Type 63

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Hello Warriors,

have an article for you about the Type 63, written by “Chickentikka“. English grammar was corrected the best possible under today’s circumstances.

Hope you enjoy!

The Type 63 is a Chinese light tank that closely resembles the PT-76 Soviet Amphibious light tank. However, there are many significant differences and I think Type 63 could be an interesting Chinese light tank in WOT or AW.
Type 63 entered service in 1963 and development began as early as October 1958.

1960, April. 211(designation) 4th prototype in firing test.

During trials, it was found to have a good strong gun that was able to knock out fortifications and fast enough to be able to effectively participate in a landing battle. Also performing scout missions in areas of wet lands which were basically the principal terrain in many Southern Chinese Provinces. This tank was modified and had many variants which are suitable as possible upgrades in games.

Initial tests of WZ221 (Type 60) proved to have many problems such as overheating, so further development led the way to create an improved version which became the Type 63. The general reason for such need of an amphibious tank is due to the possible landing on Taiwan as the civil war was still very recent issue at the time. Chiang Kai-Shek (Republic of China, Taiwan) still dreamt of recapturing mainland China and communist China dreamt of capturing Taiwan, so the urgent need of a combat vehicle to fight in wet terrain, this could mean that in WOT, it could be represented as having very good terrain resistance and traverse even better than WZ-131.

Gun performance
The main gun is a 85 mm Type 62-85TC rifled gun which is the same exact gun as the Type 62’s gun. It can fire AP, APHE, HE, Frag-HE, HEAT, APFSDF-T and smoke rounds. The HEAT projectile can penetrate 495 mm of armour at 1,000 m while the APFSDF-T projectile can penetrate 360 mm of armour at 1,000 m. The gun is not stabilized and is aimed via an optical gun sight. It can be elevated or depressed between +22 and -4 degrees. Type 63 amphibious light tanks are also equipped with a man-portable anti-aircraft missile launcher which is fired by a crew member standing in one of the turret hatches. Type 63 cannot fire its main gun while it swims due to the lack of fire control system. The vehicle carries 47 rounds for the 85 mm Type 62-85TC rifled gun.

It can be simple said that the Type 63 cannot withstand any kind of anti-tank weapon, it can only protect its crews from 7.62mm machine guns and small high explosive fragments and the tracks are without any protection.

The first limited production variant of Type 63 was powered by the same 6-cylinder 4-stroke inline water-cooled diesel engine developing 241 hp (180 kW) at 1800 rpm as the one used in early Type 60 amphibious light tank. The second production run, designated Type 63-I, was given the more powerful 12150L-2 12-cylinder liquid-cooleddiesel engine, which developed 402 hp (300 kW) at 2,000 rpm. The more powerful engine gave the Type 63-I a maximum road speed of 64 kilometres per hour and a maximum cross country speed of 30 km/h. The Type 63 can cross 2.9 meter wide trenches and 0.87 meter high vertical obstacles, as well as climb 60° gradients and handle 38° side slopes.

According to an interview with a Type 63 driver, they had a race with Type 62 and T-34-85. The result was very obvious that the T-34-85 came last, however on paper it seemed like the Type 63 should have had better mobility than the Type 62 (WZ-131), the result was that Type 62 was just slightly faster during the race. It turned out that in fact the mobility was better on the Type 63 but it was very hard for the driver to drive smoothly as the view was significantly worse for the driver in the Type 63 due to the long hull.
When Type 63 prepares to swim in water, it involves switching on the bilge pumps, erecting the trim vane at the front of the vehicle and switching the driver’s periscope vision blocks for a swimming periscope vision block that enables the driver to see over the trim vane. The trim-vane improves the vehicle’s stability and displacement in water and prevents water from flooding the bow of the tank. When not in use the trim vane is placed in its laying position in the front of the bow over the barrel of the main gun and serves as additional armour. Like the PT-76 it is propelled in the water by two water jets, one in each side of the hull, with the jet exits at the rear of the tank, however it has its entrances located in the front of the vehicle and not in the bottom as in case of PT-76. Unlike the PT-76, Type 63 also uses its moving tracks to swim.

Type 77-1 amphibious armoured carrier developed from the Type 63.

Other variants include APCs and recovery vehicles. The APC can also carry 85mm or 120mm or 122mm gun along with crew – all towed. Interstingly there is an artillery variant which has 122mm howitzer.

PLZ-89 amphibious mobile artillery.

Could that make it into the game? Also a Type 70 122mm SPG can come a tier higher.

Experience of a Type 63 crew:
Being tank crew, the most tiring job is to maintain the tank, from the gun cleaning to the track changing they require a lot of effort which can be difficult due to stress created in a tank. Further more, being a Type 63 crew, there is one extra job which is to clean the interior of the vehicle. Especially after swimming in sea, the interior might have water leaked in and they have to be cleaned or the salt crystals might damage the tank. 

Type 63A modernised in the 1990s.

This tank shows some great mobility and a potent gun that should fit tier 7 in the game. Although not as fast as Type 62, it should be able to traverse in soft terrain very efficiently. Sporting the meaty 85mm gun with no amour being the draw back. Will it be a premium? Well, I think it does have many upgrades so it could be a regular tank but how would it fit in the tree?

On the other hand, the 122mm artillery might just fit nicely as a FV304 in the Chinese future Artillery line. 

As a bonus, some type 63s were converted to have no weaponry to enlarge interior space for transportation of crude oil.

On September 3rd, the biggest military parade in China (70th anniversary of the victory over Japan parade)  will be held in Beijing with 84% new equipments never shown in a past parade before, I am personally excited to see the new Type 99A2 main battle tank along with with the missiles.

Newest Main battle tank Type 99A2 with 1500hp engine.

Maybe I will do an article later regarding the parade but from what I have seen during the practice, I can tell you that it is abusolutely HUGE!!!

Newest/ Current PLA navy amphibious tank to participate in the 2015 parade.


Thanks for reading!

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