May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

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Jerry Asher
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May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

Post by Jerry Asher » 16 May 2015 19:48

Not trying to be lazy and maybe I just missed everything. I understand that in May 1930 there were clashes with Femg's troops in the west, and possibly in the south of Shaanxi and with Moslems allied to Jiang Jieshi in Gansu. Reported that Jiang almost captured with collapse of resistance. Any details or reference would be appreciated. Many thanks in advance. Dates--units --personalities---details--details etc

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Re: May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

Post by YC Chen » 17 May 2015 12:07

Too much information on Feng-Jiang clashes in Central Plains War 1930 exists in Chinese sources(and I think there are also at least some English sources on it). A number of original documents still exist today and there are many memoirs.

So specifically what do you need? However I am quite busy recently so maybe slow to response.

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Re: May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

Post by Jerry Asher » 17 May 2015 15:58

Thank you YC, and thank you for all your effort. Overall, in my view, stuff in English is still not very good--but I may be missing some newer things. Did Jiang attack Shaanxi from the west? If so during what time frame? My understanding is that Feng Yuxiang had began shifting his troops east toward Louyang in the last week of April 1930. There is a logic if Jiang try to divert him, or force him to leave troops in Shaanxi and thus reduce the combat forces heading toward Louyang --Zhengyang -Wuhan. I'll try to dig up something in English---have to tell you though, most of what I see is repeat of very inprecise data.

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Re: May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

Post by Stephen_Rynerson » 19 May 2015 06:28

I'm sympathetic to both Jerry in his desire to learn more about the conflict and YC in feeling overwhelmed by the breadth of the request -- the Central Plains War is something that is barely touched on by any English language sources, even in sources that one would naturally think would be excellent places to find information about the subject (e.g., Sheridan's Chinese Warlord: The Career of Feng Yu-hsiang has only seven pages on it and that covers not just the war, but most of a year of political maneuverings leading up to the actual outbreak of violence; Gillin's Warlord: Yen Hsi-shan in Shansi Province, 1911-1949, has five pages; Fenby's Chiang Kai-shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost, a 560+ page book that is devoted entirely to Jiang's pre-1950 career, has only two pages).

I will say this to any scholars of Chinese history reading this who are thinking of topics for their dissertation or thesis: English speakers need a good history of the Central Plains War far more than we need another history of the Long March! :wink:

EDIT: Actually, to add something substantive, I will note, Jerry, that I do think it's an error to consider the activities by Hui and other Muslim groups in Gansu to be part of the Central Plains War, as compared to a conflict that happened to overlap with it. The Gansu Uprising begins in 1927 and, at least as described in Lipman's The Border World of Gansu, 1895-1935, it was very clearly conceived as an anti-Guominjun action by both of the major participants (Ma Zhongying and some combination of Ma Tingxiang/Ma Tingxian/Ma Tingrang - see my post here http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1&t=210077 about the difficulty of disentangling the latter three individuals) rather than being affirmatively pro-Guomindang. The GMD primarily benefited from it by virtue of the distraction that it provided (tying up tens of thousands of Guominjun troops while crushing tax revenue from the province), combined with the Guominjun's harsh tactics against the rebels encouraging senior Ma clique members to defect to the GMD. That said, since I'm reliant on really just a single source, I would welcome being corrected by someone with familiarity with Chinese sources!

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Re: May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

Post by Jerry Asher » 23 May 2015 18:42

Hi Steve--thanks for you comments----I respect your questions and opinions and find your efforts worth while reading. i don't know anything about the bands, tribes, clans and politics of Gansu and normally wouldn't pair them to anything. That being said, let me push it. After May 10, 1930 Jiang being anywhere near Gansu is relevant, and anything that distracts Feng from his drive eastward along the Lung -Hai eastward. I think should be looked at. Feng like Jiang has to cope with vast distances and the logistics of what can be deployed where and when are factors. As I understand it, there are no rail services in Shaaanxi and Feng's forces must march out of Shaanxi to pick up railway almost sixty miles into Henan. Almost anything that limits Feng's ability to concentrate all his assets I think factor in. The timing is important, by May 19th Jiang has set his defense from Feng's push east toward Xuzhou. I know less of Feng's almost concurrent drive south toward Wuhan. Am fascinated that Feng thought he could pull Wuhan and Xuzhou, apparently at the same time. Likewise uncertain where Yan was going. Toward Xuzhou, but then east into Shandong---he had Tianjin---he wanted Yantai? Qingdao? both? Taking it one step further, a Yan drive in Hebei? He had to know Zhang and the Manchuria leaders would have their eye or him and particularly if goal was either Yantai or Qingdao. Zhang in particular had ties to naval forces in Qingdao and would have been sensitive? Finally in my opinion, the decisive maneuver of the conflict was Jiangs decision to move by sea to Qingdao the troops he did and mount an attack eastward. Perhaps Chinese accounts could clarify dates of decision, beginnings of movements, the when and how. As always I am looking for names of ships and dates. It is very possible that ships departed from inland Yangzi ports. Nanjing, Pukow, Wuhu and not Shanghai/Wusung. Many thanks to all who listen and share. One of these days, I'll get there.

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Re: May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

Post by Stephen_Rynerson » 27 May 2015 06:45

Jerry, I certainly agree that the Gansu Uprising cannot have been helpful to Feng. My point was simply that the uprising predated the Central Plains War and the combatants had different motivations. That said, I certainly would be interested to know what assistance or encouragement, if any, the various Hui factions received from the GMD. The Wikipedia reference for GMD involvement in the uprising is Hsiao-ting Lin's Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West (2010) (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Pl ... ite_note-3), but Lin's description of that is only a single sentence and it appears to suggest that the encouragement was limited to public exhortations. (Lin's only source for this, by the way, is oddly enough a July 1, 1930 report from the U.S. military attache.)

In any event, while looking for more information on-line, I found this October 30, 1930 newspaper article which could be helpful on deducing troop movements: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers ... .2.75.aspx I think there are other articles archived on this site that could also be useful.

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Re: May - Nov 1930 Central Plains War in Shaanxi/Gansu/ Ningxia

Post by Jerry Asher » 27 May 2015 14:29

Hi Steve: thank you--I have got to learn how to use Straits Time better--I use it all the time on troop movements and shipping. But don't have direct idea of how to get to its own index. I agree on Gansu Uprising----By the way Jiang's drive along Lung Hai equals September 25th Lanfeng, Oct 3 Kaifeng, Oct 6th Zhengzhou, Oct 9th Luoyang then to Liabo which is terminus then march reaching Xian October 27th. Don't know when Zhang's forces reach Shijiazhuang in Hebei province and of course Jiangs deployment to Qingdao, when, what units and ships is elusive. Many thanks. I'm not sure I ever would have looked into Gansu without your questioning.

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