Saturday, January 16, 2016

China's mechanized force. Meet the Chinese Army 05A type crawler 120 mm howitzer

Thanks to Defence Blog for the link!

Interesting isn't it.

The USMC keeps moving toward the Seaborne 101st type force structure and the Chinese Army and Marine Corps are armoring up.  Where we depend on  120mm mortars, they're  going with self propelled howitzers.  If I'm not mistaken those vehicles are amphibious too.  Even if they aren't capable of swimming from the ship, they'll be able to bound across natural choke points like rivers, and lakes.

Meanwhile there is no slack to be made up by the US Army.  They're prioritizing mobility for their light units.  Butched up ATVs will not be able to withstand the firepower of the vehicles that the Chinese are putting into service.

Bonus coverage.  Thanks to Max for the link!

via Daily Mail.
The exercises are the latest in recent years that show the efforts China is making to boost its expeditionary force capabilities.
In 2014, the marines conducted their first training in the grasslands of the northern landlocked Inner Mongolia region. At the time, the exercise was seen as unusual for the south China-based force more proficient in beach landings.
Since those drills, the roughly 15,000-strong marine corps, which operates under the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's South Sea fleet, appears to be settling into a new niche.
"They never really had a major strategic role, as force projection wasn't something the PLA was willing, or able, to think about even ten years ago," said Gary Li, an independent security analyst in Beijing.
With amphibious divisions in the PLA Army also capable of extending China's reach into the South China Sea and Taiwan, Li said the marines are a good fit for a budding Chinese expeditionary force.
"The main advantage of playing around with the marines is that they have a higher concentration of specialists, act well as light infantry, have good esprit de corps, and are nimble enough to be deployed over long distances if needed," he said.
Along with President Xi Jinping's vows to build a more modern military, the global profile of China's armed forces is on the rise.
Already, the South Sea fleet, which is based on the mainland coast near the island of Hainan, has been used on operations far from the South China Sea.
The fleet's vessels have ventured to the Middle East and Mediterranean after deployments on international anti-piracy patrols around the Horn of Africa.
Chinese officials announced in November they were in talks with Djibouti to build permanent "support facilities" to further boost Chinese naval operations, in what would be China's first such off-shore military base.
The African port, sitting on the edge of the Red and Arabian seas, is home to several foreign military bases, including U.S., French and Japanese naval facilities.
China is also expanding its peacekeeping role, with Xi pledging in September to contribute 8,000 troops for a U.N. stand-by force that could provide logistical and operational experience the PLA would need to operate farther abroad.

While China has been getting more involved diplomatically in trouble spots like the Middle East, it is adamant that it does not interfere in the affairs of other countries, and is the only permanent member of the U.N. Security Council which has not taken military action in Syria.
The Defense Ministry said in a fax that the drills were part of "annual planned" exercises.
For now, China's marines are advancing only through the snow fields of Xinjiang, as depicted in state media photographs, still wearing their speckled blue fatigues designed for operations at sea. But that could shift in time.
"China's global security posture is becoming more active," said Zhang Baohui, a mainland security expert at Hong Kong's Lingnan University. "And this seems to fit that policy."
(Reporting by Michael Martina and Greg Torode. Additional reporting by Matt Siegel in SYDNEY. Editing by Bill Tarrant)
The Chinese are going expeditionary.

Many think (and I once did) that we would cross swords with them in the Pacific.  I no longer believe that.  The table has already been set to such an extent that they've practically won without having to fire a shot.

No, I think the future battlefield will be in Africa over scarce resources.  Do we even have the capability to surge forces into that region?  With the dismantling of the Rapid Deployment Force do we even have the ability to get one heavy brigade there in less than 60 days?

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