87th, 88th Divisions and Tax Troops

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Jerry Asher
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87th, 88th Divisions and Tax Troops

Post by Jerry Asher » 19 Jun 2015 21:45

The 87th and 88th Divisions came into existence after December 15th 1931 when Jiang retired from the Executive Yuan and are identified in some cases as being Song Ziwen's Tax Troops and/or the 1st and 2nd Training Divisions of the National Revolutionary Army. What are their antecedents? Was the arrangement between Jiang JIeshi and Song Ziwen on this issue formal? or private? At this early stage, it might be a subterfuge for the eight German advisers to work with a Tax and not a military authority per the Versailles treaty. I'm sorry if my questions are almost to long winded--the opening sentence is the key question.

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The 51st Division
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Re: 87th, 88th Divisions and Tax Troops

Post by The 51st Division » 20 Jun 2015 03:46

To my knowledge, the Tax Troops was the Tax Troops and the German-trained divisions were the German-trained divisions.
In 1934 Chiang Kai-Shek sort of took over Song's private tax army, and sent Song on a "foreign study". The Tax Troops was thus taken under Central Government control. And then there were the German-trained divisions, the 88th and 87th being the best of them, completely German-trained and half-German-equipped (still a big deal in the Asia theatre). These two division came from the 1st and 2nd Training Divisions under German adviser Alexander von Falkenhausen's "60 German-trained Divisions" plan to reform China's military. I don't think there's any connection between the German-trained divisions and the Tax Troops (other than the fact that they were both elite German-trained and -equipped units that perished in the Battle of Shanghai).
"The nation might be powerful, yet it shall be destroyed if it seeks war; the world might be peaceful, yet it shall be doomed if it forgets war."
--The Method of the Sima, Qin Dynasty Chinese Military Classic

Jerry Asher
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Re: 87th, 88th Divisions and Tax Troops

Post by Jerry Asher » 20 Jun 2015 15:28

Thank you 51st Division; Let me rephrase my question. When did Song Ziwen begin the organization of his tax troops? and how did they evolve? Am I correct that his direct role ended as you stated at time he and Jiang became estranged? According to one English language comment I read, Song is the only major leader within the Guomindang that left no or almost no written records.

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The 51st Division
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Re: 87th, 88th Divisions and Tax Troops

Post by The 51st Division » 21 Jun 2015 03:18

The 税警总团 (literally "Tax Police Regiment") was created by Song Ziwen (he was the Finance Minister at the time) in 1930, and originally it was supposed to be a semi-official, para-military police force that enforce the collection of a salt gabelle and prevent the smuggling of salt. But Song Ziwen later sort of made it his private army (you can check out wikipedia to find why the Song family had such power), and with the wealth from the Song family and the direct support of the Ministry of Finance, the "regiment" quickly became a division-sized elite unit. Most of the officers in the "regiment" were educated in American military schools, and the soldiers were German-trained and American-equipped (German equipments were also made available later, during the Sino-German Cooperation). The Tax Police was so elite it even had armoured cars and tankettes under its command (armoured vehicles were so scarce in China that they were always under direct central command, it was unimaginable for a division to have its own tanks).

The Tax Police fought bravely during the January 28 Incident in 1932. In 1934 Chiang Kai-Shek's Central Government took over the Tax Police, and the unit was reorganized into the 8th Corps in 1937 and was later committed in the Battle of Shanghai. The unit inflicted heavy casualties on the Japanese at Wenzaobang and Suzhou Creek, and then was assigned rearguard duties when the Chinese were forced to retreat. Like most other elite Chinese units, the Tax Police basically ceased to exist by the end of the Battle of Nanjing. In 1938 the unit was reorganized, and new soldiers were filled in. After the Battle of Wuhan it was reorganized as the New 38th Division and sent to Burma as part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force, and there's plenty of information available about that.
"The nation might be powerful, yet it shall be destroyed if it seeks war; the world might be peaceful, yet it shall be doomed if it forgets war."
--The Method of the Sima, Qin Dynasty Chinese Military Classic

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