A Brief Overview of Mobile Warfare


Mobile warfare (Chinese: 运动战; pinyin: yùndòngzhàn) is a military strategy of the People’s Republic of China employing conventional forces on fluid fronts with units manoeuvring to exploit opportunities for tactical surprise, or where a local superiority of forces can be realised.

Refer to People’s War.


One of early CCP leader Mao Zedong’s three forms of warfare (Chinese: 战争形式; pinyin: zhànzhēng xíngshì), mobile warfare was the primary form of warfare used by Chinese communist forces from the early 1930s to the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War. Mao’s other two defined forms of warfare, guerrilla warfare (游击战; yóujīzhàn) and positional warfare (阵地战; zhèndìzhàn), were less frequently employed.

The most notable example of Chinese mobile warfare was the Long March, a massive military retreat in which Mao marched in circles in Guizhou until he had confused the vastly larger armies pursuing him, and was then able to slip through Yunnan and Sichuan, although the retreat was completed by only one-tenth of the force that left for the Long March at Jiangxi. A sensible comparison would be Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, though he was never outnumbered to the degree Mao regularly was.

The Chinese People’s Volunteer Army’s first five campaigns in the Korean War were characterised by a strategy of mobile warfare, in which the PVA encircled the enemy through manoeuvres and sought to annihilate the enemy. Then it entered a stage of positional warfare, when both the PVA and UN forces fought to a stalemate along the 38th parallel north.

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