Type 59-II

Would you like to see the Type 59-II in-game?
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Welcome to the suggestion for the Type 59-II, an upgrade of the venerable Type 59. The primary upgrade made to this vehicle is the 105 mm ZPL81 rifled gun, a derivative of the famous L7 gun. This vehicle was actually a part of the initial planned tree for Chinese ground forces, but unfortunately is not in-game, thus this suggestion. If you have any corrections or additional pictures, or just want to discuss the Type 59-II, feel free!



A Type 59-I, notable for its laser rangefinder, circa 1980s.

The Type 59 was the start of China’s tank industry, and provided a basis for a large number of tanks used even to this day. At the end of the day though, it was still a licensed copy of the Soviet T-54A, and by the 1970s, its design had hit a dead end. In the interim, a new variant, notably equipped with a laser rangefinder was created, known as the Type 59-I. However, during this time, the relationship between China and Western countries began to improve significantly. Not only did this ease tensions, but it also allowed China to have access to Western technology. Due to this, China was able to import and produce the British 105 mm L7A3 tank gun from Austria, allowing a new range of modern ammunition to be potentially be used in future Chinese vehicles.

Type 59-IIs during the 35th National Day Parade in Beijing, 1984.

With the introduction of the L7 gun to China, it was decided to upgrade the Type 59 fleet, improving firepower significantly over the older 100 mm D-10 / Type 59 gun. Besides the main gun change, it was decided to add replace the older A-220 radio with a newer VRC-8000 radio system. Under the factory designation WZ120B, two upgraded Type 59s were produced in March of 1980, one of which was a command variant. Following testing going through April 1981, the vehicle received a few changes based on the results of the tests, such as the addition of an automatic fire suppression system. After this, the WZ120B entered small scale production, and its design would be finalized in 1984 as the Type 59-II.

Since then, the vehicle has become somewhat infamous as the tank seen at the Tiananmen Square Protests in 1989, including the famous ‘Tank Man’ photo. The Type 59-IIs produced were largely upgraded to ZTZ59D standard, and eventually replaced by more modern designs such as the ZTZ96 and ZTZ99, however a number have seen small scale use as OpFor tanks in People’s Liberation Army exercises. Ultimately, the Type 59-II rejuvenated the Type 59 family, and was one of the first vehicles in China to introduce Western components, and today can be considered the beginning of a new era in Chinese tank evolution.

A Type 59-II at the Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution, 2008.



Crew: 4
Length: 6.04 m (hull length)
Width: 3.27 m
Height: 2.59 m
Main armament: 105 mm ZPL81 rifled gun (38 rounds)
Secondary armament: 2× 7.62 mm Type 59T & 12.7 mm Type 54
Engine: 520 hp Model 12150L V-12 liquid-cooled diesel engine
Maximum speed: 50 km/h






So basically a Type-59D1 without the added armor?

i still can’t remember why this is one of my favorite tanks lol, +1

Should it be placed in 8.0 or 8.3 in the game? We have a 59D in 8.3

Similar to T55M

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It it gonna have the 59-S’ -5 to +18 ot the ZTZ59D1’s -4 to +17 vertical guidance?

Essentially, though it wouldn’t have the thermal sleeve either.

8.3 I would say, it wouldn’t make much sense to have it at 8.0 with the other Type 59s, perhaps it could be foldered with the ZTZ59D1.

Uncertain, it is likely to be similar to the ZTZ59D1 since they both have the 105mm and share a similar turret internal-wise.

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We can also have Type 59-IIA which is an improved Type 59-II with side skirts and smoke launchers. (Actually it is in one of the photos above)

If needed, one can be in TT and the other become premium.

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Another variant. It has thermal sight

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Not 100% certain, but I have heard that the Type 59-II is unstabilized. If so, that would essentially make it equivalent to the Tiran 4S, putting it at 8.0. It would offer an interesting trade-off. Stabilzer but lower pen of the 100mm or no stabilizer but higher pen of the 105mm?

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Agree with your statement, This vehicle can go to 8.0 while at 8.3 can use the faster and stabilised Type-79.

quick question, is this called Type 59-II or ZTZ59-II? or are the names interchangable?

Essentially interchangeable. It’s just the old vs the new naming system. “Type” being old and “ZTZ” being new. It’s kinda like how the P-51 was redesignated to F-51 in 1948. “Type” is still used a lot outside of China regardless though. Yes, it is technically incorrect to refer to an old vehicle that never officially received a new designation by a new designation but, for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t really matter too much here.


I think we should only apply the 3 letter new naming system to vehicles still in service after it was established. e.g. most of the Type 59 has already been converted to D1 or D standard when the system was established so they should be undoubtedly called ZTZ59D or ZTZ59D1, but I would prefer the name Type 59-II over ZTZ59-II.
(Actually it is not even clear a mix of both old and new naming systems is even valid e.g. ZTZ is new but the notation -II is old)

A second point is that all variants intended for exports should also not use the new system. e.g. Type 85, Type 69-II etc.

Ah okay. Cause when I was looking up this vehicle I always called it the ZTZ59-II, for brevity with the other ZTZ59s.

That’s perfectly fine as long as you aren’t talking to some mega big Chinese tank buff. Choosing one naming system over the other is very good for readability. For example, in my Chinese ground tree overhaul suggestion back on the old forum, I standardized every vehicle to use the new system to make the presentation easier to look at and digest.

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