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Old 03-14-2010, 10:40 PM
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Default More on the Sino-Soviet War

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Matt Wiser

More on the Sino-Soviet War

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Some more questions on the Sino-Soviet War:

1) Soviet Naval action against China was probably mainly subs and some surface ships-Soveremmy and Udaloy DDs, Slava-class CGs, at least one Kirov-class BCGN, and two Kiev-class CVHG and
the carier Varyag (she was the second Tiblisi-class CV but not finished IRL), with some tankers and replenishment ships. If the Viets let the Sovs use Cam Ranh Bay-the Vladivostok-Vietnam run probably got pretty busy (any enemy of Beijing has a friend in Hanoi, and for that matter, New Delhi, as well). Anything with a PRC flag would be fair game, warships and merchants. (which means arms shipments get sent in third-country shipping)
2) Arms sales: aircraft have been discussed, how about armor? The two US tank plants would be busy with orders for M-1A2s for Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the US Army-M-48s and some early M-60s with modern fire control and new ammo (105 sabot w/DU penetrators); FMC would be able to handle Bradleys-only export customer for the Bradley has been Saudi Arabia; and United Defense might handle new-build M-109 Paladins-but remember that in December of '96 everything on the factory floor for export gets requestioned. Brits might try selling surplus Chieftains with new sights and fire control; and West Germany would be happy to sell the Leopard 2.
3) Attacks on ports: SAF and SNA (Soviet Naval Aviation) would use a ASM/bomb combo, with BACKFIREs adding something else: air-dropped mines. Soviet land-attack cruise missiles from ships and subs add some punch-but land attack is not their primary mission-antiship is. A few SPETSNATZ raids liven things up as well. Remember on minefields-all you have to do is say a port is mined, and you throw shipping schedules to the winds, and that MCM has to be done to check if there is a minefield, since any ship can be a minesweeper (once).
4) With the weapons shipments come something else: the military advisory group to teach the PRC's military how to use the stuff they're getting from the West. Anyone care to bet if these advisors do a lot more than advising? (Otto Skorzeny was an advisor to the South Vietnamese in the 1950s and early 60s, and went on some ops himself to show the ARVN how it was done)
Americans, British, West Germans, French, Israelis, etc. would show up in some numbers. PRC pilots would train on their new aircraft probably in the US-given the airspace issues in Europe-plenty of room at Nellis AFB, for example, for the training. They would likely though train on the Mirage 2000 (if they order any) in France, though-but Orrin might appreciate this: Taiwan has 60 Mirage 2000-5s-PRC pilots might get their Mirage training in the ROC!


Matt Wiser

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Webstral

Matt, Orrin, et al,

I have some ideas on most things that have been brought up, but I don’t want to go into too much detail. I’m at the point where I’ll switch gears in the narrative and talk about the big picture stuff. After that, I’ll talk some about the winter war.

I haven’t made an itemized list of what aircraft the Chinese acquire from the West. Suffice to say, they take whatever is available or can be made available within six to nine months, and they place orders for plenty more. The emphasis is on air superiority, though. The Chinese conclude that the Soviets have two major advantages: the degree and quality of mechanization and the ability of the SAF to support the Soviet Army with close air support, deep interdiction, and reconnaissance. The Chinese high command decides that numbers of light infantry can at least partially offset the Soviet mechanized approach to warfare. However, the only way to offset the Soviet advantage in the air is to give the PLAAF much more air-to-air muscle.

Yes, the French do everything they can to capitalize on the situation in the Far East. They resurrect the Mirage III line (which closed, I believe, in 1991) and step up production of Mirage 2000 aircraft.

South Africa and Israel get in on the action with their own versions of the Mirage III. Heck, even Sweden gets some sales of Viggens and Gripens. While the presence of so many airframes and systems in the PLAAF complicates the picture enormously for the operations and logistics folks of the PLAAF (not the mention the trainers), the political support that flows with the sale of aircraft and other systems is a huge asset to China.

As several have suggested, the PLAAF takes foreign volunteers from a number of nations. During the Winter War (1995-1996), things begin to come together for these groups. Though the presence of the PLAAF over Manchuria remains scanty, Chinese air defenses begin to get tighter throughout the rest of the country. At the same time, the Soviets initiate a period of strategic warfare aimed at convincing the Chinese that continuing the fight just isn’t worthwhile. Soviet Long-Range Aviation hits factories, power plants, bridges, and port facilities throughout China from November 1995 onward. At first, the Soviets meet with solid success. However, throughout the winter the PLAAF begins to get itself together. Chinese tactics and operational concepts improve, the air defenses thicken, Western airframes and volunteer pilots and ground crews begin to arrive, and the Chinese begin to catch on to the Soviet operational patterns and limitations. The damage done to China is great, but never so great as to convince the Chinese to lay down the sword or even bargain seriously.

The Chinese order lots of equipment for the PLA. Major end items include fighting vehicles from the US, the UK, France, Germany, and a few other players. The US sells China a number of heavily upgraded systems like the M60 (upgraded to A4 standards), the M107 175mm SP field gun, the M110 203mm SP field gun, and others. The US also agrees to sell China versions of the M1 mounting 100mm guns (to type standardize ammo with the Type 59 tank), 105mm guns, and 125mm guns. The US quickly capitalizes on the loss of manufacturing capability in China by using computer-driven systems to build whole new assembly lines in record time to produce equipment to Chinese specifications. Cadillac Gage gets in on the act by stepping up production of the Stingray and other light AFVs.

The same happens with most other arms producers. The FRG (and several other countries including Spain, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan) sell China numbers of M48s upgraded to A5 standards or better.

Western production lines can respond most rapidly to demands for light equipment and electronics. China orders massive quantities of air defense and anti-tank missiles. The West eagerly produces them in the required quantities. The Chinese plan is to equip their infantry-heavy forces with large numbers of modern missiles to counterbalance the mech-heavy Soviet forces.

Regarding the naval war, I think you’re right on target about how the Soviets could use mines right from the start to shut down China’s ports. Once the US Army crosses the Inter-German Border in December 1996, they go this route with a vengeance. However, in 1995 and early 1996 the Soviets are still trying to live with the myth of a limited war. The Soviets know their history, and they know that the US will respond very badly to attacks on US shipping. Mine warfare counts as an attack. The Soviets don’t want US warships in the war zone in response to a mine attack. Sooner or later, there will be a Soviet sub attack on a US Navy vessel, and then the Soviets will have opened a big and ugly can of worms.

This brings us to Orrin’s point about Hong Kong and Macao. The Soviets use air attack and attack by cruise missile-armed ballistic missile subs to render Chinese port facilities unusable. However, the Soviets can’t launch such attacks on Hong Kong and Macao without risking bringing in the West. An attack on Hong Kong in 1995 counts as an attack on the United Kingdom, which in turn counts as an attack on NATO. Not the kind of thing Danilov is willing to risk. The same applies to Macao. As a result, shipping goes into Hong Kong and Macao unmolested. It’s galling to the Soviets, but Danilov stands firm that the advantages of mining Chinese waters and attacking shipping in Chinese waters are outweighed by spreading the war to include NATO. Hong Kong and Macao can only handle so much tonnage. If the Soviets can shut down the other major Chinese ports, they will have created a bottleneck at the two Western-owned ports.

The Winter War sees a lot of action between Chinese and Soviet submarines in the East and South China Seas. As has been pointed out, Vietnam offers enthusiastic support for the Soviets. The Soviets are able to base ships out of Cam Rahn and even go so far as to operate aircraft out of Vietnam.

My two primary sources of information on the Chinese military are James Dunnigan’s How to Make War and Future Wars by Trevor Dupuy. There’s some other stuff I remember from my MI days, but I’d have to kill the readers if I wrote it down.

Hopefully, I’ll get material on the Winter War out soon.


Webstral


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Matt Wiser

Webstral: regarding the M-1 variant with the 100mm-the Chinese have been phasing out the 100 since the 1980s when they realized it wouldn't penetrate T-64/72/80 armor. They went to the Israelis and got the 105 (built by IMI) with a license to build the gun and the IMI ammo that will deal with those tanks. Even T-59s and -69s with the old gun have been upgunned to the 105. Also, the Soviet 125 is optimized for an autoloader-unless someone comes up with 125 ammo similar to the NATO-standard 120 with a combustible cartrige case, the PRC would be better off getting the M-1A1 with the NATO standard 120. Same if they get Leopard 2s from West Germany and Leclercs from France.Israel selling Merkavas with the 105 is likely-they have most of theirs with the 120 now.
Aircraft: The South African version of the Mirage III is the Cheetah, and it's a rebuild of existing airframes, not new production. Kifirs from Israel are new birds with the J-79 engine (same as in the F-4)They'd be better off with Mirage F-1s-the Europeans who flew for Iraq in 1986-88 flew this aircraft.
Arty: the M-107 has been OOP for years, and most were converted to M-110A3 standard. Those that weren't were retired-would United Defense bring back something that's been OOP since 1977? I doubt it. Only other current operators in T2K were UK(replaced by MLRS), Turkey, Iran, ROK.


Matt Wiser


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Webstral

Matt,

All good stuff, as usual.

RE: M1 series armament. A good piece of data there regarding the upgrade to 105mm gun. I knew it but didn't think carefully about it. In all likelihood, the Chinese would order tanks only with 105mm or better guns.

As for other guns, the issue of what kind of ammunition to acquire is not as straightforward as it seems. The top-of-the-line Chinese tanks fire 125mm ammunition, as do the Soviets. Someone at high levels in the PRC is going to have to sit down and do some math on how many of what kind of tanks they have and what the relative benefits are of having a growing variety of tank guns and ammunition available. Come Spring 1996, the Chinese logistical system is going to be a shambles as a result of having equipment from a dozen nations on the battlefield. Since the two items with the greatest requirement in raw tonnage are fuel and ammunition (particularly large-caliber ammo like tank rounds), someone is going to tell the higher-ups that keeping down the proliferation of different kinds of ammo will make the job of he logisticians much easier. Maybe that won't matter. State-of-the-art Western tanks use the 120mm gun, and it may be more practical to use it rather than change it. Or it may not be. There is also the issue of just how much of China's domestic arms production industry is lost by November/December 1995 and how China's reduced production capability fits with her purchasing scheme.

Having the South Africans rebuild some Mirages scrounged from another source would be a great way to get South Africa involved in the political arena. If memory serves, the Cheetah is a sufficiently improved aircraft over the Mirage III (still flown by many countries that might be willing to part with a few of theirs for hard currency) that it's worth asking the South Africans to do some work on the part of the PRC.

The F-1 would be another very valuable addition to the PLAAF. I'm sure the French would be delighted to provide them to the PRC in as large quantities as could be managed. Good thinking.


Webstral


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pmulcahy

I am just starting the process of redoing my vehicle stuff, and I have about 30 Challenger 1's going to the PLA during the Twilight War. This seemed possible to me, since IRL, they are helping the Chinese upgrade some of their older tanks.


pmulcahy


************
Jason Weiser


Some other ideas

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Ok, there are some other nations I could really see shoveling weapons to a DESPERATE PRC.

1) Iran- She has boatloads of F-4s and F-5s and the maintinance troops to go with them, moreover, it's a western-leaning government with similar fears about the Sovs, and lots of Oil. I could see a generous assistance package, and with a domestic arms industry as well, I could see some interesting things come out of Iran in the way of Type 59/69 upgrades (They're woking on an improved T-55), so, Iran unloads the older A/C and buys Hawks and Tornados on generous terms from the Brits (Which keeps the religous segement of the Iranian political scene happy), they'd keep the F-14s, but probably quietly invite Northrup-Grumman to improve the A/C to something approaching D standard?

2) South Korea- A lot of F-4Ds that need to go and fear of a China all too willing to cooperate with NK and the Soviets.

3) Japan- It builds F-15s and F-4s at Mitsubishi under license, not hard to see PRC folks trained up at Nellis, but the fighters being Japanese made. Japan already has issues concerning Soviet threats to Hokkaido, a Soviet dominated Chinese-puppet would be worse.

-Finally, what about all the former agressor F-5s? The AF got rid of them in 1989, but there wasn't much wrong with the plane, they'd need some work to make them combat ready, but all in all if they were good enough for Brazil in RL, then the PRC wouldn't pass them up, they're no harder to fly than a lot of indigenous Chinese designs.
__________________



Jason Weiser





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Matt Wiser

Jason-some thoughts on aircraft:
Japan is forbidden from exporting weapons by domestic law-the only source for F-15s is McAir in St. Louis.
Iran: The Iran Nowin government would have sprung for F-4 and F-5 upgrades, and bought the F-14D. Hawks from the UK and some Mirage F-1s to go along with the two dozen the Iraqis "donated" in 1991 would fill things out. Also they would have likely gotten F-4Es out of AMARC to fill out their F-4 squadrons. Phantoms are still good bomb trucks.
ROK still flies the F-4Ds as strike aircraft with Pave Spike and Pave Tack laser pods. Being replaced IRL by F-15K version of F-15E.
Aggressor F-5E/Fs in T2K would have been kept in service-it was the general drawdown after 1991 that put them out of AF service. Marines still fly some at Yuma and Navy at TOPGUN. AF aggressors at Nellis fly F-16s now.


Matt Wiser


************
Jason Weiser

Quote:
Originally posted by Matt Wiser
Jason-some thoughts on aircraft:
Japan is forbidden from exporting weapons by domestic law-the only source for F-15s is McAir in St. Louis.



Perhaps, but as I said, Japan has a lot of interest in not letting China fall. So, that said, I could see the Diet and the PM making a tacit agreement concerning aid to the PRC, provided such aid was done so quietly (aka, the planes are delivered at night thru Taiwan or Okinawa). A very Japanese attitude is "If I don't see it or have conclusive proof it's occuring, then it isn't happening".


Quote:
Iran: The Iran Nowin government would have sprung for F-4 and F-5 upgrades, and bought the F-14D. Hawks from the UK and some Mirage F-1s to go along with the two dozen the Iraqis "donated" in 1991 would fill things out. Also they would have likely gotten F-4Es out of AMARC to fill out their F-4 squadrons. Phantoms are still good bomb trucks.



Yeah, but I don't remember in the RDF book there being any F-4s listed, I could see the Iranians doing an upgrade program for Phantoms they retain, but flyable Ds might be in order to go to China. And I know the Iranians would unload the F-5s as soon as possible, perhaps McD or Lockheed gets a phone call (Iranian F-16 or F/A-18 buy?)


Quote:
ROK still flies the F-4Ds as strike aircraft with Pave Spike and Pave Tack laser pods. Being replaced IRL by F-15K version of F-15E.



The K replacement might be accelerated by the government so as to a)Get better a/c into squadron service and b) to allow the F-4s to then be exported to China.


Quote:
Aggressor F-5E/Fs in T2K would have been kept in service-it was the general drawdown after 1991 that put them out of AF service. Marines still fly some at Yuma and Navy at TOPGUN. AF aggressors at Nellis fly F-16s now.



Perhaps, I think though they were slated to be replaced by F-16s even before the drawdown. It's tough to say, who knows, I mean Northup's F-20 program might get a buyer in a VERY desperate China.


Jason Weiser





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Matt Wiser

Jason: Check my revised RDF air OB on the old forum-or wait a few days and I'll repost it here. The Iranian AF was to have gotten F-16s if the Shah hadn't fallen-a firm order for 140 with a option on 160 more had made GD VERY happy in 1976. They would also have gotten 7 E-3A AWACS, 70 more F-14s, 31 more Phantoms (16 were RF-4Es, the rest Es). A-10s were likely also.
The Iran Nowin might have gone ahead and ordered F-16 or F/A-18, and I would bet they would have gone with the F-14D and exchanged their old As for new Ds. But would the new -16s or Hornets been ready when Ivan crosses the border (being a key ally, their orders might not have been requesitioned in '96)?Filling out the gaps in their F-4E squadrons with Es from AMARC is quite likely. I would bet they got caught in the middle of transitioning from F-5s to whatever new birds they got as a replacement.
Regarding the F-20: it was axed in 1987 after two crashed and the only order (Bahrain) was cancelled in favor of F-16Cs. Only survivor is in a museum somewhere. It would've been hard to bring it back after that long.
F-5E/F in Aggressor units: I only know what the Navy Aggressors flying F-5s were going to do-and they were still gonna fly the Tiger II. VF-45 was flying F-16Ns, but they transitioned back to F-5s when wing cracks grounded the Ns. TOPGUN is getting the ex-Pakistani F-16s that the embargo prevented from being delivered. VF-43 flew the F-21 Kifr along with VMFAT-401-but they were returned to Israel when ex-USAF F-5Es from the drawdown were transferred to the Navy and Marines. -43 and -45 got disbanded in '92, but two reserve squadrons in the Navy and the marine outfit above still fly F-5s along with TOPGUN at NAS Fallon.
ROKAF-they would keep the Ds until the transition began-one rumor has the ROK selling 12-18 Ds to Iran in the early '90s, along with Korean-made parts for F-4s and F-5s. If ROKAF went ahead with the F-15K in 1992 or 93-then the Ds are available.
Two squadrons still fly the D Phantom, and they love the birds.
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