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National Revolutionary Army

National Revolutionary Army
國民革命軍
Guómín Gémìng Jūn
A red rectangle with a smaller blue rectangle inside it. Inside the blue rectangle centered squarely is a white circle with small white triangles emanating from it.
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army (known as the Republic of China Army after the 1947 Constitution)
Active16 June 1924 – 25 December 1947
Country China
Allegiance Kuomintang
TypeArmy
RoleGround warfare
Size~14,000,000
Engagements
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Chiang Kai-shek
Chang Hsueh-liang
Sun Li-jen
Yan Xishan
Feng Yuxiang
Li Zongren
He Yingqin
Bai Chongxi
and many others
HeadquartersNanking (1928–1937, 1946–1947)
Chungking (1937–1946)
IdeologyThree Principles of the People
Anti-communism
Anti-Imperialism
Allies United States
 United Kingdom
 Soviet Union
Opponents Soviet Union
Chinese Communist Party
 Empire of Japan
 Manchukuo
 Mengjiang
National Revolutionary Army
Traditional Chinese國民革命軍
Simplified Chinese国民革命军

The National Revolutionary Army (NRA; 國民革命軍), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army (革命軍) before 1928, and as National Army (國軍) after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang (KMT, or the Chinese Nationalist Party) from 1925 until 1947 in China. It also became the regular army of the Republican era during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928. It was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces after the 1947 Constitution, which instituted civilian control of the military.

Originally organized with Soviet aid as a means for the KMT to unify China during the Warlord Era, the National Revolutionary Army fought major engagements in the Northern Expedition against the Chinese Beiyang Army warlords, in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) against the Imperial Japanese Army and in the Chinese Civil War against the People's Liberation Army.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the armed forces of the Chinese Communist Party were nominally incorporated into the National Revolutionary Army (while retaining separate commands), but broke away to form the People's Liberation Army shortly after the end of the war. With the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947 and the formal end of the KMT party-state, the National Revolutionary Army was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces, with the bulk of its forces forming the Republic of China Army, which retreated to the island of Taiwan in 1949.

History

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Commander-in-Chief of the National Revolutionary Army, emerged from the Northern Expedition as the leader of China.

The NRA was founded by the KMT in 1925 as the military force destined to unite China in the Northern Expedition. Organized with the help of the Comintern and guided under the doctrine of the Three Principles of the People, the distinction among party, state and army was often blurred. A large number of the Army's officers passed through the Whampoa Military Academy, and the first commandant, Chiang Kai-shek, became commander-in-chief of the Army in 1925 before launching the successful Northern Expedition. Other prominent commanders included Du Yuming and Chen Cheng. The end of the Northern Expedition in 1928 is often taken as the date when China's Warlord era ended, though smaller-scale warlord activity continued for years afterwards.

NRA troops against Sun Chuanfang's private army preparing to defend Shanghai.
National Revolutionary Army soldiers marched into the British concessions in Hankou during the Northern Expedition.

In 1927, after the dissolution of the First United Front between the Nationalists and the Communists, the ruling KMT purged its leftist members and largely eliminated Soviet influence from its ranks. Chiang Kai-shek then turned to Germany, historically a great military power, for the reorganization and modernization of the National Revolutionary Army. The Weimar Republic sent advisers to China, but because of the restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles they could not serve in military capacities. Chiang initially requested famous generals such as Ludendorff and von Mackensen as advisers; the Weimar Republic government turned him down, however, fearing that they were too famous, would invite the ire of the Allies and that it would result in the loss of national prestige for such renowned figures to work, essentially, as mercenaries.

When Adolf Hitler became Germany's chancellor in 1933 and disavowed the Treaty, the anti-communist Nazi Party and the anti-communist KMT were soon engaged in close cooperation. with Germany training Chinese troops and expanding Chinese infrastructure, while China opened its markets and natural resources to Germany. Max Bauer was the first adviser to China.

The NRA during World War II

In 1934, Gen. Hans von Seeckt, acting as adviser to Chiang, proposed an "80 Division Plan" for reforming the entire Chinese army into 80 divisions of highly trained, well-equipped troops organised along German lines. The plan was never fully realised, as the eternally bickering warlords could not agree upon which divisions were to be merged and disbanded. Furthermore, since embezzlement and fraud were commonplace, especially in understrength divisions (the state of most of the divisions), reforming the military structure would threaten divisional commanders' "take". Therefore, by July 1937 only eight infantry divisions had completed reorganization and training. These were the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 14th, 36th, 87th, 88th, and the Training Division.

Another German general, Alexander von Falkenhausen, came to China in 1934 to help reform the army. However, because of Nazi Germany's later cooperation with the Empire of Japan, he was later recalled in 1937. After his goodbye party with Chiang Kai-shek's family, he promised not to reveal his devised battle plans to the Japanese.[citation needed]

A Chinese propaganda poster depicting the National Revolutionary Army.

For a time, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Communist forces fought as a nominal part of the National Revolutionary Army, forming the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army units, but this co-operation later fell apart. Throughout the Chinese Civil War the National Revolutionary Army experienced major problems with desertion, with many soldiers switching sides to fight for the Communists.[citation needed] Women were also part of the army's corps during the war. In 1937 Soong Mei-ling encouraged women to support the Sino-Japanese War effort, by forming battalions, such as the Guangxi Women's Battalion.

Troops in India and Burma during World War II included the Chinese Expeditionary Force (Burma), the Chinese Army in India and Y Force.

The US government repeatedly threatened to cut off aid to China during World War 2 unless they handed over total command of all Chinese military forces to the US. After considerable stalling, the arrangement only fell through due to a particularly insulting letter from the Americans to Chiang. By the end of the war, US influence over the political, economic, and military affairs of China were greater than any foreign power in the last century, with American personnel appointed in every field, such as the Chief of Staff of the Chinese military, management of the Chinese War Production Board and Board of Transport, trainers of the secret police, and Chiang's personal advisor. Sir George Sansom, British envoy to the US, reported that many US military officers saw US monopoly on Far Eastern trade as a rightful reward for fighting the Pacific war.

After the drafting and implementation of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947, the National Revolutionary Army was transformed into the ground service branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces – the Republic of China Army (ROCA).

Structure

Elite German-trained divisions of National Revolutionary Army before the Battle of Wuhan
A platoon of the National Revolutionary Army marching in British helmets during a parade in Burma in 1943.

The NRA throughout its lifespan recruited approximately 4,300,000 regulars, in 370 Standard Divisions (正式師), 46 New Divisions (新編師), 12 Cavalry Divisions (騎兵師), eight New Cavalry Divisions (新編騎兵師), 66 Temporary Divisions (暫編師), and 13 Reserve Divisions (預備師), for a grand total of 515 divisions. However, many divisions were formed from two or more other divisions, and were not active at the same time.

At the apex of the NRA was the National Military Council, also translated as Military Affairs Commission. Chaired by Chiang Kai-Shek, it directed the staffs and commands. It included from 1937 the Chief of the General Staff, General He Yingqin, the General Staff, the War Ministry, the military regions, air and naval forces, air defence and garrison commanders, and support services Around 14 Million were conscripted from 1937 to 1945.

Also, New Divisions were created to replace Standard Divisions lost early in the war and were issued the old division's number. Therefore, the number of divisions in active service at any given time is much smaller than this. The average NRA division had 5,000–6,000 troops; an average army division had 10,000–15,000 troops, the equivalent of a Japanese division. Not even the German-trained divisions were on par in terms of manpower with a German or Japanese division, having only 10,000 men.

The United States Army's campaign brochure on the China Defensive campaign of 1942–45 said:[failed verification]

The NRA only had small number of armoured vehicles and mechanised troops. At the beginning of the war in 1937 the armour were organized in three Armoured Battalions, equipped with tanks and armoured cars from various countries. After these battalions were mostly destroyed in the Battle of Shanghai and Battle of Nanjing. The newly provided tanks, armoured cars, and trucks from the Soviet Union and Italy made it possible to create the only mechanized division in the army, the 200th Division. This Division eventually ceased to be a mechanized unit after the June 1938 reorganization of Divisions. The armoured and artillery Regiments were placed under direct command of 5th Corps and the 200th Division became a motorized Infantry Division within the same Corps. This Corps fought battles in Guangxi in 1939–1940 and in the Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road in 1942 reducing the armoured units due to losses and mechanical breakdown of the vehicles. On paper China had 3.8 million men under arms in 1941. They were organized into 246 "front-line" divisions, with another 70 divisions assigned to rear areas. Perhaps as many as forty Chinese divisions had been equipped with European-manufactured weapons and trained by foreign, particularly German and Soviet, advisers. The rest of the units were under strength and generally untrained. Overall, the Nationalist Army impressed most Western military observers as more reminiscent of a 19th- than a 20th-century army.

Late in the Burma Campaign the NRA Army there had an armoured battalion equipped with Sherman tanks.

Despite the poor reviews given by European observers to the European-trained Divisions, the Muslim Divisions of the National Revolutionary Army, trained in China (not by Westerners) and led by Ma Clique Muslim generals, frightened the European observers with their appearance and fighting skills in battle. Europeans like Sven Hedin and Georg Vasel were in awe of the appearance Chinese Muslim NRA divisions made and their ferocious combat abilities. They were trained in harsh, brutal conditions. The 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army), trained entirely in China without any European help, was composed of Chinese Muslims and fought and severely mauled an invading Soviet Russian army during the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang. The division was lacking in technology and manpower, but badly damaged the superior Russian force.

The Muslim divisions of the army controlled by Muslim Gen. Ma Hongkui were reported by Western observers to be tough and disciplined. Despite having diabetes Ma Hongkui personally drilled with his troops and engaged in sword fencing during training.

When the leaders of many of the warlord and provincial armies joined with the KMT and were appointed as officers and generals, their troops joined the NRA. These armies were renamed as NRA divisions. The entire Ma Clique armies were absorbed into the NRA. When the Muslim Ma Clique General Ma Qi joined the KMT, the Ninghai Army was renamed the National Revolutionary Army 26th Division.

Unit organization

A Chinese Nationalist soldier, age 10, member of a Chinese division from the X Force, boarding planes in Burma bound for China, May 1944.

The unit organisation of the NRA is as follows: (Note that a unit is not necessarily subordinate to one immediately above it; several army regiments can be found under an army group, for example.) The commander-in-chief of the NRA from 1925 to 1947 was Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Military Affairs Commission

  • Military Region ×12 (戰區)
    • Army Corps ×4(兵團) – the Army Corps, 兵團, was one of the largest military formations in the NRA during the Second Sino-Japanese War. These Army Corps were composed of a number of Group Armies, Army, Corps, Divisions, Brigades and Regiments. In numbers of divisions, they were larger than Western Army groups. Only four were ever formed to command the large forces defending the Chinese capital during the Battle of Wuhan in 1938. (See Order of battle of Battle of Wuhan).
      • Army Group ×40 (集團軍 Group Army)
        • Route Army (路軍)
        • Field army ×30 (軍)
          • Corps ×133 (軍團 Army Group) – usually exercised command over two to three NRA Divisions and often a number of Independent Brigades or Regiments and supporting units. The Chinese Republic had 133 Corps during the Second Sino-Japanese War. After losses in the early part of the war, under the 1938 reforms, the remaining scarce artillery and the other support formations were withdrawn from the Division and was held at Corps, or Army level or higher. The Corps became the basic tactical unit of the NRA having strength nearly equivalent to an allied Division.

Divisional Organisation

The NRA used multiple divisional organisations as different threats emerged as well as other factors necessitated a new organisation. The Years below relate to the Minguo calendar which starts in 1911. Therefore, the 22nd year division is the 1933 division.

22nd Year Anti-communist division

  • Divisional HQ 79 officers 147 enlisted
  • Signal company 6 officers 168 enlisted (subdivided into 3 platoons with 3 squads per platoon)
  • Reconnaissance Company 5 officers 144 enlisted
  • 3 infantry regiments each containing:
    • Regimental HQ 22 officers 68 enlisted
    • Signal Platoon 1 officer 48 enlisted
    • 3 infantry battalions each containing:
      • Battalion HQ 4 officers 13 enlisted
      • 3 rifle companies 6 officers 145 enlisted (divided into 3 platoons with each platoon having 3 14 man squads)
      • Machine gun company 5 officers 121 enlisted (divided into 3 platoons each with 2 16 man squads with Maxim MGs)
    • Mortar Company 6 officers 138 enlisted (divded into 3 platoons each with 2 19 man squads with 82mm mortars)
    • Special Service Company 6 officers 145 enlisted (indendtical to rifle company)
    • Transport platoon 1 officer 42 enlisted (3 14 man squads)
    • Stretcher-bearer Platoon 1 officer 43 enlisted (3 13 man squads)
  • Artillery Battalion
    • Battalion HQ 12 officers 98 enlisted
    • Three batteries each containing 5 officers 203 enlisted (2 platoons each with 2 75mm guns)
  • Engineer Battalion
    • Battalion HQ 11 officers 41 enlisted
    • Three engineer companies each 6 officers 179 enlisted (3 platoons each with 3 17 man squads)
  • Special service Battalion 27 officers 569 enlisted (indentical to infantry battalion)
  • Transport Battalion
    • Battalion HQ 13 officers 31 enlisted
    • Two Transport Companies each 6 officers 148 enlisted (3 platoons each with 3 14 man squads)


The above template was only applied to divisions serving in Guangxi during the 5th encirclement campaign.


60 Division Plan

A new Plan was divised in 1935 to raise 60 new divisions in 6 month batches with divisions to be raised from divisional districts tied to them, in an aim to enhance cohesion and communication as well as simplifying recruitment, officers however were to be recruited nationally and placed into these divisions to disrupt regional affiliations. The 24th Year New Type division was almost the equivalent of western style divisions with the notable difference being the absence of radios in the Chinese division. Planning began in December 1934 and in January 1935 a classified meeting of over 80 of the highest NRA officers was called with a timetable published.

  • 6-10 divisions were to be organised in 1935
  • 16-20 divisions in 1936
  • 20-30 divisions in 1937
  • The remainder in 1938.


This new army being significantly better armed and trained than the warlord armies would give Chiang a large advantage over his domestic opponents as well as being personally answerable to the Generalissimo.

However, Chinese industry was incapable of producing the artillery or infantry guns in large quantities needed for the 60 division plan and German imports were not forthcoming. Mortars were introduced as substitues for the infantry guns and later as a substitute for artillery. Horses were also lacking as the new division required many of them and Chinese divisions often used mules oxen or even buffalos as substitues for the many horses.

10 divisions were organised in 1935 on the new model but equipment was lacking. A further 20 were reorganised by the Marco Polo Bridge Incident but equipment was again lacking meaning these divisions were not to be the modern equivalent of Western style or Japanese divisions.

24th Year New Type Division

  • Division HQ 138 men 33 horses
  • Cavalry Squadron 237 men 239 horses
  • Signal Battalion
    • Battalion HQ 36 horses 129 horses
    • Two Signal companies each with 131 men
    • Trains 74 men
  • Two Infantry Brigades Each
    • Brigade HQ 29 men 10 horses
    • Two Infantry Regiments each with
      • Regiment HQ 51 men 10 horses
      • Signal company 91 men 17 horses
      • Three Infantry Battalions each with
        • Battalion HQ 47 men 3 horses
        • Three rifle companies each with 177 men
        • Machine Gun company 126 men 43 horses
        • Gun platoon 71 men 26 horses
      • Infantry Gun/Mortar Company 118 men 56 horses
      • Special Duty Platoon 53 men
    • Special Duty Platoon 53 men
  • Field Artillery Regiment
    • Regiment HQ 72 men 31 horses
    • Signal Battery 237 men 106 horses
    • Three Field Artillery Battalions each with
      • Battalion HQ 66 men 348 horses
      • Three Batteries each with 165 men
    • Special Duty Platoon 53 men
  • OR Mountain Artillery Regiment (in substitute of a Field Artillery Regiment)
    • Regiment HQ 72 men 31 horses
    • Singal Battery 237 men 106 horses
    • Three Mountain Artillery Battalions each with
      • Battalion HQ 66 men 342 horses
      • Three Batteries each with 211 men
    • Special Duty Platoon 53 men
  • Engineer Battalion
    • Battalion HQ 33 men 89 horses
    • Signal Platoon 37 men
    • Three Engineer Companies each with 184 men
  • Transport Battalion
    • Battalion HQ 37 men 6 horses
    • 1st Transport Company 188 men 221 horses
    • 2nd Transport Company 107 men 105 horses
  • Special Duty Company 234 men
  • Other 155 men


Dare to Die Corps

During the Xinhai Revolution and the Warlord Era of the Republic of China, "Dare to Die Corps" (traditional Chinese: 敢死隊; simplified Chinese: 敢死队; pinyin: gǎnsǐduì) were frequently used by Chinese armies. China deployed these suicide units against the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

"Dare to Die" troops were used by warlords in their armies to conduct suicide attacks. "Dare to Die" corps continued to be used in the Chinese military. The Kuomintang used one to put down an insurrection in Canton. Many women joined them in addition to men to achieve martyrdom against China's opponents.

A "dare to die corps" was effectively used against Japanese units at the Battle of Taierzhuang. They used swords.

Chinese suicide bomber putting on an explosive vest made out of Model 24 hand grenades to use in an attack on Japanese tanks at the Battle of Taierzhuang.

Suicide bombing was also used against the Japanese. A Chinese soldier detonated a grenade vest and killed 20 Japanese soldiers at Sihang Warehouse. Chinese troops strapped explosives like grenade packs or dynamite to their bodies and threw themselves under Japanese tanks to blow them up. This tactic was used during the Battle of Shanghai, where a Chinese suicide bomber stopped a Japanese tank column by exploding himself beneath the lead tank, and at the Battle of Taierzhuang where dynamite and grenades were strapped on by Chinese troops who rushed at Japanese tanks and blew themselves up. In one incident at Taierzhuang, Chinese suicide bombers obliterated four Japanese tanks with grenade bundles.

Penal Battalions

During the Chinese Civil War the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) was known to have used penal battalions from 1945 to 1949. A unit made up of deserters and those accused of cowardice, the penal battalion was giving such tasks as scouting ahead of the main forces to check for ambushes, crossing rivers and torrents to see whether they were fordable, and walking across unmapped minefields.

Conscription

The military was formed through bloody and inhumane conscription campaigns. These are described by Rudolph Rummel as:

This was a deadly affair in which men were kidnapped for the army, rounded up indiscriminately by press-gangs or army units among those on the roads or in the towns and villages, or otherwise gathered together. Many men, some the very young and old, were killed resisting or trying to escape. Once collected, they would be roped or chained together and marched, with little food or water, long distances to camp. They often died or were killed along the way, sometimes less than 50 percent reaching camp alive. Then recruit camp was no better, with hospitals resembling Nazi concentration camps like Buchenwald.

Officers

General officers Senior commissioned officers Junior commissioned officers Warrant officers
Early 1929 ROCA OF-09(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-08(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-07(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-06(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-05(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-04(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-03(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-02(Early 1929).png ROCA OF-01(Early 1929).png ROCA WO(Early 1929).png
1929-1936 ROCA OF-09(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-08(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-07(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-06(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-05(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-04(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-03(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-02(1929-1936).png ROCA OF-01(1929-1936).png ROCA WO(1929-1936).png
1936-1946
Tiwan-Army-OF-10 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-9 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-8 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-7 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-5 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-4 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-3 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-2 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-1b (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OF-1a (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-WO (1928).svg
Title Generalissimo
特級上將
Colonel General
一級上將
General
二級上將
Lieutenant general
中將
Major general
少將
Colonel
上校
Lieutenant colonel
中校
Major
少校
Captain
上尉
Lieutenant
中尉
Second lieutenant
少尉
Warrant Officer
准尉

Other ranks

Non-commissioned officers Soldiers
Early 1929 ROCA OR-06(Early 1929).png ROCA OR-05(Early 1929).png ROCA OR-04(Early 1929).png ROCA OR-03(Early 1929).png ROCA OR-02(Early 1929).png ROCA OR-01(Early 1929).png
1929-1936 ROCA OR-06(1929-1936).png ROCA OR-05(1929-1936).png ROCA OR-04(1929-1936).png ROCA OR-03(1929-1936).png ROCA OR-02(1929-1936).png ROCA OR-01(1929-1936).png
1936-1946
Tiwan-Army-OR-6 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OR-5 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OR-4 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OR-3 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OR-2 (1928).svg Tiwan-Army-OR-1 (1928).svg
Title Staff Sergeant
上士
Sergeant
中士
Corporal
下士
Superior private
上等兵
Private first class
一等兵
Private second class
二等兵


Strength and Distribution Early 1937

Distribution of NRA soldiers Within China
Province Central Government Troops Warlord Troops Provincial Troops Total
Hebei

(not including East Hebei)

51,000 39,800 12,000 102,800 soldiers
Chahar 17,000 17,000
Shanxi 17,000 43,800 9,000 69,800
Shandong 55,500 8,000 63,500
Suiyuan 20,500 30,700 61,200
Shaanxi 100,000 39,000 8,000 147,000
Gansu 63,000 63,000
Ningxia 27,000 27,000
Qinghai 12,000 11,000 23,000
Xinjiang 24,800 24,800
Zhejiang 52,000 8,800 60,800
Jiangxi 49,000 49,000
Henan 113,300 16,000 129,000
Anhui 54,000 16,000 3,000 73,000
Hubei 72,000 10,000 82,000
Jiangsu 109,400 9,000 118,400
Hunan 68,000 68,000
Sichuan 26,000 126,600 152,600
Xikang 16,000 16,000
Guizhou 36,000 36,000
Fujian 60,000 12,000 72,000
Guangdong 42,000 51,000 93,000
Guangxi 54,000 54,000
Yunnan 21,900 21,900
China 972,200 519,700 94,600 1,586,500

(Former Northeastern army troops are included in the Central Government Column given the arrest of Zhang Xueliang following the Xi'an incident)


The above categorisations are not the sole indicator of loyalty it is how they were categorised at the time.

Arsenals of the NRA

These arsenals listed below are those established before the beginning of the 2nd Sino-Japanese war.

Gongxian Arsenal

Established in 1915 in Henan province.

The Central Government took over the arsenal in 1930 and full production resumed in 1931. Employing 2,400 workers it was producing 1,800 rifles 12 Maxim guns and 20,000 grenades monthly. In 1934 production of rifles had risen to 3,200 per month

Jiangnan Arsenal

Established in 1865 the arsenal was captured by the Central government in 1927. Its production in 1931 was 8 75mm mountain guns, 31 type 3-10 machine guns, 3mil cartirdges and 600lbs of smokeless powder monthly. However, following the demilitarisation of Shanghai following the 1932 battle the arsenal became dormant with its light machinery moved to other arsenals whilst the heavy machinery remained in shanghai until 1937.

Hanyang Arsenal

First began production in 1895 it was captured by the Central government in 1926. between 1895-1938 the arsenal had produced 876,316 Type 88 rifles. in 1934 the arsenal also produced 240 type 3-10 machine guns and 4 75mm field guns.

Shanxi Arsenal

Established in 1898 the arsenal was expanded by Yan Xishan the provincial warlord and production in 1930 was 500 pistols, 1,500 rifles, 50 machine guns, 300 mortars a month as well as a theoretical 30 mountain guns a month though none were in production. The arsenal however deteroriated and by 1937 the Central government took the machinery and used it for other arsenals.

Jinling Arsenal

Established in 1865 the central government captured the arsenal in 1927. In 1936 after investment from the government the arsenal was producing annually 610 machine guns, 3,600,000 cartridges, 480 mortars, 204,000 mortar shells and 34,000 gas masks.

Guangdong Arsenal

Established in 1874, in 1917 production was 600 rifles, 500,000 cartridges and 6 machine guns. However the production quality of the arsenal deteriorated and following a 1935 inspection only 10% of the cartridges were found to have passed inspection. The arsenal came under the contol of the Central government following the defection of Yu Hanmou to the central government during the Liangguang incident.

Sichuan Arsenal/Chongqing Arms Depot

Established in 1878, the arsenals production in 1913 was 15,000 rifles, 7,500,000 cartridges, 45,000lbs of smokeless powder annually. However due to warfare in Sichuan the arsenal was closed opened then finally moved to Chongqing in 1932. In 1933 it produced 6,000 KE7 machine guns.

Jinan Arsenal

By the mid 1930s this arsenal was producing 3,000,000 cartridges and 60,000 grenades monthly.

Equipment

A Chinese Nationalist Army soldier equipped with a German M35 helmet and a ZB vz. 26.
German-equipped Chinese troops practicing a march at the Chinese Military Academy at Chengdu in 1944.

For regular provincial Chinese divisions the standard rifles were the Hanyang 88 (copy of Gewehr 88). Central army divisions were typically equipped with the Chiang Kai-shek rifle and other Mauser type rifles from Germany, Belgium and Czechoslovakia. The standard light machine gun were imported or domestically produced of the Czech Brno ZB vz. 26 in the standard 7.92 mm. There were machine guns from other sources, such as Belgian, French and from the Soviet Aid Programme. In general, there were 6-9 LMG's in an infantry company, with the monthly ammunition supply being around 5,000 rounds (for 5 days consumption). Heavy machine guns were mainly locally-made Type 24 water-cooled Maxim guns (which were based on the commercial version of the German MG08), and Type Triple-Ten M1917 Browning machine guns chambered for the standard 8mm Mauser round. On average, every Central Army battalion contained a machine gun company with 5-6 heavy machine guns. They were allotted a monthly supply of 20,000 rounds. The most common sidearm for NCOs and officers was the 7.63 mm Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistol. Submachine guns were not part of any TO&E, but many were inherited from former warlord armies or locally produced. They were generally carried by the guards of divisional or corps commanders or special service platoon/companies. Some elite units, such as the X Force in Burma used Lend-Lease US equipment.

US-equipped Chinese Army in India marching.

Generally speaking, the regular provincial army divisions did not possess any artillery. However, some Central Army divisions were equipped with 37 mm PaK 35/36 anti-tank guns, and/or mortars from Oerlikon, Madsen, and Solothurn. Each of these infantry divisions ideally had 6 French Brandt 81 mm mortars and 6 Solothurn 20 mm autocannons. Some independent brigades and artillery regiments were equipped with Krupp 75 mm L/29 field guns, Krupp 75 mm L/14, or Bofors 75 mm L/20 mountain guns. There were also 24 Rheinmetall 150 mm L/32 sFH 18 howitzers (bought in 1934) and 24 Krupp 150 mm L/30 sFH 18 howitzers (bought in 1936). At the start of the war, the NRA and the Tax Police Regiment had three tank battalions armed with German Panzer I light tanks and CV-35 tankettes. After defeat in the Battle of Shanghai the remaining tanks, together with several hundred T-26 and BT-5 tanks acquired from the Soviet Union were reorganised into the 200th Division.

Infantry uniforms were basically redesigned Zhongshan suits. Puttees were standard for soldiers and officers alike, since the primary mode of movement for NRA troops was by foot. Troops were also issued sewn field caps. The helmets were the most distinguishing characteristic of these divisions. From the moment German M35 Stahlhelms rolled off the production lines in 1935, and until 1936, the NRA imported 315,000 of these helmets, usually seen with the Blue Sky with a White Sun emblem of the ROC on the sides. These helmets were worn by both the German-trained divisions and regular Central Army divisions. Other helmets included the French Adrian helmet, the British Brodie helmet and later the American M1 helmet. Other equipment included straw shoes for soldiers (cloth shoes for Central Army), leather shoes for officers and leather boots for high-ranking officers. Every soldier was issued ammunition for his weapon, along with ammunition pouches or harness, a water flask, bayonet, food bag, and a gas mask.

See also

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