China 1927-1937

[ ]{#The_Northern_Expedition_(1927)} The Northern Expedition (1927)


Kuomintang Army

1st Army Corps

  • consists of Chiang's loyal Zhejiang and Guangdong troops

2nd Army Corps

  • Hunan armies

3rd Army Corps

  • Yunnan armies

4th Army Corps

  • Cantonese forces in the Xi Jiang area (who fought in Wuhan during the Northern Expedition and sustained the greatest losses)

7th Army Corps

  • Guangxi Army, led by Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi

After the Northern Expedition, Feng Yuxiang's Army of the Northwest, and Yan Xishan's Shanxi army joined Chiang, and he then commanded a total strength of 179 divisions and 30 independent brigades in what is known as the National Revolutionary Army (NRA). Here are the Group Armies:

1st Group Army

Guomindang Army Corps

2nd Group Army

Guominjun (Feng Yuxiang's) army corps

3rd Group Army

Shanxi Army

4th Group Army

Guangxi army


30 000 man force which broke away on August 1, 1927

Manchurian Army

  • led by Zhang Zuolin

[ ]{#After_the_Northern_Expedition_(1928-1936)} After the Northern Expedition (1928-1936)

In 1928, the Chinese Army had approximately 2.25 million men under arms. (Source: )

In an effort to put the majority of the armed forces under his control, Chiang Kai-shek engaged a program of troop disbandment which was bitterly opposed by the other warlords. The 4th Group Army of Guangxi, the 2nd Group Army of Shanxi, and the 2nd Group Army of the Northwest all rebelled against Chiang. Through Chiang's swift diplomatic maneuvering, all these rebellions came to be crushed, and their troops were incorporated into the government forces.

  • the First Army was one of the better equipped of the 8 National Revolutionary Armies (NRA)
    • however, it was not very well equipped
    • Chiang personally controlled only 3 armies, or about 5-10% of the nation's total force
  • in contrast, some other NRA took full advantage of the fighting and expanded their forces to impressive size



  • The Guangxi Clique, as a result of a crisis seemingly provoked by Chiang (3.11) revolted against Nanjing
    • Guangxi leaders were skilled tacticians and commanded about 230 000 troops
    • Feng Yuxiang, commanding 220 00 men would join forces
    • Chiang bought Feng off with Y2 million and a promise of control over Shandong province
    • Chiang then defeated the Guangxi armies in less than 2 months
    • Empire of Li Zongrena and Bai Chongxi in Hebei and Hunan-Hubei thereupon collapse.
    • they retreated to their home province of Guangxi


  • Feng was going to go to war with Chiang over the disbandment issue, but Han Fuqu and Shi Yousan (and 100 000 of Feng's troops) defected to the nationalist side.
    • also, Chiang reneged on his pledge to hand over Shandong (3.11-12)
    • Feng pushed out of Shandong and Henan (3.12)


  • In April 1930, Feng and Yan Xishan organized an Anti-Chiang coalition which included the Reorganization faction (led by Wang Jingwei (3.12)) and the Western Hill faction (an extreme right faction (3.12)) as well.
    • February and March, Feng Yuxiang and Yan Xishan formed the Anti-Chiang coalition, which posed the most serious challenge to Chiang's power. (3.12)
    • Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi of the Guangxi clique promised to coordinate their attack from South China
    • in 4 months, the two sides incurred some 250 000 casualties (3.12)
    • In September, the rebel government against Chiang fled from Beiping to Taiyuan, Yan's capital (3.12)
    • Both sides wooed Zhang Xueliang to join them (3.12)
    • However, Zhang Xueliang threw his support behind Chiang, and the rebel cause was doomed
      • the leader was bribed with 10 million yuan and joined the central government in mid-september(3.12)
      • he was promised that he might administer all of China north of the Yellow River (3.12)
      • he sent 100 000 troops into the Beiping-Tianjin area and took control o the major railroads and the rich revenues from the Tianjin customs
    • by October, the Central Plains War was over and both sides suffered heavy casualties
    • the 1930 war broke up the Guominjun of Feng Yuxiang, greatly weakened Yan Xishan, and left the Manchurian Army as the only respectable military power in northern China


(Source: )

  • Guangxi – 4th Juntuan
  • Guangdong – 1st Juntuan : Chen Jitang
  • Japan had 3 relief divisions from the Korea military garrison
  • They attack Zhang Xueliang’s army in Shenyang
  • 1st Bubing Shi : Hu Zongnan

December 1930

Force Deployment during the Extermination Campaigns

Sequence of Campaigns

Government Troops

Regional/Chiang Ratio (in divisions)

Communist Troops


44 000


42 000


113 000


66 000


130 000


53 000


153 000


64 000


300 000(?)


100 000(?)

Source: Source: Ch'i, Hsi-Sheng. Nationalist China at War: Military Defeats and Political Collapse, 1937-45 , University of Michigan Press: Michigan, 1982, ISBN 0472100181, p. 246

  • Chiang launches his first Extermination Campaign against the Communists (2.20)
    • Using only a small number of Hunan forces against the Communist base in Jiangxi

January 1931

  • Chiang's first Extermination force gets thrashed by the Communists (2.20)


  • Chiang launches his second extermination campaign against the Communists
    • this is a larger force, and the government now has a 2:1 advantage over the Red Army


  • Chiang's second extermination campaign ends in defeat
  • In protest against Hu Hanmin's arrest, the provincial militarists of Guangdong and Guangxi establish a separatist regime in Guangzhou (3.13)
    • also included Wang Jingwei, the Western Hills partisans, and San Yat-sen's son, Sun Fo
    • they created a new government in 1 June.
    • Real power rested with the provincial militarists, notably Chen Jitang, chairman of the Guangdong province


  • Chiang launches his third extermination campaign against the Communists (2.20)
    • commanded by Chen Cheng, who is described as able, and whose quality is admitted by Mao (3.90)
    • crack units under Chiang are thrown into the battle
    • Chiang is tightening the noose around the Communist base area
    • Guangdong rebels and moves its troops against southern Hunan and Jiangxi


  • Sept 18: The Japanese invaded Manchuria
    • Sept 1931, Zhang Xueliang lost his base and fled to Chiang's protection. (2.18)
    • Chiang has to call off his third extermination campaign (2.20)
    • An agreement is worked out between the Nanjing regime and the Guangzhou regime because of the japanese invasion (3.14)
    • 15 Dec, Chiang resigns his posts and retires to his native village of Xikou in Zhejiang (3.14)


  • without Chiang's support of the Sun Fo government, it does not have the backing of the Shanghai financiers and so cannot meet its financial responsibilities (3.14)
    • central army remains loyal to Chiang
    • Chiang came back on 29 of January

Jan 6

  • 19th Lujun : Jiang Guangnai
  • 19th Corps and 5th Corps valiantly fought the Japanese
  • 5th Corps (relocated from Nanjing) – Feb 1932: entered battle of Shanghai
    • 87th Bubing Shi : Zhang Zhizhong
    • 88th Bubing Shi : Yu Jishi
    • 1st Bubing Shi : Hu Zongnan – Hu Zongnan took charge of forgifying at Jiangyin City on Yangtze bank
  • After, Jiang Guangnai’s 19th Lujun relocated to Fujian Province to fight communists
  • 7th Juntuan and 35th Jun - Fu Zuoyi

Mar 4

  • 32nd Corps recovered Lengkou

Mar 7

  • 67th Corps beats Japanese 8th division-conglomerate and 16th brigade conglomerate at Gubeikou Pass
  • Guan Linzheng’s relief forces also arrive

Mar 21

  • 29th Corps : Song Zheyuan - Northwestern Army Soldiers
    • 37th Bubing Shi
  • evacuated from Xifenkou Pass on Apr 8
  • 25th Bubing Shi : Guan Linzheng
    • 57th Corps : Miao Zhengliu


The Oyuwan Soviet destroyed by Chiang's forces, forcing Zhang Guotao and Xi Xiangqian to go on their long march to north Sichuan.

    • in North Sichuan, fighting between the 24th and 29th armies allows the Communist 4th Front Army to set up a new soviet

Oct 11

  • Defection of 37th Lujun commander Wang Yongcheng


  • In 1933, the Chinese Army consisted of (according to German sources) 134 Infantry Divisions 9 Cavalry Divisions, 17 Cavalry Brigades, 36 Infantry Brigades, 5 Artillery Brigades, 20 Artillery Regiments, 600 aircraft (approximately), some railway artillery, limited armored forces, a small navy, for a total of 37 million main line troops and 600,000 provincial troops. (Source: )
  • In January, Chiang organizes his 4th extermination campaign against the Communists. (2.20)
    • loyal government units assigned the crucial role
    • In April, The Japanese attack jehol and the Great Wall, forcing Chiang to accept the Tanggu agreement in May, which force the central gov't to withdraw it's forces from northern China (2.18)
    • Chiang is also forced to call off the 4th extermination campaign against the Communists because of this incursion
  • In October, Chiang begins the 5th extermination campaign against the Communists (2.21)
    • Chiang initiated a militia system and a strict blockade system where all essential commodities were forbidden near the rebel zones
    • Chiang established pillboxes to put pressure on the Communists from all sides and tighten the ring of encirclement
    • On 26 october, the 19th Route Army (Nationalist) commanded by Cai Tingkai, entered into an agreement and set up a "People's Revlutionary Government" in Fuzhou in Nov 1933. The CCP and the 19th Route Army didn't cooperate further, and Chiang quickly defeated the new Fuzhou government. (3.97)


  • Chiang's 5th extermination campaign against the Communists is going very well
    • by October 1934, 80% of Red forces were killed, wounded or captured
    • Mao escapes and starts the Long March


  • Guizhou "remained aloof" from the central govenrment until 1934-1935
  • all Sichuan generals had defected to the GMD byt he end of 1926, but they maintained the basic pattern of confrontation with eachother that had existed since the Beiyang days (2.18-19)
    • had their own defense districts, within which they exerscised exclusive control over the civil government, taxation, transportation, economy and the opium trade
    • between 1928-1934, civil wars broke out every year among the Sichuan warlords
  • in late 1934, the Communists started the Long March and went into Sichuan and Guizhou (2.19)
    • responding to Liu Xiang's call for help, Nanjing dispatched the staff corps and organized 2 armies to pursue the Communists
    • GMD used this opportunity to gain control of Sichuan province
    • Xue Yue and Zhou Hungyuan chased the CCP into Sichuan (3.96)


  • June: Nationalist Party activities are banned under Japanese pressure (2.18)
  • eastern Chahar is invaded by the Japanese Kwantung Army
  • Japan sets up the Eastern Hebei Anti-Communist Special Regime at the end of 1935 (3.110)
    • Diplomats between China and Japan are Zhang Qun (China) and Kawagoe (Japan)

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