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Military vehicles spotted in civilian areas amid Taiwan's 'Combat Readiness Week'

Armored brigade personnel using terrain, city structures, civilian areas during drills to increase survivability during wartime

Clouded Leopard armored vehicle in disguise. (Youth Daily News photo)

Clouded Leopard armored vehicle in disguise. (Youth Daily News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Since the Taiwanese Armed Forces on Monday night (Oct. 26) kicked off their "Combat Readiness Week" exercises, many armored vehicles and military trucks have been spotted at civilian facilities and areas.

The exercises are an effort to strengthen the nation’s combat preservation abilities, Ministry of National Defense (MND) Spokesperson Shih Shun-wen (史順文) explained, adding that armored brigade personnel have been ordered to attach camouflage netting to their vehicles and practice utilizing nearby features, city structures, and civilian areas to increase survivability during a potential attack.

Speaking at a regular MND press conference, Shih said that the drills enable soldiers to experience a real war environment and enhance the overall strength of Taiwan’s military. He stated that the country’s ground, naval, and aerial forces are all participating in the exercises, CNA reported.

The Combat Readiness Week drills will continue until Oct. 30 in order to strengthen the nation’s combat capabilities in the face of the frequent Chinese military activities around Taiwan. Drills will cover weapons loading, military hardware concealment, combat power preservation, counterattack maneuvers, ammunition replenishment, and nighttime operations.

The Armed Forces designate every third month as “Combat Readiness Month” and carry out field reconnaissance exercises and computer war games before conducting drills on the final week of the month, CNA cited military personnel as saying.

Early Wednesday morning (Oct. 28), Taiwanese witnessed tanks and armored vehicles traversing roads and near civilian facilities, including the Tamsui MRT station parking lot. Additionally, a Clouded Leopard armored personnel carrier was seen disguised as a yellow construction truck in an unorthodox attempt to conceal its true purpose.

The Army’s 33 Chemical Warfare Group dispatched heavy disinfection vehicles as well as nuclear, biological, and chemical threat detection vehicles and moved them into tactical positions to conduct drills. Concurrently, the Army’s 269 Mechanized Infantry Brigade conducted nighttime tactical maneuvers, with troops quickly moving from a mountain base down to a civilian area in New Taipei's Linkou District.

An AH-64E Apache attack helicopter and a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter belonging to the 601st Army Aviation Special Forces Brigade will on Thursday (Oct. 29) land next to the Hsinchu High Speed Rail station, where personnel will practice hot refueling and arming among other skills.