The Battle of Suixian–Zaoyang (simplified Chinese: 随枣会战; traditional Chinese: 隨棗會戰; pinyin: Suízǎo Huìzhàn), also known as the Battle of Suizao was one of the 22 major engagements between the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) and Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Near the end of April 1939, to secure their gains after the Battle of Wuhan and to relieve some pressure on their base in the newly captured city, 4 divisions from the IJA launched two simultaneous attacks on the cities of Suizhou and Zaoyang, along the Xiangyang-Huayuan Highway and Jingshan-Zhongxiang Highway respectively. Okamura sent the 13th Division and 16th Division from Zhongxiang to drive northwards along the Dahong mountain ranges and attack Zaoyang from the south on 1 May 1939. Zaoyang was protected by the NRA 77th corps. The single Chinese corps held fast against the fierce attack by the two Japanese divisions.
On May 3, Yamawaki dispatched a force including the 3rd Division to attack Suixian and Tongbai from Yingshan and Xinyang respectively in an attempt to surround Tang Enbo and Li Pingxian's 11th and 31st army groups. Four days later, the 13th and 16th divisions broke through the defensive lines of the Chinese 77th corps, and captured Zaoyang. By the May 12, the two Japanese divisions had also captured Tanghe, Nanyang and Xinye.
However, Wang Zhonglian's 85th corps, Zhang Zhen's 13th corps and Qin Lianfang's 84th corps fought with greater success in the Tongbai mountain ranges, and also succeeded in intercepting the Japanese army's lines of communication.
At this time, Zhang Zizhong's 33rd army group and Sun Zhen's 2nd army group arrived at the battlefield. They moved eastwards, crossing the Hanshui River and hit the Japanese 13th and 16th divisions' western flank. Meanwhile, Tang Enbo's 31st army group moved north from San Taidian to Miyang. From there, they moved northwest around Nanyang, before going southwest to Xinye, attacking the Japanese forces there head-on, inflicting heavy casualties and forcing them to retreat. From there on, the Chinese units launched a major counter-offensive, and by May 20, they had liberated all previously lost positions.
During this campaign lasting twenty days, the Chinese army continuously endured relentless attacks from Japanese air strikes and chemical weapons, suffering a total of 28,000 casualties. On the other hand, the Japanese army suffered 21,000 casualties. The casualty margin was getting smaller and smaller. Although the Chinese initially lost many cities and towns, they were able to retake all of them in the end. The Chinese army now had the ability to utilize mobilized warfare to launch counter-attacks into Japanese-held territory.
In conclusion, the Japanese army failed to achieve its objectives and the campaign concluded in a decisive Chinese victory.
- Program about the Battle of Suixian-Zaoyang http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlbcZcB2H-g&feature=related
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