Forces: September 10, 2004

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China is reorganizing its armored and mechanized units, and training them using American methods. The new divisions have standardized regimental organization, unlike the previous system with many different organization types. An armored regiment now has two tank battalions (64 tanks in all), one mechanized infantry battalion, one artillery battalion, one combat engineer battalion and a few smaller support units. Mechanized infantry regiments have two mech infantry battalions and one tank battalion, and their artillery battalion is of towed, not self-propelled, guns. But, like American brigades, the armor and mech regiments are otherwise much the same.

Before a Chinese regiment is reorganized and given new equipment, it goes through a training program. This prepares the unit to face the dreaded 7th Blue Army Brigade. This unit has never lost a battle in these training exercises. Although the 7th Brigade uses Chinese troops and equipment, it uses American tactics. The Chinese has established their own version of the American NTC (National Training Center), and apply the same ruthless realism standards for units that come there to train. 

It takes two years to completely convert a regiment. This includes training, passing several series of tests, and receiving the latest equipment (Type 80/88/96/98 tanks, new radios and other gear.) It will take a decade or more to convert the current force of 16 mechanized or armored divisions to the new format. In the end, however, China will have one of the largest mechanized forces on the planet (at least twenty divisions), and well trained also. The United States has a larger, and better trained mech force. The Russians have a larger, but less well trained force. At that point, however, China will be a mechanized army to contend with.

 


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