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What kinds of new tactics were developed in China’s guerrilla warfare against Japanese aggression?

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

The extensive mass guerrilla warfare at the resistance bases in northern China allowed the rapid development of joint defense by people’s militias, transport sabotage operations, land mine warfare, and tunnel warfare. In terms of battle command, militia groups in villages located within the same area no longer fought in isolation. Instead, they began to work together to protect their villages. Militiamen in the Shanxi-Suiyuan area frequently operated around Japanese strongholds to keep watch over enemy forces. As soon as the Japanese forces went on the move, warnings were immediately issued to all villages under joint defense. Other militiamen dug trenches, put up walls, and laid mines along strategic routes, thus blocking and limiting Japanese movement. Militia groups in central Hebei developed their own tactics after analyzing when and how the enemy moved and operated.
They staged ambushes around Japanese blockhouses to catch the troops as they were coming out, and used ambushes in forests and around villages to capture Japanese soldiers. Militia groups in Shandong adopted the tactic of repeatedly attacking the Japanese en route as they moved positions, tiring out the troops by keeping them constantly moving. When one village was under attack, they mustered forces from surrounding villages to resist the enemy. In May 1943, a total of over 15,000 militiamen were engaged to counter Japanese “mopping-up” operations in the Taihang area, fighting more than 2,000 engagements. In the heartland of the Taihang Mountains, it was said that the “sound of gunfire permeated the air” as Japanese soldiers were under attack in almost every village.
Mines were used widely in guerrilla warfare. Militiamen devised ever more ingenious ways of laying and using mines, posing a formidable threat to Japanese soldiers throughout the war. In countering Japanese mopping-up operations in May 1943, militiamen in the Taihang area deployed mines along brooks, besides roads, under water tanks, and on the lintels of doors. Japanese forces were hit by more than 1,900 mines which killed or wounded over 1,000 troops. Militiamen in Shandong not only laid mines to protect their villages against the plundering Japanese troops, but also used mines as an offensive weapon by launching them into the air. They made mines out of various materials such as iron, stones, clay pottery, and porcelain bottles, and set them up in creative ways, for example laying them as pull mines, trip-wire mines, and water mines, connecting a series of mines, and using fake mines to cover real ones. Militiamen in the Beiyue area of the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Resistance Base utilized landmine warfare to one of its greatest extents in their struggle against mopping-up operations in 1943. Li Yong, a demolition hero, and his team killed or wounded over 130 Japanese troops by combining the use of snipers with land mines. Later, he developed the tactic of combining landmine warfare with “sparrow” warfare, killing or wounding over 300 Japanese troops and demolishing five enemy vehicles.
Tunnel warfare also played an important part in guerrilla warfare. In many areas of central Hebei, there were not only a network of tunnels connecting every household and village, but also a multi-dimensional fighting system consisting of rooftops, the ground, and tunnels, allowing militiamen to hide, attack, and move about while also protecting themselves against poison gas and poisoned water. Militiamen in Ranzhuang, Qingyuan County, defeated two assaults by Japanese and collaborationist troops by relying on tunnels. In the face of the first enemy assault, militiamen ambushed the enemy at the entrance to the village and then moved into the tunnels. By attacking the enemy from hidden and high positions with rifles and grenades and by making full use of land mines, they defeated the enemy’s assault and killed more than 50 soldiers. When two regiments of Japanese and collaborationist troops launched a second revenge assault, the militiamen, over 30 strong, engaged the enemy for 13 hours relying on their tunnels, and eventually killed more than 70 soldiers and sustained no casualties. Over a dozen villages in southern Hebei’s Feixiang County had tunnels that interconnected to form a large network, and some villages even built mazes of tunnels to confuse the enemy.

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.