Fanchang (now Wuhu City, Anhui Province) borders the Yangtze River in the north, Jiuhua in the south, Jiangsu and Zhejiang in the east, and the central hinterland in the west . During the War of Resistance Against Japan, this place was once a barrier between the military headquarters of the New Fourth Army and the rear base of the Kuomintang’s third theater. The strategic position is very important.

getUrls?link=c61fab48ca944d7c4ae3103fe3fd3c61 - Battle of Fanchang:Five battles and five victories guarding the"Gateway to Southern Anhui"

The commanders of the New Fourth Army in the defense of Fanchang.

From January to December 1939, the Japanese army adopted an offensive-defensive combat policy and successively invaded Fanchang five times in an attempt to seize Fanchang and”sweep” southern Anhui. Under the command of Deputy Commander Tan Zhenlin, the Third Detachment of the New Fourth Army fought bloody battles, five battles and five victories, and resolutely smashed the Japanese army’s”mopping up” plot, effectively combating the arrogance of the Japanese army, and defending the”gateway to southern Anhui.” This action boosted the confidence of the military and civilians across the country to resist the Japanese War, and made the Kuomintang’s rumors of”the New Fourth Army guerrilla but not attack” self-defeating.

Prepare in advance. At the beginning of the establishment of the New Fourth Army, in response to problems such as insufficient style and irregular order in the newly formed troops, they started with basic training such as eating, sleeping, performing exercises, and platooning, and organized”training in southern Anhui.” The New Fourth Army also organized targeted military technical and tactical training based on the characteristics of Japanese operations and the terrain and water network of the plains behind enemy lines in Central China, focusing on studying ambushes and counter-ambushes, assaults and counter-attacks, and attacking strongholds, and soon trained the guerrillas into regular troops. From January to May 1939, the third detachment smashed the Japanese”mopping up” three times, exploring and practicing relying on favorable terrain maneuver control, side attack, frontal blockade, victory pursuit, active counterattack, tenacious resistance and other tactics.”Small victory is big victory” anti-“mopping up” combat experience. In early November 1938, after the third detachment stationed in Tongling and Fanchang area, it focused on quickly grasping the terrain of Fanchang area and surrounding enemy situation , And adjust the defensive deployment, rush to repair the fortifications, and build up mass armed forces.

getUrls?link=a8f05898eaae56fdbdc08a1150e48419 - Battle of Fanchang:Five battles and five victories guarding the"Gateway to Southern Anhui"

Wuhu City, Anhui ProvinceFanchang District Suncun Town Zhongfen Village New Fourth Army Third Detachment Headquarters site.

Careful deployment. On November 8, 1939, the Japanese soldiers attacked Fanchang in three routes. Deputy Commander Tan Zhenlin analyzed that the enemy is well-equipped and should avoid a decisive battle with it. He immediately adopted a wide frontal and large-depth deployment of troops, using the tactics of”frontal restraint of small units, standby attacks on the wings, ambushes to attack the enemy for reinforcements, and centripetal encirclement.” , Which lasted 12 hours to defeat the Japanese army and retake Fanchang. From midnight on the 13th to the 14th, the Japanese army reinforces three times and has invested more than 2,200 people in an attempt to capture Chitan, threatening the rear of the third detachment and isolating Prosperity. After finding out the enemy’s intentions, the third detachment adopted the tactics of”luring the enemy into ambush, attacking the main force, breaking the troops, and tracking and pursuing” to kill the Japanese commander Kawashima Nakasa. The Japanese army suffered more than 300 casualties and then retreated.

From the evening of the 20th to the dawn of the 23rd, the Japanese army, unwilling to fail, once again assembled more than 2,000 men to attack Fanchang in five ways. Deputy Commander Tan Zhenlin saw through the Japanese army’s strategy of increasing its strength in many ways to seek a decisive battle, and decided to avoid its edge and engage in a mobile war with the enemy. During the battle, the third detachment adopted”small units to attack the tired enemy behind the enemy”,”use platoons as a unit to block and consume the enemy”,”heavy troops frequently attacked to disturb the enemy defending the isolated city”,”concentrated superior forces to ambush the retreating enemy” and”encircle the enemy”.”Three Ques and one destroying the enemy” and other tactics, annihilated more than 450 Japanese troops.

From December 15 to 22, the Japanese attacked Fanchang again. The third detachment adopted the tactics of”frontal and tenacious resistance, harassment of strongholds behind enemy lines, key points of blocking and killing, and heavy troops to counterattack in a timely manner” and won the battle of Fanchang. The final victory was commended by the General Order of the New Fourth Army.

Fight hard. As written in the lyrics of”The Battle of Prosperity”,”The battle of Eshantou, the bloody battle of Tangkouba…The charge from one to the other, and the enemy down the hill…We sacrificed bravely and were not afraid of death or injury from starvation and cold; we fought stubbornly to crush the enemy’s sweep”The third detachment faced the Japanese army’s five waves of infantry and large-scale cavalry attacks. It always fought stubbornly, fought bloody battles, and vowed to defend the”gateway to southern Anhui”. It severely hit the Japanese invading army and declared that the Japanese army”captured prosperity and swept southern Anhui.” The failure of the strategic plan. At that time, the commander-in-chief of the Japanese dispatched army wailed:”The National Army is the defeated general, but the Communist Party is the enemy of the Imperial Army. It seems that it is impossible to capture Fanchang City in the hands of the Communist Party.”

The same hatred. In view of the characteristics of operations behind enemy lines, the third detachment will improve the organization of the democracy movement in accordance with the principle of”the detachment has a democracy movement section, the regiment has a democracy movement unit, and a company has a democracy movement group.” After entering the southern part of Anhui, the third detachment immediately organized the pro-democracy movement staff to go to every township and every security, actively carry out political propaganda, help protect the village and the town, solve the suffering of the masses, and win with the exemplary action of”no harm to the people, no disturbance to the people”. The support and love of the people in southern Anhui. At the same time, through the restoration and improvement of local party organizations, the establishment of mobilization committees, refugee support associations, anti-Japanese associations, and holding anti-Japanese salvation training classes, a wide range of anti-Japanese salvation campaigns were carried out to stimulate the enthusiasm of the masses and cultivate a large number of anti-Japanese backbones. In the battle to defend Fanchang, the masses of the people participated in the war, voluntarily serving as guides, investigating roads, and anti-traitors. In particular, the Fanchang Orion team effectively cooperated with the third detachment to carry out actions such as lure the enemy in depth, infiltrate and harass, so that the invading enemy was surrounded by the masses. The victory of the Fanchang defense war was a triumphant triumph in the New Fourth Army’s anti-“mopping-up” struggle, and it was also the result of the unity of the soldiers and civilians in the Fanchang area and the common hatred of the enemy.

The Anti-Japanese News of January 6, 1940 commented on Fanchang’s defense war:”A mobile and tenacious defensive battle style was created on the front line of southern Anhui.” The New Fourth Army’s”Anti-Enemy News” commented on Fanchang. The defense battle was”the biggest bloody battle since the fall of Wuhu”,”an unprecedented victory in the history of the War of Resistance in South Anhui”,”shattered the enemy’s ambition to’sweep’ southern Anhui, and blocked the Hui (zhou) Tun (xi) heavy ground in the rear of southern Anhui”. (Xue Yanxing)

Source:China National Defense News