People's Liberation Army - Ground Forces / PLA Army
The Army was responsible primarily for military operations on land. Traditionally, China's ground forces have been highly cohesive, patriotic, physically fit, and well trained in basic skills. In addition, they are generally strong in operational and communications security, as well as in the use of camouflage, concealment, and deception. Major weaknesses are lack of transport and logistic support. Ground force leadership, training in combined operations, and morale are poor. Most soldiers who enter the army are peasants with a poor education, and perhaps a quarter of China's ground force personnel leave active duty each year - draftees who have completed their two year term of service. Consequently, the PLA lacks a large body of experienced professional soldiers who are trained to operate sophisticated equipment.
At present, the Army has no independent leading organ, and the functions of the leading organ are exercised by the four general headquarters/departments. The seven military area commands, namely, those of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, exercise direct leadership over the Army units under their command.
The Army includes units of mobile operational, garrison, border and coastal defense, and reserve troops. The organizational order of these units was combined corps, division (brigade), regiment, battalion, company, platoon and squad. Directly under a military area command, a combined corps consists of divisions or brigades, and acts as a basic formation at the operational level. Directly under a combined corps, a division consists of regiments and acts as a basic formation at the tactical level. Directly under a combined corps, a brigade consists of battalions, and acts as a formation at the tactical level. Normally under a division, a regiment consists of battalions, and acts as a basic tactical unit. Normally under a regiment or brigade, a battalion consists of companies, and acts as a tactical element at a higher level. A company consists of platoons, and acts as a basic tactical element. The Army mobile operational units include 18 combined corps and some independent combined operational divisions (brigades).
The Army has as arms infantry, armor, artillery, air defense, Army aviation, engineering, chemical defense and communications, as well as other specialized units such as those of electronic counter-measure (ECM), reconnaissance and mapping. The infantry, maneuvering and operating on foot or on armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles, was composed of mountain infantry, motorized infantry and mechanized infantry (armored infantry). The armored corps (tank corps), equipped basically with tanks and other armored vehicles and support vehicles, carries out ground assaults.
The artillery corps, equipped basically with artillery for suppression and anti-tank purposes, and missiles for antitank and other operational-tactical purposes, carries out ground fire strikes. The air defense corps, equipped basically with anti-aircraft artillery and ground-to-air missile systems, carries out ground-to-air operations. The Army aviation corps, equipped with attack, transport, and other specialized helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft, carries out air maneuvers and provides support for ground operations.
The engineering corps, responsible for engineering support, was composed of engineering and other specialized units of pontoons, construction, camouflage, field water supply, and engineering maintenance. The chemical defense corps, responsible for chemical defense operations, was composed of chemical defense, flame-throwing and smoke-generating units. >The communications corps, responsible for military communications, was composed of specialized units engaged in communications, communications engineering, communications technical support, aviation navigation and military postal service.
The Army, in accordance with its different duties and responsibilities, was also divided into field mobile, sea border defense, frontier defense, and garrison troops. The organizational order of the field mobile troops was normally combined corps, division (brigade), regiment, battalion, company, platoon and squad. The organizational systems of the sea border defense, frontier defense and garrison troops are decided in accordance with their operational tasks and geographical conditions.
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