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"U.S. Army’s Role in a War Over Taiwan?" Topic


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian01 Dec 2021 1:31 a.m. PST

…troops may find themselves either defending the island from a Chinese invasion or even helping retake Taiwan after China (due to proximity and first-mover advantages) wins the initial high-tech struggle…

War on the Rocks: link

14Bore01 Dec 2021 2:06 a.m. PST

My guess is the Afghanistan model

Oddball01 Dec 2021 5:58 a.m. PST

Uncle Sugar isn't going to lift a finger to save Taiwan.

All talk.

Ask our other "Allies".

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 6:15 a.m. PST

Elements of the 82nd Airborne would arrive first, followed by the 25th Infantry, then leading elements of the 101st. Rangers and Special Forces would be conducting raids in theater, but outside of that most U.S. ground forces would be Marines. I think how many ground forces get committed has a lot to do with how the first day goes. If Taiwan gives the attacking forces a bloody nose and there's heavy fighting, the U.S. and its allies will probably commit ground forces to help. If the first day goes bad for Taiwan (loses all of their surface forces, air force is down to less than 50%, amphibious forces are already in control of airstrips and ports, etc.), then there will be some naval/air combat, but that's about it.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 7:03 a.m. PST

My guess is we would be critical but do nothing overtly. I don't think the US citizenry is ready for another foreign war. It could be considered a China's "Monroe Doctrine" type of situation from China's point of view.

Personal logo Silurian Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 7:38 a.m. PST

And it wouldn't just be another foreign war like we've seen since WWII. The consequences for us all, in so many ways, would be catastrophic.

Gear Pilot01 Dec 2021 8:00 a.m. PST

Yes, we should all Bleeped text. I'm sure that will work out well.

Wackmole901 Dec 2021 8:13 a.m. PST

Deleted by Moderator So good Luck Taiwan, because the only help we will be giving you is empty words.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 10:54 a.m. PST

Wackamole9, Gear Pilot- What would you do? What is the best approach? How would you handle a Chinese invasion of Taiwan? I have no idea myself.

Thanks aegis, for your interesting vision of what might happen.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 11:13 a.m. PST

Nothing would happen past some strongly worded statements in the UN and token sanctions. The US has no treaty commitments to defend Taiwan. If that were to change then station a few tens of thousands of troops there as a regular deployment immediately rather than waiting for tensions to escalate

Wackmole901 Dec 2021 11:15 a.m. PST

Well many people in the 1930's ask the same question about Manchuria, Ethiopia, Austria, and on and on.

Cerdic01 Dec 2021 11:55 a.m. PST

Going to war with the country that makes all your kit? Hmmm, I think I've spotted a slight problem…

Choctaw01 Dec 2021 12:36 p.m. PST

Would we be able to control the sea and air in order to land ground forces and keep them supplied?

Major Mike01 Dec 2021 12:49 p.m. PST

If we were really serious, we would send some US troops there to do a "training exercise" of an undetermined time frame just around the time of the end of the Olympics. The PRC would explode with all sorts of verbal condemnations, but, it would put them in a position to wait for another day. At the moment, I think in the long view they may not want to compromise their cash cow.
They could of course, go now and just pitch the Olympics and watch as Australia and New Zealand are focused on the Solomon's and the US is hamstrung with Covid response among other issues political and military. Japan will probably do nothing as their population may have no stomach to fight anything other that Godzilla.

14Bore01 Dec 2021 1:13 p.m. PST

I did mean the bug out model

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian01 Dec 2021 1:30 p.m. PST

Elements of the 82nd Airborne would arrive first…

How? Seems likely that China would control the airspace almost immediately.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 1:31 p.m. PST

So what do we do? Send troops, fight them on the beach so it doesn't turn out like Europe in the 30s? Do we think they will take the whole South Pacfic next?

Our leverage is economic, I think, but not sure whether it's enough.

McKinstry Fezian01 Dec 2021 1:38 p.m. PST

Is it too late to declare war on Russia over the Crimea? Same deal, essentially the same historic claim/reuniting countrymen argument on their part and absolutely the same lack of treaty obligation on the US part.

As a father with a son and daughter-in-law in the Army I find the idea ridiculous but I would fully support everyone who is eager to see us fight to form the modern equivalent of the Abraham Lincoln brigade and go over right now. I'm sure the Taiwanese can provide some spare kit and a place to stay right on the beach.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 1:55 p.m. PST

"How? Seems likely that China would control the airspace almost immediately."

Actually, the Chinese might control the area around the amphibious/airborne landings, but my guess is not much beyond that unless their aerial refueling abilities have greatly increased. Getting a dozen or so C-17s into southern Taiwan using F-22s out of Guam, carrier based F-18s, and possibly even Japanese forces to provide air cover for an hour or so shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 3:07 p.m. PST

McKinstry – this would provide a good chance for some of the critics to go over and show the rest of us how it's done. Cause I sure don't know.
And thank the kids for their service!

Legion 401 Dec 2021 3:13 p.m. PST

aegiscg47 your US defense of Tiawan OPLAN/OOB/scenario would probably what would be wargamed by the JCS, etc. But doubt it would ever actually come about for a number of reasons.

Poor leadership at the highest leaves.

The US Military is still not up to "standards", AFAIK …

The PRC won't do anything until after the Olympics.

However, my troop flow would be the 82d & Rangers, the USMC along with the 101 & 25th. SF will be on the ground before it starts. Doing what they do.

Also not so sure the US[and it's Allies(?)] will have Air Superiority. Nor control the seas ?

HMS Exeter01 Dec 2021 3:16 p.m. PST

I have to think any Taiwan invasion would be resolved long before we'd be able to project a ground presence that far west. It either succeeds on a roll or founders into a Bay of Pigs.

In the meantime the whole Pacific declares a wall to wall trade embargo. It's open season on their fishing fleet. The US severs diplomatic relations and expels the Chinese diplomats, including its' UN delegation. Western subs make the South China Sea a no go zone for their Navy. Now they have to airlift supplies to their islands thru some potentially hostile skies.

Their economy goes on life support. The oligarchs wouldn't mind a regime change. All it might take is a capsized container ship in Shanghai's outer harbor or the fire gutted top 5 floors of a Shanghai high rise to tip the balance. Either courtesy of a western SSM.

Even in China, money talks, BS gets disappeared.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 4:22 p.m. PST

Legion 4, I just went with a common sense approach and I do think that the U.S. could gain air superiority for a short time with a surge to get troops there if needed. I know the U.S. military has been made fun of lately, but frankly, the Chinese have no idea about how their forces would do in a modern conflict. I think that's one of the reasons why they're building roads up along the Indian border and repositioning forces. If I had to guess they would like a two week border war with India or try something with Vietnam first, just to see how their forces actually perform. The last thing you want is for the world to see a failed amphibious invasion.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 5:52 p.m. PST

All very interesting and informative. I have faith in the military – and its leadership despite Afghanistan. I know this will infuriate many, but I think the mess in Afghanistan was a one-off, different circumstances, terrible judgement. I have a sense that China will be handled differently.

I think it is a huge gamble for them, their military, their economy, their world image could all be at stake. And they let us know what they are thinking about, giving up surprise. Which suggests misdirection to me. But I am a rank amateur.

I say hit em in the wallet.

Legion 401 Dec 2021 6:29 p.m. PST

just went with a common sense approach and I do think that the U.S. could gain air superiority for a short time with a surge to get troops there if needed.
Oh I agree, your scenario seems like a good OPLAN. I have no problem with the logic, etc. I hope we don't have to ever test it.

I know the U.S. military has been made fun of lately, but frankly, the Chinese have no idea about how their forces would do in a modern conflict.
I do understand where you are coming from. The US military just needs to do a little rebuilding after 20 years of war. Albeit a fairly low intensity conflict most of the time. As COIN can be …

Yes, the last time the PRC saw a shooting war was their invasion of Vietnam in '79. That was a long time ago. They probably have evolved. We should never underestimate them though. If for no other reason they have numbers.

I have faith in the military – and its leadership despite Afghanistan.
As do I generally. We just need to get the military's head on straight. Concentrate on warfighting skills. Not "woke" subjects … The PRC, Putin, Iran, etc. are not wasting their time on woke, CRT, etc., subjects …

I have a sense that China will be handled differently.
I hope so …

And they let us know what they are thinking about, giving up surprise. Which suggests misdirection to me
They are students of their ancestor Sun Tzu. They very much understand misdirection. At this point it is sabre rattling, posturing, etc. But it would certainly distract from their "other" plans. Sun Tzu, to paraphrase, War is all deception.

I am a rank amateur.
Maybe … but you're not unaware when it comes to these type topics.

I say hit em in the wallet.
That may be easier said than done. We get an awful lot of items from them. And may take some time to get from somewhere else. Or better yet … make much in the USA. Which again may take some time.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 6:30 p.m. PST

Japan has already said they would intervene on Taiwan's behalf (navy and air). That's a lot of nearby F15s, F2s and F35s.

They are terrified of China breaking the South China Sea chain. Honestly, this is a tough pickle for for the US. An outright conflict would have horrible consequences, but not defending Taiwan would signal the end of the US as a deterrent power, with huge implications for future conflicts (with our without US involvement). There's also the fact that the majority of computer chips currently come from Taiwan and what the closing of that market would mean for all countries that depend on it.

Really it is a damned if we do, damned if we don't scenario. Help Taiwan and risk global war. Don't help Taiwan and see the consequences of a fully post US world. Neither will be pretty.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2021 6:40 p.m. PST

Ignore Taiwan and fight the war in Communist China itself. Take Beijing. Decapitate their leadership. Sink every Communist Chinese merchant ship. Seize all their assets in the US including property, bank accounts, ships. Inter all their citizens in the USA. Actually declare war and all the legal power that entails. Make a declaration of Communist China regime change and total withdrawal from Taiwan, nuclear disarmament, and free and fair elections supervised by the US and her allies, as our war aims. Start the draft. Hold nothing back on day one, except WMDs.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Guroburov01 Dec 2021 8:34 p.m. PST

China is a nuclear armed country and we have no treaty obligations to Taiwan. We'd protest but let them reclaim their wayward territory with a whimper.

Gaming-wise, if we did intervene, we have 2 carrier task forces in the area. Just release those to attack transports and watch the invasion fail hard. Two carriers fighters could sweep the skies and claim local air superiority pretty fast unless Chinese subs could push them far enough away.

Dan Cyr01 Dec 2021 8:43 p.m. PST

Love the chest beating.

dapeters02 Dec 2021 12:42 p.m. PST

I think if this came to pass China would find that their quest to subdue/subjugate their western minorities starts to go up in flames.

coopman02 Dec 2021 1:18 p.m. PST

We'll be spectators.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Dec 2021 7:24 p.m. PST

As in n ALL things -- He who laughs last-- laughs best.
Appearances can be deceiving??
Many surprises for some people I am afraid --sadly --perhaps to their chagrin for some odd reason.

Russ Dunaway

Legion 403 Dec 2021 9:30 a.m. PST

Love the chest beating.
Well a lot of posturing, etc., is part of the "dance". At all levels … 🦍🙈🙉🙊

We are, after all … all primates … 🐒🦧 "Trask the Caddy, Clyde !" …

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2021 1:46 p.m. PST

Ha! I remember that!

Legion 407 Dec 2021 7:44 a.m. PST

Well the USMC & US Army SF[and probably a few other US assets?] have a very small footprint there now. The elements, as I mentioned already, the US ARMY along with the USMC would have to be deployed to the island. But that in itself would be a challenge. Even if the PRC/CCP would not interfere with air & naval assets.

Along with this, our enemies see the weakness, naiveness, poor ability to make good decisions in our elected & appointed leadership, etc. E.g., A'stan debacle, open Southern Border, closing pipelines, wasting the military's time on other than warfighting skills & combat readiness, etc.

They may be the "bad guys" but they ain't blind or stupid …

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2021 10:17 a.m. PST

Agreed Legion. They may not be tuned into some of those more regional political arguments, but those are symptomatic of our internal turmoil.

The chaos and turnover in high level admin staff over the last few years has been especially damaging. Quality military leaders dissed, forced out, State Dept. gutted. and left with no one to interact with the world and keep track of things. Intelligence agencies belittled and weakened, distrust sown. No competent, well- focused, credible leader.

We are not just suddenly in this situation. China and Russia were planning way before this year to seize on our weaknesses.

Legion 407 Dec 2021 4:35 p.m. PST

China and Russia were planning way before this year to seize on our weaknesses.
Bingo … !

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