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Bangladesh Army Organization

Zia reorganized the army following the military upheavals of the mid-1970s, in part to prevent coups and jawan uprisings. Under Zia's program, the reorganization was intended to neutralize rival factions of freedom fighters and repatriates. Bangladesh was divided into five military regions. The army -- cooperating with civilian authorities while maintaining autonomy -- preserved internal security and resisted possible Indian domination. Divisions coordinated their operations with paramilitary groups in their respective areas of command, and they mobilized mass support of the government.

9 Infantry Division Savar Area (Dhaka)
11 Infantry Division Bogra Area
19 Infantry Division Mymensingh Area
24 Infantry Division Chittagong Area
33 Infantry Division Comilla Area
55 Infantry Division Jessore Area
66 Infantry Division Rangpur Area
? 22 Infantry Division Syedpur Area
? Infantry Division (New raising, ?Khulna)
? Infantry Division (New raising, ?Sylhet)
The army in 1988 was divided into six strategically located divisions. The location of these divisions' headquarters, five of which were formerly brigade headquarters, underscored the army's primary mission of internal security rather than defense against external threats. As of 2009 it was reported by orbat.com that the Army consisted of ten divisions, of which two were raising at that time. They were deployed to support the Army's primary internal security mission, rather than postured to defend against external threats. It was reported by orbat.com that divisions with 2 brigades were being expanded to 3 brigades each. After the raising of a mechanized brigade to complement the armored brigade, an armored / mechanized division was planned. As of 2009 it was unclear to whether the division to which the armored brigade was then assigned would be redesignated, or if a new division would be raised.

As of 2012, the official Army website only attested seven regions. The Ghatail Area identified on the army official website is not attested in other open-source lists. And the Mymensingh Area and Syedpur Area which appear on open source lists are not identified on the Army website.

The most powerful and prestigious commands were the Ninth Infantry Division, headquartered at Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka, and the Twenty-fourth Infantry Division, headquartered in the city of Chittagong. Elements of both divisions have been involved extensively in the military upheavals that have plagued Bangladesh since independence. Although the Ninth Infantry Division has an armor regiment, the Twenty-fourth Infantry Division does not. The Ninth Infantry Division has played a central role in staging coups and maintaining military governments once they were in power. According to one observer of the Bangladesh Army, "the role of the Savar division would be crucial in any military coup."

The Twenty- fourth Infantry Division, with four brigades, had conducted counterinsurgency operations against tribal guerrillas in the Chittagong Hills since the late 1970s. The army garrison at Chittagong was the site of the coup of May 30, 1981, that resulted in Zia's murder. Other infantry divisions were headquartered at Jessore (the Fifty-fifth), Bogra (the Eleventh), and Comilla (the Thirty-third). Each of these divisions had an armor regiment. In April 1988, a sixth infantry division (the Sixty-sixth) was formally established with headquarters at Rangpur, and plans were in place to raise its armor regiment. The major generals who commanded the six divisions, along with the army chief of staff, formed the center of power within the army and, by extension, within the government, in the late 1980s.

By the late 1980s Army formations subordinate to the six division headquarters included fifteen infantry brigades, four armor regiments, nine artillery regiments, six engineering battalions, and various support elements, such as signals, medical services, and ordnance. In addition to the six division headquarters, major army cantonments (barracks and housing areas that serve as the focal point of army life) were at Saidpur, Tangail, Khulna, Jalalabad, and elsewhere.

The army also had a small fixed-wing regiment stationed in Dhaka. Army units are not known to operate with the navy in an amphibious assault capacity, although an amphibious assault map exercise is done at the staff college. The army's lack of bridging equipment was a severe liability, especially for its armor regiments. Unlike armies in Pakistan and India, the Bangladesh Army did not have a specially designated "para" (airborne assault) brigade but in 1988 was planning to develop such a capability. In mid-1988 the army reportedly was planning to raise a seventh infantry division to be held in reserve.

Bangladesh Army went through the process of expansion and modernization in all respects with the passage of time. Government has adopted long terms expansion and modernization plan of the army under ‘Forces Goal 2030’. Forces Goal 2030 is a military modernization program of the Bangladesh Armed Forces which began in 2009 and revised in 2017. In the process, two Infantry Division Headquarter and a Composite Brigade Headquarters have been raised. Moreover, massive organizational transformation has been carried out in many military outfits.

As of 2020 the size of the army in Bangladesh was 300,000+ active and 480,000+ reserve personnel with a total of 660,000+. In wartime situations, BGB, police, Ansar, VDP and BNCC cadets will go directly under the army. At that time the Bangladesh Army was divided into 8 infantry divisions with 23 brigades spread across the country. It has an Armored (Armored) Brigade (2 Armored Regiment), 6 Artillery Brigades, 1 Self-Employed Air-Defense Artillery Brigade, 1 Engineers Brigade, 1 Commando Battalion and 2 Aviation Squadrons.

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Page last modified: 06-06-2021 18:23:52 ZULU