Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Discussions on all aspects of China, from the beginning of the First Sino-Japanese War till the end of the Chinese Civil War. Hosted by YC Chen.
User avatar
YC Chen
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 836
Joined: 29 Sep 2009 13:35
Location: Nanking

Re: Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Post by YC Chen » 19 Nov 2013 10:56

Stephen_Rynerson wrote:
YC Chen wrote:2, The armored force of KMT "central army" didn't have any Soviet-built armored cars, but Sheng Shicai(盛世才)'s troops in Xinjiang purchased some BA-6s, BA-27s and FAIs in 1930s. They never fought against Japanese troops during WWII.
YC Chen,

Do you have any information on the numbers of these vehicles that Sheng acquired? Also, while these vehicles were not used against the Japanese, do you know if they were used in either the 1937 battles with Ma Hushan's forces or by Sheng's successor against the Ili National Army in the late 1940s? Thank you in advance for any insight you can offer on these points.
I collected some info on Sheng's armored cars some 4 or 5 years ago and if memory serves they can provide good answers to your questions. But the problem is it takes time to find these materials again... And I'm really busy recently. I will post the info here if I can dig them up again. :oops:

Stephen_Rynerson
Member
Posts: 261
Joined: 07 Jul 2013 05:08

Re: Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Post by Stephen_Rynerson » 19 Nov 2013 14:53

Any assistance on this is much appreciated and I am in no rush, so please take your time.

Stephen_Rynerson
Member
Posts: 261
Joined: 07 Jul 2013 05:08

Re: Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Post by Stephen_Rynerson » 01 Mar 2014 01:16

YC Chen,

In reading Under the Soviet Shadow: The Yining Incident: Ethnic Conflicts and International Rivalry in Xinjiang 1944-1949 by David D. Wang, he cites a Chinese-language source stating that at the battle of Wusu in September 1945 between the KMT and the Yili National Army, the KMT forces had "two light tanks." Do you happen to know if these tanks would have been leftovers from Sheng's arsenal that we were previously discussing? I'm guessing they probably would be (especially as the tanks are described as "light," which would fit with the Soviet AFVs Sheng acquired), but I don't have any other information one way or another as to whether the KMT brought its own armor assets to Xinjiang after moving back into the province in 1943. Thank you in advance for any insight.

User avatar
YC Chen
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 836
Joined: 29 Sep 2009 13:35
Location: Nanking

Re: Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Post by YC Chen » 01 Mar 2014 06:34

Stephen_Rynerson wrote:YC Chen,

In reading Under the Soviet Shadow: The Yining Incident: Ethnic Conflicts and International Rivalry in Xinjiang 1944-1949 by David D. Wang, he cites a Chinese-language source stating that at the battle of Wusu in September 1945 between the KMT and the Yili National Army, the KMT forces had "two light tanks." Do you happen to know if these tanks would have been leftovers from Sheng's arsenal that we were previously discussing? I'm guessing they probably would be (especially as the tanks are described as "light," which would fit with the Soviet AFVs Sheng acquired), but I don't have any other information one way or another as to whether the KMT brought its own armor assets to Xinjiang after moving back into the province in 1943. Thank you in advance for any insight.
That's really interesting. I have always been in doubt whether the Nationalist armored force took part in the Yili conflict(some sources say yes, but I haven't seen hard evidence). As for the "two light tanks", the sources that I knew state that one BA-6 and two T-38s were supplied by Soviets to Yili National Army, and photo evidence shows that the two T-38s finally fell into the hand of PLA in 1949. Could these "two light tanks" in question be the two T-38s that I already knew of, or could these be Sheng Shicai's armored car or even tanks brought from the inner land of China? Still not sure...

BTW, I have just found a good article on Sheng's armored cars that I got a few years ago, will translate and post it here later. And, is the book by David D. Wang any good?

Stephen_Rynerson
Member
Posts: 261
Joined: 07 Jul 2013 05:08

Re: Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Post by Stephen_Rynerson » 01 Mar 2014 23:10

Wang's specific source for the reference to the Nationalists having tanks at Wusu is Jack Chen's The Sinkiang Story, which I have not read. Chen's book appears to be compiled from secondary sources, so I don't know what Chen relied on.

As to the quality of the book, I think Under the Soviet Shadow is quite good, at least as far as English language sources go. However, Wang's book is one of only two in-depth English books about the Yili uprising, the other being Linda Benson's The Ili Rebellion: The Moslem Challenge to Chinese Authority in Xinjiang, 1944-1949, so there isn't a lot of competition. I have not yet obtained a copy of Benson's book, so I can't directly compare the two in detail, but Wang's book was published 14 years after Benson's (2004 versus 1990) and from what I've been able to see of Benson's book on GoogleBooks (the complete introduction is available for preview via the Google ebook order page), I think Wang had access to government archives in Xinjiang that Benson did not. That said, I think Benson might have somewhat more detail on the actual military aspects of the engagement because from what I can see in the GoogleBooks "snippet" view she identifies some of the units involved in the fighting with greater granularity than Wang.

User avatar
YC Chen
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 836
Joined: 29 Sep 2009 13:35
Location: Nanking

Re: Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Post by YC Chen » 08 Mar 2014 15:45

Thanks for these helpful information on the books - you surely did a lot of reading on this subject! :D

Now here is the translation of that little memoir article on armored force of Sheng Shicai. This article is orally dictated by a former officer of Sheng's armored squadron and appeared in the book 阜康文史资料选辑 第三辑. The information on its equipment is extremely interesting but maybe not entirely reliable.

"After the military coup on April 12th, 1933, Sheng Shicai seized the governing power of Xinjiang. In order to reinforce his rule he expanded the provincial armed force, christening it 'the Anti-Imperialism Army'(反帝军). The army's equipment and training were all provided by the Soviet Union. This was the political background of the founding of Xinjiang's armored squadron.

"I graduated from the Army Officer School of Xinjiang in 1937 and started to work as a vehicle commander(second lieutenant). Later I was successively promoted to platoon commander(lieutenant) and company commander(captain).

In its early days the armored squadron was called armored battalion and was directly commanded by Xinjiang Border-Defence Command. Later it was transfered to Xinjiang's mechanized brigade and was changed into an armored squadron. The brigade commander before 1942 was Sheng Shiqi(Sheng Shicai's younger brother), after that was Liu Shixin; the commander of the armored squadron was Guan Yuliang. It consisted of a tank company with 11 Soviet tanks, an armored car company with 11 heavy armored cars(6 of them was made in Soviet Union, 5 of them were WW1-vintage German armored cars(sic)), an reconnaissance platoon with 4 light armored cars, a truck squad with 10 Soviet ZIS trucks and a special repairing squad.

Tanks and heavy armored cars had 4 crews - commander, driver, gunner and assistant; they were armed with one small cannon and one LMG. The light armred cars had only 2 crews, commander and gunner. The cannons were all fired by foot paddles. Spare parts, ammunition, uniform(that was, lether jackets), belts and map bags were all supplied by the Soviet Union.

"The training of the armored squadron included both class teaching and field training, and Soviet textbooks were used. Two Soviet military instructors named Constantinov and (I don't know how to translate the latter one's name) were sent in 1938 and were responsible for the teaching. The content of the classes included armored tactics(attack, defence, terrance, armamemt operating, etc.) and vehicle construction. After the Western Route of Chinese Red Army arrived in Urumqi it was codenamed 'the battalion of new recruits', and some of their soldiers were also sent to the armored squadron for learning purpose.

"on April 12th(the anniversay of Sheng Shicai's coup) of every year there was a parade of teh armored squadron and the related exercise began even before April. This also worked as a test for the armored squadron's training effort.

"I paticipated in two fightings in Xinjiang's armored squadron. The first is in Summer 1937 in Aksu, South Xinjiang. The heavy armored car company and reconnaissance platoon took part in the action in Aksu and Wensu County. The light armored cars of reconnaissance platoon under my command was located at the airfield of Wensu and was assigned the task of guarding the airfield. At that time Ma Husan(马虎山) and Mamuti(麻木提) had already started their rebellion against Sheng Shicai, and there was intense fighting between a brigade of Ma Hushan's army and a regiment(and it did not have enough men) under Sun Qinglin. Six BA-6 armored cars of the heavy armored car company participated the fight under the command of Guan Yuliang, and Sheng's force also had three aircraft to their aid. After 1 hour of fight Ma Hushan's force retreated in defeat, but there was also heavy casualty on our side, and squadron commander Guan Yuliang was killed in action.

"After that we were still stationed in Aksu until Ma Hushan went abroad in exile and Mamuti was defeated, then we returned to Urumqi.

"The second fight took place in autumn 1941 when there were bandit activity in Altay area. Four light armored cars under my command were sent to suppress the bandit. We exchanged fire with the bandits as soon as we arrived at Urungu River and the bandits were quickly dispersed. We were responsible for Altay's security fo some time after that, before eventually returned to Urumqi. "

My note: Photo evidence confirms that Xinjiang's armored squadron have BA-6 and BA-27. According to the recollection of a former soldier of Chinese Red Army who trained in the armored squadron, they have FAI, BA-6 and BA-27 armored cars. It is highly possible that the "ww1-vintage German armored cars" mentioned in this article were actually BA-27. Also, this is the only source mentioning Soviet tanks used by Sheng Shicai's force I have found so far, were these tanks T-26s or BTs? Very intriguing... :?

Stephen_Rynerson
Member
Posts: 261
Joined: 07 Jul 2013 05:08

Re: Vickers 6-Ton Mk E & F in chinese army

Post by Stephen_Rynerson » 15 Mar 2014 04:37

Thank you very much for that information, YC Chen! The officer's account is interesting to compare with Forbes' fairly abbreviated description of the 1937 fighting in Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia, which almost exclusively relies on British diplomatic correspondence from the consulate in Kashgar for a description of that particular period.

Return to “China at War 1895-1949”