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The Battle of Sinyang
Shanghai1937IJA gas

Japanese during a gas attack

Beginning:

February 18 1942

End:

September 2, 1943

Location:

Sinyang, Republic of China

Outcome:

Chinese Victory, Sinyang liberated.

Combatants

Empire of Japan

Republic of China

Commanders

Shunroku Hata

Xue Yue

Strength

250,000+

350,000

Casualties

223,784

221,558

  

On February 18 1942, 33,000 Chinese infantry smashed the defenses of the heavily entrenched Japanese who'd held the city since 1938. Ever since the Chinese have been digging in and driving back wave after wave of enemy assaults. The greatest threat to the Chinese came on the 28th of February, when 66,000 elite Japanese troops, with 600 guns and 50 vehicles in support smashed into 54,000 dug in Chinese conscripts and 300 guns.

This was the bloodiest day early in the battle of Sinyang, with 6,728 (2707 Japanese, and 4021 Chinese) troops dying in the span of a few hours. All Chinese fortifications were smashed aside, and the city seemed poised to fall, and more Chinese soldiers died on this day than any other day of the Battle for Sinyang. However, the Japanese could not capitalize on this success. Almost four hundred of their elite squads were destroyed or disabled, compared to only 200 squads being put out of action on the side of the Chinese (although their non-combat units suffered heavily).

The Japanese never mounted a full on assault on the city again that year - the stubborn Chinese defenders became true heroes of the pacific overnight. In other places, entire armies were surrendering wholesale to the Japanese onslaught, but at Sinyang the previously unstopped Imperial Army had been ground to a halt. Japanese honor prevented them from pulling back from the blasted out city, but they would never mass a large formation of troops to attack as they did on the 28th of February.

There were 10
Mukden 1931 japan shenyang

The Japanese Army before the battle

0,000 Japanese troops in the vicinity of Sinyang during mid-March, these were never massed for an all out assault to try and pry the city back. Japanese honor prevented them from backing down, but the battlefield situation prevented them from actually committing to a large assault. Chinese offensives elsewhere meant that any major defeat at Sinyang would result in losses the Japanese couldn't afford. The large Chinese concentration in the city meant that the Japanese couldn't leave even if they wanted to, or they'd risk a breakout from an army of battle hardened, blood thirsty Chinese veterans, further splitting their forces.

So, constant small assaults, never rising above 20,000 men (less than half the number of defenders) were launched throughout 1942, with horrendous losses. The Japanese killed more defenders than they lost only 5 times in the months of assaults, and many times lost entire thirds of the attacking force.

Fighting continued sporatically into 1943. The Chinese thinking on numerous occasions that they had the numbers, attacked the Japanese positions. It ended in disaster and in November '42 alone the Chinese lost nearly 20,000 men to the Japanese's 4,000. It resumed again in January, with losses being even further in Japan's favour.

Similar results in February and May of 1943 led the Japanese to launch several attacks in June. June 10th had the Japanese break through the Chinese defenses and threatening to cut the railway line. However the Japanese attack petered out and stopped.

Battle changde5

A captured Japanese soldier.

The battle lulled until August, with only one major attack by the Chinese in June. After a preparitory bombardment, the Chinese launched their final attack on the 21st of August 1943. After initial setbacks and heavy casualties (10,000 killed, wounded and captured in 3 days) the battle shifted on the 26th as Chinese reserves breached into the Japanese supply areas. A massive encirclement ensued with few being captured. By the 2nd of September the Japanese had been expelled from Sinyang. The day before the Japanese surrender was the bloodiest in the battle, 11,000 Japanese casualties were inflicted, many of the deaths when the Chinese detonated mines underneath the Japanese lines. Fewer than 700 Chinese were reported killed, wounded or missing on this day.

It had been a brutal 5 years for the civilian population. Nearly one in three had died in course of the occupation, with many being killed in the nearly eighteen months of fighting.

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