How organized was the Chinese army?

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Shc
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How organized was the Chinese army?

Post by Shc » 31 Jan 2006 02:28

There has been very little talk about the Chinese army (or for that matter, the Sino-Japanese conflict) but I am quite curious how the Chinese army was during WWII.

Were they at all organized in an effective way to repulse the Japanese from Manchuria?

~Shc~

Tycoon2002
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Post by Tycoon2002 » 31 Jan 2006 17:25

The Chinese armies before 1937 were very poorly armed and trained - In some battles the Chinese soldiers only had swords and hand grenades to fight with (The battle of the greatwall) in 1932 - Although that is because mainly Chaing Kai Shek didnt want to arm them as he wanted to preserve his elite soldiers to fight the Communists in his encirclement campaigns as well as pursuing the defeated Communists in the Long March.

From 1937 onwards when the Japanese waged all our war, Chaing then put his best men to fight the Japanese (Mainly his german trained army) in battles like Shanghai and Wuhan and proved they were just effective on land as the Japanese, but the Chinese army possesed neither an airforce or a navy so the enemy had supreme superiority in the air and sea.
Also one thing way the Chinese army suffered a lot of casualties were because of lethal gas attacks - The Geeneva convention (In which the Japanese had agreed with) had foribben gas attacks incase it affected the civilian population....the Japanese not only used these gas attacks on Chinese units but they TESTED them on the civilian population as well by dropping anthrax bombs etc on cities.

But in regards to the question the Nationlist armies after 1937 were relaitvely organised and armed but when the Americans came into the war the Nationalist army was much much more equipped and trained and enjoyed generous military aid given to them by the west.

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Post by Mike R » 31 Jan 2006 18:07

As Tycoon mentioned, they were often poorly equipped. Chiang Kai Sheck didn't want to take the chance of losing any of the precious Lend-Lease material in battle with the Japanese, and really viewed the Communists as his main enemy. The Chinese divisions were often equipped with a motley collection of weaponery of German, Russian, Austrian, American, and even some French design before Lend Lease really began to take effect. Often divisions drew their weapons from a local warlord and were in reality more the warlord's private army than a national Chinese unit. This made the task of standardization almost impossible.

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Post by mars » 31 Jan 2006 18:21

Tycoon2002 wrote:The Chinese armies before 1937 were very poorly armed and trained - In some battles the Chinese soldiers only had swords and hand grenades to fight with (The battle of the greatwall) in 1932 - Although that is because mainly Chaing Kai Shek didnt want to arm them as he wanted to preserve his elite soldiers to fight the Communists in his encirclement campaigns as well as pursuing the defeated Communists in the Long March.

From 1937 onwards when the Japanese waged all our war, Chaing then put his best men to fight the Japanese (Mainly his german trained army) in battles like Shanghai and Wuhan and proved they were just effective on land as the Japanese, but the Chinese army possesed neither an airforce or a navy so the enemy had supreme superiority in the air and sea.
Also one thing way the Chinese army suffered a lot of casualties were because of lethal gas attacks - The Geeneva convention (In which the Japanese had agreed with) had foribben gas attacks incase it affected the civilian population....the Japanese not only used these gas attacks on Chinese units but they TESTED them on the civilian population as well by dropping anthrax bombs etc on cities.

But in regards to the question the Nationlist armies after 1937 were relaitvely organised and armed but when the Americans came into the war the Nationalist army was much much more equipped and trained and enjoyed generous military aid given to them by the west.

Tycoon2002, sir, almost none of you said about the Chinese army were correct,
1. chinese army were poor armed and trained according to Europe standard in 30's and 40's, but was not that bad comparing to other Asian countries (of course, except Japan) and Europe colony troops, Chinese central goverment army (Chaing Kai Shek's army) usually were better armed and trained than local warlord's army, but it also dependents, some warLord's army, Tropps from YunNan or NorthEast provinces for example, were very good, they either bought weapon from other countries or manufactured themself. Of course, weapon of some warlord's troops were extremely poor, in the battle of Shanghai 1937, 1 division come from Shichuan province even did not have a single machine gun ! Usually a chinese division in WWII period had between 4000-7000 men, one army Corps had 2-3 divisions, totally 10,000 - 30,000 men, agian it depends, there were no universal standard for order of battle for chinese army that time.
2 you mentioned " In some battles the Chinese soldiers only had swords and hand grenades to fight with (The battle of the greatwall) in 1932 ", that was not correct, and that was a creation of chinese war propaganda, only in very few occassion, chinese soldiers launched night assult to Japanese position, armed with swords and hand grenades, because they considerd rifle was completly useless in such condition and left them behind.
3. china did have airforce and navy that time, and chinese airforce's performance was actually surprisely good,they gave Japanese some real headace.

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Post by Tycoon2002 » 31 Jan 2006 20:21

mars wrote:
Tycoon2002 wrote:The Chinese armies before 1937 were very poorly armed and trained - In some battles the Chinese soldiers only had swords and hand grenades to fight with (The battle of the greatwall) in 1932 - Although that is because mainly Chaing Kai Shek didnt want to arm them as he wanted to preserve his elite soldiers to fight the Communists in his encirclement campaigns as well as pursuing the defeated Communists in the Long March.

From 1937 onwards when the Japanese waged all our war, Chaing then put his best men to fight the Japanese (Mainly his german trained army) in battles like Shanghai and Wuhan and proved they were just effective on land as the Japanese, but the Chinese army possesed neither an airforce or a navy so the enemy had supreme superiority in the air and sea.
Also one thing way the Chinese army suffered a lot of casualties were because of lethal gas attacks - The Geeneva convention (In which the Japanese had agreed with) had foribben gas attacks incase it affected the civilian population....the Japanese not only used these gas attacks on Chinese units but they TESTED them on the civilian population as well by dropping anthrax bombs etc on cities.

But in regards to the question the Nationlist armies after 1937 were relaitvely organised and armed but when the Americans came into the war the Nationalist army was much much more equipped and trained and enjoyed generous military aid given to them by the west.

Tycoon2002, sir, almost none of you said about the Chinese army were correct,
1. chinese army were poor armed and trained according to Europe standard in 30's and 40's, but was not that bad comparing to other Asian countries (of course, except Japan) and Europe colony troops, Chinese central goverment army (Chaing Kai Shek's army) usually were better armed and trained than local warlord's army, but it also dependents, some warLord's army, Tropps from YunNan or NorthEast provinces for example, were very good, they either bought weapon from other countries or manufactured themself. Of course, weapon of some warlord's troops were extremely poor, in the battle of Shanghai 1937, 1 division come from Shichuan province even did not have a single machine gun ! Usually a chinese division in WWII period had between 4000-7000 men, one army Corps had 2-3 divisions, totally 10,000 - 30,000 men, agian it depends, there were no universal standard for order of battle for chinese army that time.
2 you mentioned " In some battles the Chinese soldiers only had swords and hand grenades to fight with (The battle of the greatwall) in 1932 ", that was not correct, and that was a creation of chinese war propaganda, only in very few occassion, chinese soldiers launched night assult to Japanese position, armed with swords and hand grenades, because they considerd rifle was completly useless in such condition and left them behind.
3. china did have airforce and navy that time, and chinese airforce's performance was actually surprisely good,they gave Japanese some real headace.
I got my information from war documentaries such as the 'Sino Japanese war' and 'Hell in the Pacific' as well as books so I dont think I could be completly wrong. Regarding Shanghai the Japanese army were stalled for months and this is the Japanese army equipped with the latest weapons and matched any of the Western arsenals - The German trained army as well as the Nationlist armies defending Shanghai must of been doing something effective and had just as superior weapons because they held of a super power, inflicted heavy casaulties and even nearly defeated the main bulk of the Japanese army in their counter offensive (After the Chinese lines were broken and had to retreat out of the city).
Regarding the Chinese airforce and Navy, I havent heard much about the Navy but I do know about the 'Flying Tigers' that really put up a fight with Japanese airforce but the Flying Tigers (correct me if im wrong) were American trained planes and pilots. Before American intervention the Chinese airforce was almost non exsistent.

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Post by mars » 01 Feb 2006 01:52

The "flying Tiger" only committed to battle in 1942, nearly 5 years after the war began, I do not think there is a English book dealts with air war between china and Japan between 1937- 1941, I knew there was a Japanese book whose title was something like "Sky over the China", Mark R. Peattie's "Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941" also briefly mentioned this area. Besides, there were Soviet airmen fought for china between 1937-1940, and there were some very interesting articles you can find here:

http://www.j-aircraft.com/research/otherres.htm

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Post by Mike R » 01 Feb 2006 22:11

Regarding military organization and structure: China was made up of 12 "military districts". Each military district had 3 Group Armies. Each Group Army had 3 Armies. Each Army has 3 divisions. Each division had 3 regiments. If this is accurate, then China should have had something like 324 divisions.

I think, on paper at least, the strength of the Chinese armies comes across as overly optimistic. The size of a division was anywhere from 4000-7000 as mars pointed out. However, these were not all combat soldiers. Most Chinese soldiers were conscripts and only paid $14-17 a month, of which $10 was kept back for their own supply and provisioning. The Chinese army also had exceptionally poor medical support. Many officers seemed unaware of the necessity of proper sanitation and had little regard for the treatment of sick or wounded soldiers. Standard rations were mostly rice and overall the diet lacked nutrients and vitamins. Growing crops was discouraged since officers did not want to take the chance that their unit might be ordered to relocate and thus leave behind valuable crops for the enemy or another Chinese unit. The soldiers usually lacked a standard uniform, unless serving in one of Chiang Kai Shecks prized divisions, such as the 200th motorized.

All of this information I have obtained from the book "Stilwell and the American Experience in China" about General Joseph Stilwell, written by Barbara Tuchman. It is some 500+ pages long, but so far has been very easy to read and has lots of information about the Chinese effort to fight Japan before America entered the war.

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Post by Mike R » 01 Feb 2006 22:21

Regarding the Chinese defense of Shanghai, I remember reading that the tenacious defense ultimately contributed to the Japanese anger in seeking retribution on the city of Nanking after it fell, leading to the Rape of Nanking. Is it true that the spirited defense of Shanghai created such resentment in the Japanese? Or, would the atrocity in Nanking have happened regardless?

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Post by Tycoon2002 » 01 Feb 2006 23:09

Mike R wrote:Regarding the Chinese defense of Shanghai, I remember reading that the tenacious defense ultimately contributed to the Japanese anger in seeking retribution on the city of Nanking after it fell, leading to the Rape of Nanking. Is it true that the spirited defense of Shanghai created such resentment in the Japanese? Or, would the atrocity in Nanking have happened regardless?
From what I read and many Chinese historains think that the Japanese were indeed frustrated because they expected an easy victory but were met with strong resistance and it took 4 months to finally drive the Chinese forces out of the city - The Japanese had predicted to take Shanghai in 3 days and China in 3 months but it took them 4 months alone to secure Shanghai so that what caused the anger and frustration to massacre POWS and civilians in Nanking to pay them back for resisting the 'Imperial Japanese might'. Although the reason why the Japanese encounted so much resistance was because Chaing put 1/3 of his whole German trained army into the battle which took years to train and he only had 80,000 of them but with their training and equipment equal to the Japanese they put up a struggle.

I think however even if the Japanese didnt encounter any resistance in Shangahi they still would of masscared the civilians in Nanking anyway as they did though out the pacific even when they didnt encounter any hard fight. For example in Singapore where 80,000 British and Commonwealth troops surended (only about a thousand Japanese died in the whole battle), they executed the 'Sook Ching' Massacre which was the Anti - Japanese policy to kill anyone who sympatheized with the British as well as the Singaporeans and Chinese they saw as inferiors which resulted in 50,000 deaths. They also masscared 200 wounded soldiers in St Alexanders hosptial bayoneting every wounded soldier, shot the surgeons and raped the nurses to death - I couldnt even imagine in my wildest dreams my country's troops doing what they did.

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Post by mars » 02 Feb 2006 01:30

Gentlemen, the role of Chaing's "German army" was exaggerated, when the war broke out, he only had very few divisions of German-armed troops, and since Germany cut her aid to china, those German weapon were quickly "phased out" from chinese army. The biggest problem chinese faced was that china did not have the ability to support a modern war, china could not manufactured heay artilley, air plane, virtually any kind of vehicles, let alone tanks, we could not even manufactured enough ammunitation for our troops. most of modern weapon had come from outside, before 1940, we import weapon mostly from USSR, and after 1941, from Americans, and only after large amount of US aid come to china after 1944, then started to make a difference.
Chinese army did not have any standard OOB at that time, 1 army Corps (have 3 divisions by standard, but many only had 2 divisions) could be consist of more than 30,000 soliders, strenth of another army Corps could be around a pathetic 10,000. Most of divisons did not have much artilley, those had, shells were in short supply most of times, most of soldiers were starving since china was a very poor country and after lost large part of territory, we did not have enough food and the transportation system was extremely poor. Conditions were even worse in the Communist army, for example, after a military execise, the reward to the best company was 3 rifle rounds to each soldiers!
The reasons we could hold on were the national pride of being a chinese, hatre of Japanese, and also because Japan did not the ability to support a modern war in such large a country and such long time either. after 1941, the condition of Japanese army in China was not much better than chinese army.

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Post by Mike R » 02 Feb 2006 02:03

Mars, is it true that most of China's industrial capacity was lost with Shanghai? Wasn't Shanghai and Nanking area something like the industrial capital of China? Even after German aid was cut, did the Chinese continue to apply the previously gained technical and military advice from the Germans as they expanded and equipped their forces, or was that phased out as well once US aid started arrving?

I believe CKS knew that as long as China kept an active resistance to the Japanese army, Japan could never win the war as China was so large and had so many men. As Japan's supply lines kept stretching they came under increasing partisan attacks and became increasingly fragile. As long as CKS refrained from making a separate peace with the Japanese, he knew the Allies would eventually help turn the tide and enable China to reclaim her territory. I think I have a quote from him somewhere, about China being able to retreat or stay on the defensive forever, but still come out victorious in the end.

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Post by mars » 02 Feb 2006 05:46

Mike, china did not have many modern industry that time, so losting comercial center Shanghai was not a fatal blow, the aid from Gernany was cut after war broke out, the reason was very simple, Japane was a major ally of Germany, and German military advisers were ordered to leave,and actually Chinese army were more influenced by Japanese army than any Europe army. those German weapon Chinese purchased before war were soon used up after first few battles.
Yes, as long as chinese did not give up, Japanese could not conquer china, after 1942, the condition of Japanese army in china was very desperate, lack of anything, food, medicine and even uniform, in the battles in 1944, many Japanese soldiers marched to front dressed like homeless people, their uniform worn out, boot rotten, did not have enough rice ration etc. There were some very interesting even bizzare stories, for example in a communist controlled area, ever years fall, the harvest season, the combat between Japanese and Communist army were deperate, the Japanese garrison were supposed to feed themself by foraging from local area, and made things worse,they were ordered to suppliy rice to their superior in the big city, on the hand, communist control the contryside, which mean control the harvested rice, so even worst to come, they always could destroyed those rice,they were ordered to attacked Japanese but their ammunition were very low, and they lacked weapon, so the local communist and Japanese command officers secrectly made a deal, Japanese would supply communist troop weapon and ammunition ( which included machine gun, rifle,hand grenade and ammunition) via Japanese back local chinese militia men, on the other hand, communist would allow Japanese to purchase rice from their area via local merchant, so that Japanese could have food and chinse could have weapon, and a new round of combat could start over again !

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Artillery

Post by asiaticus » 02 Feb 2006 09:14

From what I have been reading about the organization of the Chinese armies and divisions of the period, I think the Chinese big problem was lack of feild and heavy artillery. Even one of the reorganized Divisions that were German trained and equipped had only one battalion of artillery of 12-16 75mm guns. Most of the rest had somewhat less or only had mortars. The Chinese had 16-20 Regiments of artillery of 75mm or more (I think a few of heavier caliber at least one had German 150mm guns) in total for all their armies.

Meanwhile the standard for the Japanese Square Division of the same period was a full Regiment of at least 36 75mm to 105mm guns. Then they also had Regiments of heavier artillery with their Army Corps and Area Armies. At Shanghai and along the Yangtze River they had the guns of their river fleet gunboats too.

Pretty ugly imbalance of a critical arm in modern warfare. The Chinese were forced to make up the diference in blood when the Japanese could bring their guns into action.

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Post by Panzerfaust XxX » 16 Feb 2006 03:06

Which Chinese Army are you talking about The Communist or Nationalist?

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re: Which Chinese Army are you talking about

Post by asiaticus » 16 Feb 2006 04:05

During the Sino-Japanese War both really. It would have been worse for the Communists, who had little but captured equipment, but they didnt even try to compete in conventional warfare, but it was a problem for the KMT because they did engage in conventional warfare.

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