Strategy in Regional Conflict: A Case Study of China in the Third Indochina Conflict of 1979
Strategy research rept.
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
In February 1979 a very violent and strangely limited 28-day war between Asian communist combatants occurred in the remote northern border region of Vietnam. The purpose of this campaign study is to historically examine the Peoples Republic of Chinas PRC application of strategy in regional conflict and assess the Peoples Liberation Armys PLA operational performance during the Third Indochina Conflict. Chinas enduring policy of containing Vietnamese hegemony in Southeast Asia ultimately led the PRC leadership to select a carefully limited military response supported by other elements of national power. This integrated national strategic campaign achieved most of its political objective of punishing Vietnam, but the lack of early, conclusive battlefield success by the PLA cost the PRC prestige and negotiation leverage. PLA inadequacies in 1979 at the operationaljoint level of war and in offensive tactical organization, doctrine and material have limited study of this event. This approach fails to recognize the Third Indochina Conflict as a recent and overall successful instance of Chinese strategic management of regional conflict and military campaigning in limited warfare. Finally, the conflicts results help explain Chinas late-20th century military reforms and remain relevant to understanding future PRC military potential and strategicoperational style.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics