China OOB

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Communist China Military Organization Hou Ru Yong Japanese Army in China Interview with Zhang Xueliang

China 1927-1937


  • Sichuan had close to 300 000 regular troops and 600 000 militia (2.19)
    • the central government only had 1 army and 1 division in the province

Organization The National forces are divided into:

  • 13 route armies
  • 49 armies

of varying strength. Some of the route armies contain as many as six divisions, in addition to independent cavalry, artillery and other units. The armies consist of one to five divisions. (6.425)

Distribution There were a number of changes in the distribution of the National Army following the invasion of Hunan by Kwangtung and Kwangsi units in June, 1936. The table in the XLS file was the approximate distribution of China’s military forces in May-June 1936. (6.425)

Yunnan under Long Yun, Guangxi under Huang Xuchu, Guangdong under Li Hanhun, Xikang under Liu Wenhui, and Shanxi under Yan Xishan, all beyond the control of the central gov't (2.146)

February - April

  • Feb-Apr, the Communists launched their "eastern expedition" into Shanxi, ostensibly to engage the Japanese in hebei and Rehe. As Liu Zhidan's army pushed towards Taiyuan, Yan Xishan sent a call for help to Chiang Kai-shek. In addition to demonstrating the CCP's determination to fight the Japanese, it recruited 8000 fresh troops and broke the back of Chiang's encirclement campaign which had been manned by a motley of 'mescellaneous' troops (3.109)
    • also, leaders in NW China, including Zhang Xueliang were now convinced of the CCP's 'patriotic commitment'; consequently they lost their interest in fighting the Red Army.
    • Zhang Xueliang and CCP concluded an unofficial non-aggression pact and called for unity against the Japanese
    • Chiang assaulted the soviet area in April 1936, and Mao and Zhu De loosed a tirade of violent language against him. Chiang's assault was then called off
    • As the Central government used this opportunity to try to assert its authority in the area, it scared Yan Xishan (3.205-206)
      • Yan's armies were not effective and his rule was tolerated rather than actively supported
      • He started a large "Force for the Promotion of Justice" campaign to rid his country of corruption and gain popular support
      • by late summer, he was ready to actively with leftists and communists
      • he tried to do this as a coutner to the Japanese and Chiang Kai-shek
      • when the war broke out, there was no bar to the passage of the 3 main divisional commands of the CCP 8th Route Army across Shanxi
      • organized 4 "Dare-to-die Columns" (Juesi Zongdui) each commanded by a party member who served simultaneously as a political officer in the 'New Army'


  • Japanese take advantage of an incident similar to Luguojiao Incident (July 7, 1937), to take Fengtai, which is in between Beiping and Tianjin (3.116)
    • later in the same year, they atempt in vain to purchase some 1000 acres of land near Wanping for a barracks and an airfield.
  • late 1936, secession-minded Mongol princes establish a regional govenrment claiming sovereignty over Chahar, Suiyuan, and Ningxia, and launch an incursion into Suiyuan
    • repelled by Fu Zuoyi, propelling the Chinese people into a nationalist furor

[ ]{#1st_Group_Army_(Central_Army_Zhongyang_Jun)} 1st Group Army (Central Army Zhongyang Jun )

  • most powerful force
  • German trained (and later US equipped) divisions
  • led by Chiang
  • July 7, '37: 300 000 strong
  • eventually 350 000 men were added
  • had a central core of 80 000 which were equipped and organized to pre WW2 German standard and called the "Generalissimo's Own"
    • had most of China's artillery, armore and equipment
    • under direct command of Chiang

Guangxi Clique Army

  • very powerful
  • 12 divisions
  • highly trained regular army nucleus, and a large body of well-trained militia
  • since Guangxi has a good education system, a these soldiers were more literate than average
  • during the Sino-Japanese War, they expanded to 143 000 well-trained men
  • bore the brunt of numerous Japanese offensives
  • Zhang Xueliang’s Manchurian army in Xi’an to fight the Communists (3.105
  • Red Army in Yan’an is surrounded by 17 KMT divisions (3.105)


  • A reorganization program, started in spiring of 1935, planned to create 60 modern divisions by 1938. However, by 1937, only 10 could really be adequately modern. (2.37)
  • July 7 1937: only eight divisions were fully trained by the Germans. Some were: (Source: )
    • 83rd Infantry Division (Chiang's favorite division)
    • 87th Infantry Division
    • 88th Infantry Divisions

Feb 1937 Chinese Army (2)


Chiang Kai-shek (including 10 w/ German Training)


EX-Zhang Xueliang Manchurian Army


ex-Feng Yuxiang


Yan Xishan Shanxi Army


Guangxi Clique (Li Zongren, Pai Chongxi)






Yunnan and Guizhou




miscellaneous Northern (30) and southern (8) provincial


Divisions of the Chinese Army


  • 300 000 troops had received German-type training, but only 80 000 were fully equipped with German weapons. The remainder of the approx 1.7 million men in the nationalist Army were, by European and Japanese standards, badly trained, poorly equipped and divided into numerous virtually independent and mutually jealous commands (3.126)


  • Chinese intelligence indicated that Japan had an army of 500 000 men on active duty, and additional reserves of 2 400 000 men, the world's third largest navy with over 1 200 000 tons displacement, and 3 000 aircraft (2.47)
    • China's navy consisted of a dozen or so river patrol boats and no sea-worthy vessels, and her airforce had 100 planes
    • China's total military strength stood at:
      • 182 infantry divisions
      • 9 cavalry divisions
      • 46 independent brigades
      • 28 artillery regiments
      • a paper strength of 2 000 000 men
      • no trained reserves of any kind
      • barely half these units could be used for front line duties
      • Nanjing had firm control over no more than 100 000 elite troops and an additional 200 000 troops of mediocre combat capability
      • even at full strength, Chinese infantry had about 1/4 of the firepower of its Japanese counterpart
    • while a Japanese division had 24 tanks, 266 trucks, 555 horsedrawn vehicles, Chinese division had none.
  • China had slightly less than 200 divisions in 1937 (2.101)

July 7

Source: Wikipedia: Marco Polo Bridge Incident

  • Song Zheyuan commanded the 29th army
    • Liu Ruming commanded the 143 division
    • Feng Zhian commanded the 37th Division
    • Zhao Dengru commanded the 132nd Division
    • Zhang Zizhong commanded the 38th division
  • China has 40 "newly adjusted divisions": 300 000 men
  • 80 000 of these were first-rate fighting troops with German-made weapons
  • about three-fifths were deployed around Shanghai and Nanjing, the backbone of a 450 000 man force ordered to make a death stand in defense of that area
  • In Shanghai/Nanjing, 60% of total strength was lost
  • Japanese had a 200 000 man force land at Shanghai, heavily supported by sea and air. By the end, they took 40 000 casualties

Source : (1.147, 1.198)

  • in 11 august, Chiang orders three of his finist divisions armed with German weapons and advised by Alexander von Falkenhausen to take positions inside Greater Shanghai, but outside foreign areas (3.119)
    • Chinese numbere 80 000 versus Japanese 12 000
    • in 3 months of fighting at Nanjing, some 270 000 Chinese troops (60% of Nationalist defenders), were killed or wounded, and Japanese casualties were over 40 000


25 Sept: Pingxing Pass (1.200)

  • Japanese sent reeling back by communist force known as the chinese Red Army (now renamed the 8th Route Army), led by General Lin Biao
  • described by German military journals as " a classic of mobile warfare"
  • Lin Biao set up an ambush for the supply train at the rear of Itagaki's crack 5th Division. Caught by surprise in a narrow ravine, the Japanese were cut to pieces. But in a last ditch effort, the surviving Japanese soldiers destroyed their equipement and committed suicide, leaving the communists with only 100 rifles. (3.207)


  • Chinese deployed about 71 divisions, 5 artillery regiments (nearly everything the Chinese had in artillery), and miscellaneous garrison units totalling half a million men (2.42)
  • Japanese expeditionary Force under the command of General Matsui consisted of 6 divisions and 5-6 independent brigades, complete with air and naval suport, totalling 200 000 men.


  • Nov 5: General Yanagawa's 19th Corps of 30 000 men successfully landed at Jinshanwei 30 miles south of Shanghai and
  • Nov 9: Chinese government orders a retreat


  • Defense of Nanjing (2.43) commanded by Tang Shengzhi? Source :
    • 100 000 defenders lost in four days
  • in the north, more armies had suffered heavy casualties (2.43)
  • Chinese side had lost a total of 370 000-450 000 men, or between one third and one half of her fighting strength. (2.43)



  • Japanese mount a new offensive against Xuzhou from Shandong along the Beijing-Pukou railway (2.49)
    • the Chinese army in the 5th war zone, under the command of Li Zongren totalled 200 000 soldiers

[ ]{#March/April/May} March/April/May

Li Zongren, CiC of the 5th War Area, has a 133 000 man force around Xuzhou which attacks two advancing Japanese columns led by Generals Itagaki and Isogai, two young generals (1.200)

  • Japanese takes 30 000 men casualty (1.200)
    • including heavy losses in equipment, Japanese take 16 000 dead (2.50)
  • japanese then assembled ten divisions with 20 000-25 000 men to attack, but the attack fails (1.200)
  • Chinese casualties are about 15 000 soldiers (2.50)

In May/June, some of the best-trained units of the Central Army are lost near Lanfeng (1.201)

  • Japanese Doihara division is on the verge of defeat, but faulty coordinations allow the Japanese to escape
  • Japanese strike back against General Gui Yongqin, who fights it alone even though Hu Zongnan could have supported him

These hard fights made the Japanese cautious, and they waited until they gathered at least 12 divisions before they were ready to advanced futher (1.201)


  • Chinese units break the dikes of the Yellow River west of Kaifeng and flood parts of Henan, Jiangsu and Anhui (2.50)
  • Japanese begin their offensive against Wuhan in early June, after having amassed several hundred pieces of heavy artillery, airplanes, a fleet of landing vessels, as well as cruisers and destroyers (2.51)
    • it was not until late september that the japanese advance units entered Hubei province, after sustaining considerable casualties and equipment losses
    • under General Shunroku Hata, 380 000 men are marshalled
    • Chinese forces in the south are such:
      • 9th war zone: 450 000 men under Chen Cheng, reinforced with 340 000 men from the 5th war zone under Bai Chongxi, making a grand total of 800 000 men


  • japanese make a surprise landing near Guangzhou, overrun the feeble regional forces, and march literally unopposed into the city Oct 21 (2.51)
    • Oct 25 government orders complete evacuation of Wuhan


  • Chiang Kai-shek, on a policy of scorched earth, burns Changsha



In battle of Zaoyang (Hubei Province, May, 1939), LI Zongren, a Chinese, turns back an invading Japanese forces, and the Japanese take heavy losses, thus protecting the gateway to Chongqing (1.203)


  • A Chinese force of 120 000 men try to take Changsha but are defeated (2.56)
    • they lose large quantities of arms and ammunitions, and as many as 40 000 troops


  • 82 of China's 308 divisions undergone at least 8 months of reorganization and training (2.56)
    • Japanese has 25 divisions and 20 independent brigades and slightly over 500 planes in China
    • of 1.2 million japanese soldiers involved, slightly over half are combat troops


1939 Winter Offensive

  • Chinese army of close to 4.5 million had only 1.6 million rifles, 68 782 LMGs, 17 700 HMGs, 5 885 morars, 2 650 pieces of artillery of all description. At end of 1939, China had only 1 532 military vehicles (2.60)
  • Directives to launch the offensive were issued on November 19, 1939 (2.57)
    • Entire Chinese force was to be mobilized
    • armies in 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 9th warzones were to constitute the main attacking force, with those in the other zones would mount supplementary attacks
    • the gov't released nearly all of the strategic reserve under central command to the warzones
    • commanders instructed to use mobile warfare and avoid unnecessary sacrifices
    • according to Japanese military intelligence, Chinese mobilized 450 000 men and mounted 960 assaults and 1 340 engagements across the board, with the fiercest attacks directed against the japanese 11th army near Hankou
    • General Chen Cheng of 9th warzone mounted a series of aggressive attacks from western Jiangxi to southern Hubei
    • offensive was quite costly to the Japanese army, which sustained over 8 000 dead and wounded as compared with 51 000 Chinese deaths
  • Gu Zhutong, commander of 3rd war zone, gave field commanders broad powers as long as they were willing to attack the enemy aggressively (2.89)
    • 3rd war zone mobilized 14 divisions with artillery support to attack 1 single Japanese division, but commanders gave up fighting after 3 days
    • in 2nd war zone, Yan Xishan's troops hardly made a move against the Japanese at all
    • commanders valued equipment more than soldiers, and adhered to the ultraconservative tactic of concentrating a large force to attack a fixed enemy position in explicit violation of the instruction of chinese high command
    • most troops reluctant to move against the enemy unless they saw friendly units moving with them on both flanks
  • a strong Japanese force, drawn from the crack army units of the Japanese Guandong Army in Manchuria, and from other units in Taiwan, land in the Qinzhou bay north of the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • This surprise move routed a number of Chinese defense units and enabled the Japanese to capture Naning, the capital of Guangxi Clique. The Japanese plan was to capture Liuzhou, a railway center and from there to control the entire south and southwest of China
  • at Gunlong Pass, however, an entire Japanese brigade was destryed and the advance was stopped by a defense under the overall command of Bai Chongxi
  • the chinese force was 150 000 strong, with the addition of Guangxi guerrilla fighters
  • Japanese retreated after 10 months of futile occupation
  • later war records reveal that in 1937 the war in China engaged 16 of Japan's 24 divs and, after four years of the war, still with no end in sight, 27 Japanese divisions (out of a total of 51) were immobilized by the poorly equipped Chinese troops which often met defeat on the battlefield.



  • the first anti-Communist upsurge during the Sino-Japanese war (3.228)
    • tension in Shanxi growing, as Yan Xishan and conservative followers associated with Old Army see the Sacrifice League and the Dare-to-die corps of new army amalgamate with Communist forces
    • also Communist base areas and japanese take most of his territory
      • Yan forced into exile at Qiulin across Yellow river in Shaanxi
    • in Nov, Yan ordered his Old Army to disarm the Dare-to-die forces with the help of central units sent by Hu Zongnan
      • bloody fighting ensued and elements broke free of provincial control and completed link up with Communists
      • 30 000 went to Communists
    • month later, in Feb-March 1940, elements of the CCP 8th Route Army beat back the upsurge
      • Chang Yinwu's forces disarmed and dispersed on the plains of north Hebei
      • Zhu Huaibing and Shi Yousan pushed out of base area, as was GMD-appointed provincial governor, Lu Zhonglin


  • after 1940, nationalists became more conservative in its use of force, it was content to hold the line and would only order limited offensives to change it (2.100)
    • main Japanese policy after 1940-41 was to plant a spy ring in Chongqing, reassess peace terms to bring about China's capitualtion, and promote Japanese-Chinese racial harmony to drive Western influence out of Asia at the conclusion of the war.
    • offensives that were launched were for seizing or destroying the autumn harvest, disrupting transportation, or hampering the progress of the training program of the Chinese forces.
    • Nationalists, recognizing the strategy, made sure that tis own loyal units would be well-supported and assigned to strategic areas for domestic political purposes


  • Japanese seize Hainan island

After spring of 1940, Yan Xishan of Shanxi was widely suspected of keeping a dialogue with his Japanese adversaries through civilian itnermediaries (2.103)


  • Communists kick the GMD out of north China (2.120)


  • Second Battle of Changsha, Japanese defeated (2.62)


  • clashes btw CCp's new 4th army and the pro-gov't 89th army (a Jiangsu provincial army) soon forces evacuation of Jiangsu provincial gov't into neighbouring Anhui. (2.121)


  • Japanese mount an offensive (2.62)
    • Japanese initiated attacks against Hubei, henan, Anhui, and Shanxi
    • Chinese fought hard and caused difficulties for the japanese but also paid dearly
    • Japanese reported that they completely destroyed 24 Chinese divisions, including most of the best GMD units
    • Chinese confirmed that they lost about 200 000 men


Central Army (zhong yang jun)

  • 30 divs (about 300,000 men) out of a total of 300 divs in entire nationalist army
  • by the end of the war, the Central army was about 650 000 men
  • The Stalin-Matsuoka agreement freed Japan's crack Guandong army from the necessity of defending the borders of Manchuria (1.214)


New Fourth Army Incident


  • Chinese 1939 winter offensive grinds to a halt (2.58)
  • 150 000 to 200 000 of the gov'ts best troops were diverted to blockade the communists (1.205)
  • Xibei San Ma forces conduct large-scale operations against the Chinese communists actics in the Gansu and Ningxia areas (1.206)


  • 18th Army
    • 18th Division - regarded as one of the better units, but during 1942 it was stationed in the rear and did not engage in comabt, 6000 of its 11 000 men disappeared due to death or desertion
  • Hu Zongnan commanded elite forces.
  • Japanese estimated that the Chinese army numbered some 3 000 000 men, of whom 40% (about 1 200 000) belonging to the Central Government (10)
    • In turn, these Government forces comprise 650,000 troops under direct control and approximately 550,000 under subsidiary control.
    • The strongest of all the local forces is the Szechwan Army, with about

320,000 soldiers.

    • the AVG, or the Flying Tigers, represented the core of Chinese air strength

Jianqiao airport at Hangzhou (1238) was used as an airbase at the beginning of the war
Japan also used an airbase in Taiwan during the war, but i don't know exactly where it was.

Chinese Air Bases built in the middle of the war were:

1260 - Changde 1257 - Hengyang 1250 - Ganzhou 

Chinese Air Bases as of the latter half of the war:

1280 - Chongqing 1364 - Guiyang 1307 - Kunming 1360 - Chengdu 1276 - Lanzhou 1231 - Xiangfan (Zhijiang, a strategic airbase) 

Major air fields as determined by the Japanese in Central China (10)

Zhejiang Province Zhuxian <Chuhsien> 1241/1240 Lishui 1241 Jinhua <Chinhua> 1241 Longyou <Lungyu> 

Jiangxi Province 1250 Ji'an <Chian> 1250 Ganxian <Kanhsien> 1251 Nanchang 1250/1254 Suichuan Yushan 

Hunan Province 1257 Hengyang 1256 Zhuzhou <Chuchow> 1231 Zhijiang <Chihkiang> 
  • Determined to seize the important Central Chinese dromes at Lishui,

Kanhsien, and Yushan, IGHQ on April 21 ordered General Hata, commanding the China Expeditionary Army (10)

    • Taking part in the operation would be the bulk of the 13th Division

(HQ: Shanghai) in addition to a part of the 11th Division (HQ: Hankow).

    • The Thirteenth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Shigeru Sawada,

consisted primarily of thirty-four infantry battalions drawn from the 15th, 22d, 70th, and 116th divisions. On May 15, 1942, the bulk of this Army launched a general attack against the Ninth and Eighty-eighth armies of the Nationalists in the East Chekiang area. After the 19th of May, both Chinese armies, which were fleeing along the Toyo River, were shattered and put to rout. Chinhua fell on the 29th of the same month.

    • Twenty-six infantry battalions from the 3d and 34th divisions, etc.,

comprised the largest part of the Eleventh Army which, on May 81, went over to the offensive and took Chinhsien (southeast of Nanchang) on June 2. Thus the Thirteenth and Eleventh armies were in a position to pincer-attack the region along the Che-kiang rail line, from east and from west. Both armies successively captured Linchuan, Chuhsien, Chinjui, Chiangshan, and Yushan; they joined hands on July 1.

  • in March 1942, the Chinese gov't initiated a request to the American government to help equip and train 30 Chinese divisions (2.67)
    • Stilwell took note of the fact that China's 300-odd divisions were prolly 40% understrength but that it would be self-defeating to try to reorganize them all at once.
    • He argued that a few dependable well-equipped and well-supported divisions would be worth far more than the large number of them as presently organized
  • 600 000 japanese fighting men tied up in China (1.213)

5th and 6th armies were key armies. China had called for the maintenance of about 10 army corps, to be placed under the command of the national military council and to be employed as a strategic reserve in vital campaigns (1.213)

  • back bone of this force was the 5th and 6th armies, partly German-trained and German equipped
  • together with the 300 000 men (16 armies) under Hu Zongnan and Tang Enbo in the NW, these were prolly the best equipped forces Chiang had at his disposal
  • Japanese general HQ estimated the strength of this mobilizable force as 250 000 men
  • the 5th and 6th armies, before the Burma campaign served as Reserves, plugging up the most critical breaches in Chinese defenses as they occured

Burma Campaign

After the Japanese DoW the USA, Chiang is prepared to protect the main line of communication through Burma by sending a Chinese expeditionary force, including the 5th (commanded by Du Yuming), 6th (commanded by Gan Lichu) and 66th (commanded by Zhang Zhen) armies. (1.210, )

Source: Responses to Sun Liren

  • 66th corps composed of
    • New 28th Division commanded by Kang Ze (Huangpu?) (?)
    • New 38th Division commanded by Sun Liren
    • New 29th Division commanded by a Huangpu (?) commander

Tai Anlan commands the Chinese 200th Division (1.212)

  • considered by the Americans as a man of "ability and force and considerable courage"
  • his division put up a 12 day defense of Toungoo against a superior Japanese force

Sun Liren commanded the Chinese 38th Division (1.212)

  • had the only allied victory of the First Burma Campaign

Japanese General Shojiro Iido outmaneuvered the allied forces and scored a huge victory, sending them reeling back to India (1.2120

  • The allied forces, totalling 81 000 men, consisted of
    • 9 Chinese divisions under Lt. Gens Du Yuming and Gan Lichu
    • 5 Indian infantry brigades
    • 1 British armored brigade and 6 infantry Battalions under lt. Gen T.J. Hutton
    • supportd by a Chinese-American Figher Group and several squadrons of the RAF

Stilwell wanted to reduce the Chinese army units to half the existing number, and to construct 2 field armies, each to consist of 30 divisions (1.213)


  • Liao Yaoxiang's New 6th Corps was recalled to China, so he left his 50th division with Sun Liren
  • Thus, at the beginning of 1943, the following armies belonged to the Burma Area Army, whose Commander was Lieutenant General Masakazu Kawabe: (10)
    • Fifteenth Army: Commanded by Lieutenant General Renya Mutaguchi;
      • nucleus consisted of 15th, 31st, and 33d Divisions.
    • Twenty-eighth Army: Commanded by Lieutenant General Shozo Sakurai; order of battle issued on January 15, 1944;
      • nucleus made up of 2d, 54th, and 55th Divisions.
    • 18th and 56th Divisions; 24th Independent Mixed Brigade.

Spring 1942

training program for Chinese forces stuck in India. (1.184)

These Chinese forces were an expeditionary force consisting of the 22nd and 36th divs. commanded by Sun Liren and Liao Yaoxiang

  • trained at Ramgarh
  • around these divs, Stilwell planned to build 30 Chinese divs

Source: Responses to Sun Liren

  • New 1st Army, commanded by Zheng Dongguo, whom Stilwell didn't like. In spite of the fact that Sun Liren was only the deputy commander, he in actuality commanded the army. The New 1st Army consisted of:
    • the New 30th Division, which was formed during the training at Ramgarh, it was commanded by Hu Su, and after the capture of Myitkyina, was commanded by Tang Shouzi
      • the New 30th Division, because of this, was filled with new recruits, and so was used primarily as a reserve division.
    • the New 38th Division, commanded now by General Li Hong
    • the New 50th Division
  • 6th Army consisted of
    • new 14th Division
    • new 22nd Division

A similar force was trained in Yunnan (1.191)

  • commanded by General Wei Lihuang
  • 100 000 men

[ ]{#Cairo_Conference_(1.214)} Cairo Conference (1.214)

  • Cairo Conference stated that China should put into action 30 divs initially, 30 more as soon as practicable, and 30 more eventually


(1.214) Japanese estimated that USAAF had only 130 planes in China, and the Chinese had 200 planes

  • The Chongqing gov't decided to deploy loyal troops to check on regional troops as an insurance to make sure soldiers wouldn't defect to the Nanjing government (2.103)
    • By 1943, this pttern had become obvious. Although the Sino-Japanese front changed little in these years, the location of the KMT's loyal units changed considerably.
      • regional forces were spread out in all provinces
      • troops from the same regional background were kept as far apart as possible
      • whenever there were regional forces, there would be some central forces nearby
      • the deployment of both regional and central forces no longer have a close and distinct relationship to the intensity of the Japanese threat
  • With the aggravation in diplomatic relations between the Chungking

Nationalist regime and the French Government, the Chinese Air Force's raids against Indo-China grew violent, from the beginning of 1943. Since it was feared that the intensification in air raids meant the prelude to Chinese Army penetration of the area, the Japanese Army High Command decided to prepare operational measures against French Indo-China itself (January 15, 1943). The gist of the plan follows. (10)

    • Have the Southern Army prepare to reinforce Japanese forces stationed in French Indo-China.
    • Strengthen Franco-Japanese joint defenses.
    • Proceed with preparations against the Kwangchow Wan sector.
    • Have the China Expeditionary Army send about three infantry battalions to Hainan Island, and assume a wait-and-see policy
    • On January 30, IGHQ ordered the China Expeditionary Army to reduce and occupy strategic points on the Luichow Peninsula, by a combined operation involving part of the army plus naval forces; and to penetrate the French Leased Territory of Kwangchow Wan.


  • The defection rate of Natioanlist units to the Japanese puppet government in 1942-1943 was accelerated as Japanese troops turned their attention to pacification in the occupied area (2.101)
    • by August 1943, a total of 600 000 Chinese troops, all from regional backgrounds, had defected to Wang Jingwei's government


  • At Changde, Hunan, in November-December 1943, the 57th Division of the Central Army fought with extreme determination, suffing casualties of fully 90% (3.150)
  • In Western Hubei in 1943, against one of Japan's "Rice-Bowl" Campaigns, the Chinese lost some 70-80 000 men against 3-4000 casualties for the Japanese
  • Chinese Communists at Chongqing tell Americans that official figure of 18th Group Army and new 4th Army totalled 500 000 regulars, while guerillas counted for additional 2 million (2.128)
    • number of regulars nearly doubled in next 15 months, until by spring 1945, Red army acquired military strength of 3 000 000, of which about 1 000 000 was regular force


(1.214) Japanese estimated that the allies had 500 planes in China

(1.217) Chennault wanted to bring his air strength in China up to a total of 105 fighters plus 30 medium and 12 heavy bombers

  • requested that the maximum monthly supply load to come over the Hump was only 7000 tons
  • with this force he proposed to
    • defeat the enemy air forces utterly in China
    • cripple all Japanese rail and river communications in China
    • sweep Japanese shiping off the China seas between French Indochina and Korea
    • commenced bombing the Japanese islands
  • although he did not even receive the minimum supplies for which he asked, he nevertheless succeeded in realizing the better part of these plans, with the exception of the bombing of Japan
  • achievements of Chennault's 14th Air Force were amazing:
    • 3 years fighting, it had lost (only from operational causes) 500 aircraft
    • destroyed 2600 Japanese aircraft, and 1500 "probables"
    • sunk or damaged 2 500 000 tons of Japanese shipping, 44 naval vesels, 13 000 river boats under 100 tons


Stilwell finishes building the X and Y Forces (1.215)

  • X-Force "Northern Combat Area Command" (commanded by Stilwell) Consists of
    • New 1st Army (commanded by Sun Liren)
    • New 6th Army (commanded by Liao Yaoxiang)
  • it's objective is to attack Burma from India
  • Y-Force (commanded by Wei Lihuang)
    • 100 000 strong
  • attacks Burma from Yunnan
  • 4 divisions set to cross the Salween? ( CMH )

This is more than 200 000 troops together (1.219)

  • Japanese estimate of the total strength of China's effective strategic reserve for this year is 250 000 men

The X-Force had to fight trained junglefighters as the japanese 18th division (1.215)

  • Together with Frank Merrill's Marauders (a pseudo-guerrilla force), the Allies killed or wounded over 75 000 Japanese troops and took 3 023 prisoners

After much wrangling and foot-dragging, the Chinese gov't finally placed 6 elite central armies under General Stilwell's command and consented to his plan to retake Burma (2.81)

    • by mid-July, 1944, when the japanese were compelled into a general retreat, their casualties had reached 85-90% for many units, and the dead numbered 72 000 out of a total force of about 100 000 men.



  • Hu Zongnan's troops were stationed in Tongguan Pass of Shanxi Province to stop the Japanese there for some 8 years
  • In the Battle of Lingbao in spring 1944, Hu Zongnan's troops defeated the Japanese in Henan Province

Japanese Estimates of Damage of Operation Ichigo to Chinese Forces (divisions)

Damage level

Henan Campaign

Hunan Campaign





Completely Destroyed





Seriously Damaged





Total Chinese units participating





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. 80

Chinese Estimates of Damage of Operation Ichigo to Chinese Forces

Total Manpower

Henan Campaign (300 000 in 52 divisions)

Hunan Campaign (286 000 in 43 divisions)

Guangxi Campaign (100 000 in 32 divisions)

No. of divisions in combat




:Central Government




:Regional Forces




Casualties (1)

"very extensive"

108 000

38 500

:as %age of total


108 000

38 500

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. 81

(1) Total casualties for China in 1944 were 311 276 officers and soldiers

  • Japanese launch the Ichigo Offensive (1.219)
    • Japanese allocated 70 000 horses, 12 000 vehicles to support a ground force of 400 000 men in the operation. (2.74)
    • At this point, the Nationalists have a paper strength of 3 000 000 soldiers in combat formation of 300 divisions (2.79)
    • Chinese strategy was to send inferior troops tot he front and keep the elite units in the rear in order to attract enemy forces into penetrating deep and then releasing the elite units to annihilate the enemy in one blow
    • Japanese stratgiests instructed troops to seek out the Chinese elite units first and destroy them. Once the Chinese elite units were broken, the rest would melt away

The Henan Phase

  • employed some 620 000 first-line troops (1.219)
    • April 18, Japanese opened the first stage with 140 000 men and crossed the Yellow River in central Henan (2.74)
    • Chinese defense along the Yellow River consisted of 21 divisions, of which only 11 were combat-worthy (2.74)
      • most of the combat-worthy divisons were under Tang Enbo (2.74), who was in Northern Hunan to stop him (1.219)
      • Faced with the need to defend a long line with such meager force, Chiang instructed that one division be assigned to defend a particular area (2.74)
      • Before the attack, Tang Enbo had 28-30 divisions of the central government's best troops
    • The Japanese used the 12th Army as the main attack force against Zhengzhou while sending their 1st Army to attack Luoyang from the west to confuse the Chinese (2.74)
      • Taking advantage of the flat terrain, the Japanese relied heavily on tanks, long-range artillery, and mechanized units to spearhead their offensive
      • Without air cover or sufficient ground support, the poorly trained and poorly equipped Chinese troops simply melted away
      • Japanese took Luoyang on May 26
      • between April 18 and May 26 the Japanese killed 21 463 Chinese and a large number were wounded.
      • Japanese losses were 1 061 killed and 2 866 wounded on their own
      • less well-trained Chinese units from the 1st war zone were sent in as reinforcements
      • between May 9 and May 20, some 43 490 Chinese were killed, while the japanese lost only 760 dead and 2 032 wounded


The Hunan Phase

  • The 1st and 12th Japanese Armies were shipped to central china, the 13th Army was dispatched from Nanjing. (2.76)
    • Additional units were drawn from Mongolia and Manchuria to reinforce the 11th and 23rd armies already poised in the staging area around Wuhan
    • This force of 8 divisions and 1 brigade of 360 000 men represented the largest concentration of troops of the Japanese army in the entire history of the Sino-Wapanese War
  • The Chinese defence in the 9th war zone under Xue Yue consisted of 48 divisions, half of which belonged to the central government (2.76)
    • Chinese had less than half a million men, a numerical advantage of less than 1.4:1 to the Japanese
  • Japanese CiC in China was General Shunroku Hada (1.220)
    • reinforced by the Guandong army in Manchuria, he threw 400 000 troops into pincer drives from the north and south in against Changsha Operation Togo
    • largest attacking armies ever assembled by the Japanese army for a single campaign during the entire Pacific war
    • consisted of 25 divisions, 1 tank division, 11 mixed brigades, 1 cavalry brigade, 1 air division, 12000 motor vehicles, 70 000 horses
  • Changsha fell quickly (June 18), and next was Hengyang (2.77)
    • Chongqing executed the commander of the Chinese 4th Army for failing to hold Changsha
  • the 16 275 Chinese defenders of Hengyang staved off three fierce attacks of 6 Japanese divisions, and assisted by the 14th air force, held the city for 47 days, but on August 8 they fell. (1.220)
    • Hengyang was defended by the Nationalists' 10th Army under Fang Xianjue (2.77)
    • Hengyang was not only a crucial point on the Hankou-Guangzhou railway, but also the site of the largest air base in Hunan (2.77)
    • When the city finally fell, all but 1 200 of the defenders had been either killed or wounded. The Japanese also paid dearly: 19 380 men and 910 officers were killed or wounded in the campaign (2.77)
  • entire Guangzhou-Hankou railway taken by beginning of 1945


  • The Japanese destroy the backbone of the Chinese army with a powerful striking force of 1 tank and 3 infantry divs, together with a large number of mixed brigades (1.219)
  • in the assault the Japanese killed several Chinese divisional commanders, one group army commander, and a large number of men in the 30 divs commanded by General Tang Enbo
  • within 3 weeks the Japanese broke a Chinese force of 300 000 men
  • At the conclusion of the Hunan campaign, Chinese casualties had reached such an alamring level, particularly among the elite units, that the government had trouble organizing for the defense of Guangxi. (2.78)


  • strongest Japanese base at Myitkyina falls (1.215)
    • all defenders annihilated
  • In Operation Ichigo, the japanese were near exhaustion (2.78)
    • 7 602 Japanese dead, 13 174 wounded, 20 183 sick, 1 804 horses dead, 31 602 horses sick or wounded.
    • 500 000 Chinese soldiers dead or wounded (3.149)
    • Fourth of China's factories were lost (3.149)
    • In Guangxi, losses were reportedly 110 000 persons killed, 160 000 wounded, 300 000 houses destroyed, 80 000 head of ploughing oxen killed (3.149)


  • When Japanese advance units crossed into Guangxi on Sept 10., the Chinese finally scraped together only 10 divisions of 60 000-70 000 men, mostly from the defeated units evacuated from Hunan, for the defense of Guilin (2.78)
  • further reinforced by fresh units, the japanese pursed their drive westward along the Hunan-Guangxi railway. 16 out of 20 divisions were employed in the operations against Guilin, and the force was soon increased to a total of about 400 000 men (1.221)
    • largest concentration of troops since the battle of Wuhan in 1938

Guilin fell on November 10

    • in the first part of December, Japanese had taken Duyun and Guiyang


  • Stilwell recalled to US in October 21, because of frictions with Chiang
    • some time earlier, Stilwell categorically demanded that the Communist 18th group army be included under his yet to be created command. (2.128)

Wedemeyer orders General Fu Zuoyi to engage the Japanese in northern China in order to prevent enemy reinforcement in the Guiyang area (1.221)

  • flies in 23 000 fresh Chinese troops from the NW to stem the onrushing Japanese tide near Guizhou
    • a part of these soldiers is the Liu Anqi Division of Hu Zongnan's army ( )
    • Wedemeyer also flew two divisions of the X-Force to Kunming as a precaution ( )
  • 500 000 unfit soldiers withdrawn from the front lines and sent for medical treatment
  • Chinese commanders like Long Yun, Pan Wenhua and Yu Hanmou among others, agreed to put up no further resistance to the japanese and let them destroy Chiang Kai-Shek's armies (3.176)
    • This is odd, because Yu Hanmou was firmly in the Whampoa Clique.


proposal to reduce China's army from 327 divisions to 84 effective combat divisions

  • wedemeyer suggested that the US train and equip 39 divisions and China the rest (1.193)
  • late November, the 11th Japanese Army ignored the restraining order of the 6th Area Army and made a rapid thrust toward Guizhou
  • it was stopped in early december by Chongqing's own garrison units (2.79)
  • in the Ichigo Offensive, the Chinese lost over 23 000 tons of weapons and ammunition, or the equivalent of the equipment for 40 divisions (2.80)
    • 750 000 troops had been put out of action through casualties or the destruction of their units
    • the loss of Hunan, a rich rice-producing province, together with other areas, had deprived the Chinese gov't of the capability to support about 500 000 troops
    • China's own war records reported that over 310 000 casualties had been sustained. This was nearly twice the casualties of 1943 and made 1944 the most costly year for the Chinese army in personnel loss since 1941, and possibly the most costly year in equipment loss since 1938.
    • The central government and the regional units that were more enthusiastic and competent in fighting (i.e. the 4th army of Guangdong) were the most devastated.
    • the only Chinese troops that escaped the wrath of Operation Ichigo were those stationed in China's northwest, including some central sdivisions under the command of Hu Zongnan.
  • At the end of 1944, Japanese forces in China comprised the following

strength: (10)

    • 25 infantry divisions
    • 1 tank division
    • 10 independent mixed brigades
    • 11 independent infantry brigades, etc.
  • Between the end of 1944 and the beginning of 1945, IGHQ felt that it must shift the emphasis of the China Expeditionary Army to the coastal regions of South and Central China. This constituted an epochal change: By ordering the China Expeditionary Army (which was engaged m campaigns to the west) to reverse its momentum, IGHQ was obliging that army to switch to preparations against the U. S. forces instead. (10)
    • On January 22, 1945, IGHQ ordered the Commander-in-Chief of the China

Expeditionary Army (General Okamura) to: foil attempts by American forces to advance into the Chinese Continent; secure strategic areas on the Continent; and strive to eliminate the influence of Chungking.

  • As the first step, it was planned (by the spring or summer of 1945) to

increase the quantity of Japanese armed strength on China to: (10)

    • 20 combat divisions
    • 20 security divisions
    • 6 special guard divisions (for use against the Chinese Communists)
    • 17 mixed brigades
    • 50 battalions (to guard lines of communication)
  • From the beginning of February, an immediate start was made to organize

three combat divisions (the 131st through the 133d); 12 mixed brigades; and seven independent guard units. The setup was completed in March (10)

  • Even after the commencement of operations on Okinawa, IGHQ expected that

the next landing site of the Americans would be either near Shanghai or somewhere in the southern part of the Shantung Peninsula. On April 18 the Commander-in-Chief of the China Expeditionary Army, General Okamura, was ordered to transfer four divisions from southern China to the above-mentioned localities; i.e., the 3d, 13th, 27th, and 34th Divisions - the pick of the Japanese forces in China. (10)

  • After the Hunan-Kweilin campaign, the U. S. Air Force proceeded to

expand the air field facilities at: (10)

 Chechiang Chingchen Hunan & Kweichow Provinces Kweiyang 

 Chungking Chaotung Szechwan Province Chengtu 

 Laohokow Liangshan Ankang Northwestern Provinces Sianfu Nancheng 

 Kunming Yunnani Paoshan Luliang Yunnan Province Chengkun Yangchie Tiencha 
  • In order to wipe out the air base at Laohokow (northwest of Hankow), the

China Expeditionary Army commenced operations against Laohokow on March 11, using the main force of the Twelfth Army (built around the 110th and 115th Divisions, the 3d Tank Division, and the 4th Cavalry Brigade) plus the 39th Division (from the Thirty-fourth Army). The campaign developed favorably, on the whole, and the Twelfth Army was able to occupy Laohokow completely on April 8.(10)

  • On April 15 the China Expeditionary Army initiated the Chihchiang

campaign, which involved the bulk of the Twentieth Army (47th and 116th Divisions, plus 58th Independent Mixed Brigade). The purpose of the drive was three-fold:

    • To destroy the cluster of air bases around Chihchiang (west of Hengyang);
    • To assume the initiative in defeating the main body of the Chungking forces in the Hunan area; and
    • To facilitate battle-front readjustment operations in western and southern China (as will be discussed later).
    • the Twentieth Army pushed forward and engaged powerful

American-equipped Chungking troops were checked by intense enemy fire, however, and suffered heavy losses. Finally, on May 9, the offensive had to be given up.

    • IGHQ quickly pulled out the 39th, 59th, 63d, and 117th Divisions the

39th, 59th, 63d, and 117th Divisions plus the Thirty-fourth Army Headquarters, from Central and North China to new stations in Manchuria and Korea. To replace these forces, it was decided to evacuate occupied zones along the Hunan-Kweilin and Canton-Hankow rail lines in Hunan, Kwangsi, and Kiangsi provinces. In connection with the plans, appropriate orders went out to China Expeditionary Army Commander-in-Chief Okamura, on May 28.

Japanese Forces in China at the end of World War 2






23rd Army

Lt. Gen Kyuichi Tanaka

104th, 129th, 130th Divisions

Around Guangzhou

Securing Strategic Areas

6th Area Army

Gen. Naosaburo Okabe

11th, 20th Armies

Wide zone extending from Wuchang-Hankou to Hengyang areas

Portion of Area Army on move

11th Army

Lt. Gen. Yukio Kasahara

58th Division, etc.

Guilin area

Evacuation of Region

20th Army

Lt. Gen. Ichiro Sakanishi

64th, 68th, 116th divisions, etc.

Between Hengyang and Wuchang-Hankou

On station

3rd, 13th, 34th, 132nd Divisions

In transit

13th Army

Lt. Gen. Takuro Matsui

6th Army HQ (CG LtGen Jiro Sogawa); 60th, 61st, 65th, 69th, 70th, 133nd, 161st divisions

Lower reaches of Yangtze below Hukou (east of Xiaojikou, or Jiujiang), and along southern part of Tianjin-Pukou railline

Occupation by main force/ Occupation by portion of army

North China Area Army

Gen Sadamu Shimomura

1st, Mongolia Garrison, 12th, 43rd Armies

1st Army

Lt. Gen. Raishiro Sumida

114th Division, etc.

HQ at Taiyuan in Shanxi province

Mongolia Garrison Army

Lt. Gen. Hiroshi Nemoto

118th Division, etc.

HQ at Kalgan

12th Army

Lt. Gen. Takashi Takamori

110th, 115th, 3rd Tank Divisions, etc.

HQ at Zhengzhou

43rd Army

Lt. Gen. Tadayasu Hosokawa

47th Division, etc.

HQ at Jinan

Japanese Army in the Pacific War

Troops under the direct control of the Expeditionary Army included the 27th, 40th, and 131st Divisions, plus the 13th Air Division. Total strength of the Expeditionary Army amounted to about 1,050,000 officers and men.


March 1945

Li Zongren (1.222) beats back a Japanese offensive in the Henan-Hubei area, inflicting heavy casualties and regaining all American air bases capture in the "initial Japanese assault"

  • also successful were the Chinese in the western Hunan campaign to recover the strategic airbase at Zhijiang.
  • japanese had thrown 60 000 men into the battle along a 248 mile front, but the Chinese counter-offensive decimated their ranks
  • Japanese army attacked Xixiakou in western Henan Prov, and Hu Zongnan's 31st Conglomerate Army fought against Japanese for months without letting go an inch of land. ( )
  • In July, Sun Liren's New 1st Corps returned to Nanning, the provincial capital of Guangxi. ( )

August 1945

  • Chinese were massing for an offensive in the Guangzhou-HK-Fujian area when V-J day came
  • china had 300-350 divisions twoard the end of the war (2.101)
  • When the war ended, 8 divisions were high quality, and 22 more had becun the 13 week schedule of training. The remainder oft he 300-odd Chinese divisions, however remained untouched. (3.151)

See China OOB Civil War


1. Liu, F. F. (1956). A Military History of Modern China: 1924-1949 , brown book with golden horse, Princeton University: New Jersey, ISBN: 0313230129
2. Ch’I, H. S. (1982). Nationalist China at War: Military Defeats and Political Collapse, 1937-1945 . University of Michigan: Michigan
3. Eastman, L. E. et. al. (1991). The Nationalist Era in China: 1927-1949. Cambridge University: Cambridge
4. Sih, P. K.T. (1977). Nationalist China during the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945. Exposition: New York
5. Whitson, W. W. (1973). The Chinese High Command: A History of Communist Military Politics, 1927-71. Praeger: New York
6. Yellow China Year Book 1936
7. Red China Year Book 1936
8. Yellow China Year Book 1939
9. Ah Xiang. 10. Saburo Hayashi. The Japanese Army in the Pacific War