History Chinese special forces began with the history of the formation of airborne troops. From the beginning of the civil war in the country and up to 1949, paratroopers who had been trained in America had opposed the communists. As a result, their own airborne troops were created in the country in the 50s. The main task that was set for them was to repel the possible attacks of the Taiwanese nationalists. The baptism of the Chinese paratroopers took place in Korea. Later, in the 60s, several airborne divisions were equipped with the assistance of the Soviet Union, and by the end of the decade there were already three such divisions in China.
The reforms that began in China at the end of 1978 of the year were not spared by the PLA. The armed forces were largely reduced, first of all, the reduction affected the ground forces. But even so, the Chinese army currently remains the largest in the world in terms of numbers. Due to the fact that the number of recruits significantly exceeds the required level, the command of the army has the ability to select the best soldiers for intellectual and physical indicators. In addition, the army’s reserve consists of approximately 40 million people in case of war.
The PLA has two types of special forces: ground and naval. Until 1988, there were no special operations ground forces in the Chinese army. Their functions were carried out by intelligence units, which were widely used to perform combat missions for special reconnaissance, ambush and raids, intelligence gathering and capture of prisoners. Intelligence units were actively used during the Sino-Vietnamese armed conflict of 1979, just as in the 80's border clashes. At that time, the reconnaissance units did not differ from the usual army ground units in terms of organizational structure and equipment, and therefore were far from the forces of special operations of modern times.
In the mid-eighties, the command of the Chinese army began to gradually move away from the concepts of popular war and came to an understanding of the characteristics of local conflicts occurring more rapidly with the use of modern technical means and types weapons. The planning officers were well aware that a transient local war was more likely for them than a global armed conflict involving large army units and the popular masses. And the conflict with Vietnam demonstrated that in such a local war, regular army units would be attacked by sabotage enemy groups, which could cause significant damage.
For the same period, the appearance of the command’s interest in the methods of conducting special operations also falls.
In 1988, the first rapid response unit was formed on the basis of the intelligence unit of the Guangzhou Military Region. Before him, the command set special tasks. New equipment and weapons were received. Then the unit proceeded to special training, which included sailing in full gear, survival, parachute training, disembarking from helicopters. Soon there was a transformation of other intelligence units, after which they also proceeded to the development of special actions.
As of today, there are seven groups of special operations in the ground forces of the Chinese army. In each military district there is one special unit that is directly subordinate to the district chief of staff. Special Forces units in military districts are painted as follows: “Dunbei Tiger” in Shenyang District, “Magic Sword of the East” in Beijing, “Flying Dragon” in Nanking, “Sharp Sword of Southern China” in Guangzhou, “Night Tiger” in Lanzhou, “Hawk” in Jinan and Falcon in the Chengdu District.
In addition, under the “lightweight” spetsnaz program, several army units are being trained: 162, 63, 149, high-readiness divisions, 1, 54, 39, 38 armies of rapid response. There are also special forces of the armed militia and special forces of the public security forces. In addition, there are such units, information about which is practically not available. This, in particular, "Panther" and "Snow Wolf".
For designation of special units in the PLA, the term “special reconnaissance group” or “special purpose group” (DaDui, that is, a regiment consisting of three battalions, and the number is about one thousand) is used.
In each of the battalions there are a certain number of groups. It depends on what combat missions they face. So, for example, groups of two people are used to conduct special intelligence. In addition, as part of field divisions, regiments and army groups, there are also units engaged in special reconnaissance. All of them can also be considered part of the special operations forces of the Chinese armed forces, since in terms of training and equipment, as well as in the combat tasks they perform, they are comparable to the special-purpose groups of military districts.
The training of Chinese special forces is divided into two main parts: basic and professional. Basic training includes all physical exercises for agility, strength and endurance, hand-to-hand combat and self-defense without weapons, the ability to survive in extreme and field conditions, crossing water obstacles, mountaineering training, and in addition, digging shelters in the ground and snow, setting tents, first aid and rescue skills, the study of methods of surprise attacks and ambushes, weaning weapons. To this is added landing and ski training and orientation in the area.
In addition, depending on the assigned combat missions, some special units additionally learn to operate in the conditions of a city or in coastal areas. Of great interest is the training of survival skills, in particular, the training of breathing rhythm and body movement, with tied legs and arms in the water. In addition, the fighters receive special specialties: a signalman, demolition man, translator, computer technician
Physical training is very hard, and some elements seem fantastic at all. So, the day usually starts at half past four in the morning. Almost immediately, the fighters are expected to climb down the hill or march with shoulder backpacks (they put 10 bricks in them). The distance in 5 kilometers is necessary to overcome the maximum in 25 minutes. It should be noted that other types of exercises are the same complex. For example, the “iron palm” (each fighter must strike 300 with a bean bag, and later with iron filings). Similarly, elbows, fists, feet and knees are “worked out”. Another exercise is to break the wooden bars with your head, and over time, the fighters will move on to breaking bricks and bottles. In addition, the special forces should be able to climb the brick wall of the 5-storey building in 30 seconds without equipment, swim 5 kilometers with full equipment in no more than 1 an hour 20 minutes, climb the bar every day and push out on the bars 200 times, perform a prone position 100 times, 60 times lift dumbbells weighing 35 kilograms per minute, 100 times throw a grenade at a distance 50 meters. And also to hit a human target with 200 meters from a moving car and throw a grenade from a distance of 30 meters into a car window.
As for professional training, it consists of subversive and subversive training, training in working with explosives (it includes an understanding of the characteristics and types of these substances, methods of neutralization and installation), wiring, penetration in disguise at a given place.
The units of the special operations forces of the Chinese army have much more complete and modern equipment and armament than conventional ground forces. So, the fighters of the Chinese special forces are armed with a 88 Type sniper rifle, a standard 95 Type machine gun, a 79 Type machine gun, a 64 Type gun, a 92 Type gun, and a rocket-based anti-tank grenade launcher. Some of these types of weapons are equipped with special devices: for carrying out secret special operations, flameless and silent firing.
As for equipment, the special forces soldiers have various kinds of radio stations, body armor, night vision devices, laser range finders, portable television systems, GLONASS and GPS positioning systems. From the transport at the disposal of the special forces there are helicopters that are used to bring special forces groups to the enemy’s rear over short and long distances; jeeps designed to transport personnel of units and conduct actions in the enemy rear; as well as “buggy” vehicles, which are used to launch operational strikes against the enemy. In addition, some special groups master paraplanes, using them to penetrate at critical heights in the territory of the enemy.
Special units of the Chinese army, like similar units in other countries, are engaged in performing special tasks: conducting special intelligence, collecting intelligence information, direct actions, anti-terrorist operations and unconventional methods of war.
As part of the direct actions, the special forces perform the following tasks: conducting short clashes and non-scale offensive actions in the enemy's rear.
Special forces pay great attention to conducting special intelligence not only at the tactical level, but also in the context of real military operations. As a rule, the conduct of special intelligence is enhanced in the case of preparation for the offensive. Intelligence groups are sent around the front in order to identify the enemy’s positions, his staffs, and to identify weak points in the defense. In the future, the information collected by them helps the command to correctly determine the direction of the attack. In order to force the enemy to show their positions, check his reaction and determine intentions, reconnaissance groups are moving to active reconnaissance activities, which include raids, offensive operations and reconnaissance by force. As part of army groups and other military units, there are intelligence units that also carry out such tasks. They are capable of reconnaissance on 10-20 kilometers, or collect information about the enemy, acting on the flanks. Armed with such intelligence units are motorcycles, light vehicles and all-terrain vehicles. In addition, some of them use unmanned aerial vehicles to collect information. They can be launched not only in manual mode, but also from transport.
The forces of special operations of the People’s Liberation Chinese Army are in close cooperation with the departments and intelligence services of the army in collecting data on locations, weather conditions, command posts, weapons of mass destruction, deployment of reserves, ways of possible attack, positions of combat support groups.
The army special forces are engaged in conducting raids on vital positions and objects of the enemy, freeing their prisoners and capturing aliens. The main objectives of their activities are airfields, command posts, seaports, communications, weapons of mass destruction, as well as air defense systems. By conducting sabotage or destroying these objects, the special forces greatly reduce the combat capabilities of the enemy.
Special units are also actively engaged in the fight against terrorism, in particular, they are engaged in the release of hostages. This line of activity became necessary due to the increasing activity of separatist groups in remote areas of the country.
Quite often, spetsnaz groups interact with the police.
It should be noted that the special units of China have repeatedly participated in competitions and combat operations. So, starting from 1998, they are regularly invited to Estonia to the ERNA competitions, where they win most of the prizes. In addition, the Sokol fighters assisted the security forces of Afghanistan in the fight against terrorist groups and the release of the hostages - the Chinese workers.
As is known from the media, the Chinese special forces, without a single shot, freed the hostages and captured the terrorist 21, for which they received the highest appreciation of the American special services.
In addition, it should be noted that in 2013, a special operations unit for women was formed as part of the PLA. Its appearance can be considered an innovation, despite the fact that women's units previously existed as part of the army (in the marines and fighter aviation, military medicine, communications, communications, logistics).
The formation of women's special forces was primarily dictated by the experience of the war with Vietnam, when it was the women's units that showed great fanaticism and zeal in the performance of combat missions.
The training program for women’s special forces includes the acquisition of skills for handling small arms, driving a car, parachuting, and mastering the basics of climbing. Much attention is paid to self-defense, hand-to-hand combat, orientation to the terrain.
Selection to the new women's division was held in twelve Chinese provinces. Most women were born in the 1990s and have a university degree. According to the commanders, in spite of the fact that women are physically much weaker than men, they compensate for this with scrupulousness, patience and a sense of duty.
Based on the foregoing, it can be concluded that, despite the rather short period of existence of the MTR of the ground forces of the PRC, these units have a very high level of training and can effectively solve any tasks assigned.