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Thread: China v USSR 1989

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    First, my use of "Field Army" is very specific to the PLA's five FAs (as commanded by Ho Long, Liu Bocheng, Chen Yi, Lin Biao and Nie Rongzhen),
    You're speaking of MRs?

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    and I have no doubt that nuking Lap Nor would destroy several corps or what were later Group Armies.
    Do you even understand the military dimensions of this? The Soviets were not just going to nuke Lop Nor and the nuclear release authority, they were going to occupy Lop Nor. The Soviet 58th Army was tasked to take that base and forever denied the only place in China where 2Arty can reach Moscow.

    Taking Lop Nor means China is divided in half with a big desert protecting the Soviets, hardly the geography needed for the People's War.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Second, maybe I mistook the north-south issue to mean that Chiang Kai-shek's woeful excuse for an army was the threat to southern China.
    Again, I point to the PLA woeful performance in the 1979 Sino-VN War. The odds would be at least even if the Soviets were not involved. Look, the PLA would be on the ropes being punched drunk by the Soviet Army and now, here comes a sucker punch by the KMT.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Throw in the 7th Fleet and the 101st Airborne, and the equation changes very fast.
    You're way over-estimating the value of a single light infantry division but any KMT incursion would require some massive American logistics support.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Third, I stand by my statement about the PLA being all about national unity.
    That point is moot. The national unity is destroyed. Look, the primary goal of the Soviet attack is to destroy Chinese nuclear capabilities and that means also destroying the nuclear release authority, aka the CMC, aka Peking/Beijing. That also means every possible 2ndary and tertiary HQ where the nuclear release authority can be assumed, ie every MR HQ by three 3-5 megaton bombs and very possibly every corps HQ would also be targetted by tac nukes.

    You are NOT going to maintain national unity under those conditions. You're going to be forced into Warlordism whether you like it or not. There could not be any co-ordinated military actions between MRs. At best, the MRs have a common goal but nowhere close to a unified command structure.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 06 Jan 19, at 22:24.

  2. #47
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    Field Armies, not Military Regions (or Military Districts)

    At the end of 1949, the five Field Armies settled down in place (for the most part), and became the local government and security forces. So, 2nd FA in the Southwest (later Chengdu MR), 3rd in the East (Nanjing MR), 4th in the South (Guangzhou), etc. They were reshuffled during the Korean War, but then again returned to their post-1949 bases. Some of the commanders were in place from the late 1950s well into the 1970s (e.g., Yang Dezhi and Chen Xilian).

    As for MRs,
    Early 1950s
    Shenyang, Beijing, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Wuhan, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia. Add Fuzhou in 1956.

    Late 1960s
    Shenyang, Beijing, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Wuhan, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Xinjiang, Fuzhou.

    Late 1980s
    Shenyang, Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Jinan

    Mid-2010s
    Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern, Central


    As for dividing China East-West, defense in depth, and the army swimming in the sea of the people, there arenít a whole lot of people in the Gobi Desert.

    Finally, people who started their careers beating warlords and pulling together the diverse parts of a former great empire are not going to fall back into warlordism at the drop of a hat. I give the Eighth Route Army and its successors more credit than that.
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  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    As for dividing China East-West, defense in depth, and the army swimming in the sea of the people, there aren’t a whole lot of people in the Gobi Desert.
    Translation: The Soviets won their war and the Chinese nuclear threat ended once and for all with half of China in their hands and the rest trying to recover from mushroom clouds.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Finally, people who started their careers beating warlords and pulling together the diverse parts of a former great empire are not going to fall back into warlordism at the drop of a hat. I give the Eighth Route Army and its successors more credit than that.
    How? At least 8 major cities are gone. The Command/Control/Communications (C3) reduced to foot messengers. Any radio signals would be automatically detected and targetted and aerial and satellite reconnasiance will detect anything bigger than a battalion (300 men) up. All your Field Marshall HQs are destroyed and more than likely, all your Field Marshalls are dead. Corps would be rendered ineffective and leadership would most likely fall to division level.

    Sure, whatever survives might have a chance against the KMT but against the Soviets? The people who wrote the book on maneuver warfare? In the desert? The PLA C3 is not going to be able to control anything bigger than battalion level operations. You have warlords whether you like it or not. The C3 would not allow anything bigger.

    Plus, whatever military force that survives is going to be damned busy trying to figure out what to do with those 8 destroyed cities and their survivors. A lot of riots and looting are going to occur simply because people want food and water and you will have to kill to get those. Cholera is going to be rampaging through those areas. You think the sucessors of the Eighth Army are prepared for that?

    You simply do not grasp the scale of nuclear war the Soviets were prepared to unleashed on China. Do you even begin to understand what nuclear weapons can do? Well, I have news for you. Neither did the Chinese.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 07 Jan 19, at 16:03.

  4. #49
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    OK, I didn’t realize the scenario was an 8-city Pearl Harbor nuking: no warning, no chance to disperse key personnel, nothing at all hinting that the birds are about to fly. In that scenario, you’re entirely right: China dies.

    At which point, the USSR occupies and actually runs China as it did Poland? Really?
    How many divisions would that take?
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    well, if the Soviets wanted to take Chinese nukes in the late '60s or '70s, then yeah, they'd probably turn Beijing into an uncomfortable place to be. i doubt Chinese leadership would -all- be holed up there for that very reason, they'd probably be dispersed to cave complexes across China.

    Beijing is toast as is Lop Nor, but I don't think the Soviets would have -really- gone to town. they had to leave enough conventional and strategic deterrent against the US/NATO, plus wrecking too much of China would be a temptation for CKS to get involved.

    probably enough to wipe out Chinese nukes, kill enough monkeys to scare everyone else, put in place a pliant regime, and GTFO.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    OK, I didn’t realize the scenario was an 8-city Pearl Harbor nuking: no warning, no chance to disperse key personnel, nothing at all hinting that the birds are about to fly. In that scenario, you’re entirely right: China dies.
    You're not getting it. The Chinese was expecting war as far back as 1968. That was why they withdrew from Vietnam. But this type of war is far from their experience. It is completely alien to them. To them, they're still expecting front line assaults, thinking that their rear were safe. They have litterally no concept of deep battle - a Soviet invention. They litterally could not understand that Beijing and all the other MR HQs would be hit long before Lop Nor. The Soviets ARE NOT aiming TO KILL KEY PERSONNEL. They're aiming to KILL HQs. Even if your staff survives, they have NO WAY to identify, control, nor communicate with surviving units.

    When Brezhnev went to Nixon, the Soviets had already identified key C3 nodes and their fall back positions.

    The Kuwait War shocked the hell out of the PLA. Do you know why? Baghdad was hit before anything else and they were expecting war. Immediately, the Iraqis lost control of all front line units. Saddam still lived but without his HQ, he was effectively gone. This is the scenario you're looking at. Only instead of the USAF, the Soviets were going to use their Strategic Rocket Forces.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    At which point, the USSR occupies and actually runs China as it did Poland? Really? How many divisions would that take?
    I said the 58th Army was going to occupy Lop Nor, cut China in half and destroy all HQs capable of issuing a nuclear release which happens to be all MR and Corps level HQs. In case you're not seeing it, that's the entire PLA C3 for the entire country destroyed without killing one single front line soldier.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    well, if the Soviets wanted to take Chinese nukes in the late '60s or '70s, then yeah, they'd probably turn Beijing into an uncomfortable place to be. i doubt Chinese leadership would -all- be holed up there for that very reason, they'd probably be dispersed to cave complexes across China.
    120 nuke tip rockets on the Sino-Soviet border, Eric. 10 minute flight time. By 1969, they were ready, waiting for the go ... and still Mao did not moved out of Beijing.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    Beijing is toast as is Lop Nor, but I don't think the Soviets would have -really- gone to town. they had to leave enough conventional and strategic deterrent against the US/NATO, plus wrecking too much of China would be a temptation for CKS to get involved.
    120 nukes and 1 army occupying Lop Nor while freeing 1200 planes and 41 divisions to go West? Another reason why Nixon said no.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    probably enough to wipe out Chinese nukes, kill enough monkeys to scare everyone else, put in place a pliant regime, and GTFO.
    I can't see them leaving Lop Nor.

  7. #52
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    I may be guilty of expecting people to see what is obvious to me.

    Let me explain.

    Soviet and American missiles back in the 60s and 70s were not as accurate as they are today, not really suited for hard target busting. Hence, the reliance on megatonage to compensate the inaccuracies. Because rockets were unreliable back then, we tasked 3 rockets per target. The hardened target may still stand a chance but the surrounding 20 mile radius is basically a death zone.

    What are the Soviet objectives? To destroy the Chinese nuclear capabilities. Again, because of the relative inaccuracies of rockets back then, no one can be sure you get the Chinese nukes unless you have eyes on the ground. Hence, why the Soviet 58th Army is tasked with taking Lop Nor. However, it would take at least 2 days to reach Lop Nor. And you can bet there are 4 armies trying to slow them down. More than enough time for the Chinese to gather whatever nukes and rockets that survived and lob it towards Moscow.

    So, what do you do? You take out the nuclear release authority. Moving to hardened caves ain't going to help. Signal analysis would identify the location and even if the people survive, those radio dishes and antennaes ain't going to survive a nuclear blast, isolating the nuclear release authority from command and control. That is even assuming the Chinese knows how to ground all their electronics.

    However, like all command structures, the Chinese would have rendundacies. We and the Soviets didn't know who they were but we do know what and where is capable of taking over in case the CMC gets taken out. The MR HQs. As for why 8 cities? Where are those HQs located? Hence, they too would be attacked before Lop Nor is even touched. I also think corps HQs would also be attacked simply based on the number of nukes the Soviets tasked against China. 120 nukes - 40 targets. Lop Nor and the cities are 9, leaving 31 more targets.

    If the nuclear release authority cannot get their release codes out, then you have time to nuke Lop Nor while the 58th Army smashes their way through. Make no mistake, the primary OPOBJ is the 58th Army's occupation of Lop Nor.

    One more thing to add: there was no such thing as Chinese Distance Early Warning during the period in question. The only way for the Chinese to know that they would be under nuclear attack is when mushroom clouds appear over their cities.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 08 Jan 19, at 01:01.

  8. #53
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    The Third Line, industrial dispersion strategy of spreading key industries across the map started in the mid-1950s, but got a strong kick in the early 1960s. They expected a coastal – i.e., USA – attack, and so moved parts of the military industrial complex inland.

    China withdrew from Vietnam because of the Cultural Revolution. The 100 generals sent there in the early 1950s (led by Wei Guoqing, later PC of the Guangzhou MR, PLA GPD Director and Politburo member) had largely returned home by the time of the major American involvement.

    .

    I’m having a hard time envisioning every single provincial capital under a mushroom cloud.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    The Third Line, industrial dispersion strategy of spreading key industries across the map started in the mid-1950s, but got a strong kick in the early 1960s. They expected a coastal – i.e., USA – attack, and so moved parts of the military industrial complex inland.
    The war would be long over before that kicks in. This is at max a 5 day campaign for the Soviets to take Lop Nor, to deny the only place in China where Chinese rockets can reach Moscow.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    China withdrew from Vietnam because of the Cultural Revolution. The 100 generals sent there in the early 1950s (led by Wei Guoqing, later PC of the Guangzhou MR, PLA GPD Director and Politburo member) had largely returned home by the time of the major American involvement.
    PLA engineers and AAA were defending VN during LB I and II.

    Doesn't change the fact that those units were deployed north to prepare for a Soviet onslaught ... though completely inadequate as it was. PLA engineers dug 10s of miles of shelters but no air pumps. Never occur to them that nukes consume oxygen and creates enough negative pressure for your guts to burst out of your chest.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    I’m having a hard time envisioning every single provincial capital under a mushroom cloud.
    Welcome to my world.

    Why? Because the Soviets were nice guys? They were going to burn Beijing alive. What's 7 more cities?

    We also hit every Iraqi capital during both the Kuwait and the Iraq War because of military necessity. The only difference in this scenario, the Soviets needed the SRF to do what we did with the USAF.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 08 Jan 19, at 16:53.

  10. #55
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    120 nukes and 1 army occupying Lop Nor while freeing 1200 planes and 41 divisions to go West? Another reason why Nixon said no.
    but the reason why the Soviets -asked- Nixon in the first place was because they sure didn't want to do this and then find NATO breathing down their throats. essentially if the war with China was going to be a cakewalk with several great strategic payoffs (end to Chinese nuke threat, closing off one entire front), the Soviets would have just -done- it, US assistance or not.

    thinking things through, wonder if the Chinese couldn't just go nuclear mines. or devolve nuclear command and control in the event of a war.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    but the reason why the Soviets -asked- Nixon in the first place was because they sure didn't want to do this and then find NATO breathing down their throats. essentially if the war with China was going to be a cakewalk with several great strategic payoffs (end to Chinese nuke threat, closing off one entire front), the Soviets would have just -done- it, US assistance or not.
    The Soviets needed the US to at least stay neutral. That wasn't the case. Nixon stated that the attack would be intolerable to US interest, leaving enough ambuguity that the US might intervene militarily. The reason why Brezhnev was screaming the US betrayed us.

    Do recall that after Nixon's no, the Soviets started to consider China to be under the American nuclear umbrella.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    thinking things through, wonder if the Chinese couldn't just go nuclear mines. or devolve nuclear command and control in the event of a war.
    They don't think like us. They were not thinking nuclear warfighting but deterrence. We did not know it then but the CMC absolutely had no intentions of releasing nuclear authority to MR HQs. The reason why 2Arty went conventional, to bypass the CMC ridiculus weapons hot procedures.

    The only time the release was issued in 1960s by Lin Biao, Nie ignored it and kept the nukes and rockets recessed.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 08 Jan 19, at 21:56.

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    The Soviets needed the US to at least stay neutral. That wasn't the case. Nixon stated that the attack would be intolerable to US interest, leaving enough ambuguity that the US might intervene militarily. The reason why Brezhnev was screaming the US betrayed us.

    Do recall that after Nixon's no, the Soviets started to consider China to be under the American nuclear umbrella.
    because that would have been the only way the US could have intervened in a five-day Sino-Soviet war. frankly i think Nixon's "no" was more of a face-saving excuse for the Soviets not to act, because the idea that Nixon was going to start World War III to save Communist China, a state the US didn't even recognize in 1969 (and was actively killing US troops in Vietnam!), is a fantasy.

    They don't think like us. They were not thinking nuclear warfighting but deterrence. We did not know it then but the CMC absolutely had no intentions of releasing nuclear authority to MR HQs. The reason why 2Arty went conventional, to bypass the CMC ridiculus weapons hot procedures.

    The only time the release was issued in 1960s by Lin Biao, Nie ignored it and kept the nukes and rockets recessed.
    i wonder to what extent this was true when China's nuclear arsenal was still in the single digits. they had to know that with such a small arsenal, there was no deterrent factor at all, the opposite in fact.

    same type of calculations i'm guessing KJU is going thru right now.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    because that would have been the only way the US could have intervened in a five-day Sino-Soviet war.
    Who said it would be a 5 day war? The Chinese certainly didn't think so. I said this would be a 5 day campaign to achieve a very specific 58th Army OPOBJ. At this point, any kind of US intervention including humanitarian aide would only help the CCP re-establish its leadership. Certainly, the PLA would need time to lick their wounds but there's nothing stopping the US from arming and training the PLA to help them retake Lop Nor.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    frankly i think Nixon's "no" was more of a face-saving excuse for the Soviets not to act, because the idea that Nixon was going to start World War III to save Communist China, a state the US didn't even recognize in 1969 (and was actively killing US troops in Vietnam!), is a fantasy.
    Several things wrong with this premis.

    The Soviets didn't lose face because no one knew about it. Moscow did not threaten war diplomatically. There was no ultimatum to disarm. No negotiations to demand Chinese actions to avoid war. No one outside of Moscow, not even Nixon, knew why the Soviets didn't attack. It was long after the fall of the USSR and Nixon's own memoirs that we learned the extent of war footing. The Soviet plans did not emerged until NATO's academic Parallel History Project.

    I certainly did not know that the SRF was at 100% readiness in Siberia (peacetime footing is 25%).

    Do recall that the Soviets' only objective was Lop Nor, not to march all over China. With US help, that would be indeed required as American armed Chinese armies keep marching north. Nixon would have loved to hand Brezhnev his Vietnam multiply by 100. American firepower and Chinese manpower would prove too much of a combination.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    i wonder to what extent this was true when China's nuclear arsenal was still in the single digits. they had to know that with such a small arsenal, there was no deterrent factor at all, the opposite in fact.

    same type of calculations i'm guessing KJU is going thru right now.
    The deterrence is from nuclear attack, not from war itself. Do recall that the Soviets could not be sure of destroying all the nukes at Lop Nor without the 58th Army securing the site and even then, while Moscow maybe out of danger, she can never be sure that Vladivostok is outside of the nuclear bullseye.

    Also, while Lin Biao was ready to start a nuclear war. Nie, however, was ready to lose the entire nuclear arsenal than to invite a Soviet nuclear strike. Do recall those old Chinese liquid fuel rockets would take a day to prep - more than enough time Moscow to notice and land their nukes before the Chinese could finish fueling their rockets. However, both were expecting war.

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    Who said it would be a 5 day war? The Chinese certainly didn't think so. I said this would be a 5 day campaign to achieve a very specific 58th Army OPOBJ. At this point, any kind of US intervention including humanitarian aide would only help the CCP re-establish its leadership. Certainly, the PLA would need time to lick their wounds but there's nothing stopping the US from arming and training the PLA to help them retake Lop Nor.
    under the context here, it would be both a 5 day campaign and a 5 day war. actually, it'd probably be 11 Chinese cities that would get nuclear fire (there were 11 MRs back then).

    probably anywhere from 3-5% of the Chinese population would die right then and there, double that in the month thereafter. if Mao and the Politburo and the other high echelons of CCP leadership all die, there'd be either chaos or paralysis. it was already bad enough in our 1969, with the GPCR in full swing.

    and again, i highly doubt Nixon was going to help re-establish the CCP or arm/train the PLA back then...let alone risk nuclear war with the Soviets. not in 1969.

    Do recall that the Soviets' only objective was Lop Nor, not to march all over China. With US help, that would be indeed required as American armed Chinese armies keep marching north. Nixon would have loved to hand Brezhnev his Vietnam multiply by 100. American firepower and Chinese manpower would prove too much of a combination.
    100 million dead Chinese in a month and rising, the CCP decapitated. rest of China in civil war. i doubt there'd be all that much opposition to the Soviets setting up a puppet regime or at least de-nuclearizing China.

    Do recall that the Soviets could not be sure of destroying all the nukes at Lop Nor without the 58th Army securing the site and even then, while Moscow maybe out of danger, she can never be sure that Vladivostok is outside of the nuclear bullseye.
    once Moscow was out of danger, i think as far as Soviet leadership was concerned the rest would be gravy. what, China's going to threaten Vladivostok and in so doing, turn the rest of China into radioactive glass? threatening just one frontier city isn't credible, not for the Soviets anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    under the context here, it would be both a 5 day campaign and a 5 day war. actually, it'd probably be 11 Chinese cities that would get nuclear fire (there were 11 MRs back then).

    probably anywhere from 3-5% of the Chinese population would die right then and there, double that in the month thereafter. if Mao and the Politburo and the other high echelons of CCP leadership all die, there'd be either chaos or paralysis.
    Recall what China was back then. 80% rural with the PLA growing their own food. You could not bomb China back to the Stone Age when they were already in the Stone Age.

    The CCP had already prepared the People's War. Surviving Cities would still be under CCP leadership. Collective Farms have their own militia orgainizations and the militia alone numbered 5 million. Most of the PLA would survive under Divisional leadership. The CCP would remain in charge of the country side. They had thought this through.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    and again, i highly doubt Nixon was going to help re-establish the CCP or arm/train the PLA back then...let alone risk nuclear war with the Soviets. not in 1969.
    The Brezhnev-Nixon summit was 1972, the same year Nixon visited Mao, and what risk? Did Moscow risked nuclear war with the US when they armed and trained Vietnam?

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    100 million dead Chinese in a month and rising, the CCP decapitated. rest of China in civil war. i doubt there'd be all that much opposition to the Soviets setting up a puppet regime or at least de-nuclearizing China.
    The Iranian Revolution wrecked Iran. How did that worked out for Saddam? Iran was not even prepared for war. Here, you have a China who already thought things through and organized for the People's War.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    once Moscow was out of danger, i think as far as Soviet leadership was concerned the rest would be gravy. what, China's going to threaten Vladivostok and in so doing, turn the rest of China into radioactive glass? threatening just one frontier city isn't credible, not for the Soviets anyway.
    Deterrence is not warfighting. The idea here is not even to inflict unacceptable damage to the Soviets but rather would the Soviets pay the price for such a small gain? What did the Soviets actually gain here? A big desert. What might they lose? The Soviet Far East. Just one nuke would wreck 20 miles of the Trans-Siberian railway leaving vulnerable to a 7 million foot army which doesn't drink gasoline as much as the Soviets do.

    All of this does not mean the Soviets could not win and win easily but the shift would be from counter-force to counter-population, from de-nuclearizing China to genocide ... and that was not the plan.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 09 Jan 19, at 18:44.

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