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Japanese Landing Operations - Yangtze, summer of 1938

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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Japanese Landing Operations - Yangtze, summer of 1938

Postby tigre on 20 Nov 2005 23:09

Hello to all, here goes another incident of the Sino - japanese War; I hope be interesting.

Japanese Landing Operations.
[From an article by N. Gasmmv,in Krasny Flot, 14 April 1939.
Translated from the Russian in the Historical Section, the Army War College, Washington, D C.]

During the operations in the Yangtze valley in the summer of 1938, the Japanese made extensive use of landing Parties, conducted jointly by naval and land forces. The purpose of these operations was to bring about the capture ofHankow in the shortest possible time and produce a situation favoring the conclusion of the war.

Mindful of their failures in the Nanking and Suchow Operations, the Japanese made lengthy preparations prior to the launching of their campaign on the Yangtze. They devoted special attention to the organization of a river squadron and to the planning of joint action by the land and naval forces. They failed, however, in the execution of their plans. The operations for the capture of Hankow were extended over a period of five months, during which time the Japanese, according to foreign press reports, suffered losses amounting to 300,000 men.

The beginning of the Hankow operations should be considered with the Japanese attempt to capture Datun, the first barrier in the advance of the Japanese quadron upstream.
Datun, on the south bank of the river, is approximately 230 miles from Hankow. Early in June the Japanese concentrated at Datun about one hundred vessels, includlng over thirty naval craft armed with medium caliber artillery. Meanwhile the main concentration of the Japanese land forces on the north bank of the river was increased to 80,000 men. (See Sketch 1).

For eight days the Japanese naval guns bombarded the Chinese field fortifications surrounding Datun. On the ninth day, when the landing was attempted, the artillery bombardment was reinforced by an aerial bombardment with twenty medium bombers, all the fire being concentrated against the Chinese fortified positions. The naval vessels were a little more than a mile from shore. The movement of the transport vessels from behind the line of naval craft was covered by concentrated artillery fire.

Upon the approach of the transports to within 300 or 400 yards of the bank of the river, motor boats were lowered with infantry landing parties. The artillery fire at this time was switched to the rear of the Chinese positions The Japanese attack, however, was repulsed. Repeated attempts to effect a landing ended in failure.

The Japanese squadron, forcing the barriers in the river, then moved upstream in the direction of Antsin, which is located on tbe north bank of the river about 185 miles below Hankow. The river narrows down somewhat at this point, its banks are covered by reeds, and the current is about five knots. The Chinese had built field fortifications around Antsin, while east of the city there were three permanent forts with field artillery armament. Thus the capture of Antsin involved considerable ditiiculties for the attacker.

But the capture of this city was important to the Japanese. It would open the water route to Hankow, create a threat to the right flank of the Chinese defensive zone, and afford an opportunity for free maneuver along both banks of the Yangtze. The Japanese command decided therefore to carry out active operations on land while the navy was assisting in a strong landing operation in the immediate vicinity of the city.

In the conduct of the operations against Antsin, the Japanese forces were increaased to .a strength of 100,000 men, the bulk of these forces in the Lucbow area. The main drive was to be westward from Luchow, while a small force was to advance southward in the direction of Antsin with a view to diverting Chinese forces from the eastern sector of the Antsin positions where the landing was to be effected.

Another group of Japanese land forces was given the mission of launching a vigorous attack along the north bank of the river against Antsin. The landing force was composed of one infantry brigade, a marine landing battalion, artillery, engineers and chemical elements, totalling about 12,000 men and 80 to 90 guns, The squadron comprised 40 units, including destroyers, mine sweepers, naval and river gunboats, and blockade boats. Twenty steamboats transported the troops designated to make the landing. In addition, the operation was supported from the air by 100 airplanes, mainly light bombers, some of which had arrived on aircraft carriers.

The Chinese forces were in strong positions on both sides of the river. The immediate defense of Antsin had been entrusted to the Chinese 146th and 147th divisions with a total strength of about 18,000 men. The Chinese Command had anticipated the landing operations of the Japanese at Antsin, though they had not expected such a rapid penetration by the Japanese squadron at Datun. As a result they were unable to concentrate sufficiently strong forces in the threatened area.

On the morning of 11 June, the Japanese squadron forced its way through the barriers at the city of Datun. The Japanese vessels spent that entire day in intensive efforts at clearing the channel of obstructions and mines in the area between Datun and Antsin. In clearing the channel the Japanese aviation played a considerable part, reconnoitering points containing barriers and bombing mine fields from the air. Simultaneously the Japanese aviation and torpedo-boats conducted a thorough reconnaissance of the areas selected for the landings.

All of this work was completed by the evening of 11 June and at 2:00 AM, 12 June, the Japanese proceeded with their actual landings. The landing was effected as follows: The Japanese squadron, divided into detachments, extended under cover of darkness in the Sinkhekow and Potsziadu areas (See Sketch 1). Simultaneously, a special detachment of about 1,200 men, loaded in fast motor boats, was moved up the river past Antsin to Shikoo, with the mission of attacking Antsin from the rear. The main forces, below Antsin, loaded on barges and boats, proceeded to the shore under cover of the artillery, aviatiou and smoke screens, The first attempt ended in failure. Confronted by the artillery and machine-gun fire of the Chinese, the Japanese boats, subjected to heavy losses, turned back and the troop transports were taken behind the line of war vessels. After several hours of artillery preparations the Japanese repeated the attempt to land. The second effort was successful, though costly, and a foothold was gained below the city. The landing by the detachment at Shikoo above Antsin was secretly effected and this force launched its advance against Antsin from the southwest. at daybreak. With a view to concealing the landing points of the main forces, small Japanese detachments feigned landings at numerous points along the shore. The action of the Chinese forces was characterized by great tenacity, but the
overwhelrning superiority of the enemy in modern mechanical equipment compelled the Chinese forces to withdraw. On the evening of 12 June the Japanese enveloped the city and the next day, after very stubborn fighting, succeeded in capturing it.

The Japanese naval squadron, and Japanese planes played a decisive role in the fighting at Antsin. The battle for this city served to demonstrate the inability of the Japanese infantry to develop the attack independently, without strong artillery support, and to overcome the resistance of the Chinese forces. The landing operations at Antsin further demonstrated the fact that from a purely technical point of view the execution of landing operations by the Japanese suffers from certain deficiencies; their schedules and timing of actual landings were not observed, the landing operations were protracted and, as a result of this, their troops effecting the landing were subjected to tremendous losses.

Best regards. Tigre.
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Postby asiaticus on 21 Nov 2005 08:23

Very interesting article on the River operation on the Yangtze.

Thanks.
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Postby zstar on 21 Nov 2005 12:42

You should read about Changsha and Tai'er Zhuang

They're some of tne biggest defeat for Japanese forces in China. I got some photos too.
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Postby asiaticus on 21 Nov 2005 20:46

Id love to read about them and maybe see a decent map. What I have read in Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of The Sino-Japanese War is pretty short of detail.
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Japanese Landing Operations - Yangtze, summer of 1938

Postby tigre on 22 Nov 2005 00:40

Hi asiaticus, the second part.

As the Japanese continued their advance up the Yangtze the next strong resistance was encountered at Matan (See Sketch 2). This fortress was situated on the south bank in a narrow defile between the river and Lake Tienpohu. Five forts. incorporated into a system of field fortifications, formed the Chinese center of resistance at this point.

On 24 June, at noon, the Japanese landed a reinforced infantry regiment in the vicinity of Sinkow. The landing was supported by powerful artillery fire from the naval vessels, but no progress could be made by this force in the face of the Chinese artillery bombardments. Other efforts on the part of the Japanese command to effect landings on the north shore of Lake Tienpohu and on the south bank of the Yangtze proved equally unsuccessful. Then the Japanese squadron began a systematic bombardment of Matan with gas shells.

The Chinese artillery, its ammunition supply exhausted, was incapable of replying to the Japanese fire. Being unprepared for a gas attack, the Chinese forces were compelled to withdraw, and the Japanese captured the city 26 June. The next important barrier to the Japanese advance up the Yangtze to Hankow was Tsiangtsin, Capture of this City meant to the Japanese a clear route for launching an Offensive against the chinese capital as well as a possible route for enveloping the main forces of the Chinese army.

The Japanese began their operations against Tsiangtsin 21 July with an aerial reconnaissance, coupled with an intensive intensive aerial bombardment of the Chinese positions. The Chinese command had at its disposal in this area three divisions but the equipment and supply of theee troops were very inferior to those of the Japanese. The latter, taking advantage of thsir superiority in the air, secretly moved their squadron up to Tsiangtsin and at dawn 23 July landed a reinforced infantry brigade sonth of the city, on the west shore of Lake Datsiuzan (See Sketch 3).

The landing proved a surprise to the Chinese who had expected the enemy from the direction of the Yangtze. The landing force advanced on Tsiangtsin, stationing a screening force in the south. Aided by their aviation, the Japanese repelled many vigorous Chinese counterattacks. On the night of the 24th the Japanese landed a brigade of marines on the bank of the Yangtze. Threatened with an envelopment, the Chinese were forced to withdraw. As in the preceding instances, the Japanese were successful due to their quantitative superiority in mechanical equipment, particularly aviation.

The examples of cooperation between naval vessels offering artillery support and land forces are numerous in the Japanese campaisn in China. The course of operations on the Central Front depended in large measure on tbe outcome of the fighting on the Yangtze. The Japanese squadron on the Yangtze, supported by aviation, assumed the role of a battering ram for their land forces while the Yangtze served as the axis of commuuioations in the Japanese advance on Hankow. Japanese naval vessels ,forced their way upstream and by so doing assisted in tbe advance of their land forces. The Chinese forces manifested an excellsnt fighting spirit and defended themselves with great tenacity, but their lack of artillery and aviation and the absence of any naval forces enabled the Japanese to clear the channel and to gain the rear of the Chinese positions.

Regards. Tigre.
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Postby asiaticus on 22 Nov 2005 08:15

This is very interesting. I am wondering what the river fleet was like. Particularly the gunboats.
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Postby hisashi on 22 Nov 2005 10:02

asiaticus wrote:This is very interesting. I am wondering what the river fleet was like. Particularly the gunboats.

Pictures and drawings of Japanese gun boats (mostly used on Yangtze River)
http://earth.endless.ne.jp/users/mac011 ... ntei7.html
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Japanese Landing Operations - Yangtze, summer of 1938

Postby tigre on 23 Nov 2005 02:45

Hello maisov; thank you, good complement. Regards. Tigre.
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Some more info on the Yangtze article.

Postby asiaticus on 24 Nov 2005 03:16

Was looking thru Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai's History of The Sino-Japanese War and my other notes looking tor referances to the actions in the artilce.

First the Japanese infantry brigade in the fleet was the Formosa Infantry Brigade:

-- Formosa Infantry Brigade - Gen. Shigeto
--- 1st Formosa Infantry Rgt
--- 2nd Formosa Infantry Rgt.
--- Formosa artillery Btn.?
--- Formosa engineer Btn.
--- Formosa Transport Rgt.

The Marine battlaion were likely the 11th Sentai's own SNLF Battalion that had been in China from before the war and had served in the initial battle of Shanghai.

Attacking fleet at Mantan had 1 crusier and a number of destoryers. [Page 241, Hsu Long-hsuen, History] This would seem to indicate that there was at least a part of a destroyer Sentai reinforcing the fleet.

The Chinese defenders of Matan were: Fortress troops, 53rd and 167th Divsions. Chinese Fortress guns claimed damage to 1 cruiser, 2 destoyers, and sank 3 motorboats. On the 26th after heavy fighting the Japanese broke into the fortress at noon. After a counterattack the fortress fell and the fortress commander Gen Wang His-tao was missing and the Commander of 167th Divsioin was executed. [Page 241, Hsu Long-hsuen, History]

In regard to the Tsiangtsin operation

Chinese mines were swept in mid July and bombing campaign was unleashed on the area.

The name of the Japanes landing location was Kutang [Hsu Long-hsuen, History, p.242]

Chinese forces in the counter attacks at Tsiangtsin, were the 8th Corps(3rd and 15th Divisions), 64th Corps (155th, 187th and 9th Reserve Divisions) and 70th Corps(19th Division)of the 1st Army. Page 242, Hsu Long-hsuen, History of The Sino-Japanese War

The Japanese Marine Brigade that landed on the bank of the Yangtze behind Tsiangtsin must have been composed of the 11th Sentai SNLF and more SNLF battalions from the variious Sentai of the 3rd fleet. There was at least 1 Destoyer Sentai present here and in a subsequent campaign up river a second seems to have been another. Each of these would have had a SNLF Battalion with it as would the flagship Izumo and each of the Crusier sentai.
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Japanese Landing Operations - Yangtze, summer of 1938

Postby tigre on 25 Nov 2005 17:59

Thank you asiaticus, very good input. Regards. Tigre.
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More discussion about this campaign

Postby asiaticus on 29 Nov 2005 20:08

More discussion about this campaign at the Pacific War Forum

http://www.f16.parsimony.net/forum27947 ... s/7355.htm
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IJN and IJA forces in the Yangtze river operations.

Postby asiaticus on 08 Dec 2005 08:17

Based on recent reading, discussion on forums and and email from knowlegable people this is what I beleive were the forces involved in the Yangtze River campagn.

China Area Fleet & 3rd Fleet
Both were commanded by Adm.Oiakwa Koshiro = 25/04/1938-01/05/19

China Area fleet:- VADM Adm.Oiakwa Koshiro
- Izumo (F) (Izumo class armoured cruisers)4-20.3cm gun (2x2), 14-15.2cm QF gun (1x14), 12-12pdr QF gun (1x12),
8-2.5pdr QF gun (1x8), 4-45cm TT
- Iwate (Izumo class armoured cruisers) 4-20.3cm gun (2x2), 14-15.2cm QF gun (1x14), 12-12pdr QF gun (1x12),
8-2.5pdr QF gun (1x8), 4-45cm TT
One of these cruisers were probalbly detached to Yosuko force for bombardment of Matang fortress and both to the bombardment of the position at Makou. Possibly also used against Fu-chin-kou fortress and Tien-chia Chen fortress later in Sept. and Oct. 1938.

Yosuko Force - Rear Admiral Eijiro Kondo (11th Sentai Commander, 12/37-12/38 )
- 11th Sentai - Rear Admiral Eijiro Kondo 12/37-12/38
-- flagship Ataka (Gunboat)* ? 2-12cm/45cal gun, 2-8cm/40cal gun, 6 MGs .
It was incorporated into the 3rd fleet 11th squadron, 1933 May 20th*
-- Kuri(2nd Class Destroyer)3-12cm/45cal gun, 2-7.7mm MGs, 4-53cm TT (2x2)
-- Tsuga(2nd Class Destroyer)3-12cm/45cal gun, 2-7.7mm MGs, 4-53cm TT (2x2)
-- Hasu(2nd Class Destroyer)3-12cm/45cal gun, 2-7.7mm MGs, 4-53cm TT (2x2
-- Yaeyama(minelayer),2-12cm/45cal gun, 2 MGs, 185 mines
-- Hozu(Gunboat)*, 2-8cm/40cal gun, 3 or 6-13mm MG
-- Katada(Gunboat) * 2-8cm/40cal gun, 3 or 6-13mm MG
-- Atami(Gunboat) 1-8cm/28cal gun, 6 MGs
-- Seta(Gunboat)* 2-8cm/40cal gun, 3 or 6-13mm MG
-- Toba(Gunboat)* 2-8cm/28cal gun, 6 MGs
-- Hira(Gunboat)* 2-8cm/40cal gun, 3 or 6-13mm MG
-- Futami (Gunboat)1-8cm/28cal gun, 6 MGs
-- Sumida(Gunboat)* 2-47mm/40cal gun, 4 MGs
-- Kotaka(Gunboat) 5 MGs
-- Saga(Gunboat)*? 1-12cm/45cal gun, 3-8cm/40cal gun, 3 MGs
Was incorporated into the 3rd fleet 11th squadron on 1937 October 20th.
-- Yamasemi (torpedo boat) 2-8cm QF gun, 2-47mm QF gun, 2-45cm TT
Yamasemi torpedo boat was formerly the Chinese torpedo boat "Chi Fu Po" renamed "Chien Kang". It was sunk in 9/37 during the battle of Shanghai and raised by the Japanese and recommisioned as the Yamasemi the same year armed with 2-8cm QF gun, 2-47mm QF gun, 2-45cm TT.

- #? Torpedoboat Sentai
--1st Destroyer Torpedoboat? Unit 1tpg = Kasasagi - Hiyodori - Otori - Hayabusa
--- Kasasagi, (Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--- Hiyodori, (Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--- Otori, (Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--- Hayabusa) (Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--11th Torpedoboat Unit 11tpg Kari - Sagi - Hato
--- Kari (Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--- Sagi (Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--- Hato(Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--- Kiji(Otori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-40mm AA, 3-53cm TT (1x3)
--21st Torpedoboat Unit 21tpg Chidori - Manazuru - Tomozuru - Hatsukari
-- Chidori (Chidori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-7.7mm AA, 2-53cm TT (2x1)
-- Manazuru (Chidori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-7.7mm AA, 2-53cm TT (2x1)
-- Tomozuru (Chidori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-7.7mm AA, 2-53cm TT (2x1)
-- Hatsukari(Chidori class torpedo boat) 3-12cm/45cal gun (1x3), 1-7.7mm AA, 2-53cm TT (2x1)

- 12th Minelayer Sentai
1st Minesweeper Unit 1awg = Tsubame - Kamone - Sugi maru - Kashiwa maru
--Tsubame (Tsubame class minelayer)1-8cm/40cal AA gun, 1-13.2mm AA, 120 mines
-- Kamone (Tsubame class minelayer)1-8cm/40cal AA gun, 1-13.2mm AA, 120 mines
-- Sugi maru (Military used merchantmen minesweeper ?)
-- Kashiwa maru(Military used merchantmen minesweeper ?)
- 2nd Minesweeper Unit 2 awg
--Daihatsu, Shohatsu and other small craft

Landing forces IJA
- Formosa Infantry Brigade - Gen. Shigeto
-- 1st Formosa Infantry Rgt
-- 2nd Formosa Infantry Rgt.
-- Formosa Artillery Btn.
-- Formosa Engineer Btn.
-- Formosa Transport Rgt.
Made landings at Anqing and Matan.

1 Brigade /106th Division.
Made landings at Kutang in the operation against Tsiangtsin.

[Special Unit] IJN
"Okamoto unit" (NLF raised from Yosuko Force?)
Kure 4th SNLF (after Aug. 1938)
Kure 5th SNLF
Units of the Special unit participated in most of the landings in the campagn.
---20 Steamboats
---#? Daihatsu, Shohatsu and other small craft

#3 Flying Group (KoSen or KokuSentai), 3rd Fleet.
-- Kamikawa Maru (Mobilized Merchantman seaplane tender) 2-15cm gun, 2-8cm AA gun, 4-25mm AA, 2 catapults, 12 or 8 aircraft (E8N Seaplane))+
-- Notoro(seaplane tender) 2-8cm/40cal AA gun, 8 aircraft (E8N Seaplane)+

-2nd Combined Air Group (2Cfg) and the Soryu Detachment are under the 3rd Fleet
- Soryu detachment +
--Fighter daitai
--- 9 Nakajima A4N1s or Mitsubishi A5M
-- Bomber daitai
--- 18 Aichi D1A1
--Attack daitai
--- 9 Yokosuka B3Y1
Based: Wuhu 6/38, Anqing 6/38-11/38?)
In June the Soryu detachment moved from Nanking to Wuhu in early June and by mid-June to the Anqing base. At this time they flew air defence and ground support sorties.

- 12th Kokutai +
--Fighter daitai
---27 Mitsubishi A5M
-- Bomber daitai
--- Aichi D1A1
--Attack daitai
---Yokosuka B3Y1
A predominately carrier fighter unit.
Based: Anqing (06/38 – autumn/38)

-13th Kokutai +
--Fighter daitai
---24 Mitsubishi A5M
--Attack daitai
---18 Mitsubishi G3M
Reorganized on 22 March 1938 to a predominately land attack unit.
The fighter daitai was disbanded on 15 November 1938.
Based: Shanghai

-15th Kokutai +
-- Fighter daitai -9 Nakajima A4N1 ( – 09/38)
9 Mitsubishi A5M
--- Bomber daitai -12 Aichi D1A1
---Attack daitai - 9 Yokosuka B3Y1
Based: Anqing (10/07/38 – 09/38), Kowkong (09/38 – 01/12/38)

-15th Kokutai entered combat on 10 July from Anqing, and then they included A5Ms from the aircraft carrier Soryu, stationed off the coast since April. The several A5Ms located at Anqing had been unable to provide adequate air protection for the Japanese forces until the arrival of the 15th Kokutai.
At this time the 15th Kokutai had a nominal strength of one unit of carrier fighters (12 aircraft), one unit of carrier bombers (12 aircraft) and a half unit carrier attack aircraft (6 aircraft). Actual strength was nine A4Ns, nine A5Ms, 18 carrier bombers and nine carrier attack aircraft. Primary duties were to cooperate in the army’s Hankou operations and in particular air defense in the areas along the Yangtze River.+

* Pictures and drawings of Japanese gun boats (mostly used on Yangtze River)
http://earth.endless.ne.jp/users/mac011 ... ntei7.html

Commanders, Armament and ship id from http://homepage2.nifty.com/nishidah/e/index.htm

+Air unit info from: http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/sino-japanese-1938.htm
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Postby Windward on 09 Dec 2005 05:25

The battle of Antzin (Anqing today) Chinese side includes 27th army, commanded by general Yang Sen, and 20th corp (Sichuan provincial army).

Image
Chinese army in Anqing, mid June 1938

There's a large blockade line near Madang or "Matan" in the second attached sketch map, made by 1600+ mines, 50+ man-made stone reefs and more than 300 scuttled ships and sampans.

Image
Chinese soldiers in Madang fortress

Image
Madang today

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Defenders

Postby asiaticus on 09 Dec 2005 07:31

Windward nice pics. Thanks for detailed info too.

From the July 1938 oob, text and the map for Battle of Wuhan, Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of The Sino-Japanese War 27th Army Group:

-27th Army Group - Yang Sen
--20th Corps - Yang Sen (concurrent)
---133rd Division - Yang Han-yu
---134th Division - Yang Han-chung

27th Army Group was assigned to garrison Anqing, Wu-wei, Takuan.

The article here on the forum cites the Chinese 146th and 147th Divisions as the defenders of Anqing. These are missing from the July oob. Maybe these were already pulled out for refit after their defeat at Anqing in June. These two divisions had been with 23rd Army Group under Gen. Gen. Liu Hsing during the battle of Nanking a few months earlier. That general was ordered to assume the defense of the river in the Madang area for this campaign accordiing to the "History" above. Any record of these two divisions being with 27th Army Group or other Army formation?

Matan garrison: Naval Fortress troops, 53rd and 167th Divsions. The 53rd Division is omited from the July 1938 oob probably because it was badly mauled in the fight for Matan/Madang. I wonder if it was in 1st Army Corps reserve like 167th Divsion or with some other Corps or Army?
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Further Actions of the Campaign on the Yangtze Sept- Oct. 19

Postby asiaticus on 09 Dec 2005 08:10

Further Actions of the Campaign on the Yangtze Sept- Oct. 1938

Makou Chen Sept.8-14th

Fu-chin-kou fortress at Shai Shan, Sept.18th-23rd

Tien-chia Chen fortress, Sept. 9-28th

Kotien Fortress Oct. 12-25th
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