The Dragon's Teeth...

...The Chinese People's Liberation Army - Its History, Traditions, and Air, Sea and Land Capabilities in the 21st Century, from Casemate Books

Title:  The Dragon's Teeth

Author: Benjamin Lai

Publisher:  Casemate Books

ISBN:  978-1-61200-388-7

For many of us here in Europe there has long been an air of mystery about the armed forces of Communist China following WW2.  This provides an excellent look at the organisation and equipment of the modern Chinese Army.  It is a very different picture than the older perception of the Chinese PLA focussing mainly on just vast numbers of troops.  After the end of WW2, which also saw the end of a long period of wars in China with Russia and Japan, and even after the initial recovery under Mao Zedong, the economic growth of the country since the 1980s has been quite astonishing.  As well as a strengthening domestic economy, their military advances have also grown enormously with the latest technology and weapons systems.

The 320-page book is split into just 6 chapters, covering Early Years of the Chinese PLA: Post-1949 Developments: The Chinese PLA Today: Chinese Weapons and the Armaments Industry: and China's Strategic View.  Each of these are divided into sub-sections and all are packed with detail.  There are organisation charts and data tables and covers all elements of the Chinese armed forces, so army, navy and air force.  Weapons systems cover all their tanks, artillery and missiles, aircraft and helicopters, surface ships and submarines.  A section of colour photos provide plenty of examples of their modern equipment, and for the modeller includes some very interesting disruptive and digital camouflage schemes on a variety of AFVs.  At the end of the book the Appendices holds 42 pages of data tables listing all the major weapons system in service with the PLA as of 2016.  The charts include information such as Name, calibre (where appropriate), Type, Weight, Range and Comments while aircraft include Name, NATO reporting Name, Origin, ROle, Version and Number employed plus Comments.  A handy reference section in itself.

Many of us will know about Russian, US and NATO armed forces, so very interesting to see this level of detail on the modern Chinese PLA.  It has put China in a very different position from old.