By Qian Xiaohu and Han Cheng
BEIJING, March 20, -- Recently, a PLA Army brigade conducted an offensive exercise by a combined arms battalion in the south of Fujian Province. Wu Min, commander of the 3rd combined arms battalion, together with the other four staff officers, mapped out ad hoc combat scheme on-site. They proposed various striking methods correspondingly to different battlefield targets and coordinated over 10 different arms units to launch rapid and fierce attacks against mock enemy positions.
The commanding officer of this brigade stated that compared with the traditional infantry battalion, the combined arms battalion covers almost all the basic arms of the PLA Army. With the accelerating of the PLA Army's transformation, the combined arms battalion has become a brand-new basic deployable combat unit in maneuver operations and joined the battle order.
"A combined arms battalion is characterized by the efficient control and integration of various arms, rather than simple convergence", said an officer from the training branch under the PLA Army’s staff department. He also introduced that this modular, multi-functional force structure can be rearranged quickly and flexibly according to the battlefield situation, and the "plug-and-play" configuration can produce a variety of combat modes, bringing all integrated combat elements into full play .
It is learned that after years of reform, the combined arms troops have become major combat forces of the PLA Army. Multiple new types of combined arms battalions including heavy-duty, light-duty, air-assault, mountain, amphibious ones, have been embedded into the PLA Army combat system as modules, achieving the multi-source perception of combat command and high integration of operational elements, with the operational space expanded to multiple dimensions. It serves to promote the PLA Army’s capabilities of full-spectrum combat and fast maneuver, as well as three-dimensional offensive and defensive capabilities.
Combination is changing the PLA Army's combat pattern and reshaping the PLA Army officers and soldiers of new generations. "In the past, the excellent infantries were usually "sharpshooters" or those with "toughened feet". While at present, a combined infantry battalion is composed of dozens of professions and more than 100 positions, and we need to re-explore and keep considering the standards for modern combat readiness", said Wu Min.