Thursday, June 02, 2005

Overnight Delivery

When I wrote my post on my view of how China could conquer Taiwan, I relied on an assumption I've hammered on repeatedly: China will strike hard and fast to win before American can intervene. China doesn't need to beat America, just delay us until they can beat Taiwan. The idea that China would slowly try to strangle Taiwan seems ridiculous to me given our strengths and weaknesses. A blockade gives us time to decide to intervene and time to help Taiwan. So, China will go in big and fast if they go.

Strategypage has a note that confirms something I assumed. I knew that Taiwan was not very good at sustaining a fight with training and infrastructure to back up the high profile arms purchases (which are inadequate at this point). Taiwan is short of ammo:

Taiwanese media is awash in stories about ammunition shortages. The United States has long warned Taiwan that it needed more missiles, in particular, if the island were to hold out for the 5-10 days it would take for American naval and air forces to arrive. No one ever came right out and said it, but the Taiwanese seemed to assume that the United States would immediately fly in thousands of needed air-to-air, SAM (Surface to Air) and anti-ship missiles once China attacked.

And artillery rounds are short, too.

Taiwan is assuming that we will decide to intervene as soon as the Chinese move and assumes we will be able to get ammunition in their hands in time to stop the Chinese.

I'm amazed and shocked, however, that the Taiwanese apparently don't have enough to fight even five days! If the Chinese can bombard or sabotage arms depots, the Taiwanese might be helpless as the PLA sails across the Taiwan Strait quite easily. All the people who belittle the idea that China could invade in the face of Taiwanese missile and air attacks will have all their assumptions destroyed by the simple fact that Taiwan doesn't even have five days worth of critical ammo!

What if the Chinese hit those supplies?

What if America takes even a week to decide to intervene?

What if the PLAN is able to deploy to delay us a few days?

What if Taiwan ammo stocks are so old that a good portion is unusable?

What if the Taiwanes are not able to efficiently move the little ammo they have to the units that need it?

Good grief, the Taiwanese need to buy ammo. The Chinese will hit them so hard that their heads will spin and the Chinese military couldn't possibly be blind to their opportunity to slam Taiwan and conquer them when their magazines go click on empty and the US resupply effort is just kicking in.

Truly, I am horrified. Third-rate weapons in the hands of second-rate troops beat troops without ammo any day of the week. The Taiwanese are living in a dream world if they think we will make decisions that will mean a war with China without any deliberations at all. We need time to decide to intervene and time to get to the theater. Taiwan must buy us that time. And they need ammunition to do that.