Lessons for China to learn from Ukraine conflict for Taiwan scenario


solarz

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  • CCTV series coincides with defence minister telling his US counterpart not to underestimate Beijing’s determination or ability to defend its interests
  • Use of PLA paratroopers in recent drills appears influenced by the failures of the Russian military during invasion of Ukraine, according to analyst

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has released video footage of amphibious assault landings and island-control exercises involving marines and other special fighting units as the PLA Navy prepares to celebrate its 73rd anniversary this weekend.

Several clips have been broadcast this week, coinciding with China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe telling his American counterpart Lloyd Austin in a
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not to underestimate Beijing’s determination or ability to defend its national interests and dignity over the Taiwan issue.

Video shown on the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) on Tuesday depicted at least a dozen ZTD-05 amphibious assault vehicles sending marines to attack a simulated enemy base during a recent island seizure drill. Airborne troops landed on the island from Z-8 transport helicopters soon after the marines wiped out all key military assets.

For the posters who were arguing about airborne assault troops, it seems that the PLA is indeed adding them to their repertoire for island assault.
 

Mohsin77

Senior Member
Registered Member
For the posters who were arguing about airborne assault troops, it seems that the PLA is indeed adding them to their repertoire for island assault.

The terminology in the article is a little inaccurate which makes it confusing e.g. "airborne troops dropped by helicopter." Troops deployed by choppers are not 'Airborne' they are "Air Assault", like the US Army's 82nd Division. But the article also states: "being dropped by transport aircraft into unfamiliar places." Now, if these were paratroopers, that would be "Airborne", like the 101st Division.

So were both Airborne + Air Assault used in this drill, or was it a mistake in the article?

Also, this sentence was interesting: "Other CCTV reports this week showed almost all airborne troops in the Eastern and Southern theatre commands." If someone can post the PLA's Eastern and Southern Theater TOE/ORBAT, that would help in determining the scope of this capability. However, it seems like the PLA gearing for larger operations like Market Garden, rather than using this capability only for tactical level insertions.

If that is the case, then that is well beyond what the Russians did near Kiev. It's not even comparable.
 
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crash8pilot

Junior Member
Registered Member
The terminology in the article is a little inaccurate which makes it confusing e.g. "airborne troops dropped by helicopter." Troops deployed by choppers are not 'Airborne' they are "Air Assault", like the US Army's 82nd Division. But the article also states: "being dropped by transport aircraft into unfamiliar places." Now, if these were paratroopers, that would be "Airborne", like the 101st Division.

So were both Airborne + Air Assault used in this drill, or was it a mistake in the article?

Also, this sentence was interesting: "Other CCTV reports this week showed almost all airborne troops in the Eastern and Southern theatre commands." If someone can post the PLA's Eastern and Southern Theater TOE/ORBAT, that would help in determining the scope of this capability. However, it seems like the PLA gearing for larger operations like Market Garden, rather than using this capability only for tactical level insertions.

If that is the case, then that is well beyond what the Russians did near Kiev. It's not even comparable.
Eastern Theater Command Ground Forces is composed of 3 Group Armies (the 71st, 72nd, and 73rd), while Southern Theater Command Ground Forces has 2 Group Armies (74th and 75th). Out of these 5 Group Armies, only 3 of them have Amphibious Combined Arms Brigades. The 75th Group Army, which is based in Kunming bordering the mountainous regions of Myanmar/Laos/Vietnam, features an Air Assault Brigade... I'm not too sure if they'd be tasked in a Taiwan scenario though, the air assault role might be better served by the PLAAF Airborne Corps - More on that later. Also want to point out that the 73rd Group Army has the distinction of being known as the "Frontline Troops Against Taiwan" (對台一線部隊), so they'd probably form the bulk of the assault.
  • 72nd Group Army - based in Xuzhou, Jiangsu
    • 5th Amphibious Combined Arms Brigade (ZTD-05 and ZBD-05)
    • 10th Heavy Combined Arms Brigade (ZTZ-96A and ZBD-04)
    • 34th Medium Combined Arms Brigade (ZTZ-59D and ZSD-63/ZSD-89)
    • 85th Medium Combined Arms Brigade (ZTL-11D and ZTL-08)
    • 90th Light Combined Arms Brigade
    • 124th Amphibious Combined Arms Brigade (ZTD-05 and ZBD-05)
    • 72nd Special Operations Brigade
    • 72nd Artillery Brigade
    • 72nd Air Defense Brigade
    • 72nd Army Aviation Brigade (Mi-17, Z-9, Z-10)
    • 72nd Engineers Brigade
    • 72nd Chemical Defense Brigade
    • 72nd Support Services Brigade
  • 73rd Group Army - based in Xiamen, Fujian
    • 3rd Light Combined Arms Brigade
    • 14th Amphibious Combined Arms Brigade (ZTD-05 and ZBD-05)
    • 86th Heavy Combined Arms Brigade (ZTZ-96A and ZBD-04)
    • 91st Amphibious Combined Arms Brigade (ZTD-05 and ZBD-05)
    • 92nd Light Combined Arms Brigade
    • 145th Medium Combined Arms Brigade (ZTL-11 and ZSL-92)
    • 73rd Special Operations Brigade
    • 73rd Army Aviation Brigade (Mi-17, Z-8, Z-9, Z-10, Z-19)
    • 73rd Artillery Brigade
    • 73rd Air Defense Brigade
    • 73rd Engineers Brigade
    • 73rd Support Services Brigade
  • 74th Group Army - based in Huizhou, Guangdong
    • 1st Amphibious Combined Arms Brigade (ZTD-05 and ZBD-05)
    • 16th Heavy Combined Arms Brigade (ZTZ-96 and ZBD-86A)
    • 125th Amphibious Combined Arms Brigade (ZTD-05 and ZBD-05)
    • 132nd Light Combined Arms Brigade
    • 154th Medium Combined Arms Brigade (ZTL-11 and ZSL-92)
    • 163rd Light Combined Arms Brigade
    • 74th Special Operations Brigade
    • 74th Army Aviation Brigade (Mi-17, Z-9, Z-10)
    • 74th Artillery Brigade
    • 74th Air Defense Brigade
    • 74th Engineers Brigade
    • 74th Chemical Defense Brigade
    • 74th Support Services Brigade
Based on my understanding the PLAAF's Airborne Corps serves as a strategic rapid response unit, and it has capabilities/functions somewhere between the lines of the XVIII Airborne and the 75th Rangers. Good chance the Airborne Corps's 6 brigades based in Henan and Hubei would be forward deployed to the coast when poop hits the fan, and they'll be further tasked with capturing strategic locations via air drop and/or air assault much like the VDV did in the initial stages of the special military operation in Ukraine.

Additionally, the PLAN Marine Corps has 4 brigades assigned to Southern and Eastern Theater Commands (1st and 2nd assigned to STC, based in Zhanjiang, Guangdong. 3rd and 4th assigned to ETC, 3rd based in Jinjiang, Fujian while 4th based in Jieyang, Guangdong). These brigades might be better suited/trained to the initial amphibious assault than the PLANGF's Amphibious Combined Arms Brigades? Perhaps the PLANMC would form the initial wave to secure the coast line before being reinforced by the PLANGF's amphibious forces so that the big boys can come into play later on?

The Airborne Corps and the PLANMC each has a Special Operations Brigade too, although I don't know if they're more capable or level in capability with the SOF brigades attached to each PLAGF Group Army.
 

solarz

Brigadier
The terminology in the article is a little inaccurate which makes it confusing e.g. "airborne troops dropped by helicopter." Troops deployed by choppers are not 'Airborne' they are "Air Assault", like the US Army's 82nd Division. But the article also states: "being dropped by transport aircraft into unfamiliar places." Now, if these were paratroopers, that would be "Airborne", like the 101st Division.

So were both Airborne + Air Assault used in this drill, or was it a mistake in the article?

Also, this sentence was interesting: "Other CCTV reports this week showed almost all airborne troops in the Eastern and Southern theatre commands." If someone can post the PLA's Eastern and Southern Theater TOE/ORBAT, that would help in determining the scope of this capability. However, it seems like the PLA gearing for larger operations like Market Garden, rather than using this capability only for tactical level insertions.

If that is the case, then that is well beyond what the Russians did near Kiev. It's not even comparable.

One thing that's interesting is in the exercise, defenses were first eliminated by landing troops before the airborne/air assault troops were sent in. That sounds like the vanguard will still be the amphibious forces while air drops will be for reinforcements.
 
US refuses to sell F-35s to Taiwan, what makes anyone think US would shed American blood for a "country" it deems untrustworthy and unreliable?
Not that I think that in the end, they would dare, but the desire is there simply because it is pretty much the last thing they have to hold over China's head. In desperation, they may try to hold on to every unfair advantage and immoral play through every ugly tactic, because they know that on a level competition field, China eats their lunch every time.
 

Mohsin77

Senior Member
Registered Member
One thing that's interesting is in the exercise, defenses were first eliminated by landing troops before the airborne/air assault troops were sent in. That sounds like the vanguard will still be the amphibious forces while air drops will be for reinforcements.

Yep, securing beachheads + airspace are both prerequisites. Otherwise, mass air drops are suicide. They wouldn't be used as reinforcements though, but rather offensive drops to outflank or capture critical infrastructure, like airbases and bridges etc.

However, there is another possibility here... These drills could be part of a fake diversionary move. Since these operations are by nature high-risk (and their historical effect is debatable), it's possible the PLA has no intention of actually following through with them. But by publicly showcasing such a threat, that might force Taiwan to reserve forces in the rear to guard against it, thereby reducing its frontline capabilities.

So perhaps, the PLA is just forcing Taiwan to spread its defenses thin, and that's the real objective of these drills.
 

SEAD

Junior Member
Registered Member
Lesson 1: leave your iron bombs and rockets in the trash and forget your out-of-date human-in-the-loop missiles and bombs, buy more smart munitions! The lag of A2G munitions in PLAAF is as impressive as their progress in other fields, especially given the situation that they have more than enough tech.
 
The US has advocated Taiwan to adopt a more asymmetric strategy against mainland China for quite some time now, but now it looks that they're going to force the strategy down on Taiwan through arms sales/non-sales. More comprehensive reviews of lessons learned from Russia-Ukraine conflict are either on-going and/or will be conducted after the conflict. Expect more sales of Javelin, Stinger, drones, coastal anti-ship missiles, sea mines etc. vs more conventional arms such as tanks, artillery, helicopters.

We've had a lot of discussions on the asymmetric strategy that Taiwan can potentially adopt and its implications in the past in this thread. It will be interesting to continue to keep an eye on the developments in this front.

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The Biden administration’s push for Taiwan to order missiles and smaller arms for asymmetric warfare has gained urgency since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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and
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May 7, 2022
Saw this over in the Taiwan military thread but thought it fit this thread as well and appropriate to discuss it here.

The impact of intelligence and propaganda/psyops/hearts & minds/soft power (including financial colonization/temptation thereof) should be two of the biggest takeaways from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, or more accurately the latest episode of the US-Russia great game for Russia's periphery.

The article essentially says the US is attempting to pre-position the ROC for guerilla warfare. An interesting compare and contrast are the 2019 Hong Kong riots where there were rioters/potential guerillas but lacking weapons, and the ROC where there can relatively easily be weapons but the challenge of whether there are potential guerillas.

While foreign interventionists may have found Ukrainian elite and society primed for being co-opted and manipulated in various ways for years prior to 2014 Maidan, I don't think the same conditions exist in the ROC, at least not yet in the same ways nor to the same degree.
 

Michaelsinodef

Junior Member
Registered Member
The article essentially says the US is attempting to pre-position the ROC for guerilla warfare. An interesting compare and contrast are the 2019 Hong Kong riots where there were rioters/potential guerillas but lacking weapons, and the ROC where there can relatively easily be weapons but the challenge of whether there are potential guerillas.
Nah, expect there to 100% be guerillas.
The question though will be how many, and of those how many will fight to the death (especially in a very hopeless scenario).

Ofc, besides guerillas, there's also gonna be many deserters, and I would quite confidently bet money on there being more of these people (quite possibly, substantially more).
 

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