The Hundred Regiments Offensive (Chinese :百團大戰) (20 August – 5 December 1940) was a major campaign of the Communist Party of China's National Revolutionary Army divisions commanded by Peng Dehuai against the Imperial Japanese Army in Central China. The battle had long been the focus of propaganda in the history of Chinese Communist Party but had become Peng Dehuai's "crime" during the Cultural Revolution. Certain issues regarding its launching and consequences are still controversial.
Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.
The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.
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.
In 1939–1940, the Japanese launched more than 109 small campaigns involving around 1,000 combatants each and 10 large campaigns of 10,000 men each to wipe out Communist guerrillas in the Hebei and Shandong plains. In addition, the army of Wang Jingwei's collaborationist Reorganized National Government had its offensive against the CCP guerrillas.
Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili Province or Chihli Province. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.
Shandong is a coastal province of the People's Republic of China, and is part of the East China region.
The term Collaborationist Chinese Army refers to the military forces of the puppet governments founded by Imperial Japan in mainland China during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. They most notably include the armies of the Provisional (1937–1940), Reformed (1938–1940) and Reorganized National Governments of the Republic of China (1940–1945), which absorbed the former two regimes. Those forces were also commonly known as puppet troops but went under different names during their history depending on the specific unit and allegiance, such as Nanjing Government Army. In total, it was estimated that all pro-Japanese collaborationist Chinese forces combined had a strength of around 683,000.
There was also a general sentiment among the anti-Japanese resistance forces - particularly in the Kuomintang - that the CCP was not contributing enough to the war effort, and that they were only interested in expanding their power base. It was out of these circumstances that the CCP planned to stage a great offensive to prove that they were helping the war effort and to mend KMT-CCP relations.
The Kuomintang of China is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei, that was founded in 1911, and is currently an opposition political party in the Legislative Yuan.
The Japanese North China Area Army estimated the strength of communist regulars to be about 88,000 in December 1939. Two years later, they revised the estimate to 140,000. On the eve of the battle, the Communist forces grew to 400,000 men strong, in 105 regiments. The extraordinary success and expansion of the 8th Route Army against the Japanese had Zhu De and the rest of the military leadership hoping that they could engage the Japanese army and win.
The Eighth Route Army, officially known as the 18th Army Group of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, was a group army under the command of the Chinese Communist Party, nominally within the structure of the Chinese military headed by the Chinese Nationalist Party during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Zhu De ( was a Chinese general, warlord, politician, revolutionary and one of the pioneers of the Communist Party of China. Born poor in 1886 in Sichuan, he was adopted by a wealthy uncle at age nine; this prosperity provided him a superior early education that led to his admission into a military academy. After his time at the academy, he joined a rebel army and soon became a warlord. It was after this period that he adopted communism. He ascended through the ranks of the Chinese Red Army as it closed in on securing the nation. By the time China was under Mao's control, Zhu was a high-ranking official within the Communist Party of China. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Eighth Route Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. In 1955 he became one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army, of which he is regarded as the principal founder. Zhu remained a prominent political figure until his death in 1976. As the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress from 1975 to 1976, Zhu was the head of state of the People's Republic of China.
By 1940, growth was so impressive that Zhu De ordered a coordinated offensive by most of the communist regulars (46 regiments from the 115th Division, 47 from the 129th, and 22 from the 120th) against the Japanese-held cities and the railway lines linking them. According to CCP's official statement the battle started on 20 August. From 20 August to 10 September, communist forces attacked the railway line that separated the communist base areas, chiefly those from Dezhou to Shijiazhuang in Hebei, Shijiazhuang to Taiyuan in central Shanxi, and Taiyuan to Datong in northern Shanxi. Originally Peng's order of battle consisted of 20 regiments and on 22 August he found more that 80 regiments took part in, mostly without telling him.
Dezhou is a prefecture-level city in northwestern Shandong province, People's Republic of China. It borders the provincial capital of Jinan to the southeast, Liaocheng to the southwest, Binzhou to the northeast, and the province of Hebei to the north.
Shijiazhuang is the capital and largest city of North China's Hebei Province. Administratively a prefecture-level city, it is about 266 kilometres (165 mi) southwest of Beijing, and it administers eight districts, two county-level cities, and 12 counties.
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in China. It is one of the main manufacturing bases of China. Throughout its long history, Taiyuan was the capital or provisional capital of many dynasties in China, hence the name Lóngchéng.
They succeeded in blowing up bridges and tunnels and ripping up track, and went on for the rest of September to attack Japanese garrisons frontally. About 600 mi (970 km) of railways were destroyed, and the Jingxing coal mine—which was important to the Japanese war industry—was rendered inoperative for six months. It was the greatest victory the CCP fought and won during the war.
Jingxing Mining District is a mining district of Hebei province in China, under the administration of provincial capital Shijiazhuang.
However, from October to December, the Japanese responded in force, reasserting control of railway lines and conducting aggressive "mopping up operations" in the rural areas around them. On 22 December, Mao Zedong told Peng Dehuai "Don't declare the end of the offensive yet. Chiang Kai-shek is launching anti-communist climax and we need the influence of Hundred Regiment Battle to win propaganda."
The Eighth Army had left two reports that are both based on statistics before December 5, one claiming killing/injuring 12,645 Japanese and 5,153 puppet troops; capturing 281 Japanese and 1,407 puppet troops; 7 Japanese and 1,845 puppet troops defected; 293 strong-points taken. The other one claimed killing/injuring 20,645 Japanese and 5,155 puppet troops; capturing 281 Japanese and 18,407 puppet troops; 47 Japanese and 1,845 puppet troops defected; 2,993 strongpoints taken.
Chinese also recorded 474 km of railway and 1502 km of road sabotaged, 213 bridges and 11 tunnels blown up, and 37 stations destroyed. But Japanese record gives 73 bridges, 3 tunnels, and 5 water towers blown up; 20 stations burned, and 117 railway sabotages (amounting to 44 km). The damage regarding communication systems are 1,333 cut down and 1,107 capsized cable posts, up to 146 km long cable cut. One mining site of Jingxing Coal Mine also stopped operating for half a year.
When General Yasuji Okamura took command of the North China Area Army in the summer 1941, the new strategy was "Three All", meaning "kill all, burn all, and destroy all" in those areas containing Anti-Japanese forces.
Peng and Mao had disagreed over how directly to confront the Japanese since at least the Luochuan Conference in August 1937, with Mao concerned about Communist losses to the well equipped Japanese. After the establishment of the People's Republic Mao is alleged to have said to Lin Biao that "allowing Japan to occupy more territory is the only way to love your country. Otherwise, it would have become a country that loved Chiang Kai-shek." ... He rejected Chairman Mao's instruction and mobilized 105 regiments in an adventuristic pulse ... Chairman Mao said 'How can Peng Dehuai make such a big move without consulting me? Our forces are completely revealed. The result shall be terrible.'"Thus, the Hundred Regiments Offensive became the last of the two major Communist frontal engagements against the Japanese during the war. There had been controversy that Peng had no authorization, even no knowledge of the Central Military Committee and Mao Zedong. As early as 1945 the accusation of launching battle without telling Mao had appeared in the North China Conference. During the Great Leap Forward, Peng's opposition to Mao's policies led to his downfall and then the launching of the battle became yet again a criminal action in the Cultural Revolution. In 1967, the Red Guard group of Tsinghua University, with the support of the Central Cultural Revolution Committee, issued a leaflet saying "The mug Peng, along with Zhu De, launched the offensive to defend Chongqin
Peng admitted in his memoir 彭德怀自述，he ordered the launch in late July, without awaiting a green light of the Central Military Committee and he regretted it. But Pan Zeqin said that it was Peng's incorrect memory, the correct start date should have officially been on August 20, so Peng actually had the green light.Nie Rongzhen defended Peng, stating "there is a legend that the Central Military Committee was not informed about the offensive in advance. After investigation, we found out that Eight Army HQ sent to the top a report. The report mentioned we would strike at and sabotage Zhentai Railway. Sabotaging one railway or another is very common in guerilla warfare so it's our routine work. This is not some strategic issue and the Committee won't say no". He mentioned no exact date of launch. The consensus in China after the Cultural Revolution is generally in support of the battle. But modern Chinese article described that "Liu Bocheng had some opinion on the arbitrary launching of the battle of Peng."
While a successful campaign, Mao later attributed it as the main provocation for the devastating Japanese Three Alls Policy later, and used it to criticize Peng at the Lushan Conference.
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Hundred Regiments Offensive
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