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Hundred Regiments Offensive

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Hundred Regiments Offensive

Hundred Regiments Offensive
Part of The Second Sino-Japanese War

Victorious Chinese Communist soldiers holding the flag of the Republic of China.
Date 20 August–5 December 1940
Location North China
Result Chinese victory
Communist divisions of the National Revolutionary Army Japanese North China Area Army
Commanders and leaders
Peng Dehuai
Zhu De
Hayao Tada
400,000 270,000 Japanese
20,000 Japanese,[2] collaborator number unknown
Casualties and losses
22,000[3] Several record from different sources

1. Chinese Communist has two records: the first one is 12,645 killed and wounded, 281 POW. The second record: 20,645 killed and wounded, 281 pow [4][5]
2. Japanese military record:No figure about total casualties, 276 KIAs from 4th Independent Mixed Brigade.[6] 133 KIA and 31 MIA from 2nd Independent Mixed Brigade.[7]
3. Western source: 20,900 Japanese casualties and about 20,000 collaborator casualties[3]

4. Peng's memory:30,000 combat success over Japanese and collaborators[8]

The Hundred Regiments Offensive (Chinese: 百團大戰) (20 August – 5 December 1940)[9] was a major campaign of the Communist Party of China's National Revolutionary Army divisions commanded by Peng Dehuai against the Imperial Japanese Army in Central China. The battle had long been the focus of propaganda in history of Chinese Communist Party but had become Peng Dehuai's "crime" in Cultural Revolution. Certain issues regarding its launching and consequences still have controversy.


In 1939–1940, the Japanese occupiers launched more than 109 small campaigns involving around 1,000 combatants each and 10 large campaigns of 10,000 men each to wipe out Communist guerrillas in the Hebei and Shandong plains. In addition, Wang Jingwei′s anti-Communist puppet government had its offensive against the CCP guerrillas.

There was also a general sentiment among the anti-Japanese resistance forces—particularly in the Kuomintang—that the CCP was not contributing enough to the war effort, and that they were only interested in expanding their power base. It was out of these circumstances that the CCP planned to stage a great offensive to prove that they were helping the war effort and to mend KMT-CCP relations.

The battle

The Japanese North China Area Army estimated the strength of communist regulars to be about 88,000 in December 1939. Two years later, they revised the estimate to 140,000. On the eve of the battle, the Communist forces grew to 400,000 men strong, in 115 regiments. The extraordinary success and expansion of the 8th Route Army against the Japanese had Zhu De and the rest of the military leadership hoping that they could engage the Japanese army and win.

By 1940, growth was so impressive that Zhu De ordered a coordinated offensive by most of the communist regulars (46 regiments from the 115th Division, 47 from the 129th, and 22 from the 120th) against the Japanese-held cities and the railway lines linking them. According to CCP's official statement the battle started on 20 August. From 20 August to 10 September, communist forces attacked the railway line that separated the communist base areas, chiefly those from Dezhou to Shijiazhuang in Hebei, Shijiazhuang to Taiyuan in central Shanxi, and Taiyuan to Datong in northern Shanxi. Originally Peng's order of battle consisted of 20 regiments and on 22 August he found more that 80 regiments took part in, mostly without telling him.[10]

They succeeded in blowing up bridges and tunnels and ripping up track, and went on for the rest of September to attack Japanese garrisons frontally. About 600 mi (970 km) of railways were destroyed, and the Jingxing coal mine—which was important to the Japanese war industry—was rendered inoperative for six months. It was the greatest victory the CCP fought and won during the war.

However, from October to December, the Japanese responded in force, reasserting control of railway lines and conducting aggressive "mopping up operations" in the rural areas around them. On 22 December, Mao Zedong told Peng Dehuai "Don't declare the end of the offensive yet. Chiang Kai-shek is launching anti-communist climax and we need the influence of Hundred Regiment Battle to win propaganda."[11]


The Eighth Army had left two reports that are both based on statistics before December 5, one claiming killing/injuring 12,645 Japanese and 5,153 puppet troops; capturing 281 Japanese and 1,407 puppet troops; 7 Japanese and 1,845 puppet troops defected; 293 strong-points taken. The other one claimed killing/injuring 20,645 Japanese and 5,155 puppet troops; capturing 281 Japanese and 18,407 puppet troops; 47 Japanese and 1,845 puppet troops defected; 2,993 strongpoints taken.[12] These two records were both based on the same figure but separated to two different records for unknown reason.[13] This amounted to 21,338 and 46,000 combat successes respectively. In 2010, a Chinese article by Pan Zeqin emerged to say the combat success result should be more than 50,000.[14][15] No figure about total casualties in Japanese military record but it was recorded 276 KIAs from 4th Independent Mixed Brigade and [16] 133 KIA and 31 MIA from 2nd Independent Mixed Brigade.[17] A western source recorded 20,900 Japanese casualties and about 20,000 collaborator casualties[3]
Chinese also recorded 474 km of railway and 1502 km of road sabotaged, 213 bridges and 11 tunnels blown up, and 37 stations destroyed. But Japanese record gives 73 bridges, 3 tunnels, and 5 water towers blown up; 20 stations burned, and 117 railway sabotages (amounting to 44 km). The damage regarding communication systems are 1,333 cut down and 1,107 capsized cable posts, up to 146 km long cable cut. One mining site of Jingxing Coal Mine also stopped operating for half a year.[18]


When General Yasuji Okamura took command of the North China Area Army in the summer, the new approach was "Three All", meaning "kill all, burn all, and destroy all" in those areas containing Anti-Japanese forces.


Peng was criticized by Mao for revealing the number of the Communist forces to the Kuomintang. Thus, the Hundred Regiments Offensive became the last of the two major Communist frontal engagements against the Japanese during the war. There had been controversy that Peng had no authorization, even no knowledge of Central Military Committee and Mao Zedong. As early as 1945 the accusation of launching battle without telling Mao had appeared in the North China Conference.[19] During the Great Leap Forward, Peng's bad temper led to his downfall and then the launching of the battle became yet again a criminal action in Cultural Revolution. In 1967, the Red Guard group of Tsinghua University, with the support of Central Cultural Revolution Committee issued a leaflet saying "The mug Peng, along with Zhu De, launched the offensive to defend Chongqin ... He rejected Chairman Mao's instruction and mobilized 105 regiments in an adventuristic pulse ... Chairman Mao said 'How can Peng Dehuai make such a big move without consulting me? Our forces are completely revealed. The result shall be terrible.'"[20]

Peng admitted in his memoir 彭德怀自述,he ordered the launch in late July, without awaiting a green light of the Central Military Committee and he regretted it. But Pan Zeqin said that it was Peng's incorrect memory, the correct start date should have officially been on August 20, so Peng actually had the green light.[21] Nie Rongzhen defended Peng, stating "there is a legend that the offensive did not have the knowledge of Central Military Committee. After investigation we found out that Eight Army HQ sent to the top a report. The report mentioned we would strike at and sabotage Zhentai Railway. Sabotaging one railway or another is very common in guerilla warfare so it's our routine work. This is not some strategic issue and the Committee won't say no". He mentioned no exact date of launch.[22] The consensus in China after Cultural Revolution is generally in support of the battle. But modern Chinese article described that "Liu Bocheng had some opinion on the arbitrary launching of the battle of Peng."[23]


  1. ^ 中国抗日战争史(中) (in Chinese). 中国人民解放军军事 科学院军事历史研究部. 1993. 
  2. ^ 劉鳳翰,論百團大戰(Liu Fenghan, About Hundred Regiments Offensive),中央研究院近代史研究所集刊(Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History Academia Sinica ISBN/ISSN 1029-4740),16th Issue,year 1987,the article runs on pp. 447–492, the strength of IJA is written on p. 467
  3. ^ a b c Chinese-Soviet Relations, 1937–1945; Garver, John W.; p. 120.
  4. ^ These two records were both based on the same figure but separate to two different records for unknown reason
  5. ^ 王人广《关于百团大战战绩统计的依据问题》(Wang Renguang),《抗日战争研究(The Journal of Studies of China's Resistance War Against Japan ISSN 1002-9575)》1993 issue 3, p. 243
  6. ^ Senshi Sosho 支那事変陸軍作戦Shina Jihen Rikugun Sakusen<3>(Volume 88) Asagumo Shinbun-sha, July 1975 ASIN: B000J9D6AS, p. 256
  7. ^ 『北支の治安戦(1)』ASIN: B000J9E2P6, p. 316
  8. ^ 彭德怀自述(The Autobiography of Peng Dehuai) People's Press 1981 ASIN: B00B1TF388 p. 240
  9. ^ Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China 1937–1945; Johnson, Chalmers A.; p. 57.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ 王人广《关于百团大战战绩统计的依据问题》(Wang Renguang),《抗日战争研究》1993年第3期, p. 243
  13. ^ 王人广《关于百团大战战绩统计的依据问题》(Wang Renguang),《抗日战争研究》1993年第3期, p. 243
  14. ^ 《说不尽的百团大战》 (2) 中国共产党新闻>>资料查询>>档案·记忆>>史海回眸2007年06月04日08:43
  15. ^ 《中国人民解放军全史》军事历史研究部 编,军事科学出版社,2000年,ISBN 7-80137-315-4,卷“中国人民解放军战役战斗总览”
  16. ^ Senshi Sosho 支那事変陸軍作戦Shina Jihen Rikugun Sakusen<3>(Volume 88) Asagumo Shinbun-sha, July 1975 ASIN: B000J9D6AS, p. 256
  17. ^ 『北支の治安戦(1)』ASIN: B000J9E2P6, p. 316
  18. ^ 森松(1982)、136頁。
  19. ^ 毛泽东评彭德怀反省百团大战等问题:认错勉强
  20. ^ Original words::1940 年 8 月——12 月,彭贼伙同朱德等发动了‘百团大战’,公然提出要‘保卫大后方’‘保卫重庆’‘保卫西安’……拒不执行毛主席提出的我军‘基本的是游击战,但不放弃有利条件下的运动战’的方针,大搞冒险主义、拼命主义,先后调动了一百零五个团,共四十万兵力……全线出击,打攻坚战、消耗战。百团大战,过早暴露了我军力量……毛主席早在百团大战进行时就严厉地批评了彭德怀等的错误做法,毛主席说:‘彭德怀干这么大事情也不跟我商量,我们的力量大暴露了,后果将是很坏。’---浙江省革命造反联合总指挥部:《毛主席革命路线胜利万岁--党内两条路线斗争大事记(1921-1968)》(Zhejiang Province Revolutionary Uprising Combined Headquarters:Long live the victory of Chairman Mao's revolution route-Chronicles of the conflict of two routes within Party 1921–1968) 1969 May, p. 79
  21. ^ The original texts are 实际上,百团大战发起日期是8月20日,比原定日期8月10日左右(《战役预备命令》中规定的)推迟了10天,而并非是提前了10天,这当是彭德怀记忆之误。此点说明百团大战不是彭德怀背着中共中央军委擅自发动的。
  22. ^ Original words:有种传说,说这个战役事先没有向中央军委报告。经过查对,在进行这次战役之前,八路军总部向中央报告过一个作战计划,那个报告上讲,要两面破袭正太路。破袭正太路,或者破袭平汉路,这是游击战争中经常搞的事情,可以说,这是我们的一种日常工作,不涉及什么战略问题。这样的作战计划,军委是不会反对的
  23. ^ Why Liu Bocheng was the first marshal to fall: he and Peng had long-rooted differences


  • The Battle of One Hundred Regiments, from Kataoka, Tetsuya; Resistance and Revolution in China: The Communists and the Second United Front. Berkeley: University of California Press, [1974]. [1]
  • 森松俊夫 「中国戦線 百団大戦の敗北と勝利」(Morimatsu Toshio:Chinese Front:The defeat and victory of Hundred Regiment Offensive)『増刊歴史と人物137号 秘録・太平洋戦争』 中央公論社、1982年。

External links

  • Map of the 100 Regiments Offensive
  • Map of the 100 Regiments Offensive and Japanese counter attacks with units ID

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