Pages Menu

Categories Menu

Posted on Jun 10, 2007 in Front Page Features, War College

The Huaihai Campaign

By Joshua Gilbert

Meanwhile in the Nationalist camp the situation had become one of despair. In the course of the running battle with the forces of the ECFA one third of the Army Group had been destroyed, leaving Du Yuming with just two armies. In addition he had become encircled and cut off except by air, his armies trapped in the area of Chenguanzhuang. Due to Li Yannian’s withdrawal any hope of a combined break out was lost. A furious set of back and forth meetings between Du and Jiang Jieshi resulted in a bold plan being laid out for a break out.  Du Yuming however had already given up hope of escape, and was intent on digging in and waiting. What Du wanted was for Jiang to order a massive offensive that would sweep the Communists away. But Jiang could not, would not, order such an attack. By this time the halt had been called by the PLA, coinciding near perfectly with a freak snowstorm that brought all food drops to Chenguanzhuang to a halt. Freezing cold and now slowly starving the remaining Nationalist soldiers make an easy target for the new propaganda campaign that was launched.

{default}

Su Yu presented surrender terms on December 17th which was met by silence by Du and his staff, but the common soldiers began deserting en masse. This continued for several days on end, with the tempo increasing by the 28th as the success of the propaganda was beyond what anyone thought possible, on either side.  The air drops resumed the next day when the freak storm finally passed, but he had already lost nearly half of his effective force. In the Communist camp they had been busy with the work reorganizing their ranks, preparing for a renewed offensive. In contrast to the NRA troops the troops of the CPFA and ECFA were now rested and many units had been reinforced, either with new volunteers from Shandong, or with Nationalist deserters. On January 1st Nanjing called for a peaceful end to the civil war, asking for Mao to come to the negotiating table. But Jiang had no intent to talk, and once again brought pressure on Du. The breakout was planned for January 6th, ironically the same day that Su Yu would give the order to begin the last offensive against the Chenguanzhuang pocket.

The campaign was over. At dusk on January 6th the ECFA began the last offensive of the Huaihai Campaign with a massive artillery barrage. Under this barrage the Communist troops were able to take many villages along the edge of the pocket, in the sector held by the 13th Army. Du Yuming had been caught completely off guard by this attack and decided to turtle in until the fighting subsided – which was exactly what Su Yu wanted him to do. The following morning the Communist advance, spearheaded by the 3rd and 10th Columns, focused on the village of Qinglongji. This attack triggered the mass collapse of the 13th Army, and by the end of the day the once mighty force had been reduced to a few remnants taking cover with the 2nd Army. This success came as a surprise to both sides, Su Yu estimated the battle to take a week, Du Yuming had effectively lost control of his own men. From this point the 2nd Army and whatever remained of the 13th, acted alone and this prompted Qiu Qingquan to try a breakout to the west.

On January 8th the attack continued to progress and all attempts by the 2nd Army to somehow find away to break out of the pocket failed. By the 9th Communist forces had reached the outskirts of Chenguanzhuang, forcing Du and Qiu to abandon the town and flee for nearby Chenzhuang. That night one last attempt to break out was planned by the remaining NRA staff. Under the cover of night the 2nd Army and all other remnants of the Nationalist cause in Xuzhou made a mad dash to the west. It failed completely. The Communist forces had been prepared for a such a move, as Du had once before managed to fool them with a night advance. Because of their training the PLA forces were able to fight the Nationalists in the dark, and by dawn, January 10th, the 2nd Army had ceased to exist and Du was captured alive. The battle formally ended by that afternoon, when the last stragglers were eliminated. The long Huaihai Campaign had ended, the back of the cause of the Guomindang had been broken.

In the aftermath of the great campaign much happened. With the complete victory of the People’s Liberation Army in the Huaihai Campaign the Communists won a major victory. For the first time they had met and destroyed a Nationalist force out in the open in conventional warfare. Five full armies were destroyed in the course of Huaihai, 550,000 men were either killed or captured. Because of this the GMD would be unable to muster a sizable force against the Communist advance ever again. This was sealed by the surrender of Fu Zuoyi barely a month later. Nanjing fell to the renamed 2nd Field Army and 3rd Field Army (the CPFA and ECFA respectively) on April 23rd, just two days after the offensive began. As for the GMD the defeat at Huaihai crippled the National Revolutionary Army, and it was no longer an effective force. After Mao declared the People’s Republic of China on October 1st, Jiang was forced to abandon the mainland, and the Republic of China moved into exile on Taiwan on December 1st, where it remains to this day.

Visit Joshua Gilbert at his Website, J. Gilbert History Productions.

nov1949_kl.jpg mao1949_kl.jpg
The Man who lost China: Jiang Jieshi The Man who won China: Mao Zedong

Pages: 1 2 3 4

4 Comments

  1. It is well documented about this historical even which determined th fate of China.

  2. I disagree with the statement in the article that the Nationalists were “war-weary” from fighting the Japanese while (the article says) the Communists were “fresh.”

    The Nationalists had low morale due to systemic and political shortcomings: internal corruption and dissention, and economic problems.

    The Communists had subsisted for years in the Japanese rear, but morale was high because they seemed to offer a vision of a new China.

    Anyhow, the war against Japan had ended three years earlier.

    • Also the fact that the US provided miss matched ammunition and weapons.

    • Mao did not attempt t o engage the Japanese in open pitched battle but Chiang Kai Shek did and his army suffered enormous casualties as a result. Next, the US cut off funds at a certain point to Chiang due to the fact communist spies in our Treasury Department and other branches of government (yes McCarthy as correct) spread the usual leftist canard that Chiang was corrupt etc.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. On 6 November in Asian history | The New ASIA OBSERVER - [...] 1948: Huaihai Campaign, the largest operational campaign of the Chinese Civil War begins.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaihai_Campaignhttp://armchairgeneral.com/the-huaihai-campaign.htm [...]
  2. On 6 November in Chinese history including Hong Kong and Taiwan | The New ASIA OBSERVER - […] 1948: Huaihai Campaign, the largest operational campaign of the Chinese Civil War begins.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaihai_Campaignhttp://armchairgeneral.com/the-huaihai-campaign.htmhttp://lishi.huisongshu.com/en.php/HisMain/10549 […]
  3. Wars and conflits on 6 November in Asian history | The New ASIA OBSERVER - […] 1948: Huaihai Campaign, the largest operational campaign of the Chinese Civil War begins.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaihai_Campaignhttp://armchairgeneral.com/the-huaihai-campaign.htmhttp://lishi.huisongshu.com/en.php/HisMain/10549 […]
  4. On 10 January in Chinese history including Taiwan | The New ASIA OBSERVER - […] 1949: During the Chinese civil war, end of the decisive Huaihai Campaign (淮海戰役) or Battle of Xu-Beng) It was…
  5. On 10 January in Asian history | The New ASIA OBSERVER - […] 1949: During the Chinese civil war, end of the decisive Huaihai Campaign (淮海戰役) or Battle of Xu-Beng) It was…
  6. Wars, conflits and strategy on 10 January in Asian history | The New ASIA OBSERVER - […] 1949: During the Chinese civil war, end of the decisive Huaihai Campaign (淮海戰役) or Battle of Xu-Beng) It was…

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *