The following introduction is as supplied by Tankograd Publishing
When a country possesses the largest army in the world, its equipment requirements will obviously be vast. Such is the case with China. With 2.3 million personnel in all four services of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), an enormous amount of wheeled and tracked vehicles are required for combat, mobility, logistics and specialist roles. In terms of combat vehicles, it is estimated the PLA fields 8,000 tanks and as many as 25,000 artillery pieces.
Obtaining access to operational PLA vehicles is an extremely difficult task because of the Chinese military's paranoia over security and foreign spying. Therefore, exercise photographs such as are commonplace in Western armies are virtually non-existent in China. For the purpose of the first comprehensive overview of modern Chinese army vehicles, this publication utilises photographs taken at exhibitions, open days and parades in both Hong Kong and China.
The book is written in German and English making this a much easier book to follow. So first off is some history of the PLA (People's Liberation Army) could be said to date back in the Ming Dynasty and the Great Wall of China being manned by over a million Chinese soldiers, stopping the marauding Mongols and keeping them at bay.
The modern PLAGF (ground force) is the biggest on the planet with 1.6 million active-duty personnel. So as well as the PLAGF, you also have the Navy PLAN, Air Force PLAAF and Rocket Force PLARF. Making a total of 2.3 million personnel in all four services of the PLA as of 2016.
The first of the photos is Light wheeled vehicles and starts off with a Jialing JH600BJ motorcycle and sidecar. Quite a few of the vehicles immediately look familiar like the Chinese Chang Feng Pajeros which are built under a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chang Feng. There is a selection of Iveco vans in different versions, the 1.5 tonne Light utility vehicle that appears in various guises in the PLA another the NJ2045 is a box body version that accommodates satellite communications equipment. Further light vehicles follow that once again will be very familiar like the Dongfeng EQ2050 Mengshi (Brave Warrior) its a copy of the American HMMWV (Hummer). The EQ2050 is powered by a licence - built Cummins engine 20 turbocharged diesel engine displacing 3.9 litres. There are many different versions of the EQ2050 these include infantry carrying vehicles, ambulances and various electronic communications versions.
Next section is trucks for which I am sure you can imagine covers a large amount of vehicles. It starts with a Jiefang CA1090 5-tonne 4x2 truck which is used for transporting troops or cargo. On the same page is one of the newer trucks manufactured by FAW, a small cargo truck this one being used by the PLAAF at the bicentennial air show in Zhuhai. The amount of Dong Feng trucks that they have based on the same chassis but with different bodies is just mind boggling, one of them is a mobile laundrette which would have quite possibly over looked as an essential part of an army. I guess there is something to be said for clean fighting! Another one that caught my eye was a launcher truck 6x6 Dong Feng carrying an ASN-105B Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), back to more conventional use with a fuel tanker on the same Dong Feng chassis. Howo 380 trucks belonging to the PLAAF appeared in the parade in Beijing their use was for clearing debris and other foreign objects from military airfields, it can also have a plough fitted to it for winter work.
As you go through the trucks section they start to get bigger with some very impressive units like the debut appearance at the Beijing parade of MAW 10 tonne-tactical truck for carrying a lot of soldiers. An 8x8 truck by Taian special vehicle company flat bed carrying a huge UAV, this UAV is built for high-Altitude long endurance work.
Moving onto the air defence vehicles which is the next section, in what is turning out to be a fascinating read for me. Hq-6A which stands for HongQi or Red banner red flag based on the Hanyang 6x6 truck for ready to launch surface to air missiles (SAM). This section also shows tracked vehicles in the air defence role like the Norinco PGZ 95 SPAA which was first witnessed back in 1999. Some very impressive Mercedes Benz in a joint venture with Baotou BeiBen (North - Benz) although this partnership ended in 2003. The PLA ordered 1,500 2629A trucks in 2005 these being powered by a Deutz 1013/1015 water cooled engine, this particular truck is 6x6 Type 120 Low-Altitude Acquisition radar. Moving on through this chapter I spot a blue digital camouflage FT-2000 Long Range SAM which is on an unlicensed copy of a Russian S-300PMU.
Tube artillery vehicles comes next Type 99 armoured command vehicle. Parading along the streets in Beijing PLZ05A version of this important PLA artillery piece with a 8.06m long gun barrel and can fire RAP's up to the range of 53km.
Rocket Artillery/Missile Launcher Vehicles, the first one of these the PHL03 300mm multiple-launcher rocket system (MLRS) in a green digital camouflage. It is an obvious copy of the Russian 9K58 Smerch. Another impressive vehicle is the Wansan WS2400 transporting the two-stage YJ-62 anti-ship Cruise missile. Some of the Rocket Force, the PLA's strategic missile service, on one of the older Dong Feng trucks. The DF-16 from Casic was first mentioned in 2012 although not revealed to the public until 2015; the DF-16 is a medium to long range ballistic missile. Shaanxi trucks tow the first stage of the DF-5B ICBMs, making this confirmation of China's MIRV is hugely significant as multiple nuclear warheads can now be carried by a single missile.
Wheeled Armour brings one rather curious vehicle an 8 tonne 6x6 version of the Mengshi featuring a remote controlled weapon station (RWS) with MG and loud speakers designed for use with counter terrorism. Another 13.75tonne 4x4 armoured vehicle is based on the WZ550 chassis. The anti-tank vehicle is fitted with the Red Arrow 9 ATGM. Primary armament of the PTL02 wheeled tank destroyer with a 105mm low -recoil, High-Velocity gun. Also in the same design of chassis is a command and control version.
Tracked Armour starts with an 8-tonne ZBD03 (also known as WZ506) airborne combat vehicle designed for use by PLAAF. In digital blue camouflage ZTD05A amphibious vehicle. The next vehicle is undoubtedly a Russian BMP-3 that has been reversed engineered that features a two man turret featuring a 100mm 2A70gun and 30mm 2A72 cannon which China acquired a licence for in 1997. AFT10 with two sets of quadruple launchers on a traversing and elevating mount gives this vehicle the ability to launch eight 150kg missiles.
The last section is on the Main Battle Tank with some aging type 59 MBT's which was the backbone of the PLA armour fleet with some 10,000 produced for domestic use and export, two important types of MBT appeared in the 2009 parade. This is the 41.5 tonne ZTZ96A (Type69A) that was first unveiled in 2006 as an upgrade to the type 69. Manufactured by Norinco is the ZTZ99A which is the PLA's newest MBT design which participated in the 2015 parade.
Well for anyone with a healthy love of Chinese armour then you could not get a much better accompanying magazine to have for reference pictures. Because of the past and the fact that the Chinese have for many years kept themselves at distance and in some part secret from the west. Means that there is not many pictures if any of Chinese vehicles being put through their paces waist deep in mud or showing any firing makes this one not a great one for diorama builders.
Highs: Well it is in English and German, there are numerous very clear photographs of various Chinese armoured vehicles. Lows: It would have been nice to see some of these vehicles in the field or actually some practise shots showing them in action.Verdict: Despite 90% of the pictures being from their armour on parade, the quality of the pictures cannot be disputed the same said for the information about each vehicle.
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