View Full Version : TWO REPUBLICS in CHINA (13)

November 21st, 2015, 03:35 PM
5) The battles in Shandong province
As now the Japanese army occupied the north of China and also Shanghai and Nanking area, they wanted to occupy Shandong province, which is between the northern provinces and the southern area. Shandong province was then still under the control of the Chinese army. Xuzhou city was an important strategical place. So battles were waged in its vicinity, expanding into some adjoining provinces. If the Japanese army occupied Xuzhou, they could go west along Longhai railway to attack Zhengzhou in HeNan province and go south along Pinghan railway to attack Wuhan in Hubei province. So Japanese army came down from north and came up from south.
At the beginning of the Anti-Japanese War in 1937, Han Fuju, the chairman of the government of Shandong province, was ordered to be in charge of the defensive line along the Yellow River to prevent the Japanese army from crossing the river. But when the Japanese army rushed down upon him from north, he escaped as if to open the gate to invite the enemy in so that Japanese army easily crossed the river. In early March, 1938, they occupied JiNan, the capital of Shandong province.
On the 26th day of January, 1938, the 13th division of Japanese army marched from south towards Fengyang and Bangbu in Anhui province. The Chinese army stationed there, after efforts of resistance, receded towards west. On the 3rd day of February, the Japanese division took Linhuai Pass and Bangbu. On the 9th and the 10th days, the 13th division crossed the Huai River to north. The 51st Chinese army stationed at the north bank and fought the Japanese army.
Between the 1st day to the 17th day in March, Japanese army attacked Teng Town in the southern Shandong province. On the 14th day, the battle reached its climax. The Japanese army used 30 cannons. On the 17th day, Teng Town was lost to the Japanese army. In late February, the Japanese 5th military bloc came down south, after taking over a few towns, approached Linqi Town, where the 40th army of the national government held the defense. Then the 59th Chinese army came for reenforcement. From the 14th day to the 18th day, the 59th Chines army attacked the Japanese bloc from the rear and one wing. The Japanese army had to retreat, leaving behind heavy casualties.
On the 20th day of March, a Japanese brigade, after taking a few towns, approached TaiEr village area, which was the front defensive line to Xuzhou. The brigade attacked alone without waiting for the 5th division and another brigade of their army so that they could break through the defensive lines on the left wing and on the right wing of the Chinese army. From the 24th day, the Japanese army assailed fiercely. The 2nd Chinese military bloc held the defense. Then the 20th Chinese bloc attacked the Japanese army from behind. And the 59th Chinese army came, too. They surrounded the Japanese army and the 10th Japanese corps was wiped out and the 5th Japanese corps was put to rout. It was the only and first time that the Chinese army defeated the Japanese army in the early period of Anti-Japanese War.
Anyway, Japan aimed at taking Xuzhou. On the 18th day of April, two Japanese divisions attacked the 20th, the 3rd and the 59th Chinese armies. On the 5th day of May, the main forces of the Japanese army divided into two detachments and went from west side of Xuzhou to the north and south sides of the city intending to surround it. On the 14th day, the 14th Japanese division came from Puyang in HeNan province, and crossing the Yellow River, occupied Heze. On the 15th day of May, the Japanese army surrounded Xuzhou. So under the command of Chiang, the Chinese army in Xuzhou broke through the surrounding circle and escaped to the mountainous area in HeNan and Anhui provinces. Xuzhou was at length taken by the Japanese army on the 19th day.
Now the Japanese army marched west along the Longhai railway and on the 6th day of June, occupied Kaifeng city in HeNan province. To prevent the Japanese army from further advance, Chiang ordered on the 9th day to explode the south dike of the Yellow River at Huayuankou, to the northeastern side of Zhengzhou in HeNan province. The water from the river flooded down south and the Japanese army had to recede east. Thus ended the battles in Shandong province. Han Fuju was executed for running away from the battlefield.
6) The battles at Wuhan city area
After taking Nanking, the Japanese army wanted to conquer China in three months by blitzkrieg attack like Hitler did in Europe. They marched along the Yangtze River towards Wuhan, gathering large numbers of troops, amounting 300,000 strong. If they took Wuhan, half of China would be in their possession. But they neglected to count that even so, they only occupied cities and towns in this half of China, not the whole area of it. They had no such forces to control the countryside. As they pushed forward, they must leave some of their troops to guard the cities and towns they had taken. And so the troops they could use would be less and less, plus those killed and wounded. Wrong strategy.
The Chinese army totaled 1,100,000 in defense. The whole defense line extended for 400 km long. The fight lasted for four and a half months, the longest in time and biggest on scale of the all battles between Japan and China. The casualties of the Japanese army were 35,500 while those of the Chinese army were 256,000. After that, the Japanese forces in China were not enough to make lightning attacks and they had to change their stratagem from quick conquest to keeping secure what they had obtained so far.
On the night of the 11th day of June, 1938, a Japanese brigade, under the cover of the raining night, gave a surprise attack and took Anqin on the 12th day. Anqin was the first defensive spot to Wuhan. Then they went west by water, riding on their warships. In late June, they arrived at Madang, where the Chinese army had built strong defensive line. Chiang hoped that this line could block the advance of the Japanese army for at least one month.
At first, the Japanese army desired to get through the line on the river. On the 22nd day of June, they approached Madang and found that there were a lot of water mines, sunken ships, and artificial reefs so that their warships could not go through. They had to advance by land and break through the line on the mountainous areas.
Li Yunheng, the Chinese commander in charge of the defense in Madang, wished to show that he was a talented general without realizing the serious situation. He organized a training class for officers in charge of regiments, battalions, companies and platoons in his army for two weeks starting from the 10th day of June. And at 8 o'clock in the morning on the 24th day, he would hold a ceremony for the completion of the class. So in the night of the 23rd day, all the officers went to the headquarters and stayed there for the ceremony next morning. There was a Japanese spy in the training class and gave the information to Japanese army. So the Japanese army sent some surprise squads to attack some front fortresses. As there were no officers to direct the action of the soldiers, who got in a chaos, the squads took the fortresses easily. But when the squads went on to attack Changshan, they encountered strong resistance, because officers there refused to attend the ceremony. The fight lasted for two days and the defensive Chinese troops were short of ammunitions and telegrammed the headquarters. The 167th division was sent there for reinforcement. But Xue Weiying, the commander of this division was a coward and went slowly to avoid being killed in the battle. At dawn of the 26th day, the Japanese squads stole through a place full of reeds to attack another frontier spot. They used poisonous gas and killed all the defensive soldiers there. Then the Japanese army cleared all water mines by firing at them and got rid of other barriers. They shipped mariners to attack Changshan and broke through the defensive line there. The defensive Chinese army had to withdraw out of Madang and the Japanese army occupied it. Madang was the gate on the middle of the Yangtze River to Wuhan. Commander Li Yunheng was severely punished and the division leader Xue Weiying was executed for the neglect of his duties.
After taking Madang, the Japanese army continued west. On the 29th day of June, they took Pengze. Under the order from Wuhan headquarters, the 64th Chinese army came in hopes to take back the town, but was defeated and chased to Hukou, which was soon taken by the Japanese army on the 4th day of July. The 64th Chinese army went to Jiujiang. On the 22nd day, the Japanese army attacked the city, which was situated by the Poyang Lake. At dawn of the 23rd day, the Japanese army stole into the lake in rain and set foot on the bank at noon. The Chinese defensive army did not even know it. They found the enemy and reported to the headquarters only at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. By then, the Japanese army had surrounded the city. The Chinese army inside had to fight through the surrounding circle and escaped. The city fell into the hands of Japanese army on the 24th day.
The next goal of the Japanese army was Tianjia town. The hilly ground was easy to defend and hard to attack. The river width was only 500 meters. The Chinese army set strong defense here with artillery. On the 21st day of August, the Japanese army attacked Matou town, 15 km downstream from Tianjia town, and took it after the conflict of more than 20 days. On the 26th day, the Japanese army sailed in warships upstream towards the town. As there were more barriers on the water, the Japanese army went very slowly. On the 29th day, another Japanese detachment went to attack Guangji town. If they could take this town, they could go to attack Tainjia town from behind. Tianjia town was 40 km northeast from Guangji Town. The attack began on the 30th day of August and took it on the 6th day of September. Between Guangji town and Tianjia town there was only a narrow road between two small lakes. The Japanese army followed the narrow road on the 15th day of September. There were some defensive lines set along this road. So they were blocked by a defensive line and used poisonous gas again. Some of Chinese soldiers were poisoned and the Chinese army had to retreat.
The Japanese mariners went to Wuxue, some distance from Tianjia. Wuxue was defended only by a Chinese company. In the evening of the 16th day, the mariners began the onset. The defensive soldiers fought the invaders alley by alley till only a few soldiers left and escaped. But before they ran away, they did destroy the dike at the river bank and the water flooded Wuxue area, which hindered the advance of the mariners.
A Japanese brigade was surrounded by the Chinese army and became short of rations and ammunitions. The commander of a Japanese military bloc learned the difficult situation of the brigade and called for air aid. So Japanese airplanes airdropped the necessities and ammunitions to the brigade. But as fight continued, their ammunitions were soon used up. The Japanese soldiers had to throw stones at the Chinese attackers and sometimes threw back the grenades the Chinese soldiers cast to them. The Chinese army found out the awkward condition of the enemy and marched forth in rains to wipe them out. However, their rescue troops came and assailed Chinese army from behind, which had to withdraw. The Japanese brigade had few soldiers left alive.
On the 23rd day, part of the Japanese wounded soldiers were shipped away, but the first field hospital was still full of the wounded. Because of the lack of helping hands, the lightly wounded, who could still walk, went to the field hospital by themselves. Sometimes they had to crawl in the rain and in the mud. When reaching the hospital, they were almost dying. Some even died on the way owing to the loss of blood. The hospital could only give them to eat what could be eaten. War is cruel to both sides of the participants.
After the sunset of the 26th day, the 4th Japanese battalion attacked Xinwo. Their soldiers all put on gas masks and used poisonous gas to the Chinese company there. Most Chinese soldiers were poisoned except about ten of them already escaped. The Japanese soldiers entered the place and killed all Chinese soldiers with bayonets if they had not died yet.
The 4th battalion went towards Lujia Mountain without leaving some soldiers to guard Xinwo. It was dark and the mountain features were complicated. The 4th battalion was lost among the mountain. The Chinese 339th regiment was camping on this mountain for defense. But after some battles, only a battalion was left. As Xinwo was lost, the regiment commander chose some hundred soldiers to form a expendable squad to Xinwo. When they reached there, they found no Japanese soldiers guarding the place. But the coincidence was that the 2nd Japanese battalion came into their firing zone. At first the Japanese troops thought that their 4th battalion had already wiped out the Chinese defensive soldiers there, but now they encountered the Chinese squad in surprise. 61 soldiers of the 2nd Japanese battalion were killed and 17 escaped. At daybreak, the 4th battalion found that they were at the foot of Lujia Mountain and they climbed up to attack the defensive soldiers on the top, who were just ready for breakfast. When they found the Japanese soldiers coming up the mountain, they escaped.
In the early morning of the 28th day, the cannons from the warships on the river and from land poured heavy fire upon Tianjia and all the defensive structures and weaponry were destroyed. There looked like a sea of flames. At the same time, all the outside defensive spots were lost. The Chinese army in Tianjia was ordered to withdraw. At 10 o'clock on the 29th day, when the Japanese army entered the town, the Chinese defensive army was nowhere to be seen.
At the same time, the 106th Japanese military bloc marched south along Nanxun railroad to Nanchang. On the 20th day of August, this bloc, aided by the 101th Japanese bloc, broke through the Chinese defensive line at Xingzi. But the Chinese army had a second defensive line behind the first. The two Japanese blocs could not go further this time. In September, 1938, a Japanese reconnaissance airplane found that there was a gap in the defensive line after the fight for a month. So the 106th Japanese bloc was sent to go stealthily through that gap to the rear of the Chinese defensive army to attack them from behind. On the 25th day, the 106th bloc began to steal through the gap, but lost their way among the mountainous region. They were soon discovered and surrounded by Chinese army. On the 7th day of October, Chinese army attacked the bloc and the fight went on for three days. The bloc had no reenforcement and no ammunitions. On the 10th day, 3,000 Japanese soldiers died. The rest of the bloc escaped.
On the 27th day of August, the 2nd Japanese army attacked Dabie Mountain area, and took LiuAn and Huoshan. They divided into two detachments. The first detachment went through the Dabie Mountain area to directly approach Wuhan. The second detachment went to Lushan on a roundabout way to Wuhan. But there was Mt. Fujin right on their way to Wuhan. They had to occupy Mt. Fujin first. A severe battle commenced. They failed to take the mountain by the 6th day of September. On the 11th day, the 16th Japanese bloc came for reenforcement. The Chinese defensive army on the mountain had to withdraw. As the Japanese army approached Wuhan, there was no more Chinese army seen. The Chinese army already retreated from Wuhan, leaving the city to the Japanese army.
Although the Japanese army took a lot of cities and towns, they really did not annihilate much of the Chinese army, who still had enough strength to fight back when needed later. On the contrary, the Japanese army suffered much loss and had no more strength to wage battles on a large scale. It showed that as China is such a huge country, even all the Japanese armies was thrown in the territory of China, they could not cover the whole area of the nation. Besides, once they took a city, they got a burden. As they got more and more burdens, they had less and less strength to fight. That's from a strategical point of view.