Battle of Nan'ao Island

Battle of Nan'ao Island

Coordinates: 23°25′N 117°06′E / 23.42°N 117.10°E / 23.42; 117.10

Battle of Nan’ao Island
Part of the Chinese Civil War
Date March 3, 1950
Location Nan’ao Island, Guangdong, China
Result Communist victory
Republic of China Army Flag.svg National Revolutionary Army People's Liberation Army Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg People's Liberation Army
Commanders and leaders
Republic of China Wu Qijun 吴起骏 ?
1,375 around 7,000
Casualties and losses
27 killed
1,348 captured

The Battle of Nan’ao island (Nan’ao Dao, 南澳岛) was a battle fought between the nationalists and the communists during the Chinese Civil War and communists emerged as the victors. Nan’ao island (Nan’ao Dao, 南澳岛) of Shantou remained in the nationalist hands after Guangdong fell into communist hands. On March 3, 1950, the 121st division of the 41st Army of the People’s Liberation Army attacked the island. Faced with such overwhelming enemy, the defenders stood no chance and after eight hours of fighting, the communists succeeded in wiping out the entire nationalist garrison and thus taking the island. 27 nationalist troops were killed, and 1348 were captured, including the nationalist local commander, the deputy commander-in-chief of the 1st Cantonese Column Wu Qijun (吴起骏), and the deputy commander of the nationalist 58th division Guo Mengxiong (郭梦熊). A total of 1304 pieces of firearms were also captured.

The nationalist defeat proved that it was impractical to hold on to the outlying islands that were at the doorstep of the enemy but far away from any friendly bases, just like the Wanshan Archipelago Campaign would have done later. As the battle had shown, once the defenders learned that it was impossible to have any reinforcement, the morale completely collapsed and most of the defenders abandoned their weapons and attempted to hide after merely suffering 27 fatalities, and the enemy spent most of the 8 hours fighting in mop-up operations to round up the demoralized defenders. Although holding on to a distant island may have propaganda value, any initial political and psychological gains would be negated by the fallout after the inevitable defeat and the loss.

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