Chinese armies in the Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was fought between the Chinese and Japanese armies, mostly on Chinese soil, during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Western historians generally view the Second Sino-Japanese War as a theater of World War II. During this war, the Chinese Army had two severe handicaps. First, the Chinese army was ill-equipped, with significantly less advanced military technology than the Japanese and its allies. Second, the Chinese army lacked political unity. Because the Guomindang and the Chinese Communist Party had not reconciled before 1937, when Japanese troops invaded Chinese territory, these two groups were forced to paper over important differences for the duration of the war, occasionally leading them to destructively hinder each other's efforts to defeat the Japanese.
Degree of success
Early stages of the war
Despite these handicaps, the Chinese Army were moderately successful in the early stages of the war. They repulsed the Japanese army's tentative offensive in Shandong, Hebei and Shanghai, causing Japanese forces heavy losses. The second battle of Shanghai almost ended similarly, but Japanese reinforcements arrived. While defending Nanjing, Chinese infantry forces with very little equipment destroyed the notorious Japanese Army Special Forces units "Shikaya" and "Kisarazu". During the battle of Suzhou, the Japanese 2nd Corps suffered some 30,000 casualties. Finally, in the battle of Wuhan, 100 Japanese aircraft were shot down, many Japanese patrol boats were sunk, and Japanese land forces suffered further casualties.
After the outbreak of World War II
General Chu Teh, Commander-in-Chief of the Communist Army, published a message to his nation on July 7, 1942. In this message, he noted that the 8th Route Army had not received money or munitions from the government in three years. Between 1941 and 1942, the 8th Route and New 4th Route Armies had to combat more than 24 Japanese divisions, comprising 44% of the total Japanese Armed forces dispatched in China. During the same period, the 8th Route Army suffered heavy casualties, including 65 high-ranking officers. In total, 23,034 soldiers died and 10,856 were wounded.
General Chu estimated that the number of casualties inflicted by the Chinese Communist armies was more than 24,000; this number includes both the Japanese soldiers and their Chinese collaborators. The Chinese armies captured a total of 38,985 prisoners, together with a great quantity of war equipment. The New 4th had captured 15,721 rifles, 301 machine guns (light and heavy) and many other articles, including clothing, food, and medicine.
Other testimonies reported the New 4th Route Communist Army "had withstood 231 battles, captured 1,539 rifles, 32 light machine guns, 4 heavy machine guns, 48 sub-machine guns, 50,000 munitions for light weapons, 22,738 occupation Yen money in Japanese bank notes, radios, horses, mules, flags, 200 trucks and railway wagons, 20 km of rail lines, 7 km of roads, 95 bridges, 20 km of electric lines and captured others, 38 Japanese officers and 613 collaborationist soldiers and wounded 3,253 of the enemy".
General Chung Yee
On May 9, 1940, several Chinese units under the command of Chinese General Chung Yee fought to the death against a well-equipped Japanese armored division. All the Chinese soldiers who entered battle were killed, but Chung Yee, with two members of his personal escort, retreated to the forest and searched for reinforcements. To his misfortune, a second Japanese force outside the village of Tsuan Tai Chen had killed potential reinforcements.
On May 18, General Chung Yee, his second-in-command General Fang Chih-an, and the units they controlled fought the Japanese Army in the Tsaoyang area. General Chang's two regiments were surrounded by 6,000 enemy cavalry and infantry units in the Fengjiang area. The ensuing battle lasted eight hours causing terrible losses to the defenders; Chung Yee was wounded in the right arm. Chinese officers petitioned for a strategic retreat, but Commander Yee overruled them, ordering a last stand to defend the land. He saw this as a debt owed to his country, and a dishonour if left unpaid before his death. The enemy advanced with reinforcements. During the battle, a round of machine gun fire reached the party of General Chang and wounded one of his officers.
Only a few hours later, General Fang Chih-an encountered the same Japanese force, and his army defeated it. Among the corpses, he found the enemy commander . Subsequent Japanese radio broadcasts glorified the late Japanese commander and stated his remains would be sent to Shantung.
The Chinese left with the remains of the enemy commander, as well as the corpse of Major General Chung Yee, and conducted funerals in Peipei, 50 km from the Capital. When news of this reached the Japanese, they dispatched bombers to strike the area. The funerals continued even as these attacks occurred, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek conferred high honours upon the dead chiefs. Honours were bestowed upon the General Chung Yee for his role as Chinese supreme commander.
Other Chinese engagements
Chinese General Chang Yun-ee, chief of the Fourth Detachment, was killed in combat during the spring of 1942. There were approximately 500,000 soldiers left in the Chinese army.
In the Second Changsha battle, Chinese forces destroyed advancing Japanese forces. During the ensuing Japanese retreat, the Chinese pursued and destroyed the remaining Japanese groups who fled the battle.
A Chinese expeditionary force annihilated the entire Japanese 33rd Division in the Battle of Yenangyaung, of the first Burma campaign. They liberated around 7,000 British prisoners, took roughly 1,000 horses, and freed 500 other prisoners, which included American journalists and missionaries captured by the Japanese forces.
After the Battle of Kweshan, Chinese forces captured 10 soldiers of the Manchukuo Imperial Forces, two 9.3 cm pieces of heavy artillery, and a plaque which read "Manufactured in Tokyo, 1940". In Juikwotan, Chinese forces confiscated two American trucks from the Japanese, one of which was full of packages of hand grenades. The Chinese general headquarters was filled by Japanese flags, parts for trucks and cars, tools, rifles, pistols, revolvers, munitions, mortars with munitions, covers, and raincoats. One secret peasant society, "Hwang Shih Hwei", helped capture Japanese troops and the aforementioned equipment during combat.
The Chinese mourned the loss of the young officer Loh Hun-ping, in the battle near the enemy position of Miaoerpu, who had led one offensive unit against the enemy.
In the Chekiang-Kiangsi skirmish, Chinese forces rescued members of the American Doolittle Raid. When they arrived at Chekiang, they encountered Japanese and collaborationist armies. During intense skirmishes, the Chinese forces killed approximately 17,000 of the enemy forces.
After these skirmishes, Chinese forces engaged in guerrilla combat, impeding Japan's first attempt to organize the large number of Japanese units needed for a pincer attack, which the Japanese planned to use during their invasion of Sichuan province. The Chinese were aided by the U.S. Navy, which defeated the Japanese Navy in the Midway, and by the U.S. Army, which defeated the Japanese Army in the Solomon Islands campaigns; these defeats prevented the Japanese forces from sending adequate reinforcements to the Chinese mainland for their previously planned invasion of Sichuan, and also deprived the Japanese of control over important sea routes. Finally, Chinese forces joining the Anglo-American "Flying Tigers" destroyed the new Japanese divisions slated to invade Sichuan during the Battle of Hubei.
In the Battle of Changteh, the Japanese were defeated by the New Fourth Chinese forces, even when the Japanese used chemical warfare against the population and the Chinese forces.
End of the war
On May 22, 1945, Chinese forces took prisoner "17 Japanese officers, 230 soldiers and captured 347 horses, 24 cannons of various caliber, 100 light and heavy machine guns, 1,333 rifles, and 20 tonnes of assorted equipment".
Chinese forces launched a fierce counter-offensive against the last Japanese positions in Canton and Kwangsi. They also took part in other counter-offensives with the Allied Forces in the South China area against the remaining Japanese forces in the area.
- Development of Chinese Nationalist Armour and Air force in World War II
- Sino-German cooperation
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