Type 65/78 Recoilless Anti-Tank Gun
The Type 65 and Type 78 82mm smoothbore recoilless guns were designed to provide a rapid, direct fire support for the PLA infantry troops against targets such as light tanks, armoured vehicles, bunkers, concrete fortifications, and landing craft. The Type 78 is an improved version of the Type 65 with some modifications. Both weapons have been equipped by the PLA ground forces in significant numbers and are still serving with some class-B units and reserve forces today. These obsolete weapons are being replaced by the more capable Type 98 (PF98) 120mm recoilless anti-tank rocket.
While most countries have phased out the recoilless gun weapons after the WWII, the PLA continued to field this type of weapon to provide a cheap means of direct fire support for its sheer number of infantry troops. By the early 1990s, all infantry units in the PLA were still equipped with the obsolete 82mm recoilless gun weapon at battalion and company level. The PLA began to replace these weapons by the more capable Type 98 (PF98) 120mm recoilless anti-tank rocket in the late 1990s, but the 82mm gun remains in service with some class-B and reserve units.
The PLA first introduced 75mm recoilless guns based on the Soviet design of the WWII-age in the 1950s. Later they were replaced by the Chinese indigenous Type 65 82mm recoilless gun developed in the mid-1960s. By the early 1980s the PLA began to field the improved Type 78 82mm recoilless gun, an improved version of the Type 65 with some moderate modifications. Both the Type 65 and Type 78 took part in the 1979 and 1980s border conflicts with Vietnam and played important roles in the battle.
The 82mm recoilless gun was normally equipped at battalion level by the light infantry troops stationed in southern China, and at company level by the infantry troops stationed in northern China. A basic recoilless gun unit (squad) has one gun and a crew of eight men (squad leader + seven gunners). The weapon is carried on vehicles or house back for long distance travelling, and is carried by its crew to the battlefield. The gun barrel, tripod, and optical sight are carried by three gunners separately for travelling. The rest four gunners are responsible of carrying rounds.
From the experience of the Sino-Vietnam border war in 1979 and the following conflict in the 1980s, the 82mm recoilless gun weapon suffered from many weaknesses. The gun made huge noise and muzzle flash and generated sizable backblast effect when firing, which made it very easy for enemy to locate the position of the gun. The weapon is heavy, takes long time to be assembled, and has a poor accuracy at longer distance. Due to the lack of night vision, the weapon is only suitable for operation in day light condition.
The Type 78/65 recoilless gun consists of the barrel, optical direct/indirect aiming sight, tripod, and accessories. The gun can be fired either on the tripod or the gunner’s shoulder. There are two types of rounds available: high-explosive (HE) with a maximum range of 300m (Type 65) or 500m (Type 78). Later variants may be fitted with a IR sight for night combat.
|Rate of fire
|Elevation (on tripod)
||Rocket-propelled extended range HEAT, HE
Last update: 16 April 2006