Chinese 200th Division: descriptions of actions needed!

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.
pitman
Member
Posts: 277
Joined: 08 Jan 2006 21:54
Location: Columbus, OH

Chinese 200th Division: descriptions of actions needed!

Post by pitman » 15 Jul 2007 17:55

Hey, folks. Does anybody here have access to Chinese-language books on the War of Resistance/Sino-Japanese War that might have descriptions of actions involving the 200th Division?

I am interested in any depiction of actions involving this unit, whether in the late 1930s in China or in 1942 in Burma (actually, I'd be especially interested in descriptions of the Battle of Toungoo).

What I need is not a general description of a battle (Changsha, say), but rather a description of what the 200th Division did in that fight. As well as a general battle description, I am interested in the date of the action, place, enemy forces involved, unusual weapons involved, weather, terrain, etc.

I have most of the English-language literature on the war, such as it is, and have also done extensive on-line searching, including using Chinese to English on-line translators.

But what I could really use are some descriptions, whether from campaign histories, memoirs, or other sources (including perhaps from a Japanese perspective, as long as the 200th Division is involved).

The reason why I am seeking this information is because I am considering designing a product featuring the 200th Division for Advanced Squad Leader, the most popular World War II tactical board wargame. You can see the most recent product I designed, on the Italian Alpini Corps on the East Front in January 1943 at http://www.desperationmorale.com/worldofasl/worldofficial3.html#fewreturned.

Anyway, if there is anybody with access to Chinese language printed sources on the 200th Division who would be willing to go to the effort to give me some information, I would be greatly appreciative.

best regards,

Mark

User avatar
asiaticus
Member
Posts: 923
Joined: 03 Mar 2004 04:53
Location: Lake Elsinore CA USA

Here is one thing you might look at.

Post by asiaticus » 16 Jul 2007 10:24

中国抗日战争正面战场作战记
China's Anti-Japanese War Combat Operations
• Author : Guo Rugui, editor-in-chief Huang Yuzhang
• Press : Jiangsu People's Publishing House
• Date published : 2005-7-1
• ISBN:7214030349

Also on line: http://www.wehoo.net/book/wlwh/a30012/A0170.htm

You should look at the battle of Lanfeng in May 1938, Battle of Kunlun Pass 1939-40, and Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road in the 1942 Burma Campaign.

pitman
Member
Posts: 277
Joined: 08 Jan 2006 21:54
Location: Columbus, OH

Post by pitman » 18 Jul 2007 22:29

My whole point is that I am looking for people who DO have access to people with chinese language sources to help me, who does not read Chinese, with information.

I am aware of the battles in which the 200th Division fought. I am hoping someone can help me with information relating to the 200th's activities in those battles that comes from Chinese language sources (since what appears in English language sources is so sparse).

sjchan
Member
Posts: 384
Joined: 10 Mar 2007 16:44
Location: Hong Kong

Post by sjchan » 19 Jul 2007 07:04

pitman wrote:My whole point is that I am looking for people who DO have access to people with chinese language sources to help me, who does not read Chinese, with information.

I am aware of the battles in which the 200th Division fought. I am hoping someone can help me with information relating to the 200th's activities in those battles that comes from Chinese language sources (since what appears in English language sources is so sparse).
The 200th Division fought in a number of famous battles and hence there are lots of material in Chinese on these battles e.g. Battle of Kunlun Pass (there are some on-line Chinese sources and lots of printed material). It is not clear what exactly you want since your request is quite broad in its scope e.g. if you are designing a board game based on that division, the capabilities of the 200th D before the Battle of Kunlun Pass and afterwards will be very different since it lost most of its tanks/armoured vehicles which were not replaceable. Perhaps you want to narrow your scope a bit, say to a specific battle (e.g. Kunlun pass where 200th D fought a pitched battle vs an elite Japanese formation?)

User avatar
asiaticus
Member
Posts: 923
Joined: 03 Mar 2004 04:53
Location: Lake Elsinore CA USA

Post by asiaticus » 20 Jul 2007 00:11

Yes, that is my understanding. Due to its fighting vehicle losses, the 200th Division had to be reformed from a mechanized division with armour into an motorized infantry division after the Kunlun Pass battle. It was effectively another organization afterward.

I dont know if these vehicle losses were due to the armoured vehicles being knocked out in combat or if too many vehicles were non functional due to wear and tear and lack of spare parts that lead to the decision. The Russians themselves had a terrible time keeping their armor strength maintained and operational in that period, part of their problem vs the Germans in June 1941. Probably was worse for the Chinese, if the Russians did not send them the spares needed to maintain their vehicles.

pitman
Member
Posts: 277
Joined: 08 Jan 2006 21:54
Location: Columbus, OH

Post by pitman » 20 Jul 2007 21:37

sjchan wrote:
pitman wrote:My whole point is that I am looking for people who DO have access to people with chinese language sources to help me, who does not read Chinese, with information.

I am aware of the battles in which the 200th Division fought. I am hoping someone can help me with information relating to the 200th's activities in those battles that comes from Chinese language sources (since what appears in English language sources is so sparse).
The 200th Division fought in a number of famous battles and hence there are lots of material in Chinese on these battles e.g. Battle of Kunlun Pass (there are some on-line Chinese sources and lots of printed material). It is not clear what exactly you want since your request is quite broad in its scope e.g. if you are designing a board game based on that division, the capabilities of the 200th D before the Battle of Kunlun Pass and afterwards will be very different since it lost most of its tanks/armoured vehicles which were not replaceable. Perhaps you want to narrow your scope a bit, say to a specific battle (e.g. Kunlun pass where 200th D fought a pitched battle vs an elite Japanese formation?)


The game is one that represents tactical actions using geomorphic mapboards. It is quite easy for me to design scenarios that represent different actions in the "life" of the unit, using different mapboards, overlays, special rules, etc.

I am quite interested in the 200th at Kunlun Pass, but also at Toungoo, and other actions as well, as long as information is available. I plan to purchase a 1944 aerial reconnaissance photograph of Toungoo from the U.S. National Archives to see if designing a historical map on that action is also possible, as opposed to using generic, geomorphic mapboards.

If anybody has any information/accounts regarding specific actions in any of these conflicts that is specific to the 200th Division that come from Chinese language sources, I would be greatly appreciative. I am not looking for broad strategic accounts but information related directly to fighting that the 200th was involved in. Even something like a description of a half-day battle would be very useful.

sjchan
Member
Posts: 384
Joined: 10 Mar 2007 16:44
Location: Hong Kong

Post by sjchan » 21 Jul 2007 09:42

Here is a short description of what the 200th did at Toungoo, based on the Chinese sources at

http://www.wehoo.net/book/wlwh/a30012/04901.htm

I have done a synopsis in English below. Don't have a good enough map, so I am not able to translate the names of local villages etc.

Advanced elements of the 200th Division arrived at Toungoo on March 8, 1942 and took over defensive positions from the British forces. The disposition of the Chinese forces were as follows: Toungoo itself would be the main defensive position, with outpost at鄂克春. The cavalry regiment plus a company of infantry pushed up to River彪关, with a platoon of cyclists taking up position near the bridge over the river.

Japanese troops from the 143rd Regiment of the 55th Division advanced right up to the bridge on the 18th, but was ambushed and withdrew. After night fell, the Japanese continued their attacks with small units, and the Chinese covering force withdrew. 彪关 fell on the 19th.

On March 20, the 143rd Regiment plus cavalry units attacked the positions of the Chinese Cavalry Regiment north of River彪关, driving the Chinese forces back with heavy losses. The bulk of the regiment were withdrawn to the north of Toungoo, leaving only a company of cavalry and infantry each to delay the advancing Japanese. On March 21, Japanese forces brushed aside the delaying forces and reached the divisional outposts at 鄂克春.

The 122nd Regiment of the 55th Division attacked Chinese positions at first light on March 22, but made little headway. On March 23, the Japanese tried again with strong artillery and air support, but was once again rebuffed, leading them to note that this was the first time they met with determined resistance in Burma. On March 24, with the 122nd Regiment making frontal attacks, the 143rd Regiment with the aid of the locals was able to make a surprise attack on the airfield about 6 km northwest of Toungoo. The airfield was only lightly defended by an engineer battalion, and the commander panicked and withdrew hastily. Now the 200th Division was encircled on three sides with its main communication route cut. Faced with this situation, the Chinese abandoned the outlying positions to concentrate their defence near the city walls of Toungoo.

On March 25 the Japanese launched an all out attack with the 143rd Regiment on the left, the 112th Regiment on the right, and the Cavalry Regiment plus a company of infantry ordered to attack along the R. Sittang valley. The objective was to press the Chinese forces against R. Sittang where it would be annihilated. Despite local penetrations in the north-western part of the defensive perimeter, no major progress was made due to heavy Chinese resistance. Japanese attacks continued on March 26 and by the evening, the Japanese had taken the western part of the city to the west of the railroad while the Chinese troops held on to the main part of the city east of the railroad.

On March 27, the Japanese continued to press their attacks with air support, and in the afternoon fired large numbers of tear gas shells. Despite all this, the Chinese held their ground. On March 28, the 3rd Heavy Field Artillery Regiment attached to the 55th Division arrived, and with strong support from bombers and more gas attacks inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese, who still managed to stand their ground. At the same time, leading elements of the Japanese 56th Division consisting of a company each of infantry, machine gunners and field artillery arrived in 45 trucks to reinforce the attacking Japanese forces. This force crossed the R. Sittang and moved rapidly northward, attacking the 200th Divisional HQ on the high grounds near 阿列米扬 and reaching the bridge spanning the R. Sittang on the eastern edge of Toungoo.

On March 30, this force, after 3 hours of heavy fighting, broke out of the bridgehead and reached the eastern outskirts of the city. Meanwhile, the assaults of the 55th Division within the city itself continued without much success. Unknown to the Japanese, the bulk of the Chinese forces had already started their withdrawal on March 29, and the troops covering the withdrawal did their job so well that the entire division were able to retreat in good condition, taking all the wounded along.

I believe there is also a description of this battle in the Senshi Sosho ...

pitman
Member
Posts: 277
Joined: 08 Jan 2006 21:54
Location: Columbus, OH

Post by pitman » 23 Jul 2007 20:42

Thank you very much. I greatly apprecaite it!!

User avatar
asiaticus
Member
Posts: 923
Joined: 03 Mar 2004 04:53
Location: Lake Elsinore CA USA

notes on locations.

Post by asiaticus » 24 Jul 2007 04:06

Comparing this account with Hsu I think that:

鄂克春 is Oktwin and the fighting from Mar. 20 - 23, 1942 is called the Battle of Oktwin

The fighting from Mar. 24-28, 1942 is the Battle of Toungoo

Map of the area:
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/burm ... ne47-5.jpg

Some of the later battles (not necessarily with the 200th Div.) are the:

Battle of Yedahe, Apr. 5-8, 1942
Battle of Szuwa River, Apr. 10-16, 1942
Battle of Pyinmana, April 17-20, 1942

Battle of Yenangyaung, Apr. 17-19 1942 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Yenangyaung


Battle of Mawache and Yato, Early April 1942
Battle of Bawlake, April 17,1942
Battle of Hopong - Taunggyi, April 20-24, 1942
Battle of Loliem, April 25, 1942
Battle of Lashio, April 29, 1942
Battle of Hsenwe, May 1, 1942
Battle of Salween River, May 6-31, 1942
Battle of Hsipaw-Mogok Highway, May 23, 1942

sjchan
Member
Posts: 384
Joined: 10 Mar 2007 16:44
Location: Hong Kong

Post by sjchan » 25 Jul 2007 04:56

Some additional details regarding the Battle of Toungoo, based on the book Dai Anlan Zhuan (Biography of Dai Anlan), by Dai Chengdong (the son of Dai Anlan, commander of the 200th Division during its glory days including Toungoo), Anhui People’s Press, 1998.

On March 22, the Japanese forces attacking the Chinese positions consisted of a battalion of infantry with several guns; the defenders were the 1st Battalion, 600th Regiment. The Japanese sent cavalry forces around the left flank of the Chinese and the position was stabilized only when reserve forces were committed immediately in counterattacks.

The attacks continued on March 23, with the Japanese focusing once again on the left flank. The battle continued until 4 p.m. without much success for the attackers, who then tried another flanking move with a company of infantry and scores of cavalry troops around the right side of the Chinese positions. The Chinese held their ground until nightfall and fell back on March 24.

The Japanese made use of the cover offered by the jungle and wooded area towards the west of Toungoo to make a surprise attack on the airfield and railway station during the morning of March 24. The Chinese contracted their defensive positions as follows: the 598th Regiment defended northern part of the Toungoo defense, the 599th Regiment held the high ground to the south of Toungoo, and portions of the replacement regiment of the division which arrived on March 23 were posted on the eastern bank of the Sittang River, where they were to extend the positions northward to cover the remaining lifeline of the division (which was encircled on three sides by now) as well as the divisional HQ. The 600th Regiment defended the City against the west, and it was here that the Japanese had their first success at around 10 p.m. on March 25. Japanese troops infiltrated Chinese positions followed by a full battalion. Counterattacks by the Chinese and hand to hand fighting failed to recover the lost positions as the Japanese troops made good use of the buildings and the stone walls around the cemetery to rebuff the Chinese. The 600th Regiment was moved back between the other two regiments to defend Toungoo city itself. Repeated attacks on March 26 on the 598th Regiment’s position continued through the night but were rebuffed. There was a pause when morning broke on March 27, but Japanese planes came back in droves and systematically bombed and strafed Chinese positions.

At around 8 p.m. on March 28, the Japanese sent a column of mixed mobile troops on a flanking movement and attacked the divisional HQ. If successful, the entire 200th Division will be encircled. The divisional commander personally organized the defence; the 3rd Battalion of the 598th Regiment was also ordered to attack the exposed left flank of the Japanese. A vicious fight continued within the city of Toungoo as well as around the divisional HQ, but by and large the Chinese were able to hold their ground.

The Japanese battle reports noted that the 200th Division fought hard throughout the entire battle, and in particularl was able to handle its various withdrawals well, always managing to hold its position till the last allowing the bulk of the forces to withdraw without major losses.

User avatar
asiaticus
Member
Posts: 923
Joined: 03 Mar 2004 04:53
Location: Lake Elsinore CA USA

Map of area north of Toungoo

Post by asiaticus » 26 Jul 2007 06:04

Here is the Pyinmana map showing the area just north of Toungoo (note the location of the airfeild)

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/burm ... ne47-1.jpg

It also shows the area of the the subsequent battles.

Battle of Yedahe, Apr. 5-8, 1942
Battle of Szuwa River, Apr. 10-16, 1942
Battle of Pyinmana, April 17-20, 1942

I am wondering how the 200th Division withdrew to the north if the Japanese were up there at the airport. I looks like their most likely route would have been to the east.

pitman
Member
Posts: 277
Joined: 08 Jan 2006 21:54
Location: Columbus, OH

Post by pitman » 28 Jul 2007 18:10

Thank you very much for the information. I have been out of town the past several days, for work, so I was not able to thank you earlier. I really appreciate this. It is very helpful.

sjchan
Member
Posts: 384
Joined: 10 Mar 2007 16:44
Location: Hong Kong

Post by sjchan » 03 Aug 2007 15:10

Existing accounts of the battle was not very explicit regarding the exact path of withdrawal. It was usually stated only that the New 22nd Division was sent south to support the 200th D and they reached as far as the Nangyun railway station, where the 200th D joined them after withdrawing from Toungoo. However, I found a fairly detailed description of the Battle of Toungoo by the commander of the 598th Regiment, which I summarized below. Basically the Chinese forces crossed River Sittang to the east and then moved north along the river until it reached the vicinity of Nangyun and joined forces with the N 22nd D; these eventually withdrew to Yedashe.

The following is a summary taken from the book Yuan zheng Yin Mian kang zhan (Battles of the Expeditionary Force in India and Burma), a collection of memoirs and first hand accounts by KMT officers.

On March 8, the 200th Division reached Toungoo to take over defensive duties of the British-Indian forces. The divisional commander sent the Motorized Cavalry Regiment (5th Army HQ troops attached to the division) and 1st Company, 598th Infantry Regiment to the banks of the River XXX 35 miles south of Toungoo. At first light on March 18, about 200 Japanese reconnaissance troops on motorbikes reached the outposts and were ambushed by the Chinese troops hiding along the sides of the road. Chinese armoured cars joined the attack and after three hours of fight the Japanese fell back, leaving some 30 dead behind together with some twenty rifles, two light machine guns and some 19 motorbikes.

On March 20, the Army commander inspected the defensive positions at Toungoo. The fortifications were built using timber, which was in abundant supply, and all positions were carefully concealed. On March 22, Japanese planes bombed the city and the airfield, and all the civilians had already left. The 1st Battalion, 598th Regiment was sent to bolster the outlying positions. The Japanese were now more careful after the ambush, and used their artillery and machine guns to fire at suspected positions before sending their infantry forward. In particular they positioned some light machine guns up among the trees and caused many Chinese casualties. Eventually the Chinese set up their heavy machine guns to fire at an acute angle to deal successfully with this menace.

On March 24, after the Japanese captured the airfield in a surprise attack, the divisional HQ was moved from the city to the eastern bank of the River Sittang to avoid Japanese air and artillery attacks, and also to safeguard the remaining supply route to the east.

On March 25, the Japanese launched coordinated attacks at 0800 from all three directions on the city. Eventually they were able to penetrate the positions of the 600th Regiment in the north-western part of the Toungoo citadel. The intention of the Japanese was apparently to drive a wedge through the city and capture the bridge over the River Sittang, cutting off the supply routes of the Chinese and splitting the Chinese forces into northern and southern pockets. The Chinese reinforced the 600th Regiment with the 2nd Battalion, 598th Regiment and counter-attacked. There was heavy house to house fighting and the lines between the forces were so close that Japanese air and artillery support was difficult. The bridge over River Sittang then became the target for Japanese firepower and was so severly damaged that vehicles could no longer pass through.

On March 28, Japanese attacks died down, but it turned out that they were simply reorganizing their forces. They now attacked the divisional HQ inflicting heavy casualties on the 3rd Battalion, 599th Regiment as well as the divisional support company; two companies from the 598th Regiment were sent as reinforcement. Eventually orders came on the afternoon of March 29 for the entire division to withdraw towards the east initially, then to the north along the eastern bank of the River Sittang. The plan for withdrawal was as follows. Each battalion was to send a rearguard which would launch night attacks to cover the withdrawal of the main force. The retreat will be led by the 599th Regiment (which will cross via the bridge), followed by the 600th Regiment and then the 598th Regiment (these will ford the river). By 4 a.m. the entire division had moved out of Toungoo and the rearguards themselves left before dawn.

After the battle, two British reports asked about the reasons for the success in the withdrawal. Several were given (1) the decision to withdraw took the Japanese by surprise (2) the New 22nd Division was coming down from the north to meet with the 200th Division and was approaching the airfield, causing the Japanese to believe it was reinforcement for the 200th Division to make a prolonged stand at Toungoo (3) the River Sittang can easily be forded since it was the dry season then (4) a raiding force was sent by the New 22nd Division to probe Japanese positions to fool them into thinking the 200th Division was staying.

User avatar
asiaticus
Member
Posts: 923
Joined: 03 Mar 2004 04:53
Location: Lake Elsinore CA USA

publisher of this work?

Post by asiaticus » 04 Aug 2007 06:00

This clarifies the battle a lot.

At 35 miles south of the city that river would be the Pyu River. Just across the river would be the city of Pyu.

I can see on the topo map the cart roads running north and a ford area east of Nangyun they would have used for the withdrawal.

Yuan zheng Yin Mian kang zhan, Battles of the Expeditionary Force in India and Burma, a collection of memoirs and first hand accounts by KMT officers.


Who was the publisher of this work?

User avatar
asiaticus
Member
Posts: 923
Joined: 03 Mar 2004 04:53
Location: Lake Elsinore CA USA

Hsu.Long-Hsuen on the battles around Toungoo

Post by asiaticus » 11 Aug 2007 21:30

“On March 18, the vanguard of the enemy’s (Japanese) 55th Division reached the vicinity of Tachiao approximately 12 miles south of Pyu and gained contact with the security elements of our (Chinese) 5th Corps. In the morning of March 20, the enemy main force began the attack. In accordance with pre-detrmined plans, our forces held Oktwin to stop the enemy. At dawn on March 23, the enemy launcheda violent joint attack on our positions and dispatched a force to make a turning movement against Yedashe on our right flank. Oktwin fell after two days of bitter fighting. The enemy continued the violent attack against Toungoo. By March 26, heavy street fighting took place in Toungoo . On March 28, the 56th Division, the enemy’s reinforcements arrived and employed poison gas in without achieving any progress. When the enemy employed another powerful force to advance toward our right flank our forces moved to the north. Meanwhile our New 22nd Division launched a violent counterattack from Yedashe and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. “ - Hsu.Long-Hsuen, History of the Sino-Japanese War,1937-1945 pg376

12 miles south of Pyu is the Kan River, that is where the first clash with the Japanese occured on the 18th. Hsu calls the location Tachiao, the Army topo map NE47-5 locates a village a km north of the bridges as Gombe. No "Tachiao" appears on the map in that area, but there is a lot of settlement along the river at that point so that settlement may have been called by that name.

Return to “China at War 1895-1949”