Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign

The Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign , refers to a campaign by the China Expeditionary Army of the Japanese Imperial Army under Shunroku Hata and Chinese forces under Ku Chu-tung in the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi from Mid May to early September,1942.

On April 18, 1942, the United States launched the Doolittle Raid, an attack by B-25 Mitchell bombers from the on Tokyo, Nagoya, and Yokohama. The original plan was for the aircraft to bomb Japan and land at airfields in the unoccupied portion of China. Because the raid had to be launched earlier than planned, most of the aircraft ran out of fuel and crash-landed in the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi.

Sixty four airmen parachuted into the area around Zhejiang. Most were given shelter by the Chinese civilians but eight of the Americans were picked up by Japanese patrols; three were shot after a show trial for 'crimes against humanity'. The Japanese army then conducted a massive search for the other airmen and in the process whole towns and villages that were suspected of harboring the Americans were burned to the ground, and many civilians executed. The Japanese also wanted to occupy the area to prevent American air forces from establishing bases in China from which they could reach the Japanese mainland.

When Japanese troops moved out of the Zhejiang and Jiangxi areas in mid-August, they left behind a trail of devastation. Chinese estimates put the death toll at 250,000 civilians. In retaliation, the Imperial Japanese Army had also spread cholera, typhoid, plague and dysentry pathogens.

Order of Battle for Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign

Third Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet

The Third Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet was the third campaign launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government in hope to destroy the Red Army in Jiangxi. It was launched less than a month after the previous campaign have failed. However, this encirclement was against repelled by the Red Army's Third Counter Encirclement Campaign at the Central Soviet , also called as the Third Counter-Encirclement Campaign at the Central Revolutionary Base .


Merely three weeks after the defeat of the Second Encirclement Campaign, Chiang Kai-shek reached Nanchang on June 21, 1931 with his foreign military advisory delegations including military advisors from Great Britain, Germany and Japan. The nationalists planned to launch another encirclement campaign in very short time so that their communist enemy would not have enough time to regroup and prepare for the upcoming battles, and Chiang himself became the commander-in-chief of the nationalist force consisted of twenty-four divisions totaling more than three hundred thousand troops. The attacking nationalist forces were divided into two army groups, with the He Yingqing named as the commander-in-chief of the left flank army group, and Chen Mingqu as the commander-in-chief as the right flank army group.

Order of battle

order of battle
*Left flank army group commanded by He Yingqing would attack from Southern City
**5th Division commanded by Zhou Hunyuan
**6th Division commanded by Zhao Guantao
**8th Division commanded by Mao Bingwen
**9th Division commanded by Jiang Dingwen
**11th Division commanded by Luo Zhuoying
**14th Division commanded by Chen Cheng
**24th Division commanded by Xu Kexiang
*Right flank army group commanded by Chen Mingqu would attack from Ji'an, Eternal Abundance , Yue’an
**25th Division commanded by Sun Lianzhong
**27th Division commanded by Gao Shuxun
**47th Division commanded by Shangguan Yunxiang
**52nd Division commanded by Han Deqin
**54th Division commanded by Hao Mengling
**60th Division commanded by Cai Tingkai
**61st Division commanded by Dai Ji
*General Reserve
**10th Division commanded by Wei Lihuang
**Urban Assault Brigade commanded by Li Yannian
**53rd Division commanded by Li Yunheng would station at Ji'an
*Western Flank along the Gan River:
**28th Division commanded by Gong Bingpan
**77th Division commanded by Luo Lin
**34th Brigade of the 12th Division commanded by Ma Kun
*Eastern Flank at the border region of Fujian-Jiangxi-Guangdong provinces:
**49th Division commanded by Zhang Zhen
**56th Division commanded by Liu Heding
**Newly Organized 14th Brigade commanded by Zhou Zhiqun
*Counterguerrilla garrisons in the regions including Zhangshu, Fuzhou, Jiangxi, Yihuang , Southern City , Lichuan :
**1st Cavalry Division commanded by Guan Shuren
**23rd Division commanded by Li Yunjie
**79th Division commanded by Lu Xiaochen
*5 of :
*Other nationalist forces mobilized as the second line units.
Communist order of battle:
*First Front Army of Chinese Red Army


On July 1, 1931, the nationalists begun their offensive. The communists had not fully recovered yet from the last encirclement campaign and Wang Ming’s proteges including Xiang Ying had to agree with Mao Zedong’s decision to adopt the proven strategies in the earlier campaigns by letting the nationalists penetrate deep into the communist base and then to counterattack individual isolated enemy formations as they were dispersed. On July 10, 1931, the communist main force left western Fujian and traveled more than five hundred kilometers back to Xingguo in southern Jiangxi and waited their opportunities to counterattack. By the end of July, 1931, nationalists had discovered that the communist main force had withdraw to Xingguo, and Chiang Kai-shek immediately ordered his troops to simultaneously attack southward from north and westward from east, so that communists would be forced onto the eastern bank of Gan River and annihilated. The communists, in turn, decided to avoid direct clash with main nationalist force but instead, attack the weaker ones by outflanking the nationalists.

To achieve their goal, communists planned to strike Rich Field from Xingguo via Wang’an , and then to strike eastward from the west to severe the nationalist communication / supply lines while the main nationalist force was trapped deep inside the communist base. As the main communist force moved toward Rich Field , its intent was discovered by the nationalists and the nationalist 11th and 14th Division reached Rich Field ahead of the communists, resulting in the communist main force was blocked by the Gan River in the west, and faced the nationalist forces in the east, south and north. The communist high command decided to change the strategy by breaking through in the center and move eastward to the regions of Lotus Pond , Liang Village , and Huangbi .

In order to hide their true objective, the 35th Army of the Chinese Red Army and the 35th Division of the 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army pretended to be the communist main force and moved toward Gan River to fool nationalists. The main communist force, meanwhile, swiftly moved to the region of Lotus Pond at the night under the cover of the darkness on August 4, 1931 via passing through a twenty-kilometer gap in the nationalist lines between the nationalist divisions commanded Cai Tingkai and Jiang Dingwen. On August 7, 1931, communists succeeded in annihilating more than a brigade of troops from the nationalist 47th Division in the region of Lotus Pond , and soon afterward, badly mauling the nationalist 54th Division in Liang Village . On August 11, 1931, communists succeeded in completely destroying four regiments of the nationalist 8th Division at Huangbi , and after three consecutive defeats, the nationalist advance was checked temporarily.

Realizing the communist main force was moving eastward, the nationalist troops moving southward and westward was ordered to move eastward on August 9, 1931, in an attempt to sounding the communist main force in the region to the east of Junbu . The communists ordered their 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army to move toward Yue’an to lure the nationalists northeastward, while the communist main force secretly returned to Xingguo by quietly passing a ten kilometer-wide gap in the nationalist encirclement in the mountain. Half a month later, nationalists chasing the communist 12th Army realized they were after the wrong target and abandoned the chase. As the over stretched nationalist forces attempted to regroup, the communists already had plenty of time to rest and regrouped already, and the nationalist morale dropped to a new low while the supply had run out. Realizing further fighting was impossible, nationalists were forced to abandon their plans by starting to withdraw in early September, 1931.

Taking the opportunity, communists counterattacked, and the only nationalist offensive still remaining was successfully checked when the nationalist 60th Division and 61st Division were forced to be on the defensive and abandoned all offensive attempts. Communists were not satisfied with this success and did not consider it was a victory, but a draw instead, and continued their offensive on other fronts. On September 7, 1931, they succeeded in destroying an entire brigade of the nationalist 9th Division in the region of Old Encampment , and on September 15, 1931, another brigade of the nationalist 9th Division and the entire nationalist 52nd Division were totally destroyed by the communists in the region of Square Stone Ridge . The nationalist commander of the 52nd Division, Han Deqin, was captured alive together with his staff, becoming the highest ranking nationalist commander captured, but they had successfully avoided being identified by disguised as ordinary soldiers and each received two dollars in silver when released after the campaign. A total of seven nationalist divisions were badly mauled in the six battles, which communists themselves labeled as five victories and one draw, and nationalists suffered over thirty thousand casualties. In addition, the communists also captured more than twenty thousands guns in their victory.


Capitalizing on their victory, communists launched their offensives into the nationalist dominated regions, further expanding their communist base in Jiangxi, resulting in previously two separate communist bases in southern Jiangxi and western Fujian joining together into a larger one, covering twenty-one counties totaling more than fifty square kilometers, with permanent resident totaling more than two and half a million. The communist success paved the way for the communist base to later expand to its ultimate size with population over three million. It was worth to note that though Mao Zedong was still viewed by many communists as the supreme commander, his positions had already been actually reduced significantly since the last encirclement campaign, and it was only because the Wang Ming's proteges had not fully established their absolute authority, plus the fact that Mao's previous proven strategies had once more applied in this campaign that created the false impression that Mao was still the supreme leader. After this campaign, Mao would soon fell from power as the internal political power struggle intensified and Wang Ming emerged victorious.

Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet

The Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet was another series of battles launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government in hope to encircle and destroy the Jiangxi Soviet after the previous campaign have failed. The Red Army repelled the encirclement by launching their Second Counter-Encirclement Campaign , also called by the communists as the Second Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Central Revolutionary Base , in which the local Chinese Red Army successfully defended their Jiangxi Soviet against the attacks from April 1 1931 to May 31, 1931.


After the defeat of the first encirclement campaign, the nationalists quickly regrouped and prepared for the second encirclement campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet. In February, 1931, Chiang Kai-shek named He Yingqing as the acting commander-in-chief and deployed nineteen divisions totaling over 200,000 for the second encirclement campaign. The nationalists completed their planned deployment by late March, 1931 in a very swift response.

In contrast, the communists were slow to develop their own strategies because of internal power struggle. Wang Ming’s protégé Xiang Ying had reached Jiangxi Soviet after the third planetary session of the sixth national conference of Communist Party of China, and on January 15, 1931, the communist Jiangxi Soviet Central Bureau for political administration and the Central Revolutionary Military Commission for military affairs were formed, and Xiang Ying became the head of both organizations as the party secretary of the bureau and the chairman of the commission. Zhu De and Mao Zedong lost their power as both were only named as the deputy chairmen of the commission, though Zhu was named as the commander-in-chief and Mao was named as the political commissar of the 1st Front Army of the Chinese Red Army. Mao was also named as the director of the general political directorate. Xiang Ying’s power was further strengthened in April, 1931, when Wang Ming’s delegation reached Jiangxi Soviet to assist him to lead. As a result, the communists disagreed on the strategies that should be taken in countering the upcoming nationalist encirclement campaign. The communist leadership dominated by Wang Ming and represented by Xiang Ying decided on strategies consisted of following principles:
*Concentrate numerically superior force to destroy the enemy before they grouped together.
*Luring the enemy deep into the communist base was a strategy that only applied to the early stages, and communist force should attack the nationalist dominated regions to destroy the enemy instead.
*When necessary, Jiangxi Soviet should be abandoned in an attempt to establish new communist bases elsewhere.
Given the strength of the communist force at the time, this impractical strategy was obvious out of touch with reality and faced strong opposition. Some members of Wang Ming’s own camp even disagreed, and suggested the alternative strategy of separating the communist force to defeat enemy at the multiple fronts. Obviously, this alternative strategy was equally out of touch with reality and at the conference of the communist Central Bureau held from March thru April, 1931, it could not be decided whether to engage the nationalist 19th Route Army first, or the nationalist 6th Route Army first.

With the support of most commanders, Mao Zedong opposed both impractical strategies developed by the newly arrived protégés of Wang Ming. Mao reasoned the nationalist 6th Army, 19th Army and 26th Army were all strongest armies among nationalist forces, and thus were difficult targets. In contrast, the 43rd Division, 47th Division, and 54th Division of the nationalist 5th Army were just newly arrived from north, while the 28th Division and 77th Division of the nationalist 5th Army were previously defeated by the communists in the last encirclement campaign, thus they were weak and less enthusiastic in actively engaging communist forces, hence should be engaged first by the communists. In the meantime, if the communists were to strike westward from the east, the Gan River would be a limit. If the communists were to strike eastward from Rich Field in the west, then not only there would not be any geographic limits, but regions in the border of Fujian and Jiangxi including Lichuan , Taining, , Jianning, would likely to fall into communist hands more easily, resulting in expanding the communist base. Therefore, communists should adopt the same successful strategies proven in the last encirclement campaign, and Mao’s idea was accepted by everyone after lengthy debates. On March 23, 1931, communist force withdrew to regions including Eternal Abundance, , Yue’an, , Yihuang and , at the northern border of the Jiangxi Soviet to regions in the south, including Guangchang , Shicheng, Ningdu and Ruijin. Massive mobilization efforts were conducted to mobilize local population to defend the communist base.

Order of battle

order of battle
*5th Route Army commanded by Wang Jingyu would attack Donggu and Tengtian from Ji’an , Taihe , Jishui , and Yongfeng
**28th Division commanded by Gong Bingpan
**43rd Division commanded by Guo Huazong
**47th Division commanded by Shangguan Yunxiang
**54th Division commanded by Hao Mengling
**77th Division commanded by Luo Lin
*6th Rout Army commanded by Zhu Shaoliang would attack Guangchang and Huangbo from Nanfeng and Badu .
**5th Division commanded by Hu Zuyu
**8th Division commanded by Mao Bingwen
**Newly Organized 13th Division commanded by Lu Xiaochen
**24th Division commanded by Xu Kexiang
**56th Division commanded by Liu Heding had a mission different than the rest of divisions of the 6th Route Army in that it was tasked to attack from An’yuan to prevent the communists from fleeing southeastward.
*19th Route Army commanded by Cai Tingkai would attack Longgangtou and Ningdu from Xingguo
**34th Brigade of the 12th Division commanded by Ma Kun
**60th Division commanded by Cai Tingkai
**61st Division commanded by Dai Ji
*26th Route Army commanded by Sun Lianzhong would attack Dongshao and Xiaobu from Yue’an and
**25th Division commanded by Sun Lianzhong
**27th Division commanded by Gao Shuxun
**1st Cavalry Division commanded by Guan Shuren
*Following nationalist units were tasked to prevent communists from fleeing southeastward:
**49th Division commanded by Zhang Zhen would strike from Shanghang and Wuping
**62nd Division commanded by Xiang Hanping would strike from
**Newly Organized 14th Brigade commanded by Zhou Zhiqun would strike from Ninghua .
**Independent 32nd Brigade commanded by Lu Xingbang would strike from Liancheng and Changding
*52nd Division commanded by Han Deqin was tasked to protect the riverine transportation line of Gan River.
*3 of were tasked with bombing and reconnaissance missions.
Communist order of battle:
*First Front Army of Chinese Red Army


On April 1, 1931, the fourth encirclement campaign against Jiangxi Soviet formally begun as the nationalists attacked in four fronts and by April 23, they had taken regions abandoned by the communists, including Riverine Back Cave , Dragon’s Hill Head , Richfield , Water South , Yanfang , Zhaoxie and Guangchang . In the meantime, communist force withdrew to regions including Dragon’s Hill , Upper Solid and Eastern Solid to wait for the opportunity to pounce on the nationalists, and secretly gathered right next to the nationalist force in Eastern Solid region without being detected for twenty-five days.

On May 13, 1931, the communists got the opportunity they had been waiting for when the nationalist 28th Division and a brigade of the nationalist 47th Division begun to move toward from Eastern Solid from Rich Field . The communists ambushed the unsuspecting nationalists and after two days of fighting that lasted from May 15 thru May 17, 1931, the ambushed nationalist force was completely destroyed in the regions of Middle Cave , Nine Inches Ridge . Continue their counteroffensives, the communists badly mauled the nationalist 43rd Division on May 19 in the region of White Sand , the nationalist survivors were forced to flee to the region of Eternal Abundance . Unaware that their comrades-in-arms had already been defeated, nationalist 27th Division went out to reinforce their besieged comrades-in-arms and was ambushed in the region of Middle Village on May 22, with an entire brigade acting as a vanguard was lost. Unable to rescue its vanguard, the rest of the nationalist 27th Division wisely chose to abandon the fight and withdrew safely.

On May 27, 1931, the communist counteroffensive led their victory at Guangchang , retaking the city and badly mauling the nationalist 5th Division in the process, including severely wounding its commander Hu Zuyu , who eventually died of his wound in the campaign. On May 31, 1931, the communists attacked Jianning , badly mauling the nationalist 56th Division, which lost an entire brigade. After five consecutive defeats in sixteen days and being pushed back near four hundred kilometers thus losing all of the newly gained territory, the nationalists had had enough and decided to end the campaign by withdrawing. The communists subsequently declared a victory.


The communists managed to annihilate over thirty thousands nationalist troops and capturing over twenty thousands guns, and Gong Bingpan , the commander of the nationalist 28th Division was captured alive by the communists, the highest ranking nationalist captured in the campaign, but he cleverly escaped by avoiding being recognized by the communists:

After the nationalist withdraw, each nationalist prisoner was given two silver dollars to go home. Gong Bingpan carefully waited all the way in the back of the crowd to avoid being identified and recognized, but as he was called to receive his money, there was only one silver dollar left. Communists in charge wanted Gong Bingpan to wait so that they could get another silver dollar for him but this delay would only provide more chances for him to be recognized. Gong Bingpan cleverly told the communists:”Comrades, I have friends in Ji'an who could provide me financial assistance, and I would only need a single silver dollar, there is no need to get another one”. The communists were of course very happy in saving a silver dollar and thus let him go with only one silver dollar. Gong Bingpan ’s experience was important because it would later help other high ranking nationalist commanders captured in later encirclement campaigns to successfully escape, thus avoiding certain jail time or even possible execution.

Capitalizing on their victory, the communists launched a series of offensive against the nationalists, taking several counties in eastern Jiangxi and western Fujian, including Lichuan , Nanfeng, , Jianning, , Taining, , Ninghua, and Changding , further expanding the Jiangxi Soviet.

Fourth Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet

The Fourth Encirclement Campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet was the fourth campaign launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government in hope to destroy the Red Army in Jiangxi. The Nationalist headquarter in the provincial border of Jiangxi-Guangdong-Fujian organized nearly 400,000 men, and prepared for another major encirclement on the Chinese Soviet Republic. As a response, the Jiangxi Soviet launched the Fourth Counter Encirclement Campaign at the Central Soviet , also called as the Fourth Counter-Encirclement Campaign at the Central Revolutionary Base . Although the Red Army achieved victory once again, their counter encirclement was not as successful as the previous ones this time, and the Red Army elswhere suffered considerable loss when many other communist bases were lost, including two major ones.


While launching encirclement campaigns against communist bases in the border region of Hunan – western Hubei and the border region of Hubei – Henan – Anhui, plans of the fourth encirclement against Jiangxi Soviet was already begun. Nationalists planned to annihilate the first two communist bases and then concentrate on the last one. He Yingqing was named as the frontline commander-in-chief and by October 1932, the nationalists had successfully completed the first half of their objective by destroying the communist bases in the border region of Hunan – western Hubei and the border region of Hubei – Henan – Anhui, and thus turned their attention to Jiangxi Soviet.


In December, 1932, He Yingqing had completed the mobilization of more than three dozen nationalist divisions totaling over half a million troops for the fourth encirclement campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet. The nationalist troops were divided into three fronts with Chiang Kai-shek own troops as the central front, totaling more than 160,000. The central front shouldered the main responsibility of attacking the communist enemy while the left and right fronts were tasked to assist the main attack in the central front. The rest of the nationalist force consisting around sixty percent of the half a million mobilized troops were tasked to develop and man the blockade line, an effective strategy which would be proven in the next encirclement campaigns. The nationalists planned to annihilate the communist main force in the regions of Jianning and Lichuan . In January, 1933, Chen Cheng, the commander of nationalist central front, further divided the nationalist troops under his command into three columns, and begun their offensive against their communist enemy.

The communists originally planned according to the new doctrines of Wang Ming by launching a preemptive strike against the nationalists before their mobilization and deployment was complete. Communists would concentrate their forces to destroy nationalists in the regions of Fu River first, and then went on to score their victory in entire Jiangxi province. To achieve this goal, the 10th Army of the Chinese Red Army crossed Letter River , and jointed forces with the 31st Division of the Chinese Red Army, forming the 11th Army of the Chinese Red Army. By mid March, 1933, communist formed the Chinese Red Army Southeastern Front Command, which was in charge of communist forces organized into five columns in southern Jiangxi and western Fujian, to coordinate their actions with the communists in the north bearing the brunt of the fighting.

Order of Battle

order of battle :
*Left front commanded by Cai Tingkai:
**19th Route Army in Fujian consisted of six divisions and a brigade
*Right front commanded by Yu Hanmou:
*Six divisions and a brigade stationed in southern Jiangxi and northern Guangdong
*Central front totaling more than 160,000 commanded by Chen Cheng :
**1st Column commanded by Luo Zhuoying stationed in the regions of Yihuang and Yue’an :
***11th Division
***52nd Division
***59th Division
**2nd Column commanded by Wu Qiwei stationed in the regions of Fuzhou and Dragon Bone’s Crossing :
***10th Division
***14th Division
***27th Division
***90th Division
**3rd Column commanded by Zhao Guantao stationed in the regions of Golden Stream and Marginal Bay :
***5th Division
***6th Division
***9th Division
***79th Division
**Reserve of Central Front:
***43rd Division
*Counterguerrilla garrisons stationed at regions of Southern City , Southern Abundance , Yue’an , Chongren , and Eternal Abundance
**5 Divisions and 2 Brigades
* of
*Other nationalist forces mobilized to build and man the blockade lines.
Communist order of battle
*1st Front Army of Chinese Red Army totaling over 70,000:
**1st Legion
**3rd Legion
**5th Legion
**11th Army
**12th Army
**21st Army
**22nd Army

Initial battles

In early February, 1933, the nationalist successful strategy of holding their position in the newly built fortifications with large troops prevailed. Zhu De and Zhou Enlai, the communist commander-in-chief and general political commissar of the Chinese Red Army realized it was simply impossible to destroy nationalist forces on the eastern bank of Fu River, and decided to lead the communist main force to cross the Fu River and attack the town of Southern Abundance instead. The two communist commanders also acknowledged that it was quite possible that the nationalists would not fall for the communist trick and communists had to give up the attempt to take the town of Southern Abundance and attack Yihuang and Yue’an instead, so that the nationalists could be ambushed in in the mountains where the numerically and technically inferior communists had advantages over their nationalist adversary. In the evening on February 12, 1933, communist 3rd and 5th Legions of Chinese Red Army begun their attack on nationalist positions in the northwestern suburb of the town of Southern Abundance . However, the two brigades of the nationalist 8th Division successfully fended off the communist attacks by adopting the successful tactic of holding on to their positions in the fortifications instead of getting out and engaging the enemy in the open.

Chen Cheng learned the news and immediately ordered the nationalist 24th Division to reinforce the town of Southern Abundance and in the meantime, Chen Cheng also ordered the nationalist central front to speed southward to the region in order to trap and annihilate the communist main force. Realizing the danger they would be in, Zhu De and Zhou Enlai decided to give up the attempt to take town of Southern Abundance . On February 22, 1933, the 11th Army of the Chinese Red Army was ordered to disguise as the main force to move toward Lichuan by cross the Fu River at the region of New Abundance Street . While the nationalists were distracted, the communist main force secretly moved to the regions of Dongshao and Luokou to wait for other opportunities to attack their nationalist adversary.

Subsequent battles

He Yingqing erroneously believed that the communist main force had gathered in the region of Lichuan , and ordered the nationalist central front to attack toward Lichuan and Guangchang . The nationalist 1st Column was to attack and take Guangchang and Ningdu from Yihuang and Yue’an . The nationalist 2nd Column was to attack Kangdu and take from Southern City , Southern Abundance . The two nationalist columns would meet at Guangchang after annihilating their communist enemy. The nationalist 1st Column had marched into mountains covered with thick forest, and it was isolated from the nationalist 2nd and 3rd Columns, so the communists decided to concentrate their forces to ambush nationalist 52nd and 59th Divisions of the 1st Column in the regions of Huangbi and Yihuang .

On February 26, 1933, the nationalist 52nd Division and 59th Division marched toward Huangbi from Yue’an on different routes, separated by Moluozhang Mountain, and they were ambushed by the waiting communists. From the morning of February 27 thru the afternoon of February 28, 1933, after fierce fighting, the nationalist 52nd Division was completely destroyed with its divisional commander Li Ming captured alive by the enemy. The nationalist 59th Division suffered similar fate with its divisional commander Chen Shiji also captured alive by the enemy, but a single regiment was successful in escape the enemy onslaught.

Last battles

After defeat at Huangbi , the nationalists changed their strategy in the middle of March, 1933 by attempting to breakthrough in the center. To do so, the nationalist force was redeployed: the nationalist 2nd Column became the vanguard, while the nationalist 1st Column and the 5th Division and the 9th Division of the nationalist 3rd Column became the rearguard, and two other divisions acted as the general reserve. Nationalists attacked from regions of Dongbi and Huangbi toward Guangchang , in attempt to lure out the communist main force for a decisive engagement. The communist in turn, deployed their 11th Army disguised as their main force in to the northwest of Guangchang to lure the nationalist vanguard further south, while the communist main force itself moved northward to ambush the nationalist rearguard.

On March 20, 1933, the 11th Division of the nationalist rearguard had reached the region between Grass Stage Hill and Village of Xu , with the surviving regiment of the nationalist 59th Division following behind. The nationalist 9th Division was still near Dongbi and was more than fifty kilometers away from the near nationalist forces. On dawn of March 21, 1933, the communist first launched the surprise attack on the unsuspecting nationalist 11th Division, succeeding in completely destroying it in the region of Grass Stage Hill . The next day, the nationalist 9th Division at Dongbi was badly mauled by the communists. Hearing the news of the disaster, all other overstretched nationalist forces withdrew and ended the campaign to rest and regroup for future actions.


The communist victory resulted in annihilating over thirty thousands nationalist troops, including capturing more than ten thousands, in addition, the communists also managed to capture over ten thousands guns from the nationalists. Although Mao Zedong had already lost power to Wang Ming in the internal power struggle, his successful strategies proven in the previous encirclement campaigns was adopted one last time by Zhou Enlai, who was the protégé of Wang Ming at the time, and unlike other communists elsewhere who suffered disastrous defeats, resulted in another victory. However, the communist jubilation would not last long, for that as Wang Ming’s new strategies were adopted in full, the communist defeat in Jiangxi Soviet in the next encirclement campaigns would be far more catastrophic.

Although the nationalist offensive was successfully repelled by the communists, their victory was not complete in that most of the nationalist forces withdrawn did not return to their original posts, but instead, started building blockade lines along the border of Jiangxi Soviet, thus begun the very successful tactic used in the next encirclement campaign. Furthermore, as Mao Zedong had lost power to Wang Ming, his proven successfully strategies were abolished and this campaign was the last time it was adopted. Elsewhere, communists suffered huge losses as Wang Ming’s new strategies of static defense and clashing head on with numerical and technical superior nationalist forces were adopted, resulting in communists losing most of their other bases, including two major ones, plus all of the smaller ones.

First Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet

The First Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet was a series of battles launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government that intended to annihilate the Chinese Red Army and to destroy its Chinese Soviet Republic. It was later responded by the Communist's First Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Central Soviet , also called by the communists as the First Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Central Revolutionary Base , in which the Red Army successfully defended their soviet republic in the southern Jiangxi province against the Nationalist attacks from November 1930 to January 3, 1931.


The plan of the campaign was already in process in the mid August 1930, as Chiang Kai-shek had directed He Yingqing, the commander of Wuhan headquarter to hold the conference at Hankou on how to suppress the communists in the Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces. Decision was made to concentrate on the military, with less emphasis on the politics, and to launch multiple attacks on main communist base, the Jiangxi Soviet. The plan was temporarily interrupted by the Central Plains War, and when Chiang’s victory was certain by October 1930, he immediately redeployed his troops in preparation to exterminate communists with in 3 to 6 months.

Nationalist strategy planned for the 1st phase

Chiang Kai-shek appointed the nationalist Jiangxi provincial governor and the commander of the 9th Route , Lu Diping to organize the nationalist troops for redeployment. On November 2, 1930, Lu Diping organized the nationalist troops that totaled 7 s and 1 brigade into 3 s, and reinforcement in the form of Chiang Kai-shek's own troops departed from Hunan, while the Nineteenth Route Army departed from Wuhan by October 20, 1930. Lu Diping set a deadline on November 5, 1930, by which the nationalist troops must be reach their designated deployment areas, and the nationalist order of battle was:

Commander-in-chief: Chiang Kai-shek
*Deputy commander-in-chief: Lu Diping
*Frontline commander-in-chief: Zhang Huizan

*The 1st Column:
**13th Division deployed at Linchuan
**18th Division deployed at Zhangshu
**24th Division deployed on the northern banks of Gan River, northwest of Fengcheng, Jiangxi

*The 2nd Column:
**50th Division deployed at Western Mountain
**14th Independent brigade deployed at Jingan

*The 3rd Column:
**5th Division deployed at Gaoan
**77th Division deployed at Shanggao

*Strategic reserve:
**8th Division deployed at Nanchang

The nationalists totaled over 100,000 and planned to crush the communists in the Linjiang region.

Communist strategy planned for the 1st phase

The communists originally disagreed on how to defend Jiangxi Soviet. In numerous debates, many believed in the decision made in early August 1930 which suggested that the majority of the 40,000 strong Chinese Red Army should strike Nanchang and Jiujiang, forcing the nationalists on the defensive, thus abandoning the encirclement campaign. However, the general commissar of the Chinese Red Army, Mao Zedong opposed the idea, accurately pointed out that the numerically and technically inferior communist force was in no place to leave the communist base and take major cities in the nationalist heartland. Instead, the communists should fight the enemy within the Jiangxi Soviet and defeat the enemy with the support of the people. Mao Zedong finally prevailed and on October 30, 1930 at the Luofang Conference, everyone eventually agreed with Mao that the Chinese Red Army should cross the Gan River and defeat the enemy on the eastern shore of the Gan River.

First phase

As a result of the communist strategy, Zhu De, the commander-in-chief of the Chinese Red Army and the general commissar Mao Zedong lead the 3rd Legion, the 4th Army and the 12th Army of the 1st Legion crossed the Gan River, moved eastward to Xingan 、Eternal Abundance 、Chongren 、Yihuang , letting the nationalists taking Qingjiang , Xingquan , Yellow Earth Street , Luofang , Xinyu , Fenyi by early November 1930. Only the 3rd Army of the Chinese Red Army remained in the former communist region to harass the enemy via guerilla warfare, while Mao Zedong and Zhu De moved their troops toward Zhangshu and Linchuan. Fearing Zhangshu and Linchuan would be lost to the communists, Lu Diping ordered the 3rd Column to continue the attack in the western shore of Gan River, while the 1st and the 2nd Columns to cross Gan River to pursuit the major communist force.

After the crossing, the nationalists succeeded in taking Xingquan 、Chongren 、Southern Town 、Southern Abundance 、Jishui , Lukou 、Oil Field ,Donggu 、Dragon Hill by mid November 1930. From November 18, 1930 to November 20, 1930, the nationalists took Ji'an, Jishui , Eternal Abundance , Yuean , Yihuang 、Southern Town . By early December 1930, the nationalist force was overstretched and stopped their offensives to regroup and re-supply. In the meantime, the communists planned their next move, and also regrouped and re-supplied first at Yellow Slope , Little Cloth , Luokou , and then moved to Pingtian , Firewood Gathering Hill , Anfuyu by mid December 1930. At the same time, the 20th of the Chinese Red Army acted as decoy in the Rich Field 、Donggu 、Dragon Hill regions to distract the enemy. A Communist counter-attack defeated the Nationalist force and drove them back. A stalemate was reached and both sides used this period to plan and prepare for the next phase.

Kuomintang strategy planned for the 2nd phase

Chiang Kai-shek reached Nanchang in early December 1930, personally took the command and decided that all nationalist force would attack Donggu in mid December. More nationalist troops were mobilized, with Nineteenth Route Army from Wuhan joined the battle, and the 49th Division, 56th Division and the 2nd Independent Brigade attacking from Fujian, and the nationalist forced by then had been boosted to a total of 11 Divisions and 2 brigades, totaling more than 100,000. To better command the troops, Lu Diping was named as Chiang’s deputy, while Zhang Huizan , the commander of the 18th Division was promoted to frontline commander-in-chief. The Kuomintang troops slowly begun their push to their objectives and the order of battle of the attacking nationalist force was:

*77th Division attacking Anfu from Ji'an
*49th Division and the 2nd Independent Brigade attacking Ruijin, Huichang
*34th brigade of the 12th Division defending Ganzhou

*The 6th Route Army:
**8th Division attacking Guangchan 、Ningdu 、Yudu from Yellow Slope 、Southern Abundance
**24th Division attacking Dongshao 、Luokou 、Ningdu from Chinese Alligator Lake
**56th Division attacking Stone City from Jianning

*The 9th Route Army:
**5th Division attacking Rich Field , Donggu from Ji'an
**18th Division attacking Ancient County 、White Sand , Donggu from Eternal Abundance
**50th Division attacking Shaoxie 、Tengtian , Dragon Hill、Donggu from Yuean

*The 19th Route :
**60th Division attacking Wanan from Pingxiang, Jiangxi
**61st Division attacking Taihe from Pingxiang, Jiangxi

Communist strategy planned for the 2nd phase

The communists held a conference at Yellow Slope of Ningdu county in the mid December 1930 to discuss their next move, and in order to solve the technical inferiority problem the communists had, Mao decided to independently crush individual enemy units in a single direction by concentrating the communist forces to achieve absolute numerical superiority. In the mean time, smaller local communist forces would take advantage of landscapes to slow down other enemy units in different direction, preventing them from reinforcing each other. Mao’s idea was accepted, and the 35th Division of the 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army was sent to Yue Creek region northeast of Xingguo county to distract the enemy while the main force was concentrated to Yellow Slope and Matian for the preparation of the upcoming battle.

Second phase

The stalemate ended on December 16, 1930 when the started the 2nd phase of their offensive. The 5th Division and the 18th Division reached Donggu on December 19, 1930 and December 20, 1930 respectively. However, heavy fog and poor communication prevent the coordination between the nationalist forces and both Divisions mistaken the other as the communist force and battled each other with heavy artillery duels for nearly a day. It was not until the December 21, 1930 when the fog dissipated when the nationalist realized their mistakes, but hundreds of casualties were already inflicted.

From December 24, 1930 thru December 28, 1930, the communist forces managed to stop most of the attacking nationalist forces:
*The nationalist 50th Division was stopped at Zhaoxie
*The nationalist 60th Division was stopped at Wangan
*The nationalist 61st Division was stopped at Taihe
*The nationalist 24th Division was stopped at Caotaigang
*The nationalist 8th Division was stopped at New Abundance
*The nationalist 28th Division was stopped at Triple Craters
*The nationalist 18th Division was stopped at regions near Yinfu and Nanlong

After the initial setback, the nationalist 50th Division continued their push, reaching River Origin , and prepared to take Little Cloth . Learning the news, the communists tried to ambush the nationalist 50th Division twice on December 25, 1930 and December 27, 1930 respectively, but both time failed because the nationalist troops were very cautious and would not leave their fortified positions in River Origin, and the communists were thus forced to withdraw and regroup, waiting for the next opportunity.

Third phase

On December 28, 1930, Lu Diping ordered the five nationalist divisions within the heart of the Jiangxi Soviet to launch a general offensive toward Yellow Slope、Little Cloth, Matian regions north of Ningdu . The nationalist 18th Division under the command of the divisional commander and the frontline commander-in-chief Zhang Huizan pushed toward Dragon Hill from Donggu. Once the Chinese Red Army learned the news, it was decided to use local militia and guerilla to stop and distract the nationalist 50th Division at River Origin, the nationalist 24th Division at Luokou , and the nationalist 8th Division at Head Slope , while the main force would concentrate on defeating the 18th Division.

On December 29, 1930, was the Chinese Red Army was on its way, the news of the nationalist 18th Division taking Dragon Hill reached the communists, and a battle plan was made to engage the enemy via a pincer movement:
*Left wing:
**The 64th Division of the 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army would push to Watch Lake by dawn of December 30, 1930, and with a portion of its force, taking the Blind Man’s Mountain , thus cutting off the link between the Dragon Hill and Nanlong .
**The main force of the 64th Division of the 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army would attack the 18th Division of the nationalist 9th Route Army from behind from Orchid Stone and Maoping .
**The 35th Division of the 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army would push toward the region between Dragon Hill and Nanlong from Yue Creek before noon December 30, 1930, helping the 64th Division of the 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army attacking the enemy, and guard the communist force from possible nationalist attacks from Nanlong.
*Right wing:
**The 3rd Legion of the Chinese Red Army would push to Wooden Crater by the morning of December 30, 1930, and continued on to Shanggu , attacking Dragon Hill.
**The 4th Army of the Chinese Red Army would push to Xiagu , and continue on to Huanpu , attacking Zhang's Family’s Cart northwest of Dragon Hill, and guard the communist force from possible nationalist attacks from Xiagu and Tantou .
**Chinese Red Army headquarter was moved to the Yellow Earth Ridge near Short Separation to command the upcoming battle.

Fourth phase

On the morning of December 30, 1930, the 18th Division of the nationalist 9th Route Army begun their push toward Five Gates Ridge from Dragon Hill , headed by the 52nd brigade. Around 9 AM, the most important battle of the First Counter Encirclement Campaign begun with the 7th Division of the 3rd Legion of Chinese Red Army firing the first shot when both side met at Short Separation, east of Dragon Hill.

The first major battle

By noon of December 30, 1930, the entire 3rd Legion of the Chinese Red Army was devoted to the battle. Zhang Huizan , the commander of nationalist 18th Division, still mistakenly believed that the opposing communist forces engaged were only guerillas harassing his troop, only devoted two more regiments in support of his 52nd brigade, mistakenly expecting the communist resistance would soon be swept away. By 3:00 PM, Zhang Huizan personally lead the charge of 4 regiments to clear the communist resistance, but was driven back. Taking the advantage, the 4th Army and part of the 3rd Legion of the Chinese Red Army took Zhang’s Family’s Cart, cutting off the nationalist 18th Division from Donggu and Yinfu , attacking Dragon Hill from behind. In the meantime, the majority of the 3rd Legion of the Chinese Red Army took Shanggu , thus cutting off the northwestern escaping route of the nationalist 18th Division at Dragon Hill, and preventing any nationalist reinforcement from northwest.

Learning the news, Zhang Huizan and his nationalist soldiers’ confidence rapidly decreased as they realized the dire situation they were in, and began their desperate attempt to escape. By 4:00 PM, the encirclement of the nationalist 18th Division was complete and the nationalist attempt to escape toward northwest was beaten back. The failure of the escape attempt crashed the nationalist morale and everyone was running for his own life, only to be captured alive by the communists, and Zhang Huizan was not able to command his troops for any organized retreat and counterattacks, and himself was taken prisoner by his communist captors. By 6:00 PM, it was all over for the trapped nationalists, the entire division was wiped out by the communists.

Consequence of the first major battle

The complete destruction of the 18th Division of the nationalist 9th Route Army marked the immediate end of the nationalist assaults, with the five nationalist divisions deep inside the Jiangxi Soviet immediately started to retreat back toward the nationalist positions. The communists, however, decided not to let the nationalists go that easily and planned another attack on their enemy.

Fifth phase

The 50th Division of the nationalist 9th Route Army became the enemy's next target as it begun its retreat toward Dongshao from Southern Regiment on January 2, 1931. The communist headquarter decided on the same day to pursuit the enemy in three directions:

*Left wing:
**The 3rd Legion of the Chinese Red Army would push to Head Slope, attacking Dongshao from north.
*Right wing:
**The main force 3rd Army of the Chinese Red Army would push to Tianying to engage the 24th Division of the nationalist 6th Route Army, preventing it from reinforcing the 50th Division of the nationalist 9th Route Army at Dongshao, while a portion of 3rd Army of the Chinese Red Army would attack Dongshao from the east.
**The 12th Army of the Chinese Red Army would push to Southern Regiment and Linchi , attacking Dongshao from the west. The 4th Army of the Chinese Red Army would act as strategic reserve, following the 12th Army.
**The headquarter of the Chinese Red Army would move forward to Longtan to command the upcoming battle.

The second major battle

On January 3, 1931, communist forces at the left and center reached Dongshao and started their attack, succeeding in driven the enemy from Dongshao by 3:00 PM. However, the communist force at the right failed to reach the battlefield, resulting in successful escape of the nationalist force, resulting in only a single brigade the nationalist 50th Division been decimated.

Consequence of the second major battle

The battle of Dongshao was the second important battle during the First Counter Encirclement Campaign in that the communist victory marked the beginning of the nationalist general retreat after the battle from Jiangxi Soviet back to their original positions prior the campaign, thus abandoning all of the regions newly gained during the campaign. The communist First Counter Encirclement Campaign had succeeded.


The communist victory decimated four nationalist brigades totaling more than 15,000 troops, capturing more than 12,000 guns and artillery pieces. The success of the communist First Counter Encirclement Campaign marked the Chinese Red Army’s transition from guerilla warfare to mobile warfare and accumulated important experience in conventional warfare, setting the funding pattern and model for the next three successful counter encirclement campaigns.

Fifth Encirclement Campaign

The Fifth Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet was a series of battles fought during the Chinese Civil War from September 25, 1933 to October 1934 between Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang and the Chinese communists. During this campaign, Kuomintang force has successfully overran the communist base of Chinese Soviet Republic and forced the communists on the run, which would later known as the Long March. Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang called this campaign the Fifth Encirclement Campaign at the time, while the communists call it the Fifth Counter Encirclement Campaign at the Central Soviet , also known as the Fifth Counter-Encirclement Campaign at the Central Revolutionary Base .


After the failure of the 4th encirclement campaign in the spring of 1933, Chiang Kai-shek immdiately mobilized over half a million troops to for the next encirclement campaign. The nationalist troops eventually totalled more than a million, most of which was consisted of regional warlords' forces, and the largest was Guangdong warlord Chen Jitang's force, totalled more than 300,000, , which was mobilized to blockade the southern border of the Jiangxi Soviet. However, like most of the warlords who were half heartedly drawn to the campaign, they only wanted to keep their own power and did not actively participated in the fiercest battles, so they only participated in blockade and guard the newly occupied communist regions after being conquered by Chiang Kai-shek's own troops, who did most of the fighting.

Chiang Kai-shek took the job of the commander-in-chief of the campaign and sent up his headquarter in Nanchang. In addition to succeeding in mobilizing many warlords' troops, Chiang also adopted his advisors' strategy, which involved the systematic encirclement of the Jiangxi Soviet region with fortified blockhouses. This method proved to be very effective. In an effort to break the blockade, the Red Army under the orders of the three man committee consisted of Bo Gu, Zhou Enlai and Li De besieged the forts many times but suffered heavy casualties with little success, resulting the Jiangxi Soviet shrunk significantly in size due to the Chinese Red Army's disastrous manpower and material loss.

First Phase

The campaign officially started on September 25, 1933 when the first Kuomintang assault on the communist positions begun, and merely three days later, the communists lost . Although the communist force managed to stopped the nationalist force at the southwest of Lichuan , its following operations ended in failure: when the 24th of the Chinese Red Army attempted to take Xiaoshi on October 9, 1933, it ended in disaster: not only Xiaoshi remained firmly in the nationalist hand, the communists were forced to withdraw several days later with heavy casualties. Witnessing the success of his tactic, Chiang Kai-shek issued a new order from his Nanchang headquarter on October 17, 1933, requiring his troops to follow the principle of ''on the defensive tactically, but on the offensive strategically'' in order to perfect his advisors' strategy. In contrast, the communist leadership, namely, the three men committee, refused to adjust their tactics and still stubbornly and rigidly continued the futile fights between Kuomintang's blockhouses in the hope of defeating the enemy outside the communist base. The result was obivous, from September 25, 1933 to the mid November 1933, not only the Chinese Red Army failed to achieve the unrealistic dream of defeating the enemy outside the communist base, but it also suffered great loss, while the nationalist force suffered very little under the protection of their fortifications.

Second phase

On December 11, 1933, a total of eight of Kuomintang force ventured out their fortifications and begun the new offensive. The communist leadership not only failed to concentrated their forces by splitting the Chinese Red Army into two, but also decided to clash head on with the nationalist force with numerical and technical superiority. As a result, the communist force suffered once again without achieving any victories. By the end of January 1934, the warlords' forces begun to participate in the battles, and the forces of Fujian warlords struck from the east in coordination with the nationalist forces in the north and the south, further pressuring the communist force into smaller regions, inflicting severe casualties on the Chinese Red Army during the period between January 1934 and March 1934.

Third phase

On April 10, 1934, eleven divisions of the nationalist troops begun their attack on Guangchang , and the communists decided to concentrate a total of nine to defend Guangchang and hopefully, crush the enemy in the area north of Guangchang . Due to the nationalist numerical and technical superiorities, communist strongholds at Ganzhu 、Great Luo Mountain 、Yanfuzhang fell. On the dawn of April 19, 1934, the communists launched an unsuccessful counterattack at the nationalist force at the Great Luo Mountain , only to be driven off with heavy loss. On April 27, 1934, the nationalists launched their final assault on Guangchang , succeeding in taking it by the evening and inflicting over 5,500 casualties of its communist defenders on the same day. The remanents of the shattered communist defense force was forced to flee in the separate direction to the south and west under the cover of the darkness.

Final phase

The three men committee of the communist leadership deepened their mistake by further dividing its force into six different parts by early July 1934, still daydreamed being able to drive out the enemy, which was ruthlessly crushed by the harsh reality: On August 5, 1934, 9 of the nationalist force ventured out newly fortified positions on the occupied communist regions, started another round of fierce assault, taking regions north of Yiqian , and soon the adjacent regions. By the late September 1934, the Chinese Soviet Republic was left with only Ruijin 、Huichang 、Xingguo 、Ningdu 、Shicheng 、Ninghua 、and counties/towns.

It was after this when Zhou Enlai's spy ring within Chiang Kai-shek's headquarter in Nanchang succeeded in delivering important intelligence to the communists to reveal the dangerous situation the communists had faced and the decision to abandon the Jiangxi Salient was finally made, resulting in the beginning of the Long March. As a result of the communist failure to defeat the fifth encirclement, the largest communist base was lost and it was not until 15 years later would the communists be able to return.


The communist failure was mainly due to the extreme leftist policy of the new communist leadership which displaced Mao Zedong, and the critical mistakes the new leadership made included:

The fifth encirclement campaign was a war of attrition, the communist lacked the necessary replacement of troops its enemy enjoyed, so head-on clashes must be avoided at all cost, like Mao had done. However, the new communist leadership mistakenly believed the era of guerrilla warfare and mobile warfare was over, and it was the time for regular warfare, in which both sides fought on the equal terms. However, the communist force was far from equal to its nationalist counterparts because it lacked the numerical and technical superiority. The result was the obvious decimation of the communist force.

Hostility toward all nationalist troops. During Mao's reign, warlords and their forces were distinguished from Chiang Kai-shek and his forces, so that the communists were able to achieve some kind of neutrality with the warlords' forces that were drafted by Chiang, and thus avoid most direct confrontations. As a result, communists only had to fight around 50,000 of Chiang Kai-shek's own troops in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and to a great degree, the 4th Counter Encirclement Campaigns. When the new communist leadership took over, all nationalist troops were regarded as enemies of equal danger, and the communists tried to fight all warlords and their forces drafted into the campaign by Chiang Kai-shek, so instead of having to fight an enemy force that was much smaller than it was on paper, the communists actually had to fight an enemy that was as large as it appeared on paper, a feat the communists could not afford.

Static defense: in addition to match the nationalist tactics in the head-on clashes during attacks, the new communist leadership also ordered the Chinese Red Army to do the same in the static defense, which led to disasters due to the nationalist technical superiority: the concrete fortifications of the nationalists were immune to virtually all communist bombardments, while the communist bunkers built with wood and mud were not immune to anything, not only the nationalist artillery, but also the forces of nature, such as heavy rain. The hastily constructed bunkers with poor construction material only served to help the nationalists by becoming a death trap for the communist defenders, as these bunkers offered very little protection and greatly limited the Red Army's mobility.

Ignorance on the importance of intelligence. The new communist leadership totally lacked the proper realization of the importance of the intelligence. The communists were already able to break the nationalist codes in the previous counter encirclement campaigns, which had helped greatly in the earlier communist successes, but the new communist leadership did not trust the cryptography enough to make the entire battles plans according to the intelligence. The problem continued until the Long March when Mao finally returned to power.

Much increased nationalist strength. In previous campaigns, the nationalist did not have enough troops to guard the newly conquered regions, so their troops were only stationed at important cities / towns / forifications while huge gaps were left in between these garrisons. Communists were therefore able to use mobile and guerrilla warfare tactics to penentrate deep into the heart of the nationalist controlled regions by exploiting these huge gaps, and achieving final victories. Although the nationalist mobile strike force still numbered around 50,000 during the fifth encirclement campaign just like the previous ones, Chiang had ten times of troops at his disposal with a total of half a million, and thus were able to fill all gaps left behind by the mobile strike force. As a result, the encirclement in this campaign was much more effective than previous campaigns. The elimination of gaps between the nationalist garrison in their newly conquered regions consolidated and ensured the nationalist control over the regions and compressed the available space for the enemy to maneuver, thus deprived communists any chance of victory.

Encirclement Campaign against Northeastern Jiangxi Soviet

The against Northeastern Jiangxi Soviet was a campaign launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government that was intended to destroy Jiangxi Soviet and its Chinese Red Army in the local region. It was responded by the Communists’ Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Northeastern Jiangxi Soviet , also called by the communists as the Counter-Encirclement Campaign at Northeastern Jiangxi Revolutionary Base , in which the nationalists successfully destroyed most of the communist soviet republic in the northeastern Jiangxi province in the campaign that lasted from December 1930 to July 1931.

The Jiangxi Soviet was a communist base in the northeastern part of Jiangxi guarded by the 10th Army of the Chinese Red Army, and it was the right flank of the Jiangxi Soviet. In comparison to the major communist base in southern Jiangxi, the Jiangxi Soviet, this communist base was much closer to the nationalist strongholds and it was at the forefront of the nationalist controlled regions, and consequently, it had become a main target the nationalists marked for destruction. The against Jiangxi Soviet begun in December, 1930, shortly after the First Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet. However, due to the allocation of available troops and other resources to the top priority target, the Jiangxi Soviet, the encirclement campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet was protracted, and was not over until July 1931 after the Third Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet had already started.

The initial stage of the campaign resulted in the communist victory, with the nationalists suffering three consecutive defeats immediately after the start of their against Jiangxi Soviet in the regions of Pearl Mountain Bridge , Shangrao and River Mouth , losing more than 1,500 troops in the process. As a result, a stalemate was reached as the nationalists stopped their offensives. However, the huge number of the nationalist troops surrounding the Jiangxi Soviet still posed a major threat and the nationalists could strike anytime they wanted and anywhere they wanted. To distract the enemy, the communist 10th Army of the Chinese Red Army launched diversion offensives in late March 1931 in the regions of Guixi , and Yujiang , and then continued their offensives in northern Fujian, annihilating several thousands nationalist troops in the process. After their eleven consecutive victories in northern Fujian, the communist main force returned in May 1931 and expanded the communist base further. Despite their victories, the communists had failed to distract the nationalists from redeploying any of their troops away from the Jiangxi Soviet.

The final blow finally arrived when the much anticipated nationalist all-front offensive begun in July 1931, which was unexpectedly helped by a highly unlikely source: the communists themselves. As Wang Ming prevailed in the power struggles against Mao Zedong, Mao’s proven effective strategies and tactics were abolished as well when Mao’s power and influence dropped, and the Jiangxi Soviet was one of the first place that reflected the rise of Wang Ming and the decline of Mao Zedong, despite the fact Mao was still very much in power elsewhere, such as in the Jiangxi Soviet. However, as the military doctrines of Wang Ming and his supporters were adopted and put in use, they were proven to be completely unsuited for defending the communist base. As a result, the communist force was annihilated and the communist base of Jiangxi Soviet was reduced to a tiny fraction of its original size centered at Geyuan.

Although the communist base was not fully destroyed until March 1943 when the last of its communist guerrillas were finally eliminated and the communist commander Yang Wenhan captured, , it was no longer a threat to the nationalists like once it was. The nationalists did not even bother to continue any follow-up campaigns after the annihilation of their communist enemy in July 1931, except a single eradication campaign at the end of 1938 in which over 17,000 nationalist troops were deployed. The surviving communist base and communist force were insignificant enough for the nationalists to declare a victory and redeploy their forces against communists elsewhere. As for the communists, the destruction of its Jiangxi Soviet meant that the important right flank of Jiangxi Soviet was lost, and more nationalist forces were available to insert greater pressures on communist forces and bases elsewhere. Unfortunately, the communists had not learned from their debacle, which inevitably led to further defeats elsewhere.