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Chinese Naval Battles(Civil War and later)(re-done)

Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 19 Mar 2011, 16:03
The PLAN, People Liberation Army's Navy. The Naval fleet of communist China has been of the most active and probably the most ever successful communist navy in the World by sheer number of victories and losses. Chinese naval force showed an aggressive style of direct attacks in many surface battles, often against bigger and more armed units and often claiming the victory. Much the naval fighting against the Nationalists during the Civil War saw a progressive use of different naval tactics: old Chinese junks armed with ground artillery, small Japanese boats converted in gunboats and finally WW2 soviet-era boats and tactics. The last stage of naval warfare against Nationalists involved the very last effective use of motor torpedo boats in naval warfare.

Sources: Photo material coming from sites Data from certain ships from
Data for naval warfare from Chinese Wikipedia and related articles on Chinese web.


21 March 1927
Battle of Nanking.
During the battle of Nanking for the first time, revolutionary forces within the Nationalist army controlled briefly the important city on the river while western navies helped the nationalists bombing communist positions. Chinese revolutionaries managed to prepare for battle a little tug used as gunboat that tried to attack but with no results.
However, the coastal artillery damaged the American destroyer USS William B. Preston (one hit of 76mm) and sniper fire from shore killed one American and one British sailor.
The fate of the little armed tug is unclear: probably it was abandoned/grounded.

USS William B. Preston of Clemson class.


25 February 1949
The only cruiser of the Nationalist navy, the Chung King, defected to the communists after a mutiny. It is interesting that the ship was the former British cruiser HMS Aurora (bearing the same name of the famous Russian cruiser Aurora). The cruiser was renamed Tchoung King (actually bearing the same name but differently Romanized.

25 March 1949
Communist cruiser Tchoung King sunk by Nationalist air bombers in harbor, after days of hunt (the Nationalist were reasonably intentioned to sink the defected ship due her value).
The cruiser later recovered with the help of Soviets. Did not returned in service, stripped of weapons, and used only as accommodation and warehouse ship.

Cruiser was former Arethusa-class light cruiser. Photo of ship while in Nationalist service.

20-21 April 1949
Yangze Incident
The British sloop HMS Amethyst came under fire from communist ground artillery in Yangze River. The British Navy was not engaged in the conflict, but friendly to Nationalists.
The ship received up to 50 hits, with extensive damages and temporally grounded.
British destroyer HMS Consort and sloop HMS Black Swan tried to tow the ship, but failed: Consort suffered multiple hits,
The following day, the Amethyst regained the ability to sail but constant fire from communist ground batteries trapped her. The British sent the heavy cruiser HMS London, alongside with the HMS Black Swan, for a second attempt. Ground batteries did not hold fire and engaged the ships, causing damage to both and forcing them to retreat. Chinese communists suffered 252 killed after the British ships’ fire; British suffered 46 killed and 64 injured (most of them on Amethyst).
Eventually negotiations for the release of the ship (and crew) failed to solve the situation with communists refusing to recognize the previous Chinese treaties of free sailing. The battle was the only direct naval clash between Chinese Communists and a western nation during the civil war.

HMS Amethyst was a Black Swan class sloop.

25 April 1949
Nationalist gunship Hai Hsing sunk by communist forces in Yangze River (few details about the action). Unknown if by artillery, sabotage, or gunboats. Raised by Communists and re-commissioned with the old name Yung Chi

Chinese gunboat built in 1916, similar of Yung Feng class.

? April 1949
Nationalist gunship Yung Sui sunk by communist forces in Yangze River (few details about the action). Raised by Communists and re-commissioned.

Chinese gunboat built in 1929, improvement of Hsien Ning class: strong weapons (including one 152mm and one 120mm)

In 1949 (unclear month)
Nationalist gunboats Wen Hsing and Yun Hsing
lost, probably due coastal artillery. Wen Hsing raised by communists and re-commissioned.
Sometimes rated as “Custom cruiser”, they were more like revenue cutters (340 tons, 1 – 2 guns of 40mm).

By the end of April 1949, multiple units of the Nationalist Navy passed to communists (including some landing ships, escort ships, gunboats etc.), including some former American vessels.

28 April 1949
Communist escort ship Shian, sunk by nationalist aircraft near Yaniji.

Former Japanese escort-ship CD-85, of type-C class. Photo of sister-ship Shengyang, who defected to communists.

1 May 1949
An uncommon case of failed mutiny occurred on Nationalist patrol ship Yun Hsiang: 3 communist sailors attempted to take control of the ship after killing the commander, but the attempt failed: they were later gassed alive into a cabin of the ship. Nationalists will rename the ship Wei Yuan to honor the commander.
Yun Hsiang, later Wei Yuan, was former USS PCE-842 (patrol ship similar to Admirable class minesweeper).

Yun Hsiang, later Wei Yuan, was former USS PCE-869 (patrol ship similar to Admirable class minesweeper).

12 May – 2 June 1949
When the Nationalists lost the battle for Shanghai, Communist ground artillery damaged at least seven nationalist vessels while eleven other vessels were seized in harbor.

30 July 1949
The British sloop HMS Amethyst, trapped by Communist ground batteries’ fire since April, escaped during the night exploiting the passage of the Nationalist ferry Kiang Ling, that was targeted and sunk by communist shelling with many victims while Amethyst fled.

25 October 1949
During the Battle of Guningtou (also known as Battle of Kinmen), communists used up 200 different crafts to carry an amphibious attack against the island.
Most of the crafts were fishing junks, unarmed, powered by sail and some only capable to carry 5 to 10 men.
The battle turned a defeat for the communist forces, and the entire group of 200 landing crafts stranded by the tide or trapped by anti-landing obstacles.
Nationalists wasted no time and destroyed the flotilla with grenades, flame-throwers and setting fire. Additionally the Nationalist landing ship Zhong Rong opened fire with 40mm and 20mm. The action can be hardly called a naval battle: communist naval units did not actively engage the enemy.
The battle was the first significant victory for the Nationalists, halting the long series of victories on the mainland and helping securing the independence of Taiwan.
On the other side, communists learned many lessons from this defeat.

Landing ship Zhong Rong (also numbered LST-210) is sometimes spelled “Chung Lung”. She was former American LST-574.

5 March 1950
Battle of Hainan Island
The first proper naval battle, and the first Chinese communist naval victory.
Hainan is a large Chinese island near Vietnam, during the war it was of extreme importance because the Nationalists aimed to hold her as a second Taiwan.
A fleet of 14 nationalist warships, helped by some dozens of smaller boats, sailed to defend her waters.
Like the previous Battle of Guningtou, the communists employed only former fishing junks, but some of them armed with mountain guns for self-defense.
The landing fleet was composed of 2130 naval units (only a fraction included larger junks armed with guns).
When the Nationalist flagship, the escort destroyer Tai Ping, attempted to engage the landing units, a naval battle erupted.
A close-range fight erupted when Tai Ping approached junks (believing they were unarmed) just to receive surprise fire from the mountain guns hidden onboard the Junks.
The escort destroyer Tai Ping suffered heavy damages and forced to retreat. Details of the following action are unclear: Nationalists found in disadvantage when their anti-armor piercing shells proved unable to explode against the light wooden crafts, piercing the hulls (and thus causing heavy damages to a number of them) but without scoring sinking while, the communist mountain guns caused more damages to multiple vessels. Additionally, close-range fight prevented the Nationalists to aim correctly the guns on smaller vessels.
In the end, the Communist forces successfully accomplished the amphibious landing and by 1st May the nationalist resistance into the island was over.
The battle was also significant being a victory of old-style Chinese junks against modern western-built metal warships.
Other western sources still point that an unidentified number of communist junks were lost during the Hainan operation for all causes, but the outcome of the fighting is not questioned.

Photo of communists just before embarking.

25 May 1950
Battle of Wanshan Archipelago
Another naval battle that saw a number of interesting events.
Nationalist attempted to prevent the communist take-over of the islands with a naval force including the escort destroyer Tai Ho, the minesweeper Yong Ning, Yong Ding, Yong Kang and the landing ship Zhong Hai and some auxiliary units.
For the first time, communists employed proper modern ships, even if inferior to the enemy.
The largest warship was the landing ship Gui Shan (spearheading the main landing force) a former LCI American craft.
The main escort force were five small auxiliary gunboats:
Xia Feng (translated “Pioneer”) (the larger one, Japanese built, 130tons with 1 gun of 37mm and other weapons),
Jie Fang (translated “Liberation”) (29 tons, 1 gun of 25mm, 2 machine guns of 12.5mm, 1 recoilless gun),
Fen Dou (translated “Struggle”) (80 tons),
Lao Dong and Quian Jin (translated “Work” and “Vanguard”), (sister-ships, ex-Japanese, 25tons, 1 gun of 25mm and 2 machine guns of 12.5mm).
The communist commander was Captain Lin Wenhu, a former Nationalist officer who defected and joined the communists.
Just before dawn, the gunboat Jie Fang was engaged in an extremely bold action: alone, she approached the enemy flotilla and opened fire on the anchored ships at close-range.
The main deck of escort destroyer Tai Ho (flagship) was hit, killing and wounding a number of officers (including the fleet’s commander, Qi Hongzhang, who lost an arm), causing further chaos among the nationalists. Sometimes it’s reported that one ship was sunk but this is not true, instead the minesweeper Yong Ding and Yong Kang suffered damage, while the landing ship Zhong Hai had a fire onboard. Jie Fang paid a price for this success: suffered heavy damages, but did no sunk. Of the 19 crewmembers, 3 died and 13 suffered wounds.

Photo of Tai Ho was ex-USS Thomas escort destroyer of Cannon-class. Yong Ding and Yong Kang were minesweepers ex-USS Lucid and USS-Elusive of Admirable-class. Zhong Hai (also numbered LST-201) was former American LST-755.
Two photos of Communist gunboat Jie Fang, the boat achieved a remarkable success.
The action successfully took the attention of the enemy, because the Nationalists were lured to chase the retreating gunboat and the main landing group could approach the coast.
During this action, gunboat Quian Jin intercepted the nationalist auxiliary gunboat n°25, that was then engaged also by gunboat Xia Feng: n°25 was captured (later sent drifting to the sea because took water from damage), 2 sailors killed and 7 captured.
A second nationalist gunboat, n°26 attacked the Fen Dou, but suffered quickly a direct hit in the oil depot and exploded taking the lives of the 10 crewmembers.
Communist gunboat Xia Feng.
Communist gunboat Fen Dou.
The amphibious assault was carried on, even if the first and largest unit, the Gui Shan(Gui Shan was a former American LCI landing ship, her exact original identity is unclear (units received different names, not all clearly recorded)), was hit the enemy warships who realized their mistake and gave up the chase of Jie Fang: barrels of diesel exploded engulfing the ship in fire: there were many casualties, however a bridgehead was secured. Nationalists restrained for further attacks and retreated to tends the wounded (including their commander). Later the Nationalist Navy attempted a blockade to prevent further sea re-supply, including a large operation on 27 June, but without other naval contacts and the Archipelago was secured by communists. The action of gunboat Jie Fang’s crew was largely praised by communist side and the ship was preserved as memorial.

9 August 1950
During the amphibious landing and following battle of Nanpeng Island, communist forces seized a motorized vessel and twenty junks in harbor (there was no naval clash).

11-12 October 1952
During the amphibious landing and following battle of Nanri Island, Nationalists successfully defeated the communists, only to abandon the island shortly later due orders. There are little details, but it appears that communists made the first use of Soviet-made motor torpedo boats: during the action, Nationalists claim to have sunk 3 motor torpedo boats and 3 junk. There was no involvement of Nationalist vessels, so losses were probably caused by artillery fire and aircrafts, still their identity (and confirmation) is not clear. If confirmed, boats were certainly Soviet-built project 123K.

20 October 1952
Nationalists re-captured Nanpeng Island (poorly defended), and the Communists organized a counter-attack.
Communists used junks to land their forces, without naval opposition and reconquered the island.

29 May 1953
Communists launched an amphibious landing at Dalushan islands, while two gunboats escorted the landing junks and bombed the enemy ground forces. Nationalists were defeated, there was no naval fight but two junks seized in harbor.

16-18 July 1953
Nationalists tried to re-capture the Dongshan island, engaging 12 warships and 30 motorized junks.
Three large landing ships hit by mortar fire: shells failed to penetrate the ships, but detonated ammunition and triggered explosions sinking them in the main harbor.
The wrecks blocked the way to the other landing ships (carrying heavy weapons), forcing the Nationalists to land men from the junks without heavy guns and ammunition carried on the blocked landing ships. After days of heavy battle, Communists won.
It is not exactly clear the kind of vessels lost by Nationalists: probably they were converted ferries/transport because no former American landing ship was known to have been lost during this battle.

18 May 1954
Communist gunboat Ruijin (a former American AKL-class light cargo) was sunk by Nationalist P-47 fighters.

14 November 1954
First significant action and one of the most important victories of the communist motor torpedo boats.
The Nationalist escort destroyer Tai Ping, (the former American DE Decker) that already fought in the Battle of Hainan, was ambushed, torpedoed and sunk by the four motor torpedo boats n°155, n°156, n°157 and n°158 near the Dachen islands (at least 1 hit, of 8 torpedoes launched). There were 23 killed. It was the largest Nationalist vessel sunk by Chinese communist naval forces. It was a pre-planned attack, directly aiming to boost morale.

Tai Ping was former USS Decker of Evarts class.

Communist motor torpedo boats were Soviet project 123K.

10 January 1955
The first successful attack by communist air force on naval target occurred, in preparation of the battle at Yijiangshan islands.
A group of Il-10 and Tu-2 bombers managed to sink the landing ship Zhong Quan, while escort destroyer Tai Ho and the repair-ship Heng Shan were damaged.
Tank landing ship Zhong Quan (also numbered LST-221) was former American LST-640.

On that same day, communist motor torpedo boat n°102 torpedoed and sunk the Nationalist submarine chaser Dong Ting near the Dachen islands. The sinking was the result of an accidental meeting, the motor torpedo boat separated from her main group after technical failures.

Dong Ting, sometimes spelled Tung Ting (also reported with a second name Lin Jiang, however many sources list the first name) was ex- USS PGM-13.Photo show ship during launching when in American service.

20 January 1955
Battle of Yijianghsan Islands
A communist amphibious attack on 18 January included 70 landing vessels (including junks) escorted by 40 units including motor torpedo boats. Ten boats were armed with ground-to-ground rockets and bombed enemy position. The ground battle resulted in a communist victory and takeover of the islands.
The victory was achieved by a well-planned coordination of ground, naval and aerial power.
On 20 January, there was the only Nationalist attempt to attack the communist units: motor torpedo boats n°159, n°150, n°175 and n°178 attacked, torpedoed and sunk the submarine chaser Yin Jiang. Many sources wrongly list also the Dong Ting as lost on this battle but was actually sunk ten days earlier.

Yin Jiang, sometimes spelled Ying Chiang (also it carried a previous name: Bao Ying) was ex- USS PGM-20.

19 January – 26 February 1955
The campaign for the Dachen archipelago begun with aerial bombing, followed by Nationalist decision to retreat from the islands without fight.

18 February 1955
A short naval engagement between 4 Nationalist destroyers and a naval force of 5 gunboats, 8 landing ships and a submarine.
One communist gunboat reported suffered 3 light wounded, while a Nationalist destroyer suffered one dead and 3 wounded.
The communist submarine carried no attack. There are little data about this engagement.

From 14 August to 10 October 1958
In different raids, the nationalist air force claimed to have sunk three gunboats and damaged other six. Still unconfirmed.

24 August 1958
First Battle of Jinmen Island
During the military confrontation around Jinmen Island, a first convoy battle occurred. Nationalists engaged as escort ships the patrol ship Wei Yuan , leading the submarine chasers Tou Jiang and Xiang Jiang. They were escorting the transport ship Tai Sheng and the landing ships Zhong Hai and Mei Song.
Communists forces attacked the convoy with 4 motor torpedo boats and 6 patrol crafts.
The transport ship Tai Sheng was torpedoed and sunk by motor torpedo boats n°103, n°105, n°175, n°178, n°180 and n°184 with the loss of 200 soldiers (two torpedo hits). Later the landing ship Zhong Hai was damaged (communists claim one torpedo hit, Nationalists believe by coastal artillery), during the fight communists lost the motor torpedo boat n°175 (4 killed, 3 captured). Nationalists made an overestimated claim of up to 7 communist boats sunk.
The battle was a clear Communist victory with the bloody loss of an important Nationalist target.

Zhong Hai (also numbered LST-201) was former American LST-755. She already took part at battle of Wonshan Archipelago.

2 September 1958
Second Battle of Jinmen Island
A second convoy battle saw again the same previous Nationalist escort ships (with only one replaced): flagship was patrol ship Wei Yuan , leading the submarine chasers Tou Jiang and Liu Jiang. Their mission was to escort the landing ship Mei Jian.
The convoy was attacked by six communist motor torpedo boats, n°103, n°105, n°174, n°177, n°178 and n°180 and the three patrol crafts n°556, n°557 and n°558.
Torpedo attack was a failure and patrol ship Wei Yuan sunk with gunfire n°174 and n°180 (motor torpedo boat were once again 123K class).
While the transport successfully accomplished the mission, the three communist patrol crafts attacked the submarine chaser Tou Jiang: n°558 scored at least two direct hits and caused heavy damages. Nationalists suffered 11 killed and 25 wounded. Differently from what reported by some sources, Wei Yuan was not damaged in action (while even some western sources claim otherwise).
Both sides claimed victory: Nationalists say to have successfully protected the target; Communists claim to have established a blockade. Both sides made overestimation of enemy losses (Nationalists claimed up 12 communist ships lost, but that was a mistake), communists wrongly claimed that damage on Tou Jiang was mortal, but she was scrapped not as consequence of the fight. Both sides made high praises and awarded the two best units in action: Wei Yuan and n°558.

Tou Jiang, sometimes spelled Tou Kiang, was ex- USS PC-1247.

Communist patrol crafts were Chinese versions of Soviet project 183 FAC(T). They were armed with 37mm.

8 September 1958
Nationalist landing ship Mei Le, carrying ammunition to Jinmen island, sunk by communist ground artillery (with explosion due cargo). The ship carried also soldiers and 91 died.

Photo of the wreck. Mei Le, also numbered LSM-342, was former USS LSM-157 medium landing ship.

1 May 1965
Battle of Dongying
Nationalist submarine chaser Dong Jiang engaged in battle 4 communist patrol crafts: n°574, n°575, n°576 and n°575 (not 8 as stated by Nationalists).
Most of western sources wrongly classify the Nationalist craft as a “destroyer”: actually, she was one of the many former US submarine chaser.
Dong Jiang suffered 7 dead and 43 wounded (19 seriously), while communists suffered heavy damages on patrol craft n°575 (no human losses), that was forced to be towed by n°577, that received less damage (also the two communist boats collided in action). Once again, both sides overestimated the results: Nationalists claimed up to 4 sinking, but indeed only n°575 and n°577 were directly engaged in battle.

ROCN Dong Jiang PC-119 (ex USS Placerville PC-1087). The patrol crafts were Chinese project 062.

6 August 1965
Battle of Dongshan
Nationalists sent patrol ship Jian Men and submarine chaser Zhang Jiang on intelligence mission and landing of agents. Communists (after radar alarm) dispatched a group of 6 motor torpedo boats (n°123, n°131, n°132, n°133, n°134, n°135). There was also a second group of five motor torpedo boats (n°119, n°120, n°121, n°122, n°136) and 5 patrol crafts: n°588, n°598, n°601 and n°611 Sizhou, the latter being larger and flagship. For the first time, Communists introduced the project 183 class motor torpedo boats in combat. The first group of communist motor torpedo boats at first failed to intercept the enemy, and patrol crafts engaged first: after a prolonged fight, Zhang Jiang was hit and sunk by the larger patrol craft n°611 (took some damage, awarded for the action) while patrol craft n°601 suffered more heavy damage (captain killed). Eventually, Jian Men was at first damaged by the patrol crafts and then located by motor torpedo boats and was torpedoed and sent to the bottom (10 torpedoes launched with 3 hits, main credit given to n°119 that was awarded, two attacking boats suffered slight damage). The outcome of the battle was a decisive communist victory. Mao Zedong personally congratulated with the crewmembers. Nationalist suffered 197 killed (including 22 officers), 33 prisoners and only 1 survivor (an agent, recovered by foreign merchant); communists suffered 4 killed and 28 wounded.
Once again Nationalists attempted to cover-up the failure claimed up 3 units sunk, but this time the result was too much clear and the admiral Liu Guang Kai was forced to resign.

Zhang Jiang was former American submarine chaser PC-1232 (photo during American service).

Patrol craft n°611 was the biggest communist ship in action: she was former Soviet submarine-chaser BO-379 of 122bisclass. The other patrol crafts were Chinese project 062. Communists made changes to the class, after lesson learned from this battle (including a more balanced weaponry, replacing the double 57mm forward gun with a second double gun of 37mm)).

Jian Men was former American minesweeper USS Toucan of Auk-class. Larger than the more common Admirable class. Sometimes the ship is spelled Chien Men.

Communists introduced the new motor torpedo boats in battle. Photo of a Soviet project183 boat.

13 November 1965
Battle of Chongwu
After the defeat during the previous Battle of Dongshan, Nationalists attempted to lure Communists in combat to avenge the previous loss.
Once again they dispatched two ships: the patrol ship Shan Hai (often wrongly reported with the previous name Yung Tai) and the minesweeper Lin Huai (often wrongly reported with the previous name Yong Chang). Communists were not took by surprise and dispatched four different group of units: patrol crafts n°588 (flagship) and n°589, patrol crafts n°573 and n°579 (to attack Shan Hai) and patrol crafts n°576 and n°577 (to attack Lin Huai). Last group included motor torpedo boats n°124, n°126, n°131, n°132, n°145 and n°152 (there were other units on sea, from both side, that did not took part at the battle). The communist plan was to make the patrol crafts act as diversion to allow the motor torpedo boats’ attack, however the m.t.b (like occurred in the previous battle) at first failed to make a successful maneuver.
Nationalists exploited this mistake and minesweeper Lin Huai fought against n°573, n°576 and n°579, damaged the patrol crafts n°573 and n°579 (light damages) and inflicting casualties. Lin Huai herself however suffered damage and was then subjected to the launch of multiple torpedoes with n°145 scoring one hit (awarded for the action), finally during the last stage of the action both n°588 and n°589 scored multiple and decisive direct hits with 37mm and with the 75mm recoilless gun (n°588 was awarded). The ship grounded herself on Magong Island (damage suffered was too heavy for repair). Shan Hai, fled from battle (commander was later reprimanded for cowardice), after having suffered some damage by gunfire, ship was not repaired (despite damage being moderate)
What was meant to be a revenge by Nationalists turned in another bloody defeat: 82 sailors were killed and 9 took prisoners. Communists suffered 2 killed and 14 wounded.
Once again, Nationalists tried to partially cover the defeat claiming up to 4 communist boats sunk: both the Nationalist ship’s commanders were pointed as responsible for escaping from battle (even if the fault on the defeat was actually poor intelligence and battle-planning) .

Lin Huai (formerly Yong Chang) was ex-American minesweeper USS Refresh, of Admirable-class

Shan Hai (formerly Yung Tai) was ex- American USS PCE-867 (similar to Admirable class)

Photo of n°588. Chinese project 062 (early variants).


19 January 1974
Battle of Xisha Islands
During the Vietnam War, People Republic of China provided help and support to North Vietnam, despite the neighbor communist nation was closer to Soviet Union.
A single naval battle occurred between the South Vietnamese navy and the Chinese Navy around the contested Xisha (Paracel) Islands in the South China Sea.
Naval presence from both side in this disputed archipelago triggered the main clash.
South Vietnamese enjoyed superiority of size and weapon: 3 frigates (Ly Thuong Kiet, Tran Khanh Du and Tranh Binh Trong) and one corvette (Nhut Tao).
Chinese engaged in battle only two submarine chasers (n°271 and n°274) of type6604 (clone of Soviet project-122bis) and two minesweepers (n°389 and n°396) of type010.
NOTE: Interestingly, most of western sources wrongly report that submarine chasers were the most powerful Type037, but this is denied by photographic evidence.
The battle was fierce and at close quarter: Chinese ships took advantage because the Vietnamese could aim less correctly their more powerful guns.
All the ships engaged suffered hits. Among the Chinese units, submarine chaser n°274 was heavily damaged (Vietnamese believed her sunk) and withdrawn leaving behind thick smoke, minesweeper n°389 suffered heavy damages too and was grounded to evade loss (ship was recovered). Also submarine chaser n°271 and n°396 suffered light damage. 18 Chinese sailors died.
South Vietnam’s ship suffered worse damages: frigate Ly Thoung Kiet suffered heavy damage from friendly fire hit from Tran Binh Trong, the latter, alongside Tran Khanh Du suffered light damage by Chinese fire. The worst blow suffered by Vietnamese was the loss of the corvette Nhat Tao: she suffered multiple hits and sunk. Vietnamese claimed that the ship was hit by anti-ship missile, but actually they only witnessed anti-tank rockets fired by the crew of minesweeper n°389. Vietnamese suffered heavy human losses: 53 killed (including the commander of Nhat Tao) and 14 wounded.
Vietnamese retreated, while Chinese sent other two submarine chasers (n°281 and n°282) that could not engage the enemy.
After the naval clash, Chinese landed and took all the South Vietnam’s controlled islands of the Archipelago (during the landing they took 48 prisoners, including one American advisor).
North Vietnam’s reaction was quiet, without openly supporting the Chinese view. Today Vietnam claim the Islands as part of their territory (and such dispute is still unsolved).

Tran Binh Trong was former USS Castle Rock seaplane-tender of Barnegat-class later converted in coast guard cutter.

Ly Thuong Kiet was former USS Chincoteague seaplane-tender of Barnegat-class later converted in coast guard cutter.

Tran Khanh Du was former USS Forster escort destroyer of Edsall-class. By the years of Vietnam War, she was properly converted and rate as frigate

Nhut Tao (also spelled Nhat Tao) was ex- USS Serene of Admirable-class.
Photo of n°274
Photo of n°274 after the battle.
Chinese submarine chasers were type6604, a copy of old Soviet project122bis
Photo of n°389 grounded Chinese minesweepers were type010: a copy of Soviet project 254M. Western translation wrongly report n°396 as grounded.


8 January 1979
Reports concerning the seizure of three Vietnamese patrol boats (24 alleged POW) captured by a Chinese landing ship supported by an armed barge (on unclear date) are currently unconfirmed.
This event can be related with the contact between Vietnamese patrol boats and a Chinese motor barge (40 tons) entering Vietnamese waters and soon joined by two Chinese warship: this event however, reported by Soviet sources on 8 January, led to no seizures or losses.

End of February 1979
Vietnamese patrol boat n°17 (or T-17? Unclear class) shelled, damaged and seized a Chinese fishing junk (4 POWs).

14 March 1988
Battle of Chigua Reef
Spratley Archipelago include islands contested by different nations, including China and Vietnam (the dispute is still unsolved).
Growing tensions in 1988 culminated in Vietnamese operations that involved the landing ship HQ-505 and the armed transport HQ-604 and HQ-605.
Chinese units were more powerful: frigates Nanchong (065 class), Xiangtan (053H1 class) and Yingtan (053K class).
The conflict included hand-to-hand clashes between marines over contested flags on the reefs, resulting in the naval fight with overwhelming Chinese superiority.
Frigate Nanchong shelled and sunk HQ-604, a couple of hours later Xiangtan sunk the HQ-605.
Finally frigate Yingtan focused her fire on the transport ship HQ-505, that retreated after suffering damages even if Vietnamese sources state the ship was intentionally grounded to prevent a Chinese landing. After the battle, Vietnamese tried to recover HQ-505 but she sunk before reaching the port.
Details of the battle are disputed todays. Vietnamese claims that many of their victims (64 killed) occurred when Chinese warships strafed the marines on the reef. Chinese reported just one wounded. As consequence of this engagement, China took control of the reef.

Photo of Chinese frigate Yingtan (leadship of the 053 family series), now preserved as museum
Nanchang was part of the Chinese 065 class, an adaptation of the Soviet project 50.
HQ-505 was former American LST-509.


9 April 2017
Chinese frigate Yulin intercepted the Tuvalese-flagged bulk-carrier OS-35 (35362 GRT) previously seized by Somal pirates: a squad of 16 soldiers boarded the ship to liberate the crewmembers. 3 pirated captured, 2 escaped.
Photo of frigate "Yulin", part of Type054A class frigates.

15 April 2017
Chinese frigate Hengyang intercepted the Panamas tanker Alheera (6519 GRT) previously seized by Somaly pirates: the ship was boarded and liberated, 2 pirates killed, 1 wounded and 6 escaped.
Photo of frigate "Hengyang ", part of Type054A class frigates.
Last edited by 1redItalian on 19 Mar 2011, 23:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Soviet cogitations: 752
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Post 19 Mar 2011, 16:48
19 January 1974
Battle of Xisha Island
During the Vietnam War, China provided help and support against the US imperialism. The Vietnamese navy took part at few naval actions against the enemy, but the Chinese Navy managed to score the biggest defeat of the Puppet Southern navy.
The islands were part of the Chinese national territory, and the democratic government of North Vietnam confirmed the legal Chinese claim. But the enemy occupied them, and finally moved also a naval force to confront units of the Chinese Navy.
Our naval force was formed by the Kronstadt-Class submarine chasers n271 and n274, the minesweepers T-43 class n389 and n396. There were also the Hainan class submarine chasers n281 and n282 that didn’t took part at the battle.
The enemy group was more heavy and armed then the Chinese one, it was formed by the three frigates Ly Thouong Kiet, Tran Khan Du and Tran Binh Trong together the corvette Nhat Tao
The Chinese commander was Wei Meng Sen, while the Vientamese one was Han Van Ngac
The battle was ferocious and the enemy at first used a pincer move but failed. Even if the enemy had a great superiority, the Chinese sailors fought as lions, all the frigates Ly Thouong Kiet, that suffered heavy damages, Tran Khan Du and Tran Binh Trong that suffered light damages, all of them were forced to retreat while the corvette Nhat Tao was sunk. Between our forces only the minesweeper n396 and the submarine chaser n274 suffered serious damage but didn’t sunk, while the n271 and n389 suffered light damages. Died 18 Chinese sailors, while the enemy lost 53 dead, including the captain of the Nhat Tao, 16 wounded and 48 captured including one American advisor.
The enemy force abandoned the islands and the Chinese provided the biggest naval victory for the Communist forces in the Vietnam War.

During the 1979 war between China and Vietnam, on the Spratley Islands, three little patrol boats of the Vietnam Navy were captured by a Chinese landing ship supported by a armed barge. There were no died or wounded . It was the first clash, even if without casualties, between two communist navies.

What are your thoughts on China's seizure of those islands from South Vietnam in 1974? The US had already withdrew its' forces in 1973, and the South regime was already near collapse, and the US made no attempt to intervene. So was the PRC really seizing the islands from the South or from the future united Vietnam?
Kamran Heiss
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 19 Mar 2011, 23:51
EDIT: Note for matters unrelated to strict naval warfare.
Soviet cogitations: 25
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Apr 2014, 19:04
Post 14 Apr 2014, 18:34
Comrades! I would like to ask for your assistance. Namely I am urgently looking for the details of the sinking of the Nationalist destroyer Taiping as well as other Nationalist naval craft by Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) motor torpedo boats. I have heard among other things that when the Taiping was sunk her commanding officer or some other high ranking Nationalist naval officer was taken prisoner. Certainly this sinking had some coverage in contemporary source. It is also hard to imagine that those who achieved such a feat remained anonymous.
As far as other PLAN torpedo boat actions are concerned I would kindly request details of the sinking of the submarine chasers Tung Ting and Ying Chiang as well as the supply ship Taisheng .
The info provided thus far in the first post is very interesting and detailed yet I still would like to ask for more details concerning the said victories of PLAN motor torpedo boats. Thank you in advance.
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 15 Apr 2014, 14:18
First of all this page will have a little overhaul as other pages (but mainly grammar)

Tung Ting was former PGM-13 (former PC-1089): an american submarine chaser
Ying Chiang was probably of same class, harder to identify her because chinese names can have different transliterations

I've nothing else about Taiping for now sadly, apart she was the former American escort destroyer DE47 Decker.

At the time, it was said there were 40 MIA, later lowered to 23 KIA:

Certainly this sinking had some coverage in contemporary source. It is also hard to imagine that those who achieved such a feat remained anonymous.

I guess it's not that hard to imagine, think about it:
1) Western sources of the time weren't much eager (and neither are now) to tell about a naval warfere campaign with a number of "reds" successes, especially if the whole conflict ended with the exile of Nationalists in Taiwan and the Communist rule on the continent.

2) It's easy to say that (as in Soviet Union), in China there were troubled times later and not much time&efforts about investigating specific naval battle (apart giving generic praises). If such works are currently done, they lay deep into chinese forums and sites (hard to explore for users not able to read chinese).

Just think that most of the Soviet Union naval war history surfaced mostly after 1989.
Soviet cogitations: 25
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Apr 2014, 19:04
Post 15 Apr 2014, 18:29
Thank you for your effort & info.
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 16 Apr 2014, 17:25
No problem, and contributions are ever welcome, i've made some widespread corrections now and some few adds.
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 17 Apr 2014, 13:45
Jianmen also transliterated "Chien Men" (victim of MTBs in 1965) , it's former USS Toucan
She was a former Auk class minesweeper.
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 19 Jun 2016, 16:45
BIG UPDATE: Many events fixed and corrected (some in english-translated sources are full of mistakes!). Added multiple photos.
If you notice grammar mistakes or photos giving broken link, please report it.
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 24 Jun 2016, 13:38
NOTE: picture problem fixed.
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 10 Apr 2017, 09:52
UPDATE: added events in 1949 concerning the Yangze Incident (entry for 20-21 April 1949 and then 30 July 1949).
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 08 Dec 2017, 12:38
UPDATE: added 2 victories scored by the Chinese Navy in 2017 during Anti-piracy operations in Somalia.
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