The Hundred Regiments Offensive reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Hundred Regiments Offensive

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History of China -- Military history of China -- List of Chinese battles

The Hundred Regiments Offensive was a major campaign of the the Communist Party of China's Red Army commanded by Peng Dehuai against the Imperial Japanese Army in Central China in August and September, 1940.

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. The extraordinary success and expansion of the 8th Route Army against the Japanese led Zhu De and the rest of the military leadership to hope that they could engage the Japanese army and win. Mao Zedong argued that the war against Japan would be protracted, and that communist strategy should emphasize guerrila warfare, political mobilisation and the building up of base areas.

Nevertheless, by 1940 growth was so impressive that Zhu De ordered a coordinated offensive by mot 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. 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. 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, taking excessive casaulties (22,000 regulars, compared to Japanese losses of 3000 or 4000). From October to December the Japanese responded in force, reasserting control of railway liness and conducting aggressive "mopping up operations" in the rural areas around them.

The Hundred Regiments offensive persuaded the commuist military high command that they were no match for the Imperial Army. When General Okamura Yasuji 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 communist forces. The population of the communist base areas dropped dramatically and communist operations were severely limited. Mao used the subsequent rectification campaign to reassert his personal authority over the party and over military strategy, and this meant the abandonment for the rest of the war of any serious communist challenge to the Japanese position in North China.

See also: -- Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)