Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

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tigre
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Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by tigre » 09 Mar 2008 14:38

Hello to all folks :D ; after a while here goes an interesting article (at least for me..) dealing with the actions of one Chinese Army Group to the end of the war....................................

Operating With A Chinese Army Group
Colonel F. W. Boye, Cavalry
Former Commanding General, Central Sector, Chinese Combat Command

FOR years our people struggled in the China-Burma-India Theater in the accomplishment of the American mission which was to keep China intact as an offensively fighting ally; to limit the Japanese gains; and, from advanced airbases, to operate our Air Force offensively against the enemy. The 14th Air Force was undoubtedly the savior of China in the early years and, since everything they did was a gratuity to China, they experienced little friction. Initially the ground forces were organized into a Chinese Training and Combat Command which exercised a restraining control on the issuance of American equipment to the Chinese Armies. In the fall of 1944, after the departure of General Stilwell, a nominal reorganization was undertaken.

This decision was influenced by the imminence of the Jap advance which had overrun airfields and which threatened the very existence of unoccupied China. Under the reorganization, the Chinese Combat Command was organized with General Ho Ying-Chin as Supreme Commander. Shoulder to shoulder with him sat General Robert B. McClure and his staff in Kunming. They organized various sectors of the combat zones into Eastern, Central, Kwangsi, Southern and Reserve Sectors. Actual command was retained by the Chinese and agreement was made that the United States would equip and train a total of thirty-six divisions together with army troops for four army groups. This article describes only the activities in the Central Sector with the Third Army Group which has its headquarters at Kweiyang, capital of Kweichow Province.

From the high Tibetan plane to the west, rugged mountains roll their fingers to the east dividing China into a North, Central and South China. The Japs controlled the main arteries of the country by seizing the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers and by later edging up the West River from Canton. The Chinese Goverment, backed up into the western approaches of its own land, established its headquarters in Chungking. The opposition party, known as the Communists, was pushed into Yunnan. Kunming became the official back door of China. South of the, Yangtze the country is rough, cut by rivers and deep gorges and traversed by dangerous roads.

From the air China resemble a huge stained glass window, the panes of which are the evrr present rice paddies alternated with grave mounds. It is a land of small villages. On the ground the points of civilization appear to be overflowing with hurrying people a great number of whom are in uniform. At one time when we were counting noses for rice distribution we found 575,000 military people to be fed and of this number not more than 160,000 were combat soldiers.

It would be well to describe briefly the enemy situation found at that time. In 1944 numerous Chinese armies had been defeated in Hunan and Kwangsi Provinces and the Jap columns had bored in, taking control of the railroad (although the retreating chinese tore up the rails and hid them in the rice paddies), and of all other practical lines of communication.

The enemy had reached Tuhshan, in Kweichow Province, when General T’ang En-po took over command with troops which had been rushed from the north. Happily the Japanese advance stopped at that time and for many months contact was maintained by two “country soldier” armies under T’ang’s command. The Jap progress had been no bed of roses, because American OSS teams, operating with Chinese delaying columns, had blown bridges ant roads sky high with American explosives.

Source: Military Review. Vol XXVII, Nº 02 - May 1947.

More follows. Regards. Raúl M 8-) .
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Peter H
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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by Peter H » 14 Mar 2008 14:48

Thanks!

Peter

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tigre
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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by tigre » 16 Mar 2008 21:48

Hello guys :D . You're welcome Peter. Now the story follows..............................................

Operating With A Chinese Army Group (2º part).

Kweiyang, an ancient city in the undeveloped Kweichow Province was the headquarters of the Third Army Group. From there it was a rugged 300 miles to Kunming and a similar distance to Chungking. The enemy was about one hundred and fifty miles toward Ishan. Selected for training were, the 13th Army, in the area south of the town; the 94th Army, located south and southeast of Chenyuan; and the 71st Army which trained in the Tuyun-Tubshan corridor. Each army consisted of three divisions. With each Army, an American team of some thirty officers and a like, number of enlisted men was integrated with the chinese, command and staff and conducted the training. At that time China had approximately 500 nondescript divisions. In order to bring our, thirty-six divisions to full strengh, a number of existing divisions were deactivated and their personnel transferred. The actual breaking up of divisions caused commotion due principally to the fact that with the loss of their commands the various senior leaders found themselves minus jobs and practically off the pay roll of the army.

The scheduled deactivation of the 91st Division was particularly painful to Marshal T’ang. We all wanted to retain the 91st Division and break up the 16th Division. After much thought and fruitless effort to get the high command to reverse its decision the Marshal applied a simple solution to the problem by changing the names of the two divisions and then effecting the deactivation. Let no General try that in the U.S. Army!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Air Transport Command tons and tons of. equipment were flown over the “hump” day and night. Jeeps, weapons carriers and even heavier trucks, badly needed,’ were included in the cargoes. That long awaited event, the opening of the Burma Road proved to be a failure insofar as the hauling of pay-load tonnage was concerned due to the tortuous road. On the China side every vehicle which could hobble along was employed in, hauling. American truck companies were ‘improvised by the .American SOS and a block system of drivers was started so that equipment and supplies reached us with surprising rapidity. Training began in January 1945 in our sector. The initial period of instructor schools, followed by individual and small unit training presented few difficulties. Our prestige was high and the interest was keen.

Divisional training areas were.very extensive due to the fact that the Chinese billet their troops in all the houses and buildings in the entire area. Thus a divisional training area ,might be spread over many miles. Billeting was accomplished without complaint. The owners or tenants simply crowded their families into smaller quarters and appeared to enjoy having’ the soldiers in their midst. Mats were spread on the floor in whatever space was available, rice cups were hung somewhere and the billet was ready for inspection. The sun was always welcomed in winter for then clothes could be aired and deloused, bodies could be washed and sunned and a general cleaning process started.

Source: Operating With A Chinese Army Group Colonel F. W. Boye, Cavalry
Former Commanding General, Central Sector, Chinese Combat Command
Military Review. Vol XXVII, Nº 02 - May 1947.

More follows. Regards. Raúl M 8-) .

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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by tigre » 22 Mar 2008 14:13

Hello guys :D . Now the story follows..............................................

Operating With A Chinese Army Group (3º part).

Schools were practical in nature, Difficulties were increased because all instruction had to be carried on through interpreters. There are twenty-eight different dialects employed in China and it is not uncommon to find Chinese who cannot understand each other. No attempt was made to conduct “artillery training in the forward areas” and all battalions were trained at an extensive Field Artillery School in the Kunming area. It was through the school system that a large part of American influence had been built initially. The Chinese love schools and are attentive and apt pupils. In the Third Army Group area the initial instruction was given to officers in rank from battalion commander to include army commander. Our engineer ,officers were hard pressed to conduct engineer training with a strictly limited amount of equipment. Division and army engineers were to face problems which would puzzle American engineers for the Chinese have little more than hand tools and a few other odds and ends.

We had a gresit deal more American equipment for our Signal Schools which were very successful. The low educational level among the junior officers and soldiers proved a great handicap in developing operators. We found our greatest field in this regard among boys of fifteen or sixteen—little keen ‘eyed lads who had slipped into the army because they loved the soldier’s life.

Medical training started from scratch. One never finds real doctors with troops. There are medical officers in all ranks but their knowledge and experience had been gained in hospital wards. So our American doctors spread all over China were a great boon to us. At Kweiyang we found a Chinese research and development hospital with a number of excellent Chinese doctors, This we used as our base medical school. We pushed forward our three American Evacuation Hospitals to work in conjunction with Chinese Field Hospitals and we furnished badly needed instruments and drugs. In this field the work was instructive and ‘missionary in nature and for the first time sick and wounded soldiers received something resembling adequate care.

One would think that with the great expanse of China ‘around and about US, training. ground and target areas would be plentiful, but this was not the case, because the Chinese do not permit any ‘bit of ground to remain uncultivated, so target ranges were constructed by hand, pointed acioss rice paddies; and maneuver ground was established in and about grave yards. A great part of the training time was employed in weapon training. The expenditure of target ammunition was pleasing and amazing to the Chinese: until that time each soldier had been limited to firing three rounds with the weapon with which he was armed.

Food was erratic, Requisition was made on the local magistrate for rice, the basic commodity, and it was his function to collect it from the local farmers. Money was given the various commanders to purchase supplemental food consisting of a little meat, vegetables, salt, peanut oil, charcoal, etc. If obtainable locally these articles were furnished, if not, the soldiers went without or begged such articles from their village friends.

Source: Operating With A Chinese Army Group Colonel F. W. Boye, Cavalry
Former Commanding General, Central Sector, Chinese Combat Command
Military Review. Vol XXVII, Nº 02 - May 1947.

More follows. Regards. Raúl M 8-) .

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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by tigre » 29 Mar 2008 14:27

Hello guys . Now the story follows..............................................

Operating With A Chinese Army Group (4º part).

Beyond the schooling phase the Leavenworth instructor would have gone quietly and completely “batty.” From an American point of view it was logistically impossible to move and supply any Chinese Army in combat. Only one road with little or no maintenance extends in any one direction. Often this poor, miserable road was washed out by mountain slides and rivers in flood. All bridges in enemy held territory were completely destroyed. The small mountain railroad had completely disappeared. There were no organized cargo vehicular companies, and such Chinese SOS trucks they could muster limped along the road burning charcoal, alcohol or a combination of vegetable oils. Spare parts were improvised and normal fourth echelon Overhauls were accomplished right in the middle of a dusty and dirty road. Such loads as the troops actually moved were hauled on carrying sticks, individual loads Of some sixty-five pounds. Each regiment had a transport company of 135 porters. Each division had one such battalion’. The army was supposed to have porter regiment plus a pack battalion but the horses were non-existent.

In spite of the logistical difficulties the chinese marched on. In July 1945, our three armies were on the march; some were on foot and some were being shuttled forward in American trucks. During a visit of the Theater Commander we prepared a chart which showed where each unit could be found day by day. Much to our amazement all units were found at the scheduled places at the proper times!

In March the 94th Army was called to quit its training and fight. The Japs drove east to Chihkiang where they hoped to destroy our last remaining eastern airield. The forces in the eastern sector fought well while two armies marched across the mountains to encircle’ the Jap flanks and rear. It was the first Jap taste of defeat in China. Later, in June, all training was-suspended and the Third Army Group started a general advance following a Japanese withdrawal in the south.

We found no sense of defeatism in the re-occupied country. The town of Liuchow had thirty-four houses left standing of its original number of 30,000 yet the immediate thought was to flock back from the hills and immediately rebuild. Boats and sampans were needed and these miraculously appeared from the bottom of the river where they had been cached during the occupation. The Bank of China opened a temporary office and within two days had deposits numbering millions of Chinese dollars which had been well hidden. From the hills and the houses, Chinese farmers sniped at retreating columns and ambushed many Japs.

Source: Operating With A Chinese Army Group Colonel F. W. Boye, Cavalry
Former Commanding General, Central Sector, Chinese Combat Command
Military Review. Vol XXVII, Nº 02 - May 1947.

More follows. Regards. Raúl M 8-) .

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tigre
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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by tigre » 02 Apr 2008 19:39

Hello guys :D . the story ends..............................................

Operating With A Chinese Army Group (5º part and last).

Speed without unnecessary planning was the order of the day. The high command paid no attention to details and it was left to the ingenuity of the subordinate commanders to solve the local problems as they came in. The Third Army Group was truly “on the country” for there were no daily trains, no impetus of supply from the rear, for the rear was impassable. The ace in the hole in emergencies was air supply and air drop. The 13th Army, on arrival, in Liuchow vas immediately dispatched southeast to Wuchow by marching with one division moving by boat and barge down the river to Tanchuk where they recaptured an airfield. The commander of the Army Group closed on Kweilin from three sides and the harassed Jap garrison barely made good its withdrawal. Our fall objective would have been Canton but we were spared the headache of that enterprise by the declaration of peace.

It is interesting to review some of the traditional Chinese activities and tactics which proved to be stumbling blocks during the various campaigns. Security was impossible with Jap agents all about. All across China a single telephone line is maintaining and this is the heart and soul, the blood line of the Chinese Command.
For years the War Office at Chungking had always taken command of the combat by long distance phone. In the spring of 1944 in the battle fur Hengyang the Chinese far outnumbered the Jap invaders, yet in a short time the field was a hodge podge With marching and countermarching piecemeal attacks and indecisive fumbling due largely to counter orders issued from Chungking. The continuity of command was never maintained, for when a province or war zone boundary was reached it became a perogative of the new commander to take charge of the combat. All cities and towns are walled and ancient custom demanded that the defense always be conducted from within the city walls. Artillery was destined to be divided with one, gun to each of several commanders.

An acknowledged custom was always to give way to a frontal attack with the purpose of having the split column later effect a “bear-hug” on the sucked-in enemy. Unfortunately the “giving way” was always successful but the crushing “bear-hug” never materialized. It was traditional, too, to leave an honorable path of escape open to a surrounded enemy force. In fighting around Chihkiang a force of some 15,000 Japs, completely cut off, was practically given a safe-conduct to the rear, Many of these practices were deeply rooted and could not be dislodged either quickly or completely from the Chinese “Art of Combat.”

The end of the war came suddenly and we were faced with another situation. National Army troops had.to be moved quickly to Shanghai,’ Nanking and to Canton to take possession of those distant areas. The Third Army Group bundled the 94th Army into C-54 airplanes for the- 900 mile fligh to Shanghai where General T’ang assumed the area command. Under American control the army of 36,000 men was transported without incident. They took possession and disarmed the Japs quietly and efficiently. The actual surrender ceremony of the million and a quarter .Japanese soldiers in China was completed in Nanking on 9 September, at nine minutes past nine o’clock on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year of China’s war. It was a solemn and great moment almost beyond their capacity to understand. Throughout the long years of war its people. had suffered,. its towns and cities had been destroyed, and its very existent threatened. Nevertheless, throughout the nine years China’s spirit was strong and its heart was brave, Wherever a flag pole could be raised one always saw the flag of China snapping undaunted in the breeze. May it ever Wave !

Source: Operating With A Chinese Army Group Colonel F. W. Boye, Cavalry
Former Commanding General, Central Sector, Chinese Combat Command
Military Review. Vol XXVII, Nº 02 - May 1947.

It's all folks. Regards. Raúl M 8-) .

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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by asiaticus » 02 Apr 2008 20:20

Thanks Tigre,
Very interesting details on how the Chinese army operated.

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tigre
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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by tigre » 02 Apr 2008 23:00

Hello asiaticus :D , you're welcome. Cheers. Raúl M 8-)

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Re: Operating With A Chinese Army Group.

Post by sjchan » 04 Apr 2008 18:10

It was traditional, too, to leave an honorable path of escape open to a surrounded enemy force. In fighting around Chihkiang a force of some 15,000 Japs, completely cut off, was practically given a safe-conduct to the rear, Many of these practices were deeply rooted and could not be dislodged either quickly or completely from the Chinese “Art of Combat.”
In most cases I think the Chinese were not thinking about providing an honorable path of escape; they were just not particularly keen to face determined assaults by the Japanese forces.

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