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Sun Yuanliang
Nickname The Flying General
Place of birth Chengdu,Sichuan Province
Place of death Taipei,Taiwan
Allegiance Flag of the Republic of China Republic of China
Years of service 1924-1949
Rank General
Unit first corps
Commands held 88th Division,72nd Corps,16th Army
Battles/wars Northern Expedition, Second Sino-Japanese War, Huaihai Campaign
Awards Order of Blue Sky and White Sun
Other work general manager, author, enterpreneur, businessman

Sun Yuanliang (traditional Chinese: 孫元良pinyin: Sūn Yúanlíang) (1904 – May 25, 2007) was a general of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China. Sun was the last surviving member of the first graduating class of the Whampoa Military Academy, as well as the last surviving army-level commander of the Second Sino-Japanese War. His career spanned the January 28 Incident (1932 Shanghai war), Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Chinese Civil War.[1]


Early life and career

Sun was born in Chengdu,Sichuan Province in 1904. From 1922 to 1924 He studied in the University of Nanjing then transferred to University of Beijing. His Uncle, General Sun Zhen helped him to secure an appointment in the newly formed Whampoa Military Academy. He performed bravely in the Northern Expedition and Chiang Kai Shek sent him to study in Japan. Sun attended the Imperial Military Academy in Japan and returned home in 1928, He was appointed as the first commander of the elite German trained 88th Division. In 1934, He and General Tang Enbo succeed in surrounding the Jiangxi Soviet area and cut off their retreat route to the south and he was promoted to lieutenant general.

Second Sino-Japanese War

In the 1932 Japanese invasion of Shanghai, Sun led his division to defeat the Japanese at Miaoxingzhen (廟行鎮), in what the media billed as the first Chinese military victory over Japan. When full-scale war broke out between China and Japan in 1937, Sun led his 88th Division in the Battle of Shanghai.[1] He personally gave the order to regimental commander Xie Jinyuan to hold onto the Sihang Warehouse at the conclusion of the three-month battle. During the Battle of Nanjing in December 1937, he and his troops were surrounded by nearly a quarter of a million Japanese troops, Sun's superior, General Tang Shengzhi fled the city without given his commanders any clear instructions on a possible breakout. Sun was forced to abandon his post during the ensuring chaos and survived the Rape of Nanjing by disguise as a local brothel owner. Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek reluctantly suspended him for two month and Sun did not receive another command until 1939. In 1944, the Imperial Japanese Army under Field Marshal Hata Shunroku launched Operation Ichigo, the largest military offensive against the nationalist government since the Battle of Wuhan, most of China's best troops were in Yunnan and Burma, and over half million Japanese soldiers attacked major railroad links and large cities, and the vanguard of the Japanese Eleventh Army were only 150 miles from Chongqing itself. President Chiang Kai Shek dispatched nine hundred men of General Sun's 29th corps to the south of Chongqing and they drove away the two regiments of the Japanese 3rd Infantry Division despite complete numerical and technological inferiority. Sun was promoted to General and commander of the 16th army. President Chiang Kai Shek personally bestowed the Order of Blue Sky and White Sun upon him.

Chinese Civil War

After the war against Japan was over, he was named garrison commander of Chongking and Nanjing, while keeping the command of the 16th army. He participated early successful campaigns against the communist forces along with his old classmates,they were Du Yuming, Fan Hanjie, Hu Lian and Liu Yujian. The communists lost all of their holdings in Central and Eastern China expect Shangdong and Henan Provinces. In November 1948, the determining battle of the Chinese Civil War, the Huaihai Campaign broke out. Due the to poor leadership of General Liu Chih, one of the least effective Kuomingtang commanders and major security breaches caused by communist moles, General Sun's troops were encircled by the communist Eastern China Field Army commanded by General Su Yu. As a seasoned veteran, he urged General Du Yuming, the deputy commander of the nationalist troops to break out before it is too late. Du, being a noted Chiang loyalist, decided to wait for reinforcement as Chiang have ordered. So Sun decided to breakout on his own, his 16th army was destroyed by the communist troops, but he made it safely to Nanjing in 1948. Chiang again appointed him as commander of the 16th army and tasked to reorganize his unit. In 1949, while he was defending Shicuan province from communist attack, many of his officers went to the communists. Sun was forced to resign as army commander and retired shortly after following Chiang Kai-Shek to Taiwan.[1]

He died at the age of 103 on May 25, 2007 in Taiwan.


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