Military district

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Military districts (also called 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.

Navies have also used a similar model, with organizations such as the United States Naval Districts. A number of navies in South America used naval districts at various points in time.


Republic of China[edit]

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[edit]

Main article: PLA Military Region

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.


German Reich[edit]

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[edit]

Today's German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) have four military districts – Wehrbereichskommando as part of the Streitkräftebasis or Joint Service Support Command. The headquarters are in:


Kodam districts as of 2007

The Indonesian National Army (Indonesian: Tentara Nasional Indonesia) used 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.

The Wehrkreise was used in Indonesia as a means of circles of defense, or regional defense, to defend islands and provinces under Indonesian control. Each regional commander had full authority to begin operations with assets available in the district. Wehrkreise region commanders had command over the military, political, the economic, education, and local government structures and organisations.

Today the military districts are called KODAMs.


Main article: Polish Land Forces

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[edit]

Russian Empire[edit]

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.

Soviet Union[edit]

In the USSR, the military districts continued to perform the same role they had done in the Russian Empire, with first six military districts (Yaroslavsky, Moskovsky, Orlovsky, Belomorsky, Uralsky, and Privolzhsky) were 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 war the districts were further divided into geographic regions for logistic reasons, these being:[citation needed]

  • North and North Western districts
  • West and Central USSR districts
  • South and South Western districts
  • Siberian and Central Asian districts
  • Far Eastern districts

After the war, the number was increased to 33 to aid in demobilisation of forces, but by October 1946, they had been reduced to 21.[1]

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.

Russian Federation[edit]

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.[citation needed] (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. This territorial division type was historically adopted, originally by Imperial Russia, to provide a more efficient management of army units, their training and other operations activities related to combat readiness.

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.

Military districts of Russia as of 2010

In 2009–2010, these districts were reorganised into 4 Military Districts comprising regional Joint Strategic Commands:[2]

United Kingdom[edit]

Structure Regional Forces

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.

London District is responsible for the maintenance of capability for the defence of the capital and the provision of ceremonial units and garrisons for the Queen's Guard in London.

There are also military formations permanently located around the world, including in several of the British overseas territories:

United States historical military districts[edit]

U.S. mainland military administration districts, departments, divisions[edit]

These entities were sometimes the only governmental authority in the listed areas, although they often co-existed with civil governments in scarcely populated states and territories.

  • From June 14, 1798 until May 14, 1800, Maj. Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney commanded a district that encompassed Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Brig. Gen. James Wilkinson commanding troops in the remaining states in the north and west.


From May 14, 1800, the army was divided into 11 geographical districts, with an informal alignment into western and eastern departments. On February 15, 1809, the Army was reorganized into Northern, Southern, and Western Military Districts. In June 1810, the Southern and Western Districts were consolidated as the Southern Department, and the Northern District was designated Northern Department.

  • Defense of the City and Harbor of New York, 1812–13.
  • 4th Brigade of Detached Militia, 1812–13,
  • District of Oswego, Sackett's Harbor, and Ogdensburg, 1813


On March 19, 1813, during the War of 1812 the United States was divided into 9 numbered military districts. They were increased to 10 on July 2, 1814 and reduced to 9 by consolidation of the 4th and 10th Districts in January 1815.

  • 1st Military District, 1813–15
  • 2d Military District, 1814–15
  • 3d Military District, 1813–15
  • 4th Military District, 1813–14
  • 4th and 10th Military Districts (consolidated), 1815
  • 5th Military District, 1813–15
  • 6th Military Districts, 1813–15
  • 7th Military Districts, 1813–15
  • 9th Military District and Right Wing (1st Division), Northern Army (under unified command), 1814–15
  • Left Wing (2d Division), Northern Army, 1814
  • 10th Military District, 1814.


On May 17, 1815, the military districts were abolished, and superseded by 10 numbered Military Departments, divided equally between the Division of the North with 1st–5th Military Departments and Division of the South with the 6th–10th Military Departments.


In May 1821, the Divisions of the North and South and the Military Departments were abolished and the Army reorganized into Eastern and Western Departments. From time to time various departments or Armies appeared in the Western Department.

  • Western Department, 1821–37
    • Right Wing, Western Department, 1832–37
    • Army of the Frontier, 1832
    • 1st Army Corps, North West Army, 1832
    • Army of the Southwestern Frontier, 1834–37.
  • Eastern Department, 1821–37


In 1837 the Army returned to a system of Divisions with subordinate numbered Military departments. Between 1842 and 1844, the Divisions were abolished with only the Military Departments in operation.

  • Eastern Division, 1837–42
    • 7th Military Department, 1837–41
  • Western Division, 1837–42
    • 1st Military Department, 1837–42
    • 2nd Military Department, 1837–42
    • 7th Military Department, 1841–42
  • 1st Military Department, 1842–43
  • 2nd Military Department, 1843–51
  • 3rd Military Department, 1842–48
  • 4th Military Department, 1842–53
  • 5th Military Department, 1842–52
  • 8th Military Department, 1842–46
  • 9th Military Department, 1842–45 (Florida)


In 1844 the Army renewed the use of the Eastern and Western Divisions during the Mexican American War.

  • Eastern Division, 1844–48
    • 5th Military Department, 1844–48
    • 8th Military Department, 1844–46
  • Western Division, 1844–48
    • 2nd Military Department, 1844–48
    • 3rd Military Departments, 1844–48
  • 4th Military Department, 1844–53
  • 9th Military Department, 1845 (Florida)
  • 10th Military Department, 1846 – 1853 (California and Oregon to 1848)


Following the Mexican war, the army reorganized to occupy the vast new territory acquired.

  • Eastern Division, 1848–53
    • 1st Military Department, 1848–53; consolidated 1st and 3d Military Departments, 1849–50
    • 2nd Military Department, 1848–51; consolidated 1st and 2d Military Departments, 1848–49
    • 3rd Military Departments, 1848, 1850–53
    • 4th Military Departments, 1848–53; consolidated 3d and 4th Military Departments, 1848
  • Western Division, 1848–53
    • consolidated 5th and 6th Military Departments, 1848
    • 5th Military Department, 1848–52
    • 6th Military Department, 1848–53
    • 7th Military Department, 1848–53
    • 8th Military Department, 1848–49, 1851–53
    • 9th Military Department, 1849–53 (New Mexico)
  • Pacific Division, 1848–53,(California and Oregon)
  • 10th Military Department, 1846 – 1853 (California and Oregon to 1848, California only 1848-1850)
  • 11th Military Department, 1848 – 1853 (Oregon)


After October 31, 1853 the division echelon was eliminated and the departments in the east became one Department of the East, administering all the territory east of the Mississippi River. The six western departments consolidated into four (Departments of Texas, New Mexico, the West, and the Pacific). The system returned to six departments in 1858 when the Department of Utah was created in January, and the Department of the Pacific split into the Departments of California and Oregon in September.

Eastern United States

Western United States

Pacific area

1861–1865 During the American Civil War the Eastern Department was eliminated, exploding into many Departments, districts and subdistricts of the Union Army.


Eastern United States

  • Division of the Atlantic, 1868–91
    • Department of the East, 1868–73
    • Department of the Lakes, 1868–73
    • Department of Washington, 1868–69

Southeastern United States

  • Military Division of the Tennessee, 1865–67
    • Department of the South, 1865–66
    • Department of Alabama, 1865–66; to Third Military District
    • Department of Georgia, 1865–66; to Third Military District
    • Department of Kentucky, 1865–66
    • Department of Mississippi, 1865–66; to Fourth Military District
    • Department of Tennessee, 1865–66
    • Department of the Cumberland, 1866
    • District of Tennessee, 1866
      • Sub-district of Tennessee, 1866

Western United States

  • Department of New Mexico, (1854–65) in New Mexico Territory; part of the Department of the Pacific and the Department of the West during the Civil war, became the District of New Mexico (1865–90) under the Military Division of the Pacific in 1865.
  • Department of Utah, 1858–61; merged again into the Department of the Pacific being made

Pacific area

Overseas regions primarily under U.S. military administration[edit]


Vietnam People's Army has 8 Military Districts:

  • High Command of Capital Hanoi: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to organize, build, manage and command armed forces defending the capital. The headquarters is in Hanoi.
  • 1st Military District: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to protect against foreign invaders; and to organize, build, manage and command forces in northeastern Vietnam. The headquarters is in Thai Nguyen.
  • 2nd Military District: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to organize, build, manage and command armed forces defending northwestern Vietnam. The headquarters is in Viet Tri.
  • 3rd Military District: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to organize, build, manage and command armed forces defending the Red River Delta area. The headquarters is in Hai Phong.
  • 4th Military District: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to organize, build, manage and command armed forces defending north central Vietnam. The headquarters is in Vinh.
  • 5th Military District: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to organize, build, manage and command armed forces defending south central Vietnam, including the western highlands and south central coastal provinces. The headquarters is in Da Nang.
  • 7th Military District: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to organize, build, manage and command armed forces defending southeastern Vietnam. The headquarters is in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • 9th Military District: It is directly under the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam; tasked to organize, build, manage and command armed forces defending the Mekong Delta. The headquarters is in Cần Thơ

See also[edit]


  1. ^ V.I. Feskov et al, The Soviet Army in the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk, 2004
  2. ^
  • for official Russian military district information