Discussion in 'The CBI Theater' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Feb 23, 2009.
The variety of uniforms,equipment and weapons is amazing sometimes.
"Suffering from the travails of a civil war that had begun in 1911, and from pervasive economic problems, China had lost much of its enthusiasm for the struggle against the Japanese. Since 1937, when the Sino-Japanese conflict became an open war, China's best troops had been repeatedly defeated and its richest coastal and riverine cities captured by the Japanese. From the beginning of World War II, Allied planners believed it would be essential to assist China in its war against Japan, but had not regarded it as a decisive theater. Unable to deploy ground forces for operations there, the United States provided air and logistical support, technical assistance, and military advice to the Chinese army for its continuing struggle against the Japanese.
Although the ultimate goal of the Allies was the complete expulsion of the Japanese from Chinese soil, that proved a difficult task for both political and economic reasons. Chinese military forces belonged to two hostile camps, the Nationalist army of the pro-Western Kuomintang government commanded by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communist "Red" Army of Mao Tse-tung. A latent civil war between the Nationalists and Communists had sharply limited efforts to protect Chinese territory from foreign aggression. Although the two factions had agreed to fight the Japanese instead of each other, the ensuing alliance was at best an uneasy truce. Attempts to coordinate their efforts against the Japanese were markedly unsuccessful. By 1945 Chiang's army was centered at the emergency capital of
Chungking, 900 miles to the west of coastal Shanghai, and Mao's forces were based 500 miles north of Chungking in equally remote Yenan. The Allies provided material assistance to the Nationalist army, but dissension among the Nationalist factions made it impossible for Chiang Kai-shek to consolidate his military forces in an effort to combat both the Communists and the Japanese. In fact, both the Communists and the Nationalists held the major part of their armies in reserve, ready to resume their civil war once Japan's fate had been decided elsewhere.
Severe economic problems made it difficult for Chiang Kai-shek to sustain his army in the field. China had no industrial base to support the prolonged war, and the Japanese occupation and blockade had made it increasingly hard for the Allies to ship supplies into the country. For logistical support, the Nationalist army depended on the limited Allied tonnage flown over the 14,000-foot Himalayas mountain chain, the so-called Hump, from India into southern China. Previously, those supplies had been delivered by road, but the fall of Burma to the Japanese in 1942 closed that route. No large-scale offensive could be mounted as long as the supply situation remained critical. Early Allied plans for the China theater thus concentrated on supporting Nationalist forces with advice, training assistance, and critical supplies and on establishing air bases from which to conduct strategic bombing attacks against Japan. Eventually, Allied leaders hoped to seize the ports of Hong Kong and Canton, some 700 miles southeast of Chungking, allowing them to establish a maritime supply line to China.
U.S. leaders initially expected little from the Chinese Army. Theoretically, Chiang's army was the largest in the world. In reality, it consisted mostly of ill-equipped, inadequately trained, poorly organized, and ineptly led units. Many soldiers suffered from malnutrition and clothing shortages. Although an administrative system that was primitive at best prevented western observers from making any useful estimates of the precise size and capabilities of the somewhat amorphous mass of troops, clearly it had been unable to halt an enemy advance or fight a modern war since the very beginning of the struggle. Mao's forces, if better motivated, were even less well equipped and, by 1945, were focusing most of their efforts at establishing guerrilla and clandestine political organizations behind the Japanese lines, rather than opposing them directly.
Command problems also plagued the Nationalist forces. All operational plans and decisions originated from Chiang Kai-shek's headquarters in Chungking. But the Generalissimo had little contact with his troops and was often completely out of touch with battle situations. Nevertheless, he generally refused to allow his field commanders to adjust their forces in response to local combat conditions without his personal approval. Unable to coordinate large-scale operations, the Chinese generals normally committed their units in a piecemeal fashion, accomplishing little against the Japanese. Mao's forces were not much better as their decentralized organization limited their ability to conduct conventional warfare. China's only indigenous protection lay in the size of the country and the lack of a well-developed transportation network, which imposed severe handicaps on the invaders.
Japanese military forces occupied the eastern third of the country and controlled all of the seaports and main railroads and highways. General Yasuji Okamura commanded the undefeated, veteran China Expeditionary Army, consisting of l armored division, 25 infantry divisions, and 22 independent brigades—11 of infantry, 1 of cavalry, and 10 of mixed troops. General Okamura divided those forces into three separate groups: The North China Area Army occupied the north China plain from the Yellow River to the Great Wall and kept watch, along with the large Japanese army in Manchuria (Kwangtung Army), on the Soviet forces in the Far East. To the south, the 13th Army held the lower Yangtze River valley and the coast north and south of the port city of Shanghai. The 6th Area Army was immediately west of the 13th Army and extended south to Canton and Hong Kong on the coast. The 6th Area Army, which contained the elite of the Japanese units, operated against the Chinese and Americans in central China. Despite the large number of units, the size of the country and the absence of a more developed transportation net immobilized much of the Japanese army and limited the extent of its operations. With most of its troops committed to pacification or occupation, and without strong air support or an adequate logistics system, the Japanese operated only with difficulty outside of their lodgment areas."
Since 1930, the Nationalists hired several German military advisers. Though the German advisers were not particulary eager in teaching the Chinese, they made the Nationalists to purchase many European weapons through a German company with which the German advisers conspired. The Nationalists bought Italian L.3/35, German Pz-I A and British 12-ton Tanks. The exact name of the British 12-ton Tank is unkown.
With this newly purchased tanks the Nationalists organized three tank battalions in 1936. The 1st Battalion in Shanghai had 32 Vickers Amphibious Tanks and some Vickers 6-ton Tanks, and the 2nd Battalion also in Shanghai had 20 Vickers 6-ton Tanks, 4 VCL (M1936) Light Tanks and VCL carries. The 3th Battalion in Nanking had 10 Pz-I A tanks, 20 L.3/35 tankettes and some SdKfz 221 and 222 Armored Cars. When the China Incident ocurred, these battalions participated in the battle of Shanghai and Nanking and were more or less destroyed by the Japanese forces.
In the early 1938, the Japanese government strongly demanded the German government to evacuate the German advisers from China. Hitler agreed with the Japanese demand and the German advisers had soon left from China.
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More on the German Military Mission.
The origins of the German Military Mission to China in the 1920's and 1930's can be traced back to the early period of Sun Yat Sen, the father of the Chinese Republic and to the selection by Germany of a number well qualified of German military liaison officers, such as von Falkenhausen, von Seeckt, Bauer and a few others, to manage this sensitive account.
Prior to World War One, Sun Yat Sen traveled to Germany on a number of occasions. He admired how Germany unified itself, how its academic, economic and social welfare institutions operated, etc. He often thought that many aspects of German life could also be applied to China to help develop China and to help give China a strong foundation for the future. Of importance here is that Sun Yat Sen was not a Germanophile - but he did have a strong appreciation for German accomplishments. Many influential Kuomintang (KMT) officials, such as Chiang Kai-Shek and Dr. Chu Chia-hua, shared this (pro-German) feeling.
One key persona was Dr. Chu Chia-hua. He had studied engineering at the Berlin Metallurgical Institute during the First World War. In 1926, in his capacity as President of the Sun Yat Sen University in Canton, he contacted Colonel Max Bauer (a former Chief of Staff to Ludendorff in the Strategic Mobilization Department - Bauer was a chief architect of the "Hindenburg Programm", a program to better integrate the needs of the German army with German military goods suppliers), to study business opportunities in China. The offer was accepted and in 1927, Bauer met Chiang Kai-Shek. Bauer possessed great interpersonal skills and the two became fast friends. Chiang Kai-Shek even offered Bauer to be his military advisor (position accepted).
Upon reviewing the situation, Bauer came to the conclusion that German industrial capacities could be mobilized to reconstruct the Chinese economy. In 1928, Bauer returned to Germany and began making the needed contacts with German industrialists. His efforts however were met with mixed results. A big reason for his somewhat "cool" reception in Germany was that working on military issues with any foreign nations was a massive political hot potato for Germany for a post Versailles Treaty era Germany. Although Bauer tried hard, in the end, the German Reichswehr did not provide all of the support to China Bauer had hoped for.
However, Bauer did have two important successes before he died of an illness he picked up in China. He was able to establish a Handelsabteilung (Trade Department) and the Reichswehr cautiously did enter into a more formal working relationship with the clandestine German military advisory group established in Nanking (Nanjing).
Back in China, Bauer advised his now very close friend, Chiang Kai-Shek, to enforce his drafted Military Demobilization and Reorganization plan. In 1928, the Chinese Army had approximately 2.25 million men under arms. Bauer recommended that China retain only a small core army, trained to German standards and place the rest of the soldiers into local militia forces. While the plan was sound, it was not adopted. Another round of the civil war broke out because no one in China could agree on who had to give up what and who would control that which remained.
Despite this setback, Bauer and his German team worked with Chiang Kai-Shek to establish a new Chinese Army based on German standards. A model division was established in Nanking. The Central Military Academy was relocated to Nanking from Whampoa, where it was staffed with German military experts. A key focus was on establishing new military command and communications protocols for the new Chinese Army.
Bauer regretfully passed away suddenly on 06 May 1929 and was buried in China with a funeral, which was the equal of any state funeral.
During this time frame, German aviation companies were also working strongly to establish a presence in China. Lufthansa was one of the leading developers of new aviation routes all over eastern Asia. A number of German-Chinese aviation companies were also established, such as the EURASIA Fluggesellschaft. In the early period, Junkers F-34's were used; later Ju-52's also became available. These companies also few out German military personnel to China and they also helped deliver goods and supplies in both directions as required.
After his death, Colonel Hermann Kriebel succeeded Bauer in his post. Kriebel, as may be known, delivered the final German statement to the Allied surrender commission on 11 November 1918 - "We will see you again in 20 years.".
What Bauer had built in China up with such great hopes for the future, Kriebel, in part, undid very fast. In short, Kriebel was a diplomatic failure - he lacked interpersonal communications skills, especially when dealing with his Chinese hosts. Although Kriebel was replaced quickly, the new man on the job, Georg Wetzell, was also not a good candidate for he too lacked the needed social graces.
Chiang Kai-Shek wanted German trained troops to fight the warlords of Yen His-san and Feng Y FC-hsiang - Wetzell did not deliver. When the Japanese attacked Shanghai in 1932, Wetzell was nowhere to be seen and the Chinese troops suffered greatly. In contrast, during the second battle for Shanghai in 1937, von Falkenhausen and his German colleagues were dressed in Chinese uniforms and directed Chinese troops right up to the Japanese front lines. This did wonders for Chinese morale.
What saved the German mission in China from disaster was the appointment of von Seeckt as the mission chief. Although von Seeckt officially retired from the German Army in 1928, he still wielded enormous amounts of respect and influences in and around Germany. Seeckt did go to China and he did provide the Chinese with many military assistance efforts they were seeking from the Germans. For example, Seeckt believed that Chiang Kai-Shek should place his primary efforts on defeating the communists and then focus on the various rebellious warlords of the southern provinces. However, due to ill health, von Seeckt returned to Germany on 28 December 1936.
By 1933, the Deutsche Beraterschaft in China (German Advisory Mission in China) had grown to over 50 personnel. It contained three branches, one covering administrative, aviation, economic, industrial, police and railroad development issues, a second covering General Staff issues, and a third covering military education and training.
In 1935, the trading organization HARPO (Handelsgesellschaft zur Verwertung industrieller Produkte) was established. Its goal was to funnel German military goods to Chiang Kai-Shek through commercial cover. Within a short period of time, more formally documented military training programs were established between China and Germany. Trade to China not only contained items such as uniforms, guns, munitions, Pz. I-A;s, SdKfz. 221's and 222's, etc., it also included items such as manufacturing know-how, railroad technologies, munitions plants, communications technologies, etc. In return, China delivered a number of strategic raw materials to Germany. Of interest is that two German sources state that Germany, through HARPO, also supplied the Chinese navy with submarines.
An important point must be remembered here. Germany was not the only nation bidding for Chinese contracts and influence. During the 1930's, the United States was strongly focused on aviation issues in China (i.e., The Flying Tigers); the United Kingdom was working with the Chinese navy, France established a small military school in Canton, etc.
In 1936, Hitler assigned Alexander von Falkenhausen to serve in the German military mission in China. Both von Seeckt and von Falkenhausen contributed greatly to the Chinese military efforts. However, while in China, von Seeckt was more focused on making commercial contracts for German companies that focusing on the military aspects of his assignment - von Falkenhausen was however, the opposite. His key focus was on preparing and training China's army on strategy and tactics - German style. As a quick background, in 1900, von Falkenhausen was a young lieutenant in the 91st Oldenburg Infantry Regiment - he volunteered for duty in the German expeditionary force during the Boxer rebellion. From 1900-1914, he was the German military attachee in Tokyo. So von Falkenhausen had a fair amount of area knowledge prior to taking his up his new post. When Falkenhausen celebrated his 75th birthday in the 1950's, Chiang Kai-Shek sent him a cheque for $12,000 (USD) as a birthday present.
Shortly after von Falkenhausen arrived in China in the summer of 1934, he prepared a report to Chiang Kai-Shek as to how best to defend China. This report had three key points, that Chiang Kai-Shek could defeat the communists in Sichuan Province (or at least keep them in check), that Kwangsi and Kwangtung Provinces could be restrained from taking hostile actions against the Central Chinese Government, and that Japan was the primary enemy now.
Further, von Falkenhausen recommended that China fight a war of attrition with Japan - Japan could never hope to win that type of a conflict. China should hold the Yellow River line, but not attack north of that until much later in the war. China should be prepared to give up a number of regions in northern China, including Shangdong, but the retreats must be made slowly. Japan should pay for every advance it makes. He also recommended a number of fortification construction efforts to take place in China, the mining of coastal, landing and river locations, and so on. Falkenhausen also advised the Chinese to establish a number of guerrilla operations to take effect behind Japanese lines. These efforts would help to weaken an already militarily challenged Japan.
Of interest here is the exact nature of German involvement in the subjugation of Chinese-Communist forces in October 1933 - November 1934. Many credit von Seeckt with being a key tactical advisor to Chiang Kai-Shek as he fought the fifth battle against the communist forces. However, this may not be quite the case. The fifth attack by Chiang Kai-Shek against the communists began months before von Seeckt arrived in China (von Seeckt arrived in April of 1934). It is possible that Wetzell provided some tactical planning to Chiang Kai-Shek in late 1933. One can suspect that the truth may lie somewhere in the middle - it is entirely possible that both Wetzell and von Seeckt provided strategic and tactical contributions to Chiang Kai-Shek.
One need recall that the Chinese communists also had a German military advisor - Otto Braun. In October of 1934, the Chinese communists began their long retreat after being defeated by the Nationalist Chinese forces. During the "Long March", of about 90,000 communist Chinese troops (led in part by Mao Zedong) - only 7,000 or so arrived in Shaanxi Province about a year later 1935. On 13 January 1935, Mao severely criticized Otto Braun for his failures and told him that Chiang's Germans were apparently better than his Germans. This may be a bit unfair as Chiang's Germans had the full backing of the German government while Mao's Germans were more or less free lancing mercenaries supported in part by Moscow.
As of 1936, Japan's Kwangtung Army fought its battles with a primary goal being that to avoid risks. Japan had gotten away with most of its demands on China through the threatened use of force. Von Falkenhausen advised Chiang Kai-Shek that for every day that the Japanese did not attack, that was one extra day China would have available to better defend and prepare itself.
Thanks to von Falkenhausen's strategy and tactics, both Kwangsi and Kwangtung provinces fell to Chiang Kai-Shek in the summer of 1936. This was an important victory for Chiang Kai-Shek. In addition, Berlin was very surprised at the fact that Japan did not intervene militarily to save these two provinces from defeat.
By 1937, the Japanese were beginning to pressure the Germans. German advisors in China were detrimental to the Japanese war efforts. Overtly, Hitler told the Japanese that he would curtail and end the German support efforts to China - but on 16 August 1937, he ordered the German military support efforts in China to continue as scheduled.
At this juncture, political events would soon call a halt to the German program in China. On 04 February 1938, Germany was placed into a position whereby it diplomatically recognized Manchukuo. The Japanese now increased their anti German support in china lobbying efforts in Berlin. On 28 April 1938, Göring officially called a halt to German military export shipments through HARPO to China - regardless of contractual obligations. By the summer of 1938, most of the German military advisors in China were recalled to Germany.
Ironically, China had up until this time been a leading source of Tungsten (Wolfram) for Germany. When the German Military Mission left China, Japan promised to continue delivering the needed metal - deliveries were never made. In 1943, Speer commented that either Germany find an alternate source to the vital metal or give up right now. Germany's available stocks of Tungsten could only be used two ways - to help build the jigs and tools necessary for industrial manufacturing or in the weapons themselves. Even Hitler saw the correct decision.
During the last years of the German Military Mission to China, an agreement was reached whereby Germany was obliged to train 20 infantry divisions by 1937/1938; the whole Chinese army, navy and air force by the early 1940's. However, by the time of the Japanese invasion of 1937, only eight divisions were fully trained by the Germans. Among those trained were the 83rd, 87th and 88th Infantry Divisions. Allegedly, Chiang Kai-Shek's favorite was the 83rd.
In 1933, the Chinese Army consisted of (according to German sources) 134 Infantry Divisions 9 Cavalry Divisions, 17 Cavalry Brigades, 36 Infantry Brigades, 5 Artillery Brigades, 20 Artillery Regiments, 600 aircraft (approximately), some railway artillery, limited armored forces, a small navy, for a total of 37 million main line troops and 600,000 provincial troops.
Interesting thread. Also interesting is the fact that most of the Chinese troops in the photos look very young, many not too much older than 14.
National Revolutionary Army - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"For a time, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Communist forces fought as a nominal part of the National Revolutionary Army, forming the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army units, but this co-operation later fell apart. Throughout the Chinese Civil War, the National Revolutionary Army experienced problems with desertion, with many troops switching sides to fight for the Communists. After its defeat by the People's Liberation Army in 1949, it fled to Taiwan where it was later renamed the Republic of China Army, which exists to this day."
This Chinese soldier, age 10, with heavy pack, is a member of a Chinese division which is boarding planes at the North Airstrip, Myitkyina, Burma, bound for China.
Female soldier of the National Revolutionary Army.
"The China Theater of Operations more resembled the Soviet-German war on the Eastern Front than the war in the Pacific or the war in Western Europe. On the Asian continent, as on the Eastern Front, an Allied partner, China, carried the brunt of the fighting. China had been at war with Japan since 1937 and continued the fight until the Japanese surrender in 1945. The United States advised and supported China's ground war, while basing only a few of its own units in China for operations against Japanese forces in the region and Japan itself. The primary American goal was to keep the Chinese actively in the Allied war camp, thereby tying down Japanese forces that otherwise might be deployed against the Allies fighting in the Pacific.
The United States confronted two fundamental challenges in the China theater. The first challenge was political. Despite facing a common foe in Japan, Chinese society was polarized. Some Chinese were supporters of the Nationalist Kuomintang government; some supported one of the numerous former warlords nominally loyal to the Nationalists; and some supported the Communists, who were engaged in a guerrilla war against the military and political forces of the Nationalists. Continuing tensions, which sometimes broke out into pitched battles, precluded development of a truly unified Chinese war effort against the Japanese.
The second challenge in the China theater was logistical. Fighting a two-front war of its own, simultaneously having to supply other Allies, and facing enormous distances involved in moving anything from the United States to China, the U.S. military could not sustain the logistics effort required to build a modern Chinese army. Without sufficient arms, ammunition, and equipment, let alone doctrine and leadership training, the Chinese Nationalist Army was incapable of driving out the Japanese invaders. A "Europe-first" U.S. policy automatically lowered the priority of China for U.S.-manufactured arms behind the needs of U.S. forces, of other European Allies, and of the Soviet Union. The China theater was also the most remote from the United States. American supplies and equipment had to endure long sea passages to India for transshipment to China, primarily by airlift. But transports bringing supplies to China had to fly over the Himalayas the so-called Hump—whose treacherous air currents and rugged
mountains claimed the lives of many American air crews. Despite a backbreaking effort, only a fraction of the supplies necessary to successfully wage a war ever reached southern China.
Regardless of these handicaps, the United States and Nationalist China succeeded in forging a coalition that withstood the tests of time. Indeed, Chinese leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the Allied Supreme Commander, China Theater, accepted, though reluctantly, U.S. Army generals as his chiefs of staff. This command relationship also endured differences in national war aims and cultures, as well as personalities, until the end of the war. The original policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall succeeded—China stayed in the war and prevented sizable numbers of Japanese troops from deploying to the Pacific.
China's estimated 400 million people seemed to offer the Allies a great military asset in terms of inexhaustible manpower. Emerging from a century of defeat and humiliation at the hands of European powers and Japan, plus years of civil wars, China in the early 1900s appeared to be moving slowly toward restoring its national sovereignty. By the late 1920s, the Chinese government had gained at least nominal control over most of the country and embarked on a path of reform and modernization, with advice and support from selected foreign governments and individuals. Japan's undeclared war in China in 1937 gained popular sympathy and respect for the Chinese from the international community. By 1941, for a variety of reasons ranging from noble political idealism to crude anti-Japanese sentiment, the West was again ready to support China.
One key recipient of this support was the Chinese Nationalist Army. Despite Chiang's apparent unification of China by military force, his army incorporated many units more loyal to their former regional warlords than to his new central government. Nationalist Army units were not only uneven in loyalty but also in quality. On paper China had 3.8 million men under arms in 1941. They were organized into 246 "front-line" divisions, with another 70 divisions assigned to rear areas. Perhaps as many as forty Chinese divisions had been equipped with European-manufactured weapons and trained by foreign, particularly German and Soviet, advisers. The rest of the units were under strength and generally untrained. Overall, the Nationalist Army impressed most Western military observers as more reminiscent of a nineteenth- than a twentieth-century army.
Map: Japanese Plan- December 1941
Full-scale war with Japan began in July 1937. Although quickly defeated in north China, stubborn Chinese resistance in Shanghai later that year earned them worldwide respect. But Japan's highly trained soldiers proved too much for the Chinese. Driven from Shanghai, the Chinese retreated inland. Nanking, the Nationalist capital, fell to the Japanese in December 1937. Yet China refused Japan's peace overtures and withdrew still deeper into the rugged interior, finally reestablishing a capital at Chungking, on the upper Yangtze gorges some 700 miles from the coast.
Chiang's army received $250 million worth of tanks, trucks, and aircraft from the Soviet Union in 1938, plus some British and French military supplies. Nevertheless, by the summer of 1939 Japan controlled most of northeastern China and all major coastal seaports, except for the British Crown Colony at Hong Kong. In short, China was isolated except for supplies moving from the west along the so-called Burma Road or through French Indochina.
Joining in widespread international condemnation of Japan's aggression, the United States circumspectly supported China. President Roosevelt approved $25 million in military aid to China on 19 December 1940, permitting the Chinese to purchase one hundred P 40 pursuit aircraft. By late spring 1941, the United States had also earmarked over $145 million in lend-lease funds for China to acquire both ground and air equipment. In May 1941, Secretary of War Henry Stimson approved a Chinese request for sufficient equipment to outfit thirty infantry divisions, intended for delivery by mid- 1942. Prompted by his private adviser, Claire L. Chennault, a retired U.S. Army Air Corps officer, Chiang also obtained Roosevelt's support for an American Volunteer Group (AVG) of about one hundred U.S. civilian volunteers to fly the one hundred recently purchased P-40s. These "Flying Tigers" began arriving in Burma in late 1941, the first Americans actually to be fighting alongside the Chinese.
Having responded to disparate Chinese requests for specific arms, General Marshall moved quickly to ensure tighter coordination between Chinese requirements and U.S. production plans. He established the American Military Mission to China (AMMISCA) on 3 July 1941 under Brig. Gen. John Magruder, an officer with previous China experience. Rather than simply serve as a conduit for Nationalist requests for supplies, Marshall directed Magruder to advise the Chinese on their military needs and ensure a closer match between those needs and the capabilities of U.S. defense production.
Still, China had a lower priority for supplies than the United States and its European Allies. Even the relatively meager amount of
materiel required by the Chinese proved difficult to deliver. Japanese control of the China coast meant that all supplies had to reach inland China through either Burma or French Indochina. British reluctance to provoke Japan limited shipments through Hong Kong, and French acquiescence to Japanese occupation of northern Indochina in September 1940 left Rangoon, Burma, the closest friendly port to Nationalist-held areas in China. Having crossed nearly 14,000 miles by sea, lend-lease aid next went by rail to Lashio in northern Burma, and then 715 miles by truck over the Burma Road to Kunming, China. Over this precarious route only a trickle of supplies arrived at Kunming. Burma's loss to Japan's armies in late May 1942 cut this one remaining overland resupply route. The closest port for Chiang was now in India, and henceforth all supplies earmarked for China had to travel by air over the Himalayas, the Hump.
Despite these hardships, the U.S. government established a military theater of operations in China soon after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor brought America into the war. President Roosevelt appointed Army Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell head of the U.S. China-Burma-India theater, and at the combined level, Generalissimo Chiang appointed him chief of staff of the combined forces in the theater. Arriving in China in early March, Stilwell found himself in a military and political quagmire.
From the beginning of his tenure, Stilwell was dismayed by the overall Chinese war effort. Many officers had noted that only a small minority of Nationalist divisions were personally loyal to Chiang. Most of the others reserved their allegiance for their own commanders, whose subordination to Nationalist authority was problematic. Moreover, most commanders viewed their units as political as well as military resources and fought accordingly. Their intention was to conserve manpower and equipment rather than defeat the Japanese. Not surprisingly, U.S. observers considered the Nationalist Army excessively defensive-minded, and were further dismayed by Chiang's insistence that several of his best units deploy to northwestern China to blockade the Chinese Communist forces in Yenan. Although both Nationalists and Communists had pledged a united front against Japan, this precarious truce broke down in mid-1941. Civil war, it often seemed, was more likely than joint military action."
WWII Campaigns: China Defensive
Chinese armies in the Second Sino-Japanese War
Chinese armies in the Second Sino-Japanese War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945: The Military Struggle
Collaborationist Chinese Army
The Collaborationist Chinese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War went under different names at different times depending on which puppet regime it was organized under. After the Mukden Incident, the forces that went over to the Japanese were formed into the army of Manchukuo Imperial Army. In Inner Mongolia they formed an Inner Mongolian Army and later the Mengjiang National Army. Once they formed the Autonomous Government of Eastern Hopei they established the East Hopei Army.
After the Japanese first began their invasion in 1937, in each place the Japanese captured, a collaborationist army might be formed and given various names, such as "IJA Assistant Army", "Peace Preservation Corps" or "Police Garrisons" and so on. Later on, particularly under the Nanjing Nationalist Government they were re-organized in a system of Divisions, Corps and Armies.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese occupied area was in continuous need for troops to suppress revolts and to defend against sabotoge to the Japanese supply lines, which diverted much of Japan's regular army manpower. In order to solve its manpower shortage on the front line (especially after 1942), and maintain rule over already occupied areas in China, the Japanese began employing existing local soldiers and recruiting local people to be responsible for the occupied areas' public security. Accordingly the Japanese occupied area puppet regimes established the North China Zhi'an Army and Nanjing National Revolutionary Army. The various puppet regimes had nominal control over their own collaborationist army only, but Japanese military officers were authorized to command and transfer any collaborationist army units as they saw fit.
In 1938, the manpower in China's puppet armies was approximately 78,000 men, mostly the forces of the Provisional Government of China in North China. When Wang Jingwei established the Nanjing Nationalist Government after 1940, the numbers of the Chinese puppet army suddenly rose to 145,000 men. Most of these new forces were local puppet forces established in areas the Japanese occupied from 1937 in Eastern, Central and South China.
From 1942 to 1943 (probably as a result of the United States' entry into the war) the Imperial Japanese Army commanders permitted National Revolutionary Army commanders faced with a disadvantageous situation (often a result of being caught between the Communists and the Japanese army) to preserve their strength by temporarily surrendering to the Japanese, and then joining the Nanjing collaborationist army en mass. The result was the collaborationist army manpower started growing rapidly. According to the Chinese Communist Party statistics at the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War, about 62% of the men in the Chinese collaborationist army were originally with the National Revolutionary Army.
Furthermore, the worsening situation for Japan from 1943 onwards meant that the Nanjing collaborationist army was given a more substantial role in the defence of occupied China than the Japanese had initially envisaged, and this army was almost continuously employed against the Chinese communist New Fourth Army. In March 1943, a British intelligence report estimated the total number at 345,130 men.
Despite rapid growth in manpower and increased responsibility to support the Japanese, the collaborationist Chinese army suffered from very low morale because the general public in the occupied areas viewed them as Hanjian, or traitors to China, and many surrendered quickly to Chiang Kai-shek's forces during military engagements. Enemy prisoners of low rank were persuaded to renege and fight alongside anti-Japanese forces, but high-ranking prisoners were executed. After the Japanese unconditional surrender in 1945, the Chinese military counted approximately 1.186 million collaborationist soldiers (excluding Manchukuo), but some estimates had the head count exceeding 2 million in total, which means the manpower of the collaborationist army surpassed that of the invading Japanese army (the only time this was seen in any country during World War II).
Collaborationist Chinese Army
Holding the Japs on the Salween Front. Crack units of the Chinese Army under leadership of well-trained native officers are holding the Japanese at China's back door. A see-saw battle of varying degrees of intensity is in progress with the Chinese constantly harrying the Japs. Here is a Chinese machine gun nest overlooking the Salween River. This is one of many such strong points guarding the river against Jap attempts to cross. The height is an adavantage to the Chinese. June 23, 1943.