Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 03 Sep 2016 13:15

Hello to all :D; a little more..................................

Operations on the South Front: Shanghai—Nanking, 1937.

On 9 August, Lieut. Ojama, a marine officer, was killed by Chinese police within the international settlement. Two days later, a Japanese naval squadron appeared before Shanghai and landed 4000 marines; thereafter, reinforcements had to be fed into this sector, until it became a major theater of operations. The storm broke on 13 August; fighting continued with increasing intensity for three and one-half months.

Bridgehead operations. The Japanese were faced by markedly superior numbers from the outset. The character of their initial operations was clearly that of joint army-navy actions, landing operations, the establishment and expansion of bridgeheads for a coordinated, general advance into the interior.

Under the protective fire from Japanese warships, the initial Japanese bridgeheads at Hongkiu Park and Yukong wharf were precariously held against immense pressure. The narrow bridgehead was enlarged by a landing nine miles north of Shanghai, at Wusung. Five days later, the flanking maneuver of 1932 was repeated and a landing effected at Liuho, in spite of notoriously unfavorable shore conditions.

From now on, the newly appointed Japanese commander, General Iwane Matsui, engaged in step-by-step fighting of increasing ferocity, gaining and losing ground on the front, Liuho—Shanghai. Both opponents steadily increased their forces until an estimated 120,000 Japanese were battering against 300,000 defenders in the Shanghai corridor.

September rains delayed a serious offensive in a veritable morass of canals; mechanized vehicles and heavy artillery were immobilized; supplies had to be handled by coolie carriers and 5000 pack animals—a nice example of Japanese foresight. Reinforced to 225,000, Matsui attacked late in October and forced the Chinese to rearward lines. On 6 November, the outflanking maneuver of Liuho was repeated: two divisions landed 30 miles behind the Chinese lines, and their south flank was opened. Shifting to the north on 13 November, that flank was then attacked, and the Chinese withdrew to the "winter-line," a previously prepared strong position.

This position rested on the south on a series of lakes, regarded as a serious tactical obstacle; the resourceful Japanese enveloped this flank, employing flatboats and motor launches of Japanese make; simultaneously, a successful penetration of the center was staged in seizing Suchou through a bold coup-de-main; this brought on the collapse of the "winter-line"; thereafter, the Chinese engaged in delaying action in successive positions; once again, the envelopment of a flank, the transport of troops across Tai Lake, turned the new position and by forced marches the
Japanese reached Nanking on 12 December. A southern column took Wuhu, on the upper Yangtse, to cut off the retreat of the remnants of the Chinese forces, while the main body attacked the city of Nanking from three sides; the city fell within a few hours.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.
Resistance and Revolution in China. The Communists and the Second United Front. Tetsuya Kataoka

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 10 Sep 2016 15:02

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Operations against the Lunghai corridor, 1938.

(1) Tactical and strategical considerations. In the wake of the collapse of the Shanghai Army, its remnants withdrew in various directions; the Japanese High Command saw no reason to pursue them in a major effort. An immediate advance on Hankow presented a difficult line of communications except via the Yangtze River, which was still blocked by a number of booms.

An advance northward, in direction of Suchow, was of greater promise, especially if coordinated with an advance toward the south by the left wing of Terauchi's Northern Army. The Lunghai railroad, it will be recalled, is a great arterial line, a "rocade", linking the "Tsinpu" and "Pinghan" railroads, and represents in its western branch (Kaifeng—Sian) the gate to Russia and the point of entry of a continuous stream of war materiel.

A simultaneous, coordinated advance from the north and south would cut this artery in vicinity of Suchow (Hsuchou), an important rail center, encircle the Chinese forces in that area, or push them westward; consequently, the Lunghai corridor became the next Japanese objective.

It is obvious that the capture of Suchow in itself could not have an immediate decisive effect; it was expected that Chinese reinforcements would pour into this area—and they did; Chiang Kai-shek made the defense of the Lunghai the great military issue of this war. The entire length of the "Lunghai" was bound to be affected; Suchow became one of several objectives; indeed, the Kaifeng area farther west was even more important as the junction of the "Lunghai" with the "Pinghan" railroad over which all Chinese troops in the corridor were supplied from Hankow.

The Napoleonic concept of the Japanese High Command was never more clearly demonstrated than when it shifted from the initial attack on Suchow, as it slowed down, to extend to the west and threaten the entire "Lunghai" front, with the main effort in direction of Kaifeng; when it was found later on that the mass of Chinese forces was committed within the corridor, the Japanese quickly shifted again, resumed operations in Shantung and forced a decision in the battle of Suchow. The subsequent advance west, in an envelopment, while the line of the Lunghai was contained frontally cleared the corridor in hard fighting and opened the avenue for an advance on Hankow, the last stronghold of organized Chinese resistance.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.
Resistance and Revolution in China. The Communists and the Second United Front. Tetsuya Kataoka

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 17 Sep 2016 22:13

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Operations against the Lunghai corridor, 1938.

(2) Operations in Shantung. The Japanese Second Army, in the north, faced Tsinan; the crossing of the Hoangho was effected on 23 December. Tsinan fell on the twenty-seventh; the Chinese Shantung divisions, under a lukewarm commander, offered feeble resistance. Tsingtau was taken and fresh troops started west from this port. The Japanese right wing, however, ran into stiff resistance along the Grand Canal; by mid February, the line stabilized on the front: Tsining—Yihsien.

The advance of the First Army from the south, in three columns, made fair progress initially; the Wai River line was reached by the end of January, but strong Chinese counterattack held their opponents thereafter on the front: Pengpu—Huntze Lake.

(3) Advance on Kaifeng—Chengchow. The advance of the Japanese First and Second Army was not only stopped but seriously hampered by continuous Chinese counteroffensives; the Japanese estimated that this effort must have drawn forces from western "Lunghai"; consequently early in February, they reinforced their Third Army on the Changte Front and began an advance in several columns. They succeeded in reaching the north bank of the Hoangho and holding it generally in spite of serious Chinese counterattacks; this army thereafter remained in position as a threat to the vital Kaifeng—Chengchow area.

(4) Operations in Shansi. The Eighth Chinese Army (Communistic) and numerous guerrilla had been able to threaten all Japanese communications in this province, thereby constituting a constant threat against the right of the Japanese northern armies. Operating from Tayuan, the Japanese Fourth Army advanced generally along the Tayuan—Tungkwan Railroad and parallel mountain roads; elevations of 7000 feet give an indication of the terrain difficulties encountered; the Japanese detached a force from Changte, to take the Chinese in rear; this detachment covered 140 miles in six days. By the end of February, the Japanese reached the Hoangho and established an effective western barrier and flank security for the ensemble of their armies in the east.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.
Resistance and Revolution in China. The Communists and the Second United Front. Tetsuya Kataoka

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 24 Sep 2016 16:30

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Operations against the Lunghai corridor, 1938.

(5) The Chinese Counteroffensive: Tayerchwang. The center of gravity shifted from the western end of the Lunghai to its eastern mouth and the railroad junction Hsuchou.

In this sector the Japanese slowly continued south in the direction of Hsuchou and reached the line: Tsining—Tayerchwang. Chiang Kai-shek, in the meanwhile, had amassed enormous reinforcements in this area, evidently for a major counteroffensive; the numerical superiority over the Japanese forces was estimated at 6 to 1. In reckless attacks, the Chinese seriously endangered their opponents; the precarious Japanese communications to the north were cut repeatedly; Tayerchwang changed hands several times.

For the first time in recent history a Japanese unit was to be defeated, although through overwhelming numbers. Japanese reinforcements, in particular the 10th (Isogai) and 11th (Itagaki) Divisions, attempted to regain lost terrain; in bitter fighting, from 27 March to April, they took Tayerchwang only to find themselves completely cut off; escape to the east was blocked by inundations, since the Chinese had blown up the levees of the Grand Canal; 30 tanks, 77 field pieces and hundreds of trucks were mired; the Japanese lost heavily; only General Itagaki, with a few thousands, cut his way through to the north where he took up and held a defensive position at Ishien. The remnants of Isogai's Division were massacred.

Stung to the quick, the Japanese rushed reinforcements to this front; both North and South Armies were increased by four divisions each; nevertheless, the Japanese were still confronted by superior numbers, an unsatisfactory ratio that prevailed throughout this war, and a tell-tale index of the efficacy of troops with adequate modern equipment over improvised organizations.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.
Resistance and Revolution in China. The Communists and the Second United Front. Tetsuya Kataoka

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 02 Oct 2016 21:09

Hello to all :D; a little more..................................

Operations against the Lunghai corridor, 1938.

(6) Japanese major offensive: Hsuchou, May 1938. In the first week of May, both Japanese armies began a coordinated advance on Hsuchou, from the north and south; the five columns (corps) of the northern army, from right to left, advanced on the following objectives:

First column: West of Tsining (TSI) on Kweiteh (KW)
Second column: Vicinity Tsining on Tangshan (T)
Third column: Tsining on Hsuchou
Fourth column: Tsuhsien (TS) on Tayerchwang (TA)
Fifth column: Itchou (IT)—Tancheng (TAN) on Sinanchen (S).

The southern army started its advance: on the right, Sato's column reached Funing (F); his neighbor was stopped at Sunsien (S). The main column, following the Peking Railroad, ran into stiff resistance at Kuchen (K) and Menchen (M), but by a series of outflanking movements with motorized units pushed northward to Yungchen (Y) and finally Hsiashin (H); this column, with 40 tanks and heavy artillery, ran into a fresh Chinese division, poorly armed, and broke right through it; that night, 6,000 Chinese attacked the Japanese, in bivouac, in corral formation, but were repulsed. The Chinese fought gallantly in every sector of this widely dispersed battle area.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.
Resistance and Revolution in China. The Communists and the Second United Front. Tetsuya Kataoka

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 08 Oct 2016 16:37

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Operations against the Lunghai corridor, 1938.

(6) Japanese major offensive: Hsuchou, May 1938. In the north, the columns attempting to cut the Lunghai at Kweiteh (KW) and Tangshan (T) were repulsed. On the line Hsuchou-Tayerchwang (TA), the Japanese ran into a prepared position, and they were promptly slowed down. It was apparent that this front could not be broken easily and that gains would have to be made by the flanking columns; battering against organized positions, from 14 to 17 May, the third column slowly made headway: on the right, the fifth column fought against superior numbers, in a ratio of 1 to 5, but cut the "Lunghai" on 15 May, at Sinanchen. On the twentieth, contact was made with the leading elements of the southern army.

Elements of the left column of the southern army turned north on Suhsien and collided on 16 May with strong Chinese forces fighting desperately; these were divisions withdrawing from Hsuchou; the Japanese stood fast, but wide intervals between adjacent units enabled the bulk of the Chinese to make a get away to rallying positions in the west.

After 16 May, the northern army made definite progress, and the right and center reached the outskirts of Hsuchou (Hsutschau) on the nineteenth. The city fell after a heavy bombardment in which 200 aircraft participated; a surprisingly small number of defenders fell into Japanese hands; the bulk of the garrison escaped in an incredible detour, slipping through Japanese columns. However, the great mass of Chinese divisions, containing the best available units, had been severely handled in pitched engagements, and their morale and power of organized resistance were definitely lowered.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 15 Oct 2016 16:46

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Operations against the Lunghai corridor, 1938.

(7) The envelopment of the corridor. Within a few days of the fall of Hsuchou, the Japanese organized the pursuit along the axis of the "Lunghai," with Kaifeng as the next objective.

In accord with accepted procedure, in pursuit, detachments were sent on Tchukaikou to intercept the Chinese retreat on Hankow, while in the corridor itself the 14th Japanese Division" attempted to block the flood of retreating columns, far in rear, at Kaifeng; this place was taken on the twenty.fourth, but this small division found itself immediately confronted by overwhelming numbers and was surrounded. It held Kaifeng until the twenty-eighth, then broke through the cordon to the north; with incredible tenacity, this outfit battled for its life until pressure was relieved by the subsequent Japanese advance within the corridor itself.

This progress was contested step by step; heavy fighting took place at Kweiteh and Ningling. The Japanese finally took Kaifeng on 6 June. It was calculable at the moment that the Chinese in the Tchengchau-Kaifeng area were trapped and their retreat on Hankow seriously threatened.

The Chinese High Command then made a grave decision: on 12 June, the levees of the Hoangho were ordered cut and the surrounding country was flooded for hundreds of square miles; the Hoangho, in this area, is at a level approximately 25 feet above the adjacent plains. This artificial disaster stopped any further Japanese operations in this sector but brought death and ruin to hundreds of Chinese villages and hamlets.

Equally determined and far more resourceful, the Japanese High Command promptly abandoned the line of the Lunghai and shifted its operative advance against Hankow, across high ground and along the Yangtze valley.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 22 Oct 2016 21:32

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f. Operations against Hankow: 1938-1939.

The Japanese Navy, while usually in the background of events, has engaged in effective joint army-navy action on numerous occasions, as at Shanghai and in the advance on Nanking; in the operations along the Yangtze, its intervention was to become of the utmost importance; this navigable river is a direct avenue of approach into Hankow; the Chinese had constructed a number of booms, supported by shore batteries and fortifications; it was the arduous task of the navy, over a period of months, to clear the river. By 12 June their work made possible the seizure of the city and port of Anking.

The Japanese plan involved a general advance along the axis: Hsuchou—Hankow, on the north, and an advance in the Yangtze valley, in the south, with the major effort probably on the south wing; the front of this advance was roughly 300 miles. The Chinese had organized positions for successive defense, utilizing the river to the utmost, especially in vicinity of Kiukiang, and the Lushan mountains, north and south thereof, with elevations ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 feet. The defenders, under General Tschen Tscheng, were estimated at 500,000 to 1,000,000 men.

The Japanese advanced in two columns in the river valley and along the foothills; the river column was continuously supported by naval units, and its action became an endless series of landing operations to reduce local resistance; the northern column had to cope with flood waters and fought a bitter, step-by-step advance. It took the better part of July to finally capture Kiukiang, the gateway to Hankow.

It is characteristic of the Japanese maneuver concept that the advance in several columns, as a habitual formation, developed tactically into frontal pressure supported by envelopments and flanking operations; this is, of course, a planned procedure; there is a continuous alternating play of frontal attack and envelopment in units of all sizes. Viewing the advance up the Yangtze as a frontal assault, then the northern columns operating from Hopei represent the envelopment on a large scale; in August, these columns were reinforced and proceeded to slug their way west, while the main effort, as a "breakthrough," continued on the line: Kiukiang—Hankow.

The Chinese poured more and more men into the Kiukiang front. The Japanese, on the other hand, realized that a breakthrough at this point was unavoidable, since the control of the Yangtze furnished a safe and reliable line of communication and simplified supply.

During October, the column operating on the river was able to push steadily forward, but the heaviest fighting fell to the columns branching to the south and southwest, with Nantschang and Tschangscha, as objectives, or at least the interception of the railway to Canton; bitter combats were reported north of Nantschang. On 26 October, motorized Japanese elements entered Hankow, while the remnants of the Chinese armies were retreating into the western provinces, and Chiang Kai-shek set up his capital in Chungking.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 29 Oct 2016 13:17

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The fall of Canton.

A few days before the fall of Hankow, another blow fell on the generalissimo; Canton, since the fall of Shanghai the principal remaining port of entry for the Chinese, was captured. Thereafter, the problem of supplies and ammunition must loom large on the horizon.

After cleaning up the Hankow area, the Japanese pushed south and took Youchou, about 200 miles south of Hankow, on 12 November; thereafter, a lull set in in this area until the spring of 1939 when the Japanese made a surprise move on Nanchang, took the city on 28 March and cut the last remaining railroad to the east coast. The Japanese have been consistent in their drives on widely scattered objectives; they not only sought the military defeat of the armed forces of the enemy but lost no opportunity to strangle him economically, in cutting every important line of communication and supplies.

The capture of Canton was perfectly timed to coincide with the critical phases of the great battle of Hankow, which strained Chinese man power to the utmost; many southern divisions were identified in this struggle, and the Japanese estimated that weakness existed in that area. The operation against Canton was a classical, joint army-navy action. The initial landings were at Bias-Bay, which had a bad reputation on account of swampy areas; the initial bridgehead was widened rapidly; by 15 October, the Japanese had 60,000 men available. The overland advance of this army, in several columns, proceeded without encountering serious resistance while the fleet attacked the Boca Tigris forts and opened Pearl River. At 3:30 PM, 21 October, motorized advance guard elements entered the city. The Chinese fell back to a semicircular position about 100 miles north and west of Canton.

The fall of Canton represented the loss of the last remaining rail communication with the outside world; since the fall of Shanghai, 85 per cent of war shipments had entered via Hong Kong and Canton; the loss of this vital port of entry left only two practicable routes for supply: in the north, the ancient "silk-route" from Soviet territory with the terminal point at Sian; in the south, the caravan route from Yunnan to Lashio, in British-Burma, and the narrow-gauge railroad to Haiphong, French Indo-China.

Sources: FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990.
China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by Robert24 » 10 Apr 2017 03:30

Raúl,
I am enjoying the topic.
I noticed one of the sources, "FMFRP-Maneuvers in War. Reprint 1939 Edition. USMC 1990." Does it provide contributors or the author?
I am making a guess as the publication is a USMC one; Evans Carlson?

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Re: Early Japanese Campaign(s) in the 2ndSino-Japanese War

Post by tigre » 10 Apr 2017 03:53

Hello Robert24 :D; Answering your inquiry ........................................

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
Headquarters United States Marine Corps
Washington, D.C. 20380-0001
21 December 1990

Formerly published as NAVMC 2796, this reference publication was originally written by Charles Andrew Willoughby.

M. P. CAULFIELD
Major General, U.S. Marine Corps
Deputy Commander for Warfighting
Marine Corps Combat Development Command
Quantico, Virginia

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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