|Part of the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II|
A Japanese soldier with 50mm heavy grenade discharger during the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, 30 May 1942
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign (Japanese: 浙贛作戦, simplified Chinese :浙赣战役; traditional Chinese :浙赣戰役; pinyin :Zhè-Gàn Zhànyì), also known as Operation Sei-go, was a campaign by the China Expeditionary Army of the Imperial Japanese Army under Shunroku Hata and Chinese 3rd War Area forces under Gu Zhutong in the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi from mid May to early September 1942.
The campaign is infamous for the Japanese use of biological weapons against Chinese soldiers and civilians alike. Japanese soldiers also committed massacres throughout the battle, resulting in over 300,000 Chinese deaths.
On April 18, 1942, the United States launched the Doolittle Raid, an attack by 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet on Tokyo, Nagoya, and Yokohama. The original plan was for the aircraft to bomb Japan and land at airfields in the unoccupied portion of China. Because the raid had to be launched earlier than planned, all but one of the aircraft (which against orders diverted to the Soviet Union) ran out of fuel and crashed in the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi or the offshore islands.
Sixty-four American airmen parachuted into the area around Zhejiang. Most were given shelter by Chinese civilians but eight of the Americans were picked up by Japanese patrols; three were shot after a show trial for "crimes against humanity".
Imperial General Headquarters was aware of possible air attacks from Chinese territory on Japan. Two days before the Doolittle Raid, Headquarters set up an operational plan with the goal of defeating Chinese forces and destroying air bases. The operation started on May 15, 1942, with 40 infantry battalions and 15-16 artillery battalions of the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Japanese army conducted a massive search for American airmen and in the process whole towns and villages that were suspected of harboring the Americans were burned to the ground and many civilians executed.The Japanese also wanted to occupy the area to prevent American air force from ever using airfields in China that could put the Japanese mainland within reach.
When Japanese troops moved out of the Zhejiang and Jiangxi areas in mid-August, they left behind a trail of devastation. Chinese estimates put the civilian death toll at 250,000.The Imperial Japanese Army had also spread cholera, typhoid, plague infected fleas and dysentery pathogens. The Japanese biological warfare Unit 731 brought almost 300 pounds of paratyphoid and anthrax to be left in contaminated food and contaminated wells with the withdrawal of the army from areas around Yushan, Kinhwa and Futsin. Around 1,700 Japanese troops died out of a total 10,000 Japanese soldiers who fell ill with disease when their biological weapons attack rebounded on their own forces.
Shunroku Hata, the commander of Japanese forces involved in the massacre of the 250,000 Chinese civilians, was sentenced in 1948 in part due to his "failure to prevent atrocities". He was given a life sentence but was paroled in 1954.
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