82nd Group Army

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82nd Group Army
Founded1949; 70 years ago (1949)
Country China
Part ofCentral Theater Command Ground Force
Nickname(s)Ten Thousand Years Army
Long-Lived Group Army
AnniversariesJuly 22
Major General Lin Xiangyang, Zhang Mengbin
Peng Dehuai
Luo Ronghuan
Liang Xingchu

The 82nd Group Army (Chinese: 第82集团军), formerly the 38th Group Army, is a military formation of China's People's Liberation Army and one of three active group armies belonging to the Central Theater Command. It is based at Baoding, Hebei and is composed of three heavy combined arms brigades, two medium combined arms brigades, a light combined arms brigade, a special operation brigade, an army aviation brigade, an artillery brigade, an air-defense brigade, an engineer and chemical brigade and a sustainment brigade in addition to various support and logistics units. Its unit ID number is 66393.

Chinese Civil War[edit]

The unit was originally established as the 38th Corps under the Fourth Field Army in early 1949. The 38th can trace its lineage back to the late 1920s through its evolution from the 343rd Brigade. In 1949 the 38th Corps was composed of the 112th, 113th, and 114th Divisions.[1] Under Lin Biao in mid-June 1949, the 38th took part in the campaign to take Southern China and encircled Yichang, Hubei and seized the city.

Korean War[edit]

The 38th, the 40th and the 42nd Corps (the finest of the Fourth Field Army) along with the 27th and the 39th Corps from South China were placed at Peng Dehuai's disposal as part of the People's Volunteer Army (Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) XIII Army Group, for the initial Chinese intervention in Korea.[2]

In Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River 38th Corps and the 42nd Corps poured through the broken South Korean lines to Eighth Army’s east and threatening to envelop the entire force.[3] The 38th corps overran ROK 7th Division on November 25-26, then Turkish Brigade on 26-29. Its 113rd division covered 72.5 kilometers within 14 hours and reached Samso-ri on November 28 7:00 to halt US 2nd Infantry Division from retreat.[4] 38th Corps was ultimately successful in setting up the "Gauntlet" against the US 2nd Infantry Division at Kunu-ri, and for its performance it received the title "Ten thousand years Army" (万岁军). It's estimated that Chinese People's Volunteer Army inflicted 23,000 casualties[4] on UNC, among them, 7,485 killed or wounded and 3,616 captured (including 1,042 US soldiers) were inflicted by the 38th Corps. US Eightth Army estimated it suffered 11,000 casualties, excluding South Korean casualties.[5]

In Third Battle of Seoul, the 38th Corps broke through defence organized by ROK 6th Division within 20 minutes on December 31, then defeated a regiment of US 24th Infantry Division on the southeast of Uijeongbu on January 3.[4]

In the Fourth Phase Battle, the 38th Corps were deployed on the south bank of the Han River to defend against US 24th Infantry Division, US First Cavalry Division, British 27th Brigade and ROK 6th division. During 50 days fierce fight, the 38th Corps estimated that it inflicted more than 10,800 casualties on UNC, but the 38th Corps suffered 3,359 killed which accounts for some 50% of all the 38th Corps soldiers killed in Korean war.

The formation opposed the Turkish Brigade at the Battle of Wawon on November 27–29, 1950, and the U.S. 45th Infantry Division during the Battle of Old Baldy.

On October 6–15, 1952, the 38th Corps fought in the battle for Baengma-goji, a 395-meter hill near the Iron Triangle. During the course of the battle, the hill changed hands 24 times after repeated attacks and counterattacks for its possession. It was the most intense position-grasping battle for a small hill during the course of the Korean War. The 112th and 114th Divisions under the command of General Gang Ong-hwi were selected as the main force to capture Baengma-goji, and the 113th Division was to replenish the losses of the main force. The 38th Corps committed five regiments out of its total of nine regiments and sustained a total of 5,372 casualties (1,748 dead ,3062 wounded and 562 missing[4]), while the 9th Division of South Korea suffered a total of 3,422 casualties (505 dead, 2,562 injured and 391 missing), plus over 400 more casualties in the 1st Battalion of the 30th Regiment. The American Fifth Air Force made a total of 745 sorties and poured more than 2,700 bombs of various kinds, together with over 358 napalm bombs, onto the hill. Chinese forces rained no less than 55,000 shells during the nine-day battle period, and the South Korean forces fired over 185,000 bombs. The 38th Corps, after having been replaced by the 23rd Corps, had to withdraw to the rear.[6]

In the Korean war 6,772 soldiers serving in the 38th corps were killed, among them 599 were killed in First Phase Battle, 415 were killed in Second Phase Battle (Ch'ongch'on River sector), 247 were killed in Third Phase Battle(Seoul sector), 3,359 were killed in Fourth Phase Battle and 1,748 were killed in Battle of the White Horse Hill.[7]

Cultural Revolution[edit]

The 38th Corps returned to China in 1953, remaining in Manchuria to reinforce the Fourth Field Army. In 1967, during the Cultural Revolution, the 38th was relocated to the Hebei area to replace the 65th Corps. In 1968 the 38th was involved in clashes with elements of the Hebei Military District over differences in revolutionary fervor. The 38th Corps reformed into 38th Combined Corps in 1985.

Tiananmen Square protests[edit]

In 1989 during the students' protest, the 38th Combined Corps was one of the main units ordered to crush the protests and impose martial law on Beijing. However, because of its close connections with the population of the nearby capital, and the fact that many students had served in the unit before attending university and that some students had performed summer training with the 38th as members of the army reserve, the unit was reluctant to comply.[8] The 38th, under the command of General Xu Qinxian (徐勤先), refused to use force against the students when martial law was declared, and was reported to have been in a tense stand-off with the 27th Combined Corps and other units which held the city in the days immediately following the bloody crackdown. [9]

Twenty-first century[edit]

The 82nd is currently one of the three group armies in active service belonging to the Central Theater Command.[10] It is one of the best equipped and trained group armies in China today, and is given the task of guarding the national capital of Beijing. It also serves as a testbed for the latest equipment and doctrines developed by the PLA.

An unidentified mechanized division (probably from the 38th Group Army) conducted an opposed force exercise in mid-August 2002. It is believed that the exercise may have taken place at the MR CAT Base near the Great Wall. The unit used more than ten new systems including new mine clearing vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles and tanks. The unit is reported to be one of the first mechanized infantry divisions in the PLA.[11]

According to the December 2002 PLA Activities Report, the Mechanized Air Defense Brigade (Unit 66440) assigned to the 38th Combined Corps recently improved its tactics and methods of defending against cruise missile attacks. This consisted of improving the units fire-control systems and detection capabilities.

The Mechanized Air-Defense Brigade, Unit 66440, has reportedly retrofitted its field command modules to provide command platforms with geographic information, air service information, battlefield monitoring and digital transmission, enhancing the units command and control capability and ability to conduct accurate air defense. The unit conducted several exercises in 2002 including a live-fire exercise.[12]

Over the course of the 2003 reductions cycle, Dennis Blasko estimates that the 114th Mechanised Infantry Division was dropped from the force.[13]

Before the 2017 reform, the formation consists of:

After the 2017 reform, the formation consists of:


  1. ^ Appleman, Roy E. "South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu", pg 768
  2. ^ Who was Peng Dehuai? Archived 2000-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ The Korean War: The Chinese Intervention, pg 12
  4. ^ a b c d Chinese Military Science Academy (2000), History of War to Resist America and Aid Korea (抗美援朝战争史) (in Chinese), Volume II, Beijing: Chinese Military Science Academy Publishing House, ISBN 7-80137-390-1
  5. ^ Chae, Han Kook; Chung, Suk Kyun; Yang, Yong Cho (2001), Yang, Hee Wan; Lim, Won Hyok; Sims, Thomas Lee; Sims, Laura Marie; Kim, Chong Gu; Millett, Allan R., eds., The Korean War, Volume II, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, ISBN 978-0-8032-7795-3
  6. ^ Baengma-goji Battle Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ The ministry of health of the general logistics, Chinese People's Liberation Army,抗美援朝战争卫生工作总结 卫生勤务(Summarization of Medical Works in War to Resist America and Aid Korea-Medical Service), Beijing, People's Military Medical Press.
  8. ^ Bernard E. Trainor. "Crackdown in Beijing: Civil War For Army?" The New York Times, June 06, 1989. https://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/06/world/crackdown-in-beijing-civil-war-for-army.html (accessed November 21, 2010).
  9. ^ Bernard E. Trainor. “Turmoil in China; Legions of Soldiers Encircling Beijing: Loyalty to Whom?” The New York Times, June 07, 1989. https://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/07/world/turmoil-in-china-legions-of-soldiers-encircling-beijing-loyalty-to-whom.html?scp=1&sq=Turmoil%20in%20China;%20Legions%20of%20Soldiers%20Encircling%20Beijing:%20Loyalty%20to%20Whom&st=cse (accessed February 17, 2011).
  10. ^ PLA Ground Forces Archived August 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Liberation Army Daily 6 Sep 2002 (PLA Activities Report Sep 2002)
  12. ^ Beijing MR Zhanyou Bao 11 Jan 2003 (PLA Activities Report Jan 2003)
  13. ^ Blasko 2006, 77