Drill requisition of oyster frames shows all-out defense: Taiwan scholar

Oyster frames in Taiwan (Photo courtesy of Military News Agency)

Oyster frames in Taiwan (Photo courtesy of Military News Agency)

The requisition of oyster farming frames during the Han Kuang live-fire exercises in May demonstrated Taiwan's all-out national defense, a scholar specializing in strategic affairs said Monday.

Lin Ying-yu (林穎佑), an adjunct assistant professor at National Chung Cheng University's Institute of Strategic and International Affairs, said the army worked with local oyster farmers in central Taiwan during an anti-landing drill Wednesday and requisitioned bamboo frames used to cultivate oysters.

The oyster farmers participated in the drill and set up the bamboo frames at an estuary in Changhua County to slow down a simulated enemy advance, Lin said.

The requisition of the frames and the efforts of the farmers, both the first of their kind in the 35-year history of the Han Kuang exercises, reflected Taiwan's all-out national defense, in which the civilian populace supports the military, either at war or in peacetime, Lin said.

However, using oyster farming frames to halt hostile landing craft may not be effective, Lin said.

Military hovercraft can easily cross the bamboo barriers without being damaged and the Chinese People's Liberation Army could also carry out airborne assaults to bypass such obstacles, Lin said.

Chen Wei-hao (陳維浩), editor in chief of the military magazine Military Link, held a different view, saying that deploying oyster farming frames is a practical way to block an enemy advance.

With a large number of bamboo frames congesting the estuary, it would take hostile forces time to clear a way through, and the nylon ropes attached to the frames could damage landing craft, according to Chen.

Chen said that because airborne landing is only available for light infantry and weapons, obstacles deployed along the coastline could still play a role in slowing down enemy watercraft carrying heavy military units.

"Setting up oyster farming frames may be a small move, but it would influence a combat situation," Chen said.