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What was the first major victory the Chinese military won during the War of Resistance?

Submit Time:22-10-2015 | Source: | Zoom In | Zoom Out

In mid-September of 1937, the 5th Division of the Japanese North China Area Army rapidly approached the Inner Great Wall. At the same time, in coordination with the 5th Division, the main force of the Chahar Expeditionary Force of the Kwantung Army set off on a southward offensive from Datong. The Japanese attempted to break through Pingxingguan and eliminate the Chinese troops in the 2nd War Zone so as to lend support to the operations of the main force of the North China Area Army along the Beiping-Hankou and Tianjin-Pukou railways.
In light of this, Yen Hsi-shan, commander of the Chinese troops of the 2nd War Zone, decided to organize a defense covering Pingxingguan, Yanmenguan, and Shenchi along the Inner Great Wall, attempting to rely on the Great Wall to stop the Japanese troops from entering the interior of Shanxi.
In order to coordinate with the operations of the friendly armies, on September 24, the Eighth Route Army’s 115th Division Commander Lin Biao and Deputy Commander Nie Rongzhen decided to set up an ambush to the northeast of Pingxingguan. The ambush was to take place on a 13-kilometer section of a highway running from Guangou via Qiaogou and on to Donghenan Town, the intention being to stop the advancing Japanese troops in a narrow valley. On the same day, the Independent Regiment of the 115th Division blocked several attacks by Japanese troops at Yaozhan between Laiyuan and Lingqiu counties.
At dawn on September 25, Japanese troops from the combat train of the 5th Division and the main force of the 21st Brigade moved westward on the Lingqiu-Pingxingguan Road, and by around 7am entered the trap set by the Eighth Route Army’s 115th Division. Seizing the opportunity, the 115th Division launched its attack. The 685th Regiment took out the Japanese troops at the head of the force. The 687th Regiment then cut o the Japanese troops’ route of retreat between Caijiayu and the village of Xigou. The 686th Regiment launched an assault at Qiaogou between Xiaozhai and Laoyemiao, forcing the Japanese troops into a narrow valley. During the battle, the Japanese troops who, only days earlier on September 22 had occupied Dongpaochi, tried to turn back to Laoyemiao to reinforce the Japanese forces there, but they were stopped in their tracks by the 685th Regiment of the Eighth Route Army. As the two sides were in close combat, there was nothing that the Japanese aircraft could do, and although the Japanese troops came back with repeated counter-attacks, they were beaten back by the 686th Regiment. Finally, with help from the 685th Regiment, the 686th Regiment wiped out all the remaining Japanese troops.
At the battle of Pingxingguan, the 115th Division sustained over 400 casualties, killed over 1,000 Japanese soldiers, and captured a large quantity of military supplies. This battle was the Chinese military’s first major victory since the nationwide resistance had begun. On September 26 Chiang Kai-shek sent a message to oer his congratulations for the victory, saying “I am very pleased that a large number of Japanese bandits have been put down, and this shows our officers and soldiers have, regardless of danger, followed the order to defend our country.”
This was also the first time the Eighth Route Army had successfully concentrated forces to ambush the Japanese forces. In shattering the myth that the Japanese were invincible, the battle greatly boosted the confidence of Chinese armed forces and civilians. It also strengthened the reputation of the Communist Party and the Eighth Route Army, and drew praise from the international community.

The Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression: A Concise History was produced by the Communist Party of China Central Committee Project Office for the Study and Development of Marxist Theory to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and in the Global War against Fascism. The English version of this book was translated and published by the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau in August 2015.

Focusing on the main areas of interest of the international community regarding the Chinese war of resistance, and in order to make information about the war more readily available, we have selected 30 topics on the basis of the book and presented them in question and answer form, providing concise explanations and sharing historical details rarely known by international audiences. The answers to these questions offer a vivid account of the Chinese people’s fourteen years of resistance against Japanese aggression between 1931 and 1945. This was a time during which the Chinese people made enormous sacrifices to secure victory in the war against Japanese aggression and help achieve victory in the global war against fascism. The Communist Party of China was the mainstay of the Chinese united resistance, and the Chinese Theater was the main Eastern battlefield in the global anti-fascist war. During this time, people from around the world also gave selfless support and assistance to the Chinese people’s war of resistance.