Chinese Armed Forces ORBAT Part 3: Ground Forces

Chinese PLA ground forces

PLA Navy Marine Corps

People's Liberation Army Marine Corps.png
People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps Badge

Before the 2017 reforms, PLAN had 12000 troops in 2 Marine Brigades in the South China fleet. Now there are atleast 7 Brigades, 2 each under Eastern, Northern and Southern Theatre Navies and one under direct command of Marine Corps HQ. All brigades except the 7th (special operations) have roughly 6000 troops each. Additionally, there are one or perhaps two carrier based aviation brigades^ . So the total number of troops in Marine Corps may be around 40,000 – 50,000 in 7-8 brigades. Some reports claim that PLA is planning for a Marine Corps with 1 lakh troops in 12-14 brigades.

 The new brigades follow the new Combined Arms structure which  have 9 battalions:

  1. 3 Amphibious Combined Arms Battalions, one of them light.
  2. 1 Air Assault Battalion
  3. 1 Artillery Battalion
  4. 1 Air Defence Battalion
  5. 1 Reconnaissance Battalion
  6. 1 Operational/Combat Support Battalion
  7. 1 Service Support Battalion.

Amphibious CA Battalions have five companies and 1 platoon:

  1. 4 Mechanised Infantry Companies
  2. 1 Firepower Company
  3. Reconnaissance Platoon

Of the 4 Infantry Companies, 2 can be wheeled or tracked ICVs while remaining 2 are usually wheeled guns.

Additionally, PLA maintains a few amphibious units of its own:

  • 72nd GA of Eastern TC : 5th and 124th Amphibious CAB
  • 73rd GA of Eastern TC: 14th and 91st Amphibious CAB
  • 74th GA of Southern TC: 1sth and 125th Amphibious CAB

It seems like PLAA’s amphibious units are overall better equipped than PLANMC. With respect to a possible Taiwan invasion, the latter seems to be meant for a role which is focused on recon, sabotage, clearing obstacles and screening to the PLAA’s main assault force.

Amphibious IFV of PLA Navy Marine Corps
Amphibious IFV of PLA Navy Marine Corps

Weapon Systems:

It is not clear whether all the weapon systems mentioned here will stay in service over next few years

  • Artillery: PLZ-07B, Type-89, PLL09
  • Assault Gun: ZTD-05
  • Tanks: Type-62, Type-63
  • IFVs & Other Armoured Vehicles: ZBL-09, ZBD-05, Type-77, Type-86, WZ-551, ZTL09, Dongfeng Warrior
  • Rifles: Type-95, SAW
  • ATGM: HJ-8, HJ-73
  • Air Defence: HN-5
  • Landing Ships: Type 071, Type 081/075, Yukan, Yuting
  • UAV: RQ-11 Raven

The units listed in the table below are from pre-2019 times. As of mid 2022, many of the new Marine Brigades are still under strength and new units are being raised and added.  

Marine Corps HQ91811Yongchun North Road, Chaozhou23°41’16.16″N116°37’56.51″E
1st Marine Brigade^92057Zhanjiang21°14’22.67″N110°26’29.01″EUnder Southern Theatre NavyAlso in Djibouti CityFormer 391st Inf Regiment.Tiger Brigade
1st Marine Battalion^91509Huguang, Zhanjiang21° 9’18.60″N110°15’33.41″E3 Marine Inf Coys, 1 MG & 1 Artillery Coy
2nd Marine Battalion^91376Huguang, Zhanjiang^21° 9’19.51″N110°15’39.83″E3 Marine Inf Coys, 1 MG & 1 Artillery Coy
Artillery Battalion^Huguang, Zhanjiang^21° 9’7.57″N110°16’3.04″E3 Howitzer Coys
Missile Battalion^92583Huguang, Zhanjiang^21° 8’51.53″N110°15’41.73″EATGM, AD and ECM Coys
Engineer and Chemical Defence BattalionHuguang, Zhanjiang^21° 9’0.81″N110°16’1.98″E4 Coys
Comms BattalionHuguang, Zhanjiang^21° 8’51.17″N110°15’58.15″EGuard Coy, Wired & Wireless Comm Coys
Repair Battalion/CoyHuguang, Zhanjiang^3 repair coys
1st Amphibious Armoured Regiment92776Zhanjiang Guandu2 tank battalions of 3 coys each1 ICV battalion of 3 coys
Amphibious Recon Battalion92352Zhanjiang Guandu3 frogmen squadrons
2nd Marine Brigade92510Heliu, Zhanjian21°17’12.39″N110°16’2.83″EUnder Southern Theatre NavyFormer 164th Marine Corps Brigade
1st Marine Battalion^91048Dongpoling, Zhanjiang3 Marine Inf Coys, 1 MG & 1 Artillery Coy
2nd Marine Battalion^92505Dongpoling, Zhanjiang3 Marine Inf Coys, 1 MG & 1 Artillery Coy
Artillery Battalion^92604Dongpoling, Zhanjiang3 Howitzer Coys
Missile Battalion^91923Dongpoling, Zhanjiang21°18’31.82″N110°14’29.83″EATGM, AD and ECM Coys
Engineer and Chemical Defence Battalion4 Coys
Comms BattalionGuard Coy, Wired & Wireless Comm Coys
Repair Battalion/Coy3 repair coys
^ Amphibious Armoured Regiment91755Sanduotang, Lingbei Town, Zhanjiang21°14’8.79″N110°11’1.61″E2 tank battalions of 3 coys each1 ICV battalion of 3 coys
Amphibious Recon UNit (Female)91048Pingshicun, Huanglue Town, Suixi21°23’0.61″N110°22’51.97″E
Amphibious Reconnaissance Training91487Pingshicun, Huanglue Town, Suixi21°22’56.66″N110°23’4.76″E
Amphibious Recon Battalion91755Pingshicun, Huanglue Town, Suixi21°23’9.85″N110°22’57.34″E3 frogmen squadrons
3rd Marine Brigade91718 or 92822Mantou Mountain, Jiedong23°35’30.53″N116°10’47.27″EUnder Eastern Theatre NavyFormer 13th Haiphong Division
487th Regiment75221Jieyang, Guangdong
Artillery Regiment75223Jieyang, Guangdong
Amphibious Recon Battalion
4th Marine Brigade^92822 or 91718Sankeng Village, Jinjiang24°34’30.65″N118°37’10.94″EUnder Eastern Theatre NavyFormer 11th Brigade of Haiphong, Nanjing Military Region
^ Marine Battalion^^Qitiancun, Quanzhou24°47’21.76″N118°32’55.27″E
Artillery Battalion^^Xiangshan, Quanzhou24°47’59.61″N118°32’58.47″E
Amphibious Recon Battalion
5th Marine Brigade92667Haiqu West Road, Rizhao City, Shandong35°25’40.23″N119°25’32.86″EUnder Northern Theatre NavyFormer 8th Regiment of Coastal Defense of Jinan Military Region
Loading portWeihai port37°26’11.55″N122°11’10.63″EMain loading port/base
Amphibious Recon Battalion
6th Marine Brigade91951 or 92735Yimeng BrigadeUnder Northern Theatre Navy.Former 77th Motorised Infantry Brigade
Amphibious Recon Battalion
7th Marine Brigade91811Sanya City, Hainan ProvinceUnder Marine Corps, ~1000 troopsFrom Dragon Commando Special Ops
Training^91128Shangtang village, Tielu Harbour18°15’30.79″N109°43’28.86″EJiaolong Commando
7th Aviation Brigade2 Flight Squadrons, 1 Maintenance group
PLAN Marine Corps

PLA Navy Marine Corps Map:,115.95547818,116.12573753a,3591251.34371953d,30y,0h,0t,0r/data=MigKJgokCiAxNmM4NXhkMThkcjJkOGJCbFpVU3JKRC01RExGdWk4SSAC

8 thoughts on “Chinese Armed Forces ORBAT Part 3: Ground Forces

  1. You didn’t seem to get a lot of attention for this but I just wanted to let you know this is some great stuff!

  2. Its so much of hard work
    Can you share something on UAV Brigade, EW Brigade and Marine Brigade – organization, capability etc

    1. Thanks. Marines have been covered to some extent in one of the posts. There isn’t much useful information available about the rest right now. Maybe will write something in a few months

  3. thanks the valuable information provide by you. is it possible to get .cvs file which you refer in above map view for various theater e.g. China ORBAT Map – East TC.csv, China ORBAT Map – South TC.csv, China ORBAT Map – Central.csv, China ORBAT Map – Airborne.csv, China ORBAT Map – Marine.csv, China ORBAT Map – Border Units.csv, China ORBAT Map – North TC.csv, China ORBAT Map – West TC.csv

  4. Why not? There’s no secrets to keep from the US. JJ has done a fantastical job from published sources. Saying “you’re wrong but I cant reveal my sources” is morally wrong.

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