Cover image for Chinese warfighting : The PLA experience since 1949
Chinese warfighting : The PLA experience since 1949
Ryan, Mark A.
Publication Information:
Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, [2003]

Physical Description:
vii, 336 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"An east gate book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
UA837 .C458 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This is the first systematic study of modern China's military campaigns and the actual fighting conducted by the People's Liberation Army since the founding of the People's Republic. It provides a general overview of the evolution of PLA military doctrine, and then focuses on major combat episodes from the civil war with the Nationalists to the last significant combat in Vietnam in 1979, in addition to navy and air operations through 1999. In contrast to the many works on the specifics and hardware of China's military modernization, this book discusses such topics as military planning, command, and control; fighting and politics; combat tactics and performance; technological catch-up and doctrinal flexibility; the role of Mao Zedong; scale and typologies of fighting; and deterrence. The contributors include scholars from Mainland China, Taiwan, and the United States, who draw from a wealth of fresh archival sources.

Author Notes

Cheng Feng, a Chinese scholar, is a former member of the People's Liberation Army
David M. Finkelstein is the director of Project Asia, The CNA Corporation's Asian security studies center. A retired U.S. Army Officer, he is a graduate of West Point, the Army Command & General Staff College, and the Army War College, and holds a Ph.D. in Chinese history from Princeton University. He served in Panmunjom, Korea, supporting Military Armistice Commission talks among the UN Command, the North Korean People's Army, and the Chinese People's Volunteers. Dr. Finkelstein has published widely on current Chinese security issues
Paul H.B. Godwin was professor of international affairs at the National War College, Washington, DC until his 1998 retirement and is currently a consultant and nonresident scholar in the Atlantic Council's Asia-Pacific Program. His teaching and research specialties focus on Chinese defense and security policies
He Di is an investment banker based in Hong Kong. Before entering the business world, he was assistant director of the Institute of American Studies within the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Alexander C. Huang is professor of international relations at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, Tamkang University, Taiwan and vice president of the Taiwan-based Chinese Eurasian Foundation. Dr. Huang has worked as a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as a visiting fellow in the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.
Henry J. Kenny is a senior analyst and studies director at The CNA Corporation. He served as an infantry officer in Vietnam, and has taught at the U.S. Military Academy, American University, George Washington University, and the Institute for International Relations in Hanoi. He has worked for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the American Embassy Tokyo, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Dr. Kenny is the author of The American Role in Vietnam and East Asia and Shadow of the Dragon (dealing with the relationship between China and Vietnam), among other publications
Xiaobing Li is professor of history and associate director of Western Pacific Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is a past president of both the Association of Chinese Historians in the United States and Chinese Professors of Social Sciences in the United States, and has also worked at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. Dr. Li, who served in the PLA, has authored and edited a number of books
Rear Admiral Michael A. McDevitt, U.S. Navy (Ret.), is director of The CNA Corporation's Center for Strategic Studies. During his Navy career he held four atsea commands including command of an aircraft carrier battle group. He served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense during the first Bush Administration and then as Director for Strategy, War Plans, and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command. Admiral McDevitt holds advanced degrees from Georgetown University and the National War College, and his final Navy post was commandant of the National War College
Thomas Robinson is president of American Asian Research Enterprises in McLean, Virginia. He was adjunct professor of national security at Georgetown University and course chair for China at the Foreign Service Institute, and has otherwise divided his professional time between research institutes, including RAND, Council on Foreign Relations, and the American Enterprise Institute, and university teaching, including Columbia, Dartmouth, Washington, UCLA, and the National War College. Dr. Robinson has published widely on China, Russia, Sino-Soviet relations, national security, American-Asian relations, and international relations forecasting
Mark A. Ryan is a research analyst within Project Asia at The CNA Corporation. He has taught at Georgetown University and George Washington University, and has worked for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the U.S. Information Agency
Larry M. Wortzel is director of the Asian Studies Center of The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. During his 32-year U.S. Army career he held infantry and military intelligence posts, and earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Hawaii. He was the Army attache at the American Embassy in China and director of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
Yu Bin is Associate Professor in the Political Science Department of Wittenberg University. He is a senior associate of the Shanghai American Studies Center and an associate analyst for the Pacific Forum in Hawaii, and has been a fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii and the China Center of International Studies in Beijing. Dr. Yu, the editor and coauthor of several books, served in the PLA infantry from 1968 to 1972
Shu Guang Zhang is professor of international relations within the department of history at the University of Maryland
Xiaoming Zhang taught history at Texas Tech University and is presently associate professor of history at Texas A&M International University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

These useful essays dissect the military planning and campaigns undertaken by China's Communist leaders between 1948 and 1999. The authors include Chinese and US military veterans, policy analysts, and military historians. Overviews of the development of military doctrine and the roles of the Chinese navy and air force accompany other chapters that focus more narrowly on specific campaigns: the capture of Beijing and Tianjin in 1949, an aborted plan to take Taiwan shortly afterward, the Korean war, the Taiwan Straits crises of the 1950s, the Sino-Indian War of 1962, Sino-Soviet border clashes in the 1960s, and the Sino-Vietnam War of 1979. The book's strengths are the detailed descriptions of the various conflicts in which the Chinese military engaged, and the excellent maps throughout. All of the chapters show good command of the relevant Chinese sources, and several are based in part on interviews with Chinese military leaders. This is a valuable guide to the history of the People's Liberation Army and an interesting analysis of its strengths and weaknesses over the years. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels/collections. K. E. Stapleton University of Kentucky

Table of Contents

List of Maps
1 Introduction: Patterns of PLA WarfightingMark A. Ryan and David Finkelstein and Michael A. McDevitt
2 Change and Continuity in Chinese Military Doctrine: 1949-1999Paul H.B. Godwin
3 The Beiping-Tianjin Campaign of 1948-49: The Strategic and Operational Thinking of the People's Liberation ArmyLarry M. Wortzel
4 The Last Campaign to Unify China: The CCP's Unrealized Plan to Liberate Taiwan, 1949-1950He Di
5 Command, Control and the PLA's Offensive Campaigns in Korea, 1950-1951Shu Guang Zhang
6 What China Learned From Its "Forgotten War" In KoreaYu Bin
7 PLA Attacks and Amphibious Operations during the Taiwan Strait Crises of 1954-55 and 1958Xiaobing Li
8 PLA Operational Principles and Limited War: The Sino-Indian War of 1962Cheng Feng and Larry M. Wortzel
9 The Sino-Soviet Border Conflicts of 1969: New Evidence Three Decades LaterThomas Robinson
10 Vietnamese Perceptions of the 1979 War with ChinaHenry J. Kenny
11 The PLA Navy at War, 1949-1999: From Coastal Defense to Distant OperationsAlexander C. Huang
12 Air Combat for the People's Republic: The People's Liberation Army Air
Force in Action, 1949-1969Xiaoming Zhang
The Editors and Contributors
Index and Glossary