NOTE! This is just a little fiction. Enjoy the ride and don't pick it apart. This was done at 2am during a spat of insomnia!
Major Johnson looked at his comm's chief. Sgt Taylor shook his head. Still out. The Chinese were either jamming his communications or they knocked out a sat....they wouldn't be going that far would they? All he could do is shake his head. This was a clusterfuck from the beginning. The 15th MEU, his MEU was stretched from here to yonder over the Pacific doing the distributed operations thing. The San Antonio was conducting training on the beach in Australia, the new LSD, the USS Fallujah was in the Philippines conducting anti-insurgent operations and the USS America...his ride was the only ship close to this dust up.
No one saw this coming. Yeah, it was 2018. Yeah the world was in the 2nd year of a "new" great recession but everything was muddling along. The idiots in the Middle East were still rampaging but at least they were somewhat contained, Africa was in the same shape and everyone was focused on somehow getting the world wide economy moving again.
President Clinton had engaged in new talks about opening the Pacific Partnership to Chinese participation to try and kick start prosperity again but no one was buying it.
But a war? With China? Now? It didn't seem real.
Intel gave a pretty solid picture of what was happening. The Chinese had assembled and embarked elements of their Marine Corps and Paratroopers aboard their amphibious ships, sortied out the three aircraft carriers in their inventory, loaded up a brigade of tanks and was sailing to the disputed islands.
The idea behind putting his Company Landing Team on the beach was that a demonstration of intent would be enough. Show the Chinese that the US would stand beside its ally, Japan and they would back down. The female admiral told him that it might get a bit "tense" but that intel assured them that they wouldn't be involved in a shooting war. This was just a show for the folks back home.
The General in charge of the MEU was aboard the Fallujah and gave him the usual pep talk (command creep filtered down...they justified it because of the distributed operations concept...Majors commanded companies and Generals got MEUs).
But when he got a secure call from the Assistant Commandant for Ground Combat, Major General Simcock, he sat up and took notice. Simcock didn't bullshit and he told him to ignore the happy talk and load for bear. Ok. That's a straight shot of 100 proof to start your day. Something was going on that made the ACGCE worry. That isn't to be taken lightly.
His pre-insertion inspection was by the book. Ammo heavy, three MRE's (one a day), no snivel gear and damn sure no iPhones, iPads, tablets, cameras etc...travel light, freeze at night, wet and miserable but three days? They could do that standing on their heads.
Alot of people don't realize it but even the Pacific can get crowded so they were steaming circles 200 miles off shore. They'd launch at distance with 6 MV-22s with an escort of 6 F-35Bs.
Insertion went off without a hitch but almost as soon as they touched down things went sideways. They didn't see the missile but as soon as two of the MV-22s gained altitude they were shot down. Off in the distance he could see flashes....he didn't know the particulars at the time but he knew it wasn't good.
Not good was an understatement. The F-35 makes its money by fighting on its terms. The planes never stood a chance in this fight. The MV-22s flew in at 10k feet. The F-35s were flying figure eights at 15k above them. The Chinese saw the launch from the America and responded by sending every J-20 in their inventory...about 100 after them. The only fight that happened in the air was between Chinese pilots struggling to be the one to claim a kill.
The MV-22s didn't fare any better. Subtlety in warfare is not a Chinese trait. We would have considered it massive overkill. The Chinese call it being prudent. 100 more J-11's were sent after the 6 MV-22's that were sending mayday calls and doing there best to make it back to the ship. The results were sadly predictable.
The aftermath wasn't.
Instead of a demonstration mission that would get a civilized enemy to "back down" the Chinese instead mounted a 100 percent effort to take back what belonged to them.
But wait you ask. Where are the Japanese in all this? The Japanese were a bit more cautious than we were. They were mobilizing their entire defense force and were mounting combat air patrols over their home islands. The State Dept insisted that they not engage and to allow the US to handle the situation in order to prevent it from becoming a full fledged war. Consider it another failure on the part of foggy bottom. They haven't been right in more than two decades and 2018 wouldn't be any different.
But back to Major Johnson.
He found himself in the same situation as Guadalcanal Marines. An overwhelming invasion force headed his way, little supplies, terrible intel and no way to call for help. He was screwed. But not as screwed as Admiral Sanchez aboard the America.
Question. What do you do when you've just seen your detachment of F-35's erased from the sky, your MV-22s turned into flaming heaps, your nearest Burke Destroyer 500 miles away and the carrier that could save you tied up in San Diego?
You run like hell. The USS America is listed as being able to do better than 25 knots...unofficial speed runs have it touching 35. It hardly made a difference. The Chinese YJ-100 isn't a supersonic missile. Its subsonic but can reach out to 400 miles. Add that missile to the H-6 that was being escorted by the refueled and rearmed J-20's flying escort and it wasn't even fair. Chinese practicality can be beautiful when its 2001, you're trying to maximize profits and you're taking advantage of their cheap labor. Its brutal and nasty when you're on the receiving end of an all quadrant anti-ship strike.
The Chinese have always been accused of stealing tech. That should not have been the major concern though. The tactics that they adopted is what should have made military leaders nervous.
During the Vietnam War, naval aviators in an effort to combat North Vietnamese defenses came up with the all quadrant attack. Its really simplicity itself. You attack from every direction on the compass with a time on target strike and your enemy is overwhelmed. This was applied to the attack on the USS America. 20 H-6's launched 6 missiles each at one ship. The outcome was never in doubt. CNN woke the American people to video feeds of the LHD named after their land slipping underneath the waves.
The Navy launched a Tomahawk strike with its missile subs but the Chinese had hardened every military site and knew that a launch against civilian or dual use targets would never be allowed. They were right so the effort was symbolic at best.
Simcock was in Washington demanding that the 3rd MarDiv be placed on alert for 24 hour short notice deployment but his demands were shot down. This incident must be contained. But what about the 200 Marines that were on the island? Negotiations would be started to get them returned....if any of them survived that is.
There was no longer any doubt about the name of the islands.
Diaoyu it is....until the next fight. Lets hope we're ready.