Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Communications failure: Chinese Take Taipei

...or so the recent Han Kuang Simulation exercises showed, the Taipei Times reported yesterday.

The annual Han Kuang computer exercise took place from April 17 to April 22. According to a report in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper), the military did well in a sea battle in the Taiwan Strait. But because of a breakdown in communication between the command center and the the Sixth Army, which is in charge of ground defense in the north, the Chinese ground troops were able to reach land and march to Taipei.

The report quoted a Ministry of National Defense official as saying that "during the third day of the simulation, Chinese vessels crossing the Taiwan Strait were under fierce attack from the navy's four Kidd Class destroyers." The destroyers helped to repel 25 percent of the enemy's invading force before it could reach the northern shores, and the attackers were forced to make for shores further south, the report said.

However, by the night of the third day, the frustrated Chinese invading force suddenly turned its attention to the north once more after gaining support from further vessels. Troops then successfully landed on the shores between Tamsui (淡水) and Chinsan Township (金山), the report said.

Since the command center failed to inform the Sixth Army of the landing in a timely manner, the division was unable to block them in time, according to the report.

The report said the Chinese troops then swiftly advanced along the Yangjin Highway (陽金公路) toward Taipei. Although troops stationed in Taipei moved to the Yangmingshan area in an attempt to halt the Chinese advance, they failed because they were outnumbered and the Chinese were covered by air support, the report said.

The ministry announced the end of the war games when Chinese troops reached Taipei, the report added.

This adds up to a lot of questions. The simulation assumed Chinese control of the air (air superiority? air supremacy?), which means that the ROC naval successes were carried out in spite of that. In conversations that I have had, many people have been skeptical of the effect that officers loyal to China in the Taiwan armed forces could have, but the simulation shows how even a single critical communications breakdown can have far-reaching effects. Now imagine if they were deliberately induced...in large numbers....note also that the breakdown involved the Command Center in Taipei and troops on Yangmingshan, only a few kilometers away.



So the reader can wrap their heads around the situation, the map above (taken from here) shows Chinshan, Taipei, and Yangmingshan. Chinshan is in the north-center of the map. The Chinese must have landed right around Lee Teng-hui's birthplace right there in San Chih (I can imagine that the officers in charge of the Chinese side enjoyed that one hugely), stopped in at Chinshan to pay respects at songstress Teresa Teng's tomb, then marched right over the mountain. You can see some pictures of the route they took, the 陽金公路, here, and a map of the park showing the road, the Yang-Chin Highway, is online here. Apparently they marched their invasion force over a two lane road that only has two exits into Taipei and took the city. No way they did that on a Sunday -- they'd never get off the mountain...

2 comments:

Hai Tien said...

From reading some of the local media, it seems that the ROC forces held air superiority over the first three days, with a large air battle on Day 2 where the ROCAF lost 140 fighters vs. 400 for the PLAAF. The ROCAF took a beating but were able to provide air support for the ROCN on Day 3. Reportedly by the end of the exercise we were down to about 100 fighters.

A few things also simulated that were not mentioned in the Taipei Times article:
- PRC fifth column attacks on transportation centers, and assasination attempts on public officials.
- Transfer of armored units from the 10th Army Corps in central Taiwan to reenforce the 6th Army in Taipei, leaving central Taiwan guarded by mechanized infantry and light infantry.
- Second PLA landing near Taichung on Day 4. Held back by remaining ROCA forces but with heavy losses, nearly entire 10th Army wiped out.
- Failed attempt by PLA paratroopers to sieze CCK and Linkou airbases.

Michael Turton said...

Damn! Thanks, hai tien!