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71st Group Army
Country People's Republic of China
Allegiance Chinese Communist Party
Branch People's Liberation Army Ground Force
TypeGroup army
Part ofEastern Theater Command
Garrison/HQHeping Road in the Yunlong District of Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province
EngagementsSecond Sino-Japanese War
World War II
Chinese Civil War
Korean War
* Battle of Triangle Hill
Major General Han Bing
Political CommissarMajor General Huang Chaohui
Wang Jinshan
You Taizhong
Li Desheng
Li Zhen
Zeng Shaoshan
Ma Ning
NATO Map Symbol

The 71st Group Army (Chinese: 第七十一集团军; pinyin: Dì Qīshíyī Jítuánjūn), Unit 31655, formerly the 12th Group Army, is a formation of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Ground Forces (PLAGF). The 71st Group Army, is one of thirteen total group armies of the PLAGF, the largest echelon of ground forces in the People's Republic of China.[1] Assigned to the nation's Eastern Theater Command, the primary mission of the 71st Group Army is likely preparation for conflict in or about the Taiwan Strait.[2] The unit is headquartered in Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province.[3]


The origin of the 12th Army lies in the surrender of the 74th Division of the Chinese Nationalist National Revolutionary Army, as well as with the sixth column of the Second Field Army.[citation needed] On 9 February 1949, the 34th, 35th and the 36th Divisions were incorporated into the Twelfth Army.[4] On 29 November 1949, Chongqing was captured and later the Battle of Chengdu was fought.[5]

In December 1950, the 12th Army entered the Korean War as the 12th Army of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (中国人民志愿军第十二军), quickly finding itself involved in the Chinese Fifth Phase (Spring) Offensive. The 12th Army's most notable contribution to the war was the 1952 Operation Showdown, known in Chinese as the Shangganling Campaign. Despite constant barrages of artillery fire and bombings, the 12th Corps, temporarily placed under command of the PVA 15th Corps, held Sniper Ridge against Republic of Korea forces and those of the United States Army's 7th Infantry Division.[6][7] Although incurring catastrophic casualties,[8] the Chinese claimed victory in the battle and would go on to produce several major motion picture films such as Battle on Shangganling Mountain depicting the saga.[6][9]

In April 1954, the 12th Army departed North Korea and returned to garrison in China in Hefei City, Anhui Province and Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province. During the military downsizing by Deng Xiaoping, the 12th Army was reorganized into the 12th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army and given the Military Unit Cover Designator (MUCD) Unit 83226. The MUCD was changed again to Unit 73061 under the Nanjing Military Region. On 1 August 1983, the 2nd Tank Division was attached to the 12th Army Corps.[10] Later, in May 1989, the 12th Army's 34th, 36th and 110th Divisions, Artillery Brigade, and Anti-Aircraft Battalion were deployed to Beijing to enforce martial law and suppress the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[11]

In 2016, as part of General Secretary Xi Jinping's dissolution of the nation's military regions and establishment of theater commands, in which the 12th Group Army was assigned to the Eastern Theater Command.[1] On 18 April 2017, Xi announced the reorganization and redesignation of military units, including changing the 12th Group Army to its present day designation, 71st Group Army.[1]


The 71st Group Army was first commanded by Major General Wang Yinfang from March 2017 to January 2018 until he was succeeded by Major General Li Zhonglin in January 2018.[12][13][14] The group army's political commissar was Major General Xu Deqing from March 2017 to May 2018 when Yin Hongxing succeeded him.[15][16] As of 2022, Xu serves as the Central Theater Command's political commissar.[17][18]

The 71st Group Army appears to comprise six combined-arms maneuver brigades, four of which are heavy (armored), one medium (mechanized), and one light (motorized) and each of which lead four combined-arms battalions. These combined arms brigades are the PLAGF's basic operational unit, likely following the United States' and later Russia's transition from division-centric warfare to brigade-centric warfare. The 71st Group Army also commands six combat support brigades.[19]

Since 2017, the 71st Group Army commands the following subordinate units.[20]


  1. ^ a b c Burke, Edmund J. (4 February 2019). "Coming to a (New) Theater Near You: Command, Control, and Forces" (PDF). National Defense University Press.
  2. ^ Staff (2000–2012). "Nanjing Military Region Nanjing Military Area Command". Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  3. ^ Xi inspected the 71st Group Army of the People's Liberation Army in Xuzhou (Photograph). 13 December 2017.
  4. ^ In accordance with the Regulation of the Redesignations of All Organizations and Units of the Army, issued by Central Military Commission on 1 November 1948.
  5. ^ Sohu (2 November 2005). 军旅采风. (in Chinese)., Yingpu. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b Zhang 2010, p. 181.
  7. ^ "Battle of Triangle Hill : American Casualties". Honor States.
  8. ^ Zhang 2010, p. 242.
  9. ^ Chae, Chung & Yang 2001, p. xi.
  10. ^ 坦克第2师历史, Archived 25 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Based on Wu Renhua's study. (Chinese)Wu Renhua, "进京的戒严部队和进京路线" 《1989天安门事件二十周年祭》系列之十二 Accessed 29 June 2013
  12. ^ "Leadership list of the 13 new Group Armies". PLA Corner. 17 August 2017.
  13. ^ Huairang, Yue; Jun, Wang (20 June 2018). "序列第一的集团军迎来新军长:李中林履新第71集团军军长" [The first group army ushered in a new commander: Li Zhonglin as the new commander of the 71st group army]. The Paper (in Chinese).
  14. ^ Jun, Wang (10 August 2017). "原第39集团军副军长李志忠少将已担任第71集团军副军长" [Major General Li Zhizhong, former deputy commander of the 39th Army, has served as deputy commander of the 71st Army]. The Paper (in Chinese).
  15. ^ Li, Xiaohang (19 May 2017). "原第47集团军政委徐德清任驻江苏徐州某集团军首长" [Xu Deqing, the former political commissar of the 47th Group Army, served as the head of a group army stationed in Xuzhou, Jiangsu]. The Paper (in Chinese).
  16. ^ Ziwen, Jiang (14 August 2018). "尹红星少将新职务明确:接棒徐德清,任第71集团军政委" [Major General Yin Hongxing's new position is clear: take over from Xu Deqing and serve as political commissar of the 71st Group Army]. The Paper (in Chinese).
  17. ^ Huang, Eli Y.; Lin, Reginald Y. (17 June 2022). "Who Will Hold "The Barrel of a Gun" in Xi's Third Term?: Recent PLA Promotions and the Outlook for the Next Central Military Commission". China Brief. Jamestown Foundation. 22 (11).
  18. ^ "Xi presents orders to promote military, armed police officers to rank of general". China Daily. Xinhua News Agency. 22 January 2022.
  19. ^ Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 7-100.3: Chinese Tactics (PDF). Washington D.C.: Headquarters, Department of the Army (United States). 2021. p. 35. ISBN 9798457607118.
  20. ^ "71st Group Army". Global Security. 1 August 2021.

Works cited