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Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby NRao » 03 Feb 2017 23:18

Shiv,

Have you visited scramble?

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 04 Feb 2017 05:45

True that. Takeoff at less than minus 20 means the air is as dense as it can get (morning). What about a 10 deg C afternoon take off?

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 04 Feb 2017 06:18

NRao wrote:Shiv,

Have you visited scramble?

Not recently

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 04 Feb 2017 07:23

I find this article by Claude Arpi disappointing - being full of rhetoric and short on facts - after some detailed survey of the terrain and roads on Google Earth's excellent imagery. Clearly the latter is somthing that most "experts" do not bother about before they write stuff.

Arpi writes: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/ ... india.html
Through Metok, China tunnels its way to India

Beijing has been trying to set up transport connectivity to the remote Tibetan region, close to the McMahon line, for long. It has now succeeded, and with immense consequences for the defence of Arunachal Pradesh

...

One could, however, ask why so much effort? The answer is simple: The new road can be used by the People’s Liberation Army to reinforce the border with India. China Tibet Online quotes Agence France-Presse as saying that the new road has “touched a nerve in some of the so-called critics of Beijing’s rule in Tibet”; the latter believe that “infrastructure such as railways and airports enable immigration by the ethnic Han majority, exploitation of Tibet’s resources and consolidation of political control.”

This is an indisputable fact. An article in China Military Online published on September 11 said: “PLA sends materials to Metok, Tibet, by use of motorcades”, adding: “A motorcade regiment under the Sichuan-Tibet Military Service Station Department left for Metok county in the south-eastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It admitted that it was the first time that the PLA had dispatched motorcades for delivering materials to Metok county.”

Two months before the official opening of the road for civilian use, the Chinese army was already bringing supplies for the troops stationed near the Indian border in the Metok area. The PLA’s website acknowledges that earlier Metok had to “rely on horsebacks and occasional helilifts”. Director of the Sichuan-Tibet Military Service Station Department Pang Kuo told Xinhua: “It used to take the ‘hinny fleet’ more than two months to provide the yearly ration of staple and non-staple food for officers and men posted in Metok. Now it takes only one trip of the motorcade to supply enough materials the troops need for a whole winter”.


Arpi's article itself states that even the new road is not an all weather route and they still need to stock up for the winter, The roads are tortuous mountain roads with hairpin bends visible on Google Earth. Medog itself is well within reach of Indian artillery. That aside - just a few dozen kilometers to the East - near the north-easternmost tip of Arunachal Pradesh - the Chinese have a top class all weather highway S 201 coming all the way up to the Indian border near Walong. Why would Beijing want to pour in forces where mobility is restricted when they already have the infrastructure to drive to the border.

Why can't we use available resources rather than jumping to dhoti shivering conclusions? By all means let us all tremble with fear - but let it be based on existing threats rather than non existent ones

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby NRao » 04 Feb 2017 08:45

As a FYI viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5092&p=2110852#p2110852

Not for this thread, but not to be taken lightly.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 04 Feb 2017 08:51

NRao wrote:Not for this thread, but not to be taken lightly.

I need to understand why AI should not be taken lightly. Or at least why it should be taken heavily.

I have the same objection to sweeping statements minus specifics. I don't know what artificial intelligence will do to warfighting that real intelligence with hordes of jihadis/human drones willing to die will not do. But let me take my questions to that thread.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 04 Feb 2017 20:05

What the hell are these?

We were talking about the Galong La tunnel from Bowo to Medog near Northeast Arunachal. After the tunnel - as the terrain comes down - there is this - about 20 apparently cylindrical objects - each about 30 feet in dia and 120 feet long. No tracks of vehicles leading to them - so it does not appear military. No pipes - so probably not storage tanks.

They may be pre-fab greenhouses to grow crops in cold weather?
Image

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Rakesh » 04 Feb 2017 20:58

rohitvats wrote:Rakesh - Another round of thanks to you.

I have a confession to make. I usually don't read any article I post. I just post them. I don't have patience to read an entire article. Usually they are ok. Sometimes they are bakwaas OR excellent. With Claude Apri, it is always the latter. Secondly, there are people who are far more knowledgeable than me on BRF who always provide a good summary - like your post. So thank you for the summary.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 10 Feb 2017 09:24

Now here is the reason why I rant so much about the media provoking dhoti shivering without accurate information. I am not saying there is no threat - but without correct information we miss threats where they really are. See this rediff article
http://www.rediff.com/news/special/the- ... 150223.htm
It says
Long ago, Beijing constructed a good quality regional highway S-306 in Nyingchi prefecture. It runs parallel to the Line of Actual Control (the McMahon Line) following the Yarlung Tsangpo river (known as Siang in Arunachal and Brahmaputra in Assam). This road joins the 5,476 kilometres National Highway G-318 which runs from Shanghai to Zhangmu on the China-Nepal border. For the leaders in Beijing, it is clear that 'peacetime investment' in infrastructure and communication can also be used in case of conflict with India. So China is prepared.


You read the article and you'll think there is a road parallel to the border. The S 306 is a line on a map parallel to the border. It is an excellent road - but it is separated from India by a wall of mountains and only 2 roads lead from it to Arunachal Pradesh - both provincial roads going through mountains with ghat sections - and each is about 200 km long from S 306 to the border.

Of course I will later do a detailed write up about what there is to find including whatever PLA positions, bridges and power stations I find - but imagining that there is a great road running just next to the border only causes dhoti shivering and mad demands that India should copy that.

In fact the S306 runs along the Chinese section of the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) which runs north of the border. When the river bends towards Arunachal Pradesh (Yarlung Tsangpo) - the terrain is so bad that the S306 does not continue along the river. In fact the only road from there is a poor mountain road. The Tsangpo where Chinese highways are built is a broad river valley that is suitable for highway construction. The terrain in Arunachal Pradesh has no broad rivers running parallel to the border. There are only a series of mountains running north to south - the only possibility of roads are like fingers running at right angles to the border along minor river valleys. Even the rivers are streams and do not offer the broad valley plain for roads. The mountains next to the river have to be cut/deforested to make the roads.

That said - there are places where the Chinese can come in, in strength. I will write of what I have found in due course - but there is no point in needless ignorant breastbeating like that article.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 10 Feb 2017 16:05

In General, Tibet is a food shortage area. The greater the number of PLA brought into Tibet - the greater the amount of food and fuel that has to be shipped in.

For those who are interested I post a series of screen grabs from books on the subject
Image

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Image

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Image

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Image
Last edited by shiv on 10 Feb 2017 16:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 10 Feb 2017 16:12

Claude Arpi on the Chinese version of PTSD
http://claudearpi.blogspot.in/2013/05/w ... essor.html

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 10 Feb 2017 16:16

shiv wrote:What the hell are these?

We were talking about the Galong La tunnel from Bowo to Medog near Northeast Arunachal. After the tunnel - as the terrain comes down - there is this - about 20 apparently cylindrical objects - each about 30 feet in dia and 120 feet long. No tracks of vehicles leading to them - so it does not appear military. No pipes - so probably not storage tanks.

They may be pre-fab greenhouses to grow crops in cold weather?
Image

OK these are widespread in Tibet. They are greenhouse vegetable growing structures.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Philip » 10 Feb 2017 18:56

Trump has succumbed to the PRC by saying that he will continue a "one-China " policy. The Chinese must be jubilant.It means that whatever the rhetoric,Taiwan has been sold down the Straits!

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Deans » 11 Feb 2017 13:05

I'm halfway through a new book `Dragon on our Doorstep' by Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab. Its all about the dhoti shiver and `blame the victim' mentality that Shiv has often cautioned against. Its surprising that a supposedly senior journalist should be so short of real facts and so strong in conviction that the PLA can hurl 30+ divisions at us, at will, but they wont, since they are encroaching into `South Tibet' & Ladakh at leisure. I welcome alternate points of view, but not if they are poorly researched. I had to keep checking that the author was not Pravin Swamy. The co-author sounds like a JNU type. Not recommended with extreme prejudice, even though its Rs 157 on kindle.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 11 Feb 2017 15:08

Deans wrote:Its surprising that a supposedly senior journalist should be so short of real facts and so strong in conviction that the PLA can hurl 30+ divisions at us, at will, but they wont, since they are encroaching into `South Tibet' & Ladakh at leisure.

This is a national intellectual disease similar to "Pakistanis are like us and a stable Pakistan is in India's interest" and Aryan Invasion Theory. These are sound bytes made by some moron or other who "wishes" something and no one else bothers to check whether it is true or not and simply repeats it.

Tibet is a big place and I have been looking and looking and looking at the picture and I am simply unable to find the huge PLA presence which these people claim. Of course there is some strength and infrastructure and I am following up som =e more leads - that is likely areas where they may place troops for interim acclimatization. Will post what I find in due course.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby ranjan.rao » 11 Feb 2017 18:10

Shiv I was trying to look Sargodha air Base for very short time, but didn't much, could it be that Google images are changed or modified in interest of national security by govts

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 11 Feb 2017 22:56

ranjan.rao wrote:Shiv I was trying to look Sargodha air Base for very short time, but didn't much, could it be that Google images are changed or modified in interest of national security by govts

I can see it clearly. Maybe the server was down or your internet connection temporarily slow and the hi resolution image had not loaded

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby ranjan.rao » 12 Feb 2017 01:57

shiv wrote:
ranjan.rao wrote:Shiv I was trying to look Sargodha air Base for very short time, but didn't much, could it be that Google images are changed or modified in interest of national security by govts

I can see it clearly. Maybe the server was down or your internet connection temporarily slow and the hi resolution image had not loaded

Dont think that is the case, getting this in the image Image
this image has three planes, no fighter jet, are all jets in hangar or in air!!

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby deejay » 12 Feb 2017 11:07

shiv wrote:...
http://www.rediff.com/news/special/the- ... 150223.htm
It says
Long ago, Beijing constructed a good quality regional highway S-306 in Nyingchi prefecture. It runs parallel to the Line of Actual Control (the McMahon Line) following the Yarlung Tsangpo river (known as Siang in Arunachal and Brahmaputra in Assam). This road joins the 5,476 kilometres National Highway G-318 which runs from Shanghai to Zhangmu on the China-Nepal border. For the leaders in Beijing, it is clear that 'peacetime investment' in infrastructure and communication can also be used in case of conflict with India. So China is prepared.


You read the article and you'll think there is a road parallel to the border. The S 306 is a line on a map parallel to the border. It is an excellent road - but it is separated from India by a wall of mountains and only 2 roads lead from it to Arunachal Pradesh - both provincial roads going through mountains with ghat sections - and each is about 200 km long from S 306 to the border.

...

In fact the S306 runs along the Chinese section of the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) which runs north of the border. When the river bends towards Arunachal Pradesh (Yarlung Tsangpo) - the terrain is so bad that the S306 does not continue along the river. In fact the only road from there is a poor mountain road. The Tsangpo where Chinese highways are built is a broad river valley that is suitable for highway construction. The terrain in Arunachal Pradesh has no broad rivers running parallel to the border. There are only a series of mountains running north to south - the only possibility of roads are like fingers running at right angles to the border along minor river valleys. Even the rivers are streams and do not offer the broad valley plain for roads. The mountains next to the river have to be cut/deforested to make the roads.

That said - there are places where the Chinese can come in, in strength. I will write of what I have found in due course - but there is no point in needless ignorant breastbeating like that article.


250 Kms (as the crow flies) is the distance from excellent roads of Bramhaputra plains to Arunachal Padesh border with China. As of today we are better connected to the border both in terms of land routes and air routes to the border posts. Despite Arunachal being sparsely populated we have way more people living on our side then theirs.

Civilian population in such areas helps a lot in military defence given that they are the repository of knowledge of the terrain, flora and fauna. You may wonder how this helps the Security set up and the answer is "surviving in the jungle"in adverse condition with supply lines broken. The civilians near the border also add a lot of muscle to the IA and other security as porters, shops and establishment owners with goods etc. Local produce on the Indian side in form of food crops or meat is a fallback option for the security forces.

In peace time the tribesmen of Arunachal being great hunters help a lot as they are the ones who know the terrain. As a helicopter pilot I have known numerous instances where the hunters located a crash site which we could not even with satellite imagery and other modern technologies.

Point being, for military strength assessment I would also look at original population centers (not settled) along the border. China is handicapped here.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 12 Feb 2017 14:02

deejay wrote:
Civilian population in such areas helps a lot in military defence given that they are the repository of knowledge of the terrain, flora and fauna. You may wonder how this helps the Security set up and the answer is "surviving in the jungle"in adverse condition with supply lines broken. The civilians near the border also add a lot of muscle to the IA and other security as porters, shops and establishment owners with goods etc. Local produce on the Indian side in form of food crops or meat is a fallback option for the security forces.

In peace time the tribesmen of Arunachal being great hunters help a lot as they are the ones who know the terrain. As a helicopter pilot I have known numerous instances where the hunters located a crash site which we could not even with satellite imagery and other modern technologies.

Point being, for military strength assessment I would also look at original population centers (not settled) along the border. China is handicapped here.

Interesting that you should mention this (and also very informative, to me)

Just this morning I was reading (in Kunal Verma's book) how the dense jungle in this area and the fierce Miji, Aka and Nyishi tribesmen actually kept out invaders from Tibet for centuries.

But apart from that there appear to me (observing Google earth images) important differences between civilian settlements in Tibet and in India. First the mountainous terrain in India is much more habitable with dense tropical forest - and this is separated from Tibet by mountains and high terrain where population density is much lower

Also the Chinese have indulged in "forced urbanization" of Tibet. In the more populous areas along highways - one can obviously see how old Tibetan one-story houses have been demolished and replaced by urban multistorey of blue-roofed sheds. Only in some remote Tibetan villages that still exist along minor rivers heading up mountain valleys do the old habitations still exist recognizably. The Han presence has also put a great deal of stress on food production in Tibet - and one can now see vast agricultural areas (in the lower reaches of Tibet) covered with dozens of vegetable growing greenhouses whose image I have linked in an earlier post.

While the roads are fantastic in those areas - the PLA settlements are always walled off and with a single gate. This is unlike Indian military camps which are not walled off from the locals. Of course the stated reason for the PLA's presence is not just an Indian threat but also local law and order and a hostile population.

As quoted in a passage linked earlier. Mao's order that the PLA should import all its food from China was because the PLA taking from Tibetans created local shortages and increased local hostility. Tibet has always been independent but now China rules with an iron hand. The greater the migration into Tibet, the greater the stress on local resources and the greater the chances of malnutrition in Tibet - with accompanying hostility. Also the local diet has gradually changed from locally grown high altitude Barley to rice - which must be imported.

So the scope for keeping huge numbers of troops permanently is a bit of an issue.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Prasad » 12 Feb 2017 15:08

Maybe it's all hush hush but amidst all the dhoti shivering we willfully forget that there are tons and tons of Tibetans in india. Also there are many on the other side of the border who do not like the chinese presence. The tunnel building and road laying and railway like construction are also to import huge number of hans and reduce the Tibetans as a %of the population. So if we play our cards right and fight like rama or krishna and not like idealistic idiots, we can create enough trouble for the chinese on their side itself. Even before they face the ia or get hit by IAF .

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby rohitvats » 12 Feb 2017 15:34

Deans wrote:I'm halfway through a new book `Dragon on our Doorstep' by Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab. Its all about the dhoti shiver and `blame the victim' mentality that Shiv has often cautioned against. Its surprising that a supposedly senior journalist should be so short of real facts and so strong in conviction that the PLA can hurl 30+ divisions at us, at will, but they wont, since they are encroaching into `South Tibet' & Ladakh at leisure. I welcome alternate points of view, but not if they are poorly researched. I had to keep checking that the author was not Pravin Swamy. The co-author sounds like a JNU type. Not recommended with extreme prejudice, even though its Rs 157 on kindle.


Pravin Swamy is the same guy who runs FORCE magazine. The stance mentioned by you above is a constant theme which runs through all his writings. He at many a times has used very bad language against serving and retired ex-IA officers. And all this is shocking when one considers the fact that he is ex-IA himself. Took premature retirement; was from regiment of artillery. I've always suspected that he must've been kicked out for something and that's why the grudge always comes out by way of pompous, over the top writings.

And the lady is supposed to be the editor who fancies herself as some sort of security and strategy expert. She's an absolute idiot. As you said, very low on facts and logical analysis. She had the temerity to pass some stupid remarks on CI Strategy as expounded by Lt. Gen Hasnain and some other CI veterans in her editorial.

I intend to buy the book only to get hold of data-point here or there about IA's ORBAT or Chinese army's strength. Nothing by way of analysis.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby rohitvats » 12 Feb 2017 15:44

shiv wrote: Interesting that you should mention this (and also very informative, to me)

Just this morning I was reading (in Kunal Verma's book) how the dense jungle in this area and the fierce Miji, Aka and Nyishi tribesmen actually kept out invaders from Tibet for centuries.<SNIP>


Indian Army has recently raised two battalions each of Arunachal Pradesh Scouts and Sikkim Scouts. On the lines of what we already have - Kumaon Scouts, Garhwal Scouts and Dogra Scouts. And of course, the Ladakh Scouts Regiment.

These are your home-and-hearth battalions. These battalions don't rotate out of their sector. Chaps are very well acquainted with the landscape. And have a very high percentage of men who've advanced mountain warfare/mountaineering skill sets acquired at Army's High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) and other mountaineering institutes. These units are pretty much on lines of special forces.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby rohitvats » 12 Feb 2017 15:45

Prasad wrote:Maybe it's all hush hush but amidst all the dhoti shivering we willfully forget that there are tons and tons of Tibetans in india. Also there are many on the other side of the border who do not like the chinese presence. The tunnel building and road laying and railway like construction are also to import huge number of hans and reduce the Tibetans as a %of the population. So if we play our cards right and fight like rama or krishna and not like idealistic idiots, we can create enough trouble for the chinese on their side itself. Even before they face the ia or get hit by IAF .


And why do you think we still maintain about 10 odd battalions of Special Frontier Force (SFF)? With presence in eastern Ladakh and central sector and NE? :mrgreen:

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Deans » 13 Feb 2017 22:23

rohitvats wrote:Pravin Swamy is the same guy who runs FORCE magazine. The stance mentioned by you above is a constant theme which runs through all his writings. He at many a times has used very bad language against serving and retired ex-IA officers. And all this is shocking when one considers the fact that he is ex-IA himself. Took premature retirement; was from regiment of artillery. I've always suspected that he must've been kicked out for something and that's why the grudge always comes out by way of pompous, over the top writings.

And the lady is supposed to be the editor who fancies herself as some sort of security and strategy expert. She's an absolute idiot. As you said, very low on facts and logical analysis. She had the temerity to pass some stupid remarks on CI Strategy as expounded by Lt. Gen Hasnain and some other CI veterans in her editorial.


I might do an article in Indian Military review, to counter the view in this book. They want an arm-chair enthusiast to write something other than dhoti shiver w.r.t China. This thread gives me a lot of inputs.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Deans » 21 Feb 2017 14:32

rohitvats wrote:And the lady is supposed to be the editor who fancies herself as some sort of security and strategy expert. She's an absolute idiot. As you said, very low on facts and logical analysis. She had the temerity to pass some stupid remarks on CI Strategy as expounded by Lt. Gen Hasnain and some other CI veterans in her editorial.

I intend to buy the book only to get hold of data-point here or there about IA's ORBAT or Chinese army's strength. Nothing by way of analysis.


i just can't finish the e-book. Absolutely nothing by way of Indian or Chinese ORBAT, except for Chinese higher level defence management - details of which one can get from Wiki.
Pravin Sawhney's source of info on China seems to be the PLA spokesmen that kindly consented to give him interviews. Among other things, his reason for the altitude of Tibet not affecting an aircraft's payload is because an IAF source told him the PLAAF could suspend the laws of physics. The lady's expertise in CI comes from a visit to the LOC.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Deans » 21 Feb 2017 14:46

Everything the PLA brings to the LAC by road has to originate from one highway - the G 219/ 318 ring road. If the IAF wants to interdict that highway, the defenders get barely 5 mins notice, since I assume the Himalayas should mask the approach of attacking aircraft.

If the PLA looks at sending their 13th or 21st armies towards Sikkim/ Arunachal, there is only 1 railway line into Lhasa that everything coming into the TAR has to use (after which material gets on the highway). The railway journey from the Div HQ's to Lhasa is an average of 3500 km ! I didn't realise just how long it was. Add to that the difficulties of unloading at high altitude.
That rail line can be interdicted too - with maybe 10 mins notice to the defenders.

If the PLAAF has to mount a CAP to protect the highway in 4 sectors (opposite Leh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim and Arunachal) and over Tibet, plus
protect a couple of AWACS, back of envelope calculation is that it would require the entire strength of the PLAAF's 96 modern J-11 & 10
aircraft available to the Western theatre.

Can't help thinking after reading the doomsday scenarios of `Dragon at our doorstep' that if Chinese infrastructure upto the LAC was so good,
why is Southern Tibet and Lhasa defended by only 3 brigades, against the divisions of the IA's 33rd and 4th corps, who should be able to roll down
the 8 lane highways, for the 200 km drive to Lhasa.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 21 Feb 2017 20:12

The idea is that everything is to be kept stored up in Tibet and the men will be rushed in as needed. In any case - rushing men in via the routes you mention will take time. The S201 and 202 (I think) are over 200 km from the G318 which is itself situated at high altitude and need to bring stuff from the - maybe Chengdu.

The Railway line brings the fuel. from the North from a place called Golmud. Looking for fuel dumps in Golmud and in Lhasa- actually there are some next to the station

Food supplies will have to be brought in

I am still searching and searching and searching for areas where they may have troop concentrations for pre-acclimatization. My search has now shifted towards Xinjiang where the PLA is needed as urgently if not more urgently than Tibet.

..watch this space

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Deans » 23 Feb 2017 10:54

The S 201, 202, 204 (in the wedge between Sikkim and Bhutan) are all over 200 km from the S 318. I don't see the infrastructure required to
supposed division sized formations along those routes. They would for e.g. need fuel dumps along these routes, not just in Lhasa, which in
turn is dependent on supply from Golmud 1200 km away.
The only suitable place in Xinjaing for pre-acclimitisation might be the division in Hotan, at a height of 1500m.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby rohitvats » 23 Feb 2017 12:36

BRF has a detailed article on IAF airlifting T-72 tanks to Leh in 1988. This was the first time T-72 were being stationed in the sector, though we'd used tanks in eastern Ladakh earlier as well.

Well, here is the 1st of two part article by Lt. Gen. Panag (retd.) who commanded that Combat Group of Mechanized Infantry Bn + two Squadron of T-72 tanks. A better insight cannot be obtained about mechanized warfare in eastern Ladakh. Interestingly, in the second part, he mentions that we'd require 2 x Motorized Infantry Divisions + 2 x (I) Armd Bdes for the sector. As against one infantry division and one (I) Armd bde we've presently.

Everyone, please read the articles and try to correlate locations on GE. Worth your time.

Posting in full [PART 1]:

https://www.newslaundry.com/2017/02/10/the-road-to-ladakh
Armed Forces are a hierarchical and pyramidical organisation. A commander’s influence and freedom of action are restricted to his command. Yet opportunities do come by when one can do things less ordinary and leave behind a legacy. 'Seize fleeting opportunities' is a popular dictum in battle. I believe that not only should one seize fleeting opportunities, one must also endeavour to create them, not only in battle but also in life. Carpe diem - seize the day - was my antidote to inaction.

In 1988, I seized an opportunity to pioneer the induction and employment of a Combat Group (an all arms grouping based on a mechanised infantry battalion or an armoured regiment with varying number of mechanised companies and armoured squadrons) in Ladakh.

Two years before this, on promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, I’d been posted as a General Staff Officer Grade 1 (GSO 1) in Directorate General of Mechanised Forces, Army Headquarters (AHQ). Those were heady days of transformation of the Indian Army under the then-Chief Of the Army Staff General Sundarji's Perspective Plan 2000. As part of the plan and also due to the Sumdorong Chu standoff in 1986, the Indian Army had adopted a 'forward posture' against China, and a Combat Group of one armoured regiment and one mechanised battalion was proposed to be deployed in Ladakh. It was a pathbreaking decision as a mechanised force of this size had never operated in High Altitude Area (HAA). This posed both a tactical and a technical challenge as apart from evolving new tactical concepts the tanks and BMPs had to move by air in the newly-acquired IL 76 aircraft, and had to be maintained at minus 20 to 30 degrees Celsius temperatures in winters.

Due to shortage of equipment, in March 1988, it was decided to induct a Combat Group of one mechanised infantry battalion and two independent armoured squadrons. The search began to identify a mechanised battalion that had finished its peace tenure. The first unit selected was in a hard peace station where limited family accommodation was available. The Commanding Officer protested that his troops had been away from their families and it was unfair to move them to field again. The protest was upheld. I was due to take over the command of 1 Mech Inf (1 Madras) in June 1988. I sensed a fleeting opportunity for my unit and myself to pioneer the employment of Mechanised Forces in HAA. The unit had already done six months in Hisar, which was a modified field station as limited family accommodation was available. I went on a day’s leave to Hisar and requested the Commanding Officer to ascertain the views of the troops for a possible move to Ladakh for two years. The proposal found ready acceptance from the troops as all sensed that history was in the making.

I rushed back to AHQ and began 'backdoor' lobbying for my unit to be inducted into Ladakh. By nature, like all human beings, commanders and units prefer to operate in a familiar environment. Not that there is a choice, but informally it was obvious that there were no takers among the mechanised infantry battalions for the 'unknown' environment of Ladakh. Hence by default my unit was shortlisted for induction into Ladakh. Simultaneously I studied all about the terrain of the cold desert of Ladakh. Luckily, I had visited Ladakh the year before and thanks to the General Officer Commanding, 3 Infantry Division, had a chance to fly over most of the area in a helicopter. I also looked at the technical challenge of maintaining the tanks and BMPs in extreme cold conditions. My experience of having done the Reconnaissance Course in the USSR was a big help. My study convinced me that a mechanised force in Ladakh would be a force multiplier in both defensive and offensive operations, and for the first time give us an offensive capability.

At that time the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) did not have any mechanised forces in the vicinity of the LAC and also did not have the roads that could transport a mechanised force. The PLA also did not have the airfields or the heavy lift aircraft to land a mechanised force in the within striking distance of the LAC.

As part of my study, I also revisited and studied in detail the historical background of military operations in Ladakh from the heroic exploits of the legendary General Zorawar Singh to present times. The wide – five to eight kilometers – valleys of Eastern Ladakh where the valley height rises to 14,000 feet and the surrounding hill features become gradual with height differential of 2,000-3,000 feet, were tailormade for exploitation by the mechanised forces.

The problem always was how to take the tanks and Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV) – known as BMP – there. The distance from the plains is nearly 800 km. Roads and bridges are not suitable for movement of tanks and BMPs on tank transporters. Heavy lift aircraft were not available. Stuart tanks of 7 CAV were moved by road and used in the Battle of Zozila in December 1948. In 1962, the IAF created aviation history by landing 6 AMX 13 Tanks, dismantled in two parts, at Chushul (14000 feet) using AN 12 aircraft. These were reassembled and successfully exploited in the defence of Chushul. A troop of four Armoured Cars had also been used in the Indus Valley at Dungti. In 1986-87, the heavy lift IL 76 aircraft was inducted into the IAF. IL 76 could carry one tank or two BMPs at a time. Upto 1986, our defences were based in an area where the valleys were narrow and not suitable for mechanised forces. But as we went into the forward posture in 1986-87, with wider valleys in the vicinity of the LAC, the stage was set for induction of the mechanised forces using the IL 76 aircraft. The only problem was the shortage of tanks and BMPs vis the requirement in plains.

An experimental force 20 BMPs and 8 BRDMs (a light-wheeled reconnaissance armoured vehicle) were inducted in end-1986 during Operation Trident when war was imminent with Pakistan due to its response to Exercise Brasstacks. The equipment was milked from the 10 mechanised infantry battalions equipped with BMPs. The aim was to use them in the Shyok River Valley against Pakistan and also experiment with the employment in Eastern Ladakh. The BRDMs were withdrawn after Operation Trident, but BMPs as an ad hoc force remained there. General Sundarjee was due to retire in June 1988 and he was determined to see through the induction of a Combat Group each into Ladakh and Sikkim where a small plateau merges into the Tibet plateau. Voids were to be left in field formations in the plains to be made up with units being raised.

In the AHQ there were misgivings about the efficacy of the employment of a mechanised force of this size in Ladakh. A conference, chaired by the COAS and attended by concerned Director Generals and representatives of the IAF, was held in South Block. As GSO 1(Equipment) Mechanised Infantry, I was in attendance as a backbencher. There was an animated, no-holds-barred discussion. Suddenly, General Sundarji spotted me on the back bench and growled, "Yes, Colonel, what says you, can this be done? Come up front and give your views." With the background study that I had done, I seized the moment to methodically cover all issues from induction by air, technical problems, tactical concepts and above all, gave the likely offensive employment. I took 10 minutes as opposed to the minute or two a speaker gets in such conferences. This was much to the chagrin of the top brass present.

I concluded by saying, “Not only it can be done, but it must be done." The Chief, who was also the Colonel of the Mechanised Regiment, with a glint in his eyes said, "Aren't you due to take over a unit?" Without waiting for my reply, he added, "Go to Ladakh and make history!"
Last edited by rohitvats on 23 Feb 2017 12:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby rohitvats » 23 Feb 2017 12:37

PART 2:

https://www.newslaundry.com/2017/02/17/the-trials-in-ladakh

The Chief's words – "Go to Ladakh and make history!" – were ringing in my ears as I left the conference. The burden of expectations had been place on my shoulders and on my unit,1 MECH INF (1 MADRAS). The battalion already had an illustrious history of 212 years, but tradition and history are a continuum. We had participated in every war fought before and after Independence, we were the first to be mechanised and we were to be the first to be inducted into the High Altitude Area (HAA) of Ladakh. With these thoughts, I got down to the task of planning the induction.

Force on the field

1 MECH INF was to take over the 20 BMPs (Infantry Combat Vehicle) of the ad hoc mechanised force already in Ladakh. We had to induct 32 BMP and three Armoured Recovery Vehicles(ARV). The two armoured squadrons had to induct 14 tanks and one ARV each. We required 49 sorties of IL 76 transport aircraft (one sortie could carry two BMPs or one tank/ARV). While the IAF had practiced carriage of tanks in plains, but landing at Leh Airfield – located at 10,300 feet and surrounded by high hills – presents technical difficulties. The IAF rose to the occasion and the entire equipment was safely landed at Leh by the end of Jun 1988. I went to Ambala to oversee the airlift and also flew to Leh a number of times.

I took over the unit in the first week of July and we were to induct by road from Jammu, in end July 1988. This was a formidable challenge as our drivers had never driven in the mountains. We had a 120-vehicle convoy and on the first day, our inexperienced drivers created chaos on the highway. The problem was solved by slowing down the speed to 30 kilometre and I myself drove at the head of the convoy. The 800 km journey to Ladakh is notorious for accidents. All units inducting into Ladakh generally meet with one or two unfortunate mishaps. Our precautions ensured that we arrived in Leh, after five days’ journey, without any mishap.

The unit less one company temporarily settled down at Karu, 40 kilometres from Leh. One company was to be located 120 kilometres to the East at Tangtse for deployment in Chushul Sector, which was another 100 kilometre to the East. The move of this company by road over the 17,500 feet Chang La Pass was a great confidence builder. The BMP is a unique combat vehicle and could maintain the same average speed as heavy wheeled vehicles.

Within a week, we selected the new administrative base for mechanised forces at Stakna, close to Karu. Within two months, the accommodation for the troops and sheds for the equipment were constructed: 50 troops barracks and 15 sheds for tanks and BMPs, along with offices and messes were built in record time (two months). Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was on a visit to Ladakh at the time and on my request, he inaugurated our Officers Mess and had lunch with us.

As preparation, we went over all terrain and operational reports from the last 40 years, since 1947 and also studied the history of the region. I paid special attention to the campaigns of the great General Zorawar Singh, from 1834-41, when he had captured a vast tract of Tibet, right up to Mansarovar Lake. In fact, he was cremated at Taklakot, near the lake in 1941. The War of 1962 was also analysed in detail, particularly the employment of the six tanks that had been flown into Chushul in November 1962. We also had the benefit of the experience of the ad hoc mechanised force, which was in Ladakh since the end of 1986.

The following challenges were before me:

Physical fitness and wellbeing of troops in HAA
Reconnaissance of the operational area
Evolving the offensive and defensive operational role
Technical maintenance of the equipment in the extreme climate
Validating the performance of the tanks and BMPs
Validating the operational role in field exercises
Test exercise of the Combat Group by higher HQ.
There is a popular army saying in Ladakh that goes like this: "In the land of the Lama, do not be a Gama (a famous wrestler)." It implies one should not compromise with the laid-down norms of survival in HAA. But soldiers must also be extremely fit to fight in this terrain. Without proper acclimatisation, there is the risk of High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema, which can be fatal. It’s one of the many reasons for non-battle casualties that take place in Ladakh every year. During our two year stay in Ladakh, our unit did not suffer any climate, fire or vehicle accident casualty during its tenure. This was because of education, adherence to norms, strict supervision and personal example. Just this achievement alone made the unit famous in Northern Command.

The terrain of Eastern Ladakh is unique and there is no other place like this in the world. Upto Leh and 150 kilometre beyond, the terrain is extremely rugged with narrow valleys and surrounding hill ranges varying from 15,000 to 23,000 feet. Beyond this the valleys become broader, the base height rises to 14,000-15,000 feet and surrounding hills ranges become more gradual and only 2,000-3,000 feet higher than the valleys. After reconnaissance, the hill features can be negotiated by wheeled vehicles and for tracked vehicles it is a cake walk. In fact, Major Shaitan Singh, PVC, had constructed a jeep-able track from his base at Tara Post (named after his wife) at 15000 feet to Rechin La (at 17,000 feet), which is about one kilometre from Rezang La. During my reconnaissance, I drove up this road. Mine was the first vehicle to do so since 1962!

For the army, terrain is the most important factor in battle. For the mechanised forces, this is even more true as we must negotiate the same with 41 ton tanks and 15 ton BMPs. In Eastern Ladakh, we had to not only know the valleys, but also the surrounding mountain ranges to assist the infantry units and for during operations. The terrain is so vast that on a full reconnaissance trip, our vehicles logged 600-800 kilometres. All surrounding hill features were climbed on foot. We also climbed all infantry posts and visited all relevant Line of Actual Control (LAC) areas. Helicopter reconnaissance was also undertaken. In three months, we were the masters of the terrain.

The lay of the land

The Ladakh Range is extremely rugged. We had only three roads across it via Khardung La, Chang La and along the Indus River at Loma. The mountain ranges (including the Ladakh Range) are aligned in the north west to south east direction and the rivers run from south east to north west between them. This gives a peculiar configuration to the valleys and the LAC. Thus, if the Ladakh Range is crossed from Demchok and Koyul area to enter the Hanle Valley, the entire Indus Valley East of Loma is bypassed. Consequently, a road was planned from Hanle to Koyul-Demchok via the Photi La, and it was very difficult to construct.

During my reconnaissance and from past data, we discovered that 10 kilometres south east of Photi La was another pass called Bozardin La, which was relatively gradual. Riding on a hunch, I explored this virgin area and took numerous 'S' loops to take my Jonga to the top of the pass. There was no other vehicle with me. Taking a risk of being stranded, I gradually lowered my Jonga towards Koyul Valley. After a four-hour struggle, I reached Koyul and was on the Indus Valley. No one – including the Border Roads Organisation and my superiors – believed this. I proved the point after a week by taking heavier vehicles over it. Eventually, we took 10 years to construct the Photi La road, but cutting a road via Bozardin La took only one year. This, of course, happened years later, but in 1988, we were the first to take vehicles from Hanle over the Ladakh Range into the Indus Valley – another first!

Our main defences were based on the Ladakh Range and its offshoots, and the Pangog Range, west of Pangong Tso. This left nearly 80-100 kilometres of valleys and plateaus up to the LAC unmanned. These were selectively held to delay the enemy. The Chushul Sector was more compact and there, the main defences were between five to eight kilometres from the LAC.

The LAC ran along the Kailash Range, which is not held either by us or the Chinese. Both sides had plans to preempt the other to occupy the Kailash Range in event of war. Any reader would logically question as to why we were not manning the LAC right up to the front, like the LOC against Pakistan. Firstly, the LAC is not active. No shot has been fired in anger since 1967. Leaving aside approximately 10 areas of differing perceptions, there is no contest from the Chinese. The LAC is selectively manned by ITBP and at places, by regular troops.

Secondly, the terrain configuration offers no defensible features in the valleys. Thirdly, if the entire area was to be manned like the LOC, we would require 3-4 additional divisions, which is not cost-effective. Fourthly, if the enemy occupies the valleys, he would be "shelled out" by the artillery and the IAF. Lastly, the mechanised forces with their mobility are tailormade for the role of dominating valleys.

In 1988, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) did not have the strategic airlift to land tanks or ICVs in the vicinity of the LAC. The PLA formations were located in Central Tibet, 800-1000 kilometres away. Depending upon our strategy, this gave us a window of opportunity to pre-emptively secure the areas on or across the LAC or conduct deeper offensive operations. Mechanised forces were tailormade for this role.

Ladakh remains our best bet for offensive operations as it is an extension of the Tibetan plateau. The role of mechanised forces in offensive operations was, as part of overall offensive plans, to pre-emptively capture the tactical features/passes on or across the LAC. Also, as per the strategic situation in conjunction with Special Forces/ Airborne Forces, the aim was to capture areas dominating the strategic Xinjiang-Tibet Road, which runs parallel to the LAC, 80-100 kilometres to the East. This was based on the strategic situation as prevailing in 1988-90, which remains viable till today. More so, when we have a Mountain Strike Corps and a much larger mechanised forces of up to a Combat Command (grouping based on an armoured brigade with one/two armoured regiments and one/two mechanised battalions). In addition, we have much higher capability for heliborne/airborne operations.

The role in defensive operations was to dominate the valleys ahead of and around the main defences, denying the enemy any freedom of action to deploy his artillery and for logistic build up. As a result, the enemy would be forced to the higher ridges on either side of the valleys. This is a classic covering force action. Since the distances are vast, it is a prerequisite for the enemy to seize tactical control of the valleys. Securing the tactical feature on and across the LAC is part of this role. Even the enemy’s mechanised forces spearheading his offensive are at a disadvantage as the valley funnel makes him a sitting duck for our mechanised forces and the IAF.

War games

The offensive and defensive roles were validated in a series of war games. Tanks and BMPs were moved to the various areas to validate their performance. BMPs also crossed the Pangong Tso to validate the amphibious capability. Terrain similar to the operational area in the rear areas was utilised to conduct field exercises. We also took part in the exercises of the infantry formations.

Standard operating procedures (SOP) for technical maintenance and preservation of the equipment in extreme cold temperatures were evolved. The Russian-origin tanks and BMPs were tailormade for cold temperatures as long as the correct procedures were followed. At extreme cold temperatures, special oils and lubricants have to be used. The equipment must be stored in sheds during peacetime. Before starting the tanks and BMPs, pre-heaters were used to raise the oil pressure. If this was not done, the engine would wear out (particularly accessories like the air compressor). The ad hoc mechanised force was following the practice normal for wheeled vehicles of starting the engines every night for 1.5 to 2 hours, to prevent the oil and lubes and the coolant from congealing/freezing and keeping the batteries charged. While even in wheeled vehicles this is a wrong practice – tailormade oils/coolants and batteries for sub-zero temperatures are available and pre-heaters thin the congealed oil – but for tanks and BMPs, it was a disaster as engine life is measured in hours and not kilometres. Engine life of the 20 BMPs of the ad hoc force had been considerably reduced and a large number of compressors had packed up. I refused to accept the logic advanced and did a detailed study. I found that pre-heaters were not being used. In fact, drivers were not aware that they existed. Thus, the oil pressure never reached the requisite levels and was not adequately thinned to pass through narrow tubes leading to various components. Also, the basic starting method in tanks and BMPs is the 'air start' or 'air cum battery start' – the air stored in a cylinder fires the engine and in the latter case, there’s also an electric spark. In emergencies, when the air cylinder is empty, a battery start with fully charged batteries is undertaken. We found that the air bottles were leaking due to worn-out stoppers. The batteries at minus 20 degrees Celsius are reduced to 10-20 per cent capability. Air bottles are filled by the compressors when the tanks/BMPs engines are running. Hence, with empty air bottles and weak batteries, the tanks and BMPs would not start. Thus the night static running was being undertaken to charge the batteries and fill up the air bottles! In a nutshell, for the want of air cylinder stoppers and charged batteries, the engines and other parts costing lakhs of rupees were being run down. We resolved the issued by simply repairing/replacing the air cylinder stoppers to keep the air bottle full and removing the batteries which were kept in heated rooms on trickle charge, using generators. Also, the use of pre-heaters for 1.5 to 2 hours before a attempting a start was enforced. We faced no problem thereafter. All our equipment remained battle-worthy. So strict I was on this issue that in winters, before a start was attempted, the driver had to personally confirm to me that the SOP had been followed!

In end-1988, we conducted our field firing and the performance of the tanks and BMPs was validated with live fire and manoeuvre exercises on the ranges. All guns and machine guns were re-calibrated / zeroed for HAA area as they tend to fire higher.

First generation Malutka ATGM posed a peculiar problem due to the altitude. Since it is manually guided, it tended to take off high into the sky. A drill was evolved to take a 'down' correction with the joy stick to correct the same. Second generation ATGMs of BMP2, which have automatic guidance, posed no problem. Our passive night vision devices, which work on the principle of enhancing the ambient light, gave us double the distance due to higher ambient light in HAA even on moonless nights. This was a force multiplier. The awesome firepower of the combat group – which consisted of 28 120 mm tank guns, 42 73 mm guns of BMP1, 10 30mm cannon of BMP2, 104 Machine guns of the tanks/BMPs and 52 ATGM launchers apart from the infantry weapons of the mechanised battalion – was demonstrated to the division. The firepower of the Combat Group was more than the combined fire firepower of the entire division in terms of direct firing weapons. This was done to inspire confidence in all troops.

The crowning achievement was the test exercise attended by the GOC in C Northern Command, GOC 15 Corps and GOC 3 Infantry Division, who was testing us. We came out of the test exercise with flying colours. GOC in C Northern Command said, "The Combat Group has made history. The foundation for the employment of larger mechanised formations, which will give us the desired offensive capability, has been laid!"

We had to wait for 28 years before the induction of Combat Command in 2016 to get the enhanced capability. Though the ideal eventual requirement is of two Combat Commands and two Motorised Infantry Divisions! This size force would give us the "retributive capability" a major power should have.

Old habits

Captain B H Liddell Hart, the famous military historian said, "The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind is to get the old one out." Having stopped the static run of tanks and BMPs in 1988, I wrote a detailed SOP for maintenance and preservation of tanks and BMPs in HAA and sent it to all concerned, including a copy to all mechanised infantry battalions and armoured regiments.

In January 2000, I was Brigade Commander in Batalik and came to know that the practice had restarted. I spoke to the Corps Commander – who dug out my SOP – to stop it. In 2005, as Corps Commander, I visited Ladakh and found that the practice had commenced again. Once again, I got it stopped. In 2007, when I became GOC in C Northern Command, to my horror I found that it had recommenced due to change of units and the SOP being buried under files. Once again, I got fresh SOPs written to enforce the same. In 2016, a Combat Command was inducted into Ladakh. I read a detailed article about it in newspapers. You must have guessed: the report mentioned that this practice was in vogue to "preserve" the equipment. During my visit to 14 Corps, I briefed the staff in detail. I am sceptical whether the ghost of "static runs" for tanks and BMPs has been finally buried or still haunting the mechanised forces!

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 27 Feb 2017 09:38

Thanks for posting Rohit. The article is a keeper.

Some paragraphs need to be memorized verbatim by the interested jingo for example:"For the army, terrain is the most important factor in battle."

Of course this was in the days before LCH. Hoping to see the LCH in this region

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby rohitvats » 28 Feb 2017 11:02

shiv wrote:Thanks for posting Rohit. The article is a keeper.

Some paragraphs need to be memorized verbatim by the interested jingo for example:"For the army, terrain is the most important factor in battle."

Of course this was in the days before LCH. Hoping to see the LCH in this region


^^^Small tid-bit: Indian Army is looking to establish a Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) under each Corps HQ. This will consist of a mix of Dhruv, WSI-Dhruv and LCH. The first concept CAB was made operational some time back under Leh based 14 Corps :P

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Manish_P » 28 Feb 2017 11:29

^ Small ?

That's awesome !!

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 07 Mar 2017 08:22

No this thread is not forgotten. Am working on it - thinking of suitable ways to present the info
Airfields relevant to us:
Image

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 07 Mar 2017 09:10

The bomb that came back home
http://www.airspacemag.com/as-interview ... 70841/?all
Recalling the H-Bomb that Almost Backfired
Bob Bergin

When your assignment is to drop a live nuclear bomb, you’d better not return to base with it. But that’s just what happened in 1971 to Yang Guoxiang, a pilot with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, who told his harrowing tale to Bob Bergin, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer who writes about the aviation history of Southeast Asia and China. Bergin interviewed Yang in Kunming, China, in early 2009, with the assistance of interpreter Zhao Gang, an instructor at Yunnan University.

Air & Space: You hail from the remote mountains of Yunnan Province. How did you come to be a pilot?

Yang: China was at war with the invading Japanese as I was growing up and trying to get an education. In middle school I came in contact with the underground Communist Party and joined a communist youth group. In November 1948, I participated in an armed uprising against the Kuomintang (KMT) government and had to flee into the mountains, where I became a guerrilla. In 1949 I formally joined the PLA.

In 1949 the People’s Republic of China was founded. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) was established the same year. We had few pilots, so the PLAAF set up aviation schools to train them. The start of the Korean War in 1950 accelerated the process. I was serving in Yunnan and was one of 1,000 who signed up to join the air force. Six candidates were chosen, and I was the only one remaining after we six were sent to Kunming for health checks.

I was sent to Beijing in February 1950, and from there to the aviation school at Mudanjiang. Most of our instructors were former Japanese POWs who had volunteered to help the PLAAF after the war, and former KMT who had joined us. Our aircraft were Japanese and American types that remained from the war. Our training lasted just three months before we were sent to operational units. I had 70 flight hours, and was sent to fly ground attack aircraft, the Russian Ilyushin IL-10, a version of the famous IL-2 “Sturmovik” of World War II, the “Flying Tank.” I was assigned first to the 22nd Division, and later to the 11th Division, which participated in the Korean war.

We were sent to northeast China and were ready to deploy across the border into Korea when American F-84s destroyed the airport we were to use, and so we did not go. We became witnesses to the Korean War. From our base in China, we could see F-86s in the sky, and knew most of the American pilots had thousands of flying hours, while we had only a few. In terms of experience, we were children. Our only asset was our courage.

After the Korean War we modified the MiG-15 to make it suitable for ground attack. Many of the aircraft the Soviets had given us were abandoned because of the short life of their engines. When Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated in 1958, China decided to develop its own ground attack aircraft.

We were short of aircraft then, and short of fuel. Most of our airplanes stayed on the tarmac for lack of fuel and spare parts. Our pilots could fly only about 40 hours a year, and the recruitment of new pilots was suspended for several years.

A & S: Describe your role in the development of China’s Qiang-5 aircraft.

Yang: It would take years of arduous work, but China would develop its first military aircraft, a supersonic ground attack plane designated the Qiang-5, or Q-5. The chief designer was a former KMT officer, Lu Xiaopeng, who had studied aircraft design in the U.S., but stayed on the mainland after the KMT evacuated to Taiwan. He used the Russian MiG-19 as his model, and adapted its features to create a ground attack aircraft with much greater range than the MiG, but with many changes to the original design. The completed airplane was similar to the American F-4 Phantom.

In 1965 I was one of four pilots chosen to participate in the Q-5 flight tests. I had never flown a supersonic aircraft. To make the transition to the Q-5, I was sent to fly the MiG-19 and then the upgraded MiG-19 attack version. Finally, I was sent to Tangshan city to fly the Q-5. In 1966 and 1967, I made over 200 flights in the aircraft. At the end I prepared a report on the Q-5’s strong points and flaws.

In 1967, a meeting was held in Beijing to discuss the feasibility of producing the Q-5. The meeting was the key to implementing the program, and I was asked to speak. I cited the issues that I had covered in my written report, including the Q-5’s problems, such as its controls. They were hydraulically activated and responded very slowly to inputs. Hydraulic pressure was too low. That also made it difficult to retract the undercarriage when the airspeed reached 330 kilometers per hour (205 mph).

The meeting led to the production of the Q-5. Despite the turmoil caused by the Cultural Revolution then underway, the CPC Central Committee decided to produce 250 Q-5s. I was appointed Director of the Q-5 test flight panel, and named as Director of the Air Force Scientific Research and Development Department.

Despite our best efforts, the Q-5 program lagged well behind our hopes. It was 1969 before the Q-5 passed all its tests. After I made the last flight in December of that year, the Q-5 was declared operational, and the plant was given formal approval to go into full production. My work with this project was completed. I was named commander of an operational unit, the 19th Division in Shandong.

While we were still in test flight stage, the Director of the Nuclear Weapon Research Institute had talked with me and I started to sense that the Q-5 might be included in some strategic program. He asked about aircraft that could carry a big bomb, like the H-bomb, which was much bigger than any other bomb we had. I told him it might be possible to use the Q-5.

Later, when Zhou Enlai asked about aircraft appropriate for an H-bomb mission, the Air Force Engineering director recommended the Q-5. That led to the question of a pilot qualified to fly the mission. In a regular bomber like the Tu-22, there was a crew of six, but on the Q-5 there was only one man. He would have to be a highly skilled pilot, totally familiar with the Q-5, and politically acceptable. The Nuclear Weapons Research Institute later requested that I be named as pilot for the mission. At the end of April 1970, I was told that I would drop the H-bomb.

A & S: Can you discuss the logistics of this mission?

Yang: I met with the Director of the Nuclear Weapon Research Institute to discuss the Q-5’s capability. The Q-5 had limited space inside its fuselage for weapons. The H-bomb was two meters (6.5 feet) long and weighed a ton. We discussed the problem for three days, and in the end decided the bomb could be carried externally, slung under the fuselage, in a semi-recessed bay, on a mounting that was like two hooks. Later we added a device that would push the bomb out so that it could not collide with the aircraft when it was released. This variant of the Q-5 modified to carry a thermonuclear hydrogen or H-bomb was designated the Q-5A. We believed the bomb could be dropped by the end of 1970.

The bomb would not literally be dropped, but “tossed” at the target. The technique we used was to approach the target at an altitude of 300 meters (984 feet) to stay below the capability of most radars of the time, and at a speed of 900 kilometers an hour (560 mph). When the aircraft was twelve kilometers (7.5 miles) from the target, we would start a climb at an angle of forty-five degrees. At precisely an altitude of 1200 meters (3,936 feet), I would release the bomb.

After the bomb separated from the aircraft, it would continue to climb to 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) and then start down. As the bomb climbed, it sped toward the target twelve kilometers (7.5 miles) away. It would take the bomb sixty seconds to reach the target and explode right above it. Meanwhile, as soon as the airplane released the bomb, it reversed course to get well away from the area of the blast.

Our target zone was 200 meters (656 feet) in diameter, which I could usually strike. Once in about ten times I could hit within 50 meters (164 feet) of the center. We had practice bombs that replicated the size and weight of the actual H-bomb, but made of steel and cement. I dropped practice bombs 200 times.

Then, in late 1970, we had a problem with the H-bomb itself. During a test at the Lop Nor test site, the bomb exploded, but the expected atomic reaction did not occur. The H-bomb had failed; the cause would have to be investigated. My work preparing for the Q-5A for the mission came to a halt. I returned to my unit in Shandong.

The next year, in September 1971, a political event occurred that eventually determined the timing of the H-bomb project. Vice Premier Lin Biao was killed in an airplane crash while trying to flee to the Soviet Union after a failed coup attempt. There had been an upheaval in the PLA, and to raise morale, Chairman Mao Zedong decided that we would drop the H-bomb that year.

The date of the mission was kept secret. Once the date was chosen, and Chairman Mao concurred, all of the personnel at the nuclear site were restricted to base.

The director of the nuclear weapons institute took me aside and privately briefed me on what I could expect when the bomb exploded. He assured me that I would not be in any danger. Because of that and the many practice missions I had flown, I did not feel any differently when I carried the live bomb.

A & S: And on the day of the actual flight?

Yang: On December 30, 1971, weather conditions were good. I took off from the airbase in the late morning and headed toward the target, ground zero at Lop Nor, three hundred kilometers (186 miles) away. I flew at 900 kilometers an hour (559 mph) and an altitude of 300 meters (984 feet), following the procedures we had established. Twelve kilometers (7.5 miles) from the target, I started my 45-degree-angle climb, and exactly at 1,200 meters (3,936 feet) released the bomb.

Nothing happened! The bomb did not separate from the aircraft. The indicators on the panel showed that it was still attached. I turned back toward the target and prepared to do everything again a second time.

We had planned for emergencies. There were three separate release mechanisms, mechanical links to the bomb shackle, of which two were backups in case the first one failed. I tried all three; none worked.

On my second approach I followed the same procedures, and again the bomb failed to release. I turned to try again. I made a third approach, and for the third time the bomb would not release. The situation was now critical. I was running short of fuel.

Before taking off, I had reviewed our emergency procedures. I had three choices: I could abandon the aircraft by parachute and let it crash in a remote area of the vast desert that surrounded the Lop Nor Test site. I could crash-land the aircraft to assure that it was set down in place where it would harm no one. Or I could try to bring the aircraft back to base. I reflected on the time and the effort that went into the H-bomb project, and the great deal of money it cost the Chinese people, and I made my choice. I would try to bring the airplane and the H-bomb back to base.

There was a great risk in doing this. There were 10,000 people on the airbase, although only a few knew about the mission I was on. If anything went wrong, thousands would lose their lives. The bomb under the fuselage would be hanging just ten centimeters (four inches) above the ground as I landed.

All radio stations in northwest China had been shut down during my flight, and all flights in the area were banned. I radioed the tower of my decision to return, and asked that everyone on the base be evacuated into the tunnels that were dug underneath the base. It was Zhou Enlai himself who gave the order to evacuate.

A & S: Was there a possibility that the bomb could explode if it contacted the runway on landing?

Yang: There were five “safeties” that had to be deactivated to enable the bomb to explode. When the bomb was mounted to the airplane, the first safety was released. Fifteen minutes after the aircraft took off, the second safety was released; the third when the aircraft reached the target zone. When the pilot decided to drop the bomb, he released the fourth. The fifth and final safety released automatically sixty seconds after the bomb was dropped, an instant before it exploded.

No one could be sure whether or not the bomb would explode if it touched the runway, but I was confident that I could set the airplane down gently. So I landed with the H-bomb hanging under me. It was a perfect landing. When I shut down the engine, there was total silence; I was completely alone. The airfield was deserted. All 10,000 personnel were sitting in tunnels under the ground. I could not leave the cockpit: there was no ladder for me to climb down from the fuselage that was high above the ground.

I called the tower and asked for help. The tower told me to work my way back to the tail and jump. The people in the control tower were angry; in their eyes I had put 10,000 lives at risk,

And I had caused a big mess. When I notified the tower that I was returning with the bomb, the evacuation siren went off. It was lunchtime at the airbase; everyone was sitting down and eating. They had to rush out, put on gas masks and scramble into the tunnels. A big rice cooker caught fire because there was no one left to take care of the kitchen. Everyone there then still remembers my name: I could have brought them their Judgment Day.

It took a long time for anyone to come near my aircraft. Our procedures for dealing with the H-bomb meant we had to wear rubber shoes and clothing that would not create static electricity. No metal was allowed in the area of the bomb. In the nuclear weapons storage bunker, all steel columns were wrapped in copper. Now that I had unexpectedly brought the H-bomb back, there were no service vehicles equipped with the required shielding. I sat out on the field for a long while.

A & S: What had caused the hang-up?

Yang: We sent the release devices to Beijing for analysis. It was determined that one reason the shackle malfunctioned was that the mechanism was carefully kept in a heated area until just before it was mounted on the aircraft. This was not the usual procedure, but as this was the first release of a live bomb, everyone was being especially careful. When the aircraft took into the cold air, it was possible that the sudden temperature change affected the tolerances on parts of the mechanism that caused its failure to release. The shackles and release mechanism were modified so this could not happen again.

A & S: So you were not concerned on your second attempt?

Yang: The decision was to go again on January 7, 1972. Wind conditions were optimal. Weather at the Lop Nor site was good, but there was a cold front moving in. It was snowing at the airbase when I took off.

This time there was no problem. I followed procedures, and when I released the bomb, it separated from the aircraft as it was supposed to. As soon as the bomb was gone, I reversed course to get far away from the blast zone and activated shields that would protect me in the cockpit. Then I saw the flash, a very big flash. The bomb exploded in the air, at a pre-determined height above the ground. I felt the shockwave—it rocked me like a small boat in the ocean—and then I saw the mushroom cloud rising up into sky. By that time I was already 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away from ground zero.

Watching the mushroom cloud from the air, I could see how different layers of clouds inside the mushroom were connected to one another, just like smoke from a chimney. At that moment I felt very happy. The test had been successful! And then I had to face my new concern: how to land safely on a runway covered in snow.*

After I landed, I found little excitement at the airbase. Because of the heavy snow, no one there saw anything, not the great flash of light, nor the mushroom cloud that the people near ground zero saw.

At a ceremony celebrating the project’s success, I was cited for my contribution to China’s nuclear development. Zhou Enlai had said that bringing the bomb safely back after the first attempt was a miracle. At that time everything was top secret. My name was kept secret for another two decades, until I was formally acknowledged in 1999, at a conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of “Two Bombs and One Satellite,” meaning the A-bomb, the H-bomb, and an artificial satellite, the most important projects undertaken by the PLA after the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Yang continued to fly the Q-5 until he retired at age 50. He moved back to Yunnan Province, and now lives in the provincial capital at Kunming. The Q-5A in which Yang flew the H-bomb tests, Number 11264, is on display at China’s National Air Museum near Beijing. Many other Q-5s continue to serve with the PLAAF, 40 years after its introduction.

*: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_n ... ite_note-9 - Wiki notes that this was an 8 kt explosion

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby Rakesh » 08 Mar 2017 06:33

The Great Economic and Geopolitical Asymmetry between India and China
http://www.indiandefencereview.com/the- ... and-china/

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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 08 Mar 2017 09:51

12 Su 27 in Lhasa airport on Christmas day 2016
Image

shiv
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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 08 Mar 2017 10:02

Related to Lhasa
https://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowTopic-g2 ... Tibet.html
My wife and I are headed for Lhasa in late March 2007. We're a little creaky in the bones these days and, although I went to climbing school in Austria years ago, as I recall, Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, is only 9000 feet while Lhasa is at 12,000. The question is whether we will be up to seeing the Potala palace on the second day of our visit. We will have spent a couple of days at Khatmandu (4000 feet) before Lhasa, but I don't know if that will help. And while the China Tours itinerary takes its diverse clients to Potala on the second day of their trip, there is a disquieting blog at bootsnall.com/articles/… that includes these paragraphs:

"We got into Llasa, but very quickly felt dizzy and giddy. The feeling you get from the sudden lack of oxygen at 4,000 metres is a little like being drunk - you laugh for no reason and your co-ordination is shot. When we got into our room, Sandra lay on the bad and didn't get out of it for two days. We've both got altitude sickness, but she's got it worse.

"The symptoms are not pleasant; a screaming headache, fever, disorientation, nausea, and in Sandra's case, vomiting and diarrhea too, to add to the fun! The strangest effect though, is the permanent shortage of breath. Your instinct is to counter it with long deep breaths, but this only makes things worse. What you need to do is take lots of short, shallow breaths, like a panting dog. The slightest exertion, like getting out of bed to take a pee, leaves you wheezing and your heart pumping.

"Even sleeping becomes a skill you have to relearn. When we sleep, our breathing instinctively slows and becomes deeper. This is not a problem at normal altitudes, but at 4,000 metres, there isn't enough oxygen getting from your lungs into your brain, and your heart beats faster and faster to try and make up the deficit. Soon, you wake up with a start to find your heart is racing, and you've got to breathe like you never breathed before. This happened to me last night every twenty to thirty minutes, so my sleeping was fitful at best. At about 2:30, I woke up for the last time, and spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling and listening to my heart pound. It wasn't very interesting - pretty repetitive actually. Even when lying in bed, my heartbeat was over a hundred beats per minute, and a slow walk, with frequent stops to drink water, as the dry mountain air robs your body of moisture, brought it to well over 120."

Is any member of this group able to comment on this? It sounds exaggerated, given the China Tour itinerary, and of course everyone's reactions are different, but it's unsettling nevertheless. Maybe we should just skip Lhasa.

shiv
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Re: Latest Chinese boast: should we shiver or die laughing?

Postby shiv » 08 Mar 2017 10:05

https://archpublichealth.biomedcentral. ... 016-0134-z
About 1/3 visitors to Lhasa get High altitude sickness.


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