The People’s Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps (PLAMC) is the marine corps of the People’s Republic of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy. It currently consists of two 6,000-man brigades, with a third brigade being organized from the transfer of the 77th Motorized Infantry Brigade (People’s Republic of China), 26 Army Group to the PLAN.
The Chinese Marine Corps was originally established in April 1953 during the Chinese Civil War by Communist Chinese troops to conduct amphibious operations against islands held by the Nationalists. By the end of the Korean War, the Chinese Marine Corps numbered 110,000 people organized in eight divisions. However, the organization was disbanded in October 1957 when the leadership of China abandoned any plans to seize the island of Taiwan. Following the disbanding of the Marine Corps, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) did maintain a naval infantry force, which consisted of several infantry and amphibious tank regiments.
In 1979 the Central Military Commission of China re-established the Marine Corps and organized it under the PLAN. On 5 May 1980, the 1st Marine Brigade was activated on Hainan.
In view of the growing tension between Mainland China and the Republic of China during the 1990s, the number of Chinese Marine Corps units was again increased. 1st Marine Brigade China was reinforced and rearmed. In July 1998 164th Motorized Infantry Division, 41st Army Group Army PLA had been transferred to the PLAN South Sea Fleet and became the 164th Marine Brigade, with its homebase in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province. In February 2017, it was reported that the 77th Motorized Infantry Brigade (People’s Republic of China) of the 26th Army Group was transferred to the PLAN.
The Marine Corps is subordinate to PLA Navy Headquarters, the Military Commission Joint Staff Department, and the chairman of the Central Military Commission.
12,000 Marines are based in the South China Sea. It is believed in time of war, up to 28,000 Marines can be mobilized. These two brigades possess combined arms units, including armor, artillery, missile, air defense, and logistics.
The two brigades are the 1st Marine Brigade and 164th Marine Brigade – both based in Zhanjiang (SSF); 12,000 personnel.
Each Brigade comprises all or most of the following:
1 x Armoured Regiment (1 x Tank Bns and 2 x Armoured Rifle w/Type 05 Amphibious Assault Vehicle and Type 05 Amphibious Infantry Fight Vehicle),
2 x Marines Bns,
1 x Howitzer Bns w/PLZ-07 SP Howitzer
Missile Battalion (HJ-8 & HJ-73 ATGM’s and HN-5 SAM’s),
A mixed Engineer and Chemical Battalion;
Communications and Guard Battalion;
Field Maintenance Battalion;
PLAN marines can perform a variety of missions. They are considered elite troops, and are part of the rapid mobilization forces of the Chinese military. All marines are believed to receive the best training, which includes parachuting and amphibious warfare exercises. The marines perform two principal missions: serving as the fighting spearhead of any amphibious operation, to establish a beachhead of launch direct assaults against enemy targets inland via amphibious landing, and acting as a garrison or assault group in island chains, in particular potentially disputed territories in regional waters.