Nanjing PLA

By Bryan • china • 30 Dec 2004

From what I’ve seen (and I stress that I haven’t seen much) the military presence in the urban sectors of Nanjing appears to be marginal. There is the odd jeep, or five ton roaming around the streets and it is not uncommon to find groups of enlisted soldiers and officers wandering around the night markets. Army units are often used as manual labor in construction, especially civil development projects. Troops are assisting in the construction of another tunnel under Xuanwuhu Gongyuan (the local lake). My first week here I came across about 40 of them taking a break near one the lake shore parks. The majority of these guys are from the countryside and this was one of the only times in Nanjing that I felt like I was the sole object of attention (the other instance was when my director took me to a Chinese bar…lets just say I didn’t stay very long).

However, as with many things in China, looks can be deceiving. The People’s Liberation Army (Army, Airforce and Navy) is organized into seven regions, Beijing, Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.
Comprised of group armies, five military districts, the Shanghai Garrison, a helicopter regiment, a tankmen training facility, a special operations sector, a missile brigade, and possibly two pontoon brigades the Nanjing MR has an operational strength of about 250,000 troops. There is also a sizable PLAAF contingent, including several squadrons flying the latest Su-27/30 attack jets and also a number of bomber (H-6’s) units. The PLAAF operates more air bases in the Nanjing MR than in any other region.

The real kicker is that the Nanjing MR includes the Fujian Military District, which faces Taiwan and as such is home to a large number of China’s medium-range missiles. This district would also be the launching point for an amphibious assault on Taiwan.

In the event of a war

During a major military campaign against Taiwan, the Nanjing MR would become part of the so-called “Nanjing War Zone,” which probably would include, at a minimum, the three Group Armies in the Nanjing MR, elements from Group Armies based in adjacent military regions (e.g., Guangzhou and Jinan MRs), as well as China’s airborne and marine forces. Air assets would come primarily from the Nanjing MR augmented by mission-critical aircraft from other parts of China. The Navy would commit assets from both the East and South Sea Fleets, as well as mission-critical assets from the North Sea Fleet. Finally, all deployed SRBMs most likely would be available to the “war zone” commander.

From what I gather, Nanjing itself would act in somewhat of a command and control capacity, especially for the PLAAF, as well as in a support role for any airborne assault. Nanjing Airbase was one of the only airbases in the Nanjing MR that I could not find any information on.

Despite that, I’m always blown away by how much info you can find on the internet…

On an unrelated topic, if you haven’t heard this number yet, go and download it…you’ll get a taste of what is being played in EVERY store, restaurant and on all the radio stations in Nanjing. Very common to hear people singing along while waiting in *cough* a line.

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