Since May of 2012 when the exhibition building reinforcement and renovation began, all the medium and light weapons on display in the Exhibition Hall of Weapons have been moved to storage. Over 250 heavy weapons and equipment were relocated to the square south to the exhibition building. In this storage-mode, they are kept open to the public.
There are many “firsts” in the PLA’s history displayed on the south square. “Merit” was the PLA’s first tank and the foundation stone of the PLA’s first tank brigade that played a significant role in China’s Liberation War (1946-1949). The Type 99 advanced trainer made in Japan was used by the PLA’s first aviation school and contributed a lot to training the first batch of PLA pilots. There are also Dongfeng-1, the PLA’s first-generation ground-to-ground missile; J-5 fighter, the first-generation jet fighter made by China independently; Type 59 medium tank, the first-generation tank made by China independently; and HQ-2 ground-to-air missile, the first-generation of its kind made by China independently.
On the south square there are meritorious weapons that played an important role in battles, like the MiG-15 fighter which the hero Wang Hai piloted to shoot down or damage nine US fighters and the cannons which the Chinese troops used to damage the enemy’s 48 howitzers measuring in caliber 105mm and above, three trench mortars and seven tanks in the Battle of Triangle Hill in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. There is also the 37mm anti-aircraft gun which shot down ten US planes in that war. Moreover, there is No. 215 T-34 tank known as “the People’s Hero Tank”, for it damaged five heavy tanks, nine cannons and 26 bunkers in the same war. In addition, there are other meritorious weapons like the No. 414 gunboat and the torpedo boat which played a significant role in the battles of Chinese coastal defense in the early 1950s.