China's possible role in WWII and beyond

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Gott
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China's possible role in WWII and beyond

Post by Gott » 15 Sep 2002 17:47

I am currently studying how China could effect the outcome of the Pacific War if US and China fight together in a more serious way.

The Nationalist China had a huge army during that time. When Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, the government chose not to care about the situation, instead to destroy the warlords elsewhere in China. Periods after this the army was used mainly to fight Communists. In 1937, Japan invaded the eastern parts of China, and still Chiang Kai-shek ignored the threat of Japanese aggression and continued to fight Mao. It was until 1941 or so when Chiang and Mao allied to fight Japan. America in 1930s knew that sooner or later there would be war with Japan. They should know that China would make a great ally if helped. Japan had air superiority in China. Infantry had not much artillery and tank support to do any offensive. Troops were not all well-trained.

My very rough strategy is this: The Americans, Chinese and the British invade Burma and on to areas as far as northern Vietnam (if possible, invade Malaya). Meanwhile, China would start as major offensive in southern China, therefore connecting all of them together, giving the Americans a way better access to supply arms to China instead of using Burma Road, which takes months to tranport goods even at a short distance. The AVG would also participate at the offensive and continue flying missions to secure the captured areas. The most inportant is to train more pilots and have US to supply more planes (P-40s would work well). Air superiority in China is vital for the Allies. The Japanese Army occupying China at that time was not all that combat-ready. During the war, China made a number of surprise attacks, and all of which Japanese suffered heavy casualties. If the Allies continued their offensive towards eastern China, it is possible that Japan could be driven back to the sea, consideribly weaken Japan's military might and as well as civilian morale.

Now that the Nationalist Army is modernized, it is possible that after the war, Chiang could defeat Mao. China could then be a major ally against the Soviet Union.

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 15 Sep 2002 20:52

If China could ever have overcome it's internal in fighting and the US had more than enough material to equip the Army and Air Force then the impact could have been immense and who know's what would happened after WW2 if China hadn't fallen under Communist control.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Gott
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Post by Gott » 16 Sep 2002 10:35

I would say capitalist victories in Korea and Vietnam. Also China would be very helpful for US against the Russians in the Cold War.

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Takao
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Big IF on China

Post by Takao » 16 Sep 2002 18:38

China was too divided to have been of any benefit to anyone. The Nationalists were too divided politically to have offered a strong resistance to the Japanese invasion. They fought amongst themselves, the communists, and the Japanese. It would not just be a matter of material strength, but a total mental reeducation.

I agree with the British opinion that China consumed vast amounts of supplies with little or no visible output. The material was better used on other fronts than in China.

Lord Mountbatten had planned a few large Chinese, British, and American combined operations in the CBI theater. However, these operations were also coincided with the North African and Normandy campaigns in the ETO.
The ETO operations took precedence, the logic being that Stalin had promised to fight Japan once Germany had been defeated. Seeing that the Soviet Union was more powerful and better led than the Nationalist Chinese, the Allies wanted to get the Soviets into the Pacific action sooner than the Nationalist Chinese. Compare the progress made by armies on other fronts to the progress made by the Nationalist Chinese in China.

One must also consider the logistical problems of supplying China. More logistical support was consumed getting the supplies to China than the actual amount of supplies being sent. A for instance: planes flying the "Hump" to China used more fuel than they were carrying into China.
The math is easy "If I use 20 gallons of fuel to send 10 gallons of fuel to China, where is the benefit?"

This is not to mention the fact that Chiang eventually alienated most of the his Allied supporters.

The Chinese Army was similar to the late war German Army. They were capable of making short sharp offensives, but were unable to maintain a long offensive push. The only thing that saved the Chinese, aside of allied supplies, is that the Japanese were spread to thin to create a sustained offensive.

My opinion of the WW2 Nationalist Chinese Army is that they spent to much time fighting amongst themselves and not the Japanese. This did achieved them very little, except to undermine Allied confidence in them.

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china possible role in ww2 and beyond

Post by christopher nelson » 31 Aug 2005 15:11

Without a doubt there was a great protential for the natioanlist to play a far bigger role in ww2 than was the case. The problem was that there was too much worrying about a possible coup against Chaing and too much corruption within the military. It must also be recalled that the nationalist included warlords who really did not owe anything to the central government and all to many officers who pocket money meant to take care of their troops. Still if one looks at the combat record of the chinese troops that served in the CBI their is enough evidence that they could perform as well as anyother amry if given the training and equipment. Thus if the stillwell plan was put into effect a smaller chinese nationalist army would have been far more capable of waging war.

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Post by Andy » 31 Aug 2005 17:08

I don't think you guys give the Chinese enough credit. They fought very hard against the Japanese. The Communist and Nationalist formed an Alliance before 1941. It was around 1937 when they did so. When the Japanese invaded in 1937 the Chinese put up very stiff resistance. The Battle of Shanghai was a very tough battle that lasted many months and there were hundreds of thousands of casualties. The Communist mostly focused on Guerilla Warfare against the Japanese. But they also fought a few conventional campaigns. THe Hundred Regiments Campaign of 1940 was an example of this. There was infighting amongst the two sides but overall China fought very honorably against Japan.

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Post by Andy H » 01 Sep 2005 00:33

Andy wrote:I don't think you guys give the Chinese enough credit. They fought very hard against the Japanese. The Communist and Nationalist formed an Alliance before 1941. It was around 1937 when they did so. When the Japanese invaded in 1937 the Chinese put up very stiff resistance. The Battle of Shanghai was a very tough battle that lasted many months and there were hundreds of thousands of casualties. The Communist mostly focused on Guerilla Warfare against the Japanese. But they also fought a few conventional campaigns. THe Hundred Regiments Campaign of 1940 was an example of this. There was infighting amongst the two sides but overall China fought very honorably against Japan.
Hi Andy

Nobody doubts that China contributed to Japans eventual defeat, just its continual existence ensured that. However what many agree on is that on the whole (exceptions apart) many of the Chinese forces spent there time feathering there own nests for the future civil war.

Regards

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Post by Achtung Panzer! » 04 Sep 2005 11:15

Chiang Kaishek philosophy was to heal the internal injury of China before healing the external injury. The internal injury was the Communist and the external injuries being the Japanese. Thus, when Japan took over Manchuria from Zhang Tso-lin,CKS did nothing, and when Shanghai fell,he chose to do nothing. It was only until the Xian incident, when Zhang Xueliang kidnapped CKS to compromise an alliance with the communist,did the two factions fought as an united force. Thus, i would reckoned that China could have put up stiffer resistance and contributed more to the allied forces if CKS was removed as the leader of the Nationalist.

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Post by 79seconds » 16 Feb 2006 01:59

Achtung Panzer! wrote:Chiang Kaishek philosophy was to heal the internal injury of China before healing the external injury. The internal injury was the Communist and the external injuries being the Japanese. Thus, when Japan took over Manchuria from Zhang Tso-lin,CKS did nothing, and when Shanghai fell,he chose to do nothing. It was only until the Xian incident, when Zhang Xueliang kidnapped CKS to compromise an alliance with the communist,did the two factions fought as an united force. Thus, i would reckoned that China could have put up stiffer resistance and contributed more to the allied forces if CKS was removed as the leader of the Nationalist.
I agree with you.

Xi'an incident was the turnover of Chiang Kai-shek's philosopy in Sino-Japanese war by accepting the formation of Nationlist-Communist Union against the common opponent.

ZHANG Xue-Liang (Zhang Tso-lin's son) and YANG Hu-Cheng, two KMT generals, kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek in Xi'an and forced him to accept the recommendation of cooperation with Communist against Japanese invation in Dec, 1936.

ZHANG Xue-Liang was put under house arrest by Chiang Kai-shek in 1936 and not released until 1990. YANG Hu-Cheng and his family was killed under the order of Chiang Kai-shek in 1949.

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Post by RollingWave » 08 Mar 2006 04:10

One would need to actually consider the realistica problems at the time.

Starting with the 1931 918 incident where Japanese seized machuria, the "what if Chang reacted at once and fought back?"

Consider that few gave a damn about China until Japan start threatening their own colonial interest, what was the chance for China if they started the war even 7 years earlier? when they were even less well prepared and had just concluded the biggest civil warlord battle in recent history?

The years between 1931-1938 was not spent on JUST going after the communist, who were a relatively minor threat at that time (The strength of the CCP grew tremendously during and immediately after WW2.) but also preparing for war against Japan, although with China already in incrediable dire financial situations how much do you think it really would have improved without the infighting or corruption?

On your possible strategy, here was the problem.

The British really had no intention of fighting in South East Asia, in fact they tricked Chinese troops into cannon folder roles for their retreat back into India in 1942(in the first attempt for the Nationalist to keep the Burma road open), with no realistic British troops presence left in the region and no way they were going to ship any more troops in with the fighting in North Africa and Britain itself... how was it possible for your three nation push?

The American also had simliar problem although on a lesser degree, but the American forces in the Pacific were for the most part marines and navies, while making the large push that you suggest would surely require army logistics. (As this wasn't island hoppnig anymore)

Of course the nationalist troops that survived the disastor in 1942eventrually made the push that got the Burma road open again a year later (with some reinforcements from China) but by then the Japanese's defeat had already become somewhat apparent and they were falling back on all fronts anyway (including China) so what's the real point of making a huge push in South east asia... espically when the Americans were already hoping ever closer to Japan itself and pretty much crushed all their navies and supply convoys already.

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Post by 79seconds » 08 Mar 2006 10:17

RollingWave wrote:One would need to actually consider the realistica problems at the time.

Starting with the 1931 918 incident where Japanese seized machuria, the "what if Chang reacted at once and fought back?"

Consider that few gave a damn about China until Japan start threatening their own colonial interest, what was the chance for China if they started the war even 7 years earlier? when they were even less well prepared and had just concluded the biggest civil warlord battle in recent history?

The years between 1931-1938 was not spent on JUST going after the communist, who were a relatively minor threat at that time (The strength of the CCP grew tremendously during and immediately after WW2.) but also preparing for war against Japan, although with China already in incrediable dire financial situations how much do you think it really would have improved without the infighting or corruption?

On your possible strategy, here was the problem.

The British really had no intention of fighting in South East Asia, in fact they tricked Chinese troops into cannon folder roles for their retreat back into India in 1942(in the first attempt for the Nationalist to keep the Burma road open), with no realistic British troops presence left in the region and no way they were going to ship any more troops in with the fighting in North Africa and Britain itself... how was it possible for your three nation push?

The American also had simliar problem although on a lesser degree, but the American forces in the Pacific were for the most part marines and navies, while making the large push that you suggest would surely require army logistics. (As this wasn't island hoppnig anymore)

Of course the nationalist troops that survived the disastor in 1942eventrually made the push that got the Burma road open again a year later (with some reinforcements from China) but by then the Japanese's defeat had already become somewhat apparent and they were falling back on all fronts anyway (including China) so what's the real point of making a huge push in South east asia... espically when the Americans were already hoping ever closer to Japan itself and pretty much crushed all their navies and supply convoys already.
Partly I think your opinion is reasonable and considerable. But BTW, heaven knows how long would Chiang wait, or just put off starting the war against Japanese invaders without the Xi'an Incident.

If later than 1939, there would be no space left for the Nationalist Army to organize effective front defence in Southern China and Northern China battlefields.

Anyway, Chiang was still regarded as Chinese leader high command with great effort in the war. This has been gradually recognized by PRC government recently.

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Post by RollingWave » 09 Mar 2006 02:15

There are a lot of what ifs of course, one would think that the Japanese wareffort itself was started partly due to the Xi'An incident, as the Japanese realize it's now or never for them now that the Chinese have stopped infighting.

Also judging from historical evidence, one can guess that the Marco bridge incident that lead to the war was not exactly as planned as it seemed. There was no doubt that the Japanese government were going to go to war but this wasn't exactly what they had in mind. But the incident itself was probably set off by small groups of radical Japanese officers that wanted to hasten the war start.

The most obvious evidence is that if this was all preplanned, than the japanese should have stormed Shanghai a lot faster than it did, instead of taking such a long time to actually gather it's strength. Seeing Pearl harbor where they had hoped to declare war just moments before the bombs are dropped... it is logical to asusme that they would have had the troops all loaded and ready before making the first shot... but this wasn't exactly the case.

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Post by varjag » 23 Mar 2006 11:56

I have recently finished reading 'The Soong Dynasty' by Sterling Seagrave - which gives
a great insight into the workings of KMT. Seagrave - claims that Chiangs fighting against the Japanese
was 'negliable to non-existant'. He preserved his forces for dealing with warlords and Mao - after the
Americans had beaten the Japs. Moreover, Chiang appears to have been a marionette of the Soong
family. (the richest and most influental in China - and Chiang was a 'son-in-law' married to Mai-Ling
Soong) Chiangs relentless request for 'loans' from the US - granted by the hundreds of millions of $$$$
- almost entirely 'evaporated' on arrival - later to be found in the Soong family banks in San Fransisco
and New York. With such an entirely corrupt regime, China neither wanted to - nor could, offer any
contribution (short of a few bases) to the war against Japan.....Varjag

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Post by JamesL » 23 Mar 2006 16:53

FWIW, in 1916 a US Army officer, Major John H. Parker, wrote a book predicting that the Japanese would invade and occupy the Philippines. The Japanese move would threaten the sovereignty of China.

Parker predicted that the massive ocean distances would hinder US movements and supplies and that it would take years to re-capture the Philippines. His predictions were right-on.

I think this should be considered in the scenario. That US troops and supplies would not be readily available for years.

Trained Citizen Soldiery, Maj. John H. Parker, Collegiate Press 1916.

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