Chinese Overall Performance in the Sino-Japanese War

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.
DetunedRadio
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Chinese Overall Performance in the Sino-Japanese War

Post by DetunedRadio » 10 Jan 2006 19:05

I think there is a general feeling that China, for all its size and eminence, didn't do as much as it should have been able to in the war against Japan.

Yet, if one analyzes the history of the war, the Chinese actually fought a series of sharp battles against the Japanese that proved to be decisive Chinese victories. I can't name them from the top of my head right now though.

Also, China at that time had almost no industrial capability. It had no way of mass producing its own equipment. Also, the KMT had sacrificed a great deal of its German-trained units in the Battle of Shanghai. The rest of the Chinese Army was probably the equilvanet of a European Army in WW1. There was also a huge shortage of heavy equipment such as artillery, heavy machine guns and tanks.

I think the Battle of Shanghai and the other battles the Chinese won during the war showed that had the Chinese had a better equipped army as well an industry that could keep up with the demands of war, they would have fought the Japanese quite well and perhaps might have even been able to drive Japanese from China.

I don't think there was a lack of bravery on the part of the Chinese. There was huge corruption amongst senior officers but from the junior rankings down to the ordinary soldier, I think they were all very brave.

Unlike the war in Europe where soldiers could depend on trucks and jeeps for transport, the majority of the Chinese army marched on foot and they had to hold frontlines hundreds of kilometers long and which was always changing. The logistics system itself would have required lots of manpower and suffering just to maintain.

There was also the issue that China had no air force. the Japanese had total air supremacy and it was because of Japanese Air force's success in china that they were overconfident when fighting the Americans.

Do you think, given the circumstances, that the Chinese fought well in World War 2?

Tycoon2002
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Post by Tycoon2002 » 11 Jan 2006 01:55

Chaing Kai Sheks well trained and Equipped German trained army gave the Japanese something to think about in the Battle of Shanghai 1937. Chaing though didnt want to put his best men against the Japanese because he wanted to preserve them to fight the Communists but Chiang wanted secure western aid so Chaing had to prove his army was indeed capable of fighting...and prove did he! For every street, for every house, for every room the Japanese were made to fight for it in Shanghai - In this battle the Japanese was said to of feared the Chinese and their bravery - Even when the Japanese after 4 months finally drove the Chinese out of the city the Chinese resfused to surrender and fought relentlesly to halt their racist invasion. Japan said they would take Shanghai in 3 days and China in 3 months....the Japanese took Shanghai alone in 4 months which greatly raised the Chinese morale.

But as you know as result of this battle as the Japanese were made to fight for the city, they took their revenge on the civilian population in Nanking.

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simplicity
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Post by simplicity » 11 Jan 2006 06:23

Everyone will be brave if you have nothing to lost but live.

And another important factor is that there are many warlords who is the real governor of his own province. So KMT could not order effectively, for those warlords wanted to perserve their force too. Mao took advantage of this from time to time in the Long March.

In that war numerous traitors helped Japanese. So only a few people think high of the Chinese bravery. In fact, they praised the Japanese army for their iron will and complained that why our race was so timid.

But we have to admit such timidity had a lot to do with the weak government. How can you arise people's bravery to die if you don't care them at all? On the contratry, in Korea where China was impossible to win, the whole country just spared no effort to help the front.

Luckily Japanese didn't put all of its power into China, which was predicted by Mao. And old soldiers in PLA often told me they hated such a race weak in will.

Goldfish
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Post by Goldfish » 11 Jan 2006 16:47

The war in China went through two main phases.

In the first phase 1937-1940, both Nationalists and Communists fought the Japanese with great skill and determination and won several battles while being steadily ground down. In 1940, both launched their last large-scale offensives. Both were defeated, but the size and scale of the Communist offensive (known as the "Hundred Regiments") shocked the Japanese (who were preparing to downsize operations in China in order to take care of German successes by moving into Southeast Asia) and the Nationalists. The resulting tension between Nationalists and Communists led to the "New Fourth Army Incident" in early 1941 in which a Communist unit was ambushed and destroyed. The Japanese responded to the "Hundred Regiments" with the "Three-alls", a brutal "pacification" campaign against Communist base areas in their rear that left millions of Chinese dead. Another result of German successes in Europe was the withdrawal of Soviet aid from the Natioanlists. From 1938-1940, the Soviets had provided small arms, armor, artillery, and aircraft (complete with "volunteer" pilots) to the Nationalists. From this time on, China's war was mostly static in nature, with both Japan and China concentrating on other priorities.

In December 1941, the U.S. entered the war. This meant a new source of supply fro the Nationalists and also meant that Japan's attention would be focused mostly on the U.S. Also, both Nationalists and Communists were convinced that with the U.S. in the war, Japan would be defeated without a great deal of support from China. Accordingly, both began preparing for the civil war that would follow, expanding their forces, building support with the U.S., etc. The U.S. was not so accomodating, however, and planned to build (Nationalist) China up into a springboard for the invasion of Japan and to build up the Chinese Army to participate in that invasion. To that end, Chinese troops were trained by the U.S. and fought in Burma (to secure China's supply line). The bombing of Japan by the U.S. Air Force in China led to Japan's last major offensive of the war, which nearly brought down Chiang's government. Victorious Chinese troops in Burma were brought back to China for an offensive, but the war ended before they could attack.

Chinese soldiers, when well-trained, well-equipped, well-supported, and well-led were as good as the Japanese. The Chinese in North Burma crushed two Japanese divisions, including the 18th Division, the conquerors of Singapore. However, China's supply situation and the problems caused by years of civil war meant that China could never field more than a handful of such divisions.

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