China’s Army Navy v. US Navy

| March 8, 2021

Ah! China now has the allegedly largest Navy in the world. It comes under the heading of Peoples Liberation Army Navy. China doesn’t seem to be able to separate its Army from its Navy, so if you’re confused about an Army Navy.

However, in view of the fact that we don’t build crappy fleet ships and ours have a history of lasting through real warfare and having long lifespans, it might be appropriate to stick our oar into this, for a good reason.

Y’see, back in 2019, a Chinese admiral bragged to a live audience about how easy it would be to sink a US Navy aircraft carrier. But this isn’t new stuff.  Rear Admiral Lou Yuan told an audience in Shenzhen that “what the United States fears the most is taking casualties” before declaring that destroying one of its supercarriers would kill 5,000 navy personnel. Bragging about China’s anti-ship missile capabilities, Lou added that sinking two carriers would double that figure, the New York-based Epoch Times reports. He told a top military summit: “We’ll see how frightened America is.” Yeah, right.

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/01/04/well-see-how-frightened-america-is-chinese-admiral-says-sinking-us-carriers-key-to-dominating-south-china-sea/

Frankly, it ain’t quite that easy.  When the Navy wanted to find out what it does take to sink an aircraft carrier, the designated ship for testing was a Kitty Hawk-class carrier, USS America. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/22639/this-is-the-only-photo-of-a-u-s-navy-supercarrier-being-sunk

And I have news for that Chinese Army Navy Admiral, and his boss. and their ilk: when USS America was decommissioned and sent into a “sink the ship” test, she had to be scuttled because the old girl refused to sink despite heavy bombardment from our own people.

If we had trouble sinking one of our own and she finally had to be scuttled by demolition teams, then what makes Those People think it’s easy to sink one of our flattops or any other USNAV ship?  https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/just-how-hard-it-sink-aircraft-carrier-166482

To quote the National Interest article: “America stood up to four weeks of abuse and only succumbed to the sea after demolition teams scuttled the ship on purpose.” – article

The objective was to find out what it really does take to sink one of those big ships of ours, as a means of improving the unsinkable ships in the supercarrier class. It seems that we have to do it ourselves.

And then some armaments “expert” at Forbes had to stick his oar into it, too:   https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2020/06/21/china-can-sink-american-ships-faster-than-america-can-replace-them/

Obviously, we’re doomed, despite considering that China’s “fleet” construction is based on technology that they stole from us over the years. Unfortunately, large numbers don’t mean a whole lot if your Army’s Navy is quantity versus untested quality.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/just-how-hard-it-sink-aircraft-carrier-166482

If you want to know just how tough our ships are, the photo linked is from World War II, a shot of the deck of USS Enterprise being hit by a Japanese kamikaze attack. Couldn’t sink the old girl then, still can’t do it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Enterprise_(CV-6)#/media/File:Japanese_bomb_hits_USS_Enterprise_(CV-6)_flight_deck_during_Battle_of_the_Eastern_Solomons,_24_August_1942_(80-G-17489).jpg

I’d have to say that the hubris in evidence re: the Chinese brag is kind of getting ahead of itself.

Category: China, Navy

Comments (48)

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  1. The ship that couldn’t be sunk was the Carrier USS Franklin during WW2. She was berthed at the Norfolk NOB D & S piers where we had to berth there due to no room including pier 12. She was from what I remember was sold to one of the razor blade companies which I never did check out to see if the skinny was right. chinese naval ships have a govt rep on board to advise the skipper on different matters which they both work on together. Got this from March USNI magazine.

  2. FuzeVT says:

    I don’t know enough to really wade into any sort of serious debate on this. I will say that I would be EXTREMELY confident in betting a great deal of money on the US in a China v. US full on naval battle. We would take casualties, for sure – but to me the outcome would never be in doubt.

    The one thing I do know is that I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be a Chinese sailor when the US military was in a full out effort to destroy your navy.

    (I guess we might get to see this match up soon since I’m sure they’ll have seen that Dr. Seuss drawing by now.)

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      The difference between us and China has a lot to do with technical advances that we’ve made over many decades, based on prior “what worked, what didn’t”. I don’t think they have that and they have been rushing to get their fleet up and running. If it’s true that haste makes waste, it’s my view that they are in the “quantity vs. quality” state, and I hope I’m right.

      • FuzeVT says:

        One thing I am worried about is that as technical complexity increases, so does time for manufacturing (not even touching cost). The most complex aircraft of the US arsenal was the B-29. Once the problems were worked out (engines catching on fire over the ocean are not generally a good thing), production began on a mass scale and many were churned out in not too long a time. I don’t know how much faster we could produce an F-35 or an aircraft carrier than we do today without simply making more factories. Even that is limited because of limitations in availability of electronic components. It would take much longer, I believe, to gear up for production now than it did in WWII simply because of increase in complex parts for every darned thing we use.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Several things happened at the beginning of World War II:

        – Ford converted its assembly lines from automobiles to airplanes and war machinery.
        – A large labor force was available for work that did not require a college degree.

        Those two things themselves were a product of the late 1930s-early 1940s, and the vehicles we take for granted are frequently built overseas. Nothing says that can’t be brought back here. Ditto electronics: everything is stamped and constructed by machinery, not made by hand, and can easily be turned into robotics assembly lines.

        Also, we have more allies now than back then, a more diverse good, and if China should cast its eye on Vladivostok, as it did during World War I, to try to turn that into a seaport, I do not think Russia would take kindly to it.

        China may have a larger population than we do – no argument there – but without being led around by the nose by Xi Jinping and the rest of the CC party, I believe they’d be about as useful as used kleenex.

        Any advances by China in technology are stolen from us and from their other trading partners, including Australia. I’m viewing this bit of bragging as all show and no-go. Their hasty construction of a fleet over the past 5 to 7 years says ‘quantity, NOT quality’.

        • Thunderstixx says:

          The one factor that all of these fucklownes seem to forget, we have the entire Second World War to work out the bugs in our entire fleet…..
          The USS Cole was proof of just how good our ships really are. Blew a huge hole in the side of it and killed some crewmen, but….. It still didn’t sink, period…
          There is redundancy in every part of a Naval ship and we are damn good at knowing how to work it, steer it, float it and not sink it, no matter what the fuck is thrown at these fine ladies of the sea !!!!!
          The US and the British are the real experienced sailors, not a bunch of wannabe Captain Bligh’s that stole the entire ship they pilot….
          If they want a fight, they will get one !!!

          • Thunderstixx says:

            The US Navy has the best toys !!!!
            My daughters first words when she saw the USS Lexington at the dock in Corpus Christy…..
            “Holy shit Dad, it’s HUGE” !!!
            “Does that thing really float” ???
            She came away duly impressed with the US Navy, as I have been for most of my life too.

        • USMC Steve says:

          Keep in mind that since their Civil War, the Chinese haven’t won a war. They tried to invade North Vietnam once in the late 1970’s, and it cost them dearly. And if they were to start the shit, they would find a whole bunch of countries that wanted a piece of their ass.

    • QMC says:

      It depends on several variables.

      Are we talking about a full on naval battle over the open Pacific? Thousands of miles from the China mainland?

      What kind of support will we have from the allies in the area? S. Korea, Australia, Taiwan, and Japan can be assumed, but what about the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam?

      How far ahead are we now in technological advances from their fleet. We know that they steal most of their industrial might from other nations (chiefly ours), but we have always had a gap in our implemented advances distancing what they’ve stolen by at least a few years, if not a decade or so. That gap has been starting to shrink as of late.

      Also, what will be the climate of political leadership? Dictator Xi will be looking for a political show of force to shore up the last remnants of permanent power before the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th Congress convenes in 2022. I can’t say that I trust Joe Biden to find his way to the Men’s room in the White House in his current state of mind at this point, much less lead the country to victory in a massive war.

  3. LC says:

    Frankly, it ain’t quite that easy.

    Not easy, maybe, but the new generation of hypersonic ASBMs are definitely something to keep an eye on.

    https://sofrep.com/fightersweep/china-claims-their-hypersonic-missiles-could-take-out-us-carriers-and-theyre-probably-right/

    Of course, hitting a carrier is like sucker-punching Mike Tyson. Sure, you may land a hit, but that’s when your real problems start.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I was viewing that Admiral’s bragadoccio and had to find something that could deflate his inflated opinion, which was the article about what it took (scuttling) to sink USS America after the bombardment.

      Ours are tough critters, but they have to be these days. While we do have aging ships, yes, we also have an incentive to win that isn’t forced on us. (This is why sports is important in school.)

      I still think we’d come out ahead, period.

      • Poetrooper says:

        Ex, a gentle reminder from ol’ Poe:

        Our carriers do not have to be sunk, merely damaged to the point they are rendered hors de combat.

        Our best defense is dispersion of the carrier force and that has been made easier by the diversion of amphibious assault ships into platforms for the nuclear-capable F-35’s, a capability we badly need as China grows more aggressive.

        https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/sneaky-way-navy-getting-more-aircraft-carriers-f-35s-57607

        Were our air strike capability limited to the super-carriers, the Chinese might be more confident of taking out our retaliatory capability with a surprise first strike. But having these widely-dispersed, smaller-profile amphib/carriers widely dispersed has to give them some pause in that regard.

        This was a point I was repeatedly making a few years ago when we were arguing the merits of the F-35 here at TAH.

        Then of course there’s our sub-surface capability.

        And by the way, don’t forget to give Bill Clinton credit for selling our cutting-edge military technology to Communist China in return for millions in campaign contributions.

        • Poetrooper says:

          There’s an extra “widely-dispersed” in there. Sorry ’bout dat…😖😖😖

        • Eric (The OC Tanker) says:

          Before ‘you’ can sink a CVN, one first, must localize the thing. Ya, a carrier is a big boat, Da ocean is a bigger place.

          Ya can’t kill it if you can’t find it.

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          Poe, with all due respect, the Enterprise was damaged during World War II and still went on working. And if CVN America couldn’t even be made to take on water by constant bombardment from our OWN people, then I’m satisfied that WE have the better equipment/ships/everything than the Chinaboys.

  4. E4 Mafia '83-'87 says:

    I’m about half-way through the Tom Clancy novel ‘SSN’, and SPOLIER ALERT it doesn’t end well for the Chi-Coms as the US Navy & China battle in the South China Sea.

  5. George V says:

    A couple of thoughts…
    – You don’t have to sink the carrier, just make it combat ineffective. Blow some holes in the flight deck to render the cats and arresting gear into scrap and it’s done. With the pace of all-out war today compared to WWII it could not be repaired in time.
    – Don’t sell the Chinese short on quality because they have stolen the technology for most of their military.
    – The Chinese do have something we don’t, which is the political will, thanks to being a dictatorship, to establish infrastructure to rapidly build ships.
    – Compare pictures of our ships vs. the Chinese Navy. Ours our in need of significant work. This is due to age as well as maintenance funding.
    – I wonder how much we’ve convinced ourselves of our superior technology. Clearly it was superior at the end of the Cold War. Now I wonder.

    A story from my first Med deployment in 1977, on no less than the USS America, CV-66. I was one of the squadron reps on the debrief after a major exercise of the task group vs. a Soviet multi-prong attack of submarines, ship and air launched cruise missiles. Some staff weenie made a big deal about how many missiles were theoretically intercepted. The captain of a cruiser, who looked the part of a grizzled sea dog, tore this guy a new one for not saying how many missiles were not intercepted. It was a lot, enough to hit every ship several times.

    We’ve been good at blowing smoke up our own butts for many years. I suspect we are at it again and we could come up very short in any peer-to-peer fight.

    Sorry, long rant. I get that way when I read about the old girl’s sinking.

    • Mason says:

      There’s a lot of exercises that have happened where the powers that be have ignored the failings of their doctrines. The 100 year anniversary of Billy Mitchell showing the Navy how vulnerable they were to lightly armed aircraft was last month. Not even twenty years ago, General Van Ripper showed up the USN.

      In both cases, it wasn’t a failure to adapt to the threat on the part of Navy leadership. It wasn’t taken as a chance to learn. It was a failure of their opponent to follow the strict rules of engagement set up in the exercise parameters. “I may have lost the war, but you didn’t fight it fair, sir!”

    • MK75Gunner says:

      Spot on observations George V. Additionally, I think people put way too much stock in the “it took x amount of ordnance to try and sink the USS Whatever ship when they used it for a sinkex” Keep in mind that was a ship that was devoid of any fuels, oils, missiles, ammo, etc. All you’re doing is hitting an empty hull. An Aircraft Carrier, or any Naval Vessel, but especially a Carrier, is a floating city of ordnance and combustibles. One not need sink it via penetrating the hull at the water line. More likely scenario is as George V described. Look at the results of the USS Forrestal disaster. That was 1 Zuni rocket, let loose on deck and striking a fully uploaded A4. Imagine what a current Chinese ASBM courtesy of stolen US technology could do.

  6. RGR 4-78 says:

    The ChiComs need to ask Iran about sinking USN Carriers, they are the subject mater experts. 😉

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Oddly, even the fake wooden aircraft “carrier” that the Iranian motorboats floated refused to sink when attacked as a target. The Iranian boat drivers had to scuttle that one, so that it did not float in to port and embarrass them.

  7. KoB says:

    Interesting. I lean with FuzeVt in that I’m not up on this as much as I should be, or would like to be. Also agree with Ex in that copycat ain’t as good, but quantity does have a quality all its own. Nice linky that LC added giving another perspective. In order to bring “All of of weapons to bear”, we gotta get close enough to “…bring all weapons to bear…” George makes some good points with his personal experiences that is also reflected in what Clancy wrote in the Red Storm Rising tome. The Aegis Defense system hadn’t been programed to counter more targets than what it had available missiles for.

    Part of me thinks “I wish the mofos would…” to the thought that War is dangerous to children and other living things. We really don’t want to get into a shooting war with a “peer” enemy. And neither do the Communist Chinese. Why should they start a shooting war with us when they are well on their way to owning/taking over the World without a war. They are well and truly surrounded on all sides by potential enemies, that at the end of the day would probably side with the US. We can only hope that they would. Remember the old saying; “Never get into a war on the Asian Land Mass.” Can’t recall a single time that it has worked out well…for anybody.

  8. Martinjmpr says:

    So does this mean that every year at the annual Peoples Liberation Army-Navy game there is only one team?

    I guess that’s one way to make sure you have an unbroken winning streak.

  9. FC2 (SW) Ron says:

    It’s my understanding that THIS asshole “Rear Admiral” Lou (sounds like a kiddie toucher to me) is only a “scholar” and not a real ocifer.

    I remember reading something about him after he made his bold statements and I did a little looking into him. He’s a CCP member who holds an “academic military rank” in shaping military theory and not an actual service role.

    China can’t even UNREP (Underway Replenish for you non-Nav people) like the Soviets couldn’t do so that means they need anchorage or ports. Not many nautical miles will be served on empty fuel tanks, stomachs and weaponry. Fuck ChyNa!

  10. 26Limabeans says:

    Seems to me Chicom warships don’t venture far from home.
    Or their aircraft for that matter.

  11. Sgt K says:

    Hell, even John McCain tried and failed to sink his own carrier. And kudos to the Navy, I read somewhere earlier today that the USS Nimitz just finished an almost year-long cruise that covered 99,000 miles.

    • Berliner says:

      The USS Nimitz docked in Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Washington, Sunday after an 11 month journey. From the Seattle times:

      “Over the past 11 months, the nuclear warship completed five dual-carrier operations, including a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan and defensive counter-air missions against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. It also participated in military exercises with Indian, Australian and Japanese forces. During the few times the Nimitz came into port, the crew was not permitted traditional shore leave because of the pandemic. Instead, they slept on board and were instructed to not interact with the public on land, The New York Times reported last month.”

      https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/uss-nimitz-first-navy-carrier-deployed-amid-pandemic-returns-to-bremerton/

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      McCain was many things.

      The cause of a carrier fire he was not. You will find that despicable rumor well refuted.

  12. Bob Drennan says:

    LOL CV’s were built with WW2 in mind, CVN are not. Way the Navy is running things ie GW fire, collisions last few years the PLAN Adm is right. They get one of their large missiles to hit home it’s going to be a shitshow.

  13. rgr1480 says:

    China must be gearing up:

    A ‘Masculinity Crisis’? China Says the Boys Are Not All Right

    HONG KONG — Government officials in China believe that boys are getting more effeminate and want to toughen them up.

    In the latest attempt to tackle what academics and news outlets call a “masculinity crisis,” the Education Ministry has proposed emphasizing the “spirit of yang,” or male attributes, by hiring more sports instructors and redesigning physical education classes in elementary and secondary schools.

    The plan, a response to a top official’s call to “prevent the feminization of male youths,”
    ….
    …the prevalence of female teachers in kindergartens and elementary schools and the popularity of “pretty boys” in pop culture [rgr1480 note: these are the boy band type who use makeup and look pretty much like girl wannabes] had made boys “weak, inferior and timid.” He also lamented that boys no longer wanted to become war heroes, warning that such a trend could endanger the Chinese people.

    Full article here:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/world/asia/china-masculinity-schoolboys.html

    • Anonymous says:

      Way more young men than women (due to the one-child policy) and they want to make them more masculine… Xi talking about Lebensraum will be next.

  14. steeleyI says:

    The INDOPACOM Commander had this to say in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee today:

    “The greatest danger for the United States in this competition is the erosion of conventional deterrence… Absent a convincing deterrent, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be emboldened to take action to undermine the rules- based international order and the values represented in our vision for a Free and Open Indo- Pacific.

    “In 2019, I reported to this Committee we had lost a quantitative advantage and our qualitative advantage was shrinking across several domains as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fields higher quality systems.”

    https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Davidson_03-09-21.pdf

    Without a credible deterrent in the Pacific, China could present us with a fait accompli- we could wake up one morning with the Taiwan in the hands of the PLA, and we would have to fight our way in.

    Since we have lost our overmatch, and would be fighting at the edge of our operational reach, it is not currently a given that we would be able to get in.

    Between the PLAN and PLAGF, the Chinese have significant A2AD (Anti-Access-Area Denial) capabilities. We could probably take them down, but it will take time, and we would be foolish to sail a carrier into those threat rings until then.

    They don’t need to ‘sink’ a carrier, they just need to render it ineffective. They are banking on us not taking the chance.

    This is why PACOM is looking to establish bases and move forces further West to establish Integrated Air Defense (IAD) and ground based anti-shipping systems in places like Guam. This would help regain the credible deterrence by providing protection to forces we move into the theater.

    This is also why the Army and Marine Corps are changing their operating concepts to Multi Domain Operations and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, respectively. You will see highly mobile brigade sized task forces built around long range precision fires, IAD, and cyber/space capabilities to give ground forces the ability to influence the Sea and Air domains.

    In future, you could see an Army missile fired from an atoll seized by the Marines destroy a PLAN ship that was originally detected by the Navy, with USAF assets providing cyber support and overall mission command, all facilitated by the Space Force. The Coast Guard, meanwhile, would be interdicting Chinese ‘Little Blue Men’ (Naval Militias) attempting to interfere with neutral shipping.