Battle of Guilin-Liuzhou

Battle of Guilin-Liuzhou

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The Battle of Guilin–Liuzhou , also known as the Battle of Guiliu was one of the 22 major engagements between the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

 (NRA) and Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 (IJA) during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...


This battle was the third of the three-part Battle of Henan-Hunan-Guangxi
Battle of Henan-Hunan-Guangxi
Operation Ichi-Go was a campaign of a series of major battles between the Imperial Japanese Army forces and the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, fought from April to December 1944...

, also known as Operation Ichigo. As part of the said Operation, a major aim of this attack was to connect the pieces of Japanese-held territory, and also, to destroy airbases in the area which were housing USAAF aircraft.

In August, after battles in Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

 and Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

, the 11th and 23rd Armies of the IJA launched attacks towards Guilin and Liuzhou, respectively. The NRA troops defending the area were mainly the remnants from the Battle of Hengyang, and therefore, only 20,000 troops were at Guilin on 1 November when the Japanese started their attack on the city.

The government of China knew that it was not to hold Guilin continually, but deliberately extended the battle for domestic political reasons, sending food and supplies to the besieged. Most civilians fled weeks before from Guilin, it was scorched heavily by fire. Guilin had been reinforced with the most defences, pillboxes, barbed wire, and the Guangxi troops under the command of Muslim General Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi , , also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith...

. General Joseph Stillwell, who was friendly with Bai, went to great pains to send American munitions to Bai's forces. Trenches were dug amind the hills.

After 10 days of intense fighting, the Japanese occupied Guilin, and on the same day entered Liuzhou as well. Fighting continued sporadically as Chinese forces made their rapid retreat, and on 24 November the Japanese were in control of 75 counties in Guangxi
Guangxi, formerly romanized Kwangsi, is a province of southern China along its border with Vietnam. In 1958, it became the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, a region with special privileges created specifically for the Zhuang people.Guangxi's location, in...

, roughly 2/3 its area, and is said to have killed 215,000 civilians in reprisal and during crossfire, wounding more than 431,000.


After Guilin and Liuzhou were lost, most NRA troops lost morale and retreated without ever engaging the enemy, resulting in tremendous loss of materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 and manpower. In addition, despite substantial air superiority provided by USAAF
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 and NRA aircraft, the Chinese did not utilise these advantages effectively and lost battles in mere days, making this one of the most devastating losses during the entire Second Sino-Japanese war.

However, despite having destroyed the airbases in this region, the USAAF
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 could still strike at the Japanese main islands from their other bases. Although the Japanese partially accomplished the goals of Operation Ichigo, it increased the area that Japanese troops had to defend, and substantially thinned out their lines, setting up a favourable situation for subsequent counterattacks by Chinese forces.