|National Revolutionary Army|
|Participant in World War II and the Chinese Civil War|
|Leaders||Chiang Kai-shek, Zhang Xueliang, Sun Li-jen, Yen Hsi-shan, Feng Yuxiang, Li Zongren, He Yingqin, Bai Chongxi, and many others|
|Size||4,300,000 (total regular)|
|Became||Republic of China Army|
|Succeeded by||Republic of China Army|
|Opponent(s)||Beiyang Army, Chinese Red Army, Imperial Japanese Army, People's Liberation Army|
|Battles and war(s)|| Northern Expedition |
Sino-Soviet conflict (1929)
World War II Sino-Mongolian border conflict
Chinese Civil War
|National Revolutionary 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 (KMT, or the Chinese Nationalist Party) 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 Kuomintang of China is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei and is currently an opposition political party in the Legislative Yuan.
A regular army is the official army of a state or country, contrasting with irregular forces, such as volunteer irregular militias, private armies, mercenaries, etc. A regular army usually has the following:
Party-State, or Dang Guo, is a version of the one-party state ideology that was formerly the official policy of the Republic of China under Kuomintang.
Originally organized with Soviet aid as a means for the KMT to unify China during the Warlord Era, the National Revolutionary Army fought major engagements in the Northern Expedition against the Chinese Beiyang Army warlords, in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) against the Imperial Japanese Army and in the Chinese Civil War against the People's Liberation Army.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The Warlord Era was a period in the history of the Republic of China when control of the country was divided among former military cliques of the Beiyang Army and other regional factions, which were spread across the mainland regions of Sichuan, Shanxi, Qinghai, Ningxia, Guangdong, Guangxi, Gansu, Yunnan, and Xinjiang.
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 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.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the armed forces of the Communist Party of China were nominally incorporated into the National Revolutionary Army (while retaining separate commands), but broke away to form the People's Liberation Army shortly after the end of the war. With the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947 and the formal end of the KMT party-state, the National Revolutionary Army was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces, with the bulk of its forces forming the Republic of China Army, which retreated to the island of Taiwan in 1949.
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 Constitution of the Republic of China is the supreme law in the Republic of China. It was ratified by the Kuomintang led National Constituent Assembly session on December 25, 1946 in Nanking and adopted on December 25, 1947. Though the Constitution was intended for the whole China, it has never extensively nor effectively been implemented in any territory. In response to the outbreak of Chinese Civil War by the time of the constitution's promulgation, the newly elected National Assembly soon ratified the Temporary Provisions against the Communist Rebellion on May 10, 1948. The Temporary Provisions symbols the country's entering into the state of emergency and granted the Kuomintang led government of the Republic of China extra-constitutional powers.
The Republic of China Armed Forces, commonly known as the Taiwanese Armed Forces are the armed forces of the Republic of China now on Taiwan, encompassing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Military Police Force. It is a military establishment, which accounted for 16.8% of the central budget in the fiscal year of 2003. Since 2002, the military comes under the full civilian control of the Ministry of National Defense and oversight by the Legislative Yuan. It was the National Revolutionary Army before being renamed as the Republic of China Armed Forces in 1947 due to the implementation of the newly promulgated Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC). It was also historically known as Chinese National Armed Forces (CNAF).
The NRA was founded by the KMT in 1925 as the military force destined to unite China in the Northern Expedition. Organized with the help of the Comintern and guided under the doctrine of the Three Principles of the People, the distinction among party, state and army was often blurred. A large number of the Army's officers passed through the Whampoa Military Academy, and the first commandant, Chiang Kai-shek, became commander-in-chief of the Army in 1925 before launching the successful Northern Expedition. Other prominent commanders included Du Yuming and Chen Cheng. The end of the Northern Expedition in 1928 is often taken as the date when China's Warlord era ended, though smaller-scale warlord activity continued for years afterwards.
The Three Principles of the People, also translated as Three People's Principles, San-min Doctrine, or Tridemism is a political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen as part of a philosophy to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful nation. The three principles are often translated into and summarized as nationalism, democracy, and the livelihood of the people. He believed that the economic livelihood of the people, its influence and legacy of implementation, is most apparent in the governmental organization of the Republic of China (ROC), which currently administers Taiwan, Penghu, Quemoy, and Matsu Islands. This philosophy has been claimed as the cornerstone of the Republic of China's policy as carried by the Kuomintang (KMT). The principles also appear in the first line of the National Anthem of the Republic of China.
Chiang Kai-shek, also known as Generalissimo Chiang or Chiang Chungcheng and romanized as Chiang Chieh-shih or Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese politician and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in Taiwan until his death. He was recognized by much of the world as the head of the legitimate government of China until 1971, during which the United Nations passed Resolution 2758.
Du Yuming, was a Kuomintang field commander. He was a graduate of the first class of Whampoa Academy, took part in Chiang's Northern Expedition, and was active in southern China and in the Burma theatre of the Sino-Japanese War. After the Japanese surrendered in 1945, he was an important commander in the Chinese Civil War.
In 1927, after the dissolution of the First United Front between the Nationalists and the Communists, the ruling KMT purged its leftist members and largely eliminated Soviet influence from its ranks. Chiang Kai-shek then turned to Germany, historically a great military power, for the reorganization and modernization of the National Revolutionary Army. The Weimar Republic sent advisors to China, but because of the restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles they could not serve in military capacities. Chiang initially requested famous generals such as Ludendorff and von Mackensen as advisors; the Weimar Republic government turned him down, however, fearing that they were too famous, would invite the ire of the Allies and that it would result in the loss of national prestige for such renowned figures to work, essentially, as mercenaries.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.
When Adolf Hitler became Germany's chancellor in 1933 and disavowed the Treaty, the anti-communist Nazi Party and the anti-communist KMT were soon engaged in close cooperation. with Germany training Chinese troops and expanding Chinese infrastructure, while China opened its markets and natural resources to Germany. Max Bauer was the first advisor to China.
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.
The title Chancellor has designated different offices in the history of Germany. It is currently used for the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, the head of government of Germany.
The National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of Nazism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920.
In 1934 Gen. Hans von Seeckt, acting as advisor to Chiang, proposed an "80 Division Plan" for reforming the entire Chinese army into 80 divisions of highly trained, well-equipped troops organised along German lines. The plan was never fully realised, as the eternally bickering warlords could not agree upon which divisions were to be merged and disbanded. Furthermore, since embezzlement and fraud were commonplace, especially in understrength divisions (the state of most of the divisions), reforming the military structure would threaten divisional commanders' "take". Therefore, by July 1937 only eight infantry divisions had completed reorganization and training. These were the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 14th, 36th, 87th, 88th, and the Training Division.
For a time, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Communist forces fought as a nominal part of the National Revolutionary Army, forming the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army units, but this co-operation later fell apart. Throughout the Chinese Civil War the National Revolutionary Army experienced major problems with desertion, with many soldiers switching sides to fight for the Communists.
Troops in India and Burma during World War II included the Chinese Expeditionary Force (Burma), the Chinese Army in India and Y Force.
After the drafting and implementation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947, the National Revolutionary Army was transformed into the ground service branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces – the Republic of China Army (ROCA).
At the apex of the NRA was the National Military Council, also translated as Military Affairs Commission. Chaired by Chiang Kai-Shek, it directed the staffs and commands. It included from 1937 the Chief of the General Staff, General He Yingqin, the General Staff, the War Ministry, the military regions, air and naval forces, air defence and garrison commanders, and support services.
The NRA throughout its lifespan recruited approximately 4,300,000 regulars, in 370 Standard Divisions (正式師), 46 New Divisions (新編師), 12 Cavalry Divisions (騎兵師), eight New Cavalry Divisions (新編騎兵師), 66 Temporary Divisions (暫編師), and 13 Reserve Divisions (預備師), for a grand total of 515 divisions. However, many divisions were formed from two or more other divisions, and were not active at the same time.
Also, New Divisions were created to replace Standard Divisions lost early in the war and were issued the old division's number. Therefore, the number of divisions in active service at any given time is much smaller than this. The average NRA division had 5,000–6,000 troops; an average army division had 10,000–15,000 troops, the equivalent of a Japanese division. Not even the German-trained divisions were on par in terms of manpower with a German or Japanese division, having only 10,000 men.
The United States Army's campaign brochure on the China Defensive campaign of 1942–45 said: [ not in citation given ]
The NRA only had small number of armoured vehicles and mechanised troops. At the beginning of the war in 1937 the armour were organized in three Armoured Battalions, equipped with tanks and armoured cars from various countries. After these battalions were mostly destroyed in the Battle of Shanghai and Battle of Nanjing. The newly provided tanks, armoured cars, and trucks from the Soviet Union and Italy made it possible to create the only mechanized division in the army, the 200th Division. This Division eventually ceased to be a mechanized unit after the June 1938 reorganization of Divisions. The armoured and artillery Regiments were placed under direct command of 5th Corps and the 200th Division became a motorized Infantry Division within the same Corps. This Corps fought battles in Guangxi in 1939–1940 and in the Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road in 1942 reducing the armored units due to losses and mechanical breakdown of the vehicles. On paper China had 3.8 million men under arms in 1941. They were organized into 246 "front-line" divisions, with another 70 divisions assigned to rear areas. Perhaps as many as forty Chinese divisions had been equipped with European-manufactured weapons and trained by foreign, particularly German and Soviet, advisers. The rest of the units were under strength and generally untrained. Overall, the Nationalist Army impressed most Western military observers as more reminiscent of a 19th- than a 20th-century army.
Late in the Burma Campaign the NRA Army there had an armored battalion equipped with Sherman tanks.
Despite the poor reviews given by European observers to the European-trained Divisions, the Muslim Divisions of the National Revolutionary Army, trained in China (not by westerners) and led by Ma Clique Muslim generals, frightened the European observers with their appearance and fighting skills in battle. Europeans like Sven Hedin and Georg Vasel were in awe of the appearance Chinese Muslim NRA divisions made and their ferocious combat abilities. They were trained in harsh, brutal conditions.The 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army), trained entirely in China without any European help, was composed of Chinese Muslims and fought and severely mauled an invading Soviet Russian army during the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang. The division was lacking in technology and manpower, but badly damaged the superior Russian force.
The Muslim divisions of the army controlled by Muslim Gen. Ma Hongkui were reported by western observers to be tough and disciplined despite having diabetes. Ma Hongkui personally drilled with his troops, and engaged in sword fencing during training.
When the leaders of many of the warlord and provincial armies joined with the KMT and were appointed as officers and generals, their troops joined the NRA. These armies were renamed as NRA divisions. The entire Ma Clique armies were absorbed into the NRA. When the Muslim Ma Clique General Ma Qi joined the KMT, the Ninghai Army was renamed the National Revolutionary Army 26th Division.
The unit organisation of the NRA is as follows: (Note that a unit is not necessarily subordinate to one immediately above it; several army regiments can be found under an army group, for example.) The commander-in-chief of the NRA from 1925 to 1947 was Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
Military Affairs Commission
During the Xinhai Revolution and the Warlord Era of the Republic of China (1912–1949), "Dare to Die Corps" (traditional Chinese :敢死隊; simplified Chinese :敢死队; pinyin :gǎnsǐduì) or "Suicide squads" were frequently used by Chinese armies. China deployed these suicide units against the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
"Dare to Die" troops were used by warlords in their armies to conduct suicide attacks."Dare to Die" corps continued to be used in the Chinese military. The Kuomintang used one to put down an insurrection in Canton. Many women joined them in addition to men to achieve martyrdom against China's opponents.
A "dare to die corps" was effectively used against Japanese units at the Battle of Taierzhuang.They used swords.
Suicide bombing was also used against the Japanese.A Chinese soldier detonated a grenade vest and killed 20 Japanese soldiers at Sihang Warehouse. Chinese troops strapped explosives like grenade packs or dynamite to their bodies and threw themselves under Japanese tanks to blow them up. This tactic was used during the Battle of Shanghai, where a Chinese suicide bomber stopped a Japanese tank column by exploding himself beneath the lead tank, and at the Battle of Taierzhuang where dynamite and grenades were strapped on by Chinese troops who rushed at Japanese tanks and blew themselves up. In one incident at Taierzhuang, Chinese suicide bombers obliterated four Japanese tanks with grenade bundles.
During the Chinese Civil War the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) was known to have used penal battalions from 1945 to 1949. A unit made up of deserters and those accused of cowardice, the penal battalion was giving such tasks as scouting ahead of the main forces to check for ambushes, crossing rivers and torrents to see whether they were fordable, and walking across unmapped minefields.
The military was formed through bloody and inhumane conscription campaigns . These are described by Rudolph Rummel as:
This was a deadly affair in which men were kidnapped for the army, rounded up indiscriminately by press-gangs or army units among those on the roads or in the towns and villages, or otherwise gathered together. Many men, some the very young and old, were killed resisting or trying to escape. Once collected, they would be roped or chained together and marched, with little food or water, long distances to camp. They often died or were killed along the way, sometimes less than 50 percent reaching camp alive. Then recruit camp was no better, with hospitals resembling Nazi concentration camps like Buchenwald.3 Probably 3,081,000 died during the Sino-Japanese War; likely another 1,131,000 during the Civil War—4,212,000 dead in total.
|Title||Major general||Lieutenant general||General|
|Title||Corporal||Sergeant||Sergeant major||Warrant officer|
|Title||Private second class||Private first class||Superior private|
Chinese weapons were mainly produced for the National Revolutionary Army in the Hanyang, Guangdong and Taiyuan Arsenals.
For regular provincial Chinese divisions the standard rifles were the Hanyang 88 (copy of Gewehr 88). Central army divisions were typically equipped with the Chiang Kai-shek rifle (copy of Mauser Standard Model) and Czechoslovakian vz. 24. However, for most of the German-trained divisions, the standard firearms were German-made 7.92 mm Gewehr 98 and Karabiner 98k. The standard light machine gun was a local copy of the Czech 7.92 mm Brno ZB26. There were also Belgian and French light machine guns. Provincial units generally did not possess any machine guns, while Central Army units had one LMG per platoon on average. The German-trained divisions ideally had 1 LMG per squad. Surprisingly, the NRA did not purchase any Maschinengewehr 34s from Germany, but did produce its own copies of them. Heavy machine guns were mainly locally-made Type 24 water-cooled Maxim guns (which were the Chinese copies of the German MG08), and Type 30 M1917 Browning machine guns chambered for the standard 8mm Mauser round. On average, every Central Army battalion would get one heavy machine gun (about a third to half of what actual German divisions got during World War II). The standard sidearm for NCOs and officers was the 7.63 mm Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistol, or full-automatic Mauser M1932/M712 machine pistol. These full-automatic versions were used as substitutes for submachine guns (such as the MP 18) and rifles that were in short supply within the Chinese army prior to the end of World War II. Throughout the Second Sino-Japanese War, particularly in the early years, the NRA also extensively used captured Japanese weapons and equipment. as their own were in short supply. Some élite units also used Lend-Lease US equipment as the war progressed.
Major Chinese Arsenals:
|Honan||Kung Hsien Arsenal||鞏縣兵工廠|
Generally speaking, the regular provincial army divisions did not possess any artillery. However, some Central Army divisions were equipped with 37 mm PaK 35/36 anti-tank guns, and/or mortars from Oerlikon, Madsen, and Solothurn. Each of these infantry divisions ideally had 6 French Brandt 81 mm mortars and 6 Solothurn 20 mm autocannons. Some independent brigades and artillery regiments were equipped with Bofors 72 mm L/14, or Krupp 72 mm L/29 mountain guns and there were 24 Rheinmetall 150 mm L/32 sFH 18 howitzers (bought in 1934) and 24 Krupp 150 mm L/30 sFH 18 howitzers (bought in 1936). At the start of the war, the NRA and the Tax Police Regiment had three tank battalions armed with German Panzer I light tanks and CV-33 tankettes. After defeat in the Battle of Shanghai the remaining tanks, together with several hundred T-26 and BT-5 tanks acquired from the Soviet Union were reorganised into the 200th Division.
Infantry uniforms were basically redesigned Zhongshan suits. Puttees were standard for soldiers and officers alike, since the primary mode of movement for NRA troops was by foot. Troops were also issued sewn field caps. The helmets were the most distinguishing characteristic of these divisions. From the moment German M35 helmets (standard issue for the Wehrmacht until late in the European theatre) rolled off the production lines in 1935, and until 1936, the NRA imported 315,000 of these helmets, each with the Blue Sky with a White Sun emblem of the ROC on the sides. These helmets were worn by both elite German-trained divisions and regular Central Army divisions. Other helmets included the French Adrian helmet, the British Brodie helmet and later the American M1 helmet. Other equipment included straw shoes for soldiers (cloth shoes for Central Army), leather shoes for officers and leather boots for high-ranking officers. Every soldier was issued ammunition for his weapon, along with ammunition pouches or harness, a water flask, combat knives, food bag, and a gas mask.
Spears and swords in addition to rifles were used by the Muslim Ma Clique sections of the National Revolutionary Army, who were renowned for their fine cavalry.The Muslims had an assortment of rifles, German, British, Russian and others.
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