Operation Ichi-Go


Operation Ichi-Go
Operation Ichi-Go
Part of Second Sino-Japanese War
Ichigo plan.jpg
Japanese plan for Operation Ichi-Go
Date 19 April–31 December 1944[1]
Location Henan, Hunan and Guangxi
Result Decisive Japanese tactical victory
Belligerents
 Republic of China
National Revolutionary Army
United States United States Army Air Forces, United States
 Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Republic of China Tang Enbo
Republic of China Xue Yue
Republic of China Bai Chongxi
Japan Shunroku Hata
Japan Yasuji Okamura
Japan Isamu Yokoyama
Strength
390,000 men 400,000 men
12,000 vehicles
1,500 artillery pieces
800 tanks
70,000 horses
Casualties and losses
~300,000 casualties 60,000 casualties
200,000+ Chinese civilians dead

Operation Ichi-Go (一号作戦 Ichi-gō Sakusen, lit. "Operation Number One") was a campaign of a series of major battles between the Imperial Japanese Army forces and the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, fought from April to December 1944. It consisted of three separate battles in the Chinese provinces of Henan, Hunan and Guangxi.

These battles were the Japanese Operation Kogo or Battle of Central Henan, Operation Togo 1 or the Battle of Changheng, and Operation Togo 2 and Togo 3, or the Battle of Guilin-Liuzhou, respectively. The two primary goals of Ichi-go were to open a land route to French Indochina, and capture air bases in southeast China from which American bombers were attacking the Japanese homeland and shipping.[2]

In Japanese the operation was also called Tairiku Datsū Sakusen (大陸打通作戦), or "Continent Cross-Through Operation", while the Chinese refer to it as the Battle of Henan-Hunan-Guangxi (simplified Chinese: 豫湘桂会战; traditional Chinese: 豫湘桂會戰; pinyin: Yù Xīang Guì Huìzhàn).

Contents

Course of the campaign

There were two phases to the operation. In the first phase, the Japanese secured the Pinghan Railway between Beijing and Wuhan; in the second, they eliminated the US air forces stationed in Hunan province and reached the city of Liuzhou, near the border with Japanese-held Indochina. 17 divisions, including 400,000 men, 12,000 vehicles, 1,500 artillery pieces, 800 tanks and 70,000 horses participated in this operation.

The Japanese included crack Kwantung Army units and equipment from Manchukuo, mechanized units, units from the North China theater and units from mainland Japan to participate in this campaign. It was the largest land campaign organized by the Japanese during the entire Second Sino-Japanese War. Many of the newest American-trained Chinese units and supplies were forcibly locked in the Burmese theater under Joseph Stilwell set by terms of the Lend-Lease Agreement.

In the Operation Kogo, 390,000 Chinese soldiers, led by General Tang Enbo (湯恩伯), were deployed to defend the strategic position of Luoyang. The 3rd Tank Division of the IJA crossed the Yellow River around Zhengzhou in late April and defeated Chinese forces near Xuchang, then swung around clockwise and besieged Luoyang. Luoyang was defended by three Chinese divisions. The 3rd Tank Division began to attack Luoyang on May 13 and took it on May 25.

The second phase of Ichigo began in May, following the success of the first phase. Japanese forces advanced southward and occupied Changsha, Hengyang, Guilin and Liuzhou. In December 1944, Japanese forces reached French Indochina and achieved the purpose of the operation. Nevertheless, there were few practical gains from this offensive. US air forces moved inland from the threatened bases near the coast. The operation also forced British Commandos working with the Chinese as part of Mission 204 to leave China and return to Burma. The U.S. Fourteenth Air Force often disrupted the continuous railway between Beijing and Liuzhou that had been established in Operation Ichigo. Japan continued to attack airfields where US air forces were stationed up to the spring of 1945.

The XX Bomber Command operating Strategic B-29 bombers of the Twentieth Air Force, which were attacking Japan in Operation Matterhorn, were forced to move as well, but although this affected their efficiency for a short time, in early 1945 the Twentieth Air Force moved to newly established bases in the Marianas under the command of the newly established XXI Bomber Command. This nullified the limited protection that the Japanese home islands had received from Operation Ichigo.

Aftermath

With the rapid deterioration of the Chinese front after Japanese launched Operation Ichi-Go in 1944, General Joseph Stilwell saw this as an opportunity to win his political struggle against Chiang Kai-shek and gain full command of all Chinese armed forces. He was able to convince General George Marshall to have President Franklin D. Roosevelt send an ultimatum to Chiang threatening to end all American aid unless Chiang "at once" place Stilwell "in unrestricted command of all your forces."[3]

An exultant Stilwell immediately delivered this letter to Chiang despite pleas from Patrick Hurley, Roosevelt's special envoy in China, to delay delivering the message and work on a deal that would achieve Stilwell's aim in a manner more acceptable to Chiang.[4] Seeing this act as a move toward the complete subjugation of China, a defiant Chiang gave a formal reply in which he said that Stilwell must be replaced immediately and he would welcome any other qualified U.S. general to fill Stilwell's position.[5][6] As a result he was replaced as Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-Shek and commander of the U.S. Forces, China Theater (USFCT) by Major General Albert Wedemeyer. His other command responsibilities in the China Burma India Theater were divided up and allocated to other officers.

Although Chiang was successful in removing Stilwell, the public relations damage suffered by his Kuomintang regime was irreparable. Right before Stilwell's departure, New York Times drama critic-turned-war correspondent Brooks Atkinson interviewed him in Chungking and wrote: "The decision to relieve General Stilwell represents the political triumph of a moribund, anti-democratic regime that is more concerned with maintaining its political supremacy than in driving the Japanese out of China. The Chinese Communists... have good armies that they are claiming to be fighting guerrilla warfare against the Japanese in North China—actually they are covertly or even overtly building themselves up to fight Generalissimo's government forces... The Generalissimo naturally regards these armies as the chief threat to the country and his supremacy... has seen no need to make sincere attempt to arrange at least a truce with them for the duration of the war... No diplomatic genius could have overcome the Generalissimo's basic unwillingness to risk his armies in battle with the Japanese."[7]

This devastating loss coupled with the negative public opinion in the U.S. that followed caused the U.S. to lose confidence in the Chinese troops' ability to fight the Japanese, and subsequently the China-Burma-India Theatre lost its priority. Instead the U.S. focused all its resources on the Island-hopping offensive in the Pacific.

The Japanese successes in Operation ichi-Go had limited effect on the war. U.S. could still bomb the Japanese homeland from Saipan and other pacific bases. The Japanese forces could only control the cities but not their surrounding countryside. The increased size of the occupied territory also thinned out the Japanese lines. A great majority of the Chinese forces were able to retreat out of the area, and later come back to attack Japanese positions. As a result future Japanese attempts to fight into Sichuan, such as in the Battle of West Hunan, ended in failure. All in all Japan was not any closer in defeating China after this operation. And the constant defeats the Japanese suffered in the Pacific means that Japan never got the time and resources needed to achieve total victory over China.

Mountain Road, by Theodore White, Time Magazine correspondent in China at the time, deals with a group of American soldiers retreating before this Japanese offensive.

References

  1. ^ Davison, John The Pacific War: Day By Day, pg. 37, 106
  2. ^ The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II: China Defensive, pg. 21
  3. ^ Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell's Command Problem, p.446-447
  4. ^ Lohbeck, Hurley, p.292
  5. ^ Lohbeck, Hurley, p.298
  6. ^ Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell's Command Problem, p.452
  7. ^ "Crisis". Time magazine quoting the New York Times. 1944-11-13. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,801570-4,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 

Further reading


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Operation Ichi-Go — Teil von: Zweiter Japanisch Chinesischer Krieg Die Bewegungen japanischer Truppen während …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Opération Ichi-Go — Plan de l offensive japonaise Informations générales Date avril décembre 1944 Lieu Henan …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Opération Ichigo — Opération Ichi Go Opération Ichi Go Plan de l offensive japonaise Informations générales Date avril décembre 1944 Lieu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Operation Matterhorn — Part of Pacific Theatre of World War II Locations of B 29 bomber bases in China and the main targets they attacked in East Asia during …   Wikipedia

  • Opération Downfall — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Downfall. Opération Downfall …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Opération August Storm — Bataille de Mandchourie Bataille de Mandchourie Informations générales Date 9 aout – 2 septembre 1945 Lieu Mandchourie, Mongolie Intérieure, Sakhaline, Îles Kouriles et Corée Issue Victoire soviétique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Opération tempête d'aout — Bataille de Mandchourie Bataille de Mandchourie Informations générales Date 9 aout – 2 septembre 1945 Lieu Mandchourie, Mongolie Intérieure, Sakhaline, Îles Kouriles et Corée Issue Victoire soviétique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Opération tempête d'août — Bataille de Mandchourie Bataille de Mandchourie Informations générales Date 9 aout – 2 septembre 1945 Lieu Mandchourie, Mongolie Intérieure, Sakhaline, Îles Kouriles et Corée Issue Victoire soviétique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Operation Ten-Go — 天號作戰 or 天号作戦 Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II Yamato …   Wikipedia

  • Operation Ten-gō — / Schlacht vor Bō no Misaki Teil von: Zweiter Weltkrieg, Pazifikkrieg …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.