Pakistani Armed Forces ORBAT, Part 1: Structure of Pakistani Army

Pakistan army picture

“Most countries have an army, but Pakistan’s army has a country”  is a popular saying which to be fair, is also somewhat true for many other unstable countries in Africa and the Middle-east. What makes Pakistan unique is how it’s armed forces have successfully controlled all aspects of the statecraft and internal politics for so long even during times a civilian government has been in power. Going through all those details will require a series of books, so we will keep focus just on facts related to Order Of Battle and other relevant details.

We’re going to start with basic army structure which has remained mostly unchanged from colonial times. Following is true for most armies of commonwealth nations though there are a few exceptions. Indian and Pakistani armed forces still follow largely similar structures with a few variations. Many of more powerful armies like American, Russian and Chinese have changed this quite a bit and operate under a different Combined Arms command structure. Certain units like Armour and Artillery may have somewhat different structure and manpower even within the same army. Additionally, most of this information is on a need to know basis and command and location of units keeps on changing which makes keeping a proper record or even having a somewhat detailed ORBAT of armed forces quite difficult for amateurs. 

Tables in this post have a bit more details than map in the bottom. I’ll keep on updating it whenever possible.

If you’re a newbie, read this section about basic structure of an army like corps, Divisions, Battalions etc. first. If you’re already familiar with this, then you can skip this section.

BASIC UNITS OF AN ARMY

CORPS: Commanded by a 3 Star Lt General, a Corps may comprise of 2 or more divisions plus some independent brigades and other units. It’s the biggest fighting arm in all big armies and have specific roles in a geographic area like attack, defence or reserve. For example, India has Pivot and Strike Corps, where as Pakistan has Holding & Strike Corps for defence and attack roles respectively. 

All Corps signs in Indian and Pakistani armies are red with a white stripe and a design in middle.

Pakistani II CorpsPakistan V Corps
IMAGE 1: Some Pakistani army Corps insignia (globalsecurity.org)

DIVISION: A division is commanded by a 2 Star Major General and comprises 2-4 brigades, though 3 is a more common number. There are multiple types of divisions depending upon their role and deployment. For example there are Armoured Divisions, Infantry Divisions (Mechanised, Motorised, Mountain, Special Operations), Artillery Divisions, Engineer Divisions and Missile Divisions along with some composite arms divisions like Indian RAPIDS (Reorganised Army Plains Infantry Divisions). Infantry and Armoured divisions usually have at least one armoured and infantry brigade respectively along with some artillery units. Infantry divisions usually have more manpower than artillery and armoured divisions.

41st Division, Pakistan Army17th Division, Pakistan Army
IMAGE 2: Some Pakistani army division insignias. (globalsecurity.org)

BRIGADE: A brigade is commanded by a 1 Star Brigadier and usually has 3 or more battalions plus some support units. A brigade can be a part of a division along with 2-3 other brigades or commanded directly by a Corps in case of an independent brigade. Like divisions, brigades too can be of multiple types.

BATTALION: A battalion is commanded by a Colonel and usually has 4 Companies. It is the smallest unit capable of independent combat operations. Most of infantry units and certain support arms like Supplies are organised in battalions. 

COMPANY: A company is usually commanded by a Major or sometimes a Captain  and can have 80-250 soldiers in three to six platoons. Certain types of specialised companies like air defence, medical, transport can be attached to a brigade or a division. 

PLATOON: A platoon is the smallest military unit commanded by a commissioned officer, usually a Lieutenant or a junior commissioned officer (JCOs).  It may have 30-40 soldiers.

SECTION: It is the smallest fighting unit for infantry and comprises of 10 soldiers with a NCO like Havildar in charge.

REGIMENT: This is a slightly confusing term as it is both a fighting unit in case of most arms like armour, air defence and artillery and an administrative one in case of infantry which has multiple battalions under each regimental HQ. These are usually numbered in the order they were raised, although some of the older ones may have names. For example, Indian 2 Dogra means 2nd Battalion of Dogra Regiment, 7 Sindh means 7th Battalion of Pakistan’s Sindh Regiment.

Armour Corps regiments have 45-50 tanks (42-44 in case of Pakistan)  are commanded by a Colonel, also called Commandant. Such a regiment may have 3-4 squadrons including one HQ squadron. Artillery and air defence regiments usually have 2-4 batteries ( 3 is most common) of multiple guns and launchers depending upon their type and role. All regiments have their own insignia, center and a fierce pride in their history and honours. 

ORBAT OF PAKISTANI ARMY

This section details about about all army corps and some other units. Next post will have information about other aspects such as air defence , armour and regiments.  

IMAGE 3: Basic Command Structure of Pakistani Army
IMAGE 3: Basic Command Structure of Pakistani Army

I Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESLOCATIONREMARKS
I CorpsManglaAOR: Chicken Neck in Jammu & border areas around it.Strike Corps oriented towards Jammu & Pathankot
6th Armoured DivisionGujranwala
9th Armoured Brigade
7th Armoured Brigade
1st Armoured Brigade??Assigned to some  other division
Army Aviation Brigade?Wartime holding only
SP Artillery Brigade?
17th Infantry DivisionKharian
37th Mech Infantry DivisionKharian
11th Armoured Brigade (I)??allocated to 6th Div in war
?? Infantry BrigadePartially mehcanised
??Air Defence Brigade (I)??
8th (I) Armoured Brigade?KharianX or I Corps
?? (I) Infantry Brigade
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
106th (I) Air Defence Brigade?
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
314th Assault Engineers
TABLE 1: I Corps

II Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESLOCATIONREMARKS
II CorpsMultanAOR:PunjabStrike Corps, Punjab region
1st Armoured DivisionMultan
14th Infantry DivisionOkara
40th Infantry DivisionOkara
13th (I) Armoured Brigade?
44th (I) Mech Infantry BrigadeBahawalpur
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
?? (I) Air Defence Brigade
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
5 MLRS Regiment
WLR Regiment
TABLE 2: II Corps

IV Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESTYPELOCATIONREMARKS
IV CorpsCorpsLahoreAOR: Narowal to Sulemankie, PunjabHolding Corps, Punjab region
2nd Artillery DivisionArtillery DivisionGujranwala
10th Infantry DivisionInfantry DivisionLahore
11th Infantry DivisionInfantry DivisionLahore
21st Infantry BrigadeInfantry Brigade
52nd Infantry BrigadeInfantry Brigade
106th Infantry BrigadeInfantry Brigade
?? Artillery Brigade
212nd (I) Infantry BrigadeInd Infantry BrigadeLahore
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
3rd (I) Armoured Brigade ??
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group

TABLE 3: IV Corps

V Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSLOCATIONREMARKS
V CorpsKarachiAOR: SindhHolding Corps
16th Infantry DivisionPano Aqil
18th Infantry DivisionHyderabad
25th Mechanized DivisionMalir
105th (I) Infantry Brigade
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
?? (I) Armoured Brigade Group??
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
TABLE 4: V Corps

X Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESLOCATIONREMARKS
X CorpsRawalpindiAOR: J&KAttack role in north and POK60000 Mujhaid 40000 Janbaz Force irregulars
Northern Areas CommandGilgitAOR: Dnasum, Khapalu, Siari and Skardu4 infantry brigades (12 inf battalion and 4 Mujahid battalions) + NLI DivApproximate location
32nd Infantry Brigade ?Kel
62nd Infantry BirgadeSkardu
80th Infantry BrigadeMinimarg
323rd Infantry BrigadeDansam
150th Infantry Brigade ??GilgitNo source to confirm
12th Infantry DivisionMurree15 Regular and 13 Mujahid battalion
75thMandal, Lipa
1st POK BrigadeDomel
2nd POK BrigadeRawalkot
5th POK BrigadeBagh
6th POK BrigadeBagh
19th Infantry DivisionMangla
?? Infantry Brigade
?? Infantry Brigade
?? Infantry Brigade
23rd Infantry DivisionJhelum
66th Infantry BrigadeJhelum
3rd POK BrigadeKotli
4th POK BrigadeBhimber
?? Armoured RegimentBhagowal
1 R&S Battalion
1 Missile Company
Special Security DivisionChilas9 regular army and 6 paramilitary infantry battalions?
31st (I) Armoured/Mech Brigade?Malir
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
111st (I) Infantry BrigadeRawalpindiWestridge, RawalpindiX Corps for VIP security & coups3 infantry battalions, 2 light artillery regiments, SSG battalion and 1 armoured regiment
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
IRREGULARS
Northern Light Infantry17 Battalions. involved in Kargil. 35% from Baltistan, 55% Gilgit18% Sunni, 49% Shia
Azad Kashmir Regiment32 infantry battalions in 8 brigades, irregular
1st AK BrigadeMuzaffarabad
2nd AK BrigadeRawalkot
3rd AK BrigadeTatta PaniAOR: Rajouri, Poonch, Naushera and Sunderbani
4th AK BrigadeBandli
5th AK BrigadeDhani
6th AK BrigadeBagh
7th AK BrigadeBhimber
32nd AK Brigade?Kel
Mujahid Force640, 641, 647, 652, 654, 655, 656, 815, 834, 841, and 886 Battalions
656th BattalionBhimber
TABLE 5: X Corps

XI Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESLOCATIONREMARKS
XI CorpsPeshawarAOR: NWFP, Balochistan
7th Infantry DivisionPeshawar
9th Infantry DivisionKohat
?? (I) Armoured Brigade?
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
TABLE 6: XI Corps

XII Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESLOCATIONREMARKS
XII CorpsQuettaReserve for V Corps in Thar area
33rd Infantry DivisionQuetta
29th Infantry BrigadeZhob
60th Infantry BrigadeSibi
205th Infantry BrigadeLoralai
Divisional artilleryZhob
41st Infantry DivisionQuetta
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
?? (I) Armoured Brigade?
?? (I) Mech Inf Brigade
?? LAT Regiment
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
TABLE 7: XII Corps

XXX Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESLOCATIONREMARKS
XXX CorpsGujranwalaAOR: Between Jhelum and Narowal,South of IV Corps boundary, Shakargarh bulge
8th Infantry DivisionSialkot
15th Infantry DivisionSialkot
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
TABLE 8: XXX Corps

XXXI Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSLOCATIONREMARKS
XXXI CorpsBahawalpurAOR: Punjab
26th Mechanized DivisionBahawalpur
35th Infantry DivisionBahawalpur
101st (I) Infantry Brigade
10th or 13th (I) Armoured Brigade
105th (I) Brigade group??
?? (I) Artillery Brigade
TABLE 9: XXXI Corps

Air Defence Command

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESLOCATIONREMARKS
Air Defence Command/CorpsRawalpindiAOR: Pakistan
3rd Air Defence DivisionSargodha
3rd Air Defence BrigadeSargodha
4th Air Defence BrigadeLahore
4th Air Defence DivisionMalir
109th Air Defence BrigadeMultan
105th (I) Air Defence Brigade
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
TABLE: 10: Air Defence Command

Strategic Forces Command

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBRIGADESTYPELOCATION
Strategic Forces CommandMissile CorpsRawalpindi
21st Artillery DivisionMissile DivisionPano Aqil
22nd Artillery DivisionMissile DivisionSargodha
2nd Missile GroupMissile GroupSargodha
?? Missile Group,Missile GroupHyderabad?
?? (I) Signals Brigade Group
TABLE 11: Strategic Forces Command for nuclear roles.

Special Services Group

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSBATTALIONSLOCATIONREMARKS
Special Service GroupCherat8 battalions (with ~700 men), each has 4 companies? + 3 independent companies. Each company has 3 platoons and each platoon has 3 10 man sections.50 Airborne Division?
?? SSG BrigadeCherat
5 Commando BattalionZilzaal
6 Commando BattalionAl-Samsaam
7 Commando BattalionBabrum
Tarbela SSG BrigadeTarbela50 Airborne?Musa, Iqbal Buland Companies & Special Operation Task Force (SOTF)
3 Commando BattalionPowindahPowindahs
8 Commando BattalionIslamabadAl-Azb
Zarrar Company
11 SSG BrigadeAttock
1 Commando Battalion ??Tarbela, Khyber PakhtunkhwaYaldram
2 Commando BattalionRawalpindi,Rahber
4 Commando BattalionYalghar
Janbaz ForcePeshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Akbar CompanyCombat diver
Zarrar CompanyCounter Terrorism
Iqbal Buland CompanyCommunications
Airborne schoolPeshawar
Para Training School SSGGrand Trunk Rd, Tahkal, Peshawar,HQ SSGBasic Airborne , Jump master and Airborne Operation, High Altitude and Low Opening , Pathfindee and Parachute Packing and Maintenance Courses
35 Light EME BattalionTarbela, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
10 Light Commando Battalion ?Mehfooz Shaheed Garrison Lahore
Powindah SSG center?
TABLE 12: Special Service Group, Special forces

Frontier Corps

UNITSUBORDINATE UNITSLOCATIONREMARKS
Frontier CorpsParamilitary with 30000 troops.Commanded by Inspector General equivalent to Major General. Each unit commanded by Col/Lt Col
Zhob MilitiaFort Sandeman4 Wings at Zhob, Sambaza, Muslim Bagh and Qamardin Karaz
Sibi ScoutsSibicontingents at Mach under the command of a major, 71 Wing at Dera Murad Jamali for protection of Chinese engineers
Kalat ScoutsKalat
Makran ScoutsTurbatWing at Panjgur, Detachment at Sur-e-aab, Company at Grawag, Contingent at Kech, Wing at Mand
Kharan RiflesLad GashtMashkhel 84 Wing, Wing at Nokkundi
Pishin ScoutsPishin Fort
Chaghai Militia
Maiwand RiflesBarkhan TownContingent at Kohlu
Ghazaband Scouts
Bhambore RiflesDera BugtiWing HQ at Sui
Loralai ScoutsSardukia company at Musakhe
TABLE 13: Frontier Corps, Paramilitary
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