Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Charge of the Flight Brigade

If I was Lord of China's military and was trying to figure out what to do with the single carrier that China has now, I'd sacrifice it to take Taiwan.

The Chinese are setting sail into the "western Pacific" with their carrier to train:

China's first aircraft carrier has set off for the Western Pacific for an open-sea training exercise, the Defense Ministry said. ...

The statement said a navy formation including the Liaoning set off Saturday for training in the Western Pacific, without elaborating on the location, as part of an annual training plan.

Operating in the western Pacific between the American fleet and Taiwan during a Chinese invasion would slow down our response time to reach Taiwan.

I think that would be a worthwhile sacrifice to achieve that objective:

To win a war to buttress their territorial interests, China does not need to defeat our military. The Chinese just need to delay our military's intervention while they achieve their territorial objective.

So if China wants to pick up territory in the East China Sea, the South China Sea, or the big prize at the top of China's growing list of core interests--Taiwan--the Chinese just have to delay our military response long enough to achieve their military goals.

So if I was thinking of what to do with my shiny new carriers, I'd put them east of my objective to slow down an American charge west to stop the real Chinese military mission of conquest. ...

And the presence of Chinese carriers sailing east of Taiwan could be an irresistible lure for our Navy, whose modern legacy is built on the carrier clashes of the Pacific in World War II. We could easily take our eye off the ball of preventing China from conquering Taiwan while we took the time to relive the glory days of 1942-1945 and smash China's carriers.

That's what I'd do with a single carrier. Or even two. I wouldn't hope to beat the more numerous and more proficient American naval aviation.

But I would hope to distract the Americans by giving up my carriers if it slowed down any American (and Japanese) effort to stop the Chinese invasion fleet and aerial armada from landing an army on Taiwan.