Type 59

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TETRU Type 59
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Type 59A
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin
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Service history
In service 1959 to present
Used by
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Papal Army
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Ankaran National Army
Production history
Manufacturer TETRU Defence
Number built ~9,000
Variants Type 59A, 59B, 59C, 59D
Weight 36 tons
Length 6.4 meters
Width 3.27 meters
Height 2.59 meters
Crew 4

105mm rifled gun
2 x Type 59T 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, Type 54 12.7 mm air-defence machine gun
Engine Model 11150L V-12 liquid cooled diesel
520 hp
Suspension torsion bar
450km, 600km with external tanks
Speed 50km/ph

The Type 59 (TETRU Type 59) main battle tank is a Rodarian-produced version of the previous T-54A tank, the earliest model of the ubiquitous T-54/55 series. The first vehicles were produced in 1958 and it was accepted into service in 1959, with serial production beginning in 1961. Approximately 9,500 of the tanks were produced by the time production ended in 1980 with approximately 5,500 serving with the Rodarian armed forces. The tank formed the backbone of the Rodarian Papal Army until early 1990 with an estimated 5,000 of the later Type 59-I and Type 59-II variants in storage in 2002.

The Type 59 was modified several times during its service with the replacement of the 100 mm Type 59 rifled gun with a 105 mm rifled gun. It was also the basis of several later Rodarian tank designs including the Type 69 and Type 79 tanks.


Essentially the Type 59 is identical to the early production T-54As, however there are some key differences. The Type 59 was originally fitted with the infrared searchlight and main gun stabilisation however it was also fitted with an improved optics kit that allowed the commander to sight targets whilst on the move with a gyrostabilised telescope.

The Type 59 has a conventional 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 mm on the front lower glacis to 30 mm on the hull floor. The turret varies from 39–120 mm 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.

The turret mounts a rifled 105 mm Type 59 cannon, for which 38 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 is provided above the gunner's hatch for which 250 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 which can rotate the turret through 360 degrees in 18 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 -10 degrees. 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.


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Tarsan development of the Type 59 designed for export and for reuse of old tank chassis


The Dacian government only has one additional variant of the Type 59 which was upgraded specifically for Dacian terrain.

  • Thaspian Leopard - Locally licensed production Type 59 that features a locally made Thaspian Armory 125mm smoothbore gun. Uses a diesel engine taken from a heavy military truck in an effort to provide a common engine platform to aid in easing the logistics burden. Offers several packages of environmental gear to equip the vehicle specifically for different environments it may encounter. A jungle package that provides watertight storage compartments, wide tracks for forging deep mud, and filters to capture excess water over ventilation ports equip the vehicle for jungles. Locally produced explosive reactive armor completes the package.
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A Type 59C with Kontakt 5 explosive reactive armour, its 125mm gun is capable of firing numerous rounds including anti-tank guided missiles


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    • Papal Army Type 59D: 2,103 in active service
    • Orducii Type 59A, 59B, 59C: 344 in active service
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    • Republic Army Type 59B, Type 59C, Type 59D, Thaspian Leopard; 1,034