Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

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Christopher Sidor
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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Christopher Sidor » 27 Sep 2010 18:08

Avik wrote:
Thanks for the clarification, but you have not yet comprehensively refuted the central theme of the article. Namely, Chinese have the airlift capability, which could be a menace to us in north east and the north western Himalayas. Something which we lack ourselves.

.....
.....
Finally, the NE of India is jammed with Indian troops, practically. After the initial shock, the sheer number of these troops will be sufficient to isolate the Chinese paras and flush them out. Yes, it will be time consuming and their will be anxious moments, but they will get flushed out. The level of anxiety will depend on whether the Chinese paras are able to destroy a couple of key bridges in NE, specific road links and certain command centres- all these come together in the Siliguri Corridor.


Our mobility in North east is not ideal. Throw in the bewildering variety of insurgents, and the picture gets muddled. Moreover these Chinese paratroops will not operate in isolation, they will be an enabling force for the main attack which will come behind them. Their main purpose will be to disrupt IA's ability to move around in Arunachal, by capturing bridges or key points, etc. So IA will have to deal with two forces over here. One highly mobile and the other normal PLA division.

The Chinese rely on overwhelming numbers and firepower. Now they have added mobility into the mix. This is a potent combination. There is a school of thought which believes that the reason the chinese stopped after taking over the entire Arunachal, was because they ran out of supplies. If this is really true, then with this airlift capability, they need not stop at Arunachal. And what is applicable for arunachal can be applicable for uttranchal or Sikkim or himachal also.
We may be able to disrupt this airlift capability, we might hopefully be able to deny the Chinese the use of this capability, by preventing their domination of the skies. However we still have to expend effort and material to meet this capability.

Also the reason I refuted Rohits posting was, that I see no reason to doubt the figures being quoted about Chinese capability. Chinese have been practicing airborne operations with Russians in the various exercises they have held under the umbrella of SCO. And now they have recently done the same in the Tibetan plateau on their own.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Nihat » 27 Sep 2010 18:39

As some bright guy earlier pointed out. Paradropping personnel into combat is all about gaining complete 100% air superiority for a significant window of time and in a conflict situation I don't see China having superiority over their own airspace near the border, leave alone Indian skies.

We expect to have AWACS coverage deep into Chinese territory , batteries of Akash to be deployed soon and MKI's based in Tezpur and possibly Chahuba (spell).

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Anantz » 27 Sep 2010 18:57

I am no expert on the matter, but I am from the North East and I am pretty much aware of the IA ground positions there and the nature of the terrain. First and foremost, the terrain in the Himalayas is unforgiving. Doesn't matter if we read about Tanks being deployed in North Sikkim, the part where the tanks can be deployed and the part leading to it is treacherous and any significant movement on our side is a Herculean task. That said, we have most of our forces readily deployed directly on the border for that very purpose fully acclimatized; in other words, we are there waiting, and as we have seen during Kargil, in that terrain, an attacker needs to have a 7:1 superiority to dislodge a defender from its base. In this case we have close to 6 divisions totally deployed on the border and entrenched itself (Not counting the divisions from 2-1 concept). You can do the math as to what number will be required to dislodge them.

Secondly no matter how good they say the infrastructure is on there side. The fact is they still need to climb uphill towards the border. This is especially true on the Sikkim border as the Chinese will have to drive up from the Chumbi Valley to enter India through Nathu-la or Jelep-la. The Indian Army there will be sitting on Mountain tops waiting, while the Chinese will have to drive up to dislodge the Indian positions. There we already have a full division committed (27 Div for Eastern Sikkim along with elements of 17 Div). Regarding the North Sikkim, it is even more difficult, beyond the finger area and a few kms of flat land around Gurudomgar lake, the area is treacherous. Sikkim doesn't have even a single kilometer of flat land anywhere in the state. Now any significant movement of Mechanized forces in those kind of terrain is next to impossible, atleast not within the time frame to link up with an Airdropped force. It could be weeks before their forces can significantly dislodge our position. Even if they attempt it, they cld become cannon fodders for our Migs and Jags in the narrow valleys on our side!

And during this whole mess, we are expecting our rear forces to just sit there waiting. I had posted a table somewhere in the forum, where I have shown our current airlift capability vis-a-vis the Chinese, we do not lag behind significantly. Infact we are almost at the same level there. If they send in their airborne forces to disrupt our rear areas, we can have the same number of troops in the same area and with complete air-superiority to back that.

We are raising such hue and cry over the Tibetan Railways failing to comprehend that we have had Indian Railways right upto Dibrugarh for ages! IF the Chinese today have a rail line to Lhasa which is more than 400 Kms from our border, we have had rail head in Siliguri which is less than 200 Kms from the border (Nathu-la) and another rail head at Tezpur and Dibrugarh. Our lines of communication are much more closer and our Airlift capability better!

Lastly, you have mentioned numerous Insurgent groups in the North East! Care to point out which ones can run havoc there? As far as Arunachal Pradesh is concerned, there is no history of active insurgency in the state. NSCN does have camps there but it is on a ceasefire with us for like a decade now, the ULFA has been reduced to paper force in Assam with all their top leaders now negotiating a peace deal, same with NDFB; Sikkim has no history whatsoever of insurgency and any other such event in other parts of NE will not be significant enough to cause any damage to Indian Army movement, except for Manipur and Tripura where again the terrorist network is more of an extortionist type force rather than a guerrilla force there is nothing that our Paramilitary forces cannot handle.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Avik » 27 Sep 2010 21:51

^^^^^^^
Anantz: Beautiful answer. Puts everything into perspective. Nothing like a local's point of view!


Sometimes we self-flagellate so much, we ignore even our natural advantages.

Chris Sidor: This is not too imply that para action is completely off the table. If it does happen, it is more likely in the Western Sector rather than the East.
Moreover these Chinese paratroops will not operate in isolation, they will be an enabling force for the main attack which will come behind them.

Yes, the paras will not act in isolation. But when the main force is assembling across the border, that should serve enough off a warning to us about what is afoot. And then comes the minor part of the PLA coming across the frontier. Like I said earlier, they have to go through multiple IA divisions within 2-3 days ina mounatinous & jungle terrain to link up with their paras. Wont be easy..to say the least.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Vashishtha » 27 Sep 2010 23:02

Anantz, tht made me feel good. :)

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby rohitvats » 27 Sep 2010 23:29

Christopher Sidor wrote: Chinese troops will not "suddenly emerging from shadows and from behind rocks", rather the article is referring to the ability of the Chinese to airlift troops and drop them where they require. Something similar to what happened on D-day. This is from wikipedia

<SNIP> (part about Normandy airdrop)

Chinese can do the same. They can launch airborne troops, which land behind our forces in NE and North Western Himalayas. And with our known limitations of movement, they will be able to cause havoc with our communication and logistics line. When this happens our forces get fragmented, because some forces will be required to deal with these airborne assault troops.


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).

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%.

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.

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. 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.[7]



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" :roll:

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.

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'.

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.

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? I'll explain this point in detail once you bother to share your argument on this.

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.

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.


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? 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? forget the multiple divisions. Can you check the distace from these peace time locations of PLA troops and LAC (where their presence matters) and tell me how does one cover this distance in a day?

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?

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?

In fact the author is not contradicting himself. Please let us know why you think so ?


If PLA can move 10 divisions into Tibet over a month, how does it move 25 Divisions on short notice? And mind you, there is no definition of this short notice?
Last edited by rohitvats on 27 Sep 2010 23:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby rohitvats » 27 Sep 2010 23:31

Avik wrote: Paratroops, even upto a division strength, can at best create what are known as "gingering effects", because they are lightly armed, spread out and have very limited mobility. They are effective only when mechanized units are linking up with them at short notice, typically, not beyond a day. Their effectiveness keeps going down after the first 12 hours, as the opposition recovers and organises a cohesive defence. All this while, the paras are running out of ammo and food. Also, because of the inherent nature of the job, basically jumping into a new area, there are casualties suffered by the ingressing paras, reducing their numbers. Mind you, they are still quite effective, but more in the nature of small ambush teams, clusters of snipers who delay and hold back Indian troops.

So, in case there is no rapidly moving mechanized columns linking up with the paras, they will get mopped up..it could be 2 days or even a week to round up the stragglers. It is when the mobile mechanized forces are being assembled in the concentration area, that one would require acclimatization, FOL dumps etc. leading to enough signals that the balloon is about to go up. These are very obvious signals and If we miss these signals, then we deserve to get thrashed!

<SNIP>.



That is a precise and concise summary of the issue with Airborne Operations.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby rohitvats » 27 Sep 2010 23:33

Anantz wrote:I am no expert on the matter, but I am from the North East and I am pretty much aware of the IA ground positions there and the nature of the terrain. First and foremost, the terrain in the Himalayas is unforgiving. Doesn't matter if we read about Tanks being deployed in North Sikkim, the part where the tanks can be deployed and the part leading to it is treacherous and any significant movement on our side is a Herculean task. That said, we have most of our forces readily deployed directly on the border for that very purpose fully acclimatized; in other words, we are there waiting, and as we have seen during Kargil, in that terrain, an attacker needs to have a 7:1 superiority to dislodge a defender from its base. In this case we have close to 6 divisions totally deployed on the border and entrenched itself (Not counting the divisions from 2-1 concept). You can do the math as to what number will be required to dislodge them

<SNIP>



Anantz, that is a wonderful post. :D

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby jai » 28 Sep 2010 00:27

How strong are we on -

a) Roads - Do we have good roads right up to the border where the fighting may happen/our troops are located - how strong are the resupply lines - will they hold in all kinds of weather / fog that Arunanchal is known for ? By when would we have all weather roads in Arunanchal ?
b) What about our air defence networks, are they seamless today, and can they handle wave after wave of cruise missiles ?
c) Can our current inventory of fighters in NE hold back wave after wave of the cheeni's if they decide on swarm tactics ? What if the Cheenis start launching attacks on Kashmir and western India from Airbases in Pakistan along with PAF (The Pakis would love to offer their fields if Cheenis are fighting us) can we hold them on three/ four sides parallel - y ?.....What kind of aviation reserves do we have...are these adequate today considering above possible scenarios ?
d) Lets go with the assumption that the Chinese have excellent information about our troop/equipment and supply locations (through reckon. satellites, hackers, humint etc ), and would attack them first with missiles. How well can we support our troops through attacks on equipment and supply locations, airfields etc....how strong are our redundancies ?
e) Expect the Chinese to i) spring surprises - maybe the initial pressure would be elsewhere and not AP, so the question also is, where are we weakest and by how much.
ii) Layered, multiple attacks, with heavy numbers thrown in for the initial waves, with focus on knocking out our airfields, roads and AD sites..
f) Are we well equipped to deny them air superiority if the war stretches beyond 2 weeks ?
g) If we were at war, would we get enough replacement aircrafts and crew quickly enough ? What could we mobilize and how quickly ? Who will support our fight against the dragon ?

How would we deal with these kinds of scenarios....please do not get me wrong, I am no pessimist; just that we should be prepared for the worst scenarios along all fronts considering the treacherousness both our "threats" are capable of throwing at us - and about expecting that - when and where we may be least prepared....IMHO this is the level of readiness we would need to maintain against the dragon and pakis to keep them from trying any stunts..but again these are questions based on personal assumptions - of course, I am not aware of the actual ground position on all of these aspects beyond what's in public domain.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Deans » 28 Sep 2010 09:34

Can someone comment on:
What forces are available to us in the West (Ladakh, Himachal) at Division/ independent level and which units can be realistically sent to the theatre as reinforcements - either from our reserves, or pulled out from the pakistan border ?

Is it also realistic to expect any Chinese offensive through Uttaranchal ? (if so, with what do we counter it).

IA has dedicated artillery divisons. Would it not make sense to deploy them against China (possibly split into independent brigades assigned to each corps) to reduce the gap between Chinese artillery strength and what we currently have deployed against that ?

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby svinayak » 28 Sep 2010 10:04

Anantz wrote:
Secondly no matter how good they say the infrastructure is on there side. The fact is they still need to climb uphill towards the border. This is especially true on the Sikkim border as the Chinese will have to drive up from the Chumbi Valley to enter India through Nathu-la or Jelep-la. The Indian Army there will be sitting on Mountain tops waiting, while the Chinese will have to drive up to dislodge the Indian positions. There we already have a full division committed (27 Div for Eastern Sikkim along with elements of 17 Div). Regarding the North Sikkim, it is even more difficult, beyond the finger area and a few kms of flat land around Gurudomgar lake, the area is treacherous. Sikkim doesn't have even a single kilometer of flat land anywhere in the state. Now any significant movement of Mechanized forces in those kind of terrain is next to impossible, atleast not within the time frame to link up with an Airdropped force. It could be weeks before their forces can significantly dislodge our position. Even if they attempt it, they cld become cannon fodders for our Migs and Jags in the narrow valleys on our side!

And during this whole mess, we are expecting our rear forces to just sit there waiting. I had posted a table somewhere in the forum, where I have shown our current airlift capability vis-a-vis the Chinese, we do not lag behind significantly. Infact we are almost at the same level there. If they send in their airborne forces to disrupt our rear areas, we can have the same number of troops in the same area and with complete air-superiority to back that.

We are raising such hue and cry over the Tibetan Railways failing to comprehend that we have had Indian Railways right upto Dibrugarh for ages! IF the Chinese today have a rail line to Lhasa which is more than 400 Kms from our border, we have had rail head in Siliguri which is less than 200 Kms from the border (Nathu-la) and another rail head at Tezpur and Dibrugarh. Our lines of communication are much more closer and our Airlift capability better!


What is terrain from Sikkim to Lhasa. Where are the difficulties and what is alternate route from Tawang.
What kind of force is required to reach Lhasa if Air Dominance is achieved.

How far can Indian forces cut off the supply lines feeding the PLA garrisons/supply depot in Tibet from Chengdu and elsewhere. Is it doable for sustained period to repel counter attack

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby rohitvats » 28 Sep 2010 10:25

Deans wrote:Can someone comment on:

What forces are available to us in the West (Ladakh, Himachal) at Division/ independent level and which units can be realistically sent to the theatre as reinforcements - either from our reserves, or pulled out from the pakistan border ?

Is it also realistic to expect any Chinese offensive through Uttaranchal ? (if so, with what do we counter it).

IA has dedicated artillery divisons. Would it not make sense to deploy them against China (possibly split into independent brigades assigned to each corps) to reduce the gap between Chinese artillery strength and what we currently have deployed against that ?



(a) Ladakh - 3 Infantry Division with two Infantry Brigades. Has one Mechanized Infantry Regiment. One additional Independent Infantry Brigade authorized by CCS.
(b) HP - No IA troops. Manned by ITBP. AFAIK, has logistic base to assist in induction of troops when necessary. Interestingly, used to manned by a Mountain Division which was later moved out.
(c) Uttarakhand - Manned by Independent Infantry Brigade. 6th Mountain Division based in Bareilly - at the foothills of this sector. This is AHQ Reserve and IMO, will deploy to take care of this Central LAC Sector. Another Independent Infantry Brigade authorized for this sector.

Ready reserves available - 39 Mountain Division for HP and Ladakh. Plus, a Division each from I and II Strike Corps without drastically altering the balance of forces. A more likely measure - movement of entire I Strike Corps. That is 1*Armored Division+1*RAPID+1*Infantry Division. To what extent the armor can move into these areas or required to move, I don't know. A few brigades can be pulled from other formations in the plains. Four divisions worth of troops can be pulled into Ladakh Sector, IMO.

Artillery Divisions - these will be redeployed from Western to Northern or Eastern Sectors as per the requirment.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Anantz » 28 Sep 2010 11:59

Acharya wrote:What is terrain from Sikkim to Lhasa. Where are the difficulties and what is alternate route from Tawang.
What kind of force is required to reach Lhasa if Air Dominance is achieved.

How far can Indian forces cut off the supply lines feeding the PLA garrisons/supply depot in Tibet from Chengdu and elsewhere. Is it doable for sustained period to repel counter attack


I am not sure of the terrain on the other side. I have only been till Nathu-la and North Sikkim. I can tell that beyond Nathu-la lies Chumbi valley. Before Nathu-la the area is densely fortified with Indian Army emplacements with Bofors battery lying around 18 kms down somewhere near Tshangu lake. I am pretty sure beyond Nathu-la the terrain is much more stable and movement on their side is much better.

It is as soon as you try to enter Sikkim where the trouble starts, and I am guessing its the same on the AP border even though I havent exactly been there. Nathu-la is approx 54 Kms from Gangtok, capital of Sikkim, which is 112 Kms from Siliguri in the plains where the rail head lies. The Indian Railways has just begun constructing the phase 1 of the railway line linking Sevok in the plains with Rangpo on the West Bengal Sikkim border with a Broad gauge rail line. This line is to be completed by 2015 and Rangpo is 39 Kms from Gangtok which means, 93 Kms from Nathu-la. The phase 2 of the project is to be completed by 2020 linking Rangpo with Gangtok. So by 2020 we should be having a Broad Gauge railway line 54 Kms from the Nathu-la border.

Also we have an airport coming up at Pakyong, Sikkim which is same distance to Nathu-la but closer to Jelep-la, which is another border pass which opens up to Chumbi valley in Tibet. The airport is suppose to have a 1700 mtr long runway suitable for ATR-72 type aircraft with aprons for 2 aircraft, located approximately 4000 - 5000 feet above Sea level. Jelep-la I think is responsibility of Kalimpong based 27 Div. The airport is to be completed by 2012 and is located on a hill as there is not even a single kilometer stretch of flat valley anywhere in Sikkim, close to human settlements.

Moreover, this whole region is located at less than 10 mins of flying distance from the Hashimara Airbase. As a kid, I used to watch Mig-27s fly over my home on the WB - Sikkim border during winters when the weather opens up, they used to fly North and used to return approx 10 mins later. Mig-21s from Bagdogra also used to fly in sometimes, all of it during winters. Every winter we used to watch IA Engineers carry out bridge laying exercises on the Tista, and I have seen tanks being transported to and from North Sikkim much before they were reported in the national media. In the winters, there are regular sorties of transport aircrafts too that fly to Sikkim every morning, and Army Aviation and Airforce Helicopters are a regular site there.

Our forces atleast on the Sikkim region was pretty dense, atleast it was before Kargil war, after that many of the posts had been vacated, its good to see them back again.

Also to add, BRO has taken up rebuilding an alternative highway to Sikkim near the Bhutan - India border, this should be very useful and provide redundancy when the shooting starts. The problem for the Chinese is, despite their infrastructure, if they have to enter India they will have to pass through Chumbi Valley which is like a funnel surrounded on 3 sides with high mountains, some of the highest in the world, there are only 3 passes out of Chumbi valley, 1 towards Haa valley in Bhutan, and the other 2 through Nathu-la and Jelep-la into Sikkim, both heavily defended by IA, the IA has IMTRAT mission located precisely at Haa valley in Bhutan for this. Also Chumbi valley lies very very close to Hasimara as the crow flies.

We have multiple routes to reach the border on our side. Despite not having World class roads on our side, our NH-31A is still pretty decent and provides a modest all weather capability for Military and civil movement. BRO engineers fix the roads quite fast during Monsoons on land slips which are inevitable due to loose soil of the Shivaliks. Moreover, everytime one route is down there are still atleast 2 routes which are longer but still open to traffic for movement.

I hope I have given a pretty good picture of the terrain on the Sikkim-West Bengal axis. Please let me know if I have added too much detail and some of it needs to be removed, although all of the info I have provided is more or less in public domain.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby svinayak » 28 Sep 2010 12:31

Anantz wrote:

Moreover, this whole region is located at less than 10 mins of flying distance from the Hashimara Airbase. As a kid, I used to watch Mig-27s fly over my home on the WB - Sikkim border during winters when the weather opens up, they used to fly North and used to return approx 10 mins later. Mig-21s from Bagdogra also used to fly in sometimes, all of it during winters. Every winter we used to watch IA Engineers carry out bridge laying exercises on the Tista, and I have seen tanks being transported to and from North Sikkim much before they were reported in the national media. In the winters, there are regular sorties of transport aircrafts too that fly to Sikkim every morning, and Army Aviation and Airforce Helicopters are a regular site there.

Do you remember lot of mil activity during the years 1986, 1987 and 1988. what was the activity in the Arunachal area. What is terrain on the other side. We need details about the Tibet area.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby svinayak » 28 Sep 2010 12:32

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM-BK8sDJu4
Chinese think tank suggests division of India

There is a fear inside China. They are afraid of their geo graphy and far west. It is an island and they are building rapidly but they cannot do human settlement so soon.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Anantz » 28 Sep 2010 12:53

Acharya wrote:Do you remember lot of mil activity during the years 1986, 1987 and 1988. what was the activity in the Arunachal area. What is terrain on the other side. We need details about the Tibet area.


Sorry sir, I was too young to understand anything then! :) My memory stretches back till around Mid 90s. I had seen what now turns up to be T-55 tanks being transported somewhere in the Mid 90s i guess. Outside Siliguri there used to be a camp where they used to keep 130 mm Medium guns. I had seen the BOFORs gun being de-inducted sometime after the Kargil war. After 99, all the artillery camps were empty! Almost abandoned. Even the frequency of Fighter jet movements came down after that, but in the past 2 years that has risen. My relatives were recently telling me that fighter jet noise have become a menace these days in Sikkim, with fighters regularly doing low level runs over valleys. Infact a few months back there was a flurry of reporting in the local media about UFO sightings :D . We can only guess what that means. Also these UFO sighting with Contrails up in the skies co-incided with the induction of Su-30s in Tezpur, so we can only guess what those UFOs can be... :evil:

The Tibetan plateau does extend till North Sikkim, that is why the incursions and talks of having Tanks there. The problem lies in getting there. Sikkim is divided into two by the Tista which runs through the center. Ofcourse the Chines can disrupt our movement through the narrow valley, provided they can achieve air-superiority, but with our air-bases so close, with SAM covers, I am not sure how they will be able to achieve that. On the other hand at Chumbi valley our forces can control both the high mountains on either side of that valley and thats where the trouble lies for the Chinese.

As far as shooting is concerned, the only time which is favorable for either forces is from October to December. After that Tibet becomes totally inhospitable, and the snow melts only around May, so any movement in Tibet can happen after that. But by May the pre-monsoon showers set in and then the place becomes a nightmare for military movement! I m guessing not much on the other side but this side it is a mess. Their sat images, Aerial Recon everything will go for a toss, no air support will be available and even Heli-lift will become a nightmare! Forget Para-drop the weather will not permit even UAVs to see properly! Good luck to them trying to win a war then! :wink:

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby rohitvats » 28 Sep 2010 13:01

Anantz wrote:
<SNIP>

As far as shooting is concerned, the only time which is favorable for either forces is from October to December.

<SNIP>



Anantz - another set of brilliant posts. Thank you for sharing the information about the geography in the area.

As for the Oct-December period - IIRC, that is the time IA mounts the Operational Alert on the border.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby svinayak » 28 Sep 2010 13:07

Anantz wrote:
As far as shooting is concerned, the only time which is favorable for either forces is from October to December. After that Tibet becomes totally inhospitable, and the snow melts only around May, so any movement in Tibet can happen after that. But by May the pre-monsoon showers set in and then the place becomes a nightmare for military movement! I m guessing not much on the other side but this side it is a mess. Their sat images, Aerial Recon everything will go for a toss, no air support will be available and even Heli-lift will become a nightmare! Forget Para-drop the weather will not permit even UAVs to see properly! Good luck to them trying to win a war then! :wink:

During those mths can Indian recon troops survive inside Tibet.

Tawang is where the action is going to be.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aXJhen1LuI
China doesn't want entire Arunachal, just Tawang

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-3TlhVuxZI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2FvHADBVmE

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Anantz » 28 Sep 2010 13:57

I am not sure either party will be in a favorable position then. The only option for RECON can be SAR sats such as RISAT I guess. With the Tibetan terrain pretty much denuded of any inhabitation or Vegetation, it could be easier to spot anything there. On our side, we have a National Park right upto the Border with Alpine forests pretty much arnd 10 Kms from the border, so I am assuming our movements can be camouflaged. Visibility in Sikkim above 4000 feet during that season is restricted to few meters most of the time, due to heavy fog and cloud cover. The region receives on of the highest rainfall in India. Again I am speaking only as a layman, so no idea how well we can hide our movement. But like I said, any adventurism by any party from May till September will end up in a slug fest.

For India keeping logistic lines open in the face of enemy action as well as adverse weather would be herculean, and for the Chinese mounting an offensive against well entrenched foes occupying higher ground in adverse weather conditions is again a nightmare, not to mention a layman cant even walk fast at those altitudes. I have been to Nathu-la at 14,400 feet, and trust me no one would want to be there for more than an hour, u will be wanting for breadth simply after walking a few meters. Starting an offensive at that terrain, against a well defended enemy in adverse weather conditions with zero air- support. Whew.... Now that is not only a herculean task, it might also be demoralizing for the troops.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Anantz » 28 Sep 2010 14:05

rohitvats wrote:Anantz - another set of brilliant posts. Thank you for sharing the information about the geography in the area.

As for the Oct-December period - IIRC, that is the time IA mounts the Operational Alert on the border.


Thanks Rohit Sir! :)

I am sure they do it then, like I said most of the fighter sorties used to be mounted then! And we used to see heavy troop movement during the winters. We used to have Winter vacations then, and we would enjoy seeing IA engineers come over every winter to the valleys and practice bridge building and dismantling. They used to do it in record time as per locals! :D

And every morning we used to hear the sound of one lone transport plane fly North, old timers used to say they go to paradrop supplies and for recon, donno exactly for what though, but used to happen every morning arnd 8. Even Jet flying used to happen early as by mid day the weather turns bad in the mountains!

It was a great time then, Sikkim is a beautiful place, and the presence of olive green makes it all the more adventurous! :D

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby kapilrdave » 28 Sep 2010 14:58

rohitvats wrote:
Anantz wrote:
<SNIP>

As far as shooting is concerned, the only time which is favorable for either forces is from October to December.

<SNIP>



Anantz - another set of brilliant posts. Thank you for sharing the information about the geography in the area.

As for the Oct-December period - IIRC, that is the time IA mounts the Operational Alert on the border.


That means we should attack pakis any time other than this to avoid two front war. :evil:
Or may be to minimize the effect of it.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Deans » 28 Sep 2010 15:15

rohitvats wrote:
Deans wrote:Can someone comment on:

What forces are available to us in the West (Ladakh, Himachal) at Division/ independent level and which units can be realistically sent to the theatre as reinforcements - either from our reserves, or pulled out from the pakistan border ?
Is it also realistic to expect any Chinese offensive through Uttaranchal ? (if so, with what do we counter it).
IA has dedicated artillery divisons. Would it not make sense to deploy them against China (possibly split into independent brigades assigned to each corps) to reduce the gap between Chinese artillery strength and what we currently have deployed against that ?


(a) Ladakh - 3 Infantry Division with two Infantry Brigades. Has one Mechanized Infantry Regiment. One additional Independent Infantry Brigade authorized by CCS.
(b) HP - No IA troops. Manned by ITBP. AFAIK, has logistic base to assist in induction of troops when necessary. Interestingly, used to manned by a Mountain Division which was later moved out.
(c) Uttarakhand - Manned by Independent Infantry Brigade. 6th Mountain Division based in Bareilly - at the foothills of this sector. This is AHQ Reserve and IMO, will deploy to take care of this Central LAC Sector. Another Independent Infantry Brigade authorized for this sector.

Ready reserves available - 39 Mountain Division for HP and Ladakh. Plus, a Division each from I and II Strike Corps without drastically altering the balance of forces. A more likely measure - movement of entire I Strike Corps. That is 1*Armored Division+1*RAPID+1*Infantry Division. To what extent the armor can move into these areas or required to move, I don't know. A few brigades can be pulled from other formations in the plains. Four divisions worth of troops can be pulled into Ladakh Sector, IMO.

Artillery Divisions - these will be redeployed from Western to Northern or Eastern Sectors as per the requirment.


Thanks Rohit, that was informative.
I believe we are weaker in the West (incl. central LAC) than in the East.
My concern is weather we would actually be able to induct an artillery division `once the shooting starts', the road network is limited and relatively easy to interdict, while the logistics requirement of moving an artillery division are limited. The ideal think IMO is to preposition Arty brigades in critical areas of the LAC.

I believe we would need to have a strike corps available in the Western sector of the LAC though I've no idea if the terrain is suitable for large scale induction of armoured vehicles.
Perhaps the solution is a china dedicated mountain strike corps (with our other 2 strike corps being Pakistan oriented).

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby svinayak » 28 Sep 2010 21:55

Deans wrote:

I believe we are weaker in the West (incl. central LAC) than in the East.
I believe we would need to have a strike corps available in the Western sector of the LAC though I've no idea if the terrain is suitable for large scale induction of armoured vehicles.
Perhaps the solution is a china dedicated mountain strike corps (with our other 2 strike corps being Pakistan oriented).

The COG of Tibet lies in the east and closer to the border in the east. That is where the offensive should be correctly. It is not just about the border but the COG and the supply lines.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Paul » 28 Sep 2010 22:10

COG lies north of Sikkim...trace Younghusband's invasion route through Sikkim in 1911.

Furthermore I had written a year or so ago that the focus of the war should it happen will start in the west but finally move to the east as PRC supply lines are shorter here.

Indian army's performance historically (inc. 1962) has been better in Ladakh than other areas due to preparations against Pakistan. Logistics are better placed in Ladakh, XIVth Corps is already in place in Kargil. People forget it was becuz of access to Daulat Beg Oldi airfield that ladkah was saved in 1948 when Air cmd Mehar Singh landed his DC-3 to supply the beleagured garrison there.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Paul » 28 Sep 2010 22:26

What is the terrain like north of Karakorum pass.

Can a determined three pronged thrust be made from 1. Akasi Chin 2. North of Ladakh 3. West of Baltistan (POK).

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby ramana » 28 Sep 2010 22:26

To where? Sinkiang?

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby rohitvats » 28 Sep 2010 22:49

Paul wrote:
<SNIP>

Indian army's performance historically (inc. 1962) has been better in Ladakh than other areas due to preparations against Pakistan. Logistics are better placed in Ladakh, XIVth Corps is already in place in Kargil. People forget it was becuz of access to Daulat Beg Oldi airfield that ladkah was saved in 1948 when Air cmd Mehar Singh landed his DC-3 to supply the beleagured garrison there.


Paul, I have disagreement with you on the reason why we did well in Ladakh. IMO, and based on the study of developments in the Ladakh Sector prior to the 1962 conflict, it was the proactiveness of Western Command which saved the day in Ladakh and IA redeemed itself as an fighting organization. And mind you, Western Command was under strict instructions not to touch the troops on Pakistan front.

Western Army Commander saw through the futility of Forward Policy and as early as 1960, they had wargamed the situation - called SHEEL - in Ladakh. The Western Command had clearly identified that should the Chinese decide to ratchet up the pressure, they can easily wind up IA forward deployments. It was assessed that India needs a Division in Ladakh and two rings of defence - outer one lying on DBO, Phobrang and Chusul and inner one on Changla and Khardungla. However, we fought in Ladakh with only 5 battalions and one Brigade HQ and still did relatively well.

Having said that, once the 14th J&K Militia carried out the ordered withdrawl from forward positions in DBO Sector and set up a more defensible line, there was no fighting in this sector. This defense line was not assaulted. PLA simply overwhelmed the forward posts and stayed put. They had numercial superiority and logistic footprint to assault this line as well, shoukd they have decided to do so. Also, in those days, Leh was 12 days march over some very hostile territory and required passage through passes. While DBO was important in it's own right (and still is), I don't think Leh was saved because of action in DBO Sector.

I await your comments. Thanx.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Paul » 28 Sep 2010 23:03

ramana wrote:To where? Sinkiang?


From East Turkestan actually....the other way :) (Sinikiang i.e. ) We may be looking in the worng direction when taking of the possible theatres. They will take joint initiative where they think they have max chances of success. Just like ardennes was thought of as unpassable for Wehrmacht to break into France in 1939.

1. A traditional Paki thrust to Akhnoor to cut NH1A (19km from LOC IIRC)
2. Another Paki thrust across Kargil from Giligit to Kargil.
3. PLA action from north of Daulat beg oldi (this is also within shelling distance from the border).
4. PLA thrust from Aksai Chin and Demchok into Ladakh.

Need to game this scenario. A well coordinated battle plan to bottle up the XIVth corps into a giant Kiev type action is not out of the realm of realty.

The artificial acrimony over Tawang may just be a red herring to bottle up Indian forces there.

Rohit: I will reply to you in detail later. My opinion is based on the initiative of individual company cmdrs like maj Shaitan Singh and other who gave a good account of their performance in Ladakh theatre.

Secondly, my ref to DBO is wrt to the 1948 action to save Ladakh from the raiders.

I think the action will start where there is max joint action between PRC and TSP forces. We have decent understanding of terrain for 1,2, and 4 This is why I am asking questions about the terrain from North of Karakorum pass(3).

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Paul » 28 Sep 2010 23:23

para drops in numbers can also be made to secure key nodal points like Airfields. Once secured they can fly in troops to secure their advantages. This can be done even under hotly contested conditions in the air.

If Operation Market Garden was a failure, the soviet invasion of Czech republic in 1968 was a textbook success operation using above mentioned tactics. The German invasion of Crete using paras is another example of achieving objectives in the face of uncertain air superiority and strong opposition of ground forces. Nyoma, DBO, and other nodal points close to the border can be key targets for takeover until strong ground forces arrive to secure the gains.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby rohitvats » 28 Sep 2010 23:48

ramana, KK Pass offer the route to attack north and interdict the Chinese National Road 219 - Xinjiang-Tibet Road. It is 100kms as the crow flies. Any advancement across this route north will place Indian troops in control of flat area of Wahab Jilga; KKP Pass-Wahab Jilga-Yarkand River Valley - Kashgar-Yarkand was the old trade route.

We can go along KKP-Wahab Jilga and interdict G219 - the same will be well with in artillery range if not actual observation.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby ramana » 29 Sep 2010 00:12

And not a blade of grass grows there!


Image

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Anshul » 29 Sep 2010 00:42

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%C3%9Cr%C3%BCmqi_2008.png

Urumqi.The other side of Hindu Kush looks like a space city...can't imagine LEH looking like this in a 100 years.

Also isn't this a very seismically active zone...those sky scrapers...defy all logic.
Last edited by Anshul on 29 Sep 2010 00:47, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Deans » 29 Sep 2010 00:45

Paul wrote:para drops in numbers can also be made to secure key nodal points like Airfields. Once secured they can fly in troops to secure their advantages. This can be done even under hotly contested conditions in the air.

If Operation Market Garden was a failure, the soviet invasion of Czech republic in 1968 was a textbook success operation using above mentioned tactics. The German invasion of Crete using paras is another example of achieving objectives in the face of uncertain air superiority and strong opposition of ground forces. Nyoma, DBO, and other nodal points close to the border can be key targets for takeover until strong ground forces arrive to secure the gains.


The PLA will probably be much better off if they use their airlift capability to augment their forces in the sector they plan to attack, just prior to any offensive action. There are too many if's and but's for the PLA to risk a market garden type operation.
Market garden failed (and Crete almost did) for the same reasons that would be valid if PLA acts against Indian airfields and logistics routes. Namely:
- Uncertain weather (delayed the follow up drop in market garden).
- Difficult terrain to drop para's (Crete) apart from the difficulty of identifying the DZ.
- Lack of intel on enemy strength in the immediate vicinity of the DZ
- Ground forces did not get there on time (Market Garden).
- Follow up drops for supplies not properly coordinated.

Czechoslovakia is not the right analogy. There was not a single casualty on either side when a Soviet airborne division seized Prague airfield (the para's landed in their aircraft and did not parachute out). I know an officer who took part in that op.

In Holland and Norway 1940, `successful' airborne operations still resulted in the Luftwaffe losing an unacceptable no of aircraft (50% of all operational transport aircraft were lost in Holland along with pilots (who were harder to replace than the aircraft), despite the fact that there was little opposition from the air.
Sicily 1943 also resulted in high aircraft losses.

Prior to WW2 the Soviet airborne arm was probably the best trained of all the major armies. But their experience in the early part of the war was so bad (winter 1941-2 & crossing the Dnieper in 1943), that they were never again used in a major airborne operation, even in overwhelmingly favourable conditions.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby ManuT » 29 Sep 2010 05:13

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnWvTGX-eps

came across this video of the recent joint Indo-Chinese exercise.
posting for what it is. would need some Chinese translation

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Christopher Sidor » 29 Sep 2010 18:09

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.


rohitvats wrote: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.[7]


Thank you, for sharing this piece of information with us. I would like to point out one interesting fact from the above mentioned article
Initially 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.


rohitvats wrote:
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" :roll:

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?

rohitvats wrote:
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.


rohitvats wrote:
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.

rohitvats wrote:
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.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Rupak » 29 Sep 2010 19:30

I simply don't understand why, Sidor you assume that only the PLA will be moving assests around by air, while we twiddle our thumbs? The Indian airlift capacity is also quite significant and has been demonstrated more than once. We too can and have called on civilian aircraft to induct forces into theatre of ops since 1947 - the bulk of troops inducted into Kashmir came on civilian DC-3s. Furthermore, the PLAAF would be much better served using their transports to bring supplies into theatre, and well behind the frontlune. It's not a question of being complacent, rather than scaring ourselves to death we should consider the practicable.

Singha
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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Singha » 29 Sep 2010 19:49

to permit any serious adventures north of the LOC using mechnized brigades, we perhaps need a serious upgrade of the IAF's support capabilities from punjab & kashmir & HP & uttaranchal. the jag/Mig27 performance at heights of 10,000+ft is unlikely to be that good.

that is where the MRCA with big new engines would stand out both in a2a and a2g.

a soln for real time tracking and attack on PLA SAMs needs to be found out, perhaps using dedicated elint drones.

mrca, nirbhay are in the pipeline
more awacs are sure to arrive
brahmos2 is soon going to enter mass production (land attack)
we probably need more refuelers to maintain loiter time over tibet & POK.

maybe in 5 yrs the situation will be more amenable.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby D Roy » 29 Sep 2010 20:36

We need the overt creation of two dedicated mountain strike corps with organic firepower and airlift capability plus digital CAS. So I am advocating full blown IAF synergy despite outlining integral land based fire support.

essentially these will be part of two theater commands - somewhat a cross between Soviet TVD formations and the VDV.

TOE naturally optimized for mountain based ops.

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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby VinodTK » 30 Sep 2010 03:25

Spendings stuck, India trails China in firepower

A year after China paraded its military might to mark 60 years of Communist rule, an internal study by South Block shows that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is way ahead of India in terms of strategic missiles, artillery, development of indigenous military hardware and acquisition. This comparison study has been shared with the UPA government at the highest levels.

China’s defence budget, pegged at $77.5 billion, is more than twice that of India’s $32-billion but its 2009 military parade has set off alarm bells in Delhi given the shortcomings in indigenous production capability and gaps in acquisition of military hardware — for a few years now, the Defence Ministry has not been able to spend the allocated capital for modernisation of the armed forces.

This is what the internal study found:

The PLA has a clear lead over the Indian Army in terms of infantry weapons, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery guns.

Christopher Sidor
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Re: Are We Ready for a Two-front War ?

Postby Christopher Sidor » 30 Sep 2010 12:35

Rupak wrote:I simply don't understand why, Sidor you assume that only the PLA will be moving assests around by air, while we twiddle our thumbs? The Indian airlift capacity is also quite significant and has been demonstrated more than once. We too can and have called on civilian aircraft to induct forces into theatre of ops since 1947 - the bulk of troops inducted into Kashmir came on civilian DC-3s. Furthermore, the PLAAF would be much better served using their transports to bring supplies into theatre, and well behind the frontlune. It's not a question of being complacent, rather than scaring ourselves to death we should consider the practicable.

We are being complacent over here. Till now IAF/IA had the edge over Chinese, tactically. With this Chinese air-lift capability, this edge has been eroded significantly.
We are saying that we have already demonstrated this capability. So why should we worry? We should worry because China can now reinforce its troops with men and materials with an ability which they had lacked previously. So our efforts will have to be greater.
Some have suggested that we are also building up. And in the next 3-5 years, we will get heavy-lift transport planes from America, We will get MMRCA fighters and so on. What happens in these 3-5 years, till these capabilities come online and are integrated? And if China were to do a Kargil on us in these 3-5 years, will we tell the Chinese, wait in 5 years we will have the capability to fight back, till then no fighting.


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