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The First Encirclement Campaign against the Hubei-Henan-Shaanxi Soviet was a campaign launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government intended to destroy Communist Party of China's Hubei-Henan-Shaanxi Soviet and its local Red Army. It was met by the Communists' First Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Hubei-Henan-Shaanxi Soviet (Chinese: 鄂豫陕苏区第一次反围剿, also called by the communists the First Counter-Encirclement Campaign against Hubei-Henan-Shaanxi Revolutionary Base Area / Chinese: 鄂豫陕革命根据地第一次反围剿). The Red Army successfully defended their border region territory against the Government attacks from January to February 5, 1935.

Order of battle

  • Nationalists: (6,500 total):
    • 116th Brigade
    • 126th Brigade
    • 2nd Garrison Brigade
  • Communists: (2,500 total):
    • 25th Army


In late January, 1935, nationalist 126th Brigade and the 2nd Garrison Brigade occupied regions to the east and to the south of Zhen’an (镇安) County as they began their encirclement campaign against the local communists. The 25th Army of the Chinese Red Army only number around 2,500 and simply could not face an enemy almost twice its strength. The communists decided to trick the enemy into dispersing its forces and then destroy their enemy by concentrating their own forces. To do so, the communists deployed their forces to the region of the End of Yuan Family’s Ditch (Yuanjiagoukou, 袁家沟口) by marching northward from the border region of Shanyang (山阳) and Yunxi (郧西). The communist force subsequently moved to the region of Phoenix Mouth (Fenghuangzui, 凤凰嘴), suddenly appearing directly behind the enemy line.

On January 31, 1935, the town of Zuoshui (柞水) fell into the communist hands, forcing the nationalist 2nd Garrison Brigade to move westward to reinforce the region, thus communists had successfully achieved their objective of dispersing the enemy. On February 1, 1935, as the 252nd Regiment of the nationalist 116th Brigade reached the region of Caiyuyao (蔡玉窑), it was ambushed by the waiting enemy and one battalion of the 252nd Regiment of the nationalist 116th Brigade completely annihilated while the other two were badly mauled. The communists subsequently withdrew to Gepai (葛牌) Town to rest and regroup.

On February 5, 1935, the nationalist commander-in-chief of the encirclement campaign, Liu Yanbiao (柳彦彪), the commander of the nationalist 116th Brigade, personally led the 251st Regiment and 248th Regiment of the nationalist 116th Brigade to attack Gepai (葛牌) Town, in attempt to avenge the previous annihilation of the 252nd Regiment of the nationalist 116th Brigade. The communists first checked the nationalist advance at the Wengo (文公) Ridge by taking advantage of the terrain, and then launched their counterassault on the front and left flank. After two battalions were completely annihilated by the communist onslaught, the nationalist morale collapsed and the nationalist troops fled southward. This final nationalist defeat marked the end of the First Encirclement Campaign against Hubei-Henan-Sichuan Soviet.

The nationalist defeat in the campaign cost them over 1,200 casualties and in addition, five counties in southern Shaanxi that were originally plagued heavily with communist guerrilla activities had since become communist bases, resulting in the expansion of the communist Hubei-Henan-Sichuan Soviet.

See also

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