The Defense of the Great Wall (simplified Chinese :长城抗战; traditional Chinese :長城抗戰; pinyin :Chángchéng Kàngzhàn) (January 1 – May 31, 1933) was a campaign between the armies of Republic of China and Empire of Japan, which took place before the Second Sino-Japanese War officially commenced in 1937. It is known in Japanese as Operation Nekka (熱河作戰, Nekka Sakusen) and in many English sources as the First Battle of Hopei.
During this campaign, Japan successfully captured the Inner Mongolian province of Rehe from the Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang, and incorporated it into the newly created state of Manchukuo, whose southern frontier was thus extended to the Great Wall of China.
Shanhaiguan is the fortified eastern end of the Great Wall of China, where the Great Wall meets the ocean. Per the terms of the 1901 Boxer Rebellion accord, the Imperial Japanese Army maintained a small garrison of around 200 men at Shanhaiguan. On the night of 1 January 1933, the Japanese garrison commander staged an "incident" by exploding a few hand grenades and firing a few shots.The Kwantung Army used this as an excuse to demand that the Chinese 626th Regiment of the Northeastern Army, guarding Shanhaiguan, evacuate the pass defenses.
When the Chinese garrison refused, the Japanese 8th Division issued an ultimatum, and then attacked the pass with the support of 4 armored trains and 10 tanks.The Japanese attack was supported by close air support from bombers, and by shelling by warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy's IJN 2nd Fleet with a dozen warships offshore. On January 3, Chinese regimental commander Shi Shian, unable to withstand this attack, was forced to evacuate from his positions after losing half of his force.
The province of Rehe, on the northern side of the Great Wall, was the next target. Declaring the province to be historically a portion of Manchuria, the Japanese Army initially hoped to secure it through the defection of General Tang Yulin to the Manchukuo cause. When this failed, the military option was put into action. The Japanese army's Chief of Staff requested Emperor Hirohito's sanction for the 'strategic operation' against Chinese forces in Rehe. Hoping that it was the last of the army's operations in the area and that it would bring an end to the Manchurian matter, the Emperor approved, while stating explicitly that the army was not to go beyond the Great Wall.On February 23, 1933, the offensive was launched. On February 25, Chaoyang and Kailu were taken. On March 2, the Japanese 4th Cavalry Brigade encountered resistance from the forces of Sun Dianying, and after days of fighting, took Chifeng. On March 4, Japanese cavalry and the 1st Special Tank Company took Chengde the capital of Rehe.
Falling back from Rehe, Wan Fulin's 32nd Corps retreated to Lengkou Pass, while the 29th Corps of General Song Zheyuan also fell back, Zhang Zuoxiang's 37th Division retreated to Xifengkou Pass, General Guan Linzheng's 25th Division to the Gubeikou Pass.
On March 4, the 139th Division of the KMT 32nd Corps managed to hold Lengkou Pass, and on March 7, the KMT 67th Corps withstood attacks by the 16th Brigade of the Japanese 8th Division, at Gubeikou Pass.
On March 9, Chiang Kai-shek held discussions with Zhang Xueliang in Baoding about resisting the Japanese invasion. Chiang Kai-shek began to relocate his forces away from his campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet, which would include the forces of Huang Jie, Xu Tingyao and Guan Linzheng. Chiang Kai-shek also called over Fu Zuoyi's 7th Corps from Suiyuan. However, his actions were too late and the reinforcements were of insufficient strength to stop the Japanese advance.
On March 11, Japanese troops pushed up to the Great Wall itself. On March 12, Zhang Xueliang resigned his post to He Yingqin who, as the new leader of the Northeastern Army, was assigned the duty of securing defensive positions along the Great Wall.
Over twenty close assaults were launched, with sword-armed Northwestern Army soldiers repelling them. However, on March 21, the Japanese took Yiyuankou Pass. The KMT 29th Corps evacuated from Xifengkou Pass on April 8. On April 11, Japanese troops retook Lengkou Pass after dozens of seesaw fights over the pass defenses and Chinese forces at Jielingkou abandoned that pass.The Chinese army was significantly underarmed in comparison to the Japanese and many units were equipped with predominantly with handguns, hand grenades, and traditional Chinese swords with limited supplies of trench mortars, heavy machine guns, light machine guns and rifles. Beaten back by overwhelming Japanese firepower, on May 20, the Chinese army retreated from their remaining positions on the Great Wall.
Although the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) suffered defeat in the end, several individual NRA units like the He Zhuguo platoon managed to hold off the better equipped Japanese army for up to 3 days before being overrun. Some NRA Divisions also managed to win minor victories in passes like Xifengkou and Gubeikou by using the ramparts to move soldiers from one sector to another in the Great Wall, just like the Ming dynasty soldiers before them.
On May 22, 1933, Chinese and Japanese representatives met at Tanggu, Tianjin, to negotiate an end of the conflict. The resulting Tanggu Truce created a demilitarized zone extending one hundred kilometers south of the Great Wall, which the Chinese army was prohibited from entering, thus greatly reducing the territorial security of China proper, whereas the Japanese were permitted to use reconnaissance aircraft or ground units to make sure that the Chinese complied. Furthermore, the Chinese government was forced to acknowledge the de facto independence of Manchukuo and the loss of Rehe.
Sòng Zhéyuán (宋哲元) was a Chinese general during the Chinese Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. The start of the war is typically considered to be the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937, in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a full-scale invasion. Some sources in the modern People's Republic of China date the beginning of the war to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. In China, it is known as the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.
Rehe, also romanized as Jehol, was a former Chinese special administrative region and province.
The Northern Expedition was a military campaign launched by the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) of the Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the "Chinese Nationalist Party", against the Beiyang government and other regional warlords in 1926. The purpose of the campaign was to reunify China, which had become fragmented in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1911. The expedition was led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and was divided into two phases. The first phase ended in a 1927 political split between two factions of the KMT: the right-leaning Nanjing faction, led by Chiang, and the left-leaning faction in Wuhan, led by Wang Jingwei. The split was partially motivated by Chiang's purging of communists within the KMT, which marked the end of the First United Front. In an effort to mend this schism, Chiang Kai-shek stepped down as the commander of the NRA in August 1927, and went into exile in Japan.
The Tanggu Truce, sometimes called the Tangku Truce, was a ceasefire signed between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan in Tanggu District, Tianjin on May 31, 1933. It formally ended the Japanese invasion of Manchuria which had begun two years earlier.
The Battle of Rehe was the second part of Operation Nekka, a campaign by which the Empire of Japan successfully captured the Inner Mongolian province of Rehe from the Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang and annexed it to the new state of Manchukuo. The battle was fought from February 21 to March 1, 1933.
The following units and commanders fought in the Defense of the Great Wall of the Second Sino-Japanese War. List as of 20 March 1933.
The Japanese and Manchukuoan order of battle for Operation Nekka was:
The Northeastern Army, was the Chinese army of the Fengtien clique until the unification of China in 1928. From 1931 to 1933 it faced the Japanese forces in northeast China, Jehol and Hebei, in the early years of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Sun Dianying was a Chinese bandit leader, warlord, and National Revolutionary Army commander who fought in the Warlord Era, Second Sino-Japanese War, and Chinese Civil War, earning notoriety for changing sides multiple times in course of these conflicts.
The Second Zhili–Fengtian War of 1924 was a conflict between the Japanese-backed Fengtian clique based in Manchuria, and the more liberal Zhili clique controlling Beijing and backed by Anglo-American business interests. The war is considered the most significant in China's Warlord era, with the Beijing coup by Christian warlord Feng Yuxiang leading to the overall defeat of the Zhili clique. During the war the two cliques fought one large battle near Tianjin in October 1924, as well as a number of smaller skirmishes and sieges. Afterwards, both Feng and Zhang Zuolin, the latter being ruler of the Fengtian clique, appointed Duan Qirui as a figurehead prime minister. In south and central China, more liberal Chinese were dismayed by the Fengtian's advance and by the resulting power vacuum. A wave of protests followed. The war also distracted the northern warlords from the Soviet-backed Nationalists based in the southern province of Guangdong, allowing unhampered preparation for the Northern Expedition (1926–1928), which united China under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek.
Tang Yulin was a Chinese warlord in the Fengtian clique and Chairman of the government of Rehe (Jehol).
The Inner Mongolian Campaign in the period from 1933 to 1936 were part of the ongoing invasion of northern China by the Empire of Japan prior to the official start of hostilities in the Second Sino-Japanese War. In 1931, the invasion of Manchuria secured the creation of the puppet state of Manchukuo and in 1933, Operation Nekka detached the province of Jehol from the Republic of China. Blocked from further advance south by the Tanggu Truce, the Imperial Japanese Army turned its attention west, towards the Inner Mongolian provinces of Chahar and Suiyuan, with the goal of establishing a northern China buffer state. In order to avoid overt violation of the Truce, the Japanese government used proxy armies in these campaigns while Chinese resistance was at first only provided by Anti-Japanese resistance movement forces in Chahar. The former included in the Inner Mongolian Army, the Manchukuo Imperial Army, and the Grand Han Righteous Army. Chinese government forces were overtly hostile to the anti-Japanese resistance and resisted Japanese aggression only in Suiyuan in 1936.
Liu Guitang, Liu Kuei-tang, 刘桂堂,(1892–1943). Chinese bandit and soldier, involved in the Japanese attempt to control Chahar province in 1933. Noted for switching sides several times and returning to banditry. Later, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, he commanded some Nanjing Government puppet troops.
The order of battle Chahar People's Anti-Japanese Allied Army in the Inner Mongolia campaign of 1933.
Guan Linzheng was a highly successful Chinese general in the Kuomintang who fought against both the Communists and the Imperial Japanese Army, and was a recipient of Order of Blue Sky and White Sun, the highest honor for a Chinese Nationalist commander.
He Zhuguo (simplified Chinese: 何柱国; traditional Chinese: 何柱國; pinyin: Hé Zhùguó; Wade–Giles: Ho2 Chu4-kuo2; 1897– September 3, 1985) was a Kuomintang (KMT) general from Rong County, Guangxi. He was a Hakka. As a commander of a cavalry force under Zhang Xueliang, he escaped assassination by KMT radicals during the Xi'an Incident by the help of Yang Hucheng. In the People's Republic of China, he is celebrated by the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang for his participation in the Second United Front between the KMT and the Communist Party of China against Japanese invaders during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Li Shouxin was a pro-Japanese commander in the Manchukuo Imperial Army and later the Mengjiang National Army.
Cui Xingwu, 崔兴五, (?-?); Chinese officer in the army defending Jehol in the Second Sino-Japanese War that defected with his brigade to the Japanese and joined the Army of Manchukuo.
Zhu Qinglan, formerly transliterated as Chu Ching-lan courtesy name Ziqiao was a Chinese military officer of the Republic of China