PLA Strategy in a Taiwan Contingency


AndrewS

Brigadier
Registered Member
I would disregard any US intervention in the PLA's amphibious operation. It would take at least two weeks for the Americans to organize the forces, during which time analysts expect the PLA to have all troops landed and that would be enough time for the PLA to conquer Taiwan. Full amphibious landing of all echelons would be done in 2-4 days, PLA has distance from the island as a force multiplier, so landing large amounts of troops in a short time by distance is a reasonable consideration.

It's possible that Taiwanese forces collapse within 2 weeks.
But suppose they hold out and it turns into grinding urban warfare?

And how many forces do you expect to be landed in those 2-4 days?
 

Suetham

Junior Member
Registered Member
It's possible that Taiwanese forces collapse within 2 weeks.
But suppose they hold out and it turns into grinding urban warfare?
This will depend on Taiwan's reserve forces, their motivation and the level of training they have received up to the time of the invasion. Let's say the reserve forces are properly motivated and trained.

Some factors have to be analyzed:

Taiwan's command center will be attacked. In fact, there is a version of the DF-15 that attacks bunkers and has a level of accuracy in the centimeter range that is precisely to neutralize the "brain" of the army. If the Taiwanese army takes the fight to the urban center it will be totally disorganized and without support, the PLA would certainly eliminate the escape and supply routes.

The city will be without electricity and probably without water supply. Will all Taiwanese soldiers, including reserves, have adequate equipment to fight in this operational environment? I doubt it.

The PLA already had spies deployed in Taiwan even before the invasion, it becomes promising that much of the armed resistance would already be captured by the information provided by these spies. And I go further in this argument, is there no spies within the Taiwanese army itself? History clearly confirms that this is especially important for an army that is going to conquer.

The territory is small. It doesn't give much room for manoeuvre, especially considering that much of it would have already been conquered. The plan I read a few months ago is part of the Taiwanese army hiding in underground bases, which in a way makes sense, because if you take the fight to the urban center, the soldiers themselves will be risking the lives of their own family members, that it's unforgivable.

There are many points to consider, I definitely don't have everything ready to give an exact answer to this question.
And how many forces do you expect to be landed in those 2-4 days?
These days, which will be the initial period of the conquest of Taiwan, will depend on the use of civil RoRo ships and LSTs that can carry payloads in the range above 1000 tons. It will also depend on the use of helicopters to transport amphibious infantry forces, their supplies and weapons.

Disregarding all this, where all equipment would have the ideal operational employment of a successful invasion in that time limit, I would point out that in just these four days, I see a force of 40,000-80,000 being landed, both employing PLANMC amphibious troops and PLAGF, but also the PLAGF's own regulars, such as air assault forces and special troops.

Obviously, the force to capture the island would have to be greater than those troops that will be landed on the beach, but the rest of this force would have to be airborne by PLAAF/PLANAF aircraft with massive use of parachute forces. The other day I saw a video of the PLA paratrooper forces, the Chinese already have a complete division of paratroopers, this is much bigger than the vast majority of countries have, in Brazil where I live, we only have one paratrooper force at brigade level .
 

AndrewS

Brigadier
Registered Member
This will depend on Taiwan's reserve forces, their motivation and the level of training they have received up to the time of the invasion. Let's say the reserve forces are properly motivated and trained.

Some factors have to be analyzed:

Taiwan's command center will be attacked. In fact, there is a version of the DF-15 that attacks bunkers and has a level of accuracy in the centimeter range that is precisely to neutralize the "brain" of the army. If the Taiwanese army takes the fight to the urban center it will be totally disorganized and without support, the PLA would certainly eliminate the escape and supply routes.

The city will be without electricity and probably without water supply. Will all Taiwanese soldiers, including reserves, have adequate equipment to fight in this operational environment? I doubt it.

The thing with urban combat is that you can stockpile supplies and ammunition fairly close by.
And because the distances are actually very short, it's actually relatively easy to organise small unit combat.
Plus there's no such thing as a decisive breakthrough because there are always more buildings ahead.

Apparently wargames run by the USA have the Chinese Army bogged down in urban combat whilst the US Air Force pushes enough aircraft/bombers to Taiwan every 12 hours or so. But the rest of the time, the Chinese Air Force have air superiority.

So it becomes a slugging match and the Taiwanese could potentially mobilise large numbers of reservists for urban combat against a smaller invasion force.

But here's how I see China avoiding this scenario.

There are a relatively small number of targets that will cripple the Taiwanese economy and set it on the path to complete collapse. It would be analogous to WW2 Germany or Japan, who both surrendered when faced with this situation.

There are approximately:

50 major power plants
3 oil refineries
20 fuel terminals/depots
294 bridges across 15 major rivers/canals

Given that China has air superiority, these could be all be hit within a few days.
Then the entirety of Taiwan has little electricity, fuel or water.

Hitting 300 bridges in Taiwan would also isolate Taiwan into 16 separate regions of 1-2 million people.
The transport network will be completely broken, hindering mobilisation, food supplies etc etc
Taiwan only produces a third of its food requirements and imports the rest.

At that point, it is only a matter of time before we see the complete collapse of Taiwanese society and the resulting anarchy.
Even if the US intervenes, China has enough aircraft and missiles to keep outside ships or aircraft from resupplying Taiwan. Taiwan is just too close to China and you're talking about a lot of ships to feed and supply 23 million people in Taiwan.
So Taiwan's society and economy still collapses even with US intervention.

The only way to prevent this happening is for Taiwan to come to a political settlement with China, and this is in China's interest because it ends the war. I think something like Hong Kong with the national security law is realistic. If people in Taiwan aren't happy, they would also be free to leave like with Hong Kong. Taiwan could also be allowed to keep a modestly sized Army, but the Air Force and Navy bases would be transferred to China.


The PLA already had spies deployed in Taiwan even before the invasion, it becomes promising that much of the armed resistance would already be captured by the information provided by these spies. And I go further in this argument, is there no spies within the Taiwanese army itself? History clearly confirms that this is especially important for an army that is going to conquer.

The territory is small. It doesn't give much room for manoeuvre, especially considering that much of it would have already been conquered. The plan I read a few months ago is part of the Taiwanese army hiding in underground bases, which in a way makes sense, because if you take the fight to the urban center, the soldiers themselves will be risking the lives of their own family members, that it's unforgivable.

There are many points to consider, I definitely don't have everything ready to give an exact answer to this question.

These days, which will be the initial period of the conquest of Taiwan, will depend on the use of civil RoRo ships and LSTs that can carry payloads in the range above 1000 tons. It will also depend on the use of helicopters to transport amphibious infantry forces, their supplies and weapons.

Disregarding all this, where all equipment would have the ideal operational employment of a successful invasion in that time limit, I would point out that in just these four days, I see a force of 40,000-80,000 being landed, both employing PLANMC amphibious troops and PLAGF, but also the PLAGF's own regulars, such as air assault forces and special troops.

Obviously, the force to capture the island would have to be greater than those troops that will be landed on the beach, but the rest of this force would have to be airborne by PLAAF/PLANAF aircraft with massive use of parachute forces. The other day I saw a video of the PLA paratrooper forces, the Chinese already have a complete division of paratroopers, this is much bigger than the vast majority of countries have, in Brazil where I live, we only have one paratrooper force at brigade level .

I see a force of 40K-80K as being too small, given that the initial defenders could number many times more and the potential for much of this force being prevented from landing.

I reckon they can already land the combat elements of 2 Army Amphibious Brigades plus 4 Army Infantry Brigades in the first wave of beach landings. That is 30K soldiers already. Then add some Army Air Assault Brigades and Special Operations Brigades in small boats which preceded the beach landings. That's another 10K easily.

In terms of Airborne forces, I'm not a fan of paradrops because I think the planes and paratroopers are too vulnerable on the way to the dropzone. Plus they are too disorganised when they land. Helicopters are better in my opinion.

If I look at the total Mi-17 and Z-8 inventory, they have the capacity to lift 11000 soldiers in a single wave. That's enough for 2 of the 6 Airborne Corps Paratrooper Brigades. So if the helicopters make 2 more trips in 6hours, that's roughly 30K paratroopers in total. Then there is the Airborne Corps Air Assault Brigade as well.

That is already 80K soldiers within the first 6 hours. Then starting 12 hours later, the initial landing craft would be back for the next wave of beach landings.

I also get a figure of 5 RoRos to transport an entire Army Medium (Stryker) Brigade with roughly 1400 vehicles including supply trucks

NB. The Brigade is the basic army combat unit these days. China, Russia and Taiwan have actually abolished divisions completely, so their Army Corps command Brigades directly.
 

Suetham

Junior Member
Registered Member
NB. The Brigade is the basic army combat unit these days. China, Russia and Taiwan have actually abolished divisions completely, so their Army Corps command Brigades directly.
You did not understand. I didn't say that China has divisions as the main unit in the organizational framework, but rather that China's airborne capability is division-level, which makes a capability above most countries equal to the US. The example I gave of my country that only has the capacity to employ only one unit at brigade level, which compared to the PLA capacity is almost 2-5x smaller.
 

drowingfish

Junior Member
Registered Member
The thing with urban combat is that you can stockpile supplies and ammunition fairly close by.
And because the distances are actually very short, it's actually relatively easy to organise small unit combat.
Plus there's no such thing as a decisive breakthrough because there are always more buildings ahead.

Apparently wargames run by the USA have the Chinese Army bogged down in urban combat whilst the US Air Force pushes enough aircraft/bombers to Taiwan every 12 hours or so. But the rest of the time, the Chinese Air Force have air superiority.

So it becomes a slugging match and the Taiwanese could potentially mobilise large numbers of reservists for urban combat against a smaller invasion force.

But here's how I see China avoiding this scenario.

There are a relatively small number of targets that will cripple the Taiwanese economy and set it on the path to complete collapse. It would be analogous to WW2 Germany or Japan, who both surrendered when faced with this situation.

There are approximately:

50 major power plants
3 oil refineries
20 fuel terminals/depots
294 bridges across 15 major rivers/canals

Given that China has air superiority, these could be all be hit within a few days.
Then the entirety of Taiwan has little electricity, fuel or water.

Hitting 300 bridges in Taiwan would also isolate Taiwan into 16 separate regions of 1-2 million people.
The transport network will be completely broken, hindering mobilisation, food supplies etc etc
Taiwan only produces a third of its food requirements and imports the rest.

At that point, it is only a matter of time before we see the complete collapse of Taiwanese society and the resulting anarchy.
Even if the US intervenes, China has enough aircraft and missiles to keep outside ships or aircraft from resupplying Taiwan. Taiwan is just too close to China and you're talking about a lot of ships to feed and supply 23 million people in Taiwan.
So Taiwan's society and economy still collapses even with US intervention.

The only way to prevent this happening is for Taiwan to come to a political settlement with China, and this is in China's interest because it ends the war. I think something like Hong Kong with the national security law is realistic. If people in Taiwan aren't happy, they would also be free to leave like with Hong Kong. Taiwan could also be allowed to keep a modestly sized Army, but the Air Force and Navy bases would be transferred to China.




I see a force of 40K-80K as being too small, given that the initial defenders could number many times more and the potential for much of this force being prevented from landing.

I reckon they can already land the combat elements of 2 Army Amphibious Brigades plus 4 Army Infantry Brigades in the first wave of beach landings. That is 30K soldiers already. Then add some Army Air Assault Brigades and Special Operations Brigades in small boats which preceded the beach landings. That's another 10K easily.

In terms of Airborne forces, I'm not a fan of paradrops because I think the planes and paratroopers are too vulnerable on the way to the dropzone. Plus they are too disorganised when they land. Helicopters are better in my opinion.

If I look at the total Mi-17 and Z-8 inventory, they have the capacity to lift 11000 soldiers in a single wave. That's enough for 2 of the 6 Airborne Corps Paratrooper Brigades. So if the helicopters make 2 more trips in 6hours, that's roughly 30K paratroopers in total. Then there is the Airborne Corps Air Assault Brigade as well.

That is already 80K soldiers within the first 6 hours. Then starting 12 hours later, the initial landing craft would be back for the next wave of beach landings.

I also get a figure of 5 RoRos to transport an entire Army Medium (Stryker) Brigade with roughly 1400 vehicles including supply trucks

NB. The Brigade is the basic army combat unit these days. China, Russia and Taiwan have actually abolished divisions completely, so their Army Corps command Brigades directly.
i dont see how PLA can get bogged down in urban fighting. urban combat is extremely labour intensive and the ROC army simply does not have that kind of manpower. and it is unlikely that the PLA could be stopped in its tracks by urban defence. if the PLA runs into a sector that it is unable to defeat, it can simply outflank it from the sea which it would totally control.
 

FangYuan

Junior Member
Registered Member
i dont see how PLA can get bogged down in urban fighting. urban combat is extremely labour intensive and the ROC army simply does not have that kind of manpower. and it is unlikely that the PLA could be stopped in its tracks by urban defence. if the PLA runs into a sector that it is unable to defeat, it can simply outflank it from the sea which it would totally control.

Russians used tactics of bait during Chechen war. They sent some people to move ahead, every time the enemy attacked, their position would be discovered and then the Russians used the artillery to destroy the entire enemy position.

China can use similar tactics, but this time, not just 155mm or PF-98 120mm cannon, China can use MOAB to destroy the entire area.
 

AndrewS

Brigadier
Registered Member
Russians used tactics of bait during Chechen war. They sent some people to move ahead, every time the enemy attacked, their position would be discovered and then the Russians used the artillery to destroy the entire enemy position.

China can use similar tactics, but this time, not just 155mm or PF-98 120mm cannon, China can use MOAB to destroy the entire area.

MOAB is wholely impractical to use in such a scenario. You need an H-6 which can only carry one of them and for that big vulnerable H-6 is spend a long time circling a battlefield.

I see artillery being in short supply at the beginning because it is really heavy to transport.
 

AndrewS

Brigadier
Registered Member
i dont see how PLA can get bogged down in urban fighting. urban combat is extremely labour intensive and the ROC army simply does not have that kind of manpower. and it is unlikely that the PLA could be stopped in its tracks by urban defence. if the PLA runs into a sector that it is unable to defeat, it can simply outflank it from the sea which it would totally control.

The ROC Army does have a million reservists. If they can fix the system, they could have a lot of people to conduct urban warfare.

In previous conflicts, we've seen urban centres hold out for a very long time, even if they have been cutoff. Plus you can't bypass often because these urban centres are everywhere
 

drowingfish

Junior Member
Registered Member
The ROC Army does have a million reservists. If they can fix the system, they could have a lot of people to conduct urban warfare.

In previous conflicts, we've seen urban centres hold out for a very long time, even if they have been cutoff. Plus you can't bypass often because these urban centres are everywhere
like i just said, the PLA has the option to bypass because it controls the sea.
 

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