Battle of Mount Song

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Battle of Mount Song/ Ramou
Part of the Burma Campaign of World War II
Chinese Nationalist soldiers fighting near Salween River
DateJune 4, 1944 – September 7, 1944
Mount Song (Chinese), Matsuyama/ Ramou (Japanese) Yunnan
Result Allied victory
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Republic of China
Flag of the United States.svg  United States of America [1]
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Song Xilian
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Li Mi
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Yuzo Matsuyama
20,000 1,300-strong detachment from 56th division [2] (including 300 wounded soldiers).
Casualties and losses
7,763 casualties including 4,000 killed 1,290 killed [3]
7 captured

The Battle of Mount Song (traditional Chinese :松山戰役; simplified Chinese :松山战役; pinyin :Sōng Shān Zhànyì), also known as the Battle of Ramou(拉孟の戦い), in 1944 was part of a larger campaign in southwest China during the Second World War. Chinese Nationalist forces aimed to retake the Burma Road.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Simplified Chinese characters standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.



The Japanese Army in Southern Yunnan was at risk of being cut off from advancing British and American troops in Northern Burma. The Japanese Army aimed to block the highway for as long as possible. Constructing a series of tunnels and bunkers over a static two-year period they turned the mountain and its immediate environs into a fortress. Songshan (in Chinese) Matsuyama (in Japanese) blocked the road immediately behind the Salween River. Although the Chinese Nationalist Army crossed the river with light casualties and surrounded the Japanese garrison, they found that their offensive capability was limited because of this garrison behind their line of advance.

Imperial Japanese Army Official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan, from 1868 to 1945

The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

Yunnan Province

Yunnan is a province of China. Located in Southwest China, the province spans approximately 394,000 square kilometres (152,000 sq mi) and has a population of 47.368 million. The capital of the province is Kunming, formerly also known as Yunnan. The province borders the Chinese provinces Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, and the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as the countries Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.

National Revolutionary Army Nationalist Army of the Republic of China

The National Revolutionary Army (NRA), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army (革命軍) before 1928, and as National Army (國軍) after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947 in the Republic of China. It also became the regular army of the ROC during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928. It was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces after the 1947 Constitution, which instituted civilian control of the military.

The Chinese forces were unaware of the depth of the Japanese defences, and their underestimation led to heavy casualties through a slow and cautious campaign. Chinese artillery strikes and US bombing runs had little effect against Japanese forces underground. Japan also set up a series of hidden pillboxes to ambush the Chinese forces.

Artillery class of weapons which fires munitions beyond the range and power of personal weapons

Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility providing the large share of an army's total firepower.

Pillbox (military) concrete dug-in guard posts, normally equipped with loopholes through which to fire weapons

A pillbox is a type of blockhouse, or concrete dug-in guard post, normally equipped with loopholes through which to fire weapons. It is in effect a trench firing step hardened to protect against small-arms fire and grenades and raised to improve the field of fire.

After three months of battle, the Chinese forces finally retook Mount Song through the use of extended bombardment and an overabundance of US aid and training, as well as several tons of U.S. TNT placed in tunnels beneath the fortifications. [4] Once open the Burma Road could be used to supply China with aid via a land route.

Fall and Aftermath

The Japanese listed only one survivor, Captain Kinoshita, an artillery officer and one other soldier ordered out to communicate to the Japanese high command the night before the fall of the outpost, with apparently one other soldier. Chinese sources say 7 soldiers were captured out of the total garrison, Japanese sources do not mention prisoners.

Comfort Station

Upon the exortations of Senior Staff Officer Masanobu Tsuji, a comfort station was established in early 1944. About 12 Japanese comfort women committed suicide towards the end of the siege after fighting alongside the Japanese garrison. Another five or six Korean comfort women were captured by Chinese and US forces. These were eventually repatriated. [5]

Masanobu Tsuji Japanese war criminal

Masanobu Tsuji was a Japanese army officer and politician. During World War II, he was an important tactical planner in the Imperial Japanese Army; he developed the detailed plans for the successful Japanese invasion of Malaya at the start of the war. He also helped plan and lead the final Japanese offensive during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

Comfort women Forced prostitutes for the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Comfort women were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories before and during World War II. Controversy over and protest against the term remain, especially from surviving women and the nations from which they were taken, about how wrong it is to continue referring to the women as "comfort women" when in fact they were "sex slaves."


After the capture of the stronghold, the Burma Road could be used once again to supply China.

Although defeated, the small Japanese force, unsupplied and lacking air power or heavy artillery, held up the entire Chinese Expeditionary Army for over three months considerably lengthening the war in Burma. [6]

A memorial park was built on top of the mountain by the Chinese government, with 402 sculptures representing soldiers from the Chinese Expeditionary Force spread over an area of 190000 sq. feet. [7]

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  1. <
  2. Part I: Ramou and To-Etsu: Gyokusai on the Burma-Yunnan Front
  3. Article about War of Resistance "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2013-03-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. <
  5. The Chrysamthemum and the Dragon, Sagara Jyunsuke, Kojinsha Press, Tokyo 2004, 菊と龍祖国への栄光の戦い、光人社、東京、2004
  6. Reflections on War in Burma, Noguchi Seiki, Kojinsha Press, Tokyo 2000, 回想ビルマ作戦,野口省己、光人社、東京、2002
  7. Ranran, Liu, ed. (September 4, 2013). "Sculptures of China Expeditionary Force Completed in Yunnan". Archived from the original on December 27, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2018.