Type 56 (top) and AKS-47.The Chinese Type 56 was the standard issue assault rifle of the Chinese military from the late 1950s until the 1980s when it was replaced by the newer Type 81 assault rifle. Some Chinese Reserve and Militia units still use the Type 56 rifle as well as the SKS. During the Cold War period, the Type 56 was exported to communist forces in the Third World. Many of these rifles found their way to battlefields in Africa, South-East Asia, and the Middle East during the Cold War era and were used alongside Kalashnikov rifles from both the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe.
Chinese support for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam before the mid-1960s meant that the Type 56 was frequently encountered by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, in the hands of either NVA soldiers or Viet Cong guerrillas. In fact, the Type 56 was discovered in enemy hands far more often than Russian-made AK-47s or AKMs. When relations between China and the North Vietnam government declined in the 1970s and the Sino-Vietnamese War began, the Vietnamese government still had large numbers of Type 56 rifles in its arsenals while the People's Liberation Army still used the Type 56 as its standard weapon. Thus, Chinese and Vietnamese forces fought each other using the same Chinese-made Type 56 rifles.
Type 69 RPG and Type 56-2.
A Chinese sailor, armed with a Type 56 assault rifle.During the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, many Chinese Typ...