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The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Army () after 1928, was the military arm of the
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republican Era on the Chinese mainland, where it is sometimes referred to as the Ch ...
(KMT, or the Chinese Nationalist Party) from 1925 until 1947 in the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...
. It also became the
regular army A regular army is the official army of a state or country (the official armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized ...
of the ROC during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928. It was renamed the
Republic of China Armed Forces The Republic of China Armed Forces, commonly known as the Taiwanese people, Taiwanese Armed Forces, are the armed forces of the Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC) now on Taiwan, encompassing the Republic of China Army, Army, Republic of China Nav ...
after the 1947 Constitution, which instituted
civilian control of the military File:050218-N-3333H-011 Admiral John B. Nathman, far right, and Admiral William J. Fallon salute during honors arrival of Secretary of the Navy, Gordon R. England.jpg, 300px, Admiral John B. Nathman (far right) and Admiral William J. Fallon salut ...
. Originally organized with
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
aid as a means for the
KMT The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republican Era on the Chinese mainland, where it is sometimes referred to as the Ch ...
to unify China during the
Warlord Era The Warlord Era was a period in the history of the Republic of China The history of the Republic of China begins after the Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dy ...
, the National Revolutionary Army fought major engagements in the
Northern Expedition The Northern Expedition was a military campaign launched by the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) of the Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the "Chinese Nationalist Party", against the Beiyang government and other regional warlords in 1926. The p ...
against the Chinese
Beiyang Army The Beiyang Army (Pei-yang Army; ), named after the Beiyang region,
warlords, in the
Second Sino-Japanese War The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The war made up the Chinese theater of the wider Pacific War, Pac ...
(1937–1945) against the
Imperial Japanese Army The was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan The was a historical and that existed from the in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II and subsequent formation of modern . It encompassed the ...
and in the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
against the
People's Liberation Army The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between St ...
. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the armed forces of the
Communist Party of China The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), officially the Communist Party of China (CPC), is the founding and One-party state, sole ruling party of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC). The CCP leads List of political parties in China, eight other ...

Communist Party of China
were nominally incorporated into the National Revolutionary Army (while retaining separate commands), but broke away to form the People's Liberation Army shortly after the end of the war. With the promulgation of the
Constitution of the Republic of China The Constitution of the Republic of China () is the fifth and current constitution of the Taiwan, Republic of China, ratified by the Kuomintang during the session on December 25, 1946, in Nanjing, and adopted on December 25, 1947. The constitut ...
in 1947 and the formal end of the KMT party-state, the National Revolutionary Army was renamed the
Republic of China Armed Forces The Republic of China Armed Forces, commonly known as the Taiwanese people, Taiwanese Armed Forces, are the armed forces of the Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC) now on Taiwan, encompassing the Republic of China Army, Army, Republic of China Nav ...
, with the bulk of its forces forming the
Republic of China Army The Republic of China Army (ROCA), retroactively known as the Chinese Army and unofficially as the Taiwanese Army is the largest branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces The Republic of China Armed Forces, commonly known as the Taiwa ...
, which retreated to the island of
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
in 1949.


History

The NRA was founded by the KMT in 1925 as the military force destined to unite China in the
Northern Expedition The Northern Expedition was a military campaign launched by the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) of the Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the "Chinese Nationalist Party", against the Beiyang government and other regional warlords in 1926. The p ...
. Organized with the help of the
Comintern The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International (1919–1943), was an international organization that advocated world communism. It was controlled by the Soviet Union. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congres ...
and guided under the doctrine of the
Three Principles of the People The Three Principles of the People, also translated as Three People's Principles, San-min Doctrine, or Tridemism, is a political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen as part of a philosophy to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful state. T ...
, the distinction among party, state and army was often blurred. A large number of the Army's officers passed through the
Whampoa Military Academy The Republic of China Military Academy (also known as ) is the service academy for the army of the Republic of China, located in Fengshan District, Kaohsiung Kaohsiung City (; Mandarin Chinese: ; Wade–Giles: ''Kao¹-hsiung²'' ...
, and the first commandant,
Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Romanization of Chinese, romanized via Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin as Chiang Chieh-shih and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Kuomintang, Nationalist politician, ...

Chiang Kai-shek
, became commander-in-chief of the Army in 1925 before launching the successful Northern Expedition. Other prominent commanders included
Du Yuming Du Yuming (; 28 November 1904 – 7 May 1981), was a Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republican Era on ...

Du Yuming
and
Chen Cheng Chen Cheng (; ; January 4, 1897 – March 5, 1965) was a Chinese political and military leader, and one of the main commanders of the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolution ...

Chen Cheng
. The end of the Northern Expedition in 1928 is often taken as the date when China's Warlord era ended, though smaller-scale warlord activity continued for years afterwards. In 1927, after the dissolution of the
First United Front The First United Front (; alternatively ), also known as the KMT–CPC Alliance, of the Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of ...
between the Nationalists and the Communists, the ruling KMT purged its leftist members and largely eliminated Soviet influence from its ranks. Chiang Kai-shek then turned to
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...

Germany
, historically a great military power, for the reorganization and modernization of the National Revolutionary Army. The
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
sent advisers to China, but because of the restrictions imposed by the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
they could not serve in military capacities. Chiang initially requested famous generals such as
Ludendorff
Ludendorff
and
von Mackensen
von Mackensen
as advisers; the Weimar Republic government turned him down, however, fearing that they were too famous, would invite the ire of the Allies and that it would result in the loss of national prestige for such renowned figures to work, essentially, as
mercenaries A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and ...

mercenaries
. When
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
became Germany's
chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the ' of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the ''cancelli'' or lattice work screens of ...
in 1933 and disavowed the Treaty, the
anti-communist Anti-communism is a political movement and ideology opposed to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and it reached global dimensions during the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet U ...

anti-communist
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
and the anti-communist KMT were soon engaged in close cooperation. with Germany training Chinese troops and expanding Chinese infrastructure, while China opened its markets and natural resources to Germany.
Max Bauer Colonel Max Hermann Bauer (31 January 1869 – 6 May 1929) was a Germany, German General Staff officer and artillery expert in the World War I, First World War. As a protege of Erich Ludendorff he was placed in charge of the German Army's munit ...
was the first adviser to China. In 1934, Gen.
Hans von Seeckt Johannes "Hans" Friedrich Leopold von Seeckt (22 April 1866 – 27 December 1936) was a German military officer who served as Chief of Staff to August von Mackensen and was a central figure in planning the victories Mackensen achieved for Germany ...

Hans von Seeckt
, acting as adviser to Chiang, proposed an ''"80 Division Plan"'' for reforming the entire Chinese army into 80 divisions of highly trained, well-equipped troops organised along German lines. The plan was never fully realised, as the eternally bickering
warlord A warlord is a person who exercises military, economic, and political control over a region in a country without a strong national government; largely because of coercive control over the armed forces. Warlords have existed throughout much of hi ...
s could not agree upon which divisions were to be merged and disbanded. Furthermore, since embezzlement and fraud were commonplace, especially in understrength divisions (the state of most of the divisions), reforming the military structure would threaten divisional commanders' "take". Therefore, by July 1937 only eight infantry divisions had completed reorganization and training. These were the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 14th, 36th, 87th, 88th, and the
Training Division This list of United States Army divisions is divided into three eras: 1911–1917, 1917–1941, and 1941–present. These eras represent the major evolutions of United States Army, army division structure (there have been several minor changes dur ...
. Another German general,
Alexander von Falkenhausen Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was ...
, came to China in 1934 to help reform the army. However, because of Nazi Germany's later cooperation with the Empire of Japan, he was later recalled in 1937. After his goodbye party with Chiang Kai-shek's family, he promised not to reveal his devised battle plans to the Japanese. For a time, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Communist forces fought as a nominal part of the National Revolutionary Army, forming the
Eighth Route Army Former site of the Eighth Route Army Office in Guilin. The Eighth Route Army (), officially known as the 18th Group Army of the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Arm ...
and the
New Fourth Army The New Fourth Army () was a unit of the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Army () after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang ...
units, but this co-operation later fell apart. Throughout the Chinese Civil War the National Revolutionary Army experienced major problems with desertion, with many soldiers switching sides to fight for the Communists. Troops in India and Burma during World War II included the
Chinese Expeditionary Force (Burma) The Chinese Expeditionary Force () was an expeditionary unit of the Republic of China Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's larg ...
, the
Chinese Army in India X Force was the name given to the portion of the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Army () after 1928, was the military arm of the Ku ...
and
Y ForceY Force was the South East Asia Command designation given to Chinese National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Army () after 1928, was the milit ...
. The US government repeatedly threatened to cut off aid to China during World War 2 unless they handed over total command of all Chinese military forces to the US. After considerable stalling, the arrangement only fell through due to a particularly insulting letter from the Americans to Chiang. By the end of the war, US influence over the political, economic, and military affairs of China were greater than any foreign power in the last century, with American personnel appointed in every field, such as the Chief of Staff of the Chinese military, management of the Chinese War Production Board and Board of Transport, trainers of the secret police, and Chiang's personal advisor. Sir George Sansom, British envoy to the US, reported that many US military officers saw US monopoly on Far Eastern trade as a rightful reward for fighting the Pacific war. After the drafting and implementation of the
Constitution of the Republic of China The Constitution of the Republic of China () is the fifth and current constitution of the Taiwan, Republic of China, ratified by the Kuomintang during the session on December 25, 1946, in Nanjing, and adopted on December 25, 1947. The constitut ...
in 1947, the National Revolutionary Army was transformed into the ground service branch of the
Republic of China Armed Forces The Republic of China Armed Forces, commonly known as the Taiwanese people, Taiwanese Armed Forces, are the armed forces of the Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC) now on Taiwan, encompassing the Republic of China Army, Army, Republic of China Nav ...
– the
Republic of China Army The Republic of China Army (ROCA), retroactively known as the Chinese Army and unofficially as the Taiwanese Army is the largest branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces The Republic of China Armed Forces, commonly known as the Taiwa ...
(ROCA).


Structure

The NRA throughout its lifespan recruited approximately 4,300,000 regulars, in 370 Standard Divisions (正式師), 46 New Divisions (新編師), 12 Cavalry Divisions (騎兵師), eight New Cavalry Divisions (新編騎兵師), 66 Temporary Divisions (暫編師), and 13 Reserve Divisions (預備師), for a grand total of 515
division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
s. However, many divisions were formed from two or more other divisions, and were not active at the same time. At the apex of the NRA was the National Military Council, also translated as Military Affairs Commission. Chaired by Chiang Kai-Shek, it directed the staffs and commands. It included from 1937 the Chief of the General Staff, General
He Yingqin He Yingqin, (; April 2, 1890 – October 21, 1987) also Ho Ying-chin, was a politician and one of the most senior generals of the Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary ...
, the General Staff, the War Ministry, the military regions, air and naval forces, air defence and garrison commanders, and support services Around 14 Million were conscripted from 1937 to 1945. Also, New Divisions were created to replace Standard Divisions lost early in the war and were issued the old division's number. Therefore, the number of divisions in active service at any given time is much smaller than this. The average NRA division had 5,000–6,000 troops; an average army division had 10,000–15,000 troops, the equivalent of a Japanese division. Not even the
German-trained divisions The German trained divisions ( zh, 德械師, literally German-equipped divisions) were the elite-quality, best trained and equipped infantry division (military), divisions in the Republic of China (1912-1949), Republic of China's National Revolutio ...
were on par in terms of manpower with a German or Japanese division, having only 10,000 men. The United States Army's campaign brochure on the China Defensive campaign of 1942–45 said:
The NRA only had small number of armoured vehicles and mechanised troops. At the beginning of the war in 1937 the armour were organized in three Armoured Battalions, equipped with tanks and armoured cars from various countries. After these battalions were mostly destroyed in the
Battle of Shanghai The Battle of Shanghai () was the first of the twenty-two major engagements fought between the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Arm ...
and
Battle of Nanjing The Battle of Nanking (or Nanjing) was fought in early December 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War between the Chinese National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army for control of Nanking (Nanjing), the capital of the Republi ...
. The newly provided tanks, armoured cars, and trucks from the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
and
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
made it possible to create the only mechanized division in the army, the 200th Division. This Division eventually ceased to be a mechanized unit after the June 1938 reorganization of Divisions. The armoured and artillery Regiments were placed under direct command of 5th Corps and the 200th Division became a motorized Infantry Division within the same Corps. This Corps fought battles in
Guangxi Guangxi (; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, uni ...
in 1939–1940 and in the Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road in 1942 reducing the armoured units due to losses and mechanical breakdown of the vehicles. On paper China had 3.8 million men under arms in 1941. They were organized into 246 "front-line" divisions, with another 70 divisions assigned to rear areas. Perhaps as many as forty Chinese divisions had been equipped with European-manufactured weapons and trained by foreign, particularly German and Soviet, advisers. The rest of the units were under strength and generally untrained. Overall, the Nationalist Army impressed most Western military observers as more reminiscent of a 19th- than a 20th-century army.
Late in the Burma Campaign the NRA Army there had an armoured battalion equipped with Sherman tanks. Despite the poor reviews given by European observers to the European-trained Divisions, the Muslim Divisions of the National Revolutionary Army, trained in China (not by Westerners) and led by
Ma Clique The Ma clique or Ma family warlords is a collective name for a group of Hui The Hui people ( zh, c=, p=Huízú, w=Hui2-tsu2, Xiao'erjing Xiao'erjing or Xiao'erjin or Xiaor jin or in its shortened form, Xiaojing, literally meaning "chi ...
Muslim generals, frightened the European observers with their appearance and fighting skills in battle. Europeans like Sven Hedin and Georg Vasel were in awe of the appearance Chinese Muslim NRA divisions made and their ferocious combat abilities. They were trained in harsh, brutal conditions. The 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army), trained entirely in China without any European help, was composed of Chinese Muslims and fought and severely mauled an invading Soviet Russian army during the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang. The division was lacking in technology and manpower, but badly damaged the superior Russian force. The Muslim divisions of the army controlled by Muslim Gen.
Ma Hongkui Ma Hongkui (, Xiao'erjing: ; March 14, 1892 – January 14, 1970) was a prominent warlord in China during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China era, ruling the province of Ningxia. His rank was lieutenant general. His court ...

Ma Hongkui
were reported by Western observers to be tough and disciplined. Despite having diabetes Ma Hongkui personally drilled with his troops and engaged in sword fencing during training. When the leaders of many of the warlord and provincial armies joined with the KMT and were appointed as officers and generals, their troops joined the NRA. These armies were renamed as NRA divisions. The entire Ma Clique armies were absorbed into the NRA. When the Muslim Ma Clique General
Ma Qi Ma Qi (, Xiao'erjing: ; 23 September 1869 – 5 August 1931) was a Chinese Muslim General in early 20th-century China. Early life A Hui people, Hui, Ma was born on 23 September 1869 in Daohe, now part of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Linxia, ...

Ma Qi
joined the KMT, the
Ninghai Army The Ninghai Army, later the 26th Division (National Revolutionary Army) was a Muslim Hui people, Hui army of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China commanded by General Ma Qi, who controlled the Xining area of Qinghai, then a speci ...
was renamed the National Revolutionary Army 26th Division.


Unit organization

The unit organisation of the NRA is as follows: (Note that a unit is not necessarily subordinate to one immediately above it; several army regiments can be found under an army group, for example.) The commander-in-chief of the NRA from 1925 to 1947 was
Generalissimo ''Generalissimo'' ( ) is a Highest military ranks, military rank of the highest degree, superior to field marshal and other five-star ranks in the states where they are used. Usage The word (), an Italian language, Italian term, is the superla ...
Chiang Kai-shek.
Military Affairs Commission The Military Affairs Commission (MAC) of the National Government, chaired by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Romanization of Chinese, romanized via Mand ...
*
Military Region Military districts (also called military regions) are formation Formation may refer to: Linguistics * Back-formation, the process of creating a new lexeme by removing or affixes * Word formation, the creation of a new word by adding affixes Math ...
×12 (戰區) **Army Corps ×4(兵團) – the Army Corps, 兵團, was one of the largest military formations in the NRA during the Second Sino-Japanese War.Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of The Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) 2nd Ed., 1971. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung, Chung Wu Publishing; 33, 140th Lane, Tung-hwa Street, Taipei, Taiwan Republic of China. These Army Corps were composed of a number of Group Armies,
Army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch Military branch ...
,
Corps Corps (; plural ''corps'' ; from French , from the Latin "body") is a term used for several different kinds of organization. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such in 1805. The size of a corps varies greatly ...

Corps
,
Division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
s,
Brigade A brigade is a major tactical military formation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military capability as a military policy, national de ...

Brigade
s and
Regiment A regiment is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intend ...
s. In numbers of divisions, they were larger than Western
Army group An army group is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, gove ...
s. Only four were ever formed to command the large forces defending the Chinese capital during the
Battle of Wuhan The Battle of Wuhan (武漢之戰), popularly known to the Chinese as the Defense of Wuhan, and to the Japanese as the Capture of Wuhan, was a large-scale battle of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Engagements took place across vast areas of Anhui, ...

Battle of Wuhan
in 1938. (See Order of battle of Battle of Wuhan). ***
Army Group An army group is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, gove ...
×40 (集團軍 ''Group Army'') **** Route Army (路軍) ****
Field army A field army (or numbered army or simply army) is a military formation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military capability as a military ...
×30 (軍) *****
Corps Corps (; plural ''corps'' ; from French , from the Latin "body") is a term used for several different kinds of organization. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such in 1805. The size of a corps varies greatly ...

Corps
×133 (軍團 ''Army Group'') – usually exercised command over two to three NRA Divisions and often a number of Independent
Brigade A brigade is a major tactical military formation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military capability as a military policy, national de ...

Brigade
s or
Regiment A regiment is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intend ...
s and supporting units. The Chinese Republic had 133 Corps during the Second Sino-Japanese War. After losses in the early part of the war, under the 1938 reforms, the remaining scarce artillery and the other support formations were withdrawn from the Division and was held at Corps, or Army level or higher. The Corps became the basic tactical unit of the NRA having strength nearly equivalent to an allied Division. ******
Division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
(師) *******
Brigade A brigade is a major tactical military formation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military capability as a military policy, national de ...

Brigade
(旅) ********Regiment (團) *********Battalion (營) **********
Company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common pu ...
(連) ***********
Platoon A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two or more squads, sections, or patrols. Platoon organization varies depending on the country and the branch, but a platoon generally comprises 50 people, although specific platoons may ran ...
(排) ************
Squad In military terminology, a squad is amongst the smallest of military organizations and is led by a non-commissioned officer. NATO and US doctrine define a squad as an organization "larger than a fireteam, team, but smaller than a Section (military ...
(班)


Dare to Die Corps

During the
Xinhai Revolution The 1911 Revolution, also known as the Chinese Revolution or the Xinhai Revolution, ended China's last imperial dynasty, the Manchu-led Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese hi ...
and the
Warlord Era The Warlord Era was a period in the history of the Republic of China The history of the Republic of China begins after the Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dy ...
of the Republic of China, "Dare to Die Corps" () were frequently used by Chinese armies. China deployed these suicide units against the Japanese during the
Second Sino-Japanese War The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The war made up the Chinese theater of the wider Pacific War, Pac ...
. "Dare to Die" troops were used by warlords in their armies to conduct
suicide attack A suicide attack is any violent attack Attack may refer to: Warfare and combat * Offensive (military) * Charge (warfare) * Attack (fencing) * Strike (attack) * Attack (computing) * Attack aircraft Books and publishing * The Attack (novel) ...
s. "Dare to Die" corps continued to be used in the Chinese military. The
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republican Era on the Chinese mainland, where it is sometimes referred to as the Ch ...
used one to put down an insurrection in Canton. Many women joined them in addition to men to achieve martyrdom against China's opponents. A "dare to die corps" was effectively used against Japanese units at the
Battle of Taierzhuang The Battle of Tai'erzhuang () was a battle of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938, between the armies of the Republic of China (1912–49), Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The battle was the first major Chinese victory of the war. It ...
. They used swords.
Suicide bombing A suicide attack is any violent attack Attack may refer to: Warfare and combat * Offensive (military) * Charge (warfare) * Attack (fencing) * Strike (attack) * Attack (computing) * Attack aircraft Books and publishing * The Attack (novel) ...
was also used against the Japanese. A Chinese soldier detonated a grenade vest and killed 20 Japanese soldiers at
Sihang Warehouse The Defense of Sihang Warehouse () took place from October 26 to November 1, 1937, and marked the beginning of the end of the three-month Battle of Shanghai in the opening phase of the Second Sino-Japanese War The Second Sino-Japanese W ...
. Chinese troops strapped explosives like grenade packs or dynamite to their bodies and threw themselves under Japanese tanks to blow them up. This tactic was used during the
Battle of Shanghai The Battle of Shanghai () was the first of the twenty-two major engagements fought between the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Arm ...
, where a Chinese suicide bomber stopped a Japanese tank column by exploding himself beneath the lead tank, and at the Battle of Taierzhuang where dynamite and grenades were strapped on by Chinese troops who rushed at Japanese tanks and blew themselves up. In one incident at Taierzhuang, Chinese suicide bombers obliterated four Japanese tanks with grenade bundles.


Penal Battalions

During the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) was known to have used penal battalions from 1945 to 1949. A unit made up of deserters and those accused of cowardice, the penal battalion was giving such tasks as scouting ahead of the main forces to check for ambushes, crossing rivers and torrents to see whether they were fordable, and walking across unmapped minefields.


Conscription

The military was formed through bloody and inhumane
conscription Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Mili ...

conscription
campaigns. These are described by
Rudolph Rummel Rudolph Joseph Rummel (October 21, 1932 – March 2, 2014) was a political scientist and professor at the Indiana University, Yale University, and University of Hawaiʻi. He spent his career studying data on collective violence and war with a view ...
as:
This was a deadly affair in which men were kidnapped for the army, rounded up indiscriminately by press-gangs or army units among those on the roads or in the towns and villages, or otherwise gathered together. Many men, some the very young and old, were killed resisting or trying to escape. Once collected, they would be roped or chained together and marched, with little food or water, long distances to camp. They often died or were killed along the way, sometimes less than 50 percent reaching camp alive. Then recruit camp was no better, with hospitals resembling Nazi concentration camps like Buchenwald.


Personnel


Officers


Other ranks


Equipment

For regular provincial Chinese divisions the standard rifles were the
Hanyang 88 The Type 88, sometimes known as "Hanyang 88" () and Hanyang Zao (Which means ''Made in Hanyang''), is a Chinese-made bolt-action rifle, based on the German Gewehr 88. It was adopted by the Qing Dynasty towards the end of the 19th century and was a ...
(copy of
Gewehr 88 The Gewehr 88 (commonly called the Model 1888 commission rifle) was a late 19th-century German bolt-action Bolt action is a type of manual that is operated by directly manipulating the via a , which is most commonly placed on the right-hand ...
). Central army divisions were typically equipped with the
Chiang Kai-shek rifle The Type Chiang Kai-shek rifle (), also known as the ''Zhongzeng/Jiang Jieshi Rifle'' (depending on the romanization of Chinese), ''Generalissimo rifle'' and ''Type 24'' (二四式), named after the Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, was a Chin ...
and other
Mauser Mauser, originally Königliche Waffen Schmieden, is a German . Their line of rifles and s has been produced since the 1870s for the German armed forces. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mauser designs were also exported and licensed ...

Mauser
type rifles from
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
and
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
. The standard
light machine gun A light machine gun (LMG) is a light-weight machine gun designed to be operated by a single infantryman, with or without an assistant, as an infantry support weapon. LMGs firing cartridge (firearms), cartridges of the same caliber as the othe ...
were imported or domestically produced of the Czech
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Brno
ZB vz. 26 The ZB vz. 26 was a Czechoslovak light machine gun developed in the 1920s, which went on to enter service with several countries. It saw its major use during World War II, and spawned the related ZB vz. 27, vz. 30, and vz. 33. The ZB vz. 26 influen ...
in the standard 7.92 mm. There were machine guns from other sources, such as Belgian, French and from the Soviet Aid Programme. In general, there were 6-9 LMG's in an infantry company, with the monthly ammunition supply being around 5,000 rounds (for 5 days consumption).
Heavy machine gun A heavy machine gun or HMG is a ammunition belt, belt-fed machine gun that fires full-powered rifle cartridge, full-powered/magnum cartridges and is designed to be significantly more massive than light machine gun, light, medium machine gun, medi ...

Heavy machine gun
s were mainly locally-made Type 24
water-cooled Cooling tower and water discharge of a nuclear power plant Water cooling is a method of heat In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relati ...
Maxim gun The Maxim gun is a recoil-operated Recoil operation is an operating mechanism used to implement locked- breech, autoloading firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual. The term is legally ...
s (which were based on the commercial version of the German ), and Type Triple-Ten
M1917 Browning machine gun The M1917 Browning machine gun is a heavy machine gun A heavy machine gun or HMG is a belt-fed machine gun A machine gun is an auto-firing, rifling, rifled long gun, long-barrel action (firearms)#Autoloading operation, autoloading firearm ...
s chambered for the standard 8mm Mauser round. On average, every Central Army
battalion A battalion is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intend ...

battalion
contained a machine gun company with 5-6 heavy machine guns. They were allotted a monthly supply of 20,000 rounds. The most common sidearm for NCOs and officers was the 7.63 mm
Mauser C96 The Mauser C96 (''Construktion 96'') is a semi-automatic pistol A semi-automatic pistol is a type of repeating firearm, repeating single-chamber (firearms), chamber handgun (pistol) that automatically cycles its action (firearm), action to ...
semi-automatic pistol A semi-automatic pistol is a type of repeating single- chamber handgun (pistol A pistol is a handgun, more specifically one with the chamber (firearms), chamber integral to its gun barrel, though in common usage the two terms are ofte ...
.
Submachine guns A submachine gun, abbreviated SMG, is a magazine (firearms), magazine-fed, automatic firearm, automatic carbine designed to fire handgun cartridges. The term "submachine gun" was coined by John T. Thompson, the inventor of the Thompson submachine g ...
were not part of any TO&E, but many were inherited from former warlord armies or locally produced. They were generally carried by the guards of divisional or corps commanders or special service platoon/companies. Some elite units, such as the
X Force X Force was the name given to the portion of the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Army () after 1928, was the military arm of the ...
in
Burma Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos a ...
used
Lend-Lease#REDIRECT Lend-Lease The Lend-Lease policy, formally titled An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States (), was a program under which the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...
US equipment. Generally speaking, the regular provincial army divisions did not possess any artillery. However, some Central Army divisions were equipped with 37 mm PaK 35/36
anti-tank gun An anti-tank gun is a form of artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to bre ...
s, and/or
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
s from Oerlikon, , and Solothurn. Each of these infantry divisions ideally had 6 Brandt 81 mm mortars and 6 Solothurn 20 mm
autocannon US M242 Bushmaster 25 mm autocannon mounted on an M2 Bradley fighting vehicle">M2_Bradley.html" ;"title="M242 Bushmaster 25 mm autocannon mounted on an M2 Bradley">M242 Bushmaster 25 mm autocannon mounted on an M2 Bradley fighting ...
s. Some independent brigades and artillery regiments were equipped with
Krupp The Krupp family (see pronunciation Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
field guns, Krupp , or
Bofors Bofors AB ( , , ) is a Swedish and later British arms manufacturer The arms industry, also known as the arms trade, is a global industry classification, industry which manufacturing, manufactures and sells weapons and military technology, an ...
75 mm L/20 mountain guns. There were also 24 Rheinmetall 150 mm 15 cm sFH 18, L/32 sFH 18 howitzers (bought in 1934) and 24
Krupp The Krupp family (see pronunciation Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
150 mm 15 cm sFH 18, L/30 sFH 18 howitzers (bought in 1936). At the start of the war, the NRA and the Tax Police Regiment had three tank battalions armed with German Panzer I light tanks and L3/35, CV-35 tankettes. After defeat in the
Battle of Shanghai The Battle of Shanghai () was the first of the twenty-two major engagements fought between the National Revolutionary Army The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; ), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army () before 1928, and as National Arm ...
the remaining tanks, together with several hundred T-26 and BT-5 tanks acquired from the Soviet Union were reorganised into the 200th Division. Infantry uniforms were basically redesigned Zhongshan suits. Puttees were standard for soldiers and officers alike, since the primary mode of movement for NRA troops was by foot. Troops were also issued sewn field caps. The helmets were the most distinguishing characteristic of these divisions. From the moment German Stahlhelm#M1935.2F1940, M35 Stahlhelms rolled off the production lines in 1935, and until 1936, the NRA imported 315,000 of these helmets, usually seen with the Blue Sky with a White Sun emblem of the ROC on the sides. These helmets were worn by both the German-trained divisions and regular Central Army divisions. Other helmets included the French Adrian helmet, the British Brodie helmet and later the American M1 helmet. Other equipment included straw shoes for soldiers (cloth shoes for Central Army), leather shoes for officers and leather boots for high-ranking officers. Every soldier was issued ammunition for his weapon, along with ammunition pouches or harness, a hip flask, water flask, bayonet, food bag, and a WWII gas mask, gas mask.


See also

*
Whampoa Military Academy The Republic of China Military Academy (also known as ) is the service academy for the army of the Republic of China, located in Fengshan District, Kaohsiung Kaohsiung City (; Mandarin Chinese: ; Wade–Giles: ''Kao¹-hsiung²'' ...
*List of German-trained divisions of the National Revolutionary Army *Sino-German cooperation until 1941 *Military history of the Republic of China *Douglas MacArthur


References

;Bibliography *


Further reading

* Dreyer, Edward L. (1995) ''China at War 1901–1949'' (reprint Routledge, 2014) * Jowett, Philip. (2013) ''China's Wars: Rousing the Dragon 1894–1949'' (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013). * Li, Xiaobing. (2012) ''China at War: An Encyclopedia'
excerpt
*Lynch, Dr Michael, ''The Chinese Civil War 1945–49: Modern Warfare (Guide To... Book 61)'' Osprey Publishing (2010),


External links


ROC Ministry of National Defense Official WebsiteThe Armed Forces Museum of ROC
*[http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=57350 rare pictures of NRA heavy armoury]
more pictures of NRA
{{Authority control National Revolutionary Army, Military of the Republic of China Kuomintang Military history of the Republic of China (1912–1949) Military wings of political parties Military units and formations established in 1925 1925 establishments in China 1920s in China 1930s in China 1940s in China