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Battle of Kunlun Pass
Part of the Battle of South Guangxi
Date 18 December 1939 – 11 January 1940
Location Suburbs of Nanning, Guangxi
Result Decisive Chinese victory
Republic of China National Revolutionary Army, China War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svgImperial Japanese Army, Japan
Republic of ChinaXu Tingyau(徐庭瑤)

Republic of China Du Yuming

War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svgMasao Nakamura 
5th corps 40,000
T-26 M1933 tanks 80
CV-33 tankettes 20
5th division (particularly the 21st Brigade)
Casualties and losses
≤9000[1] 8000

The Battle of Kunlun Pass (simplified Chinese: 昆仑关战役traditional Chinese: 崑崙關戰役pinyin: Kūnlúnguān Zhànyì) was a series of struggles between the Japanese and the Chinese in contention for Kunlun Pass.

In this battle, the National Revolutionary Army used the largest recorded number of tanks in the Second Sino-Japanese War.


The battle

The Imperial Japanese army launched a major offensive into Guangxi province. With the objective to cut off the Chinese supply route from French-controlled Vietnam, the elite Japanese 5th division spearheaded the Japanese offensive. After occupying Nanning in November 1939, the Japanese captured the key point of Kunlun pass and threatened the Chinese rear base that protected Chungking, the wartime capital. Realizing the danger of being isolated from the outside world and impossible to receive more aid if the Japanese troops were not repulsed, General Bai Chongxi, himself a native of Guangxi, asked the Nationalist Government to send reinforcement. Chiang Kai-shek in turn dispatched the 5th corps from Hunan province to fight the Japanese.

The 5th corps was the most elite unit in the NRA, and it is also the only Chinese unit that had tanks and armored vehicles. Its soldiers were combat-hardened veterans from previous battles against the Japanese troops, and its soldiers' morale was high as a result. General Du Yuming, commander of the 5th corps, dispatched two divisions to attack the Japanese-held Kunlun Pass. The new 22nd Division had cut off Japanese reinforcement from the rear and killed the Japanese commander, Major General Masao Nakamura. The most elite unit of the Japanese 5th division, the 21st Brigade, was wiped out in the battle. The Brigade had also participated in the Russo-Japanese War, and it was nicknamed the "unbreakable sword". Before General Nakamura's death, he admitted in his diary that the Chinese soldiers' fighting ability had surpassed the Russians whom the Brigade encountered in Manchuria.

Order of battle



  • 5th Corps
    • 200th Division Commander Dai Anlan (戴安瀾)
    • 1st Honor Division
    • New 22nd Division


  • 21st Brigade / 5th Division
    • 21st Infantry Regiment
    • 42nd Infantry Regiment
  • Cavalry Regiment / 5th Division
  • 5th Artillery Regiment / 5th Division
  • Two Regiments / Taiwan Mixed Brigade


In the Military of the Republic of China (Taiwan), its tank troops continue to sing a song in memory of the Chinese victory.[citation needed]


  • Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of The Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) 2nd Ed. ,1971. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung , Chung Wu Publishing; 33, 140th Lane, Tung-hwa Street, Taipei, Taiwan Republic of China. Pg. 311-318, Pg. 325-327,
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, China 1:250,000, Series L500, U.S. Army Map Service, 1954- . Topographic Maps of China during the Second World War.
    • These two maps cover the area where most of the fighing went on in the Guangxi campaign:
    • Lai-Pin nf49-1, has the Kunlun Pass just above where the road from Nanning enters the map:
    • Nanning nf49-5

External links

Topographic Maps


  1. ^


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