How does the PLA intend to conduct amphibious assaults? Well, the easiest way is to let them show us. A 🧵

1/ An older video from CCTV was originally posted around 2019/2020, but was scrubbed from the internet. This Youtuber managed to upload a copy, which shows the entirety of the op:

2/ The process begins with amphibious IFVs entering into their respective carriers - whether it's an LPD, LHD, or a RO-RO ship.

3/ In this particular exercise, we saw load up their ships in the daytime, and then launch the amphibious assault portion of the exercise at night

4/ The first wave are recon troops in small crafts, their intent is not to make contact but to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines and establish OPs to identify high value targets: artillery and missile batteries, which will be destroyed by fires

5/ When the full amphibious assault begins at day time, the exercising forces (73rd Group Army) makes use of unmanned platforms to clear any sea mines that may impede the main landing force.

6/ Simultaneously, helicopters take off and begin suppressing shore defenders to allow the first wave of small crafts and engineers to make landfall. Helicopters also carry SOF that are expected to be inserted behind shore defenders

7/ This is when amphibious IFVs are deployed, coordinating with helicopters, artillery, and special forces, and EWar during landing ops, to seize a beachhead. The ZBD-05--can be configured in a number of ways: 30mm autocannons, 105mm guns, and ATGMs

8/ If the initial wave of engineers in small crafts have done their jobs to sufficiently clear out shore defense obstacles, then there will be cleared lanes for the IFVs to traverse on

9/ The PLA also loves showing off any new "high tech" toys they have. And of all the different (and sometimes quite hilarious) equipment they've shown over the years, these autonomous vehicle ammo carriers are the most practical ones I've seen

10/ Once shore defenders are sufficiently degraded, follow on forces--usually the heavy or medium CABDEs--will be brought ashore. Shown here is a RORO ship unloading tanks onto a floating pier

11/ @tshugart3 has done a fantastic write up on estimating PLA RORO ship transport capacity - highly recommended as he goes into some back of napkin math that estimates the amount the PLA can transport using those assets alone

12/ The US naval war college also has done an in depth look at total sealift capacity of the PLA, especially once their civilian assets have been accounted for - a must read:

13/ Also, People's War never stopped being the PLA doctrine. In an amphibious operation, PLA fully intends on using civil assets to shore up any logistical deficiencies they still have at the moment of disembarkation

14/ The previously tweeted photo names this updated doctrine as "New style People's War under informatized conditions"

15/ Back to the amphibious ops, one thing worth noting is that the vast majority of the ETC's heavy brigades are located in the Jiangsu-Shandong region - approximate locations

16/ This matches up with the location of the Bohai RORO ferries, which typically operate north of the Shandong peninsula. In the event of a Taiwan invasion scenario, these ferries will pick up their intended forces from the north and sail down

17/ In fact, we've seen them make this transit many times - again, @tshugart3 has done the legwork on this:

18/ Another thing worth noting is that our own myopic desire to see China collapse may cause us to miss what could otherwise be very obvious operations - for example:

19/ This was a RORO ship loading exercise done in July of 2022 in the port city of Rizhao, but for roughly 48 hours, the internet was convinced this was to suppress protests in Henan.

20/ These kinds of wishful thinking could lead to a low-probability, but not impossible situation where PLA movements for invasion are misinterpreted as suppressing internal revolts

21/ In many amphibious exercises, Fujian is the destination, not the point of embarkation. Obsessively focusing on force mustering in Fujian may lead to us missing force mustering elsewhere.

22/ The use of RORO ships for follow on forces also gives us an idea for where the PLA intends on actually assaulting. Rather than the 14 beaches that are frequently touted as the only landing sites, PLA targets will likely aim for large ports: Keelung, Kaohsiung, and Tainan

23/ The beaches are more likely to be a diversionary front to pull away shore defenders from other areas for destruction by fire from the numerous assets available to the PLA: rotary, UAS, and long-range artillery

24/ Even if beaches are not diversionary, the presence of mobile piers also increases the number of suitable beachheads from 14 to, well, a lot more than 14.

25/ Assuming there are only X number of landing sites available to the PLA was the mistake the ROC made in 1950 for the Hainan campaign. They immediately concentrated forces on one sector while the PLA continued to land unopposed elsewhere

26/ The proximity of Taiwan to the mainland and the imbalance of firepower assets allow the PLA to concentrate fire support on any sector of their choosing at will. The limited size of Taiwan itself means there are few areas where the defenders can concentrate

27/ Defenders who attempt to move to other areas to reinforce friendly forces will come under attack from air inserted SOF to their rear, the shore party to their front, and indirect fire from the mainland.

28/ And given the manpower shortage, training deficiency, and hollowed reserves system, the ROC's stated goal of stopping the PLA either in the Strait or on the beaches is truly an elaborate form of suicide. The end

Tue Sep 27 15:50:47 +0000 2022