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Battle of Nanchang
Part of the Second Sino-Japanese war
DateMarch 17 – May 9, 1939
LocationNanchang and proximity
Coordinates: 28°41′N 115°53′E / 28.683°N 115.883°E / 28.683; 115.883
Result Decisive Japanese victory
Taiwan National Revolutionary Army Japan Imperial Japanese Army
Commanders and leaders
Taiwan Xue Yue Japan Yasuji Okamura
200,000 troops in 39 Divisions in 4 Army Groups: 19th, 1st, 30th and 32nd Army Groups, Hunan–Hupei–Kiangsi Border Area Guerrilla Command 120,000 troops in 3 Divisions: 6th, 101st and 106th, Ishii Tank Unit (130 tanks and tankettes), 1 Cavalry Regiment, 1 Artillery Brigade, 2 Artillery Regiments (200 artillery pieces), 30+ ships and 50 motor boats and one battalion of Marines, and several air squadrons
Casualties and losses
51,328 24,000

The Battle of Nanchang (simplified Chinese: 南昌会战); traditional Chinese: 南昌會戰, was a major battle between the Chinese National Revolutionary Army and the Japanese Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was the first major conflict to occur following the Chinese defeat at the Battle of Wuhan.

After the Battle of Wuhan, Wuhan was the base of the 11th Army of the Imperial Japanese Army, and was surrounded by the 5th and 9th Military Regions of the National Revolutionary Army. Nanchang was a railway center, the major supply line between the 3rd and 9th Military Regions, and site of the airbase threatening Japanese shipping in Yangtze River. In addition, its proximity to the center of the Shanghai-Wuhan strip controlled by Japan was a strategic threat.

The 9th Military Region was reshuffled, with Chen Cheng staying as the supreme commander in name and Xue Yue becoming the commander in actuality. 200,000 troops in 52 divisions were gathered near Nanchang. However, lacking vehicles, the reorganization took a long time and the planned attack was delayed.

Order of battle

Japanese attack

Japanese troops had tried to approach Nanchang during the Battle of Wuhan, but they were stopped at Xiushui River. Where they had to wait for reinforcements, and started the second invasion with 120,000 troops. Following an artillery barrage Japanese troops began crossing the Xiushui River (see Battle of Xiushui River).

Starting at 07:00 on 21 March, they advanced 2 km (1.2 mi), and began to build bridges. On 23 March, Wuchengdisambiguation needed where the Xiushui River enters Poyang Hu was devastated by sustained naval bombardment and airstrikes followed by a landing by Naval Landing forces.

By 26 March, Japanese troops supported by tanks had broken out of their Xiushui River bridgehead and reached the west gate of Nanchang, defeating Chinese reinforcements from the 3rd Military Region. By 27 March, Nanchang had fallen after being surrounded and put under siege by Japanese forces. This was the end of the first phase of the battle.

Chinese counterattack & retreat

However, the battle was not over. During a period lasting until the end of April some Japanese forces were moved to support operations in other areas (see Battle of Suizao). This weakening of available Japanese manpower had consequences.

On 21 April, a surprise attack by the forces of the 3rd and 9th Military Regions allowed for a breakthrough by the 32nd Army Group that allowed a Chinese spearhead to reach the outer area of Nanchang in five days. However, under heavy attack from Japanese Aviation and facing a Japanese garrison re-enforced by components of the Navy they were unable to lay an effective siege and retreated on 9 May.


Subsequent to this battle, the major supply line of the 3rd Military Region of the National Revolutionary Army and the southeast provinces of China came under increasing threat.

See also


  • [1] Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), 2nd Ed., 1971. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung, Chung Wu Publishing; 33, 140th Lane, Tung-hwa Street, Taipei, Taiwan Republic of China. pp. 293–300 Map. 14-15
  • Sino-Japanese Air War 1937–45

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