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Discussion in 'Navy' started by Björn Larsson, Nov 20, 2018.
I think you mean Guppy Class, the last American made diesel electric submarine.
Most of the Taiwan Strait is less than 80M deep.
And the water looks clear from what I can see of the beaches and coral near the Penghu Islands
I think it is a simplification to assume they would just operate in the Straits. They could be used to enforce an Exclusive Economic Zone or target shipping lanes of an invading force. Or they could do like the Israelis do with their Dolphin class submarine and use them to carry sub launched cruise missiles to have some sort of second strike capability even if they just used conventional warheads it could be enough to sink a ship at long distances especially with outside satellite intelligence. Heck given the costs of satellite launch now they could even orbit their own observation satellite in a geostationary orbit to provide 24h panoramas of their defensive perimeter.
It would provide them with more options. But I still think their best choice would be to "turtle", like we usually say in strategy games, and just add gobs and gobs of land based missile defenses in protected or mobile positions. Basically what Israel did with Iron Dome and what Russia did in the Baltic.
Oh, some people forget, but the major losses the German Navy sustained in WW2 during their Norway campaign were against some XIXth century vintage Austrian-Hungarian torpedos in a Norwegian fortress in a channel. The Norwegians sunk two ships with that and this resulted in the German surface Navy being consigned in port or in bastions for the rest of the war. Quite pathetic really. Still it goes to show that even just torpedos can be deadly in the proper conditions like in choke points.
G.U.P.P.Y was not a class it was a program. The Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program that was down across multiple classes. The Balao-class former USS Tusk now Hai Poa and the Tench class Former USS Cutlass now Hai Shih.
What is the point of Taiwanese submarines attacking distant targets?
Remember that Taiwan has already lost air superiority over its cities. The Chinese navy will be patrolling unchallenged off Taiwan's ports and a seaborse invasion across the Taiwan strait is imminent.
It's game over if China establishes a secure beachhead
I think it was Curtis LeMay who once said, paraphrasing, that a good way to avoid getting into a war with someone was to make it so grievously expensive to the other side to start a war that they would basically not even begin one. Carriers and Type 055 cruisers are expensive. So the submarines could aim for those. But more likely, they could do unrestricted submarine warfare, like the Germans and the USA did in WW2. The USA broke the back of the Japanese by sinking all the merchant ships they could find. The Japanese ran out of oil and rubber and it ground their war machine to a halt. They could just blow up all the oil tankers and cargo ships they could find. Which would take years to replace. In case of an invasion of Taiwan, they could then move the submarines to friendly ports, and continue the fight from there. The beaches could be either mined or bombed in case of invasion.
Also a lot of people forget, but Taiwan isn't exactly flat, it's not like it's Poland:
If the Taiwanese put up a real land based resistance it wouldn't be over in a couple of days. In the worst of cases, the USA could do a nuclear warhead share agreement similar to what they have with Germany and Turkey with the B-61, except with Tomahawk warheads. Imagine the Taiwanese get diesel-electric submarines which can fire conventional armed Tomahawk missiles, optionally nuclear armed, with the nuclear warheads under US supervision under a similar program.
These are all hypothetical but this is not an unrealistic future scenario.
What would be the reaction if the US provided nuclear warheads to Taiwan?
Would we see a pre-emptive strike or sabotage by the Chinese military?
If we didn't, it would almost certainly trigger a huge Chinese military buildup and an actual cold war.
If China establishes a secure beachhead on Taiwan, yes, Taiwan can still resist.
But is there any doubt that China will do whatever it takes to subdue Taiwan?
1. It would count as a defeat for China if they didn't subdue China.
2. Taiwan is a challenge to the political legitimacy of the Communist government in Beijing.
3. Taiwan also represents a key focal point for the military containment of China within the First Island Chain.
4. But if Taiwan comes under Chinese control, it means China can break out into the Pacific Ocean.
If China were to offer Taiwan a 50 year HK-style deal, would the surviving government take this?
Remember the alternative is that Taiwan loses everything.
A few outdated submarines won’t threaten those high value targets.
Merchant ships is a more probable target but those might be escorted by PLAN in wartime. Again, the “deterrence through terror attack” strategy works far better with land based missiles and rockets, which can be hidden and deployed last minute and can cause more civilian casualties (therefore scarier). See hezbollah strikes on Israel.
There are no “friendly” ports within reasonable distances. I’m unsure any of the countries recognizing ROC even have ports. Panama had, but they also yeeted ROC for PRC a few months ago.
US smuggling nukes into Taiwan is about as probable as China smuggling nukes into Puerto Rico, and the results would be the same. It would be an instant war declaration and the transport vessel sunk/shot down, or the nuclear site bombed.
The only reason for armed groups to keep submarines is for small scale covert ops purposes. ROC’s current submarine fleet is able to do that. If they can copy and modify the Balao-class, that already gives them significantly more covert ops power than any other armed group.
Trying to build even a Song class equivalent would take very long time and bankrupt the organization on something that’s likely to see very little use. Noise only matters when fighting enemy warships. If the intent is to smuggle certain goods or send a few operatives behind enemy lines, a Balao can do that almost as effectively as a state of the art Yuan or Soryu.
The easiest way to get a place like Taiwan is like the Chinese did with Tibet. Fund an internal coup and take it over.
A lot of the large Taiwanese business leaders have close ties with Beijing as it is. The hardest ones to convince would be small business owners and the general population.