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China vs Taiwan please?


Oxide
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Really enjoying this game on steam it's fantastic. 

I would love to play as Taiwan or Japan/US against Chinese invasion forces. Are there any mods/reskins/maps that would suit such a thing? Although I love the Syrian campaigns the last few years with all the strategic focus in the pacific I have grown tired by the fact that pretty much all modern warfare games are still dealing with terrorists or middle east wars, I want something more current or at least evocative of current situation.
 

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I was musing over this possibility in April, to work up a campaign plus a set of mods derived in part from H&E, although CMBS (which I don't own) might make a better platform.  But while certainly topical, I'm not sure it has enough content to make a viable stand alone game for BFC.

We have a couple of Chinese gamers commenting here, but I wonder whether BFC would actually ever see much revenue from China given the propensity to bootleg or knock off anything that isn't heavily locked down (i.e. streamed).

Don't count on me to pursue this project though, work has put me back into CM hypersleep. I check in here once a week, if that.

On 4/3/2021 at 8:19 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

I just spent several hours today pinning out a theoretical PLN Marine Corps coup de main against Magong Island, the largest in the Penghu (Pescadores) group.

960x0.jpg?fit=scale

Magong, whose port was the key Japanese navy base and launch point for their 1941 invasion of the Philippines, sits about 30km offshore of the southern half of Taiwan. It would need to be neutralized or occupied by the ChiCom PLA as prelude or part of any invasion.

Cursory research indicates the Penghu group is defended by 2 infantry brigades (likely reservists only activated in wartime) and the 503 Armoured Brigade with 60-70 locally modified M60s ("Yonghu"), amtracs, M113s and MLRS artillery. Part of the elite 101st Amphib Recon Battalion ("Frogmen") is also deployed there. At a guess, say a max of 4000 defenders in a position to pick up rifles in the event of a surprise attack?

P1060022-790x444.jpg

.... So if Chicom troops could somehow* get ashore in force, with some mech of their own, they would still face some heavy slugging, with air-sea superiority being intensely contested.

Most of the old coastal forts, which include fake cement naval guns and Kyu-go tanks, are today in ruins and mere tourist curiosities. But even though Google has 'blanked' some of what are obviously military installations, it's pretty obvious that there are a lot of tunnels (the island is volcanic basalt). So it would likely be a tough nut to crack, even for elite forces with heavy fire support.

ROC-Marines.jpg

* The 'getting ashore' is, of course, the tough part, and it is why Taiwan remains self-ruled today. But let's not do geopolitics here please....

For CM purposes, I'd posit a surprise attack a la 'Red Storm Rising' (Iceland) or the 1918 Zeebrugge raid, with a modified container ship being deliberately stuck fast into one of the small fishing ports (Shanshui, or wherever water depth might allow such a thing), disgorging a PLN Marine regiment including a few light AFVs and a robust selection of AT, artillery and AA assets. Simultaneously, an airliner 'emergency lands' at Penghu Airport with 100 commandos, to neutralize the Taiwanese helo and AA assets, secure key road junctions and even raid the nearby TAF HQ. By dawn, the eastern half of the island and both airstrips fall under PLA control with the ChiNat defenders in disarray as the air and naval battle begins in earnest.

****

On 4/3/2021 at 8:20 PM, LongLeftFlank said:

UXUJmh9.png

... so I'm musing that the Longmen fishing port at the east end might offer a channel deep enough to run a modified cargo ship into, based on the bigger fishing boats moored there. You stick it fast in the entrance and unload across the mole.

But it would certainly be a tricky operation, and wouldn't allow too many AFVs to be carried in. Transferring troops to lighters at sea (at night) to lighten the draft would be inviting disaster; the 'Black Ditch' channel running between Penghu and Taiwan proper is known to be a treacherous piece of water.

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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56 minutes ago, LongLeftFlank said:

I wonder whether BFC would actually ever see much revenue from China given the propensity to bootleg or knock off anything that isn't heavily locked down

Yes, it's unlikely China would allow anything that had the possibility of China losing.  However, the Taiwan market could be huge.

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As the ever-wise @LongLeftFlank has already suggested, 'H&E' is probably your best option for modelling the terrain at present, but the technology in CM:SF2 is a little lacking for a conflict set post-2021.

PS - @LongLeftFlank  I love your hypothetical invasion scenario, especially the container ship.....Those things can conceal all manner of unpleasantness:

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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Ha ha, putting the F.U. in "FEU"!

Although you'd basically want to empty "EMCU Tanjin Horse" as soon as possible, before the Taiwan air force blasted the stranded hulk to heck.

The ship would need a custom hull to achieve a sufficiently shallow draft to clear the reefs. A flat bottom, with some kind of detachable keel, so she can steer and not capsize in open water. (marine engineering grogs weigh in).

As the ship makes its final run in, maybe a bunch of the containers go splashing off the side, tied together, to be towed to the nearby beach by commandos in revved up Zodiacs. They contain (waterproofed) supplies that can be recovered later (some may be hit by ROC air strikes but some won't).

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Top layer of containers packing a mixture of 3M54 Kalibr & P-800 Oniks (I'm sure the Russians would be happy to sell them).....By the time you detect the launch signature the P-800s are already taking out your radars, command & control centres etc.  Then the Kalibrs arrive.

The mother of all VLS arrays:

container-ship-import-export-business-lo

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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29 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

...P-800 Oniks...By the time you detect the launch signature the P-800s are already taking out your radars, command & control centres etc.

It's been around pushing 20 years; can deployed AMS not counter it? Or are you thinking that the deception of looking like a civilian ship would allow them to get in under the umbrella's reaction time?

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The latter, combined with a wall of jamming just prior to launch.....Simplest way to overcome even the best point defence system is to overwhelm it, a container-ship full of cruise missiles would do the trick nicely.

PS - China (allegedly) have their own supersonic cruise missiles of course:

China%20Missile.jpg?itok=cUpxQUUW

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/sale-china’s-mach-3-anti-ship-missile-11763

Could be a case of form following function, but that surely is a very familiar shape;)

PS - Have bit of gratuitous, vertical cold-launched supersonic cruise missile porn:

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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@LongLeftFlank  In your hypothetical scenario you put great faith in the Taiwanese air force being present after the fight begins.....It's my understanding that virtually the whole of Taiwan falls under the coverage of a pair of S-400 batteries, and then there's the PLAAF. 

Nothing in the Taiwanese inventory is going to face off four dozen J-16s backed up by half a dozen J-16Ds.....Nothing!  We know the Chinese can easily put that number of aircraft over the island, they did it about a fortnight back.

The US aren't in much of a position to help either.....It recently responded to various Chinese shenanigans with a mighty patrol of four F-16s (apparently Wild Weasels fitted out as interceptors, presumably because that's the only sort of F-16 that could even hope to survive in the local A2AD environment) and it required four tankers to get them there:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2021/04/16/it-took-four-aerial-tankers-to-drag-four-us-air-force-f-16s-to-the-south-china-sea-and-thats-a-problem/?sh=37994ed57bc6

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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7 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

@LongLeftFlank  In your hypothetical scenario you put great faith in the Taiwanese air force being present after the fight begins.....It's my understanding that virtually the whole of Taiwan falls under the coverage of a pair of S-400 batteries, and then there's the PLAAF. 

Nothing in the Taiwanese inventory is going to face off four dozen J-16s backed up by half a dozen J-16Ds.....Nothing!  We know the Chinese can easily put that number of aircraft over the island, they did it about a fortnight back.

The US aren't in much of a position to help either.....It recently responded to various Chinese shenanigans with a mighty patrol of four F-16s (apparently Wild Weasels fitted out as interceptors, presumably because that's the only sort of F-16 that could even hope to survive in the local A2AD environment) and it required four tankers to get them there:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2021/04/16/it-took-four-aerial-tankers-to-drag-four-us-air-force-f-16s-to-the-south-china-sea-and-thats-a-problem/?sh=37994ed57bc6

"ADLERTAG, mein Herren. The destruction of the English air force on the ground."

Now, as then, much easier said than done.  Actual suppression of actual defenses on a nationwide scale takes weeks; it simply doesn't happen in a single 'decapitating strike (Grosser Schlag).  And while the PLAAF has come a ways since the early 2000s when MiG-19s were still its mainstay, its ability to mount weeks of high intensity combat operations across the Straits where the primary threat is (well dispersed) SAMs, not enemy warplanes is.... untested.

Remember, the entire point of this is not to clear the skies, it's to pave the way for invasion. Taiwan is rugged and full of caves. Taiwan is also rather good at making sophisticated AA/antiship/AT missiles and firing systems in bulk, and their average reservist is more than competent to operate same.

Effectively, Xi would be betting his own life, and very likely the future of CPC rule in China, upon the abilities of a recently 'rejuvenated' force that hasn't fought a serious war since 1979. And, let's face it, does not attract modern China's best and brightest to its officer corps (although there are undoubtedly exceptions).
...so that this same untested force could then launch an even more complex and risky amphibious/airborne assault across the Strait in multidivision strength. Only once PLA mech forces are ashore in force does Taiwanese resistance crumble as the result becomes obvious; you can expect the ROC armed forces to fight ably until then.

And that all presupposes the nonintervention of the US and its allies (whose staffs have been studying this air/sea/land battlespace nonstop since 1949). Because in the time it takes to secure (more or less) air superiority and (try to) knock out the antiship defenses, you've given Team USA time to think and react. 

My own opinions, of course. Nobody really knows for sure. But to me, victory through air power remains an illusion.

****

Now, grab Penghu in a lightning operation and suddenly  Taiwan itself becomes a lot less defensible; it's now PLN shore based missiles that control that part of the Strait from the natural harbour at Magong (the Japanese used it as a fleet base).

.... And you've now presented the US with a fait accompli (a) start WW3 over an island nobody's heard of (b) garrison Taiwan with Allied 'imperialist' forces and watch the global economy go to hell, or (c) accept the proposed cease fire and eventual reunion of Taiwan with the Motherland later, one way or another.  And Xi has a victory under his belt, not a debacle.

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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10 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

...grab Penghu in a lightning operation and suddenly  Taiwan itself becomes a lot less defensible; it's now PLN shore based missiles that control that part of the Strait from the natural harbour at Magong (the Japanese used it as a fleet base).

.... And you've now presented the US with a fait accompli (a) start WW3 over an island nobody's heard of (b) garrison Taiwan with Allied 'imperialist' forces and watch the global economy go to hell, or (c) accept the proposed cease fire and eventual reunion of Taiwan with the Motherland later, one way or another.  And Xi has a victory under his belt, not a debacle.

Yes...  A potentially serious problem.  Thanks for outlining this.  So many parallels to late 1930's Germany.

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This is very odd...past few days I've just been thinking about what would happen in a Taiwan invasion scenario.  Today I bought the kindle of Ian Easton's 'The Chinese Invasion Threat' which looks like the most comprehensive Western book on the subject. I start wondering about a CM game.  The book's a bit heavy so I come here for some light relief and you are all right on the button! 😀.

From my reading so far, invading Taiwan would be a huge, huge gamble, and potentially go wrong in so many ways. Would make a fantastic game though, with air, sea and ground components, so not all is negative. 🤣

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BTW yesterday I thought that China's overwhelming numerical and economic superiority would win, especially if they stop short of an invasion of Taiwan and blockade/threaten it to force a surrender to "One Country Two Systems". Now I am not so sure. The Taiwanese are prepared. Easton writes about the difficulties of overwhelming the immensely fortified islands.  Pratas is of no real value and could be shrugged off. Incidentally the Chinese tried twice to invade Kinmen in the 1950s and were repulsed with horrendous casualties.

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The current way of doing things is first 'false flag' domestic terrorist operations disrupting society, a propaganda disinformation blitz, a few corrupted politicians, a midnight coup, then a request from the unstable coup government for China (or Russia) to come in as 'peacekeepers' to help 'stabilize' the situation. A straight-up military  invasion under the gaze of the whole world is so 'old-school'.

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53 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

The current way of doing things is first 'false flag' domestic terrorist operations disrupting society, a propaganda disinformation blitz, a few corrupted politicians, a midnight coup, then a request from the unstable coup government for China (or Russia) to come in as 'peacekeepers' to help 'stabilize' the situation. A straight-up military  invasion under the gaze of the whole world is so 'old-school'.

Kinda relies on a plausible Chinese-leaning fraction of the population that I don't think could be readily identified on that small island.

 

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13 hours ago, Erwin said:

Yes...  A potentially serious problem.  Thanks for outlining this.  So many parallels to late 1930's Germany.

Well IIRC, the Austrian Anschluss 1938 was the test bed for the panzer division auftragstaktik, but even against no opposition was a complete sh**show, with numerous breakdowns in coordination, resupply and comms.  Guderian and others made extensive memoranda of lessons learned, but even in Poland 1939 the panzer divisions performed no better or worse than the German IDs either in achieving or exploiting breakthroughs (against a completely outclassed and outnumbered Polish army deployed too far forward).

Which is to say, a first class military needs a couple of live action failures (or partial failures) to learn from before it is ready to pull off a brilliant coup like Sedan 1940.  Similarly, the Allies went into OVERLORD with Dieppe, Torch, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio (plus Pacific operations) to instruct them.  China has none of this live fire experience; a few border skirmishes in the Himalayas are irrelevant. 

Plus, in spite of the ritual lionization of the PLA, China is in no way a militarized society. Arguably it is even *less* militarized than modern American society. And Xi railing against effeminate boy bands isn't about to change that.

Edited by LongLeftFlank
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8 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

Which is to say, a first class military needs a couple of live action failures (or partial failures) to learn from before it is ready to pull off a brilliant coup like Sedan 1940.  Similarly, the Allies went into OVERLORD with Dieppe, Torch, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio (plus Pacific operations) to instruct them.  China has none of this live fire experience; a few border skirmishes in the Himalayas are irrelevant.

That I think is the crux of it, but we should probably recall that Taiwan isn't exactly steeped in military glory either.....AFAIK their greatest achievement was getting off the mainland before the communists caught up with them.

The question then comes back to 'what, if anything, is the US prepared to do about it?'

PS - Dieppe doesn't count.....We had other motivations for the operation and from that perspective Dieppe was absolutely a success.  Hard on the Canadians though.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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