Battle of Xuzhou

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Battle of Xuzhou
Part of the Second Sino-Japanese War
Battle of Xuzhou 1938.jpg
Date24 March-1 May 1938
Xuzhou and proximity
Result Japanese victory
Successful Chinese breakout [1]
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 Li Zongren
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Bai Chongxi
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Pang Bingxun
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Sun Lianzhong
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Sun Zhen
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Tang Enbai
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Wang Mingzhang  
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg Zhang Zizhong
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Shunroku Hata
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Hisaichi Terauchi
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Toshizō Nishio
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Isogai Rensuke
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Itagaki Seishiro
Units involved
Military Region 1
Military Region 5
North China Area Army
Central China Expeditionary Army
600,000 troops in 64 divisions 240,000 troops in 8 divisions
Casualties and losses
100,000 [2] 30,000 [3]

The Battle of Xuzhou was a military conflict between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China forces in May 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

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.

Second Sino-Japanese War military conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1945

The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle.



In 1937 the North China Area Army had chased Song Zheyuan's 29th Army to the south along the Jinpu Railway (see Tianjin–Pukou Railway Operation) after his defeat in the Battle of Lugou Bridge. After Japan won the Battle of Nanjing, the North China Area Army advanced southward to establish a Japanese connection between Beijing and Nanjing, ignoring the non-expansionist policy of the Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo. Most mechanized and air forces in eastern China were wiped out in the Battle of Shanghai in 1937. Although new equipment was purchased, it had yet to be shipped. Han Fuqu, the chairman of the Shandong province, rejected orders from Chiang Kai-shek and kept retreating to preserve his force. After Qingdao was occupied in January 1938, his policy was denounced and he was executed on 24 January. In March 1938 Japanese forces occupied the north of Shandong, including the capital city Jinan. The defense line along the Yellow River was torn apart. Due to pressure from Japanese forces, 64 Chinese divisions gathered around Xuzhou in Jiangsu, the headquarters of 5th Military Region of the National Revolutionary Army. Without surrounding it, Gen. Itagaki Seishiro moved south first to attack Tai'erzhuang, where he was defeated by Li Zongren in a regional asymmetric battle.

Song Zheyuan Chinese general

Sòng Zhéyuán (宋哲元) was a Chinese general during the Chinese Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).

The Japanese 津浦線作戦 or Tientsin–Pukow Railway Operation was a follow up operation to the Battle of Beiping-Tianjin of the Japanese army in North China at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War, thought concurrently with the Beiping–Hankou Railway Operation. The Tientsin–Pukow Railway Operation was not authorized by Imperial General Headquarters. The Japanese advanced following the line of the Tianjin-Pukou Railway aiming to the Yangtze River without meeting much resistance. The Japanese advance stopped at Jinan 36.67°N 116.98°E on Yellow River after majority of the participating Japanese forces were redirected for the Battle of Taiyuan and replaced by parts of the newly formed 109th division.

Beijing Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Beijing, formerly romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the world's third most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of central government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.

Following this defeat Japan intended an encirclement against Xuzhou and deployed the North China Area Army to the north and the Central China Expeditionary Army to the south. The North China Area Army had four divisions and two infantry brigades drawn from the Kwantung Army. Central China Expeditionary Army had three divisions and the 1st and 2nd Tank Battalions with motorized support units formed into the Iwanaka and Imada Detachments, which were ordered to advance to the west of Xuzhou to cut off and prevent Chinese forces from withdrawing towards the west. The 5th Tank Battalion was used to support the 3rd Infantry Division advancing north along the railway to Xuzhou. Additional troops were deployed in the Battle of Northern and Eastern Henan by the North China Area Army to stop Chinese reinforcements from the west. A Chinese counterattack here resulted in the Battle of Lanfeng. However, with the approach of the Central China Expeditionary Army from the south, the overall situation was grim, and Chiang Kai-shek ordered the withdrawal of the armies. The demolition of the dykes holding back the Yellow River allowed him more time for the preparation of the defense of Wuhan, but the resulting 1938 Yellow River flood also destroyed much of the area around the new course of the river.

Encirclement military term

Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces.

Central China Expeditionary Army was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Division (military) large military unit or formation

A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 8,000 and 30,000 in nominal strength.

The Japanese army won the fierce battle and ultimately captured Xuzhou, but Japanese forces were too small to contain the large number of encircled Chinese troops. Most of the Chinese soldiers broke through the encirclement through gaps in the Japanese lines to the west or dispersed into the countryside as guerrillas. The Chinese troops who broke through the encirclement would play a major role in later battles. [1]

Guerrilla warfare form of irregular warfare

Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. Guerrilla groups are a type of violent non-state actor.

See also

Huaihai Campaign military campaign

Huaihai Campaign or Battle of Hsupeng was one of the military conflicts in the late stage of the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China. The campaign started when the People's Liberation Army (PLA) launched a major offensive against the Kuomintang headquarter in Xuzhou on 6 November 1948, and ended on 10 January 1949 when the PLA reached the north of the Yangtze.



Coordinates: 34°16′00″N117°10′01″E / 34.2667°N 117.1670°E / 34.2667; 117.1670

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.

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