75th Group Army
The 76th Group Army of the Chinese People's Liberation Army is affiliated to the Army of the Western Theater and the military headquarters is located in Xining City, Qinghai Province.
The group army comprises various modern units such as infantry, artillery, armored signal, antichemical warfare, engineer, air defense, air, and electronic countermeasure units. Though Group Armies often are considered to be corps-sized units, in reality they control many fewer personnel and units than do corps in the US military. A group army with an all brigade maneuver force would be more comparable to a US division than a corps. After the reductions of the late 1990s, the variation in group army structure has increased considerably from previous years. In the 1990s, a Group Army could vary in size from 65,000 to 100,000+ personneL, but by 2020 the totals were about half these numbers.
After the formation of the 76th Army of the Army in 2017, it has jurisdiction over:
- 12th Heavy Combined-Arms Brigade
- 17th Heavy Combined-Arms Brigade
- 56th Light Combined-Arms Brigade
- 62nd Heavy Combined-Arms Brigade
- 149th Medium Combined-Arms Brigade
- 182nd Light Combined-Arms Brigade
- 76th Special Operations Brigade
- 76th Army Air Force Brigade
- 76th Artillery Brigade
- 76th Air Defense Brigade
- 76th Brigade of Engineering Chemical Prevention
- 76th Service Support Brigade
The official English version of the 2013 "China National Defense White Paper" does not use the term "group army", but refers to China's "combined corps". The State Council Information Office, April 2013 release "Diversified Employment at The Armed Forces of China" stated: "The PLAA mobile operational units include 18 combined corps , plus additional independent combined operational divisions (brigades), and have a total strength of 850,000. The combined corps , composed of divisions and brigades, are respectively under the seven military area commands (MACs)". By force of custom, these units are still called Group Armies.
The group armies are the main part of the PLA. In November 2015, the Central Military Commission held a three-day PLA reform meeting in Beijing, during which President Xi Jinping, also the chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave guidelines on reform. After the reshuffle, the People's Liberation Army was regrouped into five new theater commands to replace the former seven military area commands. China announced a military reshuffle with 84 newly adjusted or established corps-level units. The change in designation is significant. In the past, armies only included the PLA army, but in the future, the air force, navy and Rocket Forces will also be included in the group armies and given a new designation. The previous 18 group armies have been reorganized into 13 new ones. All major combat units of the PLA follow a group army-brigade-battalion system.
In 2017, based on the existing 18 Group Armies were adjusted, 13 Group Armies and formed. China's military established five Theater Commands for its operations on 01 February 2016, realigning forces previously distributed under 7 Military Regions. In this round of deepening national defense and military reforms, after the establishment of the army's leading institutions and theaters, in accordance with the principle of "the general management of the military commission, the theater's main battle, and the service's construction", the 18 group armies that previously belonged to the original seven military regions were reassigned to each theater. On 27 April 2017 the Central Military Commission decision adjust the formation of the original 18 Group Armies into 13 newly formed Group Armies. with each of the five Theater Commands. After adjustment, the army forces in each theater had jurisdiction over 2 to 3 Group Armies that are relatively balanced.
The new Group Armies are new units without prior history, rather than a simple renumbering of units that otherwise retained their unit history. The authors of wikipedia mistakenly report that the new Group Armies are redesignations of existing units. For instance, it is reported that "The 78th Group Army ... was established in 2017, by seemingly a redesignation of the former 16th Group Army." But the legacy Group Armies had survived a variety of reshuffles prior to 2017, and if the intent had simply been to tidy up the organzation charts the legacy unit designation could have been preserved, which it was not.
In combat, individual exploits and personal valor are important, but team effort wins the fight. The military pays close attention to team performance, to the organizations in which its soldiers serve and fight, and to the flags and colors that symbolize those organizations. In the same way that patriots fight for their country's flag, in many Armies of the world, soldiers fight for their unit colors. The older an organization, the more soldiers, both active and retired, had the opportunity of serving in and identifying with it and the more opportunities the organization had to win battle honors. In the US Army the term reflagging was coined in the 1980s to describe the phenomenon formerly called a "transfer less personnel and equipment." For those soldiers who have served in the "Big Red One," the "Wolfhounds," or "The Blackhorse Regiment," unit pride is very much a part of their lives. In the US Army, the adoption of the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) in 1957 to provide a flexible regimental structure that would permit perpetuation of unit history and tradition.
But this is precively contrary to the reforms of 2015-2017, the intent of which was to completely reboot the upper echelons of the Chinese military. The PLA did not have well established patterns of rotating officers among commands, unlike the US military which has long rotated officers every few years to avoid the emergence of local cliques. Instead, an officer might spend his entire career in series of vertial promotions within the same geographic unit. The 2015-2017 aimed to break up this pattern, which would help to defeat strutures of corruption and nepotism, as well as establish an officer corps and command struture that clearly owed its position [and loyalty] to Chairman Xi Jinping.
The units that have been awarded the honorary title are:
- Red Army Division : The 61st Division of the 21st Army Infantry (formerly the Red 28th Army of Dabie Mountain)
- Red Army : The 181st Regiment of the 61st Division of the Infantry Division of the former Army 21st Army, the 182nd Regiment of the 61st Division of the Infantry Division of the former Army 21st Army (formerly the 7th and 8th Regiments of the New Fourth Army )
- Diamond Regiment : The 181st Regiment of the 61st Division of the Army Infantry of the 21st Army Group
- Iron Hammer Regiment : the first 182nd regiment of the 61st Division of the former Army 21st Infantry
- Iron and Steel Regiment : Former Army No. 21st Army Infantry No. 61 Division No. 183 Regiment
- Attacking heroic company : the nineteenth company of the first eighty-two regiment of the sixty-first division of the 21st Army Infantry of the former Army. Transferred to the Army Seventy-sixth Army in 2017
- Eighth Company of Heroes : Eighth Company of the 1st Eighth Regiment of the Sixty-third Division of the Former Army 21st Infantry Group
- Qiu Shaoyun was in the company before his death : Former Army 47th Army Brigade, 3rd Battalion, 9th Company. Transferred to the 76th Army of the Army in 2017
- Xuefeng exemplary company , united combat exemplary company : the eighth company of a special brigade of the former Army 21st Army. Transferred to the Army Seventy-sixth Army in 2017
- Advance into the heroic company of Dabie Mountain : the former company of the forty-seventh group of the army's infantry, the 411st division, the 421st regiment, the 7th company. Transferred to the Army Seventy-sixth Army in 2017
- Surprisingly winning the company of heroes : transferred to the 76th Army of the Army in 2017
- Red Sharp Knife Company : transferred to the 76th Army of the Army in 2017
- Pioneer Company in Tibet : Red Brigade of a brigade of the 21st Army of the former Army. Transferred to the Army Seventy-sixth Army in 2017
- Night Moon Mountain Hero Class : Transferred to the Army Seventy-sixth Army in 2017
In preparation for potential plateau warfare, China used, for the first time, some of its most powerful weapons and equipment, including Type 99A main battle tanks and battlefield robots to a snow-covered plateau in combat exercises. Taking part in the exercises at an elevation of 4,200 meters was a combined brigade under the 76th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), who conducted mock battles using live ammunition, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on 19 August 2019. The report did not identify the area, but such a terrain is usually found in western China. Weapons and equipment, including Type 99A tanks and battlefield robots used for mine sweeping and reconnaissance, were deployed for the first time in a plateau, the CCTV report said. Heavy weapons will usually suffer from the lack of oxygen on plateaus, military analysts said. "Switching from the plains to a plateau, the tanks' mobility and assault capabilities suffered, so we devised some tactics that best suit plateaus. Our goal is to maximize these new weapons' combat readiness in a potential plateau warfare," Fan Hailong, an officer with the 76th Group Army, told CCTV. Groups of tanks and armored vehicles attached to the 76th Group Army under the PLA Western Theater Command also conducted a long-distance maneuver on 14 May 2020, according to Chinese military media outlet China Military. The mobilization operation came at a time when China and India face a new wave of tensions due to high altitude border issues, as reports said both sides had reinforced their border defenses.
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