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|Battle of Changsha (1942)|
|Part of the Second Sino-Japanese War of World War II|
A Chinese soldier mounts his ZB vz. 26 light machine gun at Changsha, January 1942.
|Commanders and leaders|
|300,000 soldiers|| 120,000 soldiers |
600 pieces of artillery
|Casualties and losses|
|29,217 killed and wounded|
The third Battle of Changsha (24 December 1941 – 15 January 1942) was the first major offensive in China by Imperial Japanese forces following the Japanese attack on the Western Allies.
The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.
The offensive was originally intended to prevent Chinese forces from reinforcing the British Commonwealth forces engaged in Hong Kong. With the capture of Hong Kong on 25 December, however, it was decided to continue the offensive against Changsha in order to maximize the blow against the Chinese government.
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.
The Battle of Hong Kong, also known as the Defence of Hong Kong and the Fall of Hong Kong, was one of the first battles of the Pacific War in World War II. On the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor, forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the British Crown colony of Hong Kong. The attack was in violation of international law as Japan had not declared war against the British Empire. The Hong Kong garrison consisted of British, Indian and Canadian units besides Chinese soldiers and conscripts from both within and outside Hong Kong.
Changsha is the capital and most populous city of Hunan province in the south central part of the People's Republic of China. It covers 11,819 km2 (4,563 sq mi) and is bordered by Yueyang and Yiyang to the north, Loudi to the west, Xiangtan and Zhuzhou to the south, Yichun and Pingxiang of Jiangxi province to the east. According to 2010 Census, Changsha has 7,044,118 residents, constituting 10.72% of the province's population. It is part of the Chang-Zhu-Tan city cluster or megalopolis.
The offensive resulted in failure for the Japanese, as Chinese forces were able to lure them into a trap and encircle them. After suffering heavy casualties, Japanese forces were forced to carry out a general retreat.
On 27 December, the Japanese 3rd, 6th, and 40th Divisions massed at Yueyang and advanced southward in three columns and crossed the Xinqiang River, and tried again to cross the Miluo River to reach Changsha. However, the Chinese formed a deep pocket around the city and set up ambush parties around the Luoyang River. Halfway from Miluo River and Changsha, the Japanese columns faced strong resistance from the Chinese and the eastern column was forced to take a detour further east, and the other two columns had to move closer together than originally planned. During the southward advance the Japanese encountered three Chinese army divisions that were pushed aside but not crushed; they retreated into the eastern mountains.
The 3rd Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Lucky Division.
The 6th Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Bright Division.
The 40th Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Whale Division.
Changsha was evacuated except for the Chinese army and some 160 civilians who wished to stay to help the defense. The defense was also stiffened by a significant number of British-supplied mortars, two batteries of French-supplied 75mm field guns and several 2 pdr anti-tank guns. Also of great importance were eight new U.S.-supplied M2A1 tanks which were deployed within the city itself. These vehicles proved to be of extraordinary value to the defense due to their all-round machine gun fire capability.On 31 December 1941, the Japanese troops attacked the southeastern defenses of the city but failed to make any gains. Subsequently, they attacked the southern and then the eastern parts of the defenses. Meanwhile, the northern part of the city suffered heavy bombardment from Japanese artillery. The Japanese eventually cut through the first line of defense, but were unable to breach the second line of defense near the city center.
On 1 January 1942 the Chinese counter-attack surprised the Japanese with a bombardment using heavy guns, inflicting high casualties on them. At about the same time, the army units that had retreated to the mountains during the Japanese advance swept down to attack the Japanese supply lines with the aid of local guerillas. The Japanese line collapsed on 4 January. The three Japanese divisions were besieged and requested the help of the Japanese 9th Independent Brigade stationed in Yueyang. However, on 9 January this unit faced heavy fighting with the Chinese and was unable to relieve the besieged Japanese divisions.
The besieged Japanese then attempted to retreat across the Luoyang River, not knowing that an ambush party was already stationed in the region. Losing heavily at the river crossing, the Japanese eventually reached the Xinqiang River on 15 January to complete the retreat.
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The third Battle of Changsha can be thought of as decisive. Just a month after Pearl Harbor and U.S. entry into the war, the battle was acclaimed to be the only major Allied victory of the Asia-Pacific theater in late-1941/early-1942. It was seen as a major victory and opened the possibility that the Chinese could turn the tide of the war against Japan. It earned Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek's Government much prestige from abroad and legitimacy in China. Xue Yue earned himself more prestige in China for his three victories and outstanding tactical skills. Changsha would remain in Chinese hands until 1944.
Chiang Kai-shek, also known as Generalissimo Chiang or Chiang Chungcheng and romanized as Chiang Chieh-shih or Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese politician and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in Taiwan until his death. He was recognized by much of the world as the head of the legitimate government of China until 1971, during which the United Nations passed Resolution 2758.
The Battle of Changsha (1944) was an invasion of the Chinese province of Hunan by Japanese troops near the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War. As such, it encompasses three separate conflicts: an invasion of the city of Changsha and two invasions of Hengyang.
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