Type 59 tank of bangladesh army

Type 59
Type 59 tank - above.jpg
A Type 59 tank seen from above at the China People's Revolution Military Museum.
TypeMain battle tank
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Production history
ManufacturerFirst Inner Mongolia Machinery Factory, Norinco
Produced1958 - 1980
Number built9,500
Weight36 tonnes
Length6.04 m (hull)
Width3.27 m
Height2.59 m

Armor203 mm
100mm rifled gun
2 x Type 59T 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, Type 54 12.7mm air-defence machine gun
EngineModel 12150L V-12 liquid cooled diesel
520 hp (390 kW)
Power/weight14.44 hp/tonne
Suspensiontorsion bar
450 km, 600 km with external tanks
Speed50 km/h


Note the gap between the first road wheel and the second, and the small hole below the splash board for the bow mounted machine gun.
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 99 millimeters on the front lower glacis to 20 millimeters on the hull floor. The turret is between 100 and 39 millimeters thick.
The driver sits in the front left of the hull, and is provided with hatch immediately above his seat, which opens to the left. the driver has two pop-up vision blocks 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.

Type 59 tank in Royal Australian Armoured Corps Tank Museum, captured by ARVN troops in South Vietnam on 4 July 1972.
The turret mounts a 100 millimeter-calibre Type 59 rifled gun, for which 34 rounds are typically carried. A Type 59T 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main gun. A Type 54 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun (a Chinese copy of the Russian 12.7 mm M1938/46 DShKM) is provided above the gunner's hatch for which 200 rounds is carried. Additionally a Type 59T 7.62 mm 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 7.62 mm 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 litres of diesel can be carried internally in the tank, with a further 400 litres carried externally giving a maximum road range of 600 kilometers, or approximately 430 kilometers 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. (Gelbart 1996:16)


  • Bangladesh - 36 Type 59 tanks were ordered in 1980 from the PRC and delivered between 1980 and 1981 (aid). 240 T-54s, T-55s, Type 59s and Type 62s were in service in early 2001 and 180 in early 2003. 80 Type 59 and Type 69 tanks were in service in 2004 and 2006. 264 (including 30 Soviet-made T-54A MBTs received as gift from Egypt, they were later modified to incorporate Type 59 parts with Chinese help)

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