The Type 69-QM Tank was the designation used for Chinese Type 69-II tanks in Iraqi service. Iraq was the largest Type 69-II operator with 1500 bought and delivered between 1983 to 1987.
It was immediately deployed to the front lines of the Iraq-Iran War 1980 to 1988 only to meet those Type 69 operated by Iran 3 years later in 1986.
Type 69-QM Tank Models
This was the standard imported Type 69-II Tank but had steel plates added to the upper glacis to increase frontal protection. It’s not clear when this extra armor was added. Some featured an observation mast and some mounted a 160mm mortar.
Another interesting modification was a rather crude but effective smoke screen generator. Though the Type 69 series could pump diesel on to the hot exhaust to generate smoke, Ba’athist Iraq army ran a narrow pipe from the rear exhaust area, along the left side of the hull to the front so smoke could be pumped out of it.
Upgraded with standard 105 mm rifled gun and laser range-finder. It’s not clear how many tanks, if any were upgraded to this model
Upgraded with Warsaw Pact standard 125mm smoothbore gun and laser rangefinder. It’s not clear how many tanks, if any were upgraded to this model.
Type 69-QM Tank Combat History
Iraq-Iran War 1980 to 1988 – The Type 69-QM arrived in Iraq 3 years after the war had started. The tank served to bolster the armored forces of the Iraq Army only to be confronted by Type 69-II of the Iranian Army in 1986.
Invasion of Kuwait & 1991 Gulf War – Deployed by the Iraqi Army, they were vastly out-classed by Coalition Main Battle Tanks who had larger main guns firing Depleted Uranium, Armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS) rounds, advanced thermal sighting equipment and composite armor.
Coalition forces who came up against the T-69’s alleged that the Type 69-QM units fought harder than the elite Republican Guard units, who were equipped with their superior Lion of Babylon tanks (Iraqi built T-72M).
Iraq War 2003 – In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a number of Type 69-QM’s scored a small victory over American forces when they were part of the ambush of the U.S. Army 507th Maintenance Company at Nasiriyah. These were later destroyed by responding American AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.
For the most part Type 69-QM’s were generally found to be used in dug out defending positions, due to their conditions.
Post 2003 invasion of Iraq – In the early post invasion years, Type 69-QM were photographed as operational with the new Iraqi Army in 2005. Their current state is not confirmed. The new Iraqi Army have since received reconditioned T-72 and M1A1 Main Battle Tanks. Many Type 69-QM were taken from Iraq by Coalition Forces and sent to either museums or used on military bases as trophies.
Type 69-QM Tank Specifications
|Main Gun||100mm, Rifled
Elevation -5 to +18
|Secondary Weapons||x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 12.7mm MG|
|Ammunition Storage||x44 100mm, x3,000 7.62mm, x500 12.7mm|
|Engine||12150L-7BW 580hp Diesel|
|Top Road Speed||50 km/h|
|Road Range||420+ km|
|Fuel Capacity||935 Litres|
|Length Gun Forward||8.58m|
||3.307m (incl side-skirts)|
|Height||2.8m (mount 12.7mm MG)|
|Weight||36,700kg aka 36.7 tonne combat|
|Active Protection Systems||No|