By Rob Morgan
A while ago, I looked for the first time in years at my old 1/1200th scale Peoples Liberation Army Navy (Chinese Navy) flotillas. Beyond the idea of wargaming the Chinese Civil War, which did in fact have a very vigorous naval component, most western wargamers and naval enthusiasts regarded the PLAN as a small fleet of elderly coastal defence vessels. But of course, times have changed. The revelations in The Times of the massive militarisation of the Spratly islands, with airfields, missiles, large garrisons and fleet support capabilities, together with the remarkable ordnance news that the PLAN have developed an electromagnetic supergun and mounted it on a warship made me think that it’s time to reconsider the Far East. The gun, with an astonishing velocity, is based on the same technology the US Navy uses to launch planes from its carriers.
This is almost certainly where the next naval conflict in the world will begin, around the disputed shipping lanes and half submerged territories of the South China Sea. Now, I’ve dipped back into my old copies of the South Korean Defence Journal for a little background research. There’s plenty of it. However, at the moment, here are a couple of photos of my old PLAN warships, two frigates, a Kiang Hu and Kiang Tung in company. Together with Anshan, a Soviet ‘D’ Type destroyer, a Shanghai II patrol craft. The third photo is of three Komar missile boats and a Luta class destroyer.