Military


Beijing Military Region
Beijing Military Area Command

The Beijing Military Region is the largest MR, based on troop strength, of the entire PLA ground force. It is comprised of five group armies, two garrisons and three military districts. In addition to the forces assigned to the group armies, several units report directly to the MR including two anti-aircraft artillery brigades, an armored brigade (believed to be the 28th Armored Brigade), a helicopter unit, a special operations unit, a water supply regiment, a reserve logistics brigade, a combined arms tactical training base and a tankmen training base.

The Beijing Military Region is one of seven military regions for the Chinese People's Liberation Army. It has administration of all military affairs within Beijing city, Tianjin city, Hebei province, Shanxi province, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The Region is mainly responsible for defending the People's Republic of China from Mongolia and Russia, and also protects the capital of Beijing, with the largest number of military personnel of any of the seven regions.

The command has about 300,000 personnel, consisting of three group armies (the 27th Army, 38th Army, and the 65th Army), two armored divisions, one mechanized infantry division, five motorized divisions, one artillery division, three armored, seven motorized infantry, four artillery, a total of five various anti-aircraft brigades, and one anti-tank regiment.The command is also augmented by the Capital Garrison, which consists of the 1st and 3rd Capital Garrison Divisions (Police), and is also home to the PLA Navy (PLAN) North Sea Fleet and the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) 10th Air Force Corps.

In reductions announced in September 2003, the 24th Group Army (Hebei), and the 63rd Group Army (Shanxi) were both disbanded. Over the course of the 2003 reductions cycle, the 114th Mechanised Infantry Division of the 38th Group Army, the 70th Division of the 24th Group Army, two artillery brigades, and an anti-aircraft artillery brigade appear to have been dropped from the force.

The Beijing Military Region traces its lineage to the establishment of the North China Military Region in May 1948. It was renamed the Beijing Military Region in 1955. When the Inner Mongolia MR was downgraded to a district, it was folded into the Beijing MR.

The Beijing MR is primarily charged with protecting the capital. Because of its location in the capital, the Beijing Military Region is the most important of the seven military regions. Its importance is also seen in that it maintains six group armies (GA), the most of any military region, under its direct control. Each unit from the Beijing Military Region contributed forces to Beijing in the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989 and these elements remained deployed in Beijing long after the initial assault on the unan-ned demonstrators in the capital.

During the troop reductions of the late 1990s the Beijing MR's 28th Group Army (51361 Unit) was disbanded. The Group Army's AAA Brigade (unit 51363) was disbanded and the 28th Armored Division (the 52875 Unit) may have been downsized to a brigade which may be an independent subordinate of the Military Region. [Blasko p. 327.] The listing for the downsized brigade has consistently been listed in the PRC Directory of Military Personalities as an unidentified armored brigade commanded by Secior Colonel Zhang Li since the 2000 edition of the publication. In the 2001 edition the brigade was designated as the 66378 Unit and in 2002 the unit was identified as being located in Datong, Shanxi.

Two other units from the 28th Group Army, an infantry brigade that had been downsized from a division (51366 Unit, now the 66148 Unit) and an artillery brigade (51379 Unit, now the 66054 Unit) had been transferred to the 63rd Group Army.

The Tianjin Garrison was comprised of the 196th Infantry Brigade, located near Yangcun near Tianjin.

The Beijing Military Region is comprised of five group armies, two garrisons, and three military districts. Two training bases, a helicopter unit, a special operations unit, a water supply engineer regiment, a reserve logistics brigade, an armored brigade and possibly two anti-aircraft artillery brigades report directly to the Military Region's headquarters.

In September 2003 Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po reported that as part of the 200,000 troop reduction announced by the Chinese government, the 24th Group Army would be inactivated along with two other group armies, the 23rd and the 63rd. It is not clear if the troop reduction will include the inactivation of the Group Army's subordinate units. A new airport at the Zhurihe Training Base under the Beijing Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) was completed in summer of 2012 in the hinterland of the grassland in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Paratroopers can be soon airdropped to the vast grassland for drill and then return by transport aircraft. In the past, due to the absence of airports in some unfamiliar training fields, the airborne troops had to travel long way to return to their home bases by trains or buses after fulfilling long-distance airdropping drills, which greatly reduced the efficiency of their all-area combat training. Not only the PLA airborne force can be airdropped to the northern vast desert for training and return to their home bases on the very day, but also the planes of air force aviation troop units, naval aviation troop units and army aviation troop units of the PLA can land at the airport of the training base to conduct joint drills with armored troop units of the PLA ground force.

It covers a land area of over 1,000 square kilometers and is the PLA's only training base for launching joint air-ground and actual-troop campaign exercise of group army scale. In the past decade, more than 100 ground-air joint tactical actual-troop or online confrontational exercises for troop units were directed and supported in this training base. Hundreds of thousands of officers and men,in another word, nearly one hundred divisions and brigades led by over 1,000 commanders at group army, division and brigade levels conducted drills here one after another.

The PLA's first actual-troop exercise in complex electromagnetic environment was conducted here. In late autumn of 2008, a total of over 110 military observers from 36 countries watched an exercise in the grassland, and one foreign military observer said the Chinese military had taken solid steps in its training in complex electromagnetic environment. It features complete battlefield functions and is equipped with advanced facilities. The base possesses digital monitoring and assessment system, and is the first to adopt the digital one-thousand-score quantified assessment mode to monitor and assess the troop units participating in the exercise in whole process with time accuracy in seconds. A professional "Blue Army" is stationed here all year long and ready to carry out laser-simulation combat exercises at any time with various troop units of the PLA.

References

  • Dennis J. Blasko. "PLA Ground Forces: Moving Toward a Smaller, More Rapidly Deployable, Modern Combined Arms Force" The People's Liberation Army as Organization: Reference Volume v1.0, James C. Mulvenon and Andrew N. D. Yang eds. (Santa Monico: RAND; 2002)
  • "PLA to Disband Three Major Group Armies in Current Troop Reductions" Wen Wei Po [Hong Kong] 9 Sept. 2003 (FBIS-CHI-2003-0909)
  • "Wu Shuangshan Appointed PRC Armed Police Commander" Ming Pao [Hong Kong] 3 Jan. 2000 (FBIS-CHI-2000-0103)
  • "People's Liberation Army - Order of Battle" by Xinhui @ China Defense.com 6 Aug. 2002

A Year in the Life of Beijing Military Region

According to Zhanyou Bao, Beijing MR will train 1.3 million college and middle school students annually from 2002 thru 2005. Over the previous decade, the MR had trained roughly 2.2 million students. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 3 Sep 2002 (PLA Activities Report Sep 2002)]

The Beijing MR's Combined Arms Tactical Training Base was the site of the first joint combat exercise between active and reserve units of the PLA. On August 25, 2002 on a plateau outside the Great Wall an unidentified motorized infantry brigade and a motorized infantry regiment from a reserve division conducted operations against a blue force unit. The exercise lasted roughly 25 days and consisted of three stages, rapid mobilization, long-distance mobility, and opposed force combat drills. The exercise was designed to determine the effectiveness of the reserve unit. Some 1,500 reserve officers and enlisted personnel from 48 townships deployed for the exercise. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao and Xinhua Daily Telegraph 3 Sep 2002 (PLA Activities Report Sep 2002)]

In September 2002 an unidentified motorized infantry brigade conducted exercises with new equipment at a training location north of the Great Wall. This brigade had been downsized from a division and was re-equipped with new infantry fighting vehicles and tanks. According to the report, the unit received the new equipment sometime during the previous year, though it is unclear when the reorganization took place. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 24 Oct 2002 (PLA Activities Report Oct 2002)]

In early Autumn 2002 an unidentified air defense brigade (possible the 66440 unit, a mechanized air defense brigade) conducted field exercises that stressed long-range maneuver with all of its equipment and personnel. During live-fire drills the unit is reported to have achieved a perfect score. [Liberation Army Daily 3 Oct 2003 (PLA Activities Report Oct 2002)]

The PLA Activities Report's summary of a Liberation Army Daily story from November 6, 2002 indicates that an unidentified mechanized infantry division (probably with the 38th Mechanized Group Army) conducted training exercises at the military regions Combined Arms Tactical Training Base in late Autumn 2002. The exercises consisting of opposing forces, allowed soldiers to train with "advanced communications systems" which Red Force soldiers were able to use without interruption despite jamming by Blue Force units. Furthermore, these exercises allowed the division to train with its new minesweepers that has an electromagnetic and rocket mine-sweeping capabilities. The account also indicates that the division has new infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, and air-ground three dimensional fire net. [Liberation Army Daily 6 Nov 2003 (PLA Activities Report Nov 2002)]

An unidentified armored regiment, commanded by a Zhang Jinghua (not listed in the Directory), that is part of the Beijing Military Region, was cited in November 2002 as having developed new tactics and strategy regarding communications security and anti-jamming methods. The unit has also been working on NBC defense. It is not clear if this unit is assigned to one of the subordinate group armies or if this unit is an independent brigade or regiment directly subordinate to the military region.

In December 2002 an unidentified Anti-Aircraft Brigade conducted live-fire exercises near the Bohai Sea. The unit is considered a "pilot unit" tasked by the military region command to reform live-fire tactics stressing "Three Strike and Three Defense" drills. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 10 Dec 2002 (PLA Activities Report Dec 2002)]

Also in December 2002, an unidentified armored division conducted opposing forces exercises near the Great Wall to test new armaments that the unit had recently received. The exercises also involved joint operations with PLAAF aircraft and with Army Aviation assets. While acting as the Red Force, the unit was able to overcome the air and electromagnetic superiority and of the Blue Force. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 21 Dec 2002 (PLA Activities Report Dec 2002)]

A motorized infantry brigade, commanded by Guo Jiuyin, conducted winter adaptability training in the Gobi region in the Winter 2002-3. The unit tested rapid dispersal and concealment techniques as well as new camouflage devices. The unit also drilled in anti-air tactics. [Liberation Army Daily 27 Dec 2002 (PLA Activities Report Dec 2002)]

In January 2003 roughly 100,000 soldiers from the Beijing Military Region began conducting winter training exercises from the Bohai Sea to the banks of the Yellow River in addition to the Gobi Desert. The exercises were characterized as the largest conducted by the MR and consisted of rapid mobalization and movement and simulations involving air defense and electronic warfare. The exercises lasted for roughly one week. Soldiers lived in the field. [PLA Activities Report January 2003 / Zhanyou Bao 9 Jan 2003)

In January 2003 an unidentified division conducted "winter adaptability" training near the Taihang Mountains which consisted of opposed force exercises. Fenduis were given the opportunity to train in a mountainous environment and refresh ambush and counter-ambush tactics. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 21 Jan 2003 (PLA Activities Report Jan 2003)]

An unidentified Armored Division (probably the 6th Armored Division) has recently intensified its training to incorporate information technology. According to the Liberation Army Daily (7 Jan 2003) the unit and its sub-elements are demonstrating better battlefield awareness and interconnectivity. [Liberation Army Daily 7 Jan 2003 (PLA Activities Report Jan 2003)]

In January 2003 an unidentified division conducted "winter adaptability" training near the Taihang Mountains which consisted of opposed force exercises. Fenduis were given the opportunity to train in a mountainous environment and refresh ambush and counter-ambush tactics. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 21 Jan 2003 (PLA Activities Report Jan 2003)]

According Beijing MR's Zhanyou Bao on February 8, 2003 an unidentified infantry regiment has been improving its amphibious warfare capabalities by insuring that roughly 95 percent of its soldiers can swim with equipment and weapons. One company within the regiment was able to complete a 1,000 meters swim in 30 minutes. Amphibious operations are not the units primary mission but rather, it has been working to improve its skills in desert and mountain wargare as well. [Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 8 Feb 2003 (PLA Activities Report Feb 2003)]

The PLA Activities Report indicates that the Beijing MR's Zhanyou Bao identified a "Red Army Regiment" commaded by a Li. The unit, which is believed to be part of the 193rd Division. The regiment was conducting mobility exercises in Northwest Hebei using a new battlefield management system and data connections with its subordinate battalions and companies. According to the story the unit has a rapid reaction capability.

References

  • Directory of PRC Military Personalities November 2002
  • Directory of PRC Military Personalities Serold Hawaii Inc, June 1998
  • PLA Activities Report September 2002 [Compiled by Serold Hawaii, Inc.]
  • PLA Activities Report October 2002 [Compiled by Serold Hawaii, Inc.]
  • PLA Activities Report November 2002 [Compiled by Serold Hawaii, Inc.]
  • PLA Activities Report December 2002 [Compiled by Serold Hawaii, Inc.]
  • PLA Activities Report January 2003 [Compiled by Serold Hawaii, Inc.]
  • PLA Activities Report February 2003 [Compiled by Serold Hawaii, Inc.]



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