Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wuli Campaign

The Wuli Campaign was a campaign fought in Wuli in northern Shandong, and it was a clash between the communists and the former s turned Japanese puppet regime force who rejoined the s after World War II. The battle was one of the battles of the Chinese Civil War in the immediate post World War II era, and resulted in victory.


Like other similar clashes immediately after the end of World War II between the communists and the s in China, this conflict also rooted from the fact that Chiang Kai-shek had realized that his regime simply had neither the sufficient troops nor enough transportation assets to deploy his troops into the Japanese-occupied regions of China. Unwilling to let the communists who had already dominated most of the rural regions in China to further expand their territories by accepting the Japanese surrender and thus would consequently control the Japanese occupied regions, Chiang Kai-shek ordered the Japanese and their turncoat Chinese puppet regime not to surrender to the communists and kept their fighting capabilities to “maintain order” in the Japanese occupied regions, fighting off the communists as necessary, until the final arrivals and completion of the deployment of the troops. As a result, most members of the Japanese puppet regimes and their military forces rejoined the s.

However, it must be noted that most of these former s turned Japanese puppet regime forces were not from Chiang Kai-shek’s own clique, but instead, they were mainly consisted of troops of who were only nominally under the Chiang Kai-shek’s before World War II, since they were s in name only and mostly maintained their independent and semi-independent status. These were only interested in keeping their own power and defected to the Japanese side when Japanese invaders offered to let them keep their power in exchange for their collaborations. After the World War II, these forces of former Japanese puppet regimes once again returned to the camp for the same reason they defected to the Japanese invaders. Obviously, it was difficult for Chiang to immediately get rid of these warlords for good as soon as they surrendered to Chiang and rejoined s, because such move would alienate other factions within the ranks, and these former Japanese puppet regime's warlords could still help the s to gain more territories by holding on to what was under their control until Chiang completed the deployment of his own troops to takeover. Chiang Kai-shek’s objective was to simultaneously solve the problem that had plagued China for so long and the problem of the extermination of communism together, which proved to be an extremely fatal mistake for him and his regime later on, as shown in this conflict.


In accordance with his strategy to simultaneously solve the problem that had plagued China for so long and the problem of the extermination of communism together, Chiang Kai-shek and his followers had hoped that these former Japanese puppet regime's warlords who rejoined the s would be able to hold on to the regions long enough for Chiang to deploy his own troops by holding off communists. If the communists were victorious in such conflicts, however, the result would still benefit to Chiang and China because the power of these warlords would be reduced as their military forces were smashed by the communists, and the warlord problem plagued China for so long could thus be greatly reduced, while at the same time, communists would be weakened by the fights and Chiang's own troops would have easier time to take control.

For the former turned Japanese puppet regime forces, these s and their troops had no problem of following Chiang Kai-shek’s orders, and they were eager to prove themselves. These s and their troops were well aware that due to the collaboration with the Japanese invaders during the Second Sino-Japanese War, they were well hated by the general population in China, including those s who refused to surrender to the enemy and fought the enemy until the eventual victory. Therefore, in the impending demilitarization after World War II, they were certainly be disarmed and discharged, which would probably be the best outcome and the power of these would be reduced or even completely eliminated as a result. Chiang Kai-shek’s ordering them not surrendering to the communists and fighting off the communists was a savior for them because by carrying out such orders, these s and their troops could legitimize themselves and thus retain their power by fighting the communists who were targeted as rebels by Chiang Kai-shek and his regime.

Communist Strategy

The communist strategy was much simpler than that of the s because there was not any huge division within the communist rank like that of the . The communists already earned considerable popular support by being the only Chinese force left in the region fighting the Japanese invaders and their puppet regime after the withdrew, and after successfully establishing communist bases in the rural regions where better life was provided to the general populace in comparison to that of Japanese occupied regions, the general Chinese populace agreed that the communists were well deserved to represent the China to accept the invaders’ surrender in the region and takeover the regions occupied by the invaders.


In, 1945, the communist decided to take Shanxi by force after the local defenders consisted of former s turned Japanese puppet regime force who rejoined the s after World War II refused to surrender. By August 30, 1945, Zouping and Qingcheng fell into the communist hands. By early September, 1945, other counties including Huimin , Jiyang , Qidong , Yanshan , and Ningjin fell in a domino effect. On September 10, 1945, the communists succeeded in completely annihilating the four thousand strong Japanese puppet regime force headed by Cheng Jianji , thus the nationalists at Wuli was completely isolated when their last ally they would turn for help was destroyed. Both sides realized the inevitable final showdown and prepared accordingly.

Nationalist defenders of Wuli first strengthened their defense by further fortifying the positions. The city wall was widened to six to seven meters and its height was increased to eighteen meters. Watchtowers with height of twenty meters were constructed and serve as machine gun positions. A ditch five meters deep and twenty five meters wide surrounding the city was filled with water. In addition to other obstacles, numerous bunkers were also constructed in the positions outside the city wall. Inside the city, the nationalists also built four large bunkers with diameter greater than twenty meters. The 30 meter-high Haifeng Pagoda to the southeast of the city was built in the Tang Dynasty and its was used a machine gun position, which covers several villages surrounding the pagoda. The nationalist commander was confident on the defense of the city and he postulated that the communist enemy would not succeed in breaching the defense.

On August 6, 1945 , communist commander Yang Guofu gave the order to take the city of Wuli. By September 11, 1945, communist regular force from the 1st and 4th Military Sub-region of the communist Bohai Military Region had reached their assigned destination. The communist regular troops were assisted by over three thousand communist militias from Wuli , Yangxin , Zhanhua , and Qingyun counties. The communists begun to dig a deep ditch of more than fifty kilometers long to isolate the city. On September 12, 1945, communist Specialized Battalion of the Bohai Military Region approached nationalist position at Tianqi Temple before dawn, and planned to sever the communication line between Chengkou and Yangxin , thus preventing any nationalist force from reinforcing the besieged city. The communist scout suddenly reported that there was a group of nationalist soldiers at the Lesser Ma Family Village 1.5 km away. Song Jialie , the commander of the communist vanguard, the 3rd Company of the Specialized Battalion of the Bohai Military Region decided to immediately capture these nationalists before the sunrise, and the communists only had an hour to do so. The nationalist troops were caught completely off guard, and all of them were captured while in their sleep. It was soon revealed that in the afternoon on the previous day, the nationalist commander-in-chief was still claiming that within 150 km of the city, there was not a single communist troop in the area. The capture of the nationalist troops at the Lesser Ma Family Village severed the communication link of the nationalist outpost at Tianqi Temple outside the city. By the early evening, the communist attack force had surrounded the city from three sides, east, west and south. Soon after, the communist Muslim squadron took Shisanli , threatened the northern flank of the city and the communist siege of the city was complete.

Order of battle

order of battle:
*The 10th Advancing Column of Hebei – War Zone with Zhang Ziliang as the commander-in-chief, Feng Ligang as the deputy commander-in-chief, and Ma Ruzhen as the chief-of-staff
**1st Squadron commanded by Zhang Huanan stationed inside the city
**2nd Squadron commanded by Luo Jingyi guarding the Eastern Pass
**3rd Squadron commanded by Ai Chuansheng guarding the Western Pass
**4th Squadron commanded by Zhao Zhongshun guarding the Southeastern Pass
***A detachment of 4th Squadron commanded by Mou Songshan guarding the Tianqi Temple and Haifeng Pagoda
**5th Squadron commanded by Cheng Huichuan guarding the Southern Pass
**6th Squadron commanded by Zhang Guanting guarding the Southwestern Pass
**7th Squadron commanded by Wu Zanxun guarding the Northern Pass
**General reserve commanded by Jiang Xuekong
**Bodyguard Group commanded by Gao Bingchen
order of battle:
*Specialized Regiment of the Bohai Military Region
*24th Regiment of the 7th Division of the Bohai Military Region
*Regiment directly under the control of the Bohai Military Region
*Muslim Squadron
*3,000 militia from Wuli , Yangxin , Zhanhua , and Qingyun counties

Battle at Southern Pass

On September 13, 1945, the nationalists simultaneously launched several assaults from the city in different directions, in an attempt to find out which was the main direction of the enemy’s attack. Most of the nationalist probes were immediately beaten back, with an exception of a group of forty troops that ventured out from the city via the southern gate. The communists planned to ambush this group in the region to the west of the Greater Ma Family Village , and captured these nationalist troops for intelligence gathering purposes. However, the communist plan did not proceed according to the original goal due to a fatal mistake made by nationalists themselves: as the nationalist force approached the communist positions, the nationalist artillery providing fire support fell short and the entire barrage totaling several dozen rounds landed on their own troops, killing most of them. Less than ten out of the original forty nationalist troops survived and quickly retreated back to the safety of the city wall. After this incident, the nationalist defenders never ventured out to actively engaged the enemy again.

Haifeng Pagoda was sheltered by the important position at Tianqi Temple, which must be taken before attacking the pagoda. Zhang Ziliang ordered his two trusted commanders, Zhao Zhongshun and Mou Songshan to guard this critical position. At 9:00 AM on September 14, 1945, communists began their assault on the nationalist position. The battle begun with a fierce artillery duel and under the cover of artillery bombardment, the communist Specialized Battalion of the Bohai Military Region spearheaded the attack. Meanwhile, over 300 nationalist troops counterattacked under the cover of their own artillery fire support. The nationalists were successful in checking the initial communist assault by attacking the advancing communist vanguards, but in doing so, all 300 troops were killed. The loss of manpower meant that there were not enough troops left to defend the position, which fell into the communist hands. Realizing the severity of losing the position, the nationalists sent out more troops to launch another round of counteroffensive in order to take back the lost position, which was held by the 3rd company of the communist Specialized Battalion of the Bohai Military Region. Over two hundred nationalist dare-to-die team members charged the communist positions but the numerically inferior communist enemy proved to be much tougher than expected. Song Jialie , the communist company commander charged into the nationalist crowd and opened up his submachine gun, killing everyone around him, and Xing Shanyi and Wang Jiushou , the political commissar and the deputy political commissar of the communist 3rd company, led the entire company to charge into the nationalist crowd to fight in close quarter, effectively naturalizing the superior firepower advantage of the nationalist artillery. With communist reinforcement arriving, the entire nationalist counterattack force was thoroughly wiped out by the early morning of September 15, 1945. The nationalist defeat at the Tianqi Temple and Haifeng Pagoda cost the entire nationalist reserve deployed at Southern Pass , which meant that in the struggle for the pass in the next phase of the campaign, the nationalist defenders of the pass had to rely on themselves.

The Southern Pass was an important position, losing which would mean that the entire southern gate of the town would be exposed under the direct fire of the attackers. In the morning of September 15, 1945, the specialized regiment and the regiment directly under the control of the communist Bohai Military Region attacked the Southern Pass and the ancient Haifeng Pagoda respectively. Under the intense artillery barrage, the communist assault teams approached and took nationalist positions one by one, bunker by bunker, and hand grenades became the most effective weapon in the fierce close quarter combat. The defenders could not check the communist onslaught and were forced to retreat back to the safety of the city wall under the command of the nationalist commander of the 5th Squadron, Cheng Huichuan. As the nationalist commander Zhang Ziliang learnt the news of the retreat, he was furious and ordered the defenders atop of the city wall to machinegun his retreating troops and had the drawbridge pulled up, in the hope of forcing the retreating force to turn back and fight. However, the plan did not work, instead of making a stand and fighting, the trapped retreating nationalist troops simply laid down their arms and surrendered to the pursuing enemy. At the same time, the Haifeng Pagoda also fell into the communist hands, and eventually, a total of five out of six passes were firmly in the communist hands. The nationalist commander Zhang Ziliang decided to hold on until the dark and then attempted to breakout. At night of September 15, 1945, Zhang Ziliang ordered his chief-of-staff Ma Zhenru to accompany his in his breakout attempt, and ordered one of his subordinate, Jiang Xuekong to lead the vanguards of breakout. However, the nationalist vanguards were immediately intercepted by the waiting communists as soon as they ventured out the northern gate, and were forced to turn back.

The conclusion

After the first attempt to breakout had failed, Zhang Ziliang returned to his headquarter and asked his protégé Han Binghua , who was a famed fortuneteller, to predict the fate of the defenders. Unfortunately, the resulting prediction of the fortunetelling was that the defenders fate would be catastrophic. The nationalist chief-of-staff Ma Zhenru was present, and was shocked by the fact that his commander would resort to fortunetelling to decide their fate. Coincidentally, a loud thunder had just struck after the depressing result of the fortunetelling was revealed, and the nationalist commander lost his composure and repeatedly murmured the superstitious claim “celestial drum had sounded” in front of everyone, implying that the end was near. The news of what happened at the meeting traveled fast and the nationalist morale decayed rapidly. To compound the problem, the defenders also learnt that their commander had attempt to breakout earlier without them, and were outraged. At 7:00 AM on September 16, 1945, a group of commanders headed by Cheng Huichuan went to headquarter to see Zhang Ziliang, and accused him of abandoning his men. Zhang Ziliang was in no position to deny the blame and was forced to declare that whoever abandoned his post would be shot, himself included. Afterward, Zhang Ziliang led his commander to inspect the nationalist positions but they were discovered by the communist sentry atop of the Haifeng Pagoda, who immediately opened fire on them. Zhang Ziliang immediately retreated back to the safety of his headquarter and assigned his deputy Feng Ligang to continue the inspection for him.

At 9:00 AM on September 16, 1945, Zhang Ziliang asked his chief-of-staff, Ma Zhenru if the defenders could hold on until darkness and what were their options. The chief-of-staff answered that if the communists just slightly increase the intensity of their assault, the city would fall for sure, and suggest another attempt to breakout. Zhang Ziliang immediately summoned Gao Bingchen, the commander of bodyguard group, to escort him to breakout westward from the northern gate. Zhang Ziliang hidden some gold and silver on himself, and took his concubine and third daughter with him. The three hundred member strong force went out the northern gate and was intercepted by the Independent Regiment of the communist 1st Military Sub-region around a quarter kilometers away from the gate. The vanguard of the communist Independent Regiment, the 1st platoon of the 3rd Company managed to infiltrate the nationalist line and communist machine gunner Li Xinzhang opened up his light machine gun on the nationalists and killed Zhang Ziliang and those around him. Zhang Ziliang’s deputy, Feng Ligang attempted to organize the nationalist survivors to continue the fight, but the situation was helpless. By 7:30 PM on September 17, 1945, the campaign concluded with communist victory. Over five thousands nationalist troops were captured, including the highest ranking survivor, the deputy commander Feng Ligang, while another thousand nationalists were killed, and the town of Wuli was firmly in the communist hands.


Like other similar clashes immediately after the end of World War II between the communists and the s in China, this conflict also showed that Chiang Kai-shek’s attempt to simultaneously solve the problem that had plagued China for so long and the problem of the extermination of communism together proved to be a fatal mistake. Although the result of the campaign turned out exactly like Chiang Kai-shek and his subordinates had predicted, and consequently the power of the in this region was indeed reduced as their military forces were smashed by the communists, so that the problem plagued China for so long was thus reduced for this particular region, and Chiang Kai-shek’s secondary objective was achieved here, any positive gains obtained by the nationalists were negated by the politic fallout. The reason was that this success of achieving the secondary objective came at a huge cost in nationalists’ loss of popular support in this region formerly dominated by the Japanese, because the local population had already blamed nationalists for losing the regions to the Japanese invaders, while reassigning these former Japanese puppet regime forces as the nationalist forces to fight the communists, the only Chinese force left in the regions, only further alienated the local populace and strengthened the popular resentment to Chiang Kai-shek and his nationalist regime.

The communists did not have the dilemmas faced by the s and enjoyed popular support, and thus was able to easily overwhelm their adversary, and thus achieving victory without much difficulty. Like other similar clashes immediately after the end of World War II between the communists and the s in China, the political gain was much greater than the military one for the communists as result of this battle.

Western Tai'an Campaign

Western Tai'an Campaign was a series of battles fought between the and the during Chinese Civil War in the post World War II era, and resulted in the communist victory. The communists also refer this campaign as Campaign to Move Eastward , and viewed this campaign as the prelude to Huaihai Campaign.


In December, 1947, nationalist commander Wang Yaowu ordered two brigade-sized reorganized regiments to strike western Tai'an, in the hope of strengthening the nationalist blockade along the canal and eradicating communists in western Tai'an. The nationalists’ slogan at the time was to “Marching a hundred mile per day, swiftly swiping western Tai'an.” Nationalists proved to be overconfident, as Zhao Jianmin , the commander-in-chief of the communist Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region and his chief-of-staff, Fu Jiaxuan , decided to gather a force that was almost twice the size of the attacking nationalists to crush the nationalist blockade by destroying the overconfident nationalist attackers.

Order of battle

order of battle:
*44th Reorganized Regiment of the 15th Reorganized Brigade of the 73rd Reorganized Division
*45th Reorganized Regiment of the 15th Reorganized Brigade of the 73rd Reorganized Division
order of battle:
*1st Brigade of the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region
*Independent Brigade of the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region
*Artillery battalion of the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region
*Basic Cadre Regiment of the 1st Military Sub Region the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region
*A regiment of the 2nd Military Sub Region the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region
*14th Regiment of the 5th Military Sub Region the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region
*Riverine Defense Regiment of the 6th Military Sub Region the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region
*Dongping County Group
*Wenshang County Group


The battle of the White Hamlet was the fiercest and most decisive battle of the campaign, which first begun in the morning of December 19, 1947, and lasted well into the night. Under the cover of darkness, the communists attacked and took Xiang Hamlet , White Hamlet from the nationalists. The next day, fierce battle broke out at the bridge over Hui River at Ding Dock between the nationalist reinforcement and the communists. During the battle, over a dozen ROCAF aircraft participated in supporting the ground troops, but due to the fierce antiaircraft fire, two aircraft were lost when they collided with each other midair as they perform evasive maneuver. After the loss, nationalist air support became ineffective as aircraft flew at much higher altitude in avoiding ground fire. Despite suffering hundreds of casualties, including come regimental and battalion commanders, the communist nonetheless achieved victory by inflicting over two thousand casualties on the nationalists, capturing another seven hundred, and the nationalists were forced to retreat. After the victory, unbeknown to the two local communists, Zhang Jie , the director of communist militia and militia member Jie Chengsheng , the communist force immediately redeployed for other battles and as the two went to look for the communist regular army to get rifles and did not find anyone, they were reported missing in action and were never found. After the communist takeover, the two were named as revolutionary martyrs. The communists continued to score victories afterward in the following battles in the regions of Ding Family’s Dock and Yuan’s Mouth of Dongping County, and Performing Horses Hamlet of Fat Town . When the military actions finally ceased on January 9, 1948, the nationalist blockade along the canal was completely crushed and the communists had successfully linked up their bases in western Tai'an and Wen River region.

Although the military action ceased on January 9, 1948, the communist onslaught did not stop. Riding on their military victory, communists immediately launched another round of propaganda, political and psychological offensive aimed to encourage nationalist soldiers to desert or defect. By the end of early spring, nationalist reception centers in regions Mao’s Shop and Luan’s Bay in the fourth district and in the regions of Confucian Hamlet and Xiaozhi in the fifth district had been completed to support this effort. The Social Affairs Department, the communist spy agency and predecessor of the present day United Front Work Department of the CPC , was also reestablished first at Pingyin county for the same purpose. The effort proved to be very successful that by June 15, 1948, 1,873 nationalist draftees from the 190 hamlets of Pingyin county defected to the communist side, or half of total conscripts nationalist army drafted from the local region, bringing back 119 rifles and 26 handguns with them, and this only included the defectors, while nationalist deserters were not included. The biggest communist gain from this propaganda, political and psychological offensive, however, was important intelligence defectors had, and the intelligence obtained had helped the communists in the following Huaihai Campaign to achieve their next victory.

Teng (state)

The State of Teng was a small state that existed during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period of Chinese Antiquity. It was located in the south of modern-day Shandong province. Its territory is now the county-level city of Tengzhou.

The ancestral name of Teng's ruling family was . The state was conquered and annexed by the State of during the reign of King Goujian of Yue .

The small state of Teng was a vassal of State of and is famed as the birthplace of the Chinese philosopher Mozi and architect Lu Ban. The name of the state survives in both the city of Tengzhou and the Chinese surname Teng.

Nanma-Linqu Campaign

The Nanma-Linqu Campaign was consisted of two battles fought at Nanma and Linqu in Shandong between the communists and the nationalists during the Chinese Civil War in the post World War II era, and resulted in the nationalist victory.


After the communist victory of Southwestern Shandong Campaign in early July of 1947, Zaozhuang, Yi City , Fei County, Dawenkou and Tai'an fell into the enemy hands, while Xuzhou was threatened, and the nationalists were forced to redeploy seven reorganized divisions for reinforcement since July 12, 1947 to reinforce southwestern Shandong. As a result of this redeployment, the nationalists only had four divisions in the mountainous regions in central Shandong. Taking this advantage, the communists hoped to take the nationalist strongholds of Nanma and Linqu and annihilating the nationalist defenders in the process, little did they know that they were gravely mistaken.

Order of battle

Defenders: nationalist order of battle:
*The Reorganized 8th Division
*The Reorganized 11th Division
*The Reorganized 25th Division
*The 64th Division
*The Shandong 1st Security Division
Attackers: communist order of battle:
*The 2nd Column
*The 6th Column
*The 7th Column
*The 9th Column


On July 17, 1947, the advance guard of 4 enemy columns approached the town of Nanma and by the next day, all nationalist positions outside the city wall had fallen to the enemy hands. The nationalist Reorganized 11th Division was forced withdrew behind the city wall on July 18, 1947. Confident that the town would fall just as easily as the nationalist positions outside the city wall, the enemy advance guards unleashed their attacks on the town before the arrival of the main force. However, the bad weather the enemy had counted on turned against them by completely soaking the poorly equipped communist peasantry army, including their ammunition, while the flood caused by the heavy rain prevent the enemy reinforcement from arriving. Hu Lian , the defenders' brilliant nationalist commander who had badly mauled the enemy numerous time, was well aware that the isolated city would be attacked for certain and prior to the battle, had ordered the completion of a comprehensive fortifications within 20 days. These fortifications proved to be instrumental in defeating the attacking enemy. Meanwhile, the better equipped nationalists had mobilized the Reorganized 8th Division to reinforce Linqu from north, and the Reorganized 25th Division and the 64th Division to reinforce Nanma from south. After three nights and four days of fierce fighting without any necessary equipment and thus any progress, and the nationalist reinforcement approaching fast, the enemy attacking Nanma was forced to withdraw when they learned that their main force could not make it in time.

On the different front, another battle was raging on in the region of Linqu . On July 23, 1947, the nationalist Reorganized 8th Division and the Shandong 1st Security Division took Linqu and camped behind the city wall to wait until the heavy rain to stop. The enemy planned to launch a surprise attack on the nationalists in the town under the cover of darkness and bad weather by concentrating a total of 4 communist columns. At night of July 24, 1947, communist 2nd Column reached the suburb of Linqu while communist 9th Column managed to cut off the defenders’ escape route by first taking Dragon Hill and then Northern Pass , wiping out two nationalist battalions in the process, and the town was thus besieged. On July 25, 1947, the communist 2nd Column attacked the town from the southwest while the communist 9th Column attacked the town from the northwest, and by July 26, 1947, a regiment of the communist 2nd Column managed to breach the defense at the city wall and penetrated into the town, and the defenders' morale begun to shake and many defenders begun to abandon their posts to flee. Realizing that failure was not an option, the brilliant nationalist commander Li Mi had a fleeing battalion commander shot and restored the morale and resolve of the defenders, who fought back with everything they had with Li Mi personally lead the charge, and successfully annihilated the enemy regiment inside the town and eliminated the defensive gap along the city wall, thus secured the defensive perimeter. Again, the bad weather the enemy had hoped to help them turned against them instead: only one of the two communist columns had reached the town and the other was stopped by the heavy rain and the flood it caused. Furthermore, the poorly equipped peasantry army was completely soaked once again, including their ammunitions. Lacking the necessary equipment and heavy weaponry needed to breach the fortifications along the city wall, the enemy nonetheless attempted yet another futile assault on the town on July 29, 1947, but again was beaten back. With the nationalist reinforcement approaching fast and no hope of taking the town, the enemy was forced to withdraw and the campaign ended with the nationalist victory.


The nationalist victory was significant political and morale boost and had profound impact on the nationalist tactics in the following engagements. In the earlier Menglianggu Campaign, numerically and technically superior nationalist force was defeated by the numerically and technically inferior enemy out in the open, while in this campaign, the only advantage the nationalists had was the technical superiority, and the numerically inferior defenders were able to thwart the numerically superior enemy’s offensives with the help of the fortifications and the city wall. The result of the Nanma-Linqu Campaign obviously demonstrated clearly that such static defensive posture not only enabled the nationalists to defeat the enemy, but also enabled them to fulfill an uncompromising doctrine of Chiang Kai-shek: hold on the land they were defending. The tactic was therefore not only militarily practical, but also politically safe, and thus it was only natural for the nationalist commanders to adopt this tactic for the conflicts followed.

However, as the nationalists adopted the static defensive posture proved to be very effective against the communist peasantry army at the time, the success of the Nanma-Liqu Campaign became a victory that lead to disaster: the tactic required the defenders to concentrate their forces behind the city wall and the fortifications next to it, and thus the enemy was able to occupy and consolidate their positions in the vast rural regions within immunity. As the rural area fell into the enemy hands, the urban regions strongly defended became isolated and strangled when the supply lines were severed in sieges. The nationalist troops were still better off in the sieges because all available resources were devoted to combat troops, but the civilian populace would be starved and suffering. As a result, the very urban populace the nationalists attempted to protect inevitably turned against the nationalist troops, thus contributing to the eventual downfall of the nationalist regime. Militarily, the tactic would no longer work toward the end of the Chinese Civil War as the enemy begun to possess the necessary equipments to assault the cities / town, but the tactic certainly worked at the time, and nobody had anticipated the rapid advance the enemy would make, and the enemy therefore unexpectedly gained in the long run from this defeat.

Battle of Wei River

The Battle of Wei River was fought in 204 BC between the Han and a combined force of and Western Chu. The famous general Han Xin led the Han force, while the Qi were led by Prince Tian Guang , and the Chu were led by Long Qie . It was one of the most important battles of the Chu-Han Contention.

In 205 BC, Han Xin had captured most of the modern Hebei and Shanxi provinces, the principalities of , and , and was starting to march on the principality of Qi. At this time, Prince Tian Guang, persuaded by noted diplomat Li Yiji , had decided to acknowledge the leadership of Han and its king Liu Bang. However, Liu Bang did not officially notify Han Xin of this fact. Ignorant of Prince Tian Guang's intentions Han Xin decided to launch a surprise attack against Qi, under the counsel of Kuai Che . Tian Guang's forces were completely surprised. Tian Guang fled and sought assistance from King Xiang Yu of Western Chu, pledging fealty. Xiang Yu sent a strong expeditionary force, including some elite cavalry, under Long Qie to relieve Qi.

Han Xin knew that Long, noted for his personal bravery and fighting prowess, was too arrogant. The night before the battle, he set a trap for Long by building a makeshift dam with sandbags to lower the water level in the Wei river. Long was counseled to fight a slow battle of attrition since he had forces to spare . Long declined, believing he had overwhelming forces. Long also believed Han Xin was a coward, as a result of an incident when Han Xin served in the Chu forces. In this well-known incident, Han Xin crawled between the legs of some hooligan to avoid conflict when he was outnumbered.

The next morning, Han Xin marched across the lowered river and attacked Long's forces. Then made a strategic retreat, tricking Long into charging his army across the river. When about one quarter of the Chu army had crossed, Han signalled for his men to open the dam. This succeeded both in drowning many of the Chu soldiers, and isolating Long Qie with only a fraction of his force. Cut off by the river, Long Qie had nowhere to go and was cut down in battle. The rest of the Chu army disintegrated when Han Xin continued to press his attack. Prince Tian Guang fled and was eventually caught and killed.

This battle was strategically significant because it cost Xiang Yu between half and a third of his forces, including many veterans, depleted Chu of important reserves and prevented any future possibility of Xiang Yu fighting successfully on two fronts. Eventually, Xiang Yu was deprived of elbow room and lost the war.

It was worth noting that Xiang Yu, for some reason, did not lead the Chu army into battle himself, when fighting against the by then well-known Han Xin.

Battle of Phoenix Peak

The Battle of Phoenix Peak is also called the Battle to Check Enemy's Advance at Phoenix Peak by the Communist Party of China, and it was a fierce battle fought during Laiyang Campaign between the s and the communists during the Chinese Civil War in the post World War II era.


After Laiyang was besieged by the communist 7th Column, the nationalist planned to reinforce the city first and then annihilate the local communists in a decisive battle by luring them out to fight in the open at the gate of the city, in conditions that favored the nationalists. The nationalists managed to gather a total of eight brigades from different divisions to reinforce the Laiyang and the overall command of the reinforcement was put under the command of the nationalist 64th Division, Huang Guoliang 黄国梁. The communist 2nd Column was tasked to stop the nationalist reinforcement at the several key locations and one of them was Phoenix Peak . The 3rd Battalion of the 13th Regiment of the 5th of the communist 2nd Column was tasked to defend Phoenix Peak with following deployments: the battalion headquarter was located at north side of the peak, the 7th Company with two heavy machine guns held the left flank, the 9th Company in the northwest of the peak as reserve. The communist 8th Company was at the front while the communist company was behind the 8th Company. On December 6, 1947, the communist 3rd Battalion entered its pre-designated positions. Two lines of obstacles were built and mines in the form of hand grenades and dynamite sticks were laid. Antitank teams included bazooka teams were also deployed.


At 7:00 AM on December 8, 1947, the nationalists begun their push toward Phoenix Peak , and a total of five battalions from the nationalist 54th Army was committed. The nationalists attacked the positions held by the 5th Division of the communist 2nd Column from Greater Po and Lesser Po in three fronts. On December 9, 1947, the nationalist aircraft attacked the positions at the Phoenix Peak held by the communist 7th Company and the 8th Company in conjunction with the nationalist shelling. With the exception of observers and patrols, majority of the defenders were forced to take cover in the fortifications. 3rd Squad of the communist 8th Company discovered six or seven nationalist plain-cloth scouts approaching the communist positions, and a short burst of machine gun fire was enough to turn them back. Soon after, the defenders discovered that a nationalist tank approached within 300 metres of the position held by the communist 1st Platoon. The defenders opened everything they had, and thus exposed their positions. Ten minutes later, three more tanks joined the original one in shelling the communist positions 200 meters away, but failed to inflict any heavy casualties on the defenders, but they did manage to destroy some of the defenders’ fortifications.

At 9:15 AM, two nationalist companies attacked the position held by the 3rd Squad of the communist 8th Company by following a tank that provided cover. The defenders concentrated their fire on the infantry behind the tank while a communist soldier jumped out of trench and approached the nationalist tank, and then inserted hand grenades between the tracks and wheels of the tank, successfully blowing up the tank. Losing their armor cover, the follow on nationalist attacks were beaten back for three time consecutively before the nationalist were forced to abandon any further attacks. The At 10:30 AM, a nationalist platoon attacked the junction of the 2nd Squad and the 6th Squad of the communist 8th Company, while a nationalist company attacked the left flank of the communist 3rd Squad. The 2nd Squad and the 6th Squad of the communist 8th Company driven back the attackers and the communist company commander also redeployed the heavy machine gun to the right flank of the communist 1st Platoon, and successfully checked the third nationalist assault on the positions held by the 3rd Platoon of the communist 8th Company. The nationalist attackers made a brief gain when they took the positions held by communist 3rd Squad, but the victory was short lived: the communist company commander personally lead the 8th Squad to counterattack immediately from the flank and wiped out every surviving nationalist attacker and destroyed a nationalist tank in the process. After failing repeatedly in their attacks on the positions held by the communist 8th Company, the nationalists changed their objective by attacking the position held by the communist 7th Company from 11:30 AM on, but the battalion sized assaulting force was driven back every time due to heavy enemy fire.

At 3:00 PM, the nationalists launched two attacks simultaneously: one nationalist company attacked the position of the communist 7th Company, while two other nationalist companies attacked the position held by the communist 2nd Platoon of the 8th Company. The commander of the communist 3rd battalion defending the Phoenix Peak immediately reinforced the position held by the communist 2nd Platoon of the 8th Company by sending additional bazooka and heavy machine gun crew, which helped the defender to beat back the attackers after fierce battle. The other position did not fare well: after a fierce battle that lasted over an hour, the 1st Platoon and the 2nd Platoon of the communist 7th Company was not able to check the advancing nationalists due to the heavy casualties suffered by the 1st Platoon, and the positions at the extreme left flank was lost to the surviving attackers and nationalists immediately sent reinforcement forward to strengthen their new gain. The commander of the communist 7th Company ordered the 3rd Platoon and the 5th Platoon to counterattack and successfully took back the position by wiping out the enemy in the position, and this left the advancing nationalist reinforce exposed, and as the nationalist withdrew, many of them were cut down by the communist fire. At 4:20 PM, a nationalist platoon had breached the defense of the 3rd Squad of the communist 8th Company, but their further advance was stopped by the stubborn defenders who managed to damage a nationalist tank by using bazooka and took cover in bomb craters. Losing the armor cover, the attackers were forced to stop while the communist company commander redeployed the 7th Squad to reinforce the 3rd Platoon. The company political commissar personally lead the charge of the communist 7th Squad, attacking the nationalist platoon from the right flank of the communist 3rd Squad, completely wiped out the nationalist platoon. This last nationalist attempt signaled the end of the nationalist offensive and by dusk, the nationalist withdrew and the battle ended.


The nationalist withdrew from the Phoenix Peak was part of the larger nationalist general withdraw in Laiyang Campaign due to the worsening situation for the nationalists elsewhere on the battlefields. When the nationalist reinforcement to Laiyang was withdrawn because the need to redeploy elsewhere, not only the nationalists had missed the opportunity to retake the city, but also failed to achieve their objective that was within their grasp: to annihilate the enemy in a decisive battle at the gate of the city by luring them out to fight in the open in situations that favored the nationalists.

Battle of Yan Province

The Battle of Yan Province was a battle for control of the region between Cao Cao and Lü Bu during the prelude to the Three Kingdoms period in 194 A.D that lasted for at least one hundred days. The battle was indecisive, so neither side emerged victorious.


For at least one hundred days, the two were at a stalemate with Cao Cao’s army at the unfavorable end. Lü Bu had to give up his position because of a famine outbreak. To rebel against Cao Cao, Zhang Miao and Chen Gong handed Yanzhou over to Lü Bu. After hearing of the rebellion, Cao Cao laid siege to Lü Bu at Juye in Puyang Castle. Xun Yu and Cheng Yu defended the cities of Juancheng, Fan and Dong’a, but this left only two counties with solid defenses, so Cao Cao therefore led his army back. Lü Bu arrived, couldn’t take Juancheng by siege so he went west and garrisoned Puyang. Lü Bu re-stationed his forces to the east at Shanyang.

In battle, Lü Bu used his cavalry in the first clash of arms, charging against the Qingzhou Army. The Qingzhou Army fled in terror and the formations of Cao Cao were in complete disarray, and Cao Cao, seeing the confusion, quickly galloped ahead when a fire broke out, and he fell from his horse, burning the palm of his left hand. Before reaching the camp, the army halted. Most generals had not sighted Cao Cao and were fearful of his safety. Cao Cao then strained himself to rouse his officers, ordering that siege weapons be prepared immediately so that Lü Bu could be besieged once again. Zhang Miao followed Lü Bu and left Zhang Chao to settle the family at Yongqiu. Cao Cao took several months to siege the place and upon success killed Zhang Chao and his entire family. Zhang Miao then pleaded for assistance from Yuan Shu but was rejected and killed by his soldiers. At that time, there was a locust plague and the commoners were extremely hungry and the civilians had no choice but to resort to cannibalism or starve. Lü Bu had also used up all his provisions, horse feed, and grain supplies so both sides were forced to withdraw.

Cao Cao had surrounded Puyang, wherein the distinguished Tian family switched sides, Cao Cao thereby obtaining entrance to the city. He set fire to the eastern gate, demonstrating he had no intention of reversing course. Thereupon he came under attack and his army was defeated. Some of Lü Bu’s cavalrymen had captured Cao Cao but were not aware it was he. Lü Bu’s cavalrymen thereupon released Cao Cao and chased after the man on the yellow horse. The gate fire was now blazing but Cao Cao quickly dashed through and escaped.

Within two years’ time, Cao Cao was able to recapture all the cities and defeated Lü Bu at Juye. Lü Bu then fled eastwards to Liu Bei. This battle led to the Battle of Xiapi.

In ''Romance of the Three Kingdoms''

Cao Cao defeated

Zang Ba, Yue Jin, Xiahou Dun, and Zhang Liao fought. Lü Bu grew angry, and set out his Trident Spear and rushed towards them. Xiahou Dun and Yue Jin fled; however, Lü Bu kept pressing the attack and Cao Cao was forced to retreat ten miles and made a new camp.

Lü Bu sent Gao Shun, Wei Xu and Hou Cheng to defend the camp. Cao Cao attacked the camp from all four directions and the defending force was losing heavily. Cao Cao marched into the city and met with Commander Gao Shun. After the fourth watch, as dawn was breaking, Cao Cao heard war drums approaching quickly from the west. When he heard Lü Bu himself was leading the relief force, Cao Cao abandoned the attack.

Gao Shun, Wei Xu and Hou Cheng pursued him, with Lü Bu joining them in the lead. Cao Cao sent Yu Jin and Yue Jin to stop the pursuit, but they were unsuccessful. So Cao Cao went north, only to meet the ambush of Zhang Liao and Zhang Ba. Lu Qian and Cao Hong were sent to meet them, but they were also defeated. Cao Cao sought safety in the west, but again was met by Lü Bu’s forces, this time led by Hou Meng, Cao Xing, Cheng Lian and Song Xian. Cao Cao was in grave danger and cried out for help. Dian Wei came out to help on his own. Cao Cao was able to get away and make up camp.

Cao Cao whipped up his steed and entered the city. Soon, Cao Cao realized that he walked into a trap. An explosion of signal bomb was heard, gong beat all around with a roar. Cheng Gong set a trap for Cao Cao, and Cao Cao fell for it, the evasion routes were cut off. From the east and west, bodies of soldiers eagerly attacked; they were led by Zhang Liao and Zhang Ba. Cao Cao dashed out to the north; however, Cao Xing and Hou Meng barred him. Therefore, Cao Cao turned around towards the south, but was met by Gao Sheng and Hou Cheng. Dian Wei, Li Dian, and Li Yue rode through the masses of enemy soldiers in an attempt to find their lord. When Cao Cao met up with Dian Wei, he once again made a dash at the north gate, Lü Bu stood in the opening calling out for Cao Cao. However, Lü Bu was fooled easily and chased the wrong rider, giving Cao Cao a chance to escape with Dian Wei and Xiahou Yuan as his escorts.

Lü Bu defeated

The next day, word reached Lü Bu’s camp that Cao Cao burned to death in a fire during the fifth watch. Lü Bu immediately gathered his soldiers and took Ma Ling road to attack the enemy camp. Once he passed the hills, war drums could be heard from both sides and Cao Cao’s soldiers charged their enemy. Only by desperate fighting, did Lü Bu get out of the melee and back to Puyang. There he fortified his defenses and couldn't be tempted to do battle.

The next time Cao Cao’s army came to attack, he had six generals leading the battle: Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Li Dian, Lu Qian, and Yu Jin. Lü Bu came out alone to oppose them, but soon his enemies overwhelmed him and he turned back towards the city. However, the Tian family had closed the gates and wouldn't let him in. Lü Bu was forced to flee and Chen Gong took Lü Bu’s family and fled the city through the east gate. Puyang was back in Cao Cao’s hands.

Lü Bu took refuge in Dingtao with Zhang Miao and Zhang Chao. Lü Bu went out to scout the enemy camp, but returned when he saw that Cao Cao’s camp was located near a forest, fearing an ambush he retreated to Dingtao.

Lü Bu decided to burn out the ambush with fire; he rode out again towards the camp and ordered his men to set fire to the woods. However, to his surprise, nobody leaped out from the woods. Still he heard the drums of his enemies, and he saw soldiers coming from the shelter in the stockade, he immediately rode forth to see what it was about. The signal bombs exploded and soldiers came out to attack Lü Bu. Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Dian Wei, Xu Zhu, Li Dian, and Yue Jin led the troops. Lü Bu suffered a huge defeat, and almost two thirds of his troops were killed. His officer Cheng Lian died when an arrow hit him. The remains of the forces went back and reported this to Chen Gong. Therefore, Gao Shun and Chen Gong gathered the generals and abandoned Dingtao. Zhang Chao committed suicide and Zhang Miao fled to Yuan Shu. Lü Bu rejoined his generals later on. The northeast had completely fallen to Cao Cao.

Lü Bu’s spirit wasn't broken, and on Chen Gong’s advice, he inquired about serving Yuan Shao once again. In response, Yuan Shao sent Yan Liang with fifty thousand troops to destroy Lü Bu. Having no means of repelling such an army, Lü Bu fled to Xuzhou where he joined up with Liu Bei. Liu Bei welcomed Lü Bu with a large following.

Modern references

In ''Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends'' there is a stage dedicated to this battle.

Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Central and Southern China

Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Central and Southern China was a counter-guerrilla / counterinsurgency campaign the fought against the guerrilla that was mostly consisted of bandits and second rate nationalist regular troops left behind after the nationalist government withdrew from mainland China. The campaign was fought during the Chinese Civil War in the post-World War II era in the following six Chinese provinces: Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Guangxi, and resulted in communist victory.


Nationalist strategies

Like other nationalist futile attempts to fight guerrilla and insurgency warfare against the after being driven off from mainland China, the strategic miscalculation made by the retreating nationalist government contributed at least equally if not greater than the enemy’s political and military pressure to the nationalist defeat in this campaign. The very first strategic miscalculation made by the retreating nationalist government was identical to the earlier one the nationalist government had made immediately after World War II when it had neither the sufficient troops nor enough transportation assets to be deployed into the Japanese-occupied regions of China, and unwilling to let these regions falling into communist hands, the nationalist government ordered the Japanese and their turncoat Chinese puppet government not to surrender to the communists and allowed them to keep their fighting capabilities to “maintain order” in the Japanese occupied regions by fighting off the communists. This miscalculation resulted in further alienation and resentment to the nationalist government by the local population, which had already blamed the nationalists for losing the regions to the Japanese invaders during the war. Half a decade later when the nationalists were driven from mainland China, they had made the similar miscalculation once again in their desperation, this time by enlisting the help of local bandits to fight the communists, and ordering the nationalist troops left behind to join these bandits in the struggle against the communism. However, the bandits were deeply feared and hated by the local populace they plagued for so long, and nationalist troops left behind joining the bandits certainly did not help them win the support of the general population. In fact, it served the exact opposite, strengthening the popular support of their communist enemy.

The second strategic miscalculation made by the retreating nationalist government was also similar to the one the nationalist government had made immediately after World War II when it attempted to simultaneously solve the problem that had plagued China for so long with the problem of the exterminating communists together: Those allied with Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government were only interested in keeping their own power and defected to the Japanese side when Japanese invaders offered to let them keep their power in exchange for their collaborations. After the World War II, these forces of former Japanese puppet governments once again returned to the nationalist camp for the same reason they defected to the Japanese invaders. Obviously, it was difficult for Chiang to immediately get rid of these for good as soon as they surrendered to Chiang and rejoined nationalists, because such move would alienate other factions within the nationalist ranks, and those former Japanese puppet government's warlords could still help the nationalists to by holding on to what was under their control and fighting off communists, and they and the communists would both be weakened. Similarly, the bandits the nationalist governments had failed to exterminate were obviously not good candidates for evacuation to Taiwan half a decade later, and using them to fight communists appeared to be the only logical alternative. If the communists were great weakened by the bandits, then it would the nationalists would have easier time in their counterattacks to retake China. If the bandits were defeated, then the nationalists would have easier job to eradicate them later after retaking China. However, just like those , these bandits were only interested in keeping their own power also, and thus did not put any real efforts to fight the communists like some of the nationalists who were dedicated to their political cause. The eradication of bandits by the communist government only strengthened its popular support since previous governments dating back from Qing Dynasty had failed to do so.

The third strategic miscalculation made by the retreating nationalist government was similar to the second one, but this one was about its own troops left behind. The nationalist government face a dilemma: the highly disciplined troops were in desperate need to defend Taiwan, the last nationalist island sanctuary. The less disciplined second rate and undisciplined third rate troops were definitely not suited to be withdrawn to defend the last stand nationalists had made, and they were not given the top priority for evacuation. Instead, they were left behind to fight the communists behind the enemy line, but such move had alienated many of the troops left behind, and it was impossible to expect them to fight their communist enemy with the same kind of dedication like those nationalist agents who believed in their political cause. Compounding the problem, due to the need of bandits’ knowledge of local area, they were often rewarded with higher ranks than the nationalist troops left behind. As a result, the former-nationalist troops turned guerrilla fighters lacked any willingness to work together with the bandits they once attempted to exterminate, especially when many of the bandits had killed their comrades-in-arms earlier in the battles of eradications / pacifications. Many loyal nationalists were enraged by the fact that they had to serve under the former-enemy they once fought. Similarly, the bandits lacked the similar willingness and attempted to expend those nationalist troops whenever they could in order to save their own skin.

The fourth strategic miscalculation made by the retreating nationalist government was financial / economical: due to the lack of money, those bandits turned guerrillas were mostly provided with arms, but not sufficient supplies and money. The bandits turned guerrilla had no problem of looting the local population to get what they need, as they had done for decades, which inevitably drove the general popular support further into the communist side. The little financial support provided by the nationalist government was simply not enough to support such guerrilla and insurgency warfare on such a large scale. Another unexpected but disastrous result of the insufficient financial support was that it had greatly eroded the support of the nationalist government within its own ranks. The wealthy landowners and businessmen were the strong supporters of nationalist government and as their properties were confiscated by the communists and redistributed to the poor, their hatred toward the communist government was enough to cause many of them to stay behind voluntarily to fight behind the enemy line. However, the landowners and businessmen were also longtime victims of bandits due to their wealth, and suffered even more than the general populace. As these former landowners and businessmen turned guerrilla fighters were ordered to join their former bandits who once threatened, looted, kidnapped and even killed them and their relatives, it was obvious that such cooperation was in name only and cannot produce any actual benefits, and the alienation and discontent toward the nationalist government harbored by these once ardent nationalists would only grow greater.

Another problem for the nationalists was the strong disagreement among themselves over how to fight the war against their communist enemy. Military professionals preferred to fight a total war, incapacitate the enemy’s ability to fight, but this inevitably conflicted with the interest of another faction of strong supporters of the nationalist government: the landowners and businessmen, who joined bandits to oppose such tactic. The reason was that landowners and businessmen supporting and joining the nationalist guerrilla firmly believed that the nationalists would be able to retake mainland China within several years and they would be able to regain their lost lands, businesses, and other properties that were confiscated and redistributed to the poor by the communists. As the nationalist military professionals in the guerrilla suggested and destroyed the production facilities and businesses as part of the total war, the landowners and businessmen would not be able to regain any valuable properties after the return of the nationalist government because those properties had been destroyed. The bandits agreed with the businessmen and landowners to oppose the idea of total war for a different reason: when the properties were destroyed and productivity dropped, they would not be able to loot enough supply to survive. As a result, despite the animosities between the bandits and landowners and businessmen, they were united together in the opposition to the military professional faction of the nationalists.


In comparison to the nationalist, the communist goal was much simpler and focused: to exterminate all bandits, which was much easier to achieve than the conflicting strategic goal of nationalists. The communists also enjoyed another advantage in that their command was unified so that they could fight much more effectively in comparison to their nationalist adversary who was unified in name only, but fought independently, despite their impressive number totaled more than 1,160,000. Communists were also much better armed than their nationalist adversaries because due to the repaid retreat from mainland, nationalist government did not have enough time to train and equip the guerrillas left behind, and as a result, only roughly half of the guerrillas were armed with modern weaponry. Communists mobilized 63 divisions totaling over 41,000 troops and an additional 60,000 militia in the Central and Southern China Military Region to fight the local bandits in the regions including western Henan, western Hubei, southern Jiangxi, northeastern Jiangxi, western Hunan, southern Hunan, western Guangdong, northern Guangdong, Pearl River Delta, western Guangxi, southeastern Guangxi and the border region between Hubei, Anhui and Henan. The campaign in the central and southern China was actually consisted of several smaller campaigns including Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Danbieshan, Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Guangxi, Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Western Hunan, and Campaign to Suppress Bandits in the Border Region of Hunan-Hubei-Sichuan.


The communists planned their campaign in three stages, with the first lasting from May, 1949 thru November, 1949. Communist Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Guangdong Military Districts mobilized available regular and militia forces launched waves of offensive against bandits and by the end of the year, over 334,600 bandits were annihilated. After a brief relatively dormant period, the bandit guerrilla counterattacked in the spring of 1950. The communist high command of Central and Southern Military Region held a conference in March, 1950 to discuss the next step and decided to use three months to eradicate the bandits. Over forty thousand troop of Hunan Military District to eradicate bandits in western Hunan, Taifu Mountains in Changde and Dragon Mountain in Shaoyang, and by the end of June, 1950, over forty thousand bandits were killed. An equal number of bandits were killed in the same period of time in Pearl River Delta, and on coastal islands in Guangdong. Meanwhile, eight communist regiments of Guangxi Military District managed to kill over thirty thousand bandits in southeastern Guangxi.

In July, 1950, the bandit guerrillas became overly confident due to the outbreak of Korean War, believing that the communist regime would collapse because it was not match to the mighty USA, and it was time for massive offensive. The communist high command of Central and Southern Military Region held a second conference according and decided to reinforce Guangxi, and in Guangdong, concentrating on western and northern Guangdong. In western Hunan, two commands in the north and south would be formed to better coordinate the battles aimed to eradicate bandits in the border region of Hubei, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces. By the end of May, 1951, over half a million bandits were eradicated. This marked the end of conventional warfare which the bandit guerrilla could no longer launch and bandit guerrillas could no longer mass sufficient strength to launch any strikes that posed real danger to the communist regime. By the beginning of June, 1950, the campaign turned into purely counter guerrilla warfare. Communists strengthened their success by sending over thirty thousand cadres to the country side to support the land reform, and managed to won the support of most peasantry class. Communist further changed their tactics by forming over three thousand counter guerrilla teams and fought the bandit guerrilla with guerrilla warfare, and after a year, over seventy six thousand bandits were further eradicated.

On June 1, 1952, communists adjusted their tactic once more due to the progress made earlier, and the concentration turned into counterinsurgency warfare, with the responsibility transferred to police force. However, it must be noted that the Chinese police force at the time, the Public Security Army was a branch of regular army. By April, 1953, another seventeen thousand bandits were eradicated and finally, in June, 1953, all tasks were transferred to police force when communists declared that the campaign ended with the eradication over 1.16 million bandits in Central and Southern China.


Although sharing the common anti-communist goal, the nationalist guerrilla and insurgency warfare was largely handicapped by the enlistment of bandits, many of whom had fought and killed nationalist troops earlier in the eradication / pacification campaign, and compounded by the additional differences within the nationalist guerrilla, the nationalist guerrilla and insurgency warfare against its communist enemy failed. For the communists, in addition to the complete eradication of the bandits, another benefit of the campaign was obtaining a valuable source of tough soldiers: most bandits were captured and surrendered with a significant portion of them later joined People's Volunteer Army to fight in the Korean War, and facing the overwhelming superior firepower of UN, their performance was considered “heroic” and “brave” by the communists. However, due to obvious political reasons, their banditry past was carefully left out in the communist propaganda and it was not until in the late 1990s was the truth finally allowed to be publicized.

Cheeloo University

Cheeloo University was established by American Presbyterian, English Baptist, Anglican, and Canadian Presbyterian mission agencies in early 1900 in China.


1882, Calvin Wilson Matteer of American Presbyterians established Tengchow College in
Dengzhou , Shandong, China.

1884, British Baptists established Tsingchow Boy’s Boarding School, a Theological College, in Qingzhou, Shandong, China.

1902, the American Presbyterians and English Baptists agreed to combine their schools in Shandong, forming an Arts College at Weixian , a Theological College at Qingzhoufu , and a Medical College, in Jinan.

1909, the colleges were consolidated as Shantung Protestant University in Jinan. The campus was designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Perkins, Fellows and Hamilton. The main buildings were Bergen Science Hall for Chemistry and Biology; Mateer Science Hall for Physics and Physiology, McCormick Hall for administration, and the Kumler Memorial Chapel in the center.

1914, Cheeloo Hospital of Shantung Christian University was started to build and was completed in 1936.

1916 to 1923, the former Peking Union Medical College, the Medical Department of Nanking University, the Hankow Medical College, and the North China Union Medical College for Women all were moved to Jinan, combined to form the Cheeloo University School of Medicine.

1938-1945, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the University joined five other universities to form West China Union University.

1952, the University was dissolved. College of Medicine was merged with the Shantung Provincial Medical College and the resulting Shandong Medical College occupied the entire campus. The College of Science was merged with the new National University in Nanjing while the College of Theology joined Nanking Theological Seminary.

Notable alumni and faculty

*B.A. Garside, professor of education,
*Lao She ,

Menglianggu Campaign

The Menglianggu Campaign was a campaign fought between the and the during the Chinese Civil War in the post-World War II era and resulted in communist victory. The campaign was later used by the communists as a standard propaganda piece.


From March, 1947, nationalists abandoned their original plan of all-out assault on every communist position, instead, they adjusted their strategy to a much more realistic one: concentrating on attacking the communists in northern Shaanxi and Shandong. In the Shandong theater of war, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek named Gu Zhutong, the commander-in-chief of Republic of China Army as the commander-in-chief at the frontline, setting up his headquarter in Xuzhou. Gu Zhutong had 24 army-sized reorganized divisions totaling more than 60 -sized reorganized brigades at his command, totaling 450,000+ troops. Out of the 450,000+ troops, over 330,000+ in 17 army-sized reorganized divisions totaling more than 43 -sized reorganized brigades were deployed on the first line, organized into 3 corpses, the I, II, III Corpses, spearheaded by the three crack units of the nationalist forces: 11th Reorganized Division, the 74th Reorganized Division and the 5th Army. Out of the 3 corpses, the I Corps commanded by Tang Enbo was the largest and strongest of all, with near 200,000 troops in 8 army-sized reorganized divisions totaling more than 20 -sized reorganized brigades, and the I Corps was tasked with main assaults on the communists. Form late March, 1947 to mid April, 1947, nationalists succeeded taking control of the regions along the section of Jinpu railway from Xuzhou to Jinan, and the entire southern Shandong region.

The overconfident nationalists subsequently attacked the mountainous region in central Shandong in late April, 1947 but suffered a setback for their carelessness in Tai'an-Mengyin Campaign, losing over 24,000 troops. However, such setback was rather minor that it could be ignored: a mere 5% loss out of the total mighty force. The nationalist continued their original plan of push the arc-shaped frontline continuously deeper into central Shandong, and force the local communist force, the East China into a decisive battle in which the communist would be annihilated, or the communists would be forced to cross the Yellow River to flee north if they chose not to engage in such a battle. The nationalist I Corps would attack toward Yishui and Tanbu regions, and then join forces with the nationalist II and III corpses to attack northward and eastward, destroying the communist base in Shandong. Five nationalist armies were deployed in the region border by Qingdao – Jinan Railway, Jinpu Railway and Tai'an in the south to support the three nationalist corpses, and another two nationalist army-sized reorganized divisions were deployed in Yi County and Zaozhuang respectively as reserves.

Order of battle

The nationalists totaled three corpses with more than 400,000 troops while the communists totaled 10 near 200,000 troops.

order of battle

*The 5th Army
*The 7th Army
*The army-sized 11th Reorganized Division
*The army-sized 20th Reorganized Division
*The army-sized 25th Reorganized Division
*The army-sized 48th Reorganized Division
*The army-sized 65th Reorganized Division
*The army-sized 74th Reorganized Division
**The -sized 51st Reorganized Brigade
**The -sized 57th Reorganized Brigade
**The -sized 58th Reorganized Brigade
*The army-sized 83rd Reorganized Division
*Other nationalist units mobilized

order of battle

*The 1st of the East China
*The 2nd of the East China
*The 3rd of the East China
*The 4th of the East China
*The 6th of the East China
*The 7th of the East China
*The 8th of the East China
*The 9th of the East China
*The 10th of the East China
*The specialized of East China
*Other communist local garrison units


commanders included:
*Supreme Commander: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek
**Frontline Commander-in-chief: Gu Zhutong
***Corps Commander-in-chief: Tang Enbo
****Hu Lian : Commander of the 11th Reorganized Division
****Huang Botao : Commander of the 25th Reorganized Division
****Zhang Lingfu : Commander of the 74th Reorganized Division
****Li Tianxia : Commander of the 83rd Reorganized Division
*: Commander-in-chief and Commissar of the East China
**Su Yu: Deputy Commander-in-chief of the East China , the actual architecturer of the campaign
**Tan Zhenlin : Deputy Commissar of the East China
***Wang Bicheng : commander-in-chief of the 6th Column of the East China


The strategies of both sides had been changed from their original versions as the battles progressed.


After the destruction of the entire 72nd Reorganized Division in late April, 1947 in the Tai'an-Mengyin Campaign, nationalists became very cautious and concentrated their forces in their movements afterward. This new tactic resulted from the painful experience learned earlier was so successful that the communist plan of defeating the nationalist offensive in Shandong by first destroying a portion of the nationalist force in the center of the frontline could no longer be realized. On May 4, 1947, communist high command radioed the East China that since it was impossible to fight large nationalist formations because the nationalists had concentrated their forces, the current tactic of waiting for an appropriate opportunity was very good. As long as there was the patient, there would always be the opportunity to annihilate the enemy. Two days later, the communist high command once again radioed the East China on May 6, 1947 to instruct the local communists on several important points: Never be impatient and never separate the concentrated forces, because as long as the concentrated force are ready to be mobilized, there would always be the opportunity to destroy the enemy. In according to the communist high command, the local communist commanders redeployed their forces in early May, 1947 by withdrew their main force eastward to the region to the east of Laiwu and Xintai, while the communist 2nd and 7th Columns originally planned to deployed to central China were redeployed to withdrew to , and the communist 6th Column withdrew to Pingyi in southern Shandong. The communists were waiting to ambush the nationalist at the proper moment.

Chiang Kai-shek had erroneously believed that the communist retreat was a sign of weakness and they were no longer able to fight any decisive battles, so on May 10, 1947, he gave the order to pursuit the enemy for eradication. Gu Zhutong subsequently ordered the three nationalist corps under his command to gave a chase toward and Yishui . Tang Enbo, the commander-in-chief of the nationalist I Corps at the right flank abandoned the previously proven tactics of prudent push, and acted on his own without coordinate with the nationalist II Corps and III Corps by ordering the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division to advance toward Tanbu on May 11, 1947 from Peach Village and Duo Village, in an attempt to take control of the region along the highway from Yishui to Mengyin . To protect the flanks of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, Tang Enbo ordered the nationalist 7th Army and 48th Reorganized Division to advance toward Yishui in the north, and the nationalist 65th Reorganized Division to guard Mengyin . The resulting rushing had dangerously overexposed the advancing nationalist units.

Communist strategy

On May 11, 1947, communists learned that the nationalist 5th Army and 48th Reorganized Division had taken regions including Mia Family’s Bent and Border Lake by venturing out from Riverine Sun , and was advancing toward Yishui , thus was dangerously exposed. The communists decided to ambush these nationalist units and if possible, also ambush the nationalist reinforcement as well. After the order was already give, new intelligence revealed Tang Enbo’s plan and that the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was advancing toward Tanbu . Communist commanders of the East China immediately begun to analyze the situation and decided that it would be much better to first annihilate the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division because it was most dangerously exposed, and the gap between it and other nationalist units were the greatest, so it was easier to surround and destroy it. The commander of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, Zhang Lingfu was considered by many other nationalist commanders as arrogant because he was a favorite of Chiang Kai-shek and was not at the good terms with them, especially with Li Tianxia , the commander of the 83rd Reorganized Division. Furthermore, Zhang Lingfu ’s relationship with his direct superior Tang Enbo was not extremely smooth either, so the communist predicted that if the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was under attack, other nationalist commanders would not be too enthusiastic in saving it. The rugged terrain would limit the mobility of the mechanized nationalist force while communists could take the geographical advantages to hide and move their troops. The nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was one of the top five crack unit of the nationalist force, and once it was completely destroyed, it would be a huge psychological blow to the nationalist morale and good propaganda piece for the communists. Another political reason to destroy the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was that its commander, Zhang Lingfu had openly proclaimed his goal many times: to feed to fish by driven and his followers into the East China Sea. Communists were therefore determined to destroy their nemesis.

After the communists had changed their mind on their targets, they immediately ordered a redeployment of their forces in the morning of May 12, 1947: they would concentrate at least a total of five columns to destroy the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division in the region bordered by Menglianggu Mountains in the north and Tanbu in the south. Communist forces that were on their eastward march were ordered to immediately march in the opposite direction to the east of Mengyin for new tasks. Communist 1st, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th and the Specialized Columns were tasked to attack the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, while the communist 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 10th Columns and local communist militias would be tasked to prevent nationalist units including nationalist 5th and 7th Army, 11th, 25th, 48th, 65th, 83rd Reorganized Divisions from reinforcing the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division by blocking them in the regions including Xintai, Laiwu, Linyi, Lintai and Riverine Sun regions.

74th Reorganized Division besieged

On May 11, 1947, the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division begun their push northward from Duo Village under the cover of nationalist 25th and 83rd Reorganized Divisions, and by May 13, 1947, it succeeded in taking regions including Yang family’s Camp , Buddhist Mountain Cape and Horse Herding Pound , and planned to take Tanbu on May 14, 1947. At the dusk of May 13, 1947, the high command of communist East China ordered the communist 1st Column and 8th Column to take advantage of the local terrain and penetrate deep behind the enemy to sever the links between the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division and other nationalist units nearby. In the evening of May 13, 947, the communist 1st Column and 8th Column deployed a portion of their forces in front of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division for blocking actions, while the main forces outflanked the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division and penetrated into the nationalist line as planned. The 3rd Division of the communist 1st Column succeeded in taking Cao Village and highland to the north of the village, threatened Mengyin , and formed a defense position to block nationalist 65th Reorganized Division in the future to prevent it from reinforce the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division. The main force of the communist 1st Column succeeded in taking strategic positions including Yellow Dipper Peak Mountain , Yao Mountain, Celestial Horse Mountain , and Border Plaque, severed the link between the nationalist 74th and 25th Reorganized Divisions. The nationalist 25th Reorganized Division attempted to breakthrough, but its attempt was beaten back by the stubborn enemy and the nationalist 25th Reorganized Division was forced to withdraw back to Peach Village to regroup after suffering heavy casualties. The communist 8th Column divided its force into two portions, with a portion of the force taking strategic positions including Horizontal Mountain , Old Cat’s Nest to the southeast of Menglianggu mountains, while the main force taking strategic positions including Peach Blossom Mountain , Nose Mountain , and the Mountain of Heap of Rocks , thus successfully severed the link between the nationalist 74th and 83rd Reorganized Divisions as planned. Meanwhile, the communist 4th and 9th Column attack the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division head on, successfully checked the nationalist advance by taking regions including Yellow Deer Camp , Buddhist Mountain , Horse Herding Pound , Su Family’s Hotel . The communist 6th Column operating behind the enemy line in southern Shandong reached regions of Guanshang and White Wharf to the southwest of Duo Village from Copper Stone region in the morning of May 14, 1947 after a forced march.

When the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was first attacked by the enemy in the evening of May 13, 1947, the nationalists did not realize how grave the situation was going to be, and the nationalist commanders were still prepared to carryout their original plan of taking Tanbu on the next day. After nationalist commanders learnt on May 14, 1947 that nationalist strongholds including Celestial Horse Mountain , Horse Herding Pound and the Mountain of Heap of Rocks had fallen into the enemy hands, they became aware that the enemy was planning to surround and destroy the 74th Reorganized Division, which subsequently retreated toward Menglianggu Mountains and Duo Village. The communists chased after the nationalists retreating southward, with the communist 4th Column and 9th Column in the front, and after a night of battle, they succeeded in taking the region along Tang Family’s Valley and Zhao Family’s City . At dawn of May 15, 1947, Duo Village, the last nationalist stronghold had fallen into the hands of communist 6th Column . After fierce battle in the Menglianggu and Lu Mountains, the communist 8th Column succeeded in taking Ten Thousands Springs Mountain, thus linked up with communist 1st Column and 6th Column. By the end of May 15, 1947, the communist 1st, 6th and 8th Columns had succeeded in achieving their objective of completely cutting off the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, which was totally surrounded just like the communists had planned.

Intentions revealed

Although surprised that their 74th Reorganized Division was surrounded, the nationalists were not scared, in fact, they were joyful at first because this could present the opportunity they had been waiting for: a decisive battle in which their communist enemy would be annihilated by the numerically and technically superior nationalists attacking from both sides. The 74th Reorganized Division would be in the center surrounded by the communists, while another nine army-sized nationalist reorganized divisions would be surrounding the communists in another siege. The nationalists believed that the 74th Reorganized Division was tough enough to withstand communist assaults and hold on to the final nationalist counterassault in which they would attack from both sides of the communists and annihilate the communists. The nationalist high command therefore ordered the 74th Reorganized Division to take its position in the Menglianggu mountains and wait for reinforcement. The main peak of Menglianggu mountains extended northwestward toward Mount 540, which was consisted of the eastern and western halves, and at the extreme northwestern end, there was Mount 520. The region named Eagle’s Nest was located in the east and Lu Mountain was located in the southeast. Wen River was to the north and Linyi – Mengfang Highway was located 4 km to the south. The mountain range was around 10 km in the east – west direction and there was no trees grown. There was not much grass either and water sources were nearly nonexistent. However, the nationalists believed these would not be a problem because reinforcement would arrive soon, but little did they know that the development of battles in the latter stage of the campaign was totally different. To reinforce the besieged 74th Reorganized Division, the nationalist high ordered nearby nationalist units to rapidly closing the distance between themselves and the Menglianggu mountains, including: the 11th Reorganized Division from Xintai, the 65th Reorganized Division from Mengyin , the 25th Reorganized Division from at Peach Village , the 83rd Reorganized Division from at Green Camel Temple , the 7th Army from at Riverine Sun , the 48th Reorganized Division from at Soup Head , the 5th Army from Laiwu. The 20th Reorganized Division from Dawenkou was order to go to Mengyin , while other nationalist units from second line were also mobilized, in the hope of annihilating the communist in a decisive campaign in the regions of Mengyin and Green Camel Temple regions.

After the failed attempt to breakout in the south, the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division withdrew to the Menglianggu mountains. The three regiments of the 58th Reorganized Brigade of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was tasked respectively to secure the main peak of the Menglianggu mountains, Eagle’s Nest and Lu Mountain. The 51st Reorganized Brigade of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was to secure Mount 520 and Mount 540, while the 57th Reorganized Brigade of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was to secure Mount 570 . Zhang Lingfu setup his headquarter of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was on the eastern half of Mount 540, and repeatedly asked the nationalist high command for reinforcements. Chiang Kai-shek believed that this was an excellent opportunity to annihilate the communist East China in a decisive campaign, so he ordered RoCAF to airdrop supplies to the besieged nationalists, and also ordered a total of ten army-sized nationalist reorganized divisions spearheaded by the 25th Reorganized Division and 83rd Reorganized Division to reinforce the besieged nationalists. As a result, the strategies of both sides became obvious to the opposing forces: the communists intended to destroy the besieged nationalist 74th Reorganized Division while avoiding being attacked and wiped out from both fronts, while the nationalists intended to attack their enemy from both fronts, using their besieged force as a bait, which would held out long enough for the reinforcement to arrive. However, besieged nationalists could not hold as long as they were hoped to, because of the difficult landscape: the vegetation was sparse and there was not any water source. The rugged terrain meant that it was nearly impossible for the nationalist defenders to build any fortification and thus they were directly exposed to the enemy fire, suffering huge casualties. To compound the problem, most if not all heavy weaponries had to be abandoned because they could not be carried to the mountain tops. Furthermore, due to the lack of water, the water-cool machine guns could not function properly even after they were carried up to the mountain tops. The airdrop was completely insufficient to fulfill the daily need of the besieged force either.

The critical minute

Chiang Kai-shek ordered nearby nationalist forces to do their best to save the besieged 74th Reorganized Division, but the communists were aided by the internal fights among the nationalists. Li Tianxia , the commander of the nationalist 83rd Reorganized Division was a personal foe of Zhang Lingfu , the commander of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, and he was not willing to commit fully to save his foe. In addition, Li Tianxia was very worried that the communists were using the besieged nationalist division as a bait to annihilate his own force, since his own division was not as tough as the 74th Reorganized Division, which could withstand the communist onslaught and survive. If Li Tianxia ’s 83rd Reorganized Division were to be ambushed on the way in the open without any fortification on its way to save the besieged nationalist force, it would be certain that his weaker division would be completely destroyed. As a result, Li Tianxia only sent out a single regiment in a symbolic move, and just as he had expected, this regiment was completely destroyed by the waiting enemy. In contrast, the nationalist 25th Reorganized Division under the command of Huang Botao ventured out in full strength to carryout Chiang Kai-shek’s order, and by May 14, 1947, they had reached the Yellow Cliff Mountain, which was a merely 6 km away from Menglianggu region, the last natural barrier. Both sides were keenly aware that whoever controlled the Yellow Cliff Mountain would decide the outcome of the campaign, and both sent out their crack troop to take the commanding peak of the mountain.

The 16th Division of the communist 6th Column was tasked with capturing and securing the Yellow Cliff Mountain, and its 48th Regiment was the vanguard. After a forced march with troops had to eat and even sleep while on the march, the communist 48th Regiment finally reached the eastern foothill of Yellow Cliff Mountain. At the same time, a detachment of the nationalist 25th Reorganized Division also reached the western foothill of Yellow Cliff Mountain. The 9th Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 48th Regiment of the 16th Division of the communist 6th Column under its commander Zhai Zuguang scaled the cliff from the eastern slope, and after approximately 50 minutes, the communist company successfully occupied the commanding heights and other positions on the peak. Meanwhile, the nationalists were only 30 meters away, a minute of climbing, but very unfortunately, they were just a minute too late. The communist company immediately opened up everything they had, pouring dense fire power onto the approaching nationalists who almost succeeded, but was forced to make a hasty retreat after suffering dozen fatalities under enemy fire, and the Yellow Cliff Mountain would be firmly remain in the communist hand for the rest of the campaign. While the 48th Regiment of the 16th Division of the communist 6th Column maintained the firm control of the Yellow Cliff Mountain, adjacent positions including Ferocious Tiger and Ten Thousands Springs Mountains were firmly in the hands of the rest units of the 16th Division of the communist 6th Column. Although the nationalists launched attacks on the communist positions with battalions and regiments, all of them were successfully repelled. When Wang Bicheng , the commander of communist 6th Column recalled the situation in an interview 32 years later in Wuhan, he still expressed the fear and appreciation of the communist luck: had the communists were a minute late and the nationalists were a minute earlier, the outcome of the Menglianggu Campaign would be quite different. Su Yu, the commander of East China who directed the campaign also expressed the same feeling numerous times.

Fall of the nationalist headquarter

Realizing that they were being in endangered being surrounded from behind, as well as facing counterassault in front if 74th Reorganized Division was not destroyed immediately, the communists decided that they must destroy the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division in time, at all cost, so the communists launched their general assault in the afternoon of May 15, 1947. The communist redeployed their forces, with the communist 1st Column in the west, the communist 4th Column in the north, the communist 6th Column in the south, the communist 8th Column in the north, and the communist 9th Column in the northeast, attacking the besieged nationalist 74th Reorganized Division at five fronts simultaneously. Realizing that the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was in danger of being wiped out if reinforcement could not arrive in time, in the morning of May 16, 1947, Chiang Kai-shek personally issued another order once again to demand the 10 nationalist army-sized reorganized divisions reinforcing the besieged nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, but progress was extremely slow and by the fastest speed, it would still take days according the progress already made: the advance of 8 army-sized reorganized divisions and 2 division-sized brigades that were closest to the besieged 74th Reorganized Division were all completely checked in the morning of May 16, 1947 by the communist forces deployed on their ways to blocking them. The battles at Mengliangu region were fierce after the communist launched their general assault in the afternoon of May 15, 1947, with most positions changing hands multiple times.

The communist 4th Column first took Mount 330, and then took the region in between Mount 520 and the western half of Mount 540, thus successfully cutting off the retreating route of the nationalists. Realizing the dangerous situation, the nationalists launched several counterattacks, but all were beaten back with stubborn enemy resistance. With the reinforcements from the communist 1st Column and 9th Column, the communist 4th Column further attacked and took Mount 520 by midnight, killing most of the defenders. The surviving nationalist defenders of Mount 520 fled to Mount 540, but the communists would not give them a break and continued their attack on Mount 540. A detachment of the communist 4th Column scaled the cliff of the western half of Mount 540 and outflanked the defenders and launched a surprise attack. The surprised nationalist defenders could not react in time and rapidly fled toward eastern half of Mount 540, and the nationalist commander Zhang Lingfu was unable to stop his fleeing troops and his headquarter was dangerously exposed to the fire of the attacking enemy. Although the nationalist commander was able to make his timely retreat just in time from the eastern half of Mount 540 with rest of his staffs when he was forced to relocate his headquarter to Mount 570, but due to the heavy casualties of staff officers, the remaining headquarter was only a mere fraction of what it once was and could not function normally anymore like it used to. At the dawn of May 16, 1947, the nationalists counterattacked the western half Mount 540 held by the communists in waves under fire cover, and the strength of their attack forces eventually grew to regimental size from the original company size. Communist troops of the 4th Column guarding the mount were exhausted and the nationalists seemed to be able to achieve their objective. At the last moment, communist reinforcement from the 1st Column and 4th Column arrived just in time, and successfully destroyed the counterattacking nationalist forces. The nationalists, however, were able to successfully driven back the communist attacks headed by the communist 9th Column to the eastern half of Mount 540, but they were unable to prevent the communist 6th Column and 8th Column from attacking toward Lu Mountain after successfully destroying nationalist forces in the area.

The communist 9th Column launched another offensive simultaneously against the eastern half of Mount 540, Mount 570, and the main peak of Menglianggu mountains, with a portion of its force attacking the nationalists held eastern half of Mount 540 from the north and northeast, and the remaining forces attack the other two positions in the nationalist hands. By this time, the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division became disorganized and most units were fighting on their own after losing direct contact with the divisional headquarter over the phone, and orders and reports had to be sent via couriers and the few remaining radios. Due to the close proximity of the opposing sides and rapid enemy advance, the supplies and ammunitions airdropped by the nationalist air force in this stage of the war mostly landed on communist positions. The communists also utilized the prisoners-of-wars to operate the newly captured heavy artilleries pieces from the nationalists. The captured nationalist artillery crew was reluctant at the first and shelled the communist force attacking the nationalist position instead. After one of the artillery crew was executed in front of others, the prisoners-of-wars dared not to play anymore tricks and every round landed on its mark. By the 8:00 am of May 16, 1947, with nationalists strongholds at Eagle’s Nest and Lu Mountain falling into the enemy hands’, all nationalist positions on the surface with the exception of Mount 540 had fallen, and most of the defenders were forced into caves. At 1:00 pm, the communist 4th Column gathered five mountain guns and bombarded the eastern half Mount 540 while infantries advanced toward the nationalists held eastern half from the west. Meanwhile, the communist 6th Column also attacked the eastern half mount from the south. By 2:00 pm, Mount 540 had fallen and the nationalist 51st Brigade was completely destroyed. Meantime, units of the communist 6th Column and 8th Column cleared out the remaining nationalist defenders in their caves of Lu Mountain, completely destroying the surviving 3,000 troops of the nationalist 58th Brigade.

commander’s death

When communist sent one of Zhang Lingfu ’s own distant relative sent to request his surrender, Zhang Lingfu refused and had his distant relative executed. The communists consequently sent captured nationalist prisoners-of-wars back to continue to request Zhang Lingfu ’s surrender, but the nationalist commander stubbornly refused and wanted to have them executed as well, but, Zhang Lingfu ’s subordinates convinced him not to execute anyone anymore because it would only serve the enemy as their propaganda pieces. However, the inevitable end was near. After learning the nationalist commander refused to surrender, the communists organized several assault teams to charge the nationalist commander’s hideout. Each communist assault team consisted of seven members, and a communist squad commander of the 2nd company of the 1st Battalion of the 69th Regiment of the 23rd Division of the East China named Ge Zhaotian was among the last assault team that finally reached their destination after all previous communist assault teams were killed. After fierce battle, the communist assault team only consisted of three members led by a deputy platoon commander when they reached the outside of the cave where Zhang Lingfu ’s headquarter was located, and requested the nationalists inside to surrender. As others went out the cave to surrender, Zhang Lingfu emptied his last magazine of ammunition on the communists, severely wounded the communist deputy platoon commander. This enraged the communists who fired back, and as Zhang Lingfu was fleeing further into the cave, he was shot and killed along with several other nationalists by the submarine gun fire from the communist squad commander Ge Zhaotian in the assault team. The surviving nationalists shouted to the communist to stop firing because they would indeed surrender and threw out their weapons, and a total of eighty-three survivors came out hiding from the cave and nearby areas , all were captured alive and led away to the prisoner-of-war camps.

By this time, the communist reinforcement led by a deputy divisional commander named Dai Wenxian arrived, and seeing Zhang Lingfu ’s cadaver, the communist deputy commander was very upset because capturing the nationalist commander alive would be much bigger and better political propaganda, and that was exactly how communists had wanted, so Dai Wenxian asked angrily:”Who shot him? And Why?” Not knowing the nationalist officer killed was Zhang Lingfu , Ge Zhaotian angrily shouted back at his deputy divisional commander:”Why wouldn’t I shoot him when he was shooting at me? I would shoot back even if he was Chiang Kai-shek!” The communist deputy divisional commander could not say anything more and had to excuse his soldier by asking him to help other to march the prisoners-of-war down the slope. Ge Zhaotian did not find out that he had killed Zhang Lingfu until years later. One of Zhang Lingfu ’s bodyguard named Zhu Fanyou joined the communists after the campaign and became Ge Zhaotian ’s good friend after being assigned to the same squad. The two participated together in the remaining of the Chinese Civil War and Korean War, and then stationed together at Niechangshan Fortification. In was only during this period when Zhu Fanyou finally revealed to Ge Zhaotian that the nationalist commander he killed was Zhang Lingfu . Although Zhang Lingfu ’s action well qualified him as a nationalist martyr, the nationalist regime honored its martyr in a different way by claiming that he committed suicide instead, as described in the eulogy titled “A summons to arms of Painfully mourning the 74th Division” wrote by Chiang Kai-shek, who claimed that over 20 nationalist commanders had committed suicide, while in reality, most of them were all killed in action on the frontline during the fierce fight against the enemy.


After the news of their commander’s death was known, the nationalist morale collapsed completely and the battle soon ended in the cloudy afternoon on May 16, 1947. The communist had fired over 33,000 rounds of artillery shells on the nationalist position at Menglianggu , a shock to the nationalists who believed their communist enemy lacked artilleries and could not achieve such dense firepower. As the communist units reported the nationalist casualties, the total number did not add up right: there was a difference around 10,000 between the sum and the supposed strength of the nationalist Reorganized 74th Division. Su Yu ordered all communist units to search the battlefield again, and it was soon discovered that nationalist survivors were quietly hidden in a valley between the main peak of Menglianggu and Mount 570, waiting for the communists withdraw from the battlefield so that they would be linked up with the nationalist reinforcement afterward. These nationalist troops were observed earlier by various communist units at the higher ground but all mistakenly believed that they were the friendly forces. As the communist 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th Columns approached the surviving nationalists who had run out ammunition, water and supplies, the only option the surviving nationalists had was to surrender and there was not much of a fight, and by 5:00 pm on May 16, 1947, the campaign was over.

While the battles were raging on at Menglianggu region, other communist formations fighting in other areas had also successfully achieved their objectives of stopping the nationalist reinforcements. The communist 10th Column checked the advance of the nationalist 5th Army near Laiwu, and the communist 3rd Column checked the advance of the nationalist Reorganized 11th Division at the Xintai – Mengyin Highway. The communist 2nd and 7th Columns checked the advance of the nationalist Reorganized 48th Division and the 83rd Division at the region of Green Camel Temple , with the nationalist 83rd Division losing an entire regiment totaling around 1,000, half of the casualties nationalist reinforcement suffered. Other local communist militias threatened Linyi, preventing the nationalists sending additional reinforcements. Under the orders from Gu Zhutong and Chiang Kai-shek, the nationalist reinforcements tried hard to reach the besieged Reorganized 74th Division, with some of the reinforcement reached within 5 km of Menglianggu , but due to the stubborn enemy resistance, the nationalist advance was finally checked and the fate of the besieged nationalists were sealed. The communist victory was also due to its ability to mobilize 200,000 civilian to support their war effort, a number greater than the actual number of combatants the communists could muster.


Unlike most other nationalist generals killed by the communists during the Chinese Civil War, the Zhang Lingfu was buried with full military honor after then campaign by his communist enemy, who had recognized his capability and contribution during Second Sino-Japanese War. Zhang Lingfu was given the same treatment as the communist commanders of equal rank, though the funeral was not as elaborate as that of nationalists due to the communists’ lack of material wealth at the time: nobody could find a new, good and clean nationalist uniform for the general and getting one from the nationalists were certainly out of the question, so Zhang Lingfu was buried with a new communist uniform instead. In an unprecedented move, the communists also allowed Zhang Lingfu ’s nine subordinates captured in the campaign, including a brigade commander with the rank of major general and eight regimental colonels, to participated in Zhang Lingfu ’s funeral. The nationalist commander’s funeral ceremony was held by Xie Shensheng , the deputy political director of the political directorate of the 6th Column of the communist East China , who would have an equal rank had the military ranking system existed in the communist force. Zhang Lingfu ’s widow eventually returned to China and settled in Shanghai after the communist takeover, where she spent rest of her life. Chiang Kai-shek personally ordered Tang Enbo to be removed from his post and Li Tianxia , the commander of the nationalist 83rd Reorganized Division court-martialed as the failure to save the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division.

The result of the campaign was a serious blow to the nationalist morale and a great piece of communist propaganda. The communists met the enemy with both the technical and numerical superiority head on, and the entire nationalist Reorganized 74th Division, one of the top five nationalist crack troop units, was completely lost with 12,000 of its 30,000 troops killed and the remaining 18,000 captured. The nationalist reinforcement also suffered 2,000+ fatalities averaging 500 fatalities per day in the four-day long campaign. The nationalist internal power struggle played an important role in the nationalist defeat because most nationalist commanders felt that Zhang Lingfu was too arrogant that when he asked the help from other nationalist commanders with higher rank, he acted if he was giving out orders to those ranked above him. Zhang Lingfu ‘s direct superior, Tang Enbo, for example, was scolded by his subordinate Zhang Lingpu in a heated argument over the telephone and Tang was so enraged by the action of his subordinate that he withheld his troops for an entire day, providing the opportunities for the communists to regroup and strength their defense against the nationalist reinforcement. Zhang Lingfu was certainly more capable than most nationalist commanders of his time and he and his troops were proud of it, however, Zhang Lingfu and many of his troops chose not to carefully hide their feelings and openly exhibit the feeling, and others were obviously resentful, resulting in the lack of enthusiasm to help Zhang Lingfu when he needed.

The nationalist “Plan of a Decisive Campaign in Central Shandong” was in fact, a good battle strategy, as agreed even by their communist enemy, but the nationalist defeat meant that the nationalist original plan of annihilating their communist enemy in a decisive battle was impossible to reach, and the nationalist offensives against communist base in Shandong had encountered a serious setback. The effect not only affected the battlefield in Shandong, but also to a great degree, other battlefields as well, such as that of northern Shaanxi. Had the nationalist reinforcements succeeded in rescuing their besieged comrades-in-arms, they would have also succeeded in annihilating the enemy’s main force. In this campaign, the nationalist top commanders performed well in that they had correctly adjusted their strategies according to the changing situation on the battlefield, almost succeeding in achieve their strategic objective, but unfortunately, the field commanders were unable to carry out their mission to the fullest and thus resulting in failure.