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Eastern Order of Battle

Chinese Shenyang Military Region
Ground Forces in the eighties


The Chinese Shenyang Military Region adjoins with the Soviet Far East Military District and North Korea. The United States Forces Korean is close by too. That it was the second most important military region during the Cold War next to the Beijing Military Region.

After the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet-Union deployed three Army to the Far-East region. Relations between the two countries were very tense in the second half of the Cold War.

In the eighties, four large Chinese Group Armies served here:


The Chinese Shenyang Military Region is focused on winter and armor warfare, as it is the first north line of defense against the invasion. Its main task was to delay Soviet or American invasion force during the Cold War.

Chinese Shenyang Military Region
1st and 3rd Air Corps in the eighties

Shenyang Military Region Air Force: In July 1950, the Dongbei Military Region Air Force was created using the Dongbei Military Region Aviation Division as the core. In May 1954, the name was changed to the Dongbei Military Region Air Force, and on April 1955 it was changed again to the Shenyang Military Region Air Force. In May 1957, the Shenyang MR Air Defense Force was merged into the Shenyang MR Air Force.

Early Shenyang J-8 ‘Finback’ all-weather interceptors of 1st Air Division

The Chinese 1st Air Division used FT-6 (two-seater MiG-19) ‘Farmer’ aircraft to J-7II (MiG-21) ‘Fishbed’ and J-8 ‘Finback’ in the eighties.


The air units of the Shenyang Military Region Air Force primarily used the well-tried Shenyang J-6 (originally Soviet MiG-19) 'Farmer' fighter aircraft type. In the eighties, the 1st Air Division received one regiment Shenyang J-8 ‘Finback’ interceptor aircraft type. Later this division and the 21st Air Divisions got more regiment Chengdu J-7II (MiG-21) 'Fishbed' fighters with new cockpit canopy which optimized for the Type 2 ejection seat.

Right: Early J-6 (MiG-19S) ‘Farmer-C’ row of the 16th Air Division

But the main type remains the good old MiG-19 ‘Farmer’ type on the Shenyang Military Region Air Force on even in the late eighties too. At the same time US Airforce's F-4E Phantom II, and new F-16 Falcon tactical fighters flown in South Korea. Along the Sino-Soviet border Soviet MiG-23 'Flogger', Su-27 'Flanker' fighter and Su-17 'Fitter', Su-24 'Fencer' tactical bombers settled!

* Clarification is needed.
** The 16th Air Division transformed into a Training Base in 1988
*** The 3rd Air Corps changed to Dalian Command Post probably in 1985


But the main type remained the good old MiG-19 'Farmer' type on the Shenyang Military Region Air Force even in the late eighties. The early J-8 all-weather interceptor aircraft of the Shenyang Military Region was replaced by the J-8A 'Finback' with two-piece canopy with a fixed windshield and SR-4 (Type 204) fire control radar in the late eighties. The old basic J-8s 'Finback' were converted into high-altitude photo-reconnaissance duties and handed over to the neighboring 4th regiment in the mid-1980s.

Meanwhile, the 22nd Air Division has received new Q-5I (2nd Gen) 'Fantan' attack aircraft. The Shenyang Military Region had two regiment Nanchang Q-5s 'Fantan' and one regiment old Habrin H-5 (IL-28) 'Beagle' attack/bombers in the eighties.

Left: Chinese pilot officer in front of his 1st Air Division’s J-8A ‘Finback’ interceptor in 1984


PLAAF Chengdu J-7II  MiG-21 Fishbed interceptors

Chinese 1st Air Division’s J-7II (MiG-21) ‘Fishbed’ interceptors

The 22nd Air Division’s new Q-5 (1st Gen) ‘Fantan’ attack aircrafts in the late seventies