Battle of Wanjialing

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Battle of Wanjialing
Part of the Battle of Wuhan
Battle of Wanjialing 1938.png
Map outline of the battle
DateBeginning of August – 11 October 1938
Location
Wanjialing region
Result

Chinese victory

  • Heavy losses among the Japanese 101st and 106th divisions
Belligerents
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  China Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Xue Yue
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Zhang Lingfu
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Junrokurō Matsuura
Strength
100,000 92,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown 30,000+ killed or captured (101st and 106th divisions, not including relief units (9th and 27th divisions)

Battle of Wanjialing, known in Chinese text as the Victory of Wanjialing (simplified Chinese :万家岭大捷; traditional Chinese :萬家嶺大捷; pinyin :Wànjiālǐng Dàjíe), refers to the Chinese Army's successful engagement during the Wuhan theatre of the Second Sino-Japanese War against the Japanese 101st, 106th, 9th and 27th divisions around the Wanjialing region in 1938. The two and a half month battle resulted in heavy losses of the Japanese 101st and 106th Divisions.

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.

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.

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.

Contents

Combatants

Chinese

In the Battle of Wanjialing, the Chinese side consisted of the 4th Army, the elite 74th Army, 66th Army, 187th Division, 91st Division, New 13th Division, 142nd Division, 60th Division, Reserved 6th Division, 19th Division, a brigade from the 139th Division and the New 15th Division, which totals up to 100,000 men. The chief commander in the frontline was the commander of the 9th Group Army Wu Qiwei. They were under the overall command of the supreme commander of the 9th Military Region Xue Yue.

Wu Qiwei was a Chinese military commander.

Xue Yue Chinese general

Xue Yue was a Chinese Nationalist military general, nicknamed by Claire Lee Chennault of the Flying Tigers as the "Patton of Asia" and called the "God of War" (戰神) by the Chinese.

Japanese

The Japanese side consisted of the 106th Division, led by Lieutenant-General Junrokurō Matsuura. Under the 106th Division, there were the 111th Infantry Brigade (113th and 147th Infantry Regiments) and 136th Brigade (123rd and 145th Infantry Regiments), as well as regiments of cavalry, artillery, engineers and transport. During the battle, the 101st Division was also deployed. Later during the battle, the (9th and 27th divisions) would also be deployed.

Junrokurō Matsuura was lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The 101st Division was an infantry division of the Imperial Japanese Army. Uniquely for Japanese division, it has never assigned any call sign. The division was formed 1 September 1937 in Tokyo. The nucleus for the formation was the 13th Independent mixed brigade from Lu'an. The men of the division were drafted from the Aichi mobilization district.

9th Division (Imperial Japanese Army) infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army

The 9th Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its tsūshōgō code name was the Warrior Division or 1515 or 1573. The 9th Division was one of six infantry divisions newly raised by the Imperial Japanese Army after the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). Its troops were recruited primarily from communities in the Hokuriku region of Japan (Ishikawa, Toyama and Fukui, with its headquarters located within the grounds of Kanazawa Castle.

Battle

Under the orders of Yasuji Okamura, the Japanese 106th Division intended to cross the Wanjialing 萬家嶺 Region in hopes to cut through to the rear of De'an 德安 as direct approach from Jiujiang 九江 along the railway line south and approach by 101st Division by pushing through from the eastern foothills of Mount Lu was getting nowhere. The plan was discovered by Xue Yue, and the Chinese Army managed to surround the 106th Division with 16 divisions at Lushan. After capturing Jiujiang, 106th Division tried to push south using the Jiujiang to Nanchang railway as the axis and capture De'an. It got a mauling at Shahe 沙河 just south of Jiujiang. On August 21, the Japanese 101st Division's Sato Detachment (Major General Sato Shozaburo 佐藤正三郎, 101 Brigade) consisting of two infantry battalion supported by a battalion of artillery captured Xingzi as part of the push to De'an, but faced fierce resistance from Wang Jingjiu's 25th Corps and Ye Zhao's 66th Corps. Reinforced with Saeda's detachment (Major General Saeda Yoshishige 佐村義重, 101st division) both forces was still unable to break through the Chinese lines, Japanese deployed poison gas. Although the Chinese had a severe shortage of protective equipment against chemical weapons, they were still able to repel the Japanese attack.

Yasuji Okamura Japanese general

Yasuji Okamura was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army, and commander-in-chief of the China Expeditionary Army from November 1944 to the end of World War II. He was found not guilty of any war crime by the Shanghai War Crimes Tribunal after the war. As one of the Imperial Japanese Army's top China experts, General Okamura spent his entire military career on the Asian mainland.

Mount Lu mountain in central China

Mount Lu or Lushan, also known as Kuanglu (匡庐) in ancient times, is situated in the northern part of Jiangxi province in Central China, and is one of the most renowned mountains in the country. It is located primarily in Lushan county-level city in Jiujiang Prefecture, although the northern portions are found in Lianxi District which was formerly known as Lushan District and until 2016 covered the majority of the Mount Lu. The oval-shaped mountains are about 25 km long and 10 km wide, and neighbors Jiujiang city and the Yangtze River to the north, Nanchang city to the south, and Poyang Lake to the east. Its highest point is Dahanyang Peak (大汉阳峰), reaching 1,474 m above sea level, and is one of the hundreds of steep peaks that towers above a sea of clouds that encompass the mountains for almost 200 days out of the year. Mount Lu is known for its grandeur, steepness, and beauty, and is part of Lushan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, and a prominent tourist attraction, especially during the summer months when the weather is cooler.

Wang Jingjiu or Wang Ching-chiu (王敬久) (1902–1968) was a general in China's National Revolutionary Army. He commanded the 87th Division and was engaged in the Chinese Civil War and suppressing the Chahar People's Anti-Japanese Army in 1933. His Division became one of the Chinese-German trained Divisions forme in 1936-37. It fought under the 71st Corps at the Battle of Shanghai and Battle of Nanking. The following year he commanded 25th Corps in the Battle of Wuhan and in the Battle of Nanchang in 1939. He later commanded the 10th Army Group in the Battle of Zhejiang-Jiangxi of 1942, Western Hubei Campaign of 1943, and Western Hunan Campaign of 1945.

At the beginning of September, Okamura ordered the 9th and 27th Divisions to relieve the 106th division, but they were halted by fierce Chinese resistance. On September 24, the Japanese Army finally managed to punch through the Chinese lines in the west, but were then confronted by Ou Zhen's 4th Corps and Yu Jishi's elite 74th Corps and were once again surrounded. Desperate to break open a safe path for their trapped ground forces, the Japanese Air Force began heavy bombing on Chinese positions with incendiary bombs, resulting in many Chinese deaths.

The 27th Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call-sign was the Field Division. It was formed in China as triangular division from the independent mixed brigade and other units 21 June 1938

The 106th Division was an infantry division of the Imperial Japanese Army. It has no call sign, similar to 101st division. It was formed 15 May 1938 in Kumamoto as a C-class square division. The nucleus for the formation was the 6th division headquarters. The division was originally subordinated to the Central China Expeditionary Army. Its first division commander was Lieutenant General Matsuura Junrokuro, a graduate from Japanese Army War College.

Ou Zhen, or Ou Chen, was a KMT army general from Qujiang, Guangdong.

On October 7, the Chinese suddenly launched fierce counter-attacks and the remaining Japanese units that were still intact hastily retreated. Combat ended on October 10, which was coincidentally the Chinese National Celebration Day. On October 13, the Chinese forces withdrew from the battlefield.

Aftermath

The two and a half month battle caused tremendous casualties for the Japanese army, the failed offensive resulting in the crippling of the Japanese 101st and 106th divisions. These two divisions initially had a combined strength of over 47,000 troops, and lost about 30,000 men in battle. In particular, the Japanese officer corps took a particularly heavy hit, the high casualty rate forcing General Shunroku Hata to frequently airdrop replacement officers onto the bases of his besieged units throughout the battle.

For the Chinese, the successful defense of Wanjialing played a key role in the overall Wuhan campaign, halting the Japanese offensive drive towards Wuhan along the southern bank of the Yangtze River, and buying invaluable time for the Chinese government to evacuate its civilian population, war facilities, and industrial assets away from the city and westward towards cities such as the new wartime capital of Chongqing.

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