First of all, big thanks to Gernett_scourge for taking his time to write and send this to me so I can share it with you guys. It’s a massive article he did on Chinese Light Tank Program, if you want more details about them and what is true or false, don’t miss it. Please do post any questions you might have in the comments.
Note: Please understand that English isn’t his first language and I haven’t had time to proof read the whole article. I will update the article as soon as I have more time.
I was really excited about new light tanks, till I saw that two tier 9 and tier 10 Chinese light tanks. WG changed a lot of stats of those light tanks when they added these two new tanks which make me sad. Well, that’s not the point, today we will talk about how WG and KZ came up with the “WZ-132A” and “WZ-132-1”. As soon as I realized that those two light tanks were entirely messed up by WG, I dig out some old files and want to share my knowledge about the Chinese Light tank with you guys.
Chinese Light tank start at 59-16, so we will start from here. The name will be confusing but don’t worry, I will do a timeline for you at the end.
I don’t have too much of historical data about 59-16. The only thing I know is this project was for 10 years anniversary of the founding of China. I noticed some people thought it’s a 16 tons version Type 59, it’s actually incorrect, it means the 16 tons light tank the supposed to be finished by 1959. According *707’s(Chinese armored vehicles research center)article, 59-16 was the first phase of developing Type 62 which called 131. The layout of the tank was taken from T-54 and because of that its protection was significantly improved. Later in 1958, the prototype was finished building but due to the new threat and new requirement this design was abandoned. But this was the first time Chinese researchers was able to have their own design and was able to build it to live size.
You can see the 59-16 on the wall, and if you can read chinese, you can recognize some design of it.
Re-draw blueprint for 59-16 by KZW.
A tank was turned upside-down during the Chinese nuclear testing, which appears very likely to be the prototype of 59-16. Notice the four large radius road wheel.
In July 1958, Research and Development Institution came up with project “131” light tank. But because of the unsuccessful development of 12V135 Diesel engine. It didn’t pass the prototype building trial because of the technology was immature. And this stopped the whole project’s development. In May 1959, they had to give up this plan.
Then, they came up the next plan which was “132” light tank. It’s main armament was 76.2mm gun, with autoloader and auto rangefinder. 3 crews in vehicle. But once again, the auto loading system was still in development, they could not wait till the autoloader done, so they could not test the shooting test. The development of “132” never finished.
In October 1960, R&D Institution came up with the “132A” light tank project. This plan had increased crew number from 3 to 4, changed auto rangefinder to China self-designed the Observe and Aim dual-purpose Telescope. But, because the statistics of 76.2mm gun was not acceptable, the Observe and Aim dual-purpose Telescope was not practical, and tanks’ inner space was also limited and several other problems, “132A” light tank was not neither ideal.
In April 1961, a group of expert got a meeting in Harbin for the light tanks. They decided using 85mm gun (which already passed the test), and base on the “132”’s chassis, they elongate the chassis , enlarged the turret ring, enlarged the fighting compartment, changed Observe and Aim dual-purpose Telescope to 85mm tank gun sight. The new plan was then named “132B”. In December 1962, it was passed by Military Products Stereotypes Committee, and named as “Type 1962 Light Tank”, shorten as “Type 62 Light Tank”, industrial designation, “WZ-131”.
So basicly, 131 (failed cause of the engine problem) -> 132 (failed cause autoloader was bad) -> 132A (cause 76.2mm gun didn’t have enough fire power) -> 132B (passed) = WZ-131 (industrial designation) = Type 62 (formal name)
So, the problem is on 132. Because the article that talking about WZ-132 got the wrong photographs, directly caused the presence of this fake tier 9 Chinese light tank.
Remember, 132 was only one of many stage prototypes of Type 62, only produced 28 in total, and was planned to take part in the 1960 Chinese Military Parade. The following pictures are all 132.
Pay attention on 132’s characteristic: compact solid road wheel, two ventilators’ shell at the rear of turret, the AA machine-gun on the left of the turret roof, and commander hatch on the right of the turret roof. All the picture showed above was the picture that gave by “Tank & Armoured Vehicle“ (坦克装甲车辆，magazine name), they post 132’s pictures and think of it’s WZ-132. I feel really bad because I saw lots of people assumed 132 as WZ-132 in other server’s forum. And this time, it became the prototype of WZ-132A – the vehicle Made in Wargaming.
Then let’s compare these photos with WG’s new tier 9 Chinese Light tank WZ-132A.
Pay attention to the comparison of 132’s characteristic. See that? WG was “fooled” by that article! But do you think WG really got fooled? NO! WG clearly know that and just acted they don’t know! Let’s check the introduction of the WZ-132A.
“Further development of the WZ-132 project. The idea behind this design was a combination of good mobility and pretty good firepower. The prototype was tested in the second half of 1960 and further development until today.”
So, if WG was fooled by that article, why they even mentioned 1960? There is no doubt that WG do know the existence of 132, and just decided pretend to don’t know anything about it. As we mentioned, WZ-132’s general design was started in February 1970 and it’s first prototype was in September 1970. My English is probably bad but not my math.
China totally produced 28 “132”, but only one survived and it’s in Baotou.
WZ-131 in Game
Let’s start from the gun. The stock gun come from 132’s 76mm clip gun; the second gun (85mm 56-85JT) is come from Type 58; the third one (85mm 62-85JT) is original gun in history that Type 62 have. The fourth one (64-85JT) is come from WZ-131-1 (a test model for testing 64-85JT). The last gun is Type 59’s 100mm gun, some people thought it’s mounted by WG but actually it was not. (They mount the 100mm rifled gun on Type 62 during the development, and after it past the trails on Type 62, they then decided WZ-132 will be using a 100mm gun.
WZ-131 has two engines in the game, first one has 430 hp and another one has 520hp. The first one is the original engine for Type 62, which was a tuning version of Type 59’s engine. The second is the original Type 59’s engine. This is not fake, because there are historical examples that Type 62 was mounted the Type 59’s engine (Either was a mistake or was a emergency modification.).
Not much to talk about the turret, first turret is from 132A and the second is from 132B.
WZ-131 is an improvement project for WZ-131 or Type 62. It was because Type 62’s 85mm gun was not sufficient for penetrating medium tank’s’ frontal armor which are produced after 1950s. The improvement consideration was started from 1964-1965 and in 1966 the researchers start to design and prototype was finished testing in 1968.
There is not much changes on the tank compare to Type 62. The main focus was to improve the 85mm gun. The new 85mm gun (85mm 62-85JT) design was finished in 1965 and mounted in 1967. It’s mainly changes are the piston cylinder, inner tube, reentry spring, outer sleeve was set in the main gun but now is outside the barrel. It also used the similar T shape muffler design as American M48’s 90mm (90mm Gun M41) . It used similar vertical stablizer as Type59. After all the improvements, it’s initial speed of the gun was improved from 800m/s to 860m/s. With the new HEAT rounds, it’s fire power was significantly improved. Along with all other minor improvements (suspension, engine, armor thickness, Man – machine effect), the tank passed all the trials and ready to be mass produced/update. But due to the quality of the new gun was not stable, this project was then give up.
Now this is the main focus of this article. WG made two tanks based on WZ-132, make Chinese LT line more historical also need WZ-132. WZ-132’s data source are mainly based on the article that wrote by “Tank & Armoured Vehicle” so far.
You can see the picture used was actually not right, it’s the “132 light tank project” in the picture. The following picture are the TRUE WZ-132s.
WZ－132’s data. Provided by “Tank and Armoured Vehicle”
The first prototype of WZ-132 (triple hydraulics – used 3 hydraulic systems) side view. Notice there are five small road wheels and three carrier wheels.
This article not only used 132’s picture, but also added this weird design drawing. To put this in a simple way to say, the data is conflicted to the drawing we had before. The height is 2.260m on this drawing, which was 140mm higher than the 2.121m that we saw on the drawing that the “Tank & Armoured Vehicle” provided. Also, the turret was extended above the track, compared to WZ-132’s original status, turret’s thickness probably reached to 200mm in the front. Personally I suspect that drawing was a armor improvement plan for the WZ-132, but not the original one. (only heard that several times but cannot get detail).
Introduction of WZ-132.
In the end of 1960s, China was in very critical relationships in between U.S. and Soviet Union. In order to have the ability to counter imaginary enemy, China started a series development of new tanks and armored vehicle. That’s the first time WZ-132 light tank project was mentioned and it was the first attempt of replacing Type 62.
In February of 1970, the new light tank project was approved with a series of requirement and started the overall design, got produce code name– “WZ-132”. But because China was stimulated by Zhenbao island incident (or Sino-Soviet border conflict? ) and “Extreme-left” idea, the department required totally unrealistic indicator. In September 1970, the factory produced the first prototype according to those indicators. This prototype equipped short barrel 100mm smoothbore gun, anti-tank missile launcher, 8V150 engine, Hydraulic suspension, Hydraulic drive system, hydraulic power control system (液压助力操纵), and some others advance equipment. But it met lots of problems during the test, only the fire test had good performance. WZ-132 plan had to restart from beginning.
In October 1970, developers restarted the development again with the new indicators after they
reassessed the mistakes they made during the first phases. New plan change the triple hydraulic systems to the torsion-bar suspension, mechanical transmission, and hydraulic assistant mechanical manipulator (液压助力机械操纵), which were a lot better designed. In March 1971, factory produced two new prototype. Those two vehicles were on trial for multi-test-purposes. The test result shows that the performance of the new light tank are stabled. But there are still problems with the engine and hydraulic assistant mechanical manipulator.
In August 1972, the apartment adjusted some of the technical indicator and modified the prototype, then test them again. The final version of WZ-132’s appearance and its inner structure were similar with Type 62. But WZ-132 had a 100mm smooth-bore gun,which was build based on Type 69’s gun but was a shorter version. They added muzzle brake on the gun,anti-recoil device was set below and it also shares the same ammo with Type 69. Using same night vision and night aiming system (夜视夜瞄系统) and 2-axis gun stabilization system. Cancelled anti-tank missile launcher, hydraulic assisted control system, and kept the radio and dashboard of Type 62. And it used a 12150L7 diesel engine.
In 1975, after 5 years design, test and modified, WZ-132 light tank system maturity and reliability were pretty good. But because 100 mm gun and 2-axis stabilization system still encounter unsolved problems. And what was more serious was the Soviet already started to equip T-72, The 100mm smooth-bore guns are far from enough to fight against T-72. So WZ-132 project was cancelled.
BTW, WZ-132 that in the game is not WZ-132’s real design, it using 100mm rifled gun, weight and some other status also has some different. Also considering WG has limited the time line, so WG may only used a early design plan, not actually based on the prototype statics.
WZ-132 only have three prototype all alone: one was triple hydraulics, one was triple mechanical and another one is the armor improved version. Besides that, they also has a armored improvement plan. But both WZ-132A and WZ-132-1 are fake, made in Wargaming.
First of all, that name was made up, I think WG give it WZ-132-1 this name based on WZ-131-1 in order to make it sounds more historical.
And those skirt armor and fence armor was made based on Type 62-1. Which was in order to defend Vietnamese attack during Sino-Vietnamese War.
Yup, looks exactly like WZ-132-1 except it only had the 85mm. I wish someone can make a model mod for Type 62.
Then let’s talk about the 105mm L7gu. First I have to mention that 105 L7 was introduced to China at 1978, so basically none of the in game Chinese tank could would or should mount the L7 gun, and obviously 121B was fake. [Just searched on Wiki: Type 59B, 59-II (or WZ-120B), was mounted L7 in 1981, I doubt that’s how the name “121B” came from. Also WZ-121D (Type 69-III or Type 79) was mounted L7 at the same time]
Type 62G was the only one mounted 105 L7 in the entire Type 62 series in end of 1990s. And it was actually enter service at 2000….
Looks totaly like any western tanks other than Type 62. So how can you differentiate?
EASY! Check the road wheel layout! 1,space,2,3,4,5, it’s a Type 62!
So how can we make it become more historical? It’s not hard, but still need a bit of comparison.
59-16 is totally fine so we will just jump to tier 7. And the convenience is, WG already get the 132’s model done! So we can just use “WZ-132A”’s model and change its name to “132”. It can use 76mm clip gun, 56-85JT, and 62-85T.
And move WZ-131 to tier 8, with all the gun it got now – it’s 100mm gun is totally works. Obviously need some buff.
WZ-132 will in tier 9 with all his gun. And need a new gun like what WZ-132A got.
Well, the characteristic of Chinese tank is bad gun depression, so WZ-132 (triple-hydraulics) won’t be acceptable. But we still can let the WZ-132 armored improvement version be the tier 10 light tank. it’s model can based on that “bigger” WZ-132’s blueprint.
Even though all the guns of WZ-132 are all smooth bore gun in history, but I think make it rifled would still gonna be much better than that two totally fake tanks.
That’s all for my discussion and history content for my favorite tank WZ-132 in the game. I hope this can be a “Fake tank review” for the general public to learn the background of this tank line.
“Tank and armored veichle Magzine” Jan.2006
“Mordern Chinese weapon industry–Tanks””
“Mordern Chinese weapon industry–Guns and Cannons”