The WZ meaning and background information about Chinese tanks

Here is everything you want to know about Chinese tanks in the game.

Since the English internet knows little about Chinese prototypes and the objects related to them, these old tanks are kinda secret and mysterious. So I decided to make it clear and easily understood. I compiled relevant information after searching the Chinese internet and consulting several veterans from PLA.

Name meaning:

The project name WZ stands for:

WuZhuang 武装 ‘armored’ or ‘armor’. Similar statement: Wuzhuang Zhuangjiache 武装 装甲车 ‘armored (military) vehicle’. Different from the statements above, some veterans and netizens think W refers to 五(Wu), ‘five’ from 五机部(Wujibu), ‘ The fifth machinery industry ministry’, which is the ministry of ordnance industry in China (distinguished from other industry ministries). Z also stands for Zhuangjiache 装甲车, ‘armored vehicle’. Some netizens think WZ also means the vehicles made by The fifth machinery industry ministry. (The Norinco company is subordinate to the Wujibu)

For the tank destroyers, take WZ 113 G FT as an example:

G stands for Gai 改, ‘improved’ ‘modification’, e.g., type 58(T-34-85 Gai), ZBD-86A(type 86 Gai). It is worth mentioning that the same hanzi character ‘改’ is also used in Japanese tanks as Kai, such as Chi-Nu Kai.

FT stands for FanTan 反坦, the same usage as AT (Anti-tank). Fantan 反坦 is the abbreviation of Fan Tanke Zhuangjiache 反坦克装甲车, which is the literal translation of ‘Anti-tank armored vehicle’. It’s the Chinese term for ‘tank destroyer’.

113G FT means a td developed based on the 113 heavy tanks. So it’s ok to call WZ 113G FT in short 113G, e.g., T-34-2G FT as 34-2G. Same as other Chinese tds.

*The project name BZ may stand for:

According to the speculation of Chinese netizens, based on WG’s theory of parallel time, B stands for Bianfang 边防, ‘border defense’. Z still stands for Zhuangjiache 装甲车, ‘armored vehicle’. So BZ means Bianfang Zhuangjiache, ‘border defense vehicle’.

List of WZ vehicles: (what I know so far)

heavy tank: WZ 110 WZ 111 WZ 112 WZ 113

medium tank/MBT: WZ 120 WZ 121 WZ 122 WZ 123

light tank: WZ 130 WZ 131 WZ 132

super light tank: WZ 141 (light airborne tank destroyer)

amphibious vehicle: WZ 211 (type 63) WZ 212 (ZLT 05) WZ 213 (type 63a) WZ 511 (type 77 tracked amphibious APC)

Self-propelled vehicle:

WZ 302 (Type 54-1/Type 63-1 SPH, Self-propelled artillery of the Type B531)

WZ 303 (Type 70 MRL, Rocket artillery version of the Type A531)

WZ 305 (type 80, Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon)

WZ 301 WZ 304 WZ 321

armored recovery vehicle: WZ 401 (type 76 ARV)

(Tracked) IFV: WZ 501 (type 86) WZ 502 (ZBD 04) WZ 503 WZ 504 WZ 505 WZ 506 (ZBD 03)

APC: WZ 521 WZ 523 (ZFB 91) WZ 531 (type 63 APC) WZ 534 (type 89 APC) WZ 535

also, WZ 511 (type 77 tracked amphibious APC)

wheeled IFV: WZ 550 WZ 551 (type 90/type 92)

tank bridge car: WZ 621 (type 84 tank bridge car)

tank rescue vehicle: WZ 651 WZ 652 WZ 653 (type 73/type 64/type 84 medium tank rescue tractor)

Other vehicles/AFV:

WZ 731(Type 89 Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle)

WZ 751(Type 85 Tracked Armoured Ambulance)

WZ 752(Type 89 Armored Ambulance)

*There are quite a lot of vehicles having a factory/design code WZ while having an official name, such as WZ213-2 (Type 63A-II/ZTS63A-2). It’s kinda challenging to sort them all. I’m an amateur, so there might be some mistakes.

Meanings of the numbers behind the tanks: (my own opinion)

WZ XXY: Y refers to the generations

WZ 1XX: 1 refers to tanks

WZ 11X: 1 refers to heavy tanks

WZ 12X: 2 refers to medium tanks

WZ 13X: 3 refers to light tanks

WZ 14X: 4 refers to super-light tanks

WZ 2XX: 2 refers to amphibious vehicles

WZ 3XX: 3 refers to Self-propelled vehicles

Helpful information regarding tanks in Wot/Wotb:

Heavy tank:

WZ 110: (also known as IS-2U) is an exploration and attempt of China on heavy tanks; due to the technology at that time and other reasons. There is no evidence that such a tank ever appeared in history, and nothing is left on the Internet except for a vague drawing.

WZ 111: On October 19, 1960, the Chinese military issued an instruction to design a heavy tank to replace the Soviet-made IS-2 tank purchased in the 1950s with the product code WZ111. On December 24, the Armored Forces Technical Department made technical regulations on heavy tanks. In May 1963, the Chinese military reissued the “WZ111 Heavy Tank Design Technical Task Book”, which clarified the technical indicators of the tank. At that time, although China’s armored soldiers lacked industrial strength and technical reserves, they were full of courage. The plan shows the determination to “follow the Soviet Union and surpass the United States”: the performance of the new heavy tank should surpass the Soviet-made IS-2 and T-10M, and it should also catch up with the American-made M60 tank. In October, the development of the WZ111 heavy tank officially started. In 1965, the first prototype rolled off the production line and was tested. It is a pity that in 1966, the headquarters and the national defense industry believed that the momentum of main battle tanks replacing medium and heavy tanks was unstoppable and adjusted the tank development plan. The WZ111 heavy tank, which was still in the technical research stage, was terminated.

WZ 111 plan became China’s short-lived attempt at heavy tanks. Only one test sample was built, and only the chassis without the turret.

WZ 112 and WZ 113: The design of the 112 began in 1962. The plan was to use parts from medium and heavy tanks for logistical support. Its later developmental form is called 113. The two projects began in the 1960s, using part of the results of WZ-111 and WZ-120. WZ-113 is a very advanced design concept that combines the design advantages of medium tanks and heavy tanks. Objectively speaking, China’s design thinking at that time was very progressive, but it had already been divorced from the reality of the industry.

The fates of 112 and 113 are the same as WZ-111. The design remained on the paper. The WZ-113 was China’s last program to develop a heavy tank.

WZ 114: Chinese netizens think it’s made in Minsk by WG

Medium tank:

Type 58: the T-34-85Gai. In 1954, China decided to imitate the production of T-34/85 tanks and planned to put them into production in 1958. There are some differences between the Chinese version of the T-34/85 and the Soviet original, mainly in the turret and walking parts.

It should be noted that although some military modifications made the T-34-85 used by China look different from the original version, and the 617 factory can produce all T-34-85 parts, there has never been any T-34-85 complete vehicle produced by China. (Then China is ready to build type 59. ) And it has never been reviewed and named by the Armored Product Stereotypes Committee. The so-called “Type 58” is just a rumor on the Internet. (info from Chinese wiki)

T-34-1: From 1953 to 1956, some researchers advocated the development of China’s first medium-sized tank, out of the consideration that if the Soviet Union did not provide the T-54A tank technical information and the T-34-85 tank would not be accepted by the army, the proposed Design proposals for some medium tanks.

The main design idea of the first tank design is based on the ability to overhaul the T-34-85 tank, using many T-34-85 tank accessories and improving the shortcomings of the T-34-85 tank. Only the height of the T-34-85 tank was lowered, and some design features of the T-54 tank were borrowed. This design is the T-34-1.

T-34-2: The design of the T-34-2 medium tank refers to the design features of the T-54A tank. The semi-oval casting turret is adopted, and the engine is placed horizontally, which not only shortens the length of the car body but also reduces the weight of the car. The researchers saved vehicle weight to strengthen the armor of the chassis and turret. However, the Soviet Union provided China with a complete set of technical data in 1957, and China decided to imitate the T-54A and discard it.

T-34-3: The T-34-3 medium tank was modified from the T-34-2, differing from the type 59 in thinner armor. The project started around 1957 but was eventually terminated when mass production of the type 59 tanks began in late 1958.

The T-34-3 is another version of the T-34-2 project aimed at creating the T-54 tank when China only had the IS-2 and T-34. It’s very close, resembles a T-54, and has a 122mm main gun, modified and taken from the IS-2 heavy tank.

WZ120: (ZTZ 59/Type 59 MBT) The Type 59 tank is China’s first generation main battle tank. After China obtained the technical data of the Soviet T-54/55 series in 1956, it carried out imitation production with the assistance of the Soviet Union. More than 10,000 Type 59 tanks and their improvements were produced. The production of Type 59 and its improved tanks continued until the early 1980s, and the Type 59 medium tank was gradually upgraded.

Variants of type 59:

Type 59, Type 59-I(WZ-120A), Type 59A, Type 59-II (WZ-120B). Type 59-IIA

Type 59D1 (WZ-120C), Type 59D (WZ-120D, 105 mm gun), Type 59G (125 mm gun)

59-120 (120 mm gun), 59-125 (125 mm gun), 59P(Poly), Al-Zarar MBT

WZ 121: (ZTZ 69/Type 69 MBT). Type 69 was improved and developed based on Type 59 medium tank, and Type 69-III (WZ 121D) was the later Type 79 tank. There are many production variants of type 69.

The technology of some critical components of Type 69 is not up to standard. The PLA is not satisfied with Type 69. Technology has lagged behind the world level. In the early days, the Type 69 tank was only produced in small batches, and it was used for training and backup purposes. In 1971, the design was redesigned. After the “69-II” improved for foreign trade was put into production in 1981, more than 3,500 Type 69s were exported to all parts of the world.

Variants of Type 69:

Type 69, Type 69-I, Type 69-IIA, B/C, Type 79 (Type 69-III/WZ-121D), Type 79-II

Type 69-IIM (WZ121H), Type 69-IIMP, Type 69-IIMA (WZ121K), Type 69-IIMB (WZ121KZ)

Type 69-QM, Type 69-QM1, Type 69-QM2, Type 69-IIG

WZ 122 and WZ 123: The WZ 122 project has twists and turns. After experiencing a series of subtypes, such as the unrealistic WZ 122 three-fluid (hydraulic suspension, hydraulic transmission, and hydraulic control) scheme, and the three-machine scheme that is still unreliable, the WZ 122 project was discontinued. However, its technical achievements were later reborn in the 80-1 project and eventually developed into the 88 series tank family. In 1989, shortly after the type 80 and type 88 tanks were finalized, China immediately began research on the third-generation main battle tank WZ 123, and the result was the later ZTZ 99 MBT.

WZ 122 TM may refer to one of the 122 objects. And the BZ tank may be based on WZ 1224 or WZ 1226.

Variants of WZ122:

WZ-122A, WZ-122B, WZ-1223, WZ-1224, WZ-1226

China stopped heavy tank development very early and focused on medium tanks/MBTs. By WG standards, whether WZ 120, 121, or 122, each generation is enough to generate several mt tech trees. These lines are authentic, evidence-based, and not like fictional BZs. I won’t prefer those crazy, imagined, and fabricated.

Light tank:

59-16: (Factory code WZ 130) “59-16” means that it was finalized in 59 years and weighs 16 tons.

In 1957, the Chinese military planned to complete the 16-ton light tank program by 1959. However, the reason why this tank is only 16 tons is that the armor is too weak, and the design technology is not mature. Many new parts were designed beyond the level of China’s industrial technology at that time; especially the engine had technical problems that were difficult to solve. The plan was terminated in May 1959.

Today there are only two imitations of the original plan preserved in a private museum in Huairou District, Beijing.

WZ 131: (ZTQ-62/Type 62) The Type 62 light tank is a reduced version of the Type 59 MBT. Type 62 design began in 1958, and the prototype was trial-produced in 1959. Initially, the 76mm gun was chosen, and in 1961 the 85mm tank gun was chosen. After four significant improvements and improvements, the design plan was finalized in 1962. It was put into production and equipped in 1963.

Type 62 has good maneuverability, specific firepower, and protection capabilities. The PLA has about 450 vehicles. Type 62 was also used for many exports. Around 1,560 were built until production ceased in 1982.

Variants of Type 62:

Type 62(WZ 131), WZ 131-1, Type 62-I (WZ 131A), Type 62GAI (105 gun)

WZ 132: In 1967, a demonstration meeting was held to officially launch the development of a new generation of light tanks. From 1967 to 1969, the research on operational requirements and the initial design plan were mainly carried out. The overall design plan began in 1970, and under the influence of the Zhenbao Island Incident in 1969, the requirements for combat technical indicators were raised. In September, a prototype car was produced. The prototype vehicle adopts the 8V150 engine vertical installation scheme, the liquid-pneumatic suspension device, and the hydraulic power-assisted control system. Refitted with a 100mm caliber short-barreled smoothbore gun with a two-way stabilizer and a day and night sighting mirror. At that time, there was a lack of technical reserves, and there were piles of supporting technical problems.

Because the high indicators were unrealistic, after that, the overall design plan was required to be overthrown and restarted. In October 1970, significant adjustments were made to the combat technical indicators. In 1971, two new prototypes were trial-produced and tested for 10,000 kilometers. In 1972, changes were made to the combat technical indicators again. Although the technical indicators of the tank have undergone several rounds of revisions, due to technical problems that were difficult to solve for a while, the development was gradually shelved. Ultimately, the design was not finalized, and the plan was stopped in 1975.

Tank destroyer:

WZ 111G: In the 1960s, a self-propelled tank destroyer was developed based on the WZ111 heavy tank. Development of the WZ111 has ceased, and all plans for the tank have been canceled. No prototypes were built. No more information was found.

The above content is a personal integration of relevant information from Chinese and English. Welcome to share your views and doubts.

submitted by /u/Turbulent-Kiwi7359
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