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Coordinates: 34°33′26.39″N 117°43′50.70″E / 34.5573306°N 117.73075°E / 34.5573306; 117.73075

Battle of Tai'erzhuang
Part of the Second Sino-Japanese War
Taierzhuang.jpg
House-to-house fighting in Tai'erzhuang
Date evening of 24 March 1938¹ - 7 April 1938
Location Taierzhuang (Shandong), Pizhou (Jiangsu)
Result Chinese decisive victory
Belligerents
Republic of China Army Flag.svg National Revolutionary Army
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Volunteer Group
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army,
North China Area Army, 2nd Army
Commanders
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Li Zongren
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Han Fuju
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Pang Bingxun
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Sun Lianzhong
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Han Deqin
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Bai Chongxi
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Sun Zhen
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Tang Enbo
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Wang Mingzhang
Republic of China Army Flag.svg Zhang Zizhong
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Rensuke Isogai (10th Division)
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Itagaki Seishiro (5th Division)
Strength
100,000 troops in 10 Divisions 30,000 troops in 2 divisions
Casualties and losses
minimal 16,000

The Battle of Tai'erzhuang (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: pinyin: Tái'érzhūang Huìzhàn) was a battle of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938, between armies of Chinese Kuomintang and Japan, and is sometimes considered as a part of Battle of Xuzhou.

Tai'erzhuang is located on the eastern bank of the Grand Canal of China and was a frontier garrison northeast of Xuzhou. It was also the terminus of a local branch railway from Lincheng. Xuzhou itself was the junction of the Jinpu Railway (Tianjin-Pukou) and the Longhai Railway (Lanzhou-Lianyungang) and the headquarters of the KMT's 5th War Zone.

The battle involved a Japanese plan to conquer Xuzhou, a major city in the East. However, the Japanese failed to consider the plans of generals Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi, who planned to encircle the Japanese in the town of Tai'erzhuang. The Japanese operation started on 24 March. Overconfidence led the Japanese commanders to overlook as well the thousands of indiscriminate "farmers" in the area, who infiltrated and cut communication lines and supplies, diverted streams, and ruined rail lines. By late March, supplies and fuels were being dropped from airplanes to Japanese troops, but the quantities were insufficient.

On March 29, 1938, a small band of Japanese soldiers tunneled under Tai'erzhuang's walls in an attempt to take the city from within. They were caught by the Chinese defenders and killed. Over the next week, both sides claimed to hold parts of the city and surrounding area, and many were killed in small arms battles.

Finally, the Japanese attacked frontally, failing to consider the greater Chinese numbers. A major encirclement on April 6, with Chinese reinforcements, preceded a major Japanese retreat, which the Chinese failed to capitalize upon through pursuit due to a lack of mobility.

Amid the celebrations in Hankow and other Chinese cities, Japan denied and ridiculed the reports of the battle for days. It was reported in the world's newspapers, however, and by mid-April had provoked a Cabinet crisis in Tokyo.

The Chinese scored a major victory, the first of the Nationalist alliance in the war. The battle broke the myth of Japanese military invincibility and resulted in an incalculable benefit to Chinese morale.

References

  • 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. 221-230. Map. 9-1
  • Taierzhuang Campaign

External links

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