Taiwan Turns Its Tanks, Armored Vehicles Into Cranes As It Prepares For A Possible Chinese Invasion

Taiwan is leaving no stone unturned in order to prepare for a Chinese invasion, this time practising a World war II tactic viz-a-viz urban camouflage. 

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The Taiwanese armed forces kicked off the “Combat Readiness Week” exercise on October 26. Several armoured vehicles were spotted in urban cities. In a bid to strengthen its armed forces against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that has been muscle-flexing in the region.

On Wednesday morning, the soldiers of the machine infantry battalion manoeuvred all types of armoured vehicles to tactical positions, and used the surrounding environment to camouflage them with mud and branches, said Taiwanese Military News. 

“The tanks rarely appeared on the streets and let the people feel that the national army is always guarding them.”

The photos of the tanks released by the Taiwanese Military News reveal several varieties of M113 armoured personnel carrier camouflaged blending in urban areas under plants and ferns or coloured patterns reflecting usual urban equipment.

Thomas Newdick of The Drive recognizing the variety of military vehicles said that a Cold War-era American-made M60A3 Patton, or a locally upgraded CM-11 and CM-12 Brave Tiger hidden under, what looks like a bridge, covered in a metallic colour, effectively blending with a metal sheet in the background.

M113 Armored personnel carrier under a bridge

Another picture shows an infantry vehicle in yellow colour. According to The Drive, the vehicle looks like a Clouded Leopard 8×8 infantry fighting vehicle adapted to look like a yellow civilian crane. “The effect was achieved using a combination of yellow-painted wooden boards and fabric.”

The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND) Spokesperson Shih Shun-wen noted that armoured brigade personnel have been ordered to attach camouflage netting to their vehicles and practice utilizing nearby features, city structures, and civilian areas to increase survivability during a potential attack. 

He further added that the drills enable soldiers to experience a real war environment and enhance the overall strength of Taiwan’s military. He stated that the country’s ground, naval, and aerial forces are all participating in the exercises, reported Taiwan News.

The aim of these drills is to train the crew to handle the vehicle and camouflage during a Chinese invasion. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the drill improves the army’s ability to “conceal, cover, camouflage, deceive, and manoeuvre.”

Reportedly, the soldiers would go through drills including hot refuelling and arming among other skills of the AH-64E Apache attack helicopter and a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter of the 601st Army Aviation Special Forces Brigade that will land next to the Hsinchu High-Speed Rail station.

The camouflage tactic is an old technique widely used during World War II to blend in civilian locations. However, now that military technology has been developed over the years, the tactic might be rendered useless if the adversary uses infrared optics for night vision, navigation, surveillance and targeting.

Cross-Strait relations with mainland China have been deteriorating with Beijing claiming sovereignty over the island and seeking its return to the mainland fold even by force if necessary. It has staged several drills and is firm on its motives. China has been openly threatening Taipei against its “secessionist” motives, meanwhile, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has refused to accept the one-China principle and is strongly supports the self-governance of Taiwan.

The US has been at the forefront of supporting the Taiwanese forces by arming the Taiwanese military. Washington has said that it will lend its military support if the Chinese invade the island.