Without any significant combat experience since 1979, some analysts have cast doubt on the ability for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to conduct large-scale military operations. How is China thus learning from recent experiences around the globe to inform future urban operations?
Indeed, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated how a military that has cut its teeth on recent multi-terrain conflicts such as Syria, the Donbas and Georgia can nevertheless fail in the grander and tougher concepts of joint-all domain warfare, C4 and logistics.
The Russian invasion is an important case study for the CCP. At its core, it evidences the challenges in overcoming distributed lethality (reference the thousands of Javelins and Stingers distributed to SOF teams and irregular units across the country), tying down population centres (reference the ongoing insurgency in Zaporizhia) and the need to build robust logistics and communications architecture (reference the advance of Ukrainian forces to Russian ground lines of communication east of Kharkiv).
The sobering truth thus emerges that even militaries supposedly adept in irregular warfare can still fail.