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How was the PLA equipment in the Korean war?|
PLA was basically a rifle infantry with almost no heavy weapons beyond mortars, their rifles were mostly captured from Japanese and KMT armies in the anti-Japanese war and the civil war, and they lacked ammunition. When the Korean war started, PRC was less than one year old, and it was focusing on reconstruction of a nation which suffered 8 years of Japanese aggression and plundering. China's steel production was a meager 0.6 million tons (in comparison, US figure was 87 million tons). China had almost no industry, it could not make weapons at large quantity, especially heavy weapons and their ammunitions. A PLA army then had less than 10% of the fire power of a US Corps, it had only 36 artillery pieces of 76mm or larger, while a US Corps had over 300 guns of 105mm or larger, PLA army had no tanks. PLA also lacked transport, a PLA division had only scores of trucks, and its supply had to be carried by porters.
After PLA's first successful campaigns in Korea, PLA bought Soviet weapons enough to equip 20 divisions, thus improved its fire power. At the final stage of the war, PLA was able to mass up a good number of heavy artillery to break an ROK/US defense line by brute force.
9. What were PVA's tactics and strategies in Korean war?
PVA's tactics were designed to void UN's advantage of air power and artillery.
PVA used night fighting tactics. It would start an attack when night fell, withdrew and went to cover at dawn, so US airplanes could not harass them. It also used close combat, threw its units into enemy line, so the enemy artillery could not operate. Another PVA tactics was to infiltrate deep into enemy positions, attack their command posts and artillery positions directly from inside.
During the truce talks, PVA invented the bunker war, they would dug very long and deep bunkers in the hills and stock supplies there, when enemy shell the hills, they would withdraw into the bunkers, when the shelling stopped, they came out to fire on the attackers, after the surface positions taken by enemy, they would withdraw back into the bunkers, then PVA artillery would shell the enemy on the surface and they came out the bunkers again to assist the retaking of the hill.
PVA's main strategy at the beginning was the so-called "movement war", the main objective was to divide the enemy into isolated pieces and then use superior strength of force to annihilate the encircled enemy piecemeal before enemy reinforcement could be brought in, to do this, PVA uses frontal attacks and simultaneous penetrations to cut directly into enemy rear, cutoff MSR (main supply route) and withdraw routes, trap enemy units when they tried to redeploy.
To understand PLA strategies, one must study the grand campaigns in which PLA wiped out 8 million KMT troops in 2 years, with small casualty of its own.