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> In China's Defence Modernisation and Military Leadership by Nhok Lee (
> 1989), p. 69, there is this sentence, "Forerunners of the PLA's Airborne
> Forces too part in the Korean War during the early 1950s. (footnote 104:
> JFJHB, No.4, April 1984, p.16-17. JFJHB might be Liberation Army Daily.
This is interesting. I just wonder what the author means by "Forerunners"?
In my research I have found no reference to CPV/PLA paratroops in Korea
during or in the years immediately following the war. Granted US
intelligence didn't know everything by Chinese airborne troops was a least
something they were looking at. I guess it is always possible that a small
component may have been deployed to Korea. Alternately, the author could
simply be wrong.
A 1952 FEC G2 report on "Chinese Communist Paratroops" states the following,
The Chinese Communists possessed no airborne troops whatsoever until late
1948 when the Chinese Nationalist 3d Parachute Regiment defected en mass.
The Communists used some of its officers and men as instructors and cadre to
staff the newly formed paratroop schools; however, the bulk of the regiment
appears to have been "shelved" by its new masters and possibly is no longer
an effective combat unit.
Concerted efforts on the part of the Chinese Communists to develop an
airborne force can be traced to mid-1949 when rather extensive training
facilities were established in the Chiamussu region of northern Manchuria.
Apparently no additional training facilities were available until late in
1950, when a training center was established at Kaifeng, Honan Province. At
least two additional paratroop schools probably were established during
Chiamussu is believed to be the largest paratroop training complex. By the
end of 1951 some 20,000 paratroops reportedly had graduated from Chiamussu
while an additional 14,000 were said to be in various stages of training.
Reports indicate there are separate installations at Kaifeng, Sian, and
Loyang; however, they may well be considered part of one complex, centered
at Kaifeng. This training center reportedly turned out more than 12,000
qualified jumpers by the end of 1951 and allegedly is capable of handling
approximately 10,000 trainees at one time. One of the newer establishments,
the jump school in the Peking-Tientsin area reportedly has approximately
10,000 trainees to various stages of training, while the facility termed a
"jump-training preparatory school,² located at Hsiaokan, north of Hankou,
probably is capable of handling some 1,000 trainees. After completion of the
course at Hsiaokan, personnel from this school may advance to other training
installations. Paratroop training installations, some of which may be
schools for preliminary airborne training, have been reported, in Manchuria
at Tsitsihar, Mukden and Yenchi, in China at Ining, Paotao, Chengtu,
Hsuchou, Nanking, Nanchang, Kueiyang and Sanya-Yulin, but as yet these
facilities are not accepted.
There can be little doubt that the training as well as the equipping of
Chinese Communist parachute troops is under Soviet sponsorship and guidance
if not outright supervision. The major portion of Chinese Communist
paratroop trainees appear to have been selected from the regular field
forces, particularly from units of the Third and Fourth Field Armies. The
trainees, in all likelihood, are screened as thoroughly for political
reliability as for physical qualifications.
It is estimated that the Chinese Communists currently possess a paratroop
force of from 20,000 to 35,000 qualified jumpers and an additional 20,000 to
30,000 students in various stages of jump training. Probably not more than
half of the qualified jumpers are presently organized into tactical
formations which could participate in large-scale tactical airborne
operations; nevertheless, it is logical that qualified jumpers as yet not
assigned to units could be used as intelligence agents, guerrilla
coordinators and saboteurs. The lack or sufficient transport aircraft is
probably a primary reason for the delay in organization of additional
airborne or parachute units.
Several airborne numerical designations referring to battalion, regimental,
brigade, divisional, and corps echelons have been reported; however, some of
these echelons probably do not exist. Although it is believed that the
Chinese Communists are organizing their airborne troops into regiments which
in turn may be subordinated, at a later date, to divisions. Pending the
receipt of additional information, no Chinese Communist airborne unit
designation is accepted.
Indications are that the current potential of Chinese Communist airborne
elements is rather limited; nevertheless, substantial progress in the
development of a modern airborne force has been made. Further progress is to
be expected, and a Chinese Communist airborne force of significant
proportions and combat potential could emerge in the not-too-distant future.
Additionally, none of the postwar OOBs for North Korea or CPV/PLA forces in
Korea mention anything about paratroops. In postwar PLA OOBs there are
several mentions of the three PLA parachute divisions,
1st Parachute Division, strength 7,000, Kai-fong, Honan
2nd Parachute Division, strength 7,000, Chia-ma-ssu, Heillungkiang
3rd Parachute Division, strength 7,000, Hankow, Hupeh
It would be interesting if anyone else can turn up any information on the
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
- Re: China
- From: "Matthew M. Aid" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- From: "Mike Yared" <email@example.com>