if action damage out” I will just fodder: northwest, chines
Soldiers take part in the Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates an invasion by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, on July 28, 2022, in Pingtung, Taiwan.
‘If war breaks out… I’ll just become cannon fodder:’ In Taiwan, former conscripts feel unprepared for potential Chinese conflict
Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia, at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific …
A conflict is a struggle and a clash of interest, opinion, or even principles. Conflict will always be found in society; as the basis of conflict may vary to be personal, racial, class, caste, political and international.
That was the verdict of six young men who spoke to CNN about their recent experiences with compulsory service in the Taiwanese army.
Strengthening the island’s military has become a key concern for Tsai, who has spoken of the need to emphasize Taiwan’s determination to defend itself amid increasingly aggressive noises from Beijing. China’s ruling Communist Party claims the self-governing democracy of 23.5 million people as part of its territory, despite never having controlled them, and has sent a record number of air and naval patrols to harass them since a visit by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August. . Chinese leader Xi Jinping has repeatedly refused to rule out the use of force to “unify” the island with mainland China.
“No one wants war,” Tsai said when he announced the extension of mandatory service in December. “This is true of the Taiwanese government and people and the global community, but peace does not come from heaven, and Taiwan is on the front lines of the expansion of authoritarianism.”
just a waste of time”
But former conscripts are skeptical, telling CNN that the problems with conscription go beyond a short time frame and will only be fixed with a more thorough overhaul.
Tsai herself acknowledged that many citizens feel that serving in the military is “just a waste of time”.
“We didn’t fire many rounds during the military training,” Lee said. “I was practicing with the T65 assault rifle, and I only shot about 40 rounds during the entire training period.
“I’m concerned that many people who underwent the training with me won’t even be able to operate a rifle with confidence.”
Reservists take part in military training at a base in Taoyuan, Taiwan, on March 12, 2022
Paul Lee, a factory manager from Taipei who served in 2018, had a similar experience.
“We didn’t fire many rounds during military training,” Lee said. “I trained with the T65 assault rifle and only fired about 40 rounds during the entire training period.
“I’m afraid that many people who have trained with me won’t even be able to confidently handle a rifle
Dennis, a 25-year-old engineer from Taichung who served last year, said that when he was assigned to specialize in cannons, he never learned how to fire them because trainers were worried recruits might get hurt. He only asked to be identified by his first name because he remains a reserve.
“We were given simple tasks and spent most of our time helping to clean and wash the gun carriages,” he said. “If war breaks out today and I’m told to work as an artilleryman, I think I’ll just become cannon fodder.”
Adam Yu, a 27-year-old designer from the northern Keelung city who served in 2018 and specialized in mortars and grenade launchers, said while he had been shown how to prepare the weapons, he had never been given any ammunition or practiced firing them.
War game suggests Chinese invasion of Taiwan would fail at a huge cost to US, Chinese and Taiwanese militaries
“I’m not sure if I can even operate those weapons,” said Yu, adding, “I still don’t know how those weapons are supposed to be used in the battlefield.”
That sentiment was echoed by another former conscript surnamed Liu. The 28-year-old salesman specialized in data processing with the air force and received training in the southern Pingtung county in 2015. He too asked for his first name to be withheld, saying he may still be called upon for additional reservist training.
“Our commanders barely taught anything during our ground training, because they felt we would only be here for a few months and it wouldn’t make much of a difference for them,” he said.
New recruits practice with bayonets at a military training center in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan on April 22, 2013.
Taiwan has a professional volunteer military force that as of last year was made up of 162,000 full-time troops, according to a report by the Legislative Yuan. On top of this, an estimated 70,000 men complete a period of mandatory military service every year.
Conscripts must undergo a period of physical training and are taught to shoot rifles and use bayonets.
Several of those who spoke to CNN questioned the amount of time spent on bayonet training, arguing it was outdated, although some militaries continue to teach it in recruitment training programs.
“I think bayonet training was just a waste of time, because I really couldn’t think how we could put that into practice,” Frank Liu said.
“Just look at the Russia-Ukraine war, there are so many types of weapons used. When does a soldier ever have to resort to a bayonet to attack their enemy? I think that was really outdated.”
Yu, from Keelung, said his commanders had put huge emphasis on bayonet training because it made up part of the end-of-term examination.
“We were ordered to memorize a series of slogans,” he said. “When we were practicing bayonet, we were required to follow the instructions of the squad leader with a specific chant for each movement, and we had to repeat it in the exam.”
Some of these criticisms were acknowledged, tacitly or otherwise, when Tsai announced the lengthening of the conscription period and in the subsequent news briefing by the Defense Ministry in early January.
The ministry said that when the new policy begins in 2024, all conscripts will shoot at least 800 rounds during their service, and they will be trained with new weapons such as anti-tank missiles and drones. Bayonet training will be modified to include other forms of close combat training, it added, and conscripts may also participate in joint military drills with professional soldiers. Meanwhile, basic training will rise from five to eight weeks.
Su Tzu-yun, a director of Taiwan’s Institute for National Defense and Security Research, which is funded by the government, said he is confident the reform will boost the island’s combat capabilities.
He also thinks there is value in keeping bayonet training in the curriculum.
“It helps boost a soldier’s courage and aggressiveness,” he said. “If soldiers engage in a mission that is not suitable for firing weapons, they may also use bayonet as an alternative option.”