Reservist-built defense positions on show as Han Kuang drills begin

07/25/2022 07:18 PM
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CNA photo July 25, 2022
CNA photo July 25, 2022

New Taipei, July 25 (CNA) Temporary coastal fortifications constructed by army reservists undergoing a new two-week training program were opened to the press Monday, as Taiwan's military kicked off the live-fire phase of its annual cross-branch Han Kuang exercises.

The 100-meter-long trench system near the Port of Taipei in New Taipei's Bali District took reservists from the Army's 109th Infantry Brigade around a week to build and was constructed as part of a simulated response to a Chinese invasion, according to the military.

The fortifications, built with help from civilian heavy machinery contractors, are stocked with around 30 days worth of ammunition and supplies, and house a number of artillery pieces, as well as rockets, machine guns, and rifles, the military said.

Monday's portion of the Han Kuang exercises focused on testing the preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities under sustained attack, and the military said that the barbed wire-protected trench system was aimed at stalling the advance of enemy infantry.

Captain Hung Wei-chien (洪偉健), company commander of the 109th Infantry Brigade, told CNA that the military chose the site near the Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology to take advantage of a windbreak forest surrounding the Port of Taipei.

CNA photo July 25, 2022
CNA photo July 25, 2022

The forest and a nearby elevated expressway made the defensive stronghold less likely to be detected, Hung said, adding that infantry inside the trench system would be tasked with eliminating invading enemy forces using anti-armor weapons.

The reserve forces that built the trench were part of the first cohort to undergo the more intensive and specialized two weeks of training introduced by the military in March.

Instead of the previous five to seven days, reservists are now required to spend an unbroken 14 days on specialized combat training, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

Also on Monday, Air Force fighter jets that were originally deployed in the western part of the island were dispatched to Hualien Air Base as part of a simulation in which most of the nation's military bases in western Taiwan have been destroyed.

Military C-130 transport aircraft were also used to take personnel responsible for fighter jet maintenance, together with related equipment and supplies, to designated locations in eastern Taiwan earlier in the day.

CNA photo July 25, 2022
CNA photo July 25, 2022

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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