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|China||Medium Tank||Tier VIII|
Produced at the Baotou Tank Plant, China. Entered mass production in 1957, with a total of 6000 vehicles manufactured by 1987.
This tank was removed from the in-game store on 16 January 2012. The decision was made "to ensure a healthy gameplay balance at higher tiers, and also to encourage a wider variety of tier 8 medium tank usage." It last appeared in the gift shop in August 2012. Though not available for traditional purchase, it frequently is the the reward for first place in official competitions and tournaments.
Considered one of the best tier 8 premium tanks, it combines decent armor, a good gun with good mobility. Though acceleration is not very good it has a high top speed and can flank enemy tanks easily. It does lose speed quite easily in turns though so circling opponents might be somewhat difficult.
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Pros and Cons
- Exceptional frontal turret armor
- Well sloped frontal hull armor can bounce shells from most lower tier tanks, even same tier premium heavies
- Excellent turret rotation speed
- Excellent gun depression compared to other Chinese tanks and its non-premium counterpart WZ-120
- Low repair costs
- High credit income
- Highly maneuverable
- Decent reload
- Special matchmaking (as of 8.2) that makes tier 9 the highest it can get against.
- Slow acceleration
- Slow aiming time
- Very low ammo capacity (34 rounds)
- Very weak side armor
- Frontal mounted ammo rack and fuel tank gives you a hard time
- Rate of fire is lower than the same gun on the T-34-2 & WZ-120
The Type 59 is considered by some to be one of the most difficult tanks to destroy by lower tiers since it boasts a well armored and sloped turret, which along with its sloped frontal armor is capable of bouncing many shots. However it has weak side and rear armor and it's easily destroyed if flanked. The Type 59's main gun is slightly improved over the 100mm D10T on the T-44. Compared to its tier 8 peers, this tank is very well protected. 100 mm frontal armor sloped at 60 decrees is strong enough to stop around 175 mm penetration AP rounds and 200 mm HEAT rounds. Angling tank even a bit will increase protection. This is usually enough to protect from Russian 122 mm guns used ie. in KV-1S, IS, SU-100 or SU-152 or guns of similar penetration on same tier mediums and light tanks. When shooting this tank from the front, the armor is weaker at the lower hull, or at the points where the hull meets the tracks. Even "weak" lower frontal plate should be immune to German 7,5 cm KwK 43 L/70 with around 150 mm penetration. Availability of gold-ammo-for-credits has finally allowed lower tier tanks to effectively fight Type 59 from front.
Despite its drawbacks, the Type 59 is one of the most versatile and feared, if not respected tanks on the battlefield. Its durability, resilience, decent firepower, and agility all contribute to a very well rounded tank. Coupled with the fact that this tank has good matchmaking make it a blast to play, especially in groups.
The Type 59 also has a higher credit earning ability than many other premium tanks. Some even argue that this tank earns more credits than the infamous Löwe due to cheaper ammunition and repairs. While many players compare this tank to the Soviet T-54 (being a licensed version of it) it is not a tier 9 tank in tier 8.
A small thing to note is that since this tank only very rarely ever goes on sale or is a competition price tank, it might be very hard to acquire one. However, the WZ-120 performs similarly to the Type 59, but the main difference between the two is that you can upgrade the WZ-120 (which ends up vastly better) and the Type 59 is a tier lower in addition to getting preferential matchmaking while being much more profitable to run.
The Type 59 (Chinese industrial designation: WZ120) main battle tank is a People's Republic of China produced version of the Soviet Union T-54/T-55 operators and variants tank, an improvement over the ubiquitous T-54/55. The first vehicles were produced in 1958 and it was accepted into service in 1959, with serial production beginning in 1963. Approximately 9,500 of the tanks were produced by the time production ended in 1980 with approximately 5,500 serving with the Chinese armed forces. The tank formed the backbone of the Chinese People's Liberation Army until early 2000s with an estimated 5,000 of the later Type 59-I and Type 59-II variants in service in 2002.
The Type 59 was modified several times during its service with the replacement of the 100mm Type 59 rifled gun with a 105mm rifled gun. It was also the basis of several later Chinese tank designs including the Type 69 and Type 79 tanks.
Essentially the Type 59 is identical to the early production Soviet T-54As, however there are some key differences. The Type 59 was not originally fitted with the infrared searchlight or main gun stabilization of the T-54.
The Type 59 has a conventional post-war layout with the fighting compartment at the front, an engine compartment at the rear, and a cast dome-shaped gun turret in the centre of the hull. The hull is welded steel varying in thickness between 99mm on the front lower glacis to 20mm on the hull floor. The turret varies from 39–100mm thick.
The driver sits in the front left of the hull, and is provided with a hatch immediately above his seat, which opens to the left. The driver has two pop-up periscopes which give coverage ahead and slightly to the right when buttoned up. The commander sits in the turret along with the gunner and loader. The commander's hatch is on the turret left, with the gunner sitting forward and below him. The loader sits on the right of the turret and has a hatch above him. The turret has a non-rotating floor which complicated the crew's operations.
The turret mounts a rifled 100mm Type 59 cannon, for which 34 rounds are typically carried. A Type 59T 7.62mm machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main gun. A Type 54 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun (a Chinese copy of the Russian 12.7mm M1938/46) is provided above the gunner's hatch for which 200 rounds is carried. Additionally a Type 59T 7.62mm bow machine gun is provided for the driver, which fires through a very small hole in the center of the glacis. 3,500 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition are normally carried.
The turret has a powered traverse mechanism that is probably comparable to the T-54 traverse mechanism which can rotate the turret through 360 degrees in 21 seconds. Very early models of the Type 59 gun had manual elevation gear, later replaced with a powered system which allowed the gun to be aimed at between +17 and -4 degrees (the average depression for Western tanks is -10, which allows for better usage of hull-down tactics. Later models added vertical stabilization to make firing on the move practical. An infrared searchlight based night vision system was retrofitted to the tank with infrared periscope for the commander gunner and driver.
The tank is powered by a Model 12150L V-12 liquid cooled diesel engine, which develops 520 horsepower at 2,000 rpm. The engine feeds a manual gearbox with five forward and one reverse gear. A total of 815 liters of diesel can be carried internally in the tank, with a further 400 liters carried externally giving a maximum road range of 600 kilometers, or approximately 430km using only internal fuel. The tank has five road wheels on each side with a prominent gap between the first and second road wheel. The track is driven by a drive sprocket at the rear, with an idler at the front. It is notable that there are no return rollers. The suspension is a torsion bar system. Engine exhaust is on the left fender.
Ammunition is stored inside the turret, which increases the odds of a catastrophic secondary explosion should the tank's interior be penetrated by enemy fire. Crew survivability is hence low.
After the signing of Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance, the Soviets agreed to assist China in building a tank manufacturing facility to manufacture the T-54A MBT in 1956. Initially, the tanks were assembled with Soviet-supplied parts, which were gradually replaced by Chinese-made components. The tank was accepted into service by the PLA in 1959, and given the designation Type 59.
The Type 59 MBT represented China's first-generation tank development. Over the years, it was upgraded with various domestic and western technologies. When the PLA captured a Soviet T-62 from the Sino-Soviet border conflict in 1969, improvements based on the T-62 were incorporated into the T-59 design to become the Type 69 MBT, which was further upgraded with western technology and became the Type 79 MBT. The Type 59 was the beginning of China's first-generation MBT, and the Type 79 last, superseded by the Type 80 second-generation MBT.The Type 59 MBT is also known as WZ-120 by its manufacturer. It was produced in great numbers from 1959 to mid 1980s, totaling over 10,000. This tank gained worldwide infamy after the "Tank Man" incident in 1989. The Type 59, and its successor, the Type 69, were widely exported, with thousands sold. Today an estimated 5,000 Type 59 MBTs remain in PLA inventory, but is used primarily for training and support roles. The Type 59 series are being replaced by the more capable Type 96 and Type 99 MBTs.