1950 Battle of Hainan relevant to future sea landings, says PLA

  • China’s military command responsible for the Taiwan Strait says a 1950 battle highlights a “winning code” for combat.
  • Social media posts about a Battle of Hainan exhibit follow unprecedented drills around Taiwan after Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command – whose area of ​​responsibility includes the Taiwan Strait – said a 1950 assault on Hainan Island provided “valuable experience” for future sea landings .

The command’s social media accounts recently posted an exhibit co-hosted with the Hainan Provincial Museum that tells the story of how the PLA took over the island.

It comes at a sensitive time after the PLA conducted large-scale drills around the island of Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island this week. last.

The Battle of Hainan was one of the last actions of the Chinese Civil War between the victorious Communist forces, which took control of the mainland in 1949. But the defeated Nationalist forces, or Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, which Beijing has promised to bring under its control eventually.

Chinese troops land on Hainan Island in 1950

Landing of Chinese communist troops on Hainan Island in 1950.

ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The introduction to the exhibit says, “This battle provided valuable experience for future wars, especially for crossing the sea and landing on an island.”

The Battle of Hainan Island was one of the few sea landings conducted by the PLA in its history and took place a year after a failed assault on two KMT-held islands. During the battle, the PLA carried out waves of massive landings and assaults forcing Nationalist forces to flee the island.

He described the battle as a victory against all odds – won without dominance in the air or on the sea, and using more than 2,000 wooden sailing ships and around 100 motorboats to transport troops across the 20km strait ( 12 miles) which separates it from the mainland.

“It created the miracle of wooden sailboats beating armored ships,” he said, adding that revisiting the battle would help the PLA “explore the winning code” for future wars.

Amphibious landing military exercise in Taiwan China

Taiwanese troops during a drill simulating an amphibious landing attempt by Chinese forces, May 30, 2019.

Kyodo news photos via Getty Images

The post said the command would hold military history study courses to help prepare for combat and quoted soldiers who had visited the exhibit as saying “we are more confident and able to defeat all enemies and to maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country”.

However, the PLA has also recently practiced modern warfare tactics.

On Tuesday, state broadcaster CCTV reported that the PLA’s 73rd Army Group, which is likely to play a key role in any attack on Taiwan, conducted a series of amphibious landing drills in the province of Fujian.

Without giving the date or location, PLA Daily also reported on Wednesday that marines practiced landing operations.

Beijing considers the island a breakaway province and has pledged to bring it under its control by force if necessary. Most countries, including the United States, do not recognize Taiwan as an independent state, but Washington and its allies oppose any attempt to take the island by military means.