The Type 59 is a Chinese tier 8 premium medium tank

Chinese medium tank. Initially, the vehicle was a copy of the Soviet medium T-54A tank. The Type 59 entered service in 1959. The first tanks manufactured had no gun stabilizer or night-vision device. Later the vehicle underwent several modernizations. Between 6,000 and 9,500 vehicles of all variants were manufactured from 1958 through 1987.

This tank was removed from the in-game store on 16 January 2012. The decision was made "to ensure a healthy gameplay balance at higher tiers, and also to encourage a wider variety of tier 8 medium tank usage." It last appeared in the gift shop in August 2012. Though not available for traditional purchase, it frequently is the reward for first place in official competitions and tournaments.

Considered one of the best tier 8 premium tanks, it combines decent armor with good 'hard' gun statistics and acceptable mobility. Though acceleration is not very good it has a high top speed and can flank enemy tanks easily. It does lose speed quite easily in turns though so circling opponents might be somewhat difficult. Because of its large spread of features and lack of specialization, the Type 59 fills the 'pocket heavy' role of the tier VIII premiums and very often performs better than expected in 1-on-1 fights with tier VIII mediums and light tanks.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

Exceptional frontal turret armor
Well sloped frontal upper hull armor can bounce shells from most lower tier tanks
7 degrees of gun depression is an outlier in the Chinese tree, allowing greater flexibility
High credit income + low repair costs
Preferential matchmaking (tier 9 max, no tier 10 battles)

Cons:

Low HP pool
Frontal/right-side mounted ammo rack, frontal fuel tank, and weak lower glacis gives you a hard time
Underwhelming DPM than comparable non-premium mediums
Top of the turret has 2 weak cupolas
Upper hull glacis is prone to medium caliber guns

Performance

The Type 59 is considered by some to be one of the most difficult tanks to destroy by lower tiers since it boasts a well armored and sloped turret, which along with its sloped frontal armor is capable of bouncing many shots. The tank is also fairly agile, so flanking it can prove difficult as well.

The Type 59's main gun is the same 100 mm cannon found on the T-34-2. Compared to its tier 8 peers, this tank is very well protected. 100 mm frontal armor sloped at 60 degrees is strong enough to stop around 175 mm penetration AP rounds and 200 mm HEAT rounds reliably with minimal angling. This is usually enough to protect from Russian 122 mm D-25T and its peers, as well as many guns found on other tier 8 and below mediums. When shooting this tank from the front, it is generally best to aim for the hatches on top of the turret. While the lower plate might at first seem like a nice target, it is actually just as thick as the upper plate, plus it is generally at a more extreme angle, given its low placement. Availability of gold-ammo-for-credits does allow tanks with weaker penetration to have a better hope at combating this tank frontally. The two cupolas on the turret are technically weakspots, but still feature 150 mm armour at the front, which is both rounded and sloped. Because of the relatively low silhouette it is possible to shoot down into the top armour in front of the turret from close range. This is very thin and can be easily overmatched even at extreme angles.

The Type 59 is one of the most versatile and feared, if not respected tanks on the battlefield. Its durability, resilience, decent firepower, and agility all contribute to a very well rounded tank. Coupled with the fact that this tank has good matchmaking make it a blast to play, especially in groups.

While the Type 59 has many advantages, it does have a few disadvantages. A fuel tank is located next to the driver at the front of the tank, meaning catching fire from a frontal hit is certainly possible. Ammo racks are also located all along the right side of the hull as well. Flanking a type 59 from the right side can often lead to ammo rack damage for this tank, or even the rack itself detonating. Its mobility, while good for something as armored as it is, is still rather lacking compared to other tier 8 mediums.

With the release of the patch 9.20.1 it gave the Type 59 a few buffs such as: Decreased aim time from 2.9 to 2.3 seconds, increase of the ammunition capacity from 34 to 50, decreased turret traverse dispersion by 25%, decreased hull traverse dispersion by 22% and when moving the dispersion is decreased by 22%.

The Type 59 also has a very high credit earning ability, just like the other premium tanks. Some even argue that this tank earns most credits out of the lot due to cheaper ammunition.

Something to note is that since this tank is now only available as a competition prize, it is very hard to acquire one. However, the WZ-120 performs similarly to the Type 59, but the main difference between the two is that you can upgrade the WZ-120 (which ends up vastly better), though you will face higher tier tanks, as well as not be able to earn as many credits while playing it.