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"assessing Taiwan's ability to resist invasion" Topic

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Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 12:56 p.m. PST
Augustus09 Oct 2021 1:04 p.m. PST

They are a road bump.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 1:08 p.m. PST

"I wonder if each of you might just make some observations on the economic dimensions of the competition, your assessment of what's ahead for China and what the implications are for the United States, Taiwan, Japan, and really, the EU, others who are competing with an authoritarian regime, the Chinese Community Party, but doing so in an unprecedented way, especially the degree to which our economies are intertwined.

Mark Stokes: That's an excellent question, sir. The first part of it is looking at China's economic interest. I would ask the question of, what percentage of China's overall GDP could be attributed to Taiwanese invested enterprises? For example, Taiwanese investment. When you have, I have no idea how much, I don't think anybody does know the exact number, because a lot of the Hong Kong investment in China is attributed just to Hong Kong but actually it's Taiwan as well. What percentage of their GDP could you attribute to Taiwanese invested enterprises? If you look at, for example, high tech, things that are classified as high tech that are coming out of China, I think on the records they're attributed as being a Chinese… made in China, but actually, pretty good chance when you go into Best Buy most of the products that you see that say, made in China, are actually made by a Taiwanese factory in China.

Going back to the invasion, you're pretty much destroying whatever Taiwan is producing there, but also looking at the number of Taiwanese invested enterprises in China, how many Chinese do they employ? One company by itself [crosstalk], 5 million or something like that? [crosstalk] first, direct employees, 20 million. That's equal to the urban unemployment rate in China. If something happens at a certain point, you're going to see suddenly, a massive unemployment. It's the first thing you would see because people aren't going to get paid. Then, that doesn't even take into account the second order effects. You're looking at Jiangsu and Zhejiang being some of the most wealthiest provinces in Shanghai City, wealthiest areas.

A lot of that… the percentage there of Taiwanese investment is going to be significant. The money they earn from exports, the processing and all the duties that come in. That's one of the factors that's going to, I think, be at play. On the semiconductor thing and the supply chain, let's look at military specifically. There's a lot coming out from Congress outlining how there's this uncertainty about where our semiconductors come from. Integrated circuits that go on our weapon systems.

General H.R. McMaster: This is part of the supply chain review that's ongoing by the Pentagon and across government. Then, much of the remedies associated with the frailty of that supply chain are in the Chips Act which is about to pass Congress. But… go ahead, go ahead.

Mark Stokes: Along these lines, in terms of the structure of U.S.-Taiwan defense relations, in terms of addressing some of the supply chain issues, Japan could be viewed as a model. In the U.S.-Japan relationship, defense industry and defense technology are considered to be a bedrock, it's a key part of it. I'm just curious why we don't have it with Taiwan. Taiwan's different because in the U.S. mentality it's FMS. Without looking at much—

General H.R. McMaster: That's foreign military sales?

Mark Stokes: Yes, yes sir. Foreign military sales. Without looking at, maybe if we had a senior-level, bilateral working group on things like supply chain security and defense industrial cooperation modeled after Japan, then maybe we would be able to leverage how Taiwan could help us and turn the relationship into more of a partnership by getting a better handle on things like supply chains for military systems in particular.

General H.R. McMaster: Right. You see an example of this kind of cooperation with Taiwan, or TSMC, their semiconductor producer, building a fab in Phoenix. In part to make that critical supply chain more resilient, for defense purposes, but also as we see with the shortage of automobiles now, for example, for really essential to economic growth and vitality as well.

Scott W. Harold: Yeah, I think that resilience that is not exclusively military, but broader associates, societal and economic, is certainly part of the Taiwan story for how Taiwan plans to resist Chinese coercion."

clibinarium09 Oct 2021 1:36 p.m. PST

If TLDR is a problem there's a youtube video;

khanscom09 Oct 2021 6:40 p.m. PST

1812 strategy? Scorched earth-- if the PRC invades with any reasonable prospect of success, leave them with only a money pit. Acres of land are meaningless.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 7:07 p.m. PST

Very informative Doc. Thanks for posting. And as I have said before economics drives policy.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 Oct 2021 9:25 p.m. PST

Does Taiwan have nukes?

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 9:29 p.m. PST

If they did, would they say so? Really, Bill.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 9:54 p.m. PST

If they did and they had any sense they would, then any talk if invasion would be off the table.

soledad10 Oct 2021 1:33 a.m. PST

An opposed landing is considered one of the most difficult military operations. (but strangely none has failed…)

But, even considering that, have the Chinese the ships needed for an invasion? Have they practiced large scale naval landings? Can they get the troops across the water in the face of missiles and artillery? Can they achieve tactical superiority and advance inland?

Maybe but it would be a huge gamle.

Then imagine the loss of face if the invasion fails. And If they would win and conquer Taiwan what have they gained apart from trouble? they would need to occupy the island and force their will upon the people, risking a civil war or insurgency for quite some time. That mark spark others in mainland china to rise up if the Taiwanese are not defeated quickly and decisively.

Heedless Horseman10 Oct 2021 6:07 a.m. PST

khanscom. 'Scorched Earth' on an Island? Nowhere to go… and a dead population. IF it came to it, defeating an invasion before or on landing are the only options unless avoided completely.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 6:48 a.m. PST

As for the question as to whether Taiwan has nukes, do a little research about when Israel developed nukes and watch how many times a connection with Taiwan comes up. The communist Chinese should be a little less optimistic about believing an invasion of Taiwan would come without great cost to them.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 8:16 a.m. PST

Would China attempt a landing? Why not an EW attack followed by seizure of airports? What is their airlift capacity?

But IF Taiwan has nukes, I would think they would want the Chinese to know, but not publically acknowledge it.

I hope they have them.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 8:16 a.m. PST

Bay of Pigs failed.

soledad10 Oct 2021 8:51 a.m. PST

Funny, I knew Bay of pigs would be brought up… Interesting no-one brought up Dieppe.

I do not consider Bay of Pigs a proper invasion, one country invading another country using its combined forces.

A attack seizing airports have virtually no chance of succeeding. It cannot be reinforced quickly enough and would be crushed by any half competent defensive force.

Legion 410 Oct 2021 9:26 a.m. PST

If the PRC/CCP has built, made, created, drafted, etc., enough "assets". And it looks like they are doing just that. They could take Taiwan regardless of the cost. Again being 20% of the World's pop., losses mean little to them. In both "blood & treasure".

The USA won't get involved for fear of starting a Sino-US conflict or even starting WWIII. Hopefully no one will be crazy/mad, etc., enough to start tossing nukes. AFAIK Taiwan has no nukes. Which may be a good thing. For obvious reasons.

If they did and they had any sense they would, then any talk if invasion would be off the table.

The PRC/CCP wants Taiwan in good condition. Not a nuclear waste land. They want there wayward Chinese island back. In their mind back home, "where they believe it belongs".

If the PRC/CCP did capture Taiwan … they be as draconian as were/are with Hong Kong, etc. Not very "magnanimous", etc. …

An opposed landing is considered one of the most difficult military operations. (but strangely none has failed…)
If you have the assets and willing to expend them … you can generally succeed. But not all invasions from the sea, with air support, etc., does not necessarily mean high loses. E.g. Inchon, the Korean War. However, generally forced entry ops can be costly. E.g. as many invasions in WWII the PTO, etc. …

Plus even if landings by sea & air are successful. The PRC/CCP still may encounter resistance from the remaining of Taiwan's forces. Maybe even guerilla actions across the countryside. US Spec ops are and have been training those forces.

But again the PRC/CCP has the assets to do COIN … if they need to. Regardless of losses …

All that being said … The PRC/CCP is winning "economically" almost worldwide. Without firing a shot … E.g. many US car companies' can't get chips for their cars, trucks, etc. At least that seems the case. And yes … those chips come from China …

And that may just be the tip of the ice burg …

TMPWargamerabbit10 Oct 2021 9:49 a.m. PST

Looking at the island terrain…..

East side of Formosa has basically a mountain range. Not so good for any mechanized forces and lots of choke points. No major eastern airfields or large open spaces for airborne forces.

West side seems to have either built up cities with the ports or wide muddy flats offshore. Hard to land on either of these locations and the tide effect may stop landing during low tide. Cliffs or any raise coastal ground again limits the beach landing. Cannot think how a landing directly on the beach of a city could work.

Airborne landing looks good but for the nearby cities may stop any form of rapid advances. Nearby hidden artillery batteries renders the airfield impossible to land with planes after a few hours. Those gunners know the exact range to the airfield so the cannon can be widely separated.

Full beach landing…. will be seen a few days out…. so preparation on the possible beach landing sites can be completed…. a few minefields maybe, zero in artillery. HMG nests dug in. Any tidal flat area beach landing would be like Tarawa landing only worse.

Best option for PAA… find every junk and small craft, load up with infantry and land everywhere at the same time. The ROC cannot defend everywhere. Then reinforce success and dig graves for the bodies at the failed beaches later.

A tough target…. but then again a million dead on the first week doesn't affect the PAA in the long picture.

Then there is the action in the straits…. but the junk or small craft option would negate that in some way…. just too many targets.

soledad10 Oct 2021 10:42 a.m. PST

What needs to be done is to destroy ships. That will negate the size of PRC size. No matter how many troops they have matters if they cannot get them to Taiwan.

After tropps have landed they must be supplied, modern war consumes huge amount of supplies. For that you need a working harbor.

Imagine your house is being flooded. First you shut off the tap, the you mop up the puddles. Same principle here. Sink the ships and then wipe out the troops already landed.

I doubt the PRC can sustain the losses it would suffer trying to invade. I believe any invasion would fail unless the PRC can get complete strategic surprise or if Taiwan does not fight.

With a fairly mobilized defense force and a willingness to fight I do not believe Taiwan can lose.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2021 12:09 p.m. PST

If Taiwan has nukes, NOW is the time to reveal it. If they are to be a deterrent, we'll, Doctor Strangelove has all there is to be said about that.
What's the point of holding back that information?

Midlander6510 Oct 2021 12:13 p.m. PST

" An opposed landing is considered one of the most difficult military operations. (but strangely none has failed…)"

Lots of pre-20th C examples, eg. Herald Hardrada's invasion of England in 1066, Turkish siege of Malta in 1565.
Not many in the 20th C, I guess because they were only ever launched with overwhelming (local) maritime and air superiority. The only big 20th C example I can think of is Gallipoli.

soledad10 Oct 2021 12:44 p.m. PST

Correct. I was thinking from approx 1915 and onwards. Gallipoli is, to me, kind of "hit or miss". Depends how you define landing and when the landing turns into a land campaign. At Gallipoli the landing was successful as the entente gained a foothold and some ground. They were not thrown back into the sea.

But they were contained after the landing and were unable to accomplish anything. Kind of the allies at Nornandie until they broke out of the beachhead through op Cobra.

Only Warlock10 Oct 2021 3:53 p.m. PST

China will take a mauling going in. They have Zero combat experience currently and their sealift is heavily dependent on modified commercial freighters. Their aircraft are really crappy, not even up to 1990's Russian standards. In order to win they will need to project 10-1 overmatch. Their Subs are really, really noisy and if even two modern attack subs from the US intervene then they will lose. In order to get airborne troops on the ground they have to overfly Taiwan which means they need to gain air dominance, not just Supremacy. They wil need to kill every single Taiwanese SAM battery, and Taiwan has a world class networked air defense environment. On China's best day Taiwan will inflict enough damage to cripple the PRC Navy and Air Force. Those low capability Chinese Carriers can't get close enough to use their short range jets, as Taiwan has a ton of SSMs waiting to expend on them. Sure China has an enormous Army, but that Army is useless here. China's best case they will lose 20-30,000 troops/sailors. That's without US/Korean/Japanese intervention.

Only Warlock10 Oct 2021 4:00 p.m. PST

Remember also that little bitty Vietnam kicked China's butt in a ground war when China tried to invade. The Chinese Army is very brittle. My expectation is they will start strong for the first 2 days, but once it grinds to a halt exchanging fire, the Chinese will flinch and pull back after 4-5 days. At that point Xi will be removed from power within a month or so.

Guroburov10 Oct 2021 4:21 p.m. PST

The comparison to D-Day is quite apt. American and British forces spent over a year gathering forces to prepare to move over 150,000 men across almost 100 miles. They built over 4000 landing ships/craft and were supported by 2300 aircraft and almost 3000 warships and supply ships.

At it's narrowest the Taiwan Strait is 81 miles. The Chinese air force has more than enough aircraft to eliminate the Taiwanese air force and fixed defenses, if they're willing to accept the losses.

As others have stated the problems are logistics and shipping. PLAN has only 45 landing ships with a capacity for just over 10000 men or 500 tanks. If they want to invade they'll end up expending a fortune to build enough shipping or they'll have to seize every fishing boat and freighter and hope they're enough. And how fresh will those troops be after nearly 10 hours of open ocean in fishing boats vs our troops on larger ships in WWII? Can China seize enough ships and fishing boats to carry supplies and fresh troops without having to return to the mainland to reload? They have 40000 airborne troops and could probably drop most of those if all their aircraft and available.

The Taiwanese army identified the best beaches on the west coast for any landings. They've openly said they have more of their troops and defenses arrayed there.

But as Legion says, why go to the cost in men, material, and infrastructure and economic damage when the west can hand it to you without a shot.

The wargaming aspect are very interesting though. I may have to start collecting a Taiwanese army.

Zephyr110 Oct 2021 9:17 p.m. PST

I foresee a 'stealth' landing in a major port, with troops hidden in cruise ships and container ships (probably 40-50 thousand, maybe even with light vehicles), with the main invasion effort starting up within hours of the initial port seizure. A shock assault like that could topple the gov't from the panic alone…

Thresher0111 Oct 2021 12:08 a.m. PST

The Chi-Coms can press many civilian vessels into service, including even large cargo ships and super tankers.

Think Dunkirk in reverse, with their overly large, "civilian" fishing fleet.

Paratrooper drops are also not out of the question, especially once their Chinese jets and ballistic missiles pound Taiwan's military forces into submissions. Yes, Taiwan has some hardened air bases in the mountains, but they still will be under a lot of pressure from the enemy.

Taiwan should go scorched earth, and destroy their manufacturing plants if China does invade, which might make them blink, since I doubt they want to lose access and control over chip manufacturing, and other high-tech industries in Taiwan.

Heedless Horseman11 Oct 2021 1:13 a.m. PST

Just cannot see how 'scorched earth' would deter China. They have done well without Taiwan industries! I see Taiwan as a long running 'Loss of Face' issue… and, more importantly, an opening to Pacific. Does anyone really think that Chinese would 'care' if Taiwanese destroyed their own economy and infrastructure?

If Taiwan is becoming SO important… why not really support it?

Legion 411 Oct 2021 8:49 a.m. PST

On the news I just heard Xi/CCP asked if Taiwan wanted to rejoin their PRC homeland IIRC. The Taiwan leadership, basically said "Nuts", so to speak.

But as TMPWargamerabbit pointed out, there are not a lot of beaches that are capable of supporting a large invasion force, etc., etc. You just can't land anywhere, obviously. Of course both the PRC & Taiwan leadership knows this.

A tough target…. but then again a million dead on the first week doesn't affect the PAA in the long picture.
Yes, a lot of assets available with replacements just as readily on hand.

That's without US/Korean/Japanese intervention.
That is the X-Factor. The Wild Card per se. But I don't think the leadership/will is there. Not risking a US-Sino War/WWIII in the PTO …

Thresher0112 Oct 2021 2:59 p.m. PST

"If Taiwan is becoming SO important… why not really support it?".

Taiwan isn't "becoming" so important, it has been for a very long time due to its production of computer chips, and since US and other Western countries have outsourced that to others so thoroughly, that now we are in a "strategic crisis" over the availability of them

Imagine how bad it will be without them for our advanced weaponry and vehicles, when even common toasters, refrigerators, and automobiles can't operate without them.

You'll have to ask the present guy in charge, and/or his spokespeople.

My guess is just like Adolf believed in WWII, better to have a fleet in being to be able to threaten others than a much more diminished one, with the rest at the bottom of the sea, for little perceived gain.

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