Republic of China
Northeast Field Army
Commanders and leaders
Fan Hanjie (POW)
Liao Yaoxiang (POW)
Casualties and losses
~472,000 (including non-combat losses)
Chinese Civil War
Major engagements in bold
v. Jiangxi Soviet
Pacification of NE China
S. Tongpu Railway
Summer 1947, NE China
N. Daqing River
Autumn 1947, NE China
Winter 1947, NE China
KMT insurgency 1950-58
The Liaoshen Campaign, abbreviation of Liaoning-
Shenyang Campaign, was
the first of the three major campaigns (along with Huaihai Campaign
and Pingjin Campaign) launched by the Communist People's Liberation
Army (PLA) against the Nationalist
Kuomintang government during the
late stage of the Chinese Civil War. This engagement is known in the
Kuomintang as the Battle of Liaohsi (Traditional Chinese:
遼西會戰). It took place between September and November 1948 and
lasted a total of 52 days. The campaign ended after the Nationalist
forces suffered sweeping defeats across Manchuria, losing major cities
Changchun and eventually
Shenyang in the process,
eventually leading to the capture of
Manchuria by the Communist
1.1 Race for Manchuria
3 Communist advance (12 September – 20 October)
4 Nationalist counter-offensive (21 October – 28 October)
5 Fall of
Shenyang (29 October – 2 November)
Race for Manchuria
Manchuria, alternatively known as the Northeast
China in contemporary
accounts, was the most industrialized region in China. In the
immediate aftermath of the Second Sino-Japanese War,
placed under Soviet occupation. Both the Nationalists and the
Communists began their expansion in the region after the Soviet
withdrawal in March 1946. After the Communist winter offensive of
1947, the PLA had expanded considerably in the Northeast, surpassing
the Nationalists in total operational strength in Northeast
the first time since the beginning of the civil war. In response to
the deteriorating situation for the Nationalists against the Communist
Chiang Kai-shek decided to replace
Chen Cheng with Wei
Lihuang as the commander of the Nationalist forces in the
On January 1948, the Communist forces in the Northeast were renamed as
Northeast Field Army with
Lin Biao as the commander. The
Nationalist forces were indecisive in responding to Communist
Wei Lihuang directly clashed with Chiang over
Nationalist strategies in the Northeast. Wei believed that it was
better to "preserve the status quo" and concentrate on defending
Shenyang and Changchun, while Chiang insists Wei to withdraw from
these two cities and concentrate Nationalist forces in the
Huludao area to prevent the PLA from entering the North China
Plain through the Shanhai Pass.
By spring 1948, the Communist forces were in control of the
countryside across Northeast China, isolating the Nationalist forces
Changchun and Jinzhou, and none of which were connected
to each other. In addition, the PLA had seized control of the
Jingha Railway, cutting off the Nationalist land route supply lines to
Shenyang and Changchun. Consequently, supplies for the Nationalist
forces in the Northeast had to be airlifted, which were largely
ineffective and highly unsustainable.
Communist advance (12 September – 20 October)
Battle of Jinzhou
Battle of Jinzhou and Battle of Tashan
Map showing the
Liaoshen Campaign as one of the Three Campaigns during
Chinese civil war
Jinzhou was a "key point" in the passage from
Manchuria to North China
Plain. On 12 September 1948, the Northeast Field Army headed south and
launched a series of attacks along the Beining Railway. Between 12
September to 28 September, the Communist forces maneuvered to cut off
Nationalist supply line from
Qinhuangdao to Jinzhou. By 28
September, they had captured Suizhong, Changli, Tashan and Yixian,
controlling the area between
Jinzhou and Qinhuangdao, effectively
Chiang Kai-shek arrived in Beiping on 30 September and held a military
conference with Fu Zuoyi. The Nationalists assembled the 39th, 62nd
and 92nd Army led by Hou Jingru to reinforce
Jinzhou as part of the
"East-Advancing Army Corps", with the objective to and fortify
Nationalist positions in Huludao. On 2 October, Chiang flew to
Shenyang to discuss the formation of the "West-Advancing Army Corps"
with Wei Lihuang, and ordered
Liao Yaoxiang to reinforce
the Ninth Army from the west to break the encirclement attempt of
Jinzhou by the CCP. With the new developments in Nationalist
Lin Biao was initially hesitant to continue with Communist
offensive against Jinzhou, but he was convinced to carry on with the
assault by Mao Zedong.
By 8 October, the Northeast Field Army have amassed 250,000 troops and
completed the encirclement of Jinzhou. Between 10 and 15 October, the
Nationalist reinforcements for
Jinzhou from both the west and the east
were closing in on the Communists, but they were decisively stopped in
Tashan. The final assault on
Jinzhou began on 14 October. The city was
captured in the next evening, along with the Nationalist commander Fan
Hanjie and 80,000 Nationalist troops.
Main article: Siege of Changchun
Communist troops after the capture of Changchun.
Changchun had been encircled for more than five months prior to the
campaign. Already weakened by starvation since February 1948,
civilians were fleeing
Changchun in large numbers on daily basis by
June 1948. Many refugees were unable to pass through the Communist
blockade, and unable to return as the Nationalist defenders blocks
refugees from returning to the city. The Nationalist garrison were
unable to break out of the city despite of the order from Chiang
Kai-shek. Following the fall of Jinzhou, the Nationalist 60th Army
stationed in the east side of the city defected to the Communist side
on 17 October. Following their defection, the Nationalist New
Seventh Army agreed to the terms of surrender on 19 October. The
remaining Nationalist forces in
Changchun surrendered the city to the
PLA on 23 October, and Nationalist commander
Zheng Dongguo became a
prisoner of war.
Nationalist counter-offensive (21 October – 28 October)
Battle of Heishan.
Main article: Battle of Heishan
After the Nationalist forces suffered heavy losses in
Chiang Kai-shek intended to stage a counteroffensive and
quickly recapture Jinzhou. He ordered
Liao Yaoxiang and the Ninth Army
Group which has been advancing from
Shenyang to continue marching west
and attack Jinzhou. However, Liao and other senior Nationalist
officers contested this decision. On 16 October, the Nationalist high
command reached a consensus and decided to attack Heishan and Dahushan
instead, covering their withdrawal to
Yingkou in the process. The
decision was approved by Chiang, and on 21 October the Ninth Army
Group launched an attack on Heishan.
The Communist forces successfully defended Heishan and Dahushan, and
the Nationalist forces were unable to make any progress. The Ninth
Army Group was subsequently encircled by the main forces of the PLA
and decisively defeated. Over 25,000 Nationalist soldiers had been
killed in action, and Liao Yaoxing was captured by the PLA.
Shenyang (29 October – 2 November)
People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army and
Type 97 Chi-Ha
Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks advance into
After the Ninth Army Group was destroyed, the Northeast Field Army
began to encircle
Shenyang on 29 October. As the city fell into
disarray, the Nationalist's Eighth Army Group collapsed as the
Wei Lihuang fled from
Shenyang by plane on 30 October. The
Communist forces launched the final assault on
Shenyang the next
morning on 1 November against the Nationalist garrison of 140,000 men,
which quickly surrendered soon after. On 2 November,
also captured by the Communist forces, with the Nationalist 52nd Army
narrowly retreating by ship. The remainder of the Nationalist forces,
mostly from the West Army, managed to preserve some of their strength
as they withdrew from
Huludao to Tianjin. With the Northeast being
completely clear of the Nationalist forces, the
Liaoshen Campaign has
effectively came to its conclusion.
Liaoshen Campaign was both a major "strategic and tactical defeat"
Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist government, as the initial
objective of containing the Communists in the Northeast failed after
the fall of Jinzhou. Between 1945 to 1948, Chiang committed some of
his best troops from the
Chinese Expeditionary Force
Chinese Expeditionary Force in the Northeast
against the CCP, and many of these troops were lost in the subsequent
campaigns. The role of Mao Zedong in pushing
Lin Biao to fully commit
in the final attack of
Jinzhou elevated the reputation of Mao in the
CCP. With the CCP fully in control of the Northeast, Nationalist
garrisons in Beiping and Tianjin led by
Fu Zuoyi were now exposed to
^ Tanner 2015, p. 112.
^ a b c d Lew 2009, p. 113.
^ Westad 2003, p. 36.
^ Lew 2009, p. 95.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 5.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 115–120.
^ Westad 2003, p. 27.
^ Westad 2003, p. 175.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 163.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 186.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 189.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 193.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 194.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 197–98.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 201.
^ Lew 2009, p. 112.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 239.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 247.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 332.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 267.
^ Westad 2003, p. 196.
^ a b Tanner 2015, p. 268.
^ Tanner 2015, p. 288.
^ Lew 2009, p. 114.
Lary, Diana (2015). China's Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 1107054672.
Lew, Christopher R. (2009). The Third Chinese Revolutionary Civil War,
1945–49: An Analysis of Communist Strategy and Leadership. New York:
Routledge. ISBN 1135969736.
Tanner, Harold M. (2015). Where
Chiang Kai-shek Lost China: The
Liao-Shen Campaign, 1948. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Taylor, Jay (2009). The Generalissimo. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press. ISBN 0-674-03338-8.
Westad, Odd Arne (2003). Decisive encounters : the Chinese Civil
War, 1946–1950. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Chinese Civil War
Principal belligerents and campaigns
Nationalist Party / Republic of
China ( National Revolutionary
Army → Republic of
China Armed Forces)
Communist Party / People's Republic of
China ( Red Army →
8th Route Army, N4A, etc. → People's Liberation Army)
First United Front
Autumn Harvest Uprising
Chinese Soviet Republic
Fujian People's Government
Second United Front
Double Tenth Agreement
SS Kiangya Incident
Taiping Steamer Incident
Yangtze River Crossing Campaign
Kuomintang Islamic insurgency
Hainan Island Campaign
Wanshan Archipelago Campaign
Battle of Chamdo
Incorporation of Tibet
Taiwan Strait Crisis
Taiwan Strait Crisis (Jinmen Crisis)
Taiwan Strait Crisis
Political status of Taiwan
Hong Kong independence
Hong Kong independence movement
Inner Mongolian independence movement
Manchurian independence movement
Taiwan independence movement
Tibetan independence movement
East Turkestan independence movement