Chinese Stars

Hello everyone,

in 9.1, a new feature is coming to World of Tanks, the “kill marks” on tank barrels. They come in different forms – some, like the German kill rings are well documented. But what about others – the Chinese for example?


Are they historical?


Yes, they actually are. They are tied to the story of Tank 215 and… yea, it’s a good one. It comes from this Chinese video (thanks to chickentikka for the link) and since I don’t speak Chinese, I asked Dominatus from the US server to translate it, since he does. The result was one of the most outrageous tank stories I have ever heard. I am not quite convinced it really happen the way the Chinese TV show presents it, because… well, you’ll see.


Basically, big countries have their tank legends – Germany has Michael Wittman and Kurt Knispel, Soviet Union has Zinoviy Kolobanov (and many others), Britain has Joe Ekins and the Chinese… the Chinese have Tank 215. Tank 215 is on display in (I think) Beijing military museum and the story goes like this:

On July 8th, 1953, the 23rd Army of PVA was fighting the Americans around a place called Hill 346.6 in what is called in Chinese the “Dongbei” mountain. The T-34/85 tank “215″ was deployed as a part of a 3 tank kill team.

Basically, the Chinese, knowing they are outmatched by the Americans (this part of the story is quite certainly true) split their tanks into small groups and gave them “kill missions” to destroy American valuable targets. Three American M46 Patton tanks were nested on the hill and the Chinese army tasked 215′s commander Yang Aru (杨阿如) to get rid of them. With a single T-34.

Yang Aru’s crew consisted of gunner Xu Zhiquiang (徐志强), loader Shi Fengshan (师凤山) and driver Chen Wenkui (陈文奎), the radioman was Xu Shihe (or something). In order to accomplish the mission, the crew wanted to move the tank to the hill a day before (on 7.7.1953) in the night under the cover of darkness. This brilliant plan was foiled by cunning Americans, who – not being deaf and all – heard the tank miles away, fired flares and started shelling it with artillery. One artillery round created a huge crater in the road, the commander ordered the tank to stop but the tank somehow slid into the crater anyway and got stuck.

At this point the video is not very clear. Apparently the crew got out (under intense artillery fire) and (while other two tanks 216 and 217 that arrived out of nowhere suppressed the Americans with fire) gathered some shrubbery and camouflaged the tank, so the silly Americans thought it’s just a bush (and that the tank stuck in the crater disappeared, that happens all the time after all). WoT spotting system in real life, everyone.

About that time (it’s already 8.7.1953), infantry (Chinese) launched some attack, which caused the three M46 tanks to expose themselves and the heroic WW2 85mm relic tank sniped all three of them. At 1450 meters. Hitting with first shot. That caused ammo rack explosion, destroying the first Patton. Second shot destroyed the second Patton. The third Patton was behind a small hill and the 215 fired a dozen HE rounds, damaging it. And yes, that’s how the Chinese describe it – at this point you probably see that the report about the battle as presented by the Chinese media might not be exactly historically accurate. But don’t worry, it gets better.

Somehow (god knows how) avoiding the American attention (because a bush killing three of your tanks is totally inconspicuous), the Chinese waited for the night, when they fooled the stupid Americans by (this is good) revving the engine first and then gradually reducing the RPM so the Americans thought that the tank is getting away, because the engine was less and less loud and started firing at the road away from the tank. Then a random Chinese artillery unit appeared from thin air with logs of wood, that helped the crew unstuck the tank (the Americans still firing on the road away) and so the tank was saved. This was the 9.7.1953.

And now it gets even better.

The tank is still masked as a bush (it’s the night, 10.5.1953). A column of another three M46 Patton tanks is advancing down the road. The brave Chinese crew waits with the tank besides the road (it’s still night) and seeing the column, it drives from the woods (dropped the disguise) and joins them, taking the second place at the collumn (Patton, T-34, Patton, Patton). This way, without anyone noticing (!!!) they actually drive through Americal lines to reach a checkpoint. At this point, the first Patton drives through, the T-34 shoots the Patton behind it (destroying it), then goes full speed through the checkpoint, chases down the first Patton, destroys it and then drives back to home base.


The war ended two weeks after that and the crew was celebrated as great heroes. Anyway, that’s how the Chinese tell it. I suspect the truth is probably more prosaic, but hell, at least we had a giggle :)

83 thoughts on “Chinese Stars

      • Maybe the Americans couldn’t imagine the Chinese not abandon the tank in that kind of situation.

  1. Iam not sure how Pattons drive in night (did they even used to travel in the night? LOL)… I thought always that tank movements in the total darkness during that time period was not possible or used. :D

    In this case even Girls un Panzer seems more realistic with that Maus kill :D

  2. Wow. A T-34-85 going all “Vasily Zaitsev” on ‘murricans… Where’s my KT which killed 57 tanks in a row? :D

  3. It is truth!! For sure! Recent screens from US server are the proof that Americans can’t recognize tanks models, so the Chinese could join Pattons and no one noticed!

        • Yes, a newly captured T-34 whose crew don’t signal themselves in advance (to, you know, not get mistaken for an enemy T-34) and join the platoon, you certainly don’t go and investigate :p

          • Why would you it was masked as regular the bush. :) noting suspicious to those pattons drivers.

      • Oh come on I know our educational system isnt the best, but I think the military would teach the difference between a Patton and a T-34/85, unless they were army… It all makes sense now!

  4. Legit story.

    So the first group Pattons had a shitload of flares to see in the night, but not the one that shot at the T-34 revving down his engine…lolz.


    Honestly, I’m disappointed they didn’t push the tank out of the hole using only their muscles and motivation to please with much honorabu Chairman Mao.
    If you’re going to bullshit, go all out.

  5. Whoever came up with that story must be the same guy WG use to verify historical accuracy.

  6. the “patton, T-34, patton, patton” part reminds me of the article about the last of the KTs: “they drove their tank to an American checkpoint and tried to surrender, when that didn’t work they told the Americans that there were German command units a few km away… the Americans fell of it and went after it, letting the KT drive straight through.”

  7. Nice story but …

    you forgot the part where using their mighty standard PLA chopstick the crew jammed the tracks of an Abrams M1A2 prototype that was near them.

    • And that will forever be the proof that chopsticks were a great AT weapon, capable of taking out even the heaviest armor… and it was not a fluke at all. (churchill v tiger…)

  8. I wonder if I would read the US report of the case … There is a great chance, that 215 got all the Patton kills for sole propaganda purposes …

  9. Btw. did I tell you the story of Max Otto von Stierlitz – he managed to shoot down 3 Tiger II with one Panzerschreck grenade during the final battle of Berlin? ;-)

  10. storm, i was the one that send in the link. Btw i totally believe it was true because the Chinese tank crews were all veterans and poor people so they wouldnt abandone the tank. They often do stupid and brave things which is unthinkable by most people so the Americans obviously didnt believe it was a t34 85 in their colunm. in the art if war, people say sometimes the most dangerous place could be the best place

      • Np, I was just gonna ask if you would mind if I can write some articles you could edit and maybe show people on FTR, I can also do many Translation on Chinese content since I will have plenty of spare time soon. Anyway I really enjoy reading FTR so if you have any problem with Chinese contents feel free to ask me as well :)

        I can write an article possibly for you to edit about a visit to Beijing Military Museum (it is not the tank museum but still have many tanks in it) and I am gonna visit the tank museum as well in the summer

  11. Sorry but a Patton t34 Patton Patton would never have worked, the driver of a Patton would notice immeditaly a tank of different size and design drive in between himself and the tank in front, even at night especially that close, so obviously Chinese propaganda, make the Americans look stupid, making Chinese soldiers feel like they can win, this whole story is so over inflated and exaggerated its stupid, propaganda for ya lol

    • did the Americans win? no although they had the world if air support etc

    • If the column was moving in the darkness, a moment of the driver looking to the left could mean the smaller tank could slip in from the right and hide in the larger one’s silhouette in front of you EVEN IF the guy in front of you has headlights on, if you don’t then this stealth joining is possible as the T-34-85′s engine is probably less loud than a Patton’s.

      • Yes they knew when driver turned his head to the left so they could get in. I mean seriously?

    • I don’t know… China is full of history of badasses. Go watch Red Cliff 1 and 2 you’ll understand that the Chinese are not to be fucked with, especially if they are outnumber by a margin of 18:1.

    • You’d need the other two t-34′s and artillery for historical accurabu.


    The story could be from a B-war-movie. ;-) I highly doubt it really happened all that way, but it was funny nevertheless. Thanks for sharing SS.

  13. Your description is quite inaccurate, SS. I watched the video and I noticed some details you didn’t mention.

    First of all, 216 and 217 came because the 215 crews contacted their command center and the commander decided to get 216 and 217 to be on their way to support troops and suppress enemy firepower. Meanwhile, 215 would get itself some branches and mud as camouflage and wait to get rescued the second night.

    Then, when the assualt began(in daytime), the camouflaged 215 spotted three M46 Pattons on the hill, suppressing Chinese assault. 215′s commander decided not to shoot, but to wait for the night and pre-calculate the trajectory. When the night arrived(the assault was still going on), 215 quickly took off their camouflage and killed two Pattons using AP shells. The third Patton retreated behind a slope, 215 switched to HE(For bunkers, there is another type of HE for troops.) and shot 10+rounds, damaging the Patton’s cannon barrel.

    The idea of reducing the Engine RPM was based on previous battle expierences, when the tanks fired shots and retreat, the Americans would call in artillery fire based on the loudness of their engine sound(Remember, the Americans didn’t know 215 was still stuck).

    By the night of July 9th, 15 sappers arrived and helped 215 get out. They cut trees from a hill a few hundred meters away. But by the time it got out, it’s almost dawn, so they have to wait until night again. 215 received new mission from command center: to get information of how the Americans are positioned. When they were advancing towards Hill 346.6, they spotted three American tanks patrolling, with around 300m gap between them.

    I know this story may seems absurd, there might be something made up for propaganda use, but their spirit is still worth praising. After all, the Americans have the equipment advantage: If the Chinese don’t have a strong mind, I don’t know how they pushed back the Americans.

    • These details explain how the T-34 was able to get out of the crater. So it’s possible then. But what about the “stupid second Patton in line” story? OK, it was night and you only need to see the gap between the tanks to be approx the same all the time but man, that Patton’s commander or driver would be a moron if they would let a random T-34 to join the patrol. :S

      • 1) First tank has headlights on to lead and navigate
        2) Second tank does not for stealth purposes
        3) Some distracting infantry honks horn to the left of 2nd tank, 2nd tank driver switches to left view slit for a moment.
        4) Much quieter (less engine power) tank slips between 1st and 2nd and hides in the larger Patton silhouette (try this with hiding your fist silhouette inside your laptop’s silhouette while there is a light somewhere behind your laptop in otherwise darkness)
        5) ???
        6) Refuge in audacity

      • It was at night and it was dark. You wouldn’t recognize a T-34 even it had the headlights and taillights on. Besides, as mentioned before, 215 used that engine sound trick and the Americans thought it was gone. When 215 joined the tanks it was already behind American front line, no American would really expect a lone Chinese T-34 under their nose. Oh, I forgot to mention, in the video it only said three patrolling tanks, it didn’t specify whether those were Patton.

    • they have defeated them by overwhelming numbers. remember that terrain in korea is difficult and tanks usually engaged in close fight or in trap positions. Also UN forces were not allowed to fight behind china borders so they had no chance to cripple china manufacturing ability or military and supply bases.

  14. LOL seems like a story from classic Chinese folklore.

    Like how Zhang Fei roared and thousands of soldiers under Cao Cao died in an instant.
    Or like how Zhuge Liang called forth the wind and summon the fire spirits to defeat Cao Cao at the Battle of the Red Cliffs…

    Basically BULLSHIT tank stories by the imaginative Chinese.

    • Actually Zhang Fei’s roar knocked down a stone bridge. And Zhuge Liang was, during that era, the greatest and most accomplished strategist of his times comparable to Sun Tzu. And not only that he was an inventor and was believed to be the inventor of the landmine, the wheelbarrow, the repeating crossbow (even though he just modified it from the original but still his version could shoot faster and farther) and the sky lantern (it’s a early type of hot air balloon but at a smaller scale).

    • Those are your delusions…

      Red Cliff was based on weather prediction(Cao Cao’s navy wasn’t experienced); not weather “summoning.”

  15. Why is this hard to believe? It sounds very legit, in fact I heard more ridicules stories from the German side like how one Tiger took out 120 or something T-34s when it does not even have the ammunition to do so and certainly does not have the speed and mobility to ram them.

    Americans really did have problems recognising tank models, if you read a bit of Korean war history they would not fire sometime at T-34-85s because they where uncertain who they belonged to, they would not start firing before the T-34-85s would fire at the Americans just to confirm they were the enemy and not UN forces. I heard plenty of wild stories about T-34-85 joining tank columns but they usually did not end pretty like this one though

  16. Most people here seems think is not true….I bet quite a lot of people will believe if is not from Chinese XD

    I’m supprised even today the US have little reaction to this, if is a fake they’ll counter argument; but if is true they didn’t say anything to make it less bad…..

  17. Given Delta0071′s explanation (I could jsut watch the video but too lazy) I find this story to be quite legitimate, especially as the poor, uneducated Chinese peasants crewing these tanks are likely to pull things Americans would consider insane.

    • Actually, the commander of 215 was a experienced veteran. He had fought in the Sino-Japanese War for a long time. Also, the gunner was a heavy machine gunner before fighting in a tank.

    • Actually the People’s Liberation Army back then was probably filled with soldiers with a lot of combat experience, after all they did fight the Japanese and the Nationalist. I mean how do you think the North Koreans were able to gain so much ground in the early stages of the war, it was because their soldiers were veterans that fought alongside the PLA against the Japanese and the Nationalist

      • Also, the North Koreans had some heavy weaponary like tanks and artillery, while South Koreans received none from the U.S..

        • That and the fact that they were allowed to keep their weapons after the war against the nationalists and the Japanese ended. So all the north had to worry about is getting ammunition and supplies to the troops

  18. The strangest things happen in war. Unless some actual proof is presented, I won’t believe a word of it, but that isn’t because the story is implausible, but because lies and bullshit are the main export product of any communist country.

    • And what about Zhang Taofang? Sure something might be fake, but it still based on history nevertheless. There must be some truth in this story. Also, would you believe that a T-34-85 took out three KTs? But it’s true. It’s a combination of skill and luck.

  19. Wow, maybe someone will make a “video” (using WoT) about this story.

  20. >> Yang Aru’s crew consisted of gunner Xu Zhiquiang (徐志强), loader Shi Fengshan (师凤山) and driver Chen Wenkui (陈文奎), the radioman was Xu Shihe (or something).

    And where was the dog? Every t-34 needs a dog on the crew!

  21. Even the rocking horse shit is more real than this story. Propaganda all around.

  22. new type 59 tanks coloured with desert camo. For middle east? or for the blue army?

  23. Am sure there is some truth about the vehicle getting stuck but the rest is clearly all bull.

  24. Back in the day they didn’t have thermals and Patton tanks were not all that good.

    Story is plausible; if Pattons drove past T-34-85, side/rear armour would not be able to stop 85mm rounds.
    And HE rounds IRL is a lot more usable than they are in WoT.

    • I agree, plausible but I doubt about t-34 joining the platoon. US as based on stories accounted during their battles/war, have a tendency to be over confident about their equipments, so yeah, maybe they thought old tanks won’t damage their modern tonks.

    • It is still hard to believe that T-35/85 would knock-out two Pattons in hulldown position that easily.

      • Well, if they spent all day in or around their tank, at around 1.5 kms from the American position, not moving and just calculating, you could spend a -lot- of time making sure you got the mathematics right for a pre-set attack on static positions. If you’re on a hill, you’re going to be taking in as much of the field in front of you as you can, sweeping the area for major signs of activity. If you have a lone apparently immobilized tank in a crater, are you really going to keep watching it all day long to make sure it’s still dead? especially if you have other concerns, like Chinese infantry or other tanks in the area? And spotting things at that range, like small movements or slow, deliberate ones would require more concentration from the people on the hill than might be considered fully reasonable. How long were they on the hill? Were they fresh to the front or been fighting for weeks on end? etc, etc. Lots of variables to account for.

        If the tanks were outright destroyed, or crippled and abandoned is more difficult to ascertain without corresponding information from the UN/US forces side of things. And if you have 300m gaps between you, at night, a smaller tank could possibly try to fit in halfway and seem like it was a larger vehicle still 300m away. All you would need is a point where there was a break in the line of sight between the vehicles to insert yourself, lights off, before the LOS was likely re-established. Add in incredulity at the possibility of a lone enemy vehicle behind your lines joining a patrol out of nowhere, a probably tired and worn out crew (at night)… it’s not implausible at all. I think there was likely more than a bit of embellishment in there, but again without a corresponding set of information from the UN/US forces at the same time, it’s hard to say where that might be.

  25. Yup. Sounds like the kind of stuff that I do in my beloved 59-16 day by day :D