People's Liberation Army - Special Forces
The Chinese People's Liberation Army did not set up a special force in the early days. Prior to 1988, the functions of special forces had been assumed by reconnaissance forces, and were widely used for special tasks such as special reconnaissance, assault, ambush, intelligence gathering and capture. In the mid-1980s, the PLA's leading institutions began to attach importance to the construction of special forces through a study of the role and performance of Chinese foreign special forces in the partial world war.
In 1988, the first rapid reaction force was established in the Guangzhou Military Region to undertake the same tasks as similar foreign troops Special Operations Mission. The foundation of this unit was the original military reconnaissance unit. Not only has China equipped this rapid-response force with new weapons, it has also begun special survival training, armed crossing, parachute and aircraft landing training. In a short period of time thereafter, the reconnaissance units of other military regions in China were successively reorganized into special forces and began to exercise special combat tactics.
The PLA's military-level special forces are all based on "special brigades." The size of each brigade is basically the same as the regiment, with about 1,000 troops divided into three battalions. According to the different main tasks in wartime, each special battalion is composed of different numbers of personnel. When performing special reconnaissance missions, a team consisting of two or more people is usually used. When direct combat missions need to be performed, a company-sized combat unit is divided from the special brigade. At present, in addition to the special forces attached to various military regions, the PLA also has special operations units capable of performing limited special reconnaissance in the group army, field division, and regiment.
As of 2016 the Chinese Army had a total of seven special operations battalions, each of which belongs to seven military regions and is directly under the command of military region leaders. The 18 group army of the PLA also has its own special reconnaissance force, with the same number and combat capability as a battalion. Each combat division also has a special reconnaissance company of about 120 people. Each brigade or regiment has a special reconnaissance platoon of 30 to 40 people. All of these units are considered to be part of the Chinese Army's special operations forces, and their training levels and equipment are comparable to those of special battalions attached to various military regions.
Like similar forces in other countries in the world, the special forces of the Chinese People's Liberation Army also perform special reconnaissance, direct operations, intelligence gathering, unconventional operations, and counter-terrorism operations. The PLA's reconnaissance units are equipped with light transportation such as motorcycles and off-road vehicles. Some reconnaissance units have been equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles capable of gathering intelligence and conduct reconnaissances in depths of 8-20 kilometers to the enemy to collect relevant enemy deployments and trends.
The special forces are closely connected with various technical reconnaissance agencies, and have the ability to collect and transmit information in various fields including weather, enemy command post locations, material storage locations, weapons of mass destruction, support positions, logistics units, technical equipment routes and offensive routes. Capabilities can guide the PLA's long-range guided weapons to attack important enemy targets. If necessary, the special forces are also tasked with direct attacks on enemy command, communications, power, and transportation hubs. With the rampant activities of separatists in certain areas of China in recent years, the PLA's special forces have begun to develop tactical training against terrorism, including rescue of hostages.
The training of the PLA special forces is basically similar to that of other countries in the world. First of all, special emphasis is placed on physical training and the ability of soldiers to use weapons. All soldiers of the special forces must receive unarmed combat and field survival training, and then special training based on the mission. For example, some soldiers will receive urban warfare and offshore combat training. At the same time, the special forces also attach great importance to absorbing professionals in special blasting, communications, computer and translation.
The special forces of the People's Liberation Army use equipment and weapon systems that are significantly better than conventional Army forces. Their standard weapons include 95-type automatic rifles, 88-type sniper rifles, 64- and 79-type submachine guns, 92-type pistols and anti-tank rocket launchers. Includes silent weapons for covert operations. The Chinese special forces are also equipped with special equipment such as bulletproof vests, radio equipment used to communicate within the unit and the command center, night vision equipment, portable telemetry systems, laser rangefinders and GPS / GLONASS positioning systems. When performing missions, the Chinese special forces will sneak into the enemy behind in various ways, such as on foot or by car for ground penetration, use Army Aviation helicopters to land behind enemy lines, and even use paragliders to penetrate enemy territories from ultra-low altitudes.
On the whole, the PLA Special Forces are no different from the special forces of other countries in terms of personnel selection, equipment level, combat training, and combat capabilities. On the basis of its own special equipment and maneuvering methods as well as special combat styles and training methods, the PLA's airborne troops have gradually grown into a group with the largest scale and sufficient system to execute various tactics and campaigns in recent years by further improving equipment and training levels. The powerful special forces of the mission have demonstrated their advanced capabilities of large-scale attack operations on enemy deep targets under modern war conditions in the China-Russia joint military exercises in recent years. Its special reconnaissance units have been given the reputation of "Army in the Army" due to higher standards in personnel selection, training methods, strength, and equipment.
The major changes in China's elite special forces began in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The PLA has been focusing on selecting high-quality soldiers from the army, equipping them with the most advanced equipment and providing them with military training in many subjects. In the selection process, the PLA placed particular emphasis on the physical and psychological qualities of the candidate soldiers. The training will be extremely difficult, and soldiers who are considered to be unable to adapt to this training will be eliminated. It is said that the elimination rate at the beginning of training reached 50% to 90%.
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