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The National Day military parade of 1954: The final glory of “China’s Cossacks”

2009-06-17 15:26 BJT

During the National Day military parade of 1954, Minister of National Defense Peng Dehuai reviewed the troops. Yang Chengwu was the parade Commander-in-Chief, and a total of 10,384 officers and soldiers attended the parade.

Judging from the organization and equipment of the inspected troops, the construction of the people's army had entered a new phase. The inspected troops included 38 divisions from military colleges, public security forces, marine, infantry, cavalry, motorized infantry, artillery, tank forces, and an air force as well as four flight echelons. This indicated that the army’s navy, air force and special troops had developed very fast, and the PLA had become a troop with a variety of services. The equipment mainly included: 120mm heavy mortars, 57mm anti-tank guns, 76.2mm field guns, 122mm howitzers, 132mm rocket launchers, searchlights, 37mm and 85mm antiaircraft guns, 152mm gun howitzers, 122mm Self-propelled artillery, C-2 male tanks, T-34 medium tanks, Tu-4 heavy bombers, MiG -15 bis fighters and other equipment. All of this equipment was basically designed by the Soviet Union. In the early days of New China, the country did not have a national defense industry, and could not import equipment from western countries, so was only able to import or imitate Soviet Union equipment. The equipment displayed in the National Day military parade of 1954 showed that the modernization of the PLA equipment had developed to a certain level.

In this grand ceremony, paratroops appeared for the first time, but they did not carry out a parachute jump. During the 63-minute parade, the most unforgettable display was made by the PLA cavalry divisions. The cavalry troops were established relatively early - they were established in the red army period. These brave troops had once plodded through marshlands and scaled snow-topped mountains. They had swept vast grasslands and endless deserts, making glorious achievements in various wars, and were thus known as the “Chinese Cossacks”. After New China was founded, the number of cavalry troops increased significantly to a maximum of over 100,000 soldiers. In the National Day military parade of 1954, the reviewed cavalry troops came from Inner Mongolia Military Area and half of them were heroes or persons of outstanding service. They formed six divisions in total in this parade with each division having the same color warhorses, looking neat and powerful. This was the last time the cavalry troops were reviewed at a National Day military parade. Thereafter, the cavalry troops no longer appeared at the National Day military parade because the number of the troop soldiers dropped until it was finally cancelled. This was more or less a pity for such a branch of the military.

Translated by LOTO

Editor: Liu Anqi | Source: CCTV.com