Republic of China Army (ROCA)
The Armed Forces Reseve Command was created in March 2002. With the formation of this new command the organization of reserve units in the ROC military has experienced significant change. Previous Army, Divisional, and Regimental Administration Headquarters were replaced by Reserve Headquarters in all major cities and counties. In addition, new Reserve brigades and Home Defense Units have been formed to improve the utilization of the reserves.
In past decades, the training of reservists was conducted by regular combat units. However, as the active-duty Army slowly transitions into a focused mobile strike force, regular units are being relieved of reservist handling. 21 reserve brigades have been established to provide training and accomodation to reservists during mobilization. In wartime, reserve brigades are expected to support regular combat units under the command of an operations district.
A Reserve brigade is described as a light Infantry brigade with an average 3 Infantry battalions under the command of a colonel. A small command staff consisting of active-duty officers and NCOs is responsible for daily administration, equipment maintenance, and training activities.
The ROCA classifies Reserve brigades into 2 categories: A and B. Within 21 Reserve brigades, 6 are known to be category A and 15 to be category B. It has been reported that a category A brigade has an active strength equivalent to one battalion. Active members in a category B brigade are most likely limited to the high-level command staff.
The Reserve brigades are distributed as follows:
- Northern Taiwan: 911 to 917 Reserve Brigades
- Central Taiwan: 921 to 927 Reserve Brigades
- Southern Taiwan: 931 to 937 Reserve Brigades
Home Defense Units
Beginning in June 2002 Home Defense Units have been formed to protect local military and civilian establishments in wartime. These units are comprised entirely of reservists drawn from local areas. Commanders are selected from retired officers with relevant command experience while in active service.
A total of 32 brigade teams (there are also battalion and company teams) plus 1 independent battalion team were formed. The units are distributed as follows:
- Northern Taiwan: 11 Brigade Teams comprised of 52 Battalion Teams
- Central Taiwan: 11 Brigade Teams comprised of 55 Battalion Teams
- Southern Taiwan: 10 Brigade Teams
- Penghu Islands: 1 Battalion Team comprised of 5 Company Teams
Reserve battalions were first formed in 1980 at 20 Regimental Reserve Management HQs in Taiwan. Reservist training started in 1982. In 1984, the ORBAT of all reserve battalions was reduced in accordance to the ORBAT of regular army infantry battalions. Currently, the theoretical strength of a reserve battalion is 40 officers and 571 NCOs and enlisted ranks distributed over the following units: 1 Battalion HQ and HQ Company, 1 Weapons Company, and 3 Infantry Companies. Reserve battalions are equipped mostly with weapons retired from front-line Army units, such as T57 7.56 mm rifles, 30- and 50-cal machine guns, 60, 81, and 120 mmm mortars, and 75 mm recoiless guns. An air cavalry brigade is organized for vertical warfare, with very high degree of mobility and rapid response time free from terrain restrictions. It is formed with assets from the former aviation groups and land combat units from independent airborne brigades with organic logistics and maintenance support.
In peacetime, an air cavalry brigade serves as an area reserve and response unit under the control of an operations district. In wartime, it serves as strategic reserve of the MND or ROCA GHQ and may be used to reinforce various operations districts. Three air cavalry brigades, the 601, 602, and 603, are currently deployed in Norther, Central, and Southern Taiwan, respectively.
A full air cavalry brigade has approximately 2,000 officers and soldiers.
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