rohitvats wrote:The comment about Chinese troops not emerging from shadows was in context to the belief held than some how the PLA can surprise us. It is not so the case. The PLA active deployment in Tibet and along the AP LAC is very low (and very much so as compared to India). Any and all troops for any major operations will need to come from outside (as in from some where else in Tibet MD or Chengdu MR).
Thanks for clarifying on the emerging from shadows point. When you mean active deployment in Tibet and along the AP LAC, do you mean PLA troops stationed on the border on LAC or do you mean the total troops available to PLA on the AP LAC? There is a difference over here, and I wold like to clarify this.
rohitvats wrote:Now, coming to the Chinese airdrop and quick reinforcement capability.
First, the airdrop. Can you quantify the airdrop capability of the PLAAF? BTW, the Chinese Airborne Troops are under PLAAF Command - the 15th Airborne Corps. How many troops it can airlift at any one time? And for what duration and distance? Let me give you an example of difficulty of airborne operations - a typical parachute battalion will have 600-700 soldiers. Now, we know that the standard airlift a/c in PLAAF service is IL-76. IIRC, the number of paratroopers it can carry is 140. How many IL-76 does PLAAF require to drop a single battalion? Five (5). Mind you, these are only for Paratroopers and no support element. Further, how many are required for a Regiment worth (In PLA, Regiment is equivalent to a Brigade) Fifteen(15). Again, no support element like engineers, medical, artillery, signals etc. What is the grand total of IL-76 in PLAAF service - wiki say 17+30 on order. Assuming, China acquires these 30 IL-76 in short to medium term. So, we have a situation where PLAAF will need to send ~35% of tpt fleet for a single Brigade worth of drop. What if we add some support elements? What will this number be? Should be close to 45%.
So according your math, Chinese need atleast
5 IL-76 to transport a battalion of troops minus support elements. They have an estimated fleet of 17 IL-76 planes, again your figures. So you are basically agreeing that China can airlift and drop troops/material.
Now According to Wikipedia, the maximum range of IL-76 is 3,650 km. Since it will not land and will have to return back to its airbase after dropping paratroopers, its combat radius is approximately 1800 kms. If we factor in the high altitude of the Tibetan plateau into consideration and the point that IL-76 has to take off from Tibetan plateau , we can reduce this to 1600 kms approximately. Its max speed is 900 Kmph, so an IL-76 can fly 1600 kms in say 1:30-2:00 hours (again i am factoring in the high altitude of the himalayas). So in say 4 hours 5 IL-76 can airdrop 600-700 troops and return to its base. It will take about 3-4 more IL-76 to airdrop the required for support facilities like material, weapons, etc for the 600-700 men. Let us again assume that it takes another 4 hours to make an IL-76 ready for flight, after post-flight inspection, repairing/replacing damaged parts, refueling, etc. So in a total of 8 hours another operation can be launched with a total of 8 IL-76 to drop another battalion of paratroopers. What this means is that in a day or 24 hours China will able to drop 3 battalions of men. Even if PLAAF suffers an attrition of 10-20% transport planes then also it can do what I have outlined. This is with only IL-76 planes, we have not taken the other transport planes in service with PLA/PLAAF into account.
And Let us twist this around. What if PLAAF decides to drop regular troops and material into Tibet. For this scenario they can use their regular civilian airlines also. Till now the Chinese had to build stores, underground caves and other silos to house material for their troops. Their, i.e. Chinese, Logistics are simply to long. With this airlift capability, this is reduced significantly.
That is why IA is concerned, that whereas previously China would take time to build up its forces in Tibet, and correspondingly we would have time to mobilize and react, China can now do so faster and deprive us of the time to build up our forces. So with this capability they build up their forces and then use the same capability to drop paratroopers.
rohitvats wrote:Now, what kind of target do these IL-76 represent? 30+ lumbering giants in the sky - AWACS will pick them from maximum range, imo. And what do you think IAF will be doing all this while? To this add another minor issue. A static line jump will have to happen at 1500-2000 feet AGL. A liberal sprinkling of MANPADS with in IA will ensure that lot of these IL-76 would not be going back home.
You are expecting these transport aircraft not to have any escort, of Su-30MKK/J-10 fighters. You are expecting that they will not employ any counter measures. That is a very optimistic assumption over here.
rohitvats wrote:While we're at it - there is another minor issue. Where do you think these paratroopers will land? AP? Is there enough real estate in AP to allow for a battalion worth of paratroopers to land? Forget the brigade. You might want to look up Tawang pics to see the terrain in these areas. OK. Next option - Brahamaputra Valley. Hmmm....so, if the IL-76 of PLAAF can so easily enter the Brahamaputra Valley, I guess, there won't be need for Chinese to drop paratroopers.
Avik, has explained quite clearly the issues with ability of paratroopers to hold ground.
The purpose of paratroopers is not to hold ground. It is to facilitate the main assault or to disrupt the communications and supply routes of the enemies. If they are an enabling force, then the main assault comes very closely, in time domain, after they have landed. If it is a disrupting force, they can just melt into the valleys of AP while wreaking havoc behind our lines.
AP is after all a big state, approximately 83743 sq kms (source is again Wikipedia.) It is just bigger than Jharkand. A battalion of Chinese airborne or para troopers, which according to you should have 600-700 soldiers, will have no issue in such a big state. Off course in a normal war we should not expect a single battalion but multiple.
Now, when you're searching for the Normandy drop link, a little bit of research would have told you about Operation Market Garden. This was the biggest Paradrop operation in WWII and it failed. Why? Please read this (from wiki):
Operation Market Garden (September 17–25, 1944) was an Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation of all time.[nb 3]
The operation plan's strategic context required the seizure of bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries. Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to outflank the Siegfried Line and encircle the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland. It made large-scale use of airborne forces whose tactical objectives were to secure a series of bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands and allow a rapid advance by armoured units into Northern Germany.
Initially the operation was successful and several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured. However the ground force's advance was delayed by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Son, delaying the capture of the main road bridge over the Meuse until September 20. At Arnhem the British 1st Airborne Division encountered far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them they were overrun on the 21st. The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, had to be evacuated on the 25th. The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force, and the Rhine remained a barrier to their advance until the offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden ended Allied expectations of finishing the war in 1944.
Thank you, for sharing this piece of information with us. I would like to point out one interesting fact from the above mentioned articleInitially the operation was successful and several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured. However the ground force's advance was delayed.
So you see the paratroopers managed to capture several bridges. Just that the main assault got delayed, beyond a point. It again reinforces what I have said above.
If this scenario is not played out, their airborne capability will still give them at the minimum the ability to reinforce their troops in Tibet with men and material. We might be able to match them, division for division, but we will still loose
All your arguments are based on incorrect premises, you have not bothered to read on the topic or do some research and yet, you say with conviction - "we will loose"
Again you have not backed this up with any thing.
rohitvats wrote:Why should I be bothered about Chinese ability to airlift troops into Tibet? What does that do to me? If anything, it means that Chinese need to bring troops from outside in case of shooting match.
It means whereas we have currently 10-divisions of IA facing 10-divisions of PLA, with this airlift capability, this symmetry can be skewed in their favor. So we will have more PLA divisions facing us.
And once a shooting war starts they can build up their troops rapidly. So let us assume that we are able to annihilate some 5 divisions out of 10 divisions of PLA, without suffering any significant losses ourselves, then also Chinese can make up for the loss and get in more men and material.
I think we should be bothered with any thing which enhances the ability of the Chinese to deploy troops and material into Tibet from their other Military Regions.
rohitvats wrote:Are you aware of the geographical spread of Indian deployment? How far are the troops in Eastern Command and respective Corps from their likely area of deployment on LAC? In most of the sectors, and especially in Tawang area, it is IA which will win the race to the LAC if it ever came to that. One more thing - IA periodically mounts what is called Operation Alert on the LAC. This is the priod when troops move to their forward areas and is timed with the 'sensitive period'.
So after our troops are finished racing into LAC and they reach it, the Chinese drops paratroopers behind them. In such a case IA will have to divert some of these troops, who raced to LAC and its reserves to deal with these paratroopers. Again you have reinforced what I was saying. With this demonstrated airlift capability, the assumptions that IA can win the race to LAC get thrown out.
And winning the race to LAC is one thing, sustaining the operations on LAC is another. Chinese airlift capability, if not used for para-drops, can be used to augment and sustain partially the operations of PLA on LAC. You see due to the long lines of communications and logistics, most of the items that PLA needed would have to be bought from outside Tibet. That is why PLA in the past has placed such importance to underground stores.
rohitvats wrote:And why do we forget that it is we who surprised the Chinese in Operation Falcon in 1986 Sumderong Chu incident? That it is we who airlifted a brigade in double quick time using the same IL-76 which is supposed to give some mythical advantage to the Chinese.
Mythical, did anyone in this post or this discussion used the word or its synonym? And like you said, we lifted a brigade in double quick time, now the chinese can do the same, if not better. And will we be able to do an encore, this time, with their airlift capability being demonstrated recently?
You see IA works on the 2-1 principle. 2 units are operating in the front, while 1 unit is kept as a reserve in the back. Replace unit with division/battalion/regiment/brigade etc and you get the picture. This gives us depth. But the problem with this is that we do not pitch all of our 10 divisions in battle. Rather only a majority of them. Moreover you have not specified why you doubt the capability of the Chinese to drop a division in 48 hours? If you can maybe share it with us it would be great
This argument actually takes the cake. Can you tell me what does 'keeping in reserve' mean? And how did you chance upon the 2:1 principle? This I'll explain this point in detail once you bother to share your argument on this.
Keeping in reserve means not seeing action but being in the same theater of operations. This way if one of the units or both units face an enemy strength greater than their ability, the reserve unit can assist them. Or If one unit or both the units face reverses in men and material, then the 3rd unit can be there.
As far as the 2-1, not 2:1, concept it was explained to me by a serving Lt-Col, currently posted in Jammu. If you can refute it, please do so.
rohitvats wrote:As for the 48 hours capability - that argument was wrt RR Mechanized Division which author refers to and not airborne troops. Please read the article more carefully.
I used the airborne troops in a generic sense. If you are referring to any specific definition of the term, please do share it, so that it is clear what you mean.
rohitvats wrote:As for why I don't belive it - a Mechanized Division imo (there is no open source info), will ideally consist of 2 Regiments of Mechanized Infantry (3 Battalions per Regiment) and 1 Tank Brigade. That is around 2*3*50 = 300 APC and 3*41 = 125 Tanks. Now, please use common sense and tell me, how does one move a force this large over any substantial distance in 48 hours from word go? Here is the Caveat - there is a distinct possibility that this RRF is on 48 hours stand by. That is -ready to move in 48 hours. Something the author might have confused.
So basically you are disputing the fact without any solid evidence to back it up. And you are saying that maybe it is not 48hrs deployment but 48hrs standby. What happens after 48hrs standby? Will the entire PLAAF fleet, of some 17 IL-76, 40 Y-8, 23 Y-7 (all sources are from wikipedia) will not be able to transport it to Lhasa, Gunsa (proposed, not sure whether it is up for operations and 90-100 kms from LAC) or Nyingchi (approximately 40-50Kms from LAC). Please note that I have listed only the civilian airports or fields. Again Rohit I fail to comprehend your complacency.
Again nothing to back up the doubting claims. If you can be specific reason it would be great.
The chinese can move their troops from the Xianjing province into Tibet or from their reserves in central china.
On the one hand you're saying that PLA will need to move troops from Chengdu or XYZ MR into Tibet and on the other you're questioning my reservation?
I said can move
and not will need
. You seem to object my questioning and seem to link it with what I said that Chinese can
do. Your reasons seem like rhetorical. Yes I am doubting what you are saying for the simple reason that you have till date, not given the exact reason. And you have not answered the main point that I raised Again nothing to back up the doubting claims
rohitvats wrote:Can you tell me how does one move a single brigade worth of troops in one day over any substantial distance from peace time location to forward areas?
In one word airlift. With the last mile, say something like 100 kms over land.
Please share with us the link. We would like to go through it.
Also once the Chinese master the art of moving 50K troops, moving 5 times more, i.e. 250K is just a matter of scaling the ability up. Moreover this is not the first time the Chinese have done such exercises. Previously they have exercised with the Russians which involved airborne troops. They would have picked up some valuable insights from our russian friends.
So, moving 250K troops is a matter of scaling? Sure. Scaling what, btw?
Scaling up the capability. You yourself have pointed out that PLA is going to order 30 more IL-76, apart from the transport aircraft it is developing and also apart from the medium lift aircraft that they have. Also please take into consideration the capability which exists in the civilian aviation sphere of China. For example there are some reports that China would use or already has used Civilian aircraft in Stride-2009. So if we add this civilian component into the existing PLA airlift capability, their capability to sustain operations increases.
rohitvats wrote:Let me tell you a secret - IA moved the III Corps HQ and 57 Mountain Division from Nagaland plus troops from 33 Corps during Parakram. That is like what - 1200+kms? So, how come, PLA being able to move troops is a big thing but ours is not? Remember, IA shifting troops from Bangladesh to Western front during 1971?
It is a big thing, because the Chinese have now been able to demonstrate that they are able to do the same. If an enemy cannot do what one can, it is an asset on ones side. If an enemy can do the same what one can do, it is no longer an asset, rather one has to worry about meeting and/or exceeding and/or neutralizing the capability.