Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, 1958

USS Navasota refuels the carrier USS Lexington and destroyer USS Marshall off Taiwan during the Crisis. US Navy photo.

Location Taiwan Strait

After the Republic of China began fortifying the island of Quemoy (now called Kinmen) in the Taiwan Strait, the People's Republic of China began some saber rattling. This escalated into a near-war situation on 23 August, 1958, when the two sides clashed in small naval engagements during the night. These were viewed as attempts to land troops by the Communist Chinese, and the RoC requested aid from the US. US Navy warships were dispatched to the straits, and Marine and Air Force aircraft and personnel were stationed on Taiwan. RoC F-86s were given the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile, and scored the first air-to-air missile kills on 22 September. Meanwhile, an artillery duel between RoC and PRC batteries had been ongoing for a month. The Communist Chinese ran out of shells (supposedly), and they backed down under political pressure from Moscow. For several years afterwards, the two sides would alternate firing artillery shells filled with propaganda leaflets at each other, but the situation remained unchanged for another forty years.