Operational Art in the Sino-Vietnamese War
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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After forming in 1949, the Peoples Republic of China fought four land campaigns to reassert its regional power. The Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979 was the fourth and last of these campaigns and escapes notice as both adversaries attempt to downplay the wars history. Historians typically criticize China for failing to dominate its smaller neighbor and achieve its objectives in the War. This study challenges the criticisms of China and analyzes how the Peoples Liberation Army achieved strategic objectives and changed the regional power structure through the theoretical framework of operational art. The proposed thesis was China conducted operational art by arranging tactical actions to achieve strategic objectives in the Sino-Vietnamese War. This study concluded that Chinese leadership viewed regional alliances as external vulnerabilities that required action. This study also concluded that China conducted operational art, primarily through the appropriate use of tempo, operational reach and simultaneity. In addition, the study found the Peoples Liberation Army did not find the use of depth appropriate in a war with limited objectives.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics