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World War 2 in China - tunnel war

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This weekend I visited the "tunnel war" site at Ran Zhuang in Hebei.

These are underground tunnels used by the communist resistance to resist the Japanese; they have secret entrances (e.g. beneath a straw mat on a kang, down a well) and allow you to move all around the village.

Does anyone know anything about the broader context of this?

How widespread were tunnels? Did lots of villages have networks like this?

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Have you seen the classic movies «地道战» Di4 Dao4 Zhan4 -Underground Warfare, «地雷战» Di4 Lei2 Zhan4 Mine Warfare? These underground tunnels were used extensively by the rural farmers during World War 2 to resist/combat the Japanese. There are several in Beijing alone. The most famous one is probably the tunnels at 焦庄户 Jiao1 Zhuang1 Hu4 literally, Peasant Community of the Jiao family. These tunnels were cleverly designed, and were largely successful in fighting off the Japanese, or at least they are portrayed as successful by the films.

I hope this helped.

- Shibo :-?

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The largest victory in battle during the Sino-Japanese war was at Taierzhuang. About 20,000 Japanese soldiers were killed in that single battle in March 1938.



Here is the war museum in Taierzhuang, Shandong:


(The only museum that glorifies the courage of KMT troops in PRC.)

But actually the Burma campaign in 1945 also scored great success.

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CCP also had a famous victory at the battle of Pinghsingkuan Pass in Shanxi in September 1937. Lin Biao led the ambush and routed about 5,000 Japanese troops there.

But strangely there is a war museum in Taierzhuang but no memorial at Pinghsingkuan.

Maybe because of Lin Biao.

How much do people in Mainland know about General Zhang Zizhong -- the Taierzhuang battlefield commander?

I have watched the movie on General Zhang. The scene that he was accused falsely by people in Beijing as "traitor" (because Chiang asked him to meddle with Japanese to buy time) and the last scene that he committed suicide in battlefield is really overwhelming.

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I think the idea is that the KMT tended to sit back during world war 2 waiting for America to defeat japan, and allowing war aid to mount up in the meantime.

The Communists took a more active line - how can we assess the damage the Communist resistance did to the Japanese in the 1940s? Did they make a big difference?

A KMT priority during the war was to keep the Communists north of the Yangtze; even during the united front period, they attacked the Communists in Anhui to try (unsuccessfully) to maintain this.

I would be interested in visiting that museum in Shandong.

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You can also go visit the Martyr's Mausoleum at Henshan, Hunan:


Some more close-up pictures of the Mausoleum:


The mausoleum was built during the wartime to honor the 20,000+ KMT soldiers sacrificed at the Battle of Changsha.

Just the number of KMT generals perished at that battle exceeded two dozens.

Chiang Kai Shek was said to be weeping when he brush-painted those three characters for the facade in 1943.

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Been having a look at the chapter about world war 2 in the big Spence book - apparently two fifths of the Japanese army during the war was bogged down in China. The Japanese wanted to create a loyal Chinese army (much as they had achieved in Korea) to free up these troops but never managed. So this shows the Chinese resistance making a pretty significant contribution. Probably the Communists more effective in that respect?

I will ask my Chinese colleagues at work today today if they have heard of Zhang Zizhong, and if so what they think of him.

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Result of the Zhang Zizhong survery !

One of my colleagues successfully identified him, and said he was a hero general who was sympathetic with the CCP.

Another had heard of him, but wasn't sure what he had done - suggested he liberated Tianjin.

It seems there is a Zhang Zizhong Lu in Tianjin near the Huang He.

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I guess you colleagues might have confused two generals Zhang. This was the other General Zhang that they probably referred to:

Chang Chih-chung: Zhang Zhizhong (1890-1969)

Han Chinese, native of Chaoxian, Anhui. Sent to Xinjiang in 1945 to represent the GMD government in the peace negotiations with the Republic of Eastern Turkestan Was appointed Chairman of Xinjiang in 1946-1947. Subsequently lead the GMD delegation at the Communist-GMD peace talks in Beijing and remained in Beijing after the communist takeover, eventually becoming Vice-Chairman of the Military Commission.

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