America Be Watching With The Popcorn: A Sino-Soviet War TL

If the choice is an American city survives versus a Soviet one incinerated... it's an easy choice. You can build nukes faster than cities.
The USSR might well let the Chinese know via back channels that even one nuclear weapon --> no more China.
The existence of nuclear weapons on both sides would tend to keep both sides from wanting to escalate things too far...
 
The USSR might well let the Chinese know via back channels that even one nuclear weapon --> no more China.
The existence of nuclear weapons on both sides would tend to keep both sides from wanting to escalate things too far...
It will either be that or a Soviet first strike. The Chinese don't have enough nukes to guarantee any survive.
 
are we allowed to use the let them fight gif here?
1614012893823.png
 
I don't know that the characterization of Mao or the PLA is fair. "Human wave formation with little regard for human life"? "After killing the commanding officers, of course" [emphasis mine]. Taking 10,000 deaths and 20,000 wounded against a force outnumbered 16-1 seems a bit over the top as well. Likewise, the Soviet artillery and bombers seem a bit too effective. "The next day (with artillery and heavy guns set up on the island), they fired everything at the retreating Chinese (who were still in range as the infrastructure was terrible) and destroyed them, with help multiple Tu-16 Heavy Bombers. The entire battle took less than 10 hours" [emphasis mine]. "Out of the ~50,000 Chinese troops, the bombing easily killed or injured 10-20% of the force." So with "dozens" of bombers, the Soviets cause at least 5,000, possibly as many as 10,000 casualties? That seems extremely high for a conventional attack on a military target. I have no doubt that the Soviet artillery and air force would be effective, and that they could get the edge on the PLA. I don't think they'd be this effective, especially since most of the more modern units would still be in Europe.

The Chinese just seem a little... cartoonish.
 
I don't know that the characterization of Mao or the PLA is fair. "Human wave formation with little regard for human life"? "After killing the commanding officers, of course" [emphasis mine]. Taking 10,000 deaths and 20,000 wounded against a force outnumbered 16-1 seems a bit over the top as well. Likewise, the Soviet artillery and bombers seem a bit too effective. "The next day (with artillery and heavy guns set up on the island), they fired everything at the retreating Chinese (who were still in range as the infrastructure was terrible) and destroyed them, with help multiple Tu-16 Heavy Bombers. The entire battle took less than 10 hours" [emphasis mine]. "Out of the ~50,000 Chinese troops, the bombing easily killed or injured 10-20% of the force." So with "dozens" of bombers, the Soviets cause at least 5,000, possibly as many as 10,000 casualties? That seems extremely high for a conventional attack on a military target. I have no doubt that the Soviet artillery and air force would be effective, and that they could get the edge on the PLA. I don't think they'd be this effective, especially since most of the more modern units would still be in Europe.

The Chinese just seem a little... cartoonish.
Based on Korean War battle records in USAWC archives, that is not the PLA the Americans encountered. Clown club they were not. The PLA knew small unit tactics and how to use ground cover and terrain well against an enemy with general air and artillery superiority.
 
Last edited:
I'd love to read up on the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war. Wikipedia claims mass frontal infantry assaults were used and failed before the Chinese switched to their classic infiltration tactics, but I'm not especially trusting of Western historiography in this regard. And in any case, it is clear the Chinese made good use of artillery and armor despite their reliance on infantry.

Now, if the Chinese do switch back to their Korean War-era infiltration tactics after this fiasco then that's fine, but I hope the human-wave attacks don't continue. That's very much not Chinese doctrine.
 
I'd love to read up on the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war. Wikipedia claims mass frontal infantry assaults were used and failed before the Chinese switched to their classic infiltration tactics, but I'm not especially trusting of Western historiography in this regard. And in any case, it is clear the Chinese made good use of artillery and armor despite their reliance on infantry.

Now, if the Chinese do switch back to their Korean War-era infiltration tactics after this fiasco then that's fine, but I hope the human-wave attacks don't continue. That's very much not Chinese doctrine.
More nuance.

In general terms, there is some truth that the initial 1979 PLA offensives were botched. It must be remembered that the PRVN army was on defense and they were a veteran outfit who had just handed the Americans their asses a few years before. However, as is the case of armies who believe their own press and of armies who are rusty from non-use, the PRVN army exaggerated their claims and the PLA learned. Round two was a "different" animal. The PLA turned in mixed results, but generally overran the Vietnamese positions they assaulted.

I expect the same would be true here. And remember, the Soviet Red Army are not too good when it comes to marching beyond their pre-dumped logistics. They get unhooked from their logtrains and they are screwed.
 
Last edited:
Yeah, in that case there shouldn't be any talk of human-wave tactics in the story. Chinese tactics in Korea were a great deal more sophisticated than that. While I'd certainly expect some skill decay and the Soviets should be ready for those tactics - hence the asskicking the Chinese ate - I doubt things would be so bad as to collapse into outright human-wave tactics.
 
Yah know I don’t usually like reading post 1900 timelines but I gotta say this is pretty interesting.

Other than the human wave issue I’m enjoying this TL so far.

I wonder what the longterm effects this war will have on both nations and the world. Will the PRC decline instead of rise? Or even outright collapse into civil war and warlordism? If so how would this affect the Cold War and the world?

Would this speed up the Soviet Union’s collapse or butterfly it away?

Will the Vietnam war still have the same end result or end with an American victory? Or just delay the same ending.

Something tells me that regardless of the winner the US benefits the most.
 
(can't quote because this is everyone): Okay, the human wave was a bad characterization. I am just saying that because the Chinese were mad about the Xinjiang incident, they were less organized and well-planned. Remember, with the GLF/CR in full swing, the officer corps aren't very good.

This is ONE assault fueled by anger and the Soviets are dug in- I fully expect the Chinese to adopt a better doctrine soon.
 
(can't quote because this is everyone): Okay, the human wave was a bad characterization. I am just saying that because the Chinese were mad about the Xinjiang incident, they were less organized and well-planned. Remember, with the GLF/CR in full swing, the officer corps aren't very good.

This is ONE assault fueled by anger and the Soviets are dug in- I fully expect the Chinese to adopt a better doctrine soon.
That's all I ask for.
 
First Offensives New
Chapter 3.1: The Sino-Soviet War Begins, July-Sept. 1969.

On July 17, 1969, The heavy artillery guns the Chinese had brought in (the defeat by the Russians was chalked up to the large amounts of hidden, heavy guns) began firing. Because it was only 2 AM, most of the Soviets were caught off guard. The Chinese had brought in much better officers for this assault, along with more troop transports. The Chinese plan, however, was much more complex than this. The plan involved cutting off Vladivostock from supply and therefore (hopefully) getting a big victory to make the Soviets call for a ceasefire. The Soviet plans focused on the North (as the USSR had better winter/cold weather troops), and included encircling Chinese armies and medium-sized cities and then continuing on to Harbin and Changchun.
Q5NLpFFTA4Rb3OtJqWvxMNBfAz2LAPjm3kyCC7_5GcB_43_eln7CNAflP6EEshfn0gp56rGyt7FOMLBO9m6tvCNMEzVcXyW07aJWv-bfX_NZmMkk9daKC-_nawWnOUWg6-4a-Pvn

About one hour after the initial bombardment, thousands of Chinese soldiers in water-proof troop transports came across the river. However, the Chinese had another trick up their sleeves. Before the bombardment commenced, Chinese elite forces snuck onto the island and placed bombs around the Soviet fortifications. While some of the bombs were discovered, the vast majority weren’t. The bombs weren’t very powerful, but they distracted the Soviets. The Third Battle of Zhenbao Island lasted just over five hours, and the Chinese ended up pushing the Russian out with superior numbers and the element of surprise. Later that month, both countries began their main offensives. The Chinese pushed east, half-encircling Vladivostok by the end of August. The Russians pushed south, although they made sub-par progress by the end of the next month.

Xinjiang hadn’t seen much war or devastation yet (emphasis on yet). For the most part, Manchuria was the main front. However, the Soviet-backed rebels began an insurrection, taking over various towns and villages throughout. By the current date in the TL (1st of September, 1969), the Chinese are already withdrawing from the small incursions they made into Soviet territory.

eca_NxynXqg6rYGwC92Hw9HOXJ7Iv9bMiW5JMgvnurrXrwo3lMlpa8rko8o--3kQ7U2eLOyd9kpmlG0A6ak1SuBT4v4OO0lNeqrJWKDbtlTBKUNdxLE-8_0NLCiW2icqTgTqRNfO

Frontlines, c. September 1, 1969

Yeah Yeah Yeah. I know this one was short, but I'm splitting chapter 3 into three or four parts, so the beginnings to the war can be better understood. Feedback is appreciated.
 
Mentioning railroad network reminds me of something important. The USSR uses Russian gauge (5' approximately) whereas China uses Standard gauge--4' 8 1/2".) Using captured railroads is not instant.
 
Mentioning railroad network reminds me of something important. The USSR uses Russian gauge (5' approximately) whereas China uses Standard gauge--4' 8 1/2".) Using captured railroads is not instant.
That is a good point.
the Soviet Red Army are not too good when it comes to marching beyond their pre-dumped logistics. They get unhooked from their logtrains and they are screwed.
I expect railroad troops and military "civil" engineers to suddenly become very important.
 
The War Continues, Almighty Mongolia Steps In. New
Chapter 3.2: The Sino-Soviet War Begins, Sept-Nov. 1969.

By the beginning of September, the war (which was formally declared on August 26) was not particularly in anyone’s favor. The Chinese (on paper) held a slight advantage, as they were close to cutting off Vladivostok to outside supply. But they also had an insurrection to deal with. Not just in Xinjiang, but also now in Tibet. Many of the Xinjiang rebel-held towns and villages were re-occupied, but the rebels held and expanded the line around the Soviet border. The Tibetians just held some territory in the hills and the territory in Tibet occupied by the Russians.
By October, however, the Chinese had cut off Vladivostok. The Soviets had countered by expanding their occupation in Northern Manchuria, cutting off tens of thousands of Chinese troops. The Soviets and the Rebels were being supplied by the ‘Mongol Trail’, which the Chinese found out about sometime in mid-October. They began counter-insurgency expeditions, and Mongolia promptly declared war. Not much changed, as the entire country was a massive warzone.
The Chinese had encircled Vladivostok, but overall the war had been going much better for the Soviets. The Taiwanese were debating an invasion of Hainan (American intelligence experts predicted that even if China won, its military would be gutted for at least a few years).
It was around this time that the Civilian Defense Act was put into place, which drafted all males over 12 and females over 14 (along with elderly people) into the Civil Defense Corps, which were tasked with building defences around major cities in Manchuria and the rest of Northern China.
By early November, both side’s hopes for a quick decapitation strike to end the war soon had failed. It was clear the war would last until one side gave up, and neither showed any sign of staying down.

FeFQkstGIxSDrDk49oPUqq44LArTeudHKfNfvnl_TXVGTuhuuik4-2g3LMhUq2r3xl2TxtIyJWwPuoVvRNvSwFlXfKAPlppMVwNaQ09P65QC_cezK1tOwyIkCl5WkQnN-l1JOpkX


Frontlines, c. November 1, 1969
 
Top