Author Topic: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number  (Read 6732 times)

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Offline Bunker

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1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« on: March 28, 2016, 02:03:38 AM »
This one goes against the serial number theories.  Until now, I never seen a Type 56 Assault Rifle that didn't follow the theory laid out here.  Even if one were to subscribe to the model + millionths digit (s), it doesn't fly.  This one has provenance to back it up, unless there is some shenanigans going on, but I wouldn't think so.

It's an 11M rifle that was captured and presented in Feb 1965.  Thoughts?

http://www.rockislandauction.com/viewitem/aid/67/lid/3393








« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 02:38:39 AM by Bunker »

Offline Loose}{Cannon

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 04:42:23 AM »
Not sure...  Typo?   Im not seeing DD.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 04:55:27 AM by Loose}{Cannon »
      
1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms... It doesn't matter how many Lenins you get out on the street begging for them to be taken.

Offline running-man

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 08:51:21 AM »
Anything is possible Bunker. 

It could be a situation like with the T54's that production stopped and then restarted, but the restart did not follow the S/N convention.  Do you know of anything like this within the /66\ type 56 timeline?  We know that something like this happened between the 3 million /26\ and the 6 million /26\ SKSs with the letter guns filling at least one if not two years in between based on the feature set progression.  (as well as T53s, T54s, etc.)  It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the similarly dated type 56 AKs went through exactly the same process due to the Sino Soviet split...

It could be that the source journal was improperly transcribed when it was typed up into the "letter of authenticity" in 1999.  The DD603 would be the provenance I'd be looking for in this case, and like LC says, it's not with this package (and with this being a full auto Type 56, I'm wondering if it was even brought in via the legal channels and whether there was a DD issued or not).  I'd also really like to see the original handwritten (could it have been typed??) pages of the journal too.  It seems to me that those are the pages which should have been documented and notarized or at least included with the package - the original pages, not a typed (with fancy footnotes) summary of it.  That just seems off to me for some reason...

It could be that the events are all recounted from memory and not based on a journal at all.  The LOA seems quite detailed like it was taken form another source, but perhaps there actually isn't a journal and much of it was simply recounted by memory long after these events actually transpired?  For him to talk about going to dinner and whatnot, I can't see the source being an official duty log, though there are things in there that I would expect to see in an official log.  If recounted from memory, I could see a date moving a year off from when the event actually occurred.  Obviously there is some limit as to how far things could move such as if the guy was only enlisted up to 1965.  I'm not saying that the intent was to deceive, but it's clear the LOA was solely intended to boost the eventual selling price of the gun, which of course on an $25-$40k NFA item like this only adds a small $ value and in my mind actually sows seeds of doubt instead of removing them.  I just can't get past why they would type up this fancy LOA and not just include the darn source material itself...

It could also be that it is what it appears to be, an 11 mil Type 56 captured in very early 1965.  The early Feb. '65 capture date along with the pitting and stock discoloration would suggest to me that it was in use for a while before capture...likely built in '64 or even before.  Do the features indicate anything about helping date this one?  It would be interesting to compare/contrast it to other known 11 mil /66\ examples out there (if there are any)  Maybe the gun itself isn't what it appears to be... thumb1
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 11:34:57 AM by running-man »
      

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2016, 11:31:20 AM »
Fascinating piece. If I had a spare 40K and lived in a different state...  :))

http://www.rattler-firebird.org/vietnam/rosters/1965

Again, not the original document, but this posted roster suggests Lt.Col. (then Captain) Ohlenburger was deployed from November 1964 to November 1965.

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2016, 02:59:42 AM »
I realize this is not an AK forum, so for the most part Iíll just stay on topic with this 11M series rifle in question, as I believe this platform is also relevant to better understanding the Chinese dating methodology.  Why is this weapon important?  Itís because itís extremely difficult to factually pinpoint the production methodology and dating, and what I do know with a fairly high degree of certainty is the 11M Type 56 with the folding bayonet (1st variation) was very likely the earliest of this variant transferred to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV).  Earlier serial numbers of this variation may have been used by the PLA in China but if so, itís very unlikely any were transferred to the Hanoiís inventory, based on documented museum and bringback examples.  So by accurately dating this particular variant, it may be possible to backtrack by serial number blocks/years to a logical conclusion, used in conjunction with the other platforms outlined in the progression.  I don't know if that's even possible because this rifle threw a monkey wrench in my original thought process. 

The problem is most of the pre-amnesty Type 56 Assault Rifles were illegally brought back and no paperwork existed.  They may have been registered in the states after the fact but that doesnít help.  I have archived a lot of Vietnam era examples over the years and of those registered rifles in the US, I believe all were officially documented no earlier than 1968 and generally registered during the amnesty period.  Whatís really important is the captured date, not so much when it was registered, although the DD form is extremely important, especially with regards to provenance and in determining the value.  Most of the amnesty-registered examples that I have seen shed little help in this area.  For example, a 8M rifle captured and registered in 1968, does little to help determine a production date, other than knowing it was produced sometime prior to 1968.  Vietnam era dated photos are another very useful tool in this area but good, detailed photos are almost nonexistent.  Another point is very few owners publicly post detailed photos of their T56 assault rifle (s).  I have handled my share of these rifles over the years, so Iím fairly familiar with them.  Another point is, unlike the SKS, the sample size is very small.

What I do know is this variant with the permanently attached 240mm folding cruciform cross section spike bayonet first appeared on Chinese 11M series rifles and then again on 12M export variants and also on 13M series rifles.  There was also a spiker with a clamp-on type mount, for upgrading T56 rifles that didnít have the factory installed sight tower with the integral bayonet mount.  The clamp mount was secured onto the barrel by a bracket, just behind the front sight tower.  This clamp-on type mount would not be applicable for 11M series rifles.  This 11M RIA rifle in question appears to be legitimate from the few photos I see and the roster (although not an original document) Phosphorus32 posted, but I would love to see some detailed photos of the rifle broken down to be 100% certain.  That being said, I have no reason to doubt the legitimacy of this weapon.

Like most copies of the basic Soviet pattern, there were small design changes implemented by the Chinese.  Just like the SKS, Russian proofs and Russian parts were used on the early rifles.  For example, at least three different FSBs were used on the early rifles; as well as Russian rear sight leafs with Cyrillic battle sight markings and other small parts.  I have photos of some that definitely have Russian Type III FSBs and Cyrillic leaf markings .  Eleven million series rifle were well into production, so the likelihood of any Russian remnants would be virtually nonexistent. This rifle is consistent with other 11M bringbacks and museum examples but the date goes against any of the serial number dating theories.  As far as gaps in production, I have roughly 100 Vietnam era examples and 1M and 2M are the only serial number ranges I do not have an example of.  They may exist but I personally had never seen one and Iíve been looking for a long time.  Sounds a little familiar and may potentially play a role in the dating.  Also, the T56-1 milled underfolder variant was being produced during the same period and shared the serial blocks.  For example, T56s used early 3M serial numbers, while T56-1s used late 3M serial numbers.

Background: China produced a few different Type 56 fixed-stock, milled variants and also a milled M22 export variant, based on the Soviet Type III AK-47.  All of these variants were observed in Vietnam and were used by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) Guerrillas during the Vietnam War.  The Chinese Type 56 assault rifles with the forged/milled receivers were the most commonly encountered AK variant used by the NVA and VC, with the M22 export variant being the most common of the AKs encountered by American units.

A U.S. Army warehouse used to store captured enemy AK rifles during the Vietnam War. The vast majority of the weapons were eventually destroyed. (Photo by NARA)


The USA allocated the Foreign Mat»riel Number (FOM) 1005-5-2-7.62-2 to this weapon. The sequence indicated Federal supply category (1005), country designator (5), mat»riel subcategory - 'rifles' (2), calibre - 7.62mm (7) and specific item identifier (62-2). (Type 56 milled receiver variants)  Note: there is a separate FOM for 56-1 variants and stamped receiver variants.

Iíll briefly highlight a few examples on both sides of that serial number range just to show the differences surrounding the 11M variant, but the focus is the T56, 1st variation.

Type 56: Milled receiver; fixed wood stock; knife bayonet; factory designation, model and selector indications in Chinese characters; serial number, and hooded sight protector with hole for sight adjusting key. Note: many early rifles have smaller sized font. 

Markings: /66\五六式 (State Arms Factory 366 logo and ďType 56Ē Model Designation).  Selector Markings: 连 (pronounced as "Lian" and translates as "chain" or "join" or "link successively") and 单 (pronounced as "Dan" and translates as "single" or "only"). These are the equivalents of "automatic" and "single-shot" modes.  Note: This facility is located in Hei Long Jiang Province, located in northeast China.

1969: Serial number 5262524 captured in 1969 during the Damanskii Sino-Soviet conflict and currently located in the FSB Border Guard Museum.  I threw in this example only to highlight that T56 assault rifles, as well as other Chinese weapons, were used in other conflicts during the same era.  Konfrontasi is another example.  Note: Russian parts were still used as evident by the FSB.





1966: NVA Defector Sergeant Vu Tuan Anh, 33rd Regiment, 320th North Vietnamese Division holding his Type 56 rifle (SN: 9479711), which he brought with him when he defected.


1967: Type 56 (serno 10049350) was recovered from Vietnam in 1967 by a USMC Major (retired as USMC BGen) who served two tours in Vietnam and the rifle was registered by him in November 19, 1968 with a Form 4467. The name ďNONGOUANGĒ or ďNANGOUANGĒ is lightly etched into the buttstock, perhaps the name of the soldier to whom this rifle belonged to. Sold for $27,901,00 on November 17, 2008.










Chinese M22 (milled) export model: Type 56 rifle with no Chinese State Factory markings, only the M22 designation followed by serial number starting with íNí.  The purpose was to provide a ďsanitizedĒ rifle to underdeveloped Third World nations to conceal the weaponís origin.  The selector markings were marked L and D but translate to the exact same meaning as the Chinese characters.  Note: all other characteristics and features were the same as the Type 56 rifle.  M22s were designed exclusively for export sales and it is believed that there is no known folding bayonet variants of the M22.

1968 Amnesty registered M22 export variant, registered as Russian AK47 Model 22, under serno 07730. Note the ďK A BĒ marking forward of the bolt. All serial numbers match.  Collection of Carl ďBillĒ Morrison.  Sold for $42,500 on October 16, 2013.





Now, finally to the meat of my pointÖ.

Type 56 1st Variation (milled): Fixed wood stock; folding spike bayonet; milled receiver; factory designation, model and selector indications in Chinese characters; serial number and hooded sight protector with hole for sight adjusting key.

State Arms Factory Logo and Model Designation: /66\五六式 (State Arms Factory 366 logo and ďType 56Ē Model Designation) Selector Markings: 连 and 单.

The RIA 11M rifle in the original post is a 1st variation rifle and here is another Vietnam example displayed at National Museum of the U.S. Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia.  I have other examples but they are the same as the museum example.




Here's a comparison of the museum example and the RIA example.  They are virtually the same in all aspects.  (museum rifle on top, RIA example on bottom)




So now youíre asking why is this 11M example important.  Well, if one were to concede that this platform follows a similar dating methodology as the SKS and/or other Chinese weapons of this era, than the 1965 capture date is puzzling, as it doesnít fit any of the dating theories.  The earliest 1st variation that I can confirm is 1966 and thatís assuming itís an 11M series and not a 12M or 13M series, and that the photo date is 100% accurate, which I have no reason to doubt.

1966: photo was taken at the Kara Village in Cu Chi (Northwest of Saigon) in 1966.  Presumably an 11M series rifle.  1966 I could believe and thatís fits with the dating theory outlined on this forum but again, the 1965 RIA example baffles me.  I personally have not seen any documents or photos of any spikerís in country prior to 1966, until the 1965 RIA example.   


15 July 1967, ďOperation Market TimeĒ intercepted a trawler in the Sa Ky River. Once the battered hull of the infiltrator had been refloated, and its cargo removed, both were transported north to Da Nang.   Once the battered hull of the Sa Ky infiltrator had been refloated and its cargo removed, both were transported north to Da Nang, where these photos were taken.  Note the T56s Spikerís appear to be brand new. Too bad we donít know the serial numbers and markings on these, likely 11M or 12M series.

Remains of the trawler:


An inventory of the trawlerís cargo, as reported in the US Naval Forces Vietnam Summary of July 1967:



Photos of the infiltrator cargo taken in Da Nang:









Type 56, 2nd Variation (milled): Fixed wood stock; folding spike bayonet; milled receiver; factory designation and model indications in Chinese characters; selector indications L and D; serial number and hooded sight protector with hole for sight adjusting key.  The only difference between the 1st (11M) and 2nd (12M) variation is the selector markings.  The 2nd variation is an export variant.  I show this just for completenessÖ.13M was also the spiker variant.

1968: Serial Number 1210208x was picked up off a tributary of the Mekong Delta during the summer of 1968 (July or August). This weapon was featured in 2002 in Small Arms Review. Registered it in November 1968 with a Form 4467.



Serial Number 12104422 captured by New Zealand troops and registered as a New Zealand Vietnam bring back.



So, this whole thing just leaves more questions than answers for me.  Granted this platform is scarce in numbers and much more difficult to get good detailed photos and original documentation, but if the 1965 dated rifle is legit, which I believe it to be, I think it's safe to conclude T56 assault rifles don't follow the dating theories.  Another thought is that something may have potentially transpired during early production (1M, 2M range) that directly impacts the dating.  For example, if no 1M serial number rifles were produced, then the 1965 date would fit the progression on this forum.  Like I said earlier, of all the examples I have archived, I have yet to see a 1M or 2M example.  They may exist but I've never seen a Vietnam era example and I really never dug dig into China's exports post Sino-Vietnam War era.  For all I know 1M and 2M rifles may have been issued to the PLA and never exported during this era.  Seems the more I learn the less I know when it comes to the Chinese!

Offline running-man

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2016, 10:47:20 AM »
Awesome writeup Bunker!  thumb1

I've got some thoughts on it, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty clueless when it comes to Chinese AKs.  Simply not my cup of tea.  I'll see if I can get my thoughts down in a coherent fashion (and go back and reread your post as well) over my lunch break!
      

Offline running-man

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2016, 11:10:09 PM »
I had a nice reply typed out and my computer decided to crash 1/2 way through it.  cry1

At any rate, I was going to (and still will) ask some stupid noob questions because I don't have a clue and am taking this from a firehose.  I found a few interesting Type 56 AKs on a Japanese blog: http://detail-photos.jugem.jp  These are demilled, so they could be Frankenstein's monster builds from various sources. 

1st interesting type 56 AK I found is a /26\ type 56-1, S/N 28169157.  (Click on images to enlarge)

Full slideshow: http://s1352.photobucket.com/user/jelucer/slideshow/AK/28169157

2nd one is another /26\, stamped with a plain 56, S/N 35071842.  (Click on images to enlarge)

Full slideshow: http://s1352.photobucket.com/user/jelucer/slideshow/AK/35071842

I picked the /26\ guns because in the SKS world, /26\ is the gold standard.  We know from the VN SKS captures that the dating system we use must be very close (within one or two years off at most).  These ones I show above don't have the Chinese characters, instead they have arabic numerals noting the 56 and 56-1.  (Maybe that disqualifies a direct comparison of these to the OP?)

My first stupid question is "Do the progressions of this 28 mil T56-1 coming first and this 35 mil T56 coming afterwards make sense?" 
Second would be "If we try to force the dating scheme on these guns, would build years of 1983 and 1990 make sense? (I'd guess no, but honestly I have no idea how long /26\ continued to make T56 and T56-1s.)
Third, I ran across many (386) guns with numbers like 91148, 00548 and 037.  Were these very late non-military builds or maybe guns converted for the semi-auto market?

« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 10:58:52 AM by running-man »
      

Offline Loose}{Cannon

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2016, 04:19:22 PM »
Heck...  The AK t56 may have been adopted in 1956, but did they start making them in 56 or was it actually 1957?     think1
      
1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms... It doesn't matter how many Lenins you get out on the street begging for them to be taken.

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2016, 10:38:59 PM »
That is a mountain of interesting information and history Bunker.  Thanks!   thumb1

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Re: 1965 Type 56 Assault Rifle with 11M Serial Number
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2016, 04:33:04 AM »
I had a nice reply typed out and my computer decided to crash 1/2 way through it.  cry1

At any rate, I was going to (and still will) ask some stupid noob questions because I don't have a clue and am taking this from a firehose.  I found a few interesting Type 56 AKs on a Japanese blog: http://detail-photos.jugem.jp  These are demilled, so they could be Frankenstein's monster builds from various sources. 

1st interesting type 56 AK I found is a /26\ type 56-1, S/N 28169157.  (Click on images to enlarge)

Full slideshow: http://s1352.photobucket.com/user/jelucer/slideshow/AK/28169157

2nd one is another /26\, stamped with a plain 56, S/N 35071842.  (Click on images to enlarge)

Full slideshow: http://s1352.photobucket.com/user/jelucer/slideshow/AK/35071842

I picked the /26\ guns because in the SKS world, /26\ is the gold standard.  We know from the VN SKS captures that the dating system we use must be very close (within one or two years off at most).  These ones I show above don't have the Chinese characters, instead they have arabic numerals noting the 56 and 56-1.  (Maybe that disqualifies a direct comparison of these to the OP?)

My first stupid question is "Do the progressions of this 28 mil T56-1 coming first and this 35 mil T56 coming afterwards make sense?" 
Second would be "If we try to force the dating scheme on these guns, would build years of 1983 and 1990 make sense? (I'd guess no, but honestly I have no idea how long /26\ continued to make T56 and T56-1s.)
Third, I ran across many (386) guns with numbers like 91148, 00548 and 037.  Were these very late non-military builds or maybe guns converted for the semi-auto market?

Sorry RMÖI didnít see your question as I was MIA for a while.

My focus with this platform has primarily been with Vietnam War era T56s and supposedly all of those supplied to Hanoi came out of State Arms Factory 366 /66\ from what we know from museum examples, documented Vietnam bringbacks and books from various authors, to include Chinese authors. Supposedly the M22s used during the Vietnam War were also produced at Factory 366. When it comes to the T56 assault rifle, the gold standard, so to speak, is Factory 366. I say that because those are the ones we actually have credible documentation and provenance on, similar to /26\ SKS rifles.

That being said, the PLA was issued and used T56 assault rifles (multiple variants) during the border conflicts (~1979 - ~1989). The ones that Iíve seen with any credible documentation were /26\ rifles, either museum examples or demilled rifles that claim to have been used during the border conflicts. What I really donít know, as I havenít really researched this area in any depth, is when did /26\ start producing this weapon and if they follow the normal pattern weíd expect to see. Another interesting point about the /26\ T56 variants is all the ones that Iíve seen appear to use export markings. I have no idea if /26\ T56s were used domestically and if so, weather they were marked with the standard Chinese markings. Here are a few photos showing a few of the variants used by the PLA during the border conflicts.

1979: Note the phenolic resin furniture, indicative of T56s produced starting during this timeframe. Iíve never seen any examples with this furniture or /26\ produced T56s used by the NVA or VC during the Vietnam War. I have no evidence to support that any /26\ T56s were ever exported to Hanoi during the Vietnam War.


1984: PLA border conflicts.




PLA Solder with T56-2 sidefolder, unknown date but late during the border conflicts.


RM: My first stupid question is "Do the progressions of this 28 mil T56-1 coming first and this 35 mil T56 coming afterwards make sense?" 

Yes, perfect sense. The 28M T56-1 example depicted has a milled receiver with phenolic resin furniture. The different variants (i.e., T56, T56-1, etc) were produced concurrently, so there were T56s and T56-1s in the same serial number series produced within the same year (s).

RM: Second would be "If we try to force the dating scheme on these guns, would build years of 1983 and 1990 make sense? (I'd guess no, but honestly I have no idea how long /26\ continued to make T56 and T56-1s.)

Yes, that would make sense and we know /26\ T56 variants were exported all over the world, and that is an area I havenít really dug into at any depth. Frankly because itís just to difficult to pin down much of anything with any degree of certainty.

Here are /26\ T56-1 26M, 27M, 29M and 30M examples that were supposedly used during the border conflicts thatís basically the same as the 28M rifle you referenced.  What would seem odd is the L/D selector markings and lack of Chinese model markings if these were used by the PLA.  Generally PLA issued weapons had Chinese markings, so another question mark for me. Currently a 27M rifle falls within the border conflict years, if we use the dating convention outlined on this forum. The problem here is we have very few examples and almost no provenance with these rifles to draw any reasonable conclusion. Also, a lot of the demilled T56s appear to be refinished. A lot of them just appear too nice and no signs of combat use.

26M /26\ T56-1: Museum example with phenolic resin furniture.



26M /26\ T56-1 example (likely demilled):




27M /26\ T56-1 (likely demilled):




29M /26\ T56-1 museum example:



In contrast to your stamped /26\ 35M example, here is a stamped 36M /66\ T56-1. Both the 35M and 36M would be post Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts period, assuming dating convention used on this forum. Note the Chinese markings, unlike all of the /26\ rifles. These are the markings weíd except to see on weapons issued to the PLA, so those export markings remain a question mark for me, assuming the PLA used them.




RM: Third, I ran across many (386) guns with numbers like 91148, 00548 and 037.  Were these very late non-military builds or maybe guns converted for the semi-auto market?

If military configuration, very likely exported to one of the many countries they exported these to. In my view itís nearly impossible to make ends meat out of all the post Vietnam era T56s transferred or exported to all the third-world countries they sent these to. What I do know for sure is when the T56 was phrased out, many designated factories in China continued to produce these legacy weapons in large numbers for export purposes to help fund Chinaís military, plus they set up factories in other countries as well (e.g., Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc). Iíve seen post Vietnam era T56 (milled, stamped), T56-1 (milled, stamped), T56-2 (stamped) and M24 (stamped) rifles that were exported to a bunch of different countries with all kinds of different markings and all sorts of oddities. I have several reports from various regions and countries and examples from a lot of factories. Just at a quick look through what I have archived, I have examples from the following: 26, 36, 56, 66, 68, 266, 313, 356, 386, 416, 626, 962, 976, 5506, 9236, 9336, 9616. Here are a couple of recent reports (just the photos) for reference and to give you an idea of how difficult it is to pinpoint the Chinese production post Vietnam War.

Captured Islamic State /66\ T56-1, Kobane, Syria (April, 2015):


Captured T56s from Central African Region (CAR), July 2014 United Nations report:





Captured T56s from Rwanda:

T56: Factories 26, 36, 66. 386 were captured; Both Chinese character markings and export markings.


T56-1: Factories 26, 36, 66. 386 were captured; Both Chinese character markings and export markings.


T56-2: Factories 26, 36, 66. 386 were captured; Both Chinese character markings and export markings.


Here is a recent Iranian capture at sea (April, 2016).




Sorry I couldnít have been more help with the /26\ T56s but post Vietnam War T56s are not my focus area as it relates to this weapon. Itís extremely difficult to find any credible documentation post Vietnam War on these weapons and they have been exported all over the world, so when we do see one, no telling how many hands its passed through and when it was exported. There have been reports that detail some of the shipments but even those are so general and vague for what we are looking for.