Unbearable War: the opening of the Republic on the sea!

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Source: great rain watching nerve

The ocean area accounts for about 70% of the earth’s area. After mankind entered the era of great navigation, the marine transportation line has become the economic lifeline of all major countries, so the current world order is mainly the marine order.

Looking back over the past 200 years, we will find that there is one thing in common: they all inevitably move towards naval competition.

However, the naval competition is not easy, because the characteristics of naval warfare are very different from those of land warfare: there are no terrain factors on the sea surface, and the basic way of Maritime Warfare is to arrange the formation and simply and roughly fight against each other. Whoever is better equipped will win. There is no surprise.

This has led to the Navy burning money, because everyone has to spend money to build (buy) better warships. At the craziest time, the cost of a battleship once reached 0.5% of the GDP of some major powers.

But there is no way. The money that should be spent still has to be spent, otherwise the backward equipment will undoubtedly lose.

The defeat of the naval battle often means that a large number of expensive warships sink to the seabed and the lifeline of trade is clamped down by others. Few countries can afford this loss. Carelessness is the decline of national fortune for decades.

For example, in the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, the Northern Navy of the Qing Dynasty was completely destroyed, which interrupted the prosperity of the Qing Empire since the Westernization Movement, and the Qing Dynasty was on its way to collapse; In the Pacific Naval Battle of World War II, the Japanese joint fleet was also completely destroyed, which directly led to the demise of Japanese fascism, and the country also completely lost the opportunity to dominate East Asia.


But on the contrary, if the naval battle is won, the country will have a great opportunity to improve its national fortunes.

In 1805, Britain won the battle of Trafalgar, which opened the glory of the Empire of never setting sun; The United States won the Pacific War in World War II, and thus embarked on the road of global hegemony from Pianan North America.

However, although ocean hegemony sounds hot-blooded, few countries can really participate in this game, because warships are built slower than anyone, and sink faster than anyone.


Therefore, fighting for sea power can be said to be a “late stage” investment. If you want to play this game, you must be prepared to eat bran and swallow vegetables for decades to raise money to build (buy) ships, and also bear the risk of being cleared once accumulated for decades due to the failure of the naval battle.

But once this investment is successful, the benefits are huge. Where you control the ocean, you have the right to make rules.

High return always corresponds to high risk. Either you don’t participate. Once you participate, you can’t lose the naval battle.

So to judge how aggressive a regime is, it mainly depends on its attitude towards the ocean.

Giving up the fight for sea power means that he is willing to accept the arrangement of the great powers and be a salt fish for idling. Of course, it also saves a lot of money;

The pursuit of controlling the sea area in front of his home means that he should be the leader of this area;

The pursuit of controlling an ocean means that he should be on an equal footing with the great powers;

It is the United States that seeks to control the global ocean.

In any case, an enterprising regime will never give up fighting for the sea.



Wild hope in Vietnam

Geographically, Vietnam has a long coastline and almost negligible strategic depth.

Even friends without any military common sense can easily see from this map that it is too easy to cut off Vietnam from the sea attack.


There are not many peaceful days in the world, and the war has not stopped in Vietnam since the founding of the people’s Republic of China, so the threat of war is a very realistic pressure for Vietnam. Since the strategic depth of land is too low, it is natural to think of developing at sea.

On the other hand, Vietnam, as the third largest country in the world after World War II, trampled on France, punched the United States and tore Cambodia by hand. Naturally, it is not a small goal to dominate Southeast Asia.

All kinds of factors are superimposed together. Although there is no legal basis, Vietnam’s attempt to invade the South China Sea is inevitable, not to mention there is oil here.

However, ambition depends on strength. Is Vietnam’s maritime strength sufficient?

At that time, Vietnam was still divided into North and south, and South Vietnam had a large amount of U.S. assistance. Their navy had more than 1400 ships of all kinds, including several large warships of more than 1000 tons. The size of the navy has reached 42000, which is the leading naval force in Southeast Asia.

For historical reasons, China also has two navies: the navy of the Chinese people’s Liberation Army and the navy of Taiwan’s Kuomintang.

For a long time after World War II, the Navy that played a leading role in the South China Sea was the Kuomintang Navy.

In December, 1946, the national government accepted the islands in the South China Sea with the approval of the international community. In 1956, the Taiwan authorities established the “Nansha garrison area” in the the Nansha Islands.

The South China Sea covers Dongsha, Xisha, Nansha, Zhongsha and Huangyan Island:


Compared with the PLA Navy, the KMT Navy, which received a lot of British and American assistance and Japanese compensation after the war, is strong.

To receive the frigate “Taiping” of Taiping island in Nansha:


However, with the passage of time, the pressure of surrounding countries to invade the South China Sea is increasing, and the “strong military” of the National Army begins to show timidity.

Since 1963, the Philippines has sent troops to occupy many islands and reefs, and the national army has been indifferent.

In 1971, because of the typhoon, the National Army on Zhongye Island withdrew to Taiping island for shelter. However, after the typhoon, the national army did not return to the camp in Zhongye island in time, resulting in the Philippines taking advantage of the situation.

Relative position of Zhongye Island:


The Philippine army raised the flag after occupying Zhongye Island:


After discovering that Zhongye island was occupied, Colonel haodeyun, the captain of Taiwan’s Kuomintang naval detachment, was once ready to launch an attack on the Philippine army on the island.

At that time, with the combat effectiveness of the national fleet near Zhongye Island, it took only one hour to completely annihilate the Philippine army on the island. However, at the critical moment, the fleet received the “no challenge” order from the Taiwan authorities.

As a result, the national army could only watch helplessly as the island it had stationed for 24 years fell into enemy hands, and later became the command center of the Philippines in Nansha.


Vietnam was greatly encouraged by the achievements of the Philippines, and Vietnam soon began to follow suit.

In 1974, the typhoon came again. This time, the withdrawn national troops were the garrison stationed at dunqian sandbank. After the calm, the National Army found that the dunqian sandbar had been taken advantage of by the Vietnamese (South Vietnamese) army, and thus lost another island.

During this period, Vietnam also successively occupied Jinghong Island, Hongxiu Island, Nanzi Island, Nanwei Island, Anbo sandbank and other islands and reefs.

The national army was familiar with the matter of losing city and land. By the 1970s, the National Army’s stronghold in Nansha had been lost, leaving only Taiping island and the nearby Zhongzhou reef.


Therefore, for Vietnam, Taiwan’s Kuomintang Navy is not a real opponent. They are basically a boy sending off the island.

What about the PLA with weaker equipment?

The place where the Vietnamese Navy first collided head-on with the people’s Liberation Army is the the Xisha Islands (the specific location is the Paracel Yongle islands in the red circle):




Xisha deadly battle

Since 1956, the then UN unified South Vietnamese authorities began to spy on the the Xisha Islands. They began to nibble at the Yongle islands in the West and occupied the coral islands for a long time.

In January, 1974, the South Vietnamese authorities gained an inch and sent a fleet to occupy Ganquan island and Jinyin island in Xisha, killing and injuring many Chinese fishermen and militia, attacking Chinese patrol ships, and further pointing at Hiroshima.


The main reason why the Vietnamese army dared to take the initiative to provoke was that it had certain advantages in the strength of warships.

As we said just now, naval warfare is mainly about fighting for equipment. In Vietnam’s view, since even the strong Kuomintang navy has nothing to do with itself, the poorly equipped PLA should be more powerless to resist.

If only from the perspective of hardware comparison, the judgment of the South Vietnamese authorities is no problem.

At that time, there were few ships that could operate normally in the South China Sea fleet of the people’s Liberation Army. The slightly larger old frigates were in disrepair for a long time, and only six small boats with a displacement of several hundred tons were in good condition. It’s really not enough to put this household property in a naval battle.

But the PLA has a temperament that the national army does not have: iron head.

Facing the provocation of the Vietnamese army, the South China Sea Fleet resolutely sent these six small boats to the site of the incident. They will face the following four large warships of the South Vietnamese Navy in the the Xisha Islands:





Four small boats arrived at the confrontation front in advance, including:

One type 6605 and one type 6610 minesweeping boat (389 and 396 boats):


Two 6604 hunting Submarines (271, 274):


In addition, there are two domestic 037 hunting Submarines (281 and 282 boats) stationed on Yongxing Island 70 kilometers away, ready for reinforcement at any time:


On the evening of January 18, 1974, the South China Sea fleet of the people’s Liberation Army intercepted and decoded the telegram of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Sao’s order to seize the island from his Xisha warship, and the Vietnamese army will launch an attack on the morning of January 19.

That night, Zhou Enlai held an emergency meeting overnight and decided to form a Xisha battle leading group composed of six people, including Ye Jianying and Deng Xiaoping, to command the Xisha naval battle, and established three principles: “don’t take the initiative to cause trouble, don’t shoot the first shot

Cannot suffer losses “.

In fact, these three principles are also the iron rules that the PLA has always adhered to in border conflicts since the founding of the people’s Republic of China.

After receiving the order, the four patrol boats on the front line quickly completed the operational deployment, and the warships of China and Vietnam formed a Four-to-Four situation:


According to the pre war arrangement, 396 and 389 boats entered the sea northwest of Hiroshima to intercept the “Li Changjie” and “Nu Tao”; The 271 and 274 boats entered the southeast sea of Hiroshima and intercepted the “Chen Qingyu” and “Chen pingzhong”.


What is very disadvantageous to the PLA is that the two hunting Submarines (No. 281 and No. 282) on standby on Yongxing Island did not receive the latest battle order due to radio management, so they failed to rush to the battlefield in time.

In the early morning of January 19, South Vietnamese soldiers began to forcibly land on kwangjin island. As a result, they were shot back by the Chinese soldiers and civilians guarding the island and retreated to the ship in a disheartened manner.

Although his soldiers acted like a war wreck, he wene, the commander of the Vietnamese army, was not worried because he still had warships in his hands. If you can’t fight on the land, bully the “soft persimmon” on the sea.

So the Vietnamese army soon pointed the spearhead at the four small boats of the people’s Liberation Army.

The Chinese boats are inferior to their opponents in tonnage, defense and firepower. If according to the normal logic of naval warfare, the PLA has little chance of winning, and it is not surprising that they are regarded as “soft persimmons” by the Vietnamese commander.

At 10:22 a.m., the Vietnamese fleet, which opened its posture, took the lead in firing on Chinese ships, and the Xisha naval battle broke out!

However, although the PLA is iron headed, it is not reckless. Since the Chinese boats dare to come, they are naturally ready.

After the naval battle, the PLA ships with inferior tonnage did not choose to avoid gunfire, but rushed straight to their respective target enemy ships at the same time, reaching hundreds or even tens of meters in front of the enemy ships.


Seeing such a scene inevitably makes people’s minds pop up with words such as “tragic” and “hot headed”. If there are onlookers, they may think that the people’s Liberation Army’s small boat and the Vietnamese warship will perish together

In fact, this is a “close face tactic” specially designed by the PLA for the actual situation.

Although the South Vietnamese Navy is strong and powerful, due to their large hull and high side, when the other side is very close, the main gun depression angle will be insufficient, and it can only hit the cabin on the patrol deck of the people’s Liberation Army, which is not easy to hit the hull below its waterline. Moreover, in the chaotic close combat, we should be careful to accidentally injure the friendly ships around us.

Although the Chinese small boat lacks firepower, as long as it is close, the small caliber machine gun can also hit the crossing ship. The disadvantage of small caliber is not obvious at close range. At such a distance, the gun’s firing speed is more critical. The machine gun with fast firing speed can recklessly strafe the personnel and equipment on the deck, causing heavy casualties.

That is to say, when a real fight occurs, both parties are actually fighting each other’s cabins.

The logic of the people’s Liberation Army is very clear: since my ship is weak in small guns, I will use my cabin and your cabin to make a limit. One for another, and directly turn the ship fight into a desperate fight.

Although this kind of play seems to have no routine, it is the only opportunity for the PLA.

However, the bayonet fight at close range was doomed to be tragic. The first round of shelling by the Vietnamese army hit the command platform of the 274 boat, resulting in the sacrifice of political commissar Feng Songbai and deputy governor Zhou Xitong.

However, at a strong organizational level, the boat did not panic. The new command system was soon rebuilt and continued to attack the South Vietnamese warships together with the other three boats.


On the surface, the situation on the battlefield is like a mess, but in fact, the four Chinese patrol boats have a clear division of tasks: the 271 and 274 boats fight the “Chen Qingyu” ship first, and the 389 and 396 boats fight the “Li Changjie” ship first.

Due to its large size and inflexibility, and the firing angle of the artillery is often blocked by its teammates, the PLA has temporarily formed a situation of local two to one.

This is a well planned battle.

After the “chenqingyu” was severely beaten by the second boats 271 and 274, the main gun was hit and misfired, and the communication and command systems also failed one after another, so it had to release smoke to escape first. At the same time, the 274 boat was also shot and injured.

The 271 boat did not pursue, and it began to attack the “Chen pingzhong” to rescue the damaged 274 boat.


On the other side, boats 396 and 389 were close to the “lichangjie” for concentrated fire and close fire, which caused many fires on the deck of the Vietnamese ship. Only 15 minutes later, the “lichangjie” reported that the engine room was shot, the engine on one side was damaged, the ship was leaning sideways, and the speed was reduced.


Captain Li Changjie resolutely admitted at the critical moment and immediately set sail to evacuate the fighting area for repair.

The second boat turned to attack the “Nu Tao”, and the two sides fought for bayonets to see blood. The 389 boat directly collided with the “Nu Tao”.

Just when the Vietnamese Army thought that the content of this battle was limited to the close range bombardment of warships on both sides, the officers and soldiers of 389 took out rocket launchers, grenades, submachine guns


This is a very strange scene in the history of modern naval warfare. Naval officers and soldiers on one side with various army equipment fired at enemy warships at close range, and the naval battle became a land battle.

The Vietnamese army didn’t expect to be able to fight like this in the naval battle. It didn’t prepare a large number of army melee weapons in advance, so it had to let our army smash its deck with various land weapons.


After a hodgepodge of firepower output from the 389, the Vietnamese ship “Nu Tao” was completely paralyzed. The 389 was also seriously injured and was forced to run aground to save itself.

Completely paralyzed Vietnam army “Nu Tao”:


At this time of the battle, our 389 boats were seriously injured, the Vietnamese “Nu Tao” was paralyzed, the “Chen Qingyu” and “Li Changjie” were temporarily withdrawn, and only the Vietnamese flagship “Chen pingzhong” was besieged by Chinese 271 boats, 274 boats and 396 boats on the battlefield.


The PLA simply used four small boats to play the effect of partition and encirclement on the sea. The Vietnamese army was shown by this micro operation. Chen pingzhong, who was trapped in the siege, could not carry it for a while and was forced to flee.

Of course, the damage of Chinese ships is also great: in addition to the 389 boats that were seriously grounded before, 274 boats were also seriously injured and ran out of ammunition. At this time, the whole fleet can fight only half blood 271 boats and 396 boats.

Just when the Vietnamese army was still hesitant to fight back, the reinforcements 281 and 282 boats stationed on Yongxing Island finally received the order and rushed to the battlefield at full power.

Seeing the reinforcements of the people’s Liberation Army, the Vietnamese army completely collapsed its confidence and hurried away.

The “Nu Tao” was seriously injured and could not keep up with the escaping troops. It was surrounded by the reinforced PLA boats 281 and 282. It was sunk at 14:52, and the Xisha naval battle came to an end.


In this naval battle, 75 people were killed and 48 captured in South Vietnam.

The PLA sacrificed 18 people.

After the naval battle, the Central Military Commission decided to take advantage of the victory to recover the three Xisha Islands. Xu Shiyou ordered the troops to fight for the island on the 20th,

It recaptured all the islands occupied by South Vietnam in Xisha since 1956.

South Vietnamese soldiers stationed on the island surrendered to the PLA:


At this point, new China regained full control of the the Xisha Islands, and China’s control over the South China Sea began to rebound.

Yongxing Island, the largest island in Xisha, later became the seat of Sansha municipal government in Hainan Province.


The Xisha naval battle is the first complete victory of the Chinese nation in the foreign naval battle since modern times. After this war, new China gained a frontier base in the South China Sea, which laid a foundation for its future entry into the the Nansha Islands; Vietnam has lost its coastal defense gate.

For Vietnam, this active attack is a typical case of stealing chicken and not eroding rice.



Go south to Xisha

Despite heavy losses in Xisha, Vietnam still occupies a large number of islands and reefs in Nansha.

Although China has legal sovereignty over the the Nansha Islands, there is no law enforcement agency in the world, and it is basically in

Disobey the law

Status of.

If you want an island, you have to get it by yourself.

The pressure of the Vietnamese army on the the Nansha Islands is not great, because it is far away from Chinese Mainland, and the people’s Liberation Army has no stronghold here, so it is impossible to send troops from nearby bases for reinforcement like the previous Xisha naval battle.

This means that if there is a conflict in the the Nansha Islands, it will be an ocean war without backup for the PLA. What can be achieved depends on the warships you can send here.

There are no more than three sources of warships in a country: buy from others, wait for others to send them, and build them yourself.

China doesn’t have so much money to buy from others and expects others to give it away. China doesn’t have such popularity, so it can only make it by itself.

Because of its weak industrial foundation, new China could only build some small boats at the beginning. For example, those small boats that beat the Vietnamese warships in the Xisha naval battle were made in China.

However, as long as you persist in industrial development, you will always achieve something.

By the end of the 1970s, China had finally saved up a number of kiloton warships with certain ocean going capabilities.


Of course, although the tonnage of these warships barely reached the standard, the technical indicators are still far behind the world mainstream level. The weapons are mainly artillery, and there is a lack of reliable air-to-air missiles. In the era of the popularity of jet aircraft, the air defense of these warships basically belongs to streaking.

As the so-called “Centennial navy”, the construction and accumulation of the Navy requires a long cycle, and it may take decades to catch up with the world’s mainstream level in technology.

So for Vietnam, he has every reason to expect that the PLA will not come so soon, so that he can occupy more islands and build more facilities.

Will the PLA come?

Judging how aggressive a regime is mainly depends on its attitude towards the ocean.

Soon, the opportunity to test your initiative came.

On February 21, 1987, the 14th annual meeting of the Commission on oceans at UNESCO headquarters adopted the global plane joint survey plan.

The joint survey plan calls for the establishment of uniformly numbered ocean observation stations at global sea level, and it is decided that each country is responsible for the construction of ocean observation stations in its own territory. Among them, China is explicitly required to establish five ocean observation stations, namely, three along the coast of Chinese Mainland, one in the Xisha Islands and one in the Nansha Islands, and the number of ocean observation stations built in the Nansha Islands is “74”.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for China, because it means that the international community has given you a legitimate reason to intervene in Nansha.

Speaking of this, you may have a question. Nansha clearly belongs to China in legal theory. Why did China need reasons to send troops in the past?

This is because the international community has a very mild principle in dealing with such sovereignty issues:

On the one hand, they recognize your legal sovereignty, on the other hand, they oppose the use of force to change the status quo.


That is to say, if someone occupies your territory, you can’t use force. You should have a good talk with the other party. As for whether to talk or not, the international community doesn’t care, but as soon as you start, they will work together to scold you and punish you.

At that time, China’s national strength could not be compared with that at present. Its GDP was only a fraction of that of the United States, and it had no confidence to openly challenge the international community. So I can only swallow many problems.

However, building the observatory is to help the United Nations, and others have nothing to say. Vietnam even voted in favor of the proposal because of face loss.




As for the site selection of the observation station, the United Nations has no specific regulations, and the choice of which island or reef is left to China to decide. So China didn’t be polite to everyone, and resolutely chose Yongshu Reef, which has the most critical geographical location and the largest reef area (below the water surface).


Yongshu Reef is advantaged in its location. The area from the reef to the north to the the Xisha Islands is flat, and there are no other islands and reefs in the middle, so the two strongholds can be barrier free to each other

Obstruct the echo; At the same time, Yongshu Reef is about the same distance from the boundaries in the southeast and west directions of the the Nansha Islands.

This means that occupying here can easily control the three directions of the southeast and west of the the Nansha Islands. Coupled with the echo of the northern the Xisha Islands, the control of the South China Sea can be said to be in full control.

Moreover, Yongshu Reef also happens to hold the throat of the main channel of the South China Sea, and is less than 500 kilometers away from Vietnam’s largest military base, kinlan Bay.

It can even be said that whoever gets Yongshu Reef pinches everyone’s neck.


Of course, the premise for these visions to be realized is to build a strong military base on the reef, and the vast majority of Yongsu reef is below the water surface,

There are only a few stones above the water

? Relying on China’s national strength and technical level at that time, we can only barely build a shed on it. Military bases are just a dream.

The officers and soldiers in the 1980s have no way to imagine how to build a military base here in the future, but the mission of one generation is to build a base for another generation. How to build a base is a matter for future generations to consider. The key now is to hold the territory belonging to the Republic first.

From May to October 1987, China sent ships to the the Nansha Islands twice to investigate and select sites. In November, station 74 was located at Yongshu Reef.


Since everyone has come, China will not take only one island. In order to defend Yongshu Reef, the Chinese Navy also controls Huayang reef, which is more than 70 kilometers south of Yongshu Reef.


The design of yongshujiao No. 74 ocean observation station was completed in December, 1987, and the construction began in February, 1988. In this way, the PLA once again did a familiar job in the the Nansha Islands: recapture the territory lost by the national army.

Vietnam had been unwilling to let China build the South China Sea Observatory for the United Nations. When they found that China’s goal was actually Yongshu Reef, which was a must for strategists, they finally couldn’t hold back.


At this time, Vietnam immediately replaced the representatives who voted in favour of the Ocean Commission and publicly announced that it would intervene in China’s establishment of the No. 74 ocean Observatory in the the Nansha Islands.

After all, it is a four battle field, and those who should come will always come.



3.14 naval battle

After Vietnam turned its face, it began to frequently send ships to scout and interfere with construction around Yongshu Reef.

On January 14th, 1988, the Chinese Navy shield engineering force transported some construction equipment to Yongshu Reef.


Seeing this, the Vietnamese Navy immediately seized several islands and reefs near Yongshu Reef. In response, on January 23rd, 1988, the Chinese Navy formation arrived at the the Nansha Islands for patrol.

Both sides entered a state of tension.

On January 31, 1988, the Vietnamese Navy sent two armed transport ships, loaded with all kinds of equipment needed to build a high-rise house, and went straight to Yongxia reef in an attempt to rush to build it. They were intercepted head-on by the Chinese Navy frigate, which served as a warning task, and left unhappily.

When Yongshu Reef was not attacked, the Vietnamese army had to retreat and try to occupy the islands and reefs around Yongshu Reef to achieve the purpose of clamping down on Yongshu Reef. They first targeted Huayang reef in the south of Yongshu Reef.

Huayang reef in its original state:


On the afternoon of February 18, 1988, the Chinese Navy and the Vietnamese Navy scrambled to climb Huayang reef at the same time, and each put on their national flags to confront each other. There was also a confrontation between nearby warships, and the Vietnamese army agreed to withdraw three hours later. Subsequently, six Chinese reef guards worked hard for more than 40 hours until the high-rise house was completed.

After Yongshu Reef and Huayang reef were controlled by the people’s Liberation Army, the Vietnamese army did not dare to forcibly occupy them, but they did not give up the fight for control of the sea area and continued to seize other islands and reefs.

From January 15 to February 19, 1988, the Vietnamese army successively sent armed personnel to occupy five reefs around Yongshu Reef, including West reef, Wuyi reef, riji reef, Daxian reef and East reef, forming a siege of Yongshu Reef.


With the formation of the encirclement, the courage of the Vietnamese army grew again. On February 17, Vietnamese soldiers tried to take advantage of the night to dismantle and take away the sovereignty stone erected by China on Huayang reef.

This move was found by the nearby tugboat construction team of the people’s Liberation Army. Captain Lin Shuming immediately led five soldiers to defend the stone tablet, and confronted the Vietnamese army in the water for more than 20 hours. Finally, the Vietnamese army retreated.

The PLA in confrontation:


After the failure of the attempt on the stone tablet of Huayang reef, the Vietnamese army became angry and turned its spearhead to the Jiuzhang islands, more than 150 kilometers east of Yongshu Reef, and began to send additional warships to the region.

The islands and reefs in the southwest corner of Jiuzhang islands are called Chigua reef. The ghost shout reef is 3 kilometers to the north of Chigua reef and Qiong reef is 10 kilometers to the northeast.


These three reefs face Yongshu Reef directly in geography. If occupied by friendly forces, they can serve as the gateway to defend Yongshu Reef. If occupied by the enemy, they will become a sharp knife threatening Yongshu Reef. So these three reefs are very important, especially Chigua reef, which has the largest area of reefs.


On March 13, 1988, three Vietnamese warships arrived near Chigua reef. At the same time, Chinese naval vessels conducting scientific research in the area were immediately ready for battle.

At this time, although the warships of the people’s Liberation Army were not advanced, they were much stronger than those in the Xisha naval battle; At least there is a displacement of more than 1000 tons, and we no longer need to rely on small boats of hundreds of tons to throw grenades at enemy ships.

The Vietnamese Navy, on the other hand, is in a poor condition, and they are even better in terms of poverty.

After the Xisha naval battle, Vietnam had no money to buy new large warships, and lacked sufficient industrial capacity to build them by itself. It could only watch the old warships step by step into disrepair.

Then why did the Vietnamese army dare to take the initiative to provoke?

Mainly because of its proximity, the rear support of the Vietnamese army is much more convenient than that of the PLA. In addition, Vietnam also has expectations for the Soviet Navy stationed in Kam Lam Bay.

This is the bottom card of the Vietnamese army. They think they can take advantage of these advantages to bet that the PLA dare not really do it.

At this time, the Chinese side has three frigates guarding the Chigua reef:

The first generation of domestic old light frigate 502 “Nanchong” made in the 1960s


Domestic second-generation missile frigate 053k type 531 “Yingtan” ship


The ship is the first warship designed to be equipped with air defense missiles in China. Unfortunately, it has been in service for many years, but because of the delay and immature technology of air defense missiles, it cannot form air defense combat effectiveness, and the air missile launcher is in vain.

Domestic second-generation missile frigate 053h type 556 “Xiangtan”:


The “Xiangtan” warship was just commissioned in 1987, and it is already the latest warship of the South China Sea fleet. However, the actual technical level is only equivalent to the technical level of the great powers in the 1950s, and it fell behind when it was commissioned in the 1980s.

The three Vietnamese warships are:

The American made hq505 landing ship has a displacement of more than 4000 tons, a speed of only 12 knots, and is equipped with four dual 40mm rapid fire guns; Hq604 and hq605 armed transport ships, with a displacement of 822 tons, are only equipped with machine guns.


It is worth mentioning that the 604 and 605 transport ships are both equipment built by China to assist Vietnam in the 1970s, and they never expected to meet again and become rivals.

By the afternoon of March 13, the two sides had entered a state of serious confrontation.

From the perspective of paper strength, the Vietnamese army was completely at a disadvantage, but they showed an appetite that was completely out of proportion to their strength: they actually planned to use these three ships to seize three reefs at the same time.

At this time, the armed transport ship No. 604 of the Vietnamese army anchored at Chigua reef, No. 605 anchored at Qiong reef, and No. 505 landing ship anchored at ghost shout reef, and the war of seizing the island was imminent.


The focus is undoubtedly Chigua reef.

By 7 a.m. on March 14, 43 Vietnamese troops had boarded Chigua reef and planted two Vietnamese flags on the north side of the reef.

The Vietnam 604 ship transported the Vietnamese troops to the reef:


The Chinese Navy fought head-on, and 58 officers and soldiers were organized by 502 and 531 ships to board Chigua reef with guns.

The picture shows Xu Youfa, the political commissar of the 531 warship, mobilizing the officers and soldiers on the reefs for combat readiness, requiring them to annihilate their opponents once the other side shoots:


Because our warship is not a troop carrier and there is no special marine corps, non combat personnel, including cooks, signalmen, etc., have also been transferred to the landing forces.

According to the Navy’s pre War deployment, the landing personnel should drive the Vietnamese army out of the Chigua reef under the cover of the naval guns of three missile frigates, but they cannot fire the first shot.

So the two sides began to confront each other at close range on the reef half waist deep from the morning of March 14. From 100 meters away at the beginning to about 30 meters later, the Vietnamese soldiers made various provocative actions in an attempt to drive away the Chinese personnel.

Reef confrontation:


There are generally two kinds of confrontation on the battlefield, one is bluff, and the other is to accompany to the end. As for what kind of confrontation is, the answer can only be revealed after firing.

At 8:47, the Chinese soldier Du Houxiang who confronted the front line grabbed the flag pole of the Vietnamese army first. The Vietnamese soldiers finally lost their breath, and the muzzle pointed at Du Houxiang. Yang Zhiliang, the Deputy gunner of the 502 Nanchong ship, immediately opened the muzzle of the Vietnamese army to protect his comrades in arms. During the fight, the Vietnamese army gunshot rang, and Yang Zhiliang’s arm immediately bled like blood.

It is unwise to bet that the PLA has no backhand on the battlefield.

In fact, the PLA never fought unprepared battles. When they confronted each other, they had encircled the Vietnamese army in a tactical formation, and now they are waiting for this shot.

After the Vietnamese army fired, the PLA immediately fired back, killing and wounding most of the Vietnamese army in less than a minute, and the remaining Vietnamese soldiers surrendered one after another.


The PLA did not fire the first shot, but it did not let the Vietnamese army fire the second shot.

At this time, the Vietnamese 604 warship on the side saw an exchange of fire on the reef and immediately strafed the PLA on the reef with an anti-aircraft machine gun. However, due to the large dead angle of the anti-aircraft machine gun, it was difficult to hit the sea, and did not cause substantial damage to the PLA officers and soldiers.

However, whether the Vietnamese warship really hit it or not, his act of shooting at the people’s Liberation Army made a big taboo.

Seeing that the Vietnamese 604 warship dared to shoot at our officers and soldiers with shipborne weapons, the 502 Nanchong and 531 Yingtan warships of the people’s Liberation Army immediately fired at them with their main guns.


Under the full attack of the two ships, the Vietnamese 604 ship was shot and caught fire after only 9 minutes, and sank rapidly.


At this time, the Yue army 505 landing ship near the ghost shout reef also rushed into the battle (dead) bureau (Road) and fired at the Chinese fleet with a 40mm mechanism gun. The commander Chen Weiwen immediately ordered the 531 Yingtan ship to fight back.

The PLA ship 531 is about 5.5 kilometers away from the Vietnam ship 505. The fierce fire of its double barrel 100 mm naval gun caused the Vietnam ship 505 to be seriously injured and catch fire and completely lose its combat effectiveness. So ship 505 had to rush to the nearby ghost reef and ran aground for help.

Although the ship 505 after grounding avoided the fate of sinking to the sea bottom, it could not stand the fire on board. Later, it burned for five days and five nights, and was completely burned.

Burnt ship 505:


On the other side of Qiong reef, the Chinese Navy’s 556 Xiangtan missile frigate launched an attack on the Vietnamese 605 ship at 9:15. It was not long before the Vietnamese 605 ship was shot and caught fire. Later, it sank halfway because of too much water in the process of fleeing at full speed.

3.14 in just 48 minutes before and after the naval battle, the Chinese Navy achieved an overwhelming record of destroying three Vietnamese ships, seizing a Vietnamese military flag and annihilating 527 enemy troops at a small cost of one minor injury and no damage to the ships.

Facing an opponent like the people’s Liberation Army, if you have no advantage in equipment, you basically have no advantage.


After defeating the Vietnamese Navy, the Chinese Naval Formation recovered six reefs at one go, including Yongshu Reef, Chigua reef, Dongmen reef, Huayang reef, Zhubi reef and Nanxun reef.

Unfortunately, because the Chinese Navy at that time lacked the necessary air defense equipment, let alone the shelter of aircraft carriers, the fleet was unable to resist the possible air attack launched by the enemy.

In order to avoid being raided by Vietnamese fighters, the Chinese Navy formation quickly withdrew to Zhanjiang base after recovering six reefs, and failed to further control more unmanned reefs (some unattended reefs, including ghost shout reef and Qiong reef, were later occupied by the Vietnamese Army).

So far, the Nansha naval battle was over.


This naval battle not only made the Vietnamese army lose their wives and soldiers, but also made them deeply feel the warmth and coldness of the world.

The Soviet Navy stationed at Vietnam’s Kam Lam Bay naval base had high hopes from the Vietnamese army. As a result, these brothers watched the whole process without saying a word. Seeing this attitude of big brother, Vietnam can only silently accept the fact that China has recovered six islands and reefs.

Obviously, the Soviet Union knew better than Vietnam what kind of opponent new China was.

Of course, although these islands and reefs recaptured by the PLA through naval warfare sound like “islands”, they are actually just a few stones that are exposed to the surface, and it is not easy to stand alone.

Nevertheless, they still filled the blank of new China’s control over the the Nansha Islands, pushing the actual control point of new China in the South China Sea territory southward by 800 kilometers, ending the history that the Republic can only exercise sovereignty over Nansha Islands by issuing statements.



The rise of sea power

According to the standards of the great powers, the scale of the Xisha and Nansha naval battles is very small, and the level of war is not worth mentioning. However, these two battles are of great significance to China, and they have paved a way for China’s ocean strategic space.

The six reefs recaptured by the people’s navy in the Chigua reef naval battle were nailed to the the Nansha Islands like six nails, and it was with these “nails” that the people’s Liberation Army began to stick to Nansha for 28 years, retaining a glimmer of hope for the Republic to effectively control the waters of Nansha.


In 1994, China resisted the pressure of the Philippines and achieved actual control over Meiji reef. So far, China has controlled seven islands and reefs in Nansha.


In 2016, these seven reefs, which were originally just a few reefs, were expanded into three large islands and four small islands by China, which has grown into the world’s second largest economy, and military bases were established, fulfilling the dreams of the officers and soldiers who seized the islands 28 years ago.

After the completion of the seven Nansha Islands, China has become the country with the largest land area in the the Nansha Islands (accounting for 82.8% of the Nansha land area), forming an overwhelming advantage over the surrounding forces.

Among them, Yongshu island after the expansion of Yongshu Reef has become the residence of Nansha District People’s Government of Sansha City:


Relying on the large military bases on Nansha artificial island and the Xisha Islands, including airports, military ports and radar stations, the PLA has achieved comprehensive coverage of the South China Sea from air to underwater, completed the actual control of the whole South China Sea, and expanded the strategic space of the Chinese nation by 3million square kilometers.


It can be said that today, the PLA finally brought back the South China Sea territory lost by the national army that year.

Besides these seven islands and reefs, China actually controls other unknown reefs.

Including anda reef, which can surface at low tide, Ximen reef and Anle reef, which are close to Dongmen island. In addition, there are many shoals and reefs that are not exposed to the sea, which are unattended and have actually been controlled by China, which has the sea power.

It is worth mentioning that the key to controlling the territory of the South China Sea is not to control islands and reefs, but to control the sea area; Controlling islands and reefs is only a way to control the sea area, not an end.


Although the number of islands occupied by China is at a disadvantage, its land area, military bases and the strength of the Navy and air force are all in an absolute advantage. After achieving full military coverage of the South China Sea, it is of little significance to grab the remaining stones that are exposed to the surface.

The following figure shows the view of Chigua Reef from ghost shout reef. We can see that in front of the absolute strength gap, occupying the uninhabited islands and reefs is only symbolic.


Of course, the current Chinese Navy and the navies of countries around the South China Sea are no longer in the same niche, and there is no substantive competitive relationship.

The original force that could only send a few small boats has now grown into the world’s second Navy, and the South China Sea has gradually become a stage for the game between China and the United States.


However, no matter who the opponent comes to the game is, as long as you think that what is guarding here is an army that once dared to go to sea with a hand grenade, I’m afraid you need to weigh your weight.

The people’s navy is full of military virtue. In the past 72 years, they have won the sea area at the door of their home for China, and now they are moving towards a broader ocean.

Every confrontation and battle they win at sea in the future will promote China’s national destiny to take a big step forward.


Appendix: Previous and present life of Nansha seven islands

Yongshu Reef:



Meiji reef



Zhubi reef



Huayang reef:



Chigua reef:



Nanxun reef:



Dongmen reef:



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