Right from the Middle: The Best way to defend Taiwan
By William O. Lipinski
The best way to defend Taiwan, is to prevent it from being attacked.
By making an attack so militarily herculean and so financially outrageously expensive, China will give up the idea.
To start with Taiwan has a few natural advantages an invading force would encounter. Taiwan is over a hundred miles off the coast of China, 100 miles of open water.
An invasion by China would be by far the greatest amphibious invasion in history, much more difficult than the invasion of Normandy, in the second World War,
Taiwan is made up of a heavily-forested mountain ridge that runs down the length of the roughly oval-shaped island for 245 miles. To the west of the mountain ridge is plains and very large cities.
These features form a natural defense barrier. It would force invaders to fight their way through highly populated cities and suburbs block by block.
We have seen recently how very difficult that can be in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There are very few areas on Taiwan that are suitable for amphibious landings, thereby allowing the Taiwanese to concentrate their military forces.
Before a single foot of the Peoples’ Liberation Army can step upon Taiwanese soil, the PLA invasion force must sail through extremely heavily defended hostile waters.
Parachute troops which the PLA has a limited number of in this day and age have a very limited effect upon a military campaign.
Modern technology has made their effect very limited The Peoples Liberation Army’s invasion force because of the sheer number of soldiers.
Vast qualities of supplies armored vehicles, artillery, ammunition, food, medical supplies and fuel – needed for a successful invasion could only come by sea across the Taiwan straits.
Defending Taiwan in those waters would be four submarines (eight by 2025) 22 Frigates, 31 missile boats, 14 Corvettes, and 13 warfare vessels.
And that is just the start of Taiwan’s capacity to defend itself. Taiwan also has sea mines, US harpoon missiles, Turkish Bayraktar drones, US Switchblade drones, two to four US Patriot missile battalions, US Stinger missiles, and at least two hundred F-16 fighter planes.
Also Taiwan would know 60 days in advance if an Invasion was coming, because of modern surveillance and intelligence technology.
Whatever remains of the invasion force after crossing the Taiwan straits that reaches the beaches of Taiwan, the following is what they will have to overcome.
Remember there are only three possible locations an invasion force can land. Each of these have already been prepared for potential conflict.
Long underground tunnels, complete with hardened, subterranean supply depots, crisscross the landing sites.
The berm of each site is covered with razor-leaf plants, blockhouses containing coastal artillery, machine guns, flamethrowers, mortars, and anti-tank howitzers.
In front of these fortifications are barbed wire, minefields, and anti-tank ditches. There are also casemate bunkers with Taiwanese military personnel.
If the invasion continues and, I think that’s a very big question following is the next high hurdle the invaders must overcome.
All the roads from the beaches to the cities will be mined and booby-trapped, the skyscrapers and rock outcrops will have steel cords strung between them to entangle helicopters; tunnels, bridges, and overpasses will be rigged with bombs, and then there will be block-to-block fighting in cities.
And last but not least, all the computer chip manufacturing sites will be destroyed and Taiwan produces; over 85% of advanced semiconductor; this is often called Taiwan’s Silicon Shield.
This is what we know of Taiwanese plans to defend their nation, there are probably others; already in-place we don’t know about.
And remember our Land of Liberty has pledge to defend Taiwan, and I am sure we will.
With us, that’s spelled United States aiding Taiwan I believe it becomes a mission impossible for communist Chinese to succeed.
(William O. Lipinski served in Congress representing the 5th and 3rd Congressional District from 1982 until 2005. Email Bill at BillLipinski@hotmail.com. This column originally appeared in the Des Plaines Valley News newspaper group.)
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