Chinese 200th Division: descriptions of actions needed!

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sjchan
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Postby sjchan » 04 Nov 2007 16:26

asiaticus wrote:The pass is on the Nanning - Pin Yang road just north of Chiu t'ang tsu (with the Red Arrow) on map NF49-1.


These maps are really hard to read. I dont't think Kunlun Pass itself is marked, it's the little kink in the road at the spot noted by asiaticus.

The Senshi Sosho account is very detailed, some 35 pages; need time to digest and translate. The following map regarding the battle on Dec 18, which shows the pass (circled in blue), Chiu t'ang at the bottom (circled in red) and the heights surronding the pass, is taken from Senshi Sosho, which also provides the following information regarding the terrain. Some key high grounds: Jieshou (circled in green), Luotang (purple), Baisheng (orange) and Triangular Hill (brown).

The region north of Nanning, including Kunlun Pass, consists of hills between 300-500 m. Vegetation covers hillsides beneath 400m, above that are primarily barren slopes which are easily observable. Along the main road from Nanning are a series of hamlets; they are really small e.g. Chiu T’ang houses only about 40 families. Kunlun Pass dominates the main road, and is itself dominated by Point 653 to the east, Point 445 and 441 to the west. On Dec 17, 1939, sunrise was at 0830, and sunset 1920. Visibility was about 200m.
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Postby sjchan » 05 Nov 2007 11:44

The following summary of the Battle of Kunlun Pass is based on the memoirs of the battle by [Zheng Donguo], deputy commander of the 5th Army and commander, 1st Honor Division, in conjunction with [Zheng Tingji], commander of the 3rd Regiment of the 1st Honor Division, which fought alongside the 200th D at Kunlun Pass; taken from 粤桂黔滇抗戰 Yue Gui Qian Dian Kang Zhan (War of Resistance in Guandong, Guangxi, Guazhou and Yunnan), a book of memoirs by KMT generals, printed by中国文史出版社(Zhong Guo Wen Shi Chu Ban She) 1995, pp. 266-273. Pinyin of names is enclosed in square brackets.

On Nov 24, the 600th Regiment of the 200th D was transported by vehicles from [Quanzhou] in Kwangsi [Guanxi] towards Nanning, and reached [Ertang] on the outskirts of Nanning where it ran into the IJA. The 600th Regiment held its ground despite Japanese air and artillery superiority, but at first light on Nov 26 the Japanese outflanked and encircled the regiment. The regiment commander personally led a company on a counterattack and was hit by two bullets; he refused to leave the battlefield but was killed by a third shot. The troops fought on and managed to beat back the encircling forces, but the regimental adjutant was killed and the deputy regimental commander was wounded as well. Led by the commander of the 1st Battalion, the regiment was able to retreat during the night. The Japanese followed up captured the area around Kunlun Pass.

After the 5th Army had assembled near Kunlun Pass, the commander, [DuYuming], held a meeting on Dec 16. It was decided that the 200th D and the 1st Honor D will be responsible for a frontal attack, with the 200th D responsible for the sector above the main road from Nanning. The heavy artillery regiment, tank regiment as well as the armored reconnaissance regiment and the engineers regiment attached to the army will all support the main attack. The New 22nd D was to circle around Kunlun Pass via side roads yo cut communications between Kunlun Pass and Nanning at Wu T’ang [Wutang].

The Japanese position was heavily fortified, and the defenders also held the dominating heights around Kunlun Pass itself. Several layers of barbed wire and cleverly concealed mutually supporting strong points all combined to make this a very formidable redoubt.

On Dec 18, Chinese and Japanese artillery dueled in the prelude to the main attack and the Chinese heavy artillery was able to suppress Japanese fire. As the two main attacking divisions moved off, Japanese planes appeared which were driven off by anti-aircraft fire and chose to turn their attending to the supply lines to the rear. The 1st Honor D captured [Xiannushan] , and then captured Point 441 in night attacks. The 598th Regiment of the 200th D also captured Point 653 and Point 600, while the 599th Regiment under the cover of tanks advanced along the main road and captured Kunlun Pass. The 2nd Regiment of the 1st Honor D captured the crucial [Luotang] high grounds.

However, around noon time on Dec 19, the Japanese launched a counterattack with air support and recaptured Kunlun Pass. The New 22nd D captured Wu T’ang [Wutang] and [Liutang] but lost Wu T’ang to Japanese counterattacks. Nonetheless Japanese communications was now cut, particularly since supporting troops also captured Chiu T’ang [Jiutang] and [Batang].

[Du Yuming] analyzed the reason for the loss of Kunlun Pass and concluded that the Japanese had fortified the highground around Kunlun Pass proper and were able to cover the approaches to the pass, making it extremely difficult to hang on to the pass even if it was captured. He now allocated strongpoints to specific regiments, to be encircled and reduced one by one. On Dec 25 the 2nd Regiment, 1st Honor D attacked and took the high ground south of [Luotang], and followed up its success by capturing Point 441 despite very high casualties. Japanese planes circled above but were unable to do much due to the proximity of the troops. Japanese artillery was silent (out of ammunition?) The 598th Regiment of the 200th D captured TongHingBao and the 600th Regiment Point 600, suffering very heavy losses in the process.

The high ground around [Jieshou], located to the north of Kunlun Pass, was a major strongpoint of the Japanese. Although it was within the area of the 200th D, the 200th D did not have the strength to take it. The 3rd Regiment of the 1st Honor D was attached to the 200th D and started the assault on [Jieshou] on the evening of Dec 28. The frontal assault was not successful and losses very heavy, despite the use of special demolition teams which tried repeatedly to silence Japanese machine gun nests using grenades without much success. By midnight, 7 of the 9 infantry company commanders were killed or wounded. After daybreak on Dec 29, the heavy guns of the 5th Army bombarded the Japanese positions and the assault troops moved forward and finally captured their objective after 3 hours of heavy fighting. Now that the high grounds around Kunlun Pass had been captured, the New 22nd D captured Kunlun Pass for the third time on Dec 30.

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Postby pitman » 05 Nov 2007 19:51

sjchan, thank you so much for posting that account. It is really interesting, and it makes much more intelligible some of the machine-translated webpages I have read.

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Postby sjchan » 12 Nov 2007 16:55

The first installment of the battle as seen from the Japanese side, based on my summary from the Chinese translation of Senshi Sosho.

The IJA 21st Infantry Brigade was stationed at Nanning. The IJA 5th Cavalry Regiment and the 3rd Battalion of the 21st Regiment were stationed in the area north of [Batang]. The 2nd Battalion of the 42nd Regiment was stationed in the area around [Sitang]. Near [Guofengyi] is the 2nd Battalion of the 41st Regiment. On Dec 2, about 1500 Chinese troops attacked the positions at [Batang] with the support of 4 armoured vehicles and strong artillery support. The 21st Brigade was ordered to destroy this force. Setting out from Nanning in the evening of Dec 2, it reached the area of Batang and launched an attack at 1630. Defeating the KMT 200th D and the 188th D, it pushed north for about 10 km and captured Kunlun Pass on Dec 4. After leaving the following troops to defend the newly captured area, the bulk of the 21st Brigade returned to Nanning on Dec 6.

The main defending force at Kunlun Pass was the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd Regiment (minus the 6th Company). There was also a platoon of infantry guns from the 42nd Regiment, the 2nd Company of the 2nd Independent Field Artillery Regiment, the 2nd Company of the 3rd Mortar Battalion, a platoon of engineers as well as various communications troops.

The commander of the IJA 5th Division had received intelligence about the imminent attack by over 100,000 Chinese troops but dismissed as impossible due to the difficult terrain. However, on Dec 17, the Japanese forces came under attack from Chinese troops, including the crack 5th Army with amour and artillery support.

Around 2000, more than 1200 Chinese troops with 4 heavy machine guns, 3 guns and 14 tanks started the attack. The 8th Company on the left flank was first attacked by 600 Chinese troops and suffered 32 casualties, followed by waves of Chinese troops in a frontal attack. By 1100 on Dec 18, 3 tanks got to within 50 m of the Japanese positions; one was promptly disabled. This was followed by vicious close range fights all along the battalion front.

The following troops under the command of the IJA 21st Regiment was sent to reinforce the Kunlun Pass garrison on Dec 18: Regiment HQ troops including communications section, the 1st Battalion (minus some troops in the 3rd company), 2nd Battalion (minus the 8th company and a platoon from the 6th company), a platoon from the 10th company, the 12th company, a platoon from the 3rd machine gun company, a company of infantry guns (minus a platoon). The force left Nanning in 31 trucks at 1700 on Dec 18 and reached [Jiutang] by 1950. After reaching the defending Japanese troops, it was decided to launch a night attack to recapture the high ground (translator’s note: this is Luotang) on the left flank. The 5th company was entrusted with this task and reached the area some 20-30 m below the summit where it was stopped by a barbed wire fence and strong Chinese resistance. The company commander led a bayonet charge and captured the high ground at 0030 on Dec 19. The 1st Battalion was deployed to secure the depression south of [Luotang], but this area was dominated by Point 653 and Point 441 in both directions, since the latter were some 200-400 m. higher and held by strong Chinese forces. The Japanese attack commenced at first light on Dec 19; on the left flank the 1st Battalion captured the high ground to the east of Point 445 and faced Chinese forces no more than 30-40 m away. The 2nd Battalion, 42nd Regiment on the right fired tear gas as it engaged in hand to hand fighting with Chinese troops; positions were taken and then lost again and the attack stalled, while ammunition began to run short.

Unfortunately, communications with the rear was cut on the same day. The second group to move out from Nanning was blocked by Chinese forces about 2 km west of Liutang, and the bridge between [Liutang] and [Qitang] was blown by the Chinese as well. The platoon stationed in [Qitang] was encircled by 200-300 Chinese troops and the 12th Company, 21st Regiment which followed up and tried to break through on Dec 20 was also stopped by some 600 Chinese troops at [Wutang].

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Postby sjchan » 15 Nov 2007 18:08

The second installment:

In view of the situation, a task force consisting of 2 battalions left Nanning around 1000 on Dec 20 to reinforce the Kunlun Pass force. However, it was ambushed near [Wutang] by about 500 Chinese troops equipped with mortars and field artillery. After this attack was repulsed, the advance was resumed at 1530 but was soon stopped by about 600 troops positioned on the hills flanking the road; the remaining journey down 25 km of narrow road would prove to be extremely difficult.

Meanwhile at Kunlun pass, the Japanese troops were running out of food and ammunition. The Chinese counterattacked with tanks and heavy guns, with the tanks advancing along the road and the artillery pounding Japanese positions. By the morning of Dec 21, more Chinese forces pressed against the defensive perimeter, particularly around Point 500 to the north-east of [Jiutang], thus putting this hamlet where the regimental HQ was located under fire. Around 2 pm, 3 IJN planes flew over [Batang] and dropped ammunition, which could not be retrieved due to the proximity of the encircling Chinese forces. At 1720, about 10 Chinese planes flew over [Liutang] and attacked Japanese positions three times, while 6 planes dropped bombs over [Jiutang]. After nightfall, the mechanized Chinese 1st Honor Division attacked Triangular Hill with tanks. The defending force (1st Platoon, 4th Company) had by now run out of ammunition and finally overwhelmed and the force wiped out. By the morning of Dec 22, communications between [Batang] and [Jiutang] was cut and the bridge in front of [Jiutang] was also damaged. Meanwhile the relief force blocked at Wutang finally broke through in night attacks and reached the high ground north of [Qitang], establishing contact with the encircled garrison. It then tried to advance further north with the troops of the 42nd Regiment attacking in the middle and the rest of the troops advancing through the hills towards the north-west; but was thwarted in fierce fighting throughout the night.

The Taiwan Brigade volunteered to send a task force consisting of the bulk of its 1st Regiment (minus 2 companies) to break the deadlock. This force started out from Nanning around noon on Dec 23.

On Dec 23, the Chinese forces continued to attack near Kunlun Pass, with 3-4 strong assaults with the aid of tanks. Moreover, their artillery observers were now positioned at the newly captured high grounds and the accuracy of the bombardment by heavy artillery was very high. Around 3 p.m. heavy mortar fire targeted regimental HQ at [Jiutang]. The strongpoint of [Luotang] with around 40 troops of the 5th Company was also in danger of being overrun; and yet only 23 men from the 1st Company and 6 men from the 5th Company could be sent as reinforcement to prevent this linchpin of the western defensive positions from being overrun. (In 6 days of fighting up to Dec 23, the garrison of Kunlun Pass had lost 97 killed and 260 wounded).

In heavy fighting throughout the night of Dec 23, the relief force near [Qitang] finally broke through Chinese defence to the west of the main road and reached [Jiutang] at 1640 on Dec 24, some 5 days after it started out from Nanning. The other half of the force was still stuck on the main road although it managed to fight its way past [Batang] on Dec 24. Further back, the 1st Regiment of the Taiwan Brigade linked up with the 2nd Battalion of the 41st Regiment from Nanning and spent the entire day on Dec 24 in attacking Chinese positions 2 km to the east of [Liutang]. While the various relief forces were still strung out all along the road to Kunlun Pass, the Chinese forces struck again in the evening with support from 15 cm howitzers. More than 1000 Chinese troops converged on Luotang and and at 8 p.m. broke into the defence positions under the cover of a barrage of grenades. The defenders responded in kind but soon ran out of grenades; this was followed by hand to hand fighting until around 10 p.m. when all defenders were killed.

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Postby pitman » 15 Nov 2007 23:05

the mechanized Chinese 1st Honor Division attacked Triangular Hill with tanks


It wasn't actually mechanized, was it?

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Postby sjchan » 17 Nov 2007 03:29

The original text actually says "the so-called mechanized 1st Honor Division". Incidentally, the division is named the 'honor' division because all the troops had been previously wounded in battle.

Here is the final installment of the summary from Senshi Sosho.

The relief force under fighting up the main read to Kunlun Pass finally reached [Jiutang] at 0830 on Dec 25, after 6 days’ fight. At 1730 4 Chinese planes strifed and bombed Jiutang, killing 9 and wounding 12. The Japanese dispositions were as follows on that day: 3 companies plus a platoon to the east of the road (actual strength down to about 4 platoons) plus 3.5 machine gun platoons and several platoons of artillery units; 3 companies to the west of the road (actual strength about 5 platoons), two machine gund platoons, plus artillery support troops. There are 5 companies at Jiutang (actual strength 3.5 companies), plus 2 machine gun platoons and a platoon of engineers. At [Batung] was a small garrison of little more than a platoon of infantry and engineers. These strongpoints were basically isolated. At 2300, the 2nd Company of the 21st Regiment broke through with some 60,000 rounds of machine gun as well as 40,000 rifle rounds, greatly strengthening the combat effectiveness of the front line troops.

The battles continued to rage on Dec 26 and 27. There was little activity during the day, but the Chinese launched multiple attacks during night time. However, not only were these attacks beaten off, but the 7th Company with the support of a platoon of machine guns actually were able to recapture Point 450 at 0730 on Dec 27. Meanwhile the Taiwan Brigade task force finally broke through and established contact with the garrison of [Jiutang] during the afternoon of Dec 28.

During the night of Dec 28, the Chinese attacked the twin high grounds of Jieshou. The protruding peak (‘called the round shape highground’ by the Japanese) was defended by the 5th and 7th Companies of the 42nd Regiment, amounting to no more than a platoon in strength; the hill to the south-west was defended by elements of the 6th Company, whose strength is no more than a platoon. After bitter fighting, both these positions fell into Chinese hands. On Dec 30; 4000-5000 Chinese troops attacked again with tank and artillery support; Japanese artillery was silent since there was no more ammunition. The Taiwan Brigade task force had to spread its troops to keep the road between [Qitang] and [Batang] open, and was unable to push forward from [Jiutang]. To avoid being destroyed by superior forces, the Japanese abandoned Kunlun Pass during the night of Dec 30 and moved their position back 2 km on the right and about 1 km on the left, with the defence now centered at Jiutang. Chinese forces continued to press their attacks and night fightings around Jiutang continued throughout New Year’s Eve. On Jan 3, the Japanese pulled back to a much stronger prepared defensive position near [Batang], ending this phase of the Kunlun Pass battle.

Note: A table listed Japanese casualties for the 21st Regiment and 2nd Battalioin of the 42nd Regiment plus their support troops, they amounted to 376 killed and 755 wounded. Note however this figure does not include losses from other units involved in the battle e.g. at [Qitang]

Some additional information regarding the 5th Army, which is an elite unit in the Chinese army. Of the 55,000 troops which joined the battle, 35 officers and 5560 troops were killed and an additional 10,000+ were wounded. This did not include losses from the other supporting forces. Of the 200th D, the list of KIA (based on a forum post, not sure how accurate it is) is as follows: Tank Regiment: 7 officers and 27 men; Cavalry Regiment: 12 men; 1st Replacement Regiment: 10 officers and 181 men; 2nd Replacement Regiment: 3 officers and 108 men; Anti-Tank Battalion: 7 men; Heavy Artillery Battalion: 1 officer and 9 men; 598th Regiment: 7 officers and 155 men; 599th Regiment: 3 officers and 165 men; 600th Regiment: 20 officers; 137 men; divisional troops: 1 officer and 7 men.

As the Chinese (and others) were to find out repeatedly, frontal assaults against prepared Japanese positions can be very costly, particularly when the defenders had the benefit of terrain.

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Postby sjchan » 06 Dec 2007 17:00

A photo taken after the Chinese has recaptured Kunlun Pass (taken from pp. 94 of Kang Zhan Yi Shun Jian, published in 2005)
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Postby sjchan » 09 Dec 2007 18:07

A detailed account of the Battle of Kunlun Pass from the Chinese perspective; abstracted to focus on the 200th D and the assault on Kunlun Pass proper, from an on-line history of the 5th Army at http://www.fightersalon.net/bbs/showthr ... 2%D8%B9%D8

The first Chinese attempt to recapture Kunlun Pass commenced at 0100 on Dec 18. Af first progress was good and the 1st Honor Divison with the support of tanks and artillery was able to capture the heights around and including Point 441 and 606. By 1100 Luotang was captured. Around 1400 on Dec 19 sufficient progress was made that the commander of the division thought that it would not be long before Kunlun Pass would be captured. However, at that moment 5 Japanese naval aircrafts came in from the south-east and repeatedly bombed and strafed the Chinese positions, dropping some 20 bombs in all. Meanwhile, the tank of the commander of the 6th Company of the 1st Tank Battalion was also hit by Japanese anti-tank guns. At 1600 the 3rd Battalion of the IJA 21st Regiment reinforced Kunlun Pass from [Batang] and [Jiutang] under the cover of 2 tanks, 1 armoured car and 10 trucks. The 2nd Regiment of the 1st Honor Division was driven back and lost [Luotang].

The following day, the 1st Honor D continued its attacks at first light, with Point 653 as the focal point of the battle. Strongly defended by some 200 Japanese troops, the 3rd Regiment's frontal assaults were all beaten off with heavy casualties. However, when the Japanese attempted a counter-attack; it was met head on by the Chinese and annihilated in hand to hand fighting. Point 653 was taken, and held despite counterattacks with support of more than 10 Japanse planes hovering overhead.

In an attempt to capture Kunlun Pass quickly before more Japanese reinforcement arrive, Du Yuming, the commander of the 5th Army, decided to use the 200th D instead of the 1st Honor D in the frontal assault. It would get the bulk of artillery support as well as part of the 3rd Tank Battalion. At dawn on Dec 20, the 200th D launched its assault with the support of a company of tanks. At 1000, the tanks made their way into Kunlun Pass and the 600th Regiment followed from several directions; however Japanese anti-tank fire and aerial support were too much for the Chinese and they had to pull back.

Foiled during the day, the 200th D turned to night attacks in order to capture Point 600 and [Luotang]. The 1st Battalion of the 598th Regiment crept up to the attacking positions in small groups at around 1600. Visibility was quite poor, no more than 5-600 m in the morning mist. The assault troops got into their jump off points at 0530 and commenced attack at 0700. The 1st Company captured Point 600 but was immediately driven back by Japanese counter-attacks. However the 3rd Company caught the Japanese counterattacking troops in the process of re-deployment and charged their positions in conjunction with the 2nd Company on the left, throwing the Japanese into confusion and capturing Point 600.

The battle continued unabated on Dec 21. The 598th Regiment made some headway on [Luotang] but was soon driven back. The 600th Regiment got to within 200m of Kunlun Pass as night fell, but had to fall back due to flanking fire. Japanese airdropped 18 chutes of supplies at [Batang] and [Jiutang], several of which fell behind Chinese lines.

Held by a reinforced company, [Luotang] continued to hold out despite an entire night of attacks by the 1st Regiment of the !st Honor Division. Desperate to make process, the division commander moved the 2nd Regiment up for the next assault around noon, Dec 24. The 2nd Regiment was actually down to the strength of less than 2 battalions: the best troops were concentrated into a battalion size shock force and started its attack at twilight with support form the 15 cm howitzers of the 14th Artillery Regiment. In platoon size echelons, the troops made their way to the perimeters of the defensive positions and removed the barbed wire and obstacles. Two platoon commanders wielded big knives and cut off the remaining barbed wire fences; the troops rushed in and captured [Luotang] at 1900, annihiliating the garrison except for two wounded prisoners. The assault battalion also suffered crippling losses, with only a few dozen men left.

The 200th D had been relegated to a supporting role and not making much progress. It was now moved to attack along the main road, with the high grounds near [Jieshou] as the primary objective. It was to receive the bulk of artillery support. On Dec 25, it briefly captured the high ground to the southwest of Point 653, but was promptly driven back.

On Dec 27, Point 441 was lost again. 7 Chinese planes escorting bombers flown by Soviet volunteers ran into more than 10 Japanese planes over [Ertang], 2 Japanese and 3 Chinese fighters were lost. On Dec 28, new orders were issued. Point 441 was to be retaken by the 1st Honor D, and the 200th D once again assigned the crucial high grounds of [Jieshou] as the main objective. However the 200th D’s attack stalled once more. The 3rd Regiment of the 1st Honor D, which was relatively fresh and had just been brought up, was now given the assignment. A massed night attack was launched, and the troops charged forward despite intense fire from the Japanese positions. However, eliminating the Japanese strongpoints proved to be very difficult and 7 of the 9 company commanders were killed or wounded. Finally, special assault troops managed to sneak up close to the Japanese positions. At dawn on Dec 30, right after the covering artillery fire ceased, the assault troops rushed in and engaged in a deadly fight with the surprised Japanese troops outside their trenches. The rest of the regiment swept forward and after 3 hours of fight finally captured [Jieshou].
With [Jieshou] secured, Kunlun Pass was now under direct Chinese fire. The New 22nd D leapfrogged 200th D’s positions and now attacked Kunlun Pass with the 65th Regiment on the left, the 64th Regiment on the right, and the 66th Regiment in reserve. At first light, the 65th Regiment moved forward led by tanks. The 1st and 3rd Battalion were stopped by Japanese fire along the main road, but the 2nd Battalion managed to make its way up to Kunlun Pass. The 5th Company bore the brunt of the hand to hand fighting but managed to hang on. The 4th Company came up in the nick of time to secure the pass. On the last day of 1939, the 1st and 3rd Battalion captured the area to the south of the pass under tank and artillery cover, and the Japanese retreated. At 1100, the Chinese flag once again flew over Kunlun Pass.

Subsequently the 200th D were to continue to press its attacks beyond Kunlun Pass to attack the strongly fortified Japanese positions near [Batang]. It was to suffer heavily in a serious of fruitless attacks on Point 300, but that’s another story. It is interesting to note that despite playing a major role in the battle and oft-repeated claims that it had recaptured Kunlun Pass, the 200th D did not capture Kunlun Pass proper, in fact it seemed like the 1st Honor D did better than the 200th D in this battle.

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Postby sjchan » 20 Dec 2007 17:07

Some photos of the AFV of the 200th Divison at the Battle of Kunlun Pass; the first showing some Vickers amphiphious tanks advancing towards the battleground; the second showing T-26s being assembled for the battle; . These seldom seen photos are from the book Guó Pò Shān Hé Zài (国破山河在) pp. 84-85 (just published in 2007).
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Postby pitman » 20 Dec 2007 20:32

sjchan, thank you very much for your last two posts! Very informative, interesting, and useful. I really appreciate it.

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Postby sjchan » 24 Dec 2007 14:00

Some additional information on the use of armor to support the 200th D at Kunlun Pass (and Toungoo) this week some 68 years ago (abstracted from this on-line material on the developed of the Chinese armored forces: http://www.superarmy.com/zzms/others/ot ... 111_01.htm)

In Jan 1938, the Chinese government received 82 T-26, 92 Italian CV-33, 18 German armored cars and 100+ Mercedes trucks as well as 400 Ford 4 cylinder trucks. On the basis of this equipment the 200th D was built.

In early 1939 the division has been expanded into the 5th Coprs. Note that all the armor (1st and 2nd Tank Regiments) was attached to corps command; thus none of the divisions which constituted the army (200th D, 1st Honor D, New 22nd D) was really armored (or arguably mechanized), although they were often considered as such. In reality these divisions enjoyed the support of armor mostly when they were designated as the main assault force in a particular battle.

During the attack by the 1st Honor D on Kunlun Pass on Dec 18, one of the T-26 of the supporting tank force (1st and 2nd Battalion, 1st Tank Regiment) was destroyed by Japanese fire. The tanks played a major role in the assault and capture of Point 653 on Dec 19. In the attack on the main Japanese defensive lines on Dec 20, more Chinese AFVs were destroyed. By early 1940, the 5th Corps was taken out of the battle but the 7th Company, 2nd Battalion of the 1st Tank Regiment was left behind. Unfortunately, this unit was totally annihilated in later battles due to poor coordination with its support infantry from the 73rd D. After the battle, the commander of the division, Dai An-lan, discussed the improper use of tanks in the battle of Kunlun Pass: “The Japanese frequency placed their anti-tank capabilities in disguised flanking positions. Hence it is important to send a reconnaissance vehicle to lure the Japanese anti-tank guns to expose their positions so that these can be neutralized by our anti-tank guns and heavy artillery. Otherwise it is not only impossible to use the tanks to their fullest advantage but heavy and needless losses will be incurred as well. For instance, the Japanese did not dare to use tanks in the Battle of Kunlun Pass”.

When the 5th Corps entered Burma, the 3rd Battalion of the Armored Regiment was left behind in Kwangsi. However, since some of the bridges between Kunming and Burma could not even handle 10 tons, only some Renault and CV-33 light tanks were deployed at the front and took part in the fighting between the 200th D and the Japanese. In the Battle of Toungoo, the 5th, 6th and 10th Companies (minus the heavier T-26s which were still awaiting transport at Lashio) of the Armored Regiment were attached to the 65th and 66th Regiments of the New 22nd D during its foray to relieve the encircled 200th D. On March 27, Yedashe was captured but 4 tanks were destroyed and the commander of the 6th Company killed. On March 28, with support from the tanks, some of the buildings around the Nangyun railway station were taken and Japanese gun positions destroyed. By April 25, the situation in Burma had deteriorated to such an extent that it was decided to withdraw the armor and mechanized forces back to Yunnan to stop further Japanese advances. A composite force of some 10 tanks and 4 anti-tank guns were deployed in a blocking position in a mountain pass. Unfortunate the supporting infantry troops were raw recruits and the result was that the entire force was wiped out. Not all Chinese tanks were able to withdraw back into China; in fact only 46 made their way back. Fortunately since the T-26s were never sent to the front, they were all able to get back

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too many CV-33's

Postby asiaticus » 26 Dec 2007 11:53

Chinese government received 82 T-26, 92 Italian CV-33, 18 German armored cars


I think these numbers are wrong. I have a post that quotes a Du Yuming memoir that the the Chinese had 20 CV-33 remaining in 1938 of 20 purchased several years earlier. Also in 1938 the Soviets sent 50 FAI and BA 3/6/10 type armoured Cars as well as the T-26 tanks (70 went to 200th Division then 5th Corps) and 4 BT-5 tanks.

I imagine 18 of the old German armoured cars might still be on hand too.
They were with the 3rd Tank Battalion:
15 x PzKpfw I/A light tanks (from Germany)
20 x Fiat CV33 tankettes (from Italy)
18 x Sdkfz 221 and 222 armd cars (from Germany)
Battalion Formed in 1935; in the Battle of Nanking (4th to 13th Dec 1937).

I think the PzI/A were destroyed there.

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Postby pitman » 26 Dec 2007 17:33

I have seen from other sources that the Soviets sent the armored cars mentioned by asiaticus above, as well as the lower number of CV-33. I don't have them handy, so I can't say which ones said that. I think Chuikov mentions the armored cars, tho', if my memory serves me correctly.

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Location: Hong Kong

Postby sjchan » 02 Jan 2008 15:20

On researching the number of CV-33s further, the figures regarding the CV-33s actually came from more definitive sources, including official history of Chinese armored forces published by the ROC Ministry of Defence. For instance, a recent book 抗戰時期國軍機械化/裝甲部隊畫史1929-1945‪ by 滕昕雲 (published in 2003) stated that 20 CV-33s were first bought by the Chinese and 94 more CV-35 (a later variant) were bought later (p.66), and it is these that together with the T26s that constituted the backbone of the armored forces in the 5th Army. Regarding the Soviet armored cars, there is no record (or pictures) of them in action in official Chinese records, though the author noted claims of their use by foreign sources and did not rule out the possibility that they were indeed used in China.

There was much information in this book (and lots of pictures) regarding the development of the Chinese armored units as well as some description of their tactics and how they fared in the various battles (including Kunlun Pass and Toungoo).

Incidentally I have located the official battle diary and detailed after action reports of the 200th D for the Battle of Toungoo. Can post them later if there is still interest on this topic; they contain minor but vivid details of the battle from the perspective of General Dai.


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