asiaticus wrote:The Japanese account does seem to compliment the Chinese account. One would wish for more detail like the Chinese one but that is pretty good.
I am asuming you mean the Japanese trap is their move to the east. My understanding from Hsu is that the Chinese 56th Division sent one column on the road, clashing with elements of the 55th Division at Mawchi and Bawlake and moved up the Salween to Loikaw. Another column came northeast over the mountians from Toungoo to the village of Bato, defeated a Chinese 55th Division force and then moved north and east toward Loikaw avoiding the direct route and the two forces forced the Chinese 55th Division to pull back to Loikaw and then pull out of it to avoid encirclement. Then they moved up to Taunggyi which put them on the Chinese flank and rear and as they got further north to Loilem and beyond threatening their line of communications with China.
The trap was the flanking movement to the east, but the Japanese had bigger game in mind than just Laikow, the real objective is Lashio. In fact in Senshi Sosho it was stated that they purposely consolidated their forces south of Laikow to ensure they had sufficient force for a rapid move even though they could have moved north earlier; premature movement might tip off the Chinese.
Hsu’s account is basically correct regarding the main events (afte rall it is an abstract of the official KMT history of the Sino Japanese War).
I am thinking the Allied plan was to let the Japanese follow up the 22nd Divison to Pyinmana and then fall on their flank with the 96th Division and the British force. If so the Japanese must not have been caught napping and flushed this out on the 17th.
Yes the New 22nd D fought a reasonably successful delaying action against fairly strong Japanese forces (elements of the 55th and 18th Divsions) for a while. The trapping force was to be the 200th D plus 5th Corps units with the 96th D in support.
The Chinese view on how the eastern flank crumbled, as summarized in Zhongguo yuan zheng jun zhan shi by Xu Kangming, is as follows.
The Japanese 56th Division started moving towards Mawchi on April 1. Progress was slow because the road to Mawchi had been damaged by the Chinese, and eventually the Japanese had to switch to marching on foot at night to avoid the heat. But on April 6 they reached Mawchi, where the Chinese only had a battalion size force (3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, Provisional 55th D) as garrison, it was dislodged in a short battle. The 2nd Battalion from the same regiment also suffered heavy losses in the follow-up battle, and they had to retreat on April 11 to regroup near Bawlake.
The Provisional 55th D was now widely dispersed, with the part of the 2nd and 3rd Regiments holding the high grounds about 32 km south of Laikow, and one battalion of the 3rd Regiment guarding the airfield at Heho. To boost morale, the divisional HQ as well as 6th Corps HQ (as well as the Corps Engineers Battalion) were moved forward to Laikow, whose garrison also included part of the 3rd Regiment of the Provisional 55th D. The 146th Regiment of the 49th D was also rushed to take up positions north of Laikow. Despite strong resistance offered by the 2nd Regiment which delayed the Japanese for a few days, by April 18, the Japanese 56th Division had reached the 55th D’s position south of Laikow. On April 20 the commander of the 6th Corps decided to abandon Laikow. By then the Chinese realized that their plan for a battle at Pyinmana had failed.
The commander of the 6th Corps with 2 battalions then occupied positions near Loliem, his chief of staff with 2 battalions and a company of artillery held Hopong. At 1000 on April 21, Japanese vanguards attacked Hopong and also tried a flanking movement to the west. By nightfall, April 22 the Chinese, having lost half their troops, had to retreat.
There is a detailed account regarding these operations in Senshi Sosho. However, although I could not get hold of Burma 1942: The Japanese Invasion
, based on the information posted by others in this thread it seems the authors of the book have referenced Senshi Sosho extensively so the information is probably available there already.