The Republic of China Armed Forces is the military of WWII era China and later Taiwan
It started from the Guomindang forces trained by Chiang Kai Shek during the 1920s, during which they initiated the Northern Expedition of 1926-28. Later, they participated in the war to wipe out the Communist guerrillas of Mao Zedong, but it was later proved to be punitive. When Imperial Japan
later attacked China during the Manchurian Incident in 1931, the National Revolutionary Army, then known as the NRA, were screwed. It is also the same case in the Second Sino-Japanese War
, though fairly, they are never willing to give up
. Unfortunately, the Nationalists squabbled a lot with the communists and (unfortunately
) one another, and as the Communists later curbstomped the Nationalists in 1949, most of the ROC later relocated to Taiwan.
The ROC Armed Forces was later improved with US weaponry. Previously, the ROC had captured Japanese weapons, and many of their guns were either purchased from Germany and Czechoslovakia or built with heavy German influence (which started in 1920s but greatly accelerated after the rise of Nazi Germany
; though, eventually due to wartime attrition, the ROC used US weapons almost exclusively).
The ROC allegedly sent some special forces against the Chinese Communists in the Korean War through Burma
, but this was never proven (though this could be just a confusion with intelligence-gathering efforts aimed at the rear of the PRC's war efforts). They also sent advisors to Vietnam.
The Taiwanese also sent mercenary pilots with their F-5s into North Yemen to fight South Yemen. Incidentally, PRC helped North Yemen too.
The ROC military is composed of the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, and of all cases, the Military Police. The Coast Guard is not under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense but may be attached in wartime.
Conscription was the rule; every 18 year-old, able-bodied male had to serve. In the last few years, the term of service has been regularly shrinking
- Badass Army: The Marines branch is generally considered to be this, not limited to but especially when compared to the Army branch.
- The "Lost Army" of ROC Army's 93rd Division. Cutoff by Communist advances in China's southwest provinces during the founding days of Communist China, they escaped into Burma and held on into the 60s, despite being virtually neglected by Taiwan and having to fight both the Chinese Communists and Burmese troops sent to exterminate them, until they either finally evacuated to Taiwan or settled down in Thailand.
- Current projections by both the US and Chinese governments that were leaked by Wikileaks reveals that they both think that the tiny little island nation's military could easily repel a massive Chinese invasion while inflicting heavy losses due to superior technology, morale, defenses, and China's overall lack of a navy...
- Badass Decay: ... but that was in 2010. Since then, China's military has poured a fortune into research & development as well as expansion of its air & naval forces while the Taiwanese defence budget has steadily shrunk. PLA has shown everything from stealth fighter to amphibious ships capable of holding 800 troops apiece, if only to show the world that they actually do have a plan on reaching out beyond their own shore. In February 2014, renowned international relations scholar John Mearsheimer published a controversial article called "Say Goodbye to Taiwan", saying it's only a matter of time before the island will eventually reunite with China. In response to that article, the Taiwanese government held a meeting regarding the state of national defence, to which the military estimated it could only hold off a Chinese invasion for a month, at most, without outside aid.
- Things have been generally allowed to become run down across the board since the early 2000s. Popular opinion is that while the Marines have managed to keep their tough-guy credentials, the Army is at risk of losing theirs if it hasn't already.
- Butt Monkey: the Nationalist Army almost always loses out in the early stages of the Sino-Japanese War.
- Although part of it is deliberate; both Nationalists and Communists have been independently agreed on the fact that the China would have lost to Japan on a face-to-face combat; their strategy is to let Japanese take as much land in the beginning such that the Japanese military would be stretched too thin, and the Chinese would have time to prepare a more realistic rebound. As a result, those battles were intended to delay not deter; and before the entrance of the US they used a combination of terrorist and guerrilla tactics to ensure the Japanese would be stretched thin.
- Conscription: Like all draft-based armies, this is the cause of its share of problems and animosity. It goes back to the transformation from the National Revolutionary Army to Republic of China Armed Forces—officers were almost exclusively (professional) Chinese evacuees from the Civil War, while enlisted men were overwhelmingly (poor) Taiwanese conscripts (a racial divide that unfortunately survives to this day, though is far less severe).
- Additionally, across the strait the other other Chinese Army gets its manpower from volunteers (making official conscription redundant; they do have millions of men to find volunteers from, after all), as opposed to requiring men to go before a formal draft board. Unlike it's first-rate technology, the branches of the ROC Armed Forces probably cannot count on first-rate morale: hence the shrinking length of mandated service.
- The ROC army is transitioning to an all-volunteer force, as noted in the main article above where the terms of conscription keep dropping, but volunteers will demand higher pay to keep up with civilian jobs. Coupled with a slashed defence budget, this does not bode well when it comes to maintaining a large number of troops.
- Putting on the Reich: A surprisingly Allied example, with their Stahlhelm helmets. Justified in that Germany trained the Nationalist Army in the 1930s. It doesn't help that some of the ideology of the Kuomintang had fascist overtones and Chiang for a time expressed his admiration for fascism. The Japanese invasion changed his view, of course.
- Took a Level in Badass: Ironically the ROC forces started to become competent after they were exiled to Taiwan.
- A large part of ROC Army's defeat on Mainland China lies not in any perceived or real superiority in terms of competency on the Communist side but in the idiotically-bad, morale-damaging mismanagement on the Nationalist side. Veteran formations (that were actually consistently defeating the insurgency beforehand) were broken up, their equipment "re-distributed", regional military commanders still very much divided by inter-clique rivalries, and soldiers demobilized as a result promptly finding themselves employed by the Communists (who at least waited until 1950 before screwing them over). Losing many of the culprits behind the madness to being captured by the Communists was probably one of the best things that happened to the ROC Army at that point.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When the ROC forces arrived in Taiwan they forcefully took over every factory they could find, including the sugar factories (which had been built by Imperial Japan). Many Taiwanese were beaten up, jailed, or outright slaughtered by the Nationalists for protesting against the Chinese Army's conduct. If the Taiwanese were poor under the Japanese, they were now destitute and starving under the rule of the Nationalists. This is one aspect of the infamous 'White Terror' period- which followed a failed Taiwanese revolt against the new government (only minority elements of the revolt were legitimate troublemakers)- the other aspect being police crackdown and executions. One wonders how paranoid Chiang Kai Shek had got by that point. The revolt remains a very touchy subject in Taiwan, and anything that can be misconstrued as villifying the revolt will be treated as such and met with public opposition. Eventually the minority troublemakers, many of whom in the meantime proudly boasted about having done nothing more than destruction of public infrastructures during the revolt, asked for and actually received the same recognition as those innocent victims.
- In Zhang Yimou's To Live, the main character joins the Nationalist Army during the Civil War. When he and his friend sleep through a battle in which the Communists wipe out their entire unit, they surrender to the Communists, who let them join up and live in exchange for providing entertainment with their traditional Chinese shadow puppets.
- Chu Yen-ping's Sige Buping Fande Shao Nian (Forever Friends) is a heartwarming 1996 comedy that deals with the less-than-professional behavior not unheard of in recent volunteers and conscripts in the ROC Army.
- In the Web Original Alternate History Superpower Empire: China 1912 , they appear to be more competent. In fact, China at this point went back to the Imperial system, albeit modernized. They still use the Republic of China flag since the founding Emperor at the new dynasty is a Han scholar who despite their ideological differences, is a friend of Sun Yat Sen.