A Battle Tank with Identity Issues

Image courtesy IRNA

This is making the best of what you’ve got:

The Tiam’s hull is that of a M47M, a variant of the US M47 that uses the engine from the M60A1 tank. The M47M was produced in Iran from the early 1970s and Iran unveiled a modified version called the Sabalan in April 2014. The Sabalan was armed with what looked like a 105 mm L7-type rifled gun instead of the original 90 mm.

The Tiam also has a 105 mm, but it is mounted in what appears to be the turret from a Chinese Type 59/69 tank. Although based on the T-55, some versions of the Type 59 and Type 69 were armed with an L7-type 105 mm gun instead of the 100 mm fitted to the Soviet tank.

The superstructure of the M47M hull appears to have been raised to accommodate the larger turret basket of the Type 59.


What we have here is an engine design from 1960 powering an early ’50s American chassis mated to a Chinese copy of a late ’40s Soviet turret sporting a main gun deemed too small for Western forces back when I was in high school.

A while back I saw a young man behind the wheel of an aged Geo Metro, huffing and puffing up Monument Hill, practically clawing its way along the steep grade — although the most interesting part might have been that no two of its body panels were the same color.

Compared to the Tiam, that Metro might have been the more fearsome vehicle.


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