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Military districts or military regions are formations of a state's armed forces (often of the Army) which are responsible for a certain area of territory. They are often more responsible for administrative than operational matters, and in countries with conscript forces, often handle parts of the conscription cycle.
Republic of China
There were 76 northern military districts or military regions (軍區), or war areas, which were the largest formations of the National Revolutionary Army, under the Military Affairs Commission, chaired by Chiang Kai Shek during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. During the Second Sino-Japanese War the National Revolutionary Army eventually organized itself into twelve Military Regions.
People's Republic of China
The military regions (originally eleven, there are now seven) of the People's Liberation Army are divided into military districts, usually contiguous with provinces, and military sub-districts.
During World War II Germany used the system of military districts (German: Wehrkreis) to relieve field commanders of as much administrative work as possible and to provide a regular flow of trained recruits and supplies to the Field Army. The method they adopted was to separate the Field Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres) from the Home Command (Heimatkriegsgebiet) and to entrust the responsibilities of training, conscription, supply and equipment to that command.
The Commander of the Infantry Corps with the identical number also commanded the Wehrkreis in peacetime, but command of the Wehrkreis passed to his second-in command at the outbreak of war.
In peace time, the Wehrkreis was the home to the Infantry Corps of the same number and all subordinate units of that Corps.
Federal Republic of Germany
Today's German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) have four military districts – Wehrbereichskommando (WBK) as part of the Streitkräftebasis or Joint Service Support Command. Each WBK controls several Landeskommandos (State Commands) due to the federal structure of Germany. Previously this function was carried out by the Verteidigungsbezirkskommandos (VBKs) or Military Region Commands (Defence District Commands). These command authorities are in charge of all military facilities in their area of responsibility and of several supporting regiments.
The Indonesian National Army (Indonesian: Tentara Nasional Indonesia) uses military districts, created by General Soedirman as a system called Wehrkreise, adapted from the German system during World War II. The system was later ratified in Surat Perintah Siasat No.1, signed by General Soedirman on November 1948.
Today the military districts are called KODAM.
Initially, right after the First World War, Poland had five military districts (1918–1921).
In 1921, due to reorganization, the military districts were replaced with Dowództwo Okręgu Korpusu (DOK – Corps District Command). In the Second Polish Republic there were ten DOK's. Each DOK consisted of four large units (three infantry divisions and one cavalry brigade).
For district arrangements after World War II see Polish Land Forces. The Kraków Military District disbanded in 1953. From 1999 Poland has been divided into two military districts, the Pomeranian Military District and the Silesian Military District, both were disbanded by the end of 2011.
Russia and the Soviet Union
The Russian Empire's military district (Russian: вое́нный о́круг, voyenny okrug) was a territorial association of military units, formations, military schools, and various local military establishments. This territorial division type was utilized in Imperial Russia, USSR and is currently in use in Russian Federation.
Such territorial division provided convenient management of army units, their training and other activities regarding the country’s readiness to defend itself.
In the USSR, the military districts continued to perform the same role they had done in the Russian Empire, with the first six ones formed on 31 March 1918 during the Russian Civil War.
This increased to 17 military districts of the USSR at the beginning July 1940 shortly before the start of the Second World War, and were used to create combat Fronts after commencement of the German invasion of the USSR.
During the World War II the districts were further divided into geographic regions for logistic reasons.
By the end of the 1980s, immediately before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there were sixteen military districts, within three to five main strategic Theatre groupings.
A military district (Russian: вое́нный о́круг, voyenny okrug) in the Russian Federation operates under the command of the district headquarters, headed by the district commander, and is subordinated to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. (Previously under Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces General Nikolai Kormiltsev, the military districts reported to the General Staff via the Russian Ground Forces staff.) It is a territorial association of military units, formations, military schools, and various local military establishments.
From 1992 to 2010, the Armed Forces maintained a diminishing number of former Soviet Armed Forces districts – Leningrad Military District, Moscow Military District, Volga-Urals Military District, North Caucasus Military District, Siberian Military District, Far East Military District.
In 2009–2010, these districts were reorganised into 4 Military Districts comprising regional Joint Strategic Commands:
As part of the wider Structure of the British Army, three Divisions and London District act as regional commands within the UK reporting to Army Headquarters at Andover. They are responsible for training subordinate formations and units under their command for operations in the UK, such as Military Aid to the Civil Community, as well as training units for overseas deployments. This task leads to them being described as Regenerative Divisions. These divisions would only be required to generate field formations in the event of a general war.
Territorial commands of the Vietnam People's Army include the High Command of Capital Hanoi: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam and a number of Military Regions, also directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam.
- V.I. Feskov et al, The Soviet Army in the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk, 2004
- www.mil.ru for official Russian military district information