HC8604 wrote:What happened to the 36th, 87th, 88th, and the training division after Nanking? Were they merged into other units or they just disappear?
Among all these units, the 36th D was the luckiest as it had some small steamers under its disposal and it was able to escape largely intact. The other three units were not as lucky and were mostly left behind in the city and annihilated (or massacred).
The commanders of these units, like most senior commanders, fared much better and were able to escape; basically what many of them did was to tell their subordinates that a withdrawal was in effect and then took off right away. The conduct of the Chinese senior officers in Nanking was, to me, downright shameful .
The training brigade ceased to exist after the battle and its remnants were incorporated into the 138th Brigade in the new 46th division. The 138th Brigade suffered heavy losses in the Battle of Lanfung in May 1938 without distinguishing itself; after the battle the 46th division only numbered about 3000 and the training brigade for all practical purpose had ceased to exist.
The 36th D went on to make a name for itself in pitched battles against the Japanese 13D during the Battle for Wuhan; it held its ground for more than 9 days along an important ridge but in the process was almost completely destroyed - with less than a thousand remaining from the once proud division. Its stand did buy valuable time for the rest of the Chinese troops to escape from the Japanese forces, and it was praised by Chiang Kai Shek nationally on Sep 14 , 1938.
The 88th D did not do so well; its commander abandoned Lanfung in May 1938 without a fight leaving a gaping hole in the ring of Chinese forces encircling the Japanese 14D; its commanding officer was court-martialed and shot - the first commander of Chiang's elite divisions to face this fate.
The three divisions were reunited in the 71st Army (Corps) and this force played a major role in blunting Japanese incursion into Western Yunnan in 1942 after the collapse in Burma. In 1944 they took part in the vicous fighting to recapture Western Yunnan and eventually advanced into Burma; the 88th D was subsequently airlifted back after the campaign to block Japanese advance during the last stage of Ichigo .
The 87th D and 88th D were to be destoryed and rebuilt more than once in the civil war. All three divisons were ultimately crushed in late 1949 as the PLA swept over China.