targets. Actual MBTs can typically resist it from the front.
- Type 59 HE: HE* - For use against planes. One or two hits usually get the job done. However, heavy armoured attackers and bombers may require several hits.
- Type 59 APCBC: APCBC - For use against ground vehicles. While the shells have the same penetration values as the BR-281SP belt, they also contain a small amount of explosive filler, making their use slightly more efficient against ground vehicles.
- DKY-1: HE-VT* - For use against planes. The huge explosive mass will blow most aircraft out of the sky with a fairly close hit, while the 6 m trigger radius means that one can be much more lenient with aiming. However, the proximity fuse requires 500 m of arming distance and within this distance it acts only like a powerful HE round.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Type 59 HE||HE*||5||5||5||5||5||5|
|Type 59 APCBC||APCBC||151||147||132||114||100||87|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Type 59 HE||HE*||1,000||2.8||0||0.1||235.62||79°||80°||81°|
|Type 59 APCBC||APCBC||1,000||2.8||1.2||9||20.02||48°||63°||71°|
|Proximity-fused shell details|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|76||76 (+0)||74 (+2)||60 (+16)||58 (+18)||54 (+22)||52 (+24)||42 (+34)||32 (+44)|
|30 (+46)||30 (+46)||28 (+48)||18 (+58)||18 (+58)||9 (+67)||1 (+75)||1 (+75)||No|
- A clip is made of 4 shells.
- The belts can only be picked in multiples of 2 and they also deplete in multiples of 2. Each gun using 1 belt each time.
- Because the User Interface only allows to pick belts in multiples of 2, the UI may indicate the WZ305 carries 76 belts.
- Ammo racks 1 to 11 are stored in the turret.
- Ammo racks 12 to 16 are stored in the hull.
- It is advised to bring 18 (+58) clips in order to reduce the chances of ammo rack upon being shot in the turret. However, this may not be enough for an anti-air role.
Usage in battles
Like its Soviet cousin, the WZ305 is capable of slaughtering lightly armoured vehicles, but using it in an anti-ground role is risky due to its lacklustre defence. It is best to play carefully while keeping a keen eye out for opportunities to knock out tanks and aircraft.
As an SPAA this should be the first course of action. Find a safe location from enemy ground vehicles, lie in wait and open fire on any enemies when they are in range. The powerful 57 mm cannons will tear apart any aircraft from the sky in 1-5 direct hits. If the fused HE shells are unlocked, this is even easier; the proximity fuse will make it much easier to land hits in general and manoeuvring targets will have a harder time dodging your fire. The big downside is that the gunner crew are exposed to strafing aircraft and can easily be taken out by aircraft machine gun/cannon fire, so it is important to first prioritize aircraft which appear to be gunning for the WZ305.
In Ground RB, the WZ305 will often face helicopters. The common AH-1G is fast, slim, and has a solid armament that can take out the WZ305 with ease. Gunning down a Cobra with the HE or APCBC rounds can be rather difficult due to its small profile. Once the HE-VT rounds are unlocked, swatting helicopters becomes much easier. Among early helicopters, the AH-1G, Japanese UH-1B and AB 205 A-1 have only unguided weapons and must get close to fight, which forces them into to the WZ305's comfortable engagement range, but others such as the British Scout AH.Mk.1 or German SA.313B Alouette II can hover several kilometres away from the battlefield and sling ATGMs in relative safety. The WZ305 has no radar or rangefinder, so sniping an ATGM helicopter at long range is difficult. If they are sitting very still, it may be possible to eventually fire onto the helicopter's position. This will probably attract the helicopter's attention, so be prepared to jump into cover if they fire an ATGM.
Enemy planes fly faster and are more difficult to hit than helicopters. Propeller or turboprop planes are slow enough to hit fairly comfortably and common sights include the AD-2/AD-4 Skyraiders, A2D-1 Skyshark, Wyvern S4, and F4U-7 Corsair, which all boast very potent ordnance. These aircraft also tend to be large and full of fuel, which makes it easier to trigger the proximity fuse and set them on fire if they are not blown apart. Jets are generally not worth shooting at unless they are flying in a straight line or have lost most of their speed. If you destroy an aircraft with ordnance in a head-on, it may be worth sending some more HE-VT rounds their way to ensure that they have lost control; otherwise, they may be able to steer their wreck towards you and deliver some nasty farewell presents.
Although Ground RB seems to be more popular, Ground AB still works great in the case of WZ305, since there are lead indicators for all aircraft which makes killing them even more easier, given that the player has the HE-VT belt. In an arcade battle, fill all the ammo racks up with the VT belt but also prepare around 10 full AP belts to defend against tanks. At the start of the match, find a place that is not too far away from the frontline (planes usually go for the crowded frontline) but also not too close to it (easier to get shot by tanks), so the player can fully concentrate on planes and not worrying about tanks. The place should have a hard cover that is wide and tall enough to hide from strafing aircraft. Then just wait til the enemy begins to spawn in planes. For fighters, wait until they are 2 km or closer. For slow and little manoeuvrable bombers (e.g. Tu-14, IL-28) open fire at around 3 km distance. If the lead indicator doesn't show up, wait until the plane is about 2.5 km away. Now just pour those VT shells towards that grey circle and there is a great chance to destroy a plane with 1-2 belts. Even if the plane isn't dead, the excellent VT shells will at least score hits / critical hits, and since planes in arcade always ram into the ground themselves, the kill will eventually be yours. Be careful when dealing with Me 262, Me 163 and the MiGs, as they have large-calibre nose-mounted cannons which tend to kill the gunner or the loader in the open turret easily. If the plane wants to strafe you, move sideways to make yourself harder to aim at, or quickly go back to cover.
- Tank Destroyer
Using the 57 mm cannons on a ground attack role is possible and have been exploited by many players. Using BR-281 ammo, the guns can effectively pierce the side and rear of any tank (excluding the Maus). Remember the WZ305's armour does not compare to other tanks armour so one shot could be the end of the SPAA. Play cat-and-mouse and wait for the enemy to go into an engagement with another target and then jump out into the open and fire upon them while they are distracted. It is recommended to the first aim for their rear to disable their engine and cause a fire, they will have to stop what they are doing and put it out. During this time they won't be able to move or fire upon the WZ305, allowing a chance to finish off the crewmen inside by unloading the 57 mm cannons into the side of the enemy tank.
Light tanks and IFVs are quite common at the WZ305's rank and are enticing targets. The M3 Bradley has a large profile and pitiful protection, so it is quite possible to destroy one with a single salvo of APCBC rounds. Do not underestimate the Bradley since it is still very capable of destroying the WZ305 in turn with its autocannon, ATGMs, and thermal sights. The M551 Sheridan is another easy target, having neither thermals nor an autocannon. Despite being an IFV, the German Begleitpanzer 57 fulfills a similar role to the WZ305 as it has an unstabilized 57 mm cannon with HE-VT rounds; take advantage of the fact that the WZ305 has twice the gun count to quickly gun down the Begleitpanzer and protect friendly aircraft. The Italian Centauro is also a common sight and can be difficult to destroy at times due to its large volume and good sloping despite its thin armour. Focus fire on the turret crew and try flanking shots if possible.
Medium and heavy tanks tend to be resistant if not outright immune to the WZ305 from the front, even the poorly armoured ones like the Leopard I. While it is often possible to pop out in the frontal view of an otherwise unaware light tank and gun them down in a single shot, this typically won't work against MBTs. As mentioned before, strive for side shots instead: Western MBTs tend to have poor side armour and it is often possible to perforate their hull or turret sides at half-decent angles of attack. This might be achieved by going on flanking runs, hiding in ambush positions, or sometimes even just waiting until their turrets are turned. Just avoid frontal assaults; the WZ305 and ZSU-57-2 do have a reputation for being functionally tank destroyers, but much of that comes from being able to greatly capitalize on good flanks or unaware enemies. They are not all-purpose death machines.
The WZ305 is very well capable of hunting down tanks of all types with adequate armour (Leopard 1, M48, M60, etc.), but there are some heavy tanks that you cannot destroy (IS-7, Object 279, Maus).
Despite the increased hull armour over the ZSU-57-2, do not expect to survive any incoming fire. The hull can shrug off light fire from the front but the turret is paper-thin. HESH or HEATFS rounds can also cause overpressure. Stick close to cover when possible and try not to stay in exposed positions.
Pros and cons
- Fantastic HE-VT rounds are deadly against air targets, a few hits will cripple if not destroy them
- Excellent anti-tank firepower for a SPAA, especially when flanking
- High rate of fire and fast reload makes quick work of multiple tanks and planes alike
- Dedicated APHE and HE-VT belts
- Decent mobility
- Master at the late game where it can perform multiple roles (flanker, SPAA, support)
- Inadequate armour protection and survivability, entire turret crew is vulnerable to machine guns of any calibre
- No radar of any kind, requires plenty of manual searching and leading which is sometimes very ineffective
- HE-VT rounds are a Tier IV modification and take some practice to use effectively
- Slower gun traverse speed than ZSU-57-2 makes it harder to react to low and fast jet strafes
- No night vision devices or thermal, rendering it useless in night battles
- Poor reverse speed of only -7 km/h and bad gun depression (-5 degrees)
In the 1980s, Iraq requested that China make a copy of the ZSU-57-2 and provided a few examples of the Soviet SPAAG for reverse engineering. China had not previously imported or used the ZSU-57-2. However, a local copy of the ZSU's gun was available. The result of the project was the Type 80 SPAAG, sometimes known by its industrial designation of WZ305. Designed on the chassis of the Type 69-II medium tank, the Type 80 was very similar to the ZSU-57-2, featuring twin 57 mm cannons in an open topped turret with no fire control systems, limiting it to clear weather anti-aircraft use. A proximity-fused round was later developed that improved its utility.
According to some sources, the Type 80 was adopted by the PLA in small numbers, while others claim that it was not accepted into Chinese service at all. It was used in Iraqi service in the Iran-Iraq War and Gulf War, and may have been exported to North Korea.
- Related development
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.
|China anti-aircraft vehicles|
|Gun and Missile SPAAG||PGZ04A|
|Other||ZSD63/PG87 · WZ305|
|North Vietnam||Phòng không T-34|
|USA||CCKW 353 (M45) · ␗M42|