Saturday, October 17, 2009

The 6th Highland Mechanized Infantry Division (MID), Xinjiang Military District (MD), Lanzhou Military Region (MR).

The 6th Highland Mechanized Infantry Division, Xinjiang MD, Lanzhou MR is one of the PLA divisions deployed in China’s far west region of Xinjiang. Xinjiang is vast, sparsely populated, oil rich, and strategically located as China’s gateway to Central Asia. It is also home to China’s Uyghur minority and the recent ethnic riots that resulted in over 200 deaths. The 6th Mechanized is serving as China’s garrison in that region.

The 6th MID lineage can be traced back to February 1947, when 300 cadres of the Training Brigade in the Shandong Bohai MR merged with the 2nd battalion, 719th regiment, 359th brigade to form the core of the newly raised 6th Independent Brigade for fighting in the Chinese Civil war. It was commanded by the 2nd Column, North-West Field Army and saw combat in major battles such as the Yuncheng, Yichuan, West Londong, North Lai, and Fu Mei.

In February 1949, it was enlarged to become the 6th Infantry Division of the 2nd army. After the war, the 6th Infantry Division was transferred to Xinjiang for resettlement and they were given land in reward for their services. The division was demobilized to a civilian militia and redesigned as the 2nd Division, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp (XPCC). Its former cavalry regiment was converted to a police unit to provide security and renamed to the 1st XPCC Militia Cavalry Regiment.

As tension escalated during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the 6th infantry division was reactivated in May 1968 with an initial 2 militia regiments and a cavalry troop to perform secondary duties such as border patrol, defense construction and mobile support for other units.

The 6th was not strengthened as a combat-ready division until 1985. It was reformed as the 6th Mechanized Infantry Division in 2003 in response to the geopolitical shift in Central Asia.

The 6th Infantry Division, 1985:
16th Infantry Regiment
17th Infantry Regiment
18th Infantry Regiment
311th Artillery Regiment
AAA Regiment

The 6th Mechanized Infantry Division, 2003.
17th Mechanized Infantry Regiment (Type 92 IFV)
18th Mechanized Infantry Regiment (Type 92 IFV)
Armor Regiment (Type 96 MBT, Type 88B MBT, Type 86 IFV)
311th Artillery Regiment (Type 02 100mm SP Assaulter, Type 89 122mm SPH and Type 83 152mm SPH)
Air Defense Regiment (Type 95 SP-AAA)

The following photos were taken in 2006 before they issued the new Type07 uniform

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