- Battle of Yijiangshan Islands
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Yijiangshan Islands
Chinese Civil War
Yijiangshan Islands, China
date=January 18–20, 1955
People's Liberation Armyvictory
519 taken as prisoners
The Battle of Yijiangshan Islands (一江山島戰役) was a conflict between forces of the
Republic of China Armyand the People's Liberation Armyof the People's Republic of China, over one of the last strongholds of nationalist (ROC) forces near mainland Chinaon the Yijiangshan Islands. The conflict occurred from January 18, 1955to January 20, 1955during the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, and resulted in a PLA victory and the complete destruction of the ROC garrison.
The Yijiangshan Islands are consisted of two islands, the Northern Yijang (北一江) Island and the Southern Yijiang (南一江) Island, and the region is approximately 1.2 square
kilometers. Due to its strategic location nearing the coast of Zhejiang, it had become a forward base for the nationalist defense of Chinese coastal islands that centered at DachenIsland, as well as the nationalist guerrillabase to launch attacks on mainland China. Order of battle
The nationalist defense force consisted of the following units and totaled more than 1000:Yijiangshan Regional Headquarters
*The 2nd Assault Group
*The 4th Assault Group
*The 4th Assault Squadron
*One artillery squadronIn addition, the nationalist defenders could call up the air and naval support when needed.
The Communist attackers totaled more than 5,000, with the landing force totaling one regiment and one battalion from the following units:
*The 178th regiment of the 60th Division of the 20th Army
*The 180th regiment of the 60th Division of the 20th Army
*137 naval vessels, (including more than 70 landing vessels, and more than 40 escort vessels). *184 aircraft from a total of 22 groups, 7 artillery battalions, and 2 anti-aircraft artillery regiments assigned to support the landing force.In addition, over 30,000 civilians and three dozen civilian ships were mobilized for logistic support.
When the fight began on
January 18, 1955, the nationalist air force and navy did not participate due to overwhelming communistfirepower. The battle started at 8:00AM with communist bombers from three groups and ground attack aircraftfrom 2 groups bombing and strafing the islands. At the same time, bombers from another group and ground attack aircraft from the second group began bombing and strafing the DachenIslands as a diversion. At 9:00 AM, 50 long range artilleries shelled the Yijiangshan Islands.
Around noon, 70+ naval vessels carrying the landing force sailed from Gaodao (高岛)、Queerao (雀儿岙)、Toumen Mountain Island (头门山岛) in three formations in two waves, with more than 40 escort vessels. 2 hours later, the 10 specially converted naval vessels with rocket launchers bombarded Yijiangshan island in conjunction with bombers from 3 groups and 1 squadron, ground attack aircraft from 2 groups, before landing on 20 landing spots. However, the defenders took advantage of their fortifications and severely disrupted the attackers’ formation after their successful landing. As a result, most of the
communistcasualties suffered during the battle were at this initial stage.
The attackers immediately called for fire support after they met with fierce enemy fire, and the
communistaircraft responded by attacking the enemy position by flying at the extremely low altitudes. As the first line of defense was quickly overpowered by the flame throwers, bombs and artillery. The Reds gains their ground. Most of the communist casualties resulted from two machine gun nests with as many as 200 death and 400 casualties. Air strike and massive artilleries called in eventually knocked out these two positions. As the demoralized defenders retreated into their underground tunnels, the attackers changed their tactics by fighting in small groups, and using recoilless guns and flame throwers to gradually torch the Nationalist guierra forces to death, including the underground tunnel complex of the nationalist 4th Assault Group, the largest on the island.
By 5:30 PM, the battle on the islands subsided with the
communistdecimation of the nationalist defenders almost complete taken 132(meter), 95 hills killing (mostly burned by the flame throwers of 567 and capturing 519 alive according to the often exaggerated PRC source, or 712 soldiers and 12 nurses died in line of duty from Taiwan source. The communist force was then ordered to assume to defensive posture for the next day to prepare for the possible nationalist counter attack that never materialized. Wang Shen-Ming(王生民), the commander was on the phone mentioned he was 50 yards from the approaching communists. He committed suicide by a grenade, ended all the communication and resistance at his 121 hill cave headquarter. Also on the January 19, the communist force begun their shelling on Dachen Archipelagoabout 13 kilometers away, but these actions were still originally intended to prevent possible counter attacks. Finally, on January 20, 1955, the islands were formally declared to be firmly in communisthands.
The scale of the battle was minute, and the most important gain of the Chinese
communists was demoralizing the Nationalist will power to continue holding on to some of the islets difficult to defend. The Nationalists became aware that the logistics to send support from Taiwan Island was difficult with its antiquated air force and a lack of strong Navy. The Nationalist lost a Destroyer, named Taiping. The Korean War then was over. The PLA had ample military resources including MIGs, warships to focused on wiping out anti-communist resistance. This was the prelude to the eventual abandonment of Dachenisland with US urging Taiwan not to spread too thin. According to Taiwan sources, the troops garrison consists of mostly former fishermen/pirates and civil war refugees. Some of the casualties were female interns from a Political Warfare College. There are a number of shrine, roads, and even a restaurant today to commemorate the anti-communist resistance on Taiwan. The 18,000 refugees, soldiers and their decedents consider themselves to be fortunate to have relocated to Taiwan.
Note: Most of the sources were taken from PRC sources with some exaggerated claims. One example is the museum on site stating it took only 2 hours to win the battle. At any rate, over 500 bombs and 50,000 shells were fired over two little rocky islets. PLA launched an amphibious assault with 182 aircraft, bombers, long distance artilleries. Over 5,000 troops were landed with the mobilization of 30,000 civilians. It was considered an example of PRC's modern warfare.
*List of Battles of Chinese Civil War
National Revolutionary Army
History of the People's Liberation Army
Chinese Civil Warhttp://www.youth.com.tw/una/Military/M94.02.02-a.htm
*Zhu, Zongzhen and Wang, Chaoguang, "Liberation War History", 1st Edition, Social Scientific Literary Publishing House in
Beijing, 2000, ISBN7801492072 (set)
*Zhang, Ping, "History of the Liberation War", 1st Edition, Chinese Youth Publishing House in
Beijing, 1987, ISBN750060081X (pbk.)
*Jie, Lifu, "Records of the Libration War: The Decisive Battle of Two Kinds of Fates", 1st Edition,
HebeiPeople's Publishing House in Shijiazhuang, 1990, ISBN7202007339 (set)
*Literary and Historical Research Committee of the
AnhuiCommittee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, "Liberation War", 1st Edition, AnhuiPeople's Publishing House in Hefei, 1987, ISBN7212000078
*Li, Zuomin, "Heroic Division and Iron Horse: Records of the Liberation War", 1st Edition, Chinese Communist Party History Publishing House in
Beijing, 2004, ISBN7801990293
*Wang, Xingsheng, and Zhang, Jingshan, "Chinese Liberation War", 1st Edition,
People's Liberation ArmyLiterature and Art Publishing House in Beijing, 2001, ISBN750331351X (set)
*Huang, Youlan, "History of the Chinese People's Liberation War", 1st Edition, Archives Publishing House in
Beijing, 1992, ISBN7800193381
*Liu Wusheng, "From
Yan'anto Beijing: A Collection of Military Records and Research Publications of Important Campaigns in the Liberation War", 1st Edition, Central Literary Publishing House in Beijing, 1993, ISBN7507300749
*Tang, Yilu and Bi, Jianzhong, "History of Chinese
People's Liberation Armyin Chinese Liberation War", 1st Edition, Military Scientific Publishing House in Beijing, 1993– 1997, ISBN7800217191 (Volum 1), 7800219615 (Volum 2), 7800219631 (Volum 3), 7801370937 (Volum 4), and 7801370953 (Volum 5)
* [http://big5.china.com.cn/chinese/zhuanti/174230.htm PLA side story of the battle]
* [http://www.youth.com.tw/una/Military/M94.02.02-a.htm ROCA side story of the battle]
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