|73rd Group Army|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
The 73rd Group Army, formerly 31st group army, (Military Unit Cover Designator 73111) was a military formation of China's People's Liberation Army and one of three active group armies belonging to the Nanjing Military Region. It was active from 1949 to 2017.
It was based at Xiamen, Fujian and is composed of the 86th Motorized Infantry Division (People's Republic of China) and the 91st Motorized Infantry Division, along with an armored brigade, an air defense brigade, a surface-to-air missile regiment, an artillery regiment, and an engineer regiment. It is considered a Category A unit, with priority status in terms of readiness, strength, and modern equipment. Based on its training activities and positioning, its primary mission is presumed to be the invasion of Taiwan.
The 31st Group Army traces its lineage to the Shantung Column of the Shantung Military Region which was formed around 1941. By 1945 the column had been reorganized and redesignated into several military districts, including the Chiao-Tung Military District. By 1946, elements of the Chiao-Tung MD were reorganized and redesignated 9th and 13th Columns. The 13th Column, commanded by Chou Chih-chien was composed of three divisions, including the 37th, 38th, and 39th. In the mid-to-late 1940s the 13th Column was reorganized and redesignated as the 31st Corps, also commanded by Chou Chih-chien. The 31st Corps was composed of the 91st, 92nd and 93rd Divisions. In late 1949 the 31st Corps, under the 10th bingtuan (Army or "Army Group"), took part in the Chekiang and Fukien Campaign conducting operations against or near Nanp'ing, Kut'ien and the Changchou-Amoy area.
During the Korean War the 31st Corps was one of the few units to remain in China opposite Taiwan to defend against a potential US-Taiwan Invasion. The 31st was stationed in Fujian. In 1958, elements of the 31st Group Army took part in the artillery bombardment of Jinmen and the Matsu Islands that precipitated the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis.
The 31st Army Group is currently one of the three army groups assigned to the Nanjing Military Region.
From mid-July 1991 to May 1992 elements of the 31st Group Army conducted a variety of exercises and operations in the Nanjing Military Region according to the Chinese Council of Advanced Politics. In mid-July 1991 in the Longhai area of Fujian Province, a regiment from the 91st Division conducted routine training and armed swimming training in an effort to improve the unit's amphibious warfare capability. Also in July 1991, the reconnaissance battalion of the 86th Infantry Division along with soldiers from the Zhugong area conducted similar training in the Xiaocheng and Dacheng areas Lianjiang Xian, Fujian Province.
In early October 1991 the 258th Regiment of the 86th Motorized Infantry Division, along with units from various military sub-districts, conducted defensive exercises and combined militia exercises in the Banding Area, Lianjiang Xian, Fujian Province. In mid October to early November 1991 the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions (since disbanded) of the 31st Group Army conducted routine training and field training activities in the Fuzhou area of Changpu and Nanan. In early April 1992 the signal corps of the 31st Signal Regiment conducted routine training and an overall signal training and evaluation between veterans and replacements in Xiamen, Fujian Province.
Elements of the 31st Group Army took part in Exercise 96-1, the military exercises that took place in the Taiwan Straits in 1996.
- William W. Whitson (w/ Chen-hsia Huang). The Chinese High Command: A History of Communist Military Politics, 1927-71 (New York: Praeger; 1973)
- Richard H. Yang eds. China's Military: The PLA in 1992/1993 (Taipei: Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies; 1993): p. 191-2
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