36th Division (National Revolutionary Army)

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36th Division
Active 1932–1948
Country  Republic of China
Branch Republic of China Army Flag.svg National Revolutionary Army
Type Cavalry (later Infantry)
Size Division
Garrison/HQ Xinjiang, later Yunnan
Engagements

Xinjiang War

Sino-Japanese War 1937–45

Commanders
Ceremonial chief Ma Zhongying, Ma Hushan
Notable
commanders
Ma Zhongying, Ma Hushan, Ma Zhancang, Ma Fuyuan. Post reorganisation: Li Chih-peng
36th Division (National Revolutionary Army)
Simplified Chinese 第36师
Traditional Chinese 第36師

The 36th Division was a cavalry division in the National Revolutionary Army. It was created in 1932 by the Kuomintang for General Ma Zhongying, who was also its first commander. It was made almost entirely out of Hui Muslim troops, all of its officers were Hui, with a few thousand Uighurs forced conscripts in the rank and file.[1] It was commonly referred to as the "KMT 36th Division", or "Tungan 36th Division".

Original organization[edit]

General Ma Zhongying, a Muslim who had trained under Chiang Kai-shek at Whampoa Military Academy in Nanjing in 1929 was the 36th Division Chief.

Kamal Kaya Efendi, a Turk and a former Ottoman military officer was chief-of-staff to Ma Zhongying.

1st Brigade commanded by General Ma Ju-lung.[2]

2nd Brigade commanded by General Ma Sheng-kuei

Cavalry regiments were divided into 2,000 men each, by horse color, black, brown, or white. Infantry then followed cavalry.[3]

Su Chin-shou was General Ma Zhancang's chief of staff.[4] Pai Tzu-li was another commander in the 36th division.[5]

An unnamed 36th division general was encountered by Peter Fleming.[6]

Ma Hushan was original Deputy Divisional Commander, then promoted to Chief of the 36th division.[7]

Equipment[edit]

Primary equipment consisted of Dadao swords, bolt action Lee-Enfield rifles, captured Soviet rifles, machine guns, and light cannons.[8][9][10]

Soviet rifles marked with 1930 dates were seized by Chinese Muslim soldiers from Russians during the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang as war booty.[11]

Uniform and Insignia[edit]

Turkic soldiers waving Kuomintang flags near Kumul

Ma Zhancang's troops wore green uniforms.[12] Many of the troops wore Kuomintang Blue Sky with a White Sun armbands, and used Kuomintang Blue Sky with a White Sun banners.[13]

Training[edit]

Chinese Muslim rifleman of the 36th division during training
Watched by uighur woman with child, tungan troops drill at Khotan 1937 36th division drilling in Khotan in 1937.

Ma Zhongying made his men train in subzero temperatures, and they used shadow fencing to train and parallel bars for exercise.[14] Ma Hushan forced his men to drill every day, conducting siege maneuvers and cavalry attacks. Peter Flemings said "I have never seen troops in China train so hard."[15]

It is documented that troops sang Chinese Muslim marching songs; Ma Zhongying himself had a harmonium with him and spent hours playing Muslim hymns on it. He also kept Mauser pistols. Ma Zhongying cited as his role models Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Bismarck, Hindenburg, and Zuo Zongtang.[16]

Recruitment Tactics[edit]

Xinjiang war[edit]

Kizil massacre[edit]

Uighur and Kirghiz Turkic fighters broke their agreement not to attack a column of retreating Han Chinese and Chinese Muslim soldiers from Kashgar.

Battle of Aksu[edit]

A minor battle in which Chinese Muslim troops were expelled from the Aksu oases of Xinjiang by Uyghurs when they rose up in revolt.[17]

Battle of Sekes Tash[edit]

A minor battle when Chinese Muslim troops under general Ma Zhancang attacked and inflicted a defeat upon Uyghur and Kirghiz armies at Sekes Tesh. About 200 Uyghur and Kirghiz were killed.[18]

Battle of Kashgar (1933)[edit]

Uyghur and Kirghiz forces led by the Bughra brothers and Tawfiq Bay attempted to take the city of Kashgar from Chinese Muslim troops under General Ma Zhancang. They were defeated.

Han chinese troops commanded by Brigadier Yang were absorbed into Ma Zhancang's army. A number of Han chinese officers were spotted wearing the green uniforms of Ma Zhancang's unit of the 36th division, presumably they had converted to Islam.[19]

Battle of Urumqi[edit]

The 36th division twice (First Battle of Urumqi and Second Battle of Urumqi) attempted to take the city of Urumqi, the second time, they were joined by a Han Chinese army under Zhang Peiyuan.

Battle of Tutung[edit]

In 1934, 2 brigades of Soviet Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie (GPU) troops of about 7,000 backed by tanks, planes, and artillery with mustard gas, attacked the 36th division near Tutung. The battle raged for several weeks on the Tutung frozen river. 36th division troops dressed up in sheepskins in the snow, and charged Soviet machine gun posts with swords to defeat a Soviet pincer attack. Soviet planes bombed the 36th division with mustard gas. Heavy casualties mounted on both sides before Ma Zhongying ordered the 36th division to withdraw.[20][21]

Battle of Dawan Cheng[edit]

Ma Zhongying encountered a Soviet armored car column of a few hundred soldiers near Dawan Cheng. The 36th division wiped out nearly the entire column, after engaging the Soviet in savage hand to hand combat, and rolled the wrecked Soviet armored cars off the mountainsides. When a White Russian force showed up, Ma Zhongying withdrew.[22][23][24]

Battle of Kashgar (1934)[edit]

36th division General Ma Fuyuan stormed Kashgar, and attacked the Uighur and Kirghiz rebels of the First East Turkestan Republic. He freed another 36th division general, Ma Zhancang, who was trapped by the Uighurs and Kirghiz. Ma Zhancang repulsed six Uighur attacks, inflicting massive casualties on the Uighur forces.[25] 2,000 to 8,000 uighur civilians were killed, in revenge for the Kizil massacre. General Ma Zhongying gave a speech at Idgah mosque, reminding the Uighurs to be loyal to the Republic of China government at Nanjing. Several citizens at the British consulate were killed by the 36th division.[26][27][28][29]

Battle of Yangi Hissar[edit]

Ma Zhancang led the 36th division to attack Uighur forces at Yangi Hissar, wiping out the entire Uighur force, and killing the Emir Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra.[30]

Battle of Yarkand[edit]

Ma Zhancang defeated the Uighur and Afghan volunteers sent by king Mohammed Zahir Shah, and exterminated them all. The emir Abdullah Bughra was killed and beheaded, his head put on display at Idgah mosque.[31]

Charkhlik Revolt[edit]

The 36th division under General Ma Hushan crushed a revolt by the Uighurs in the Charkhlik oasis.[32]

Administration of Tunganistan[edit]

The 36th division under General Ma Hushan administered the oases of southern Xinjiang, and their administration was dubbed "Tunganistan" by western travelers. Ma Hushan and the 36th division declared their loyalty to the Kuomintang government in Nanjing and sent emissaries to Nanjing requesting aid to fight against Sheng Shicai's provincial forces and the Soviet Union.

The administration which was set up was colonial in nature, the Chinese Muslims started putting up street signs and names in Chinese, which used to be in only Uighur language. They also sought to live a Chinese lifestyle, importing Chinese cooks and baths.[33] Islam barely played a role except as a "vague spiritual focus" for unified opposition against Sheng Shicai and the Soviet Union.[34]

The Uyghurs in the Charklik oases revolted against the 36th division in 1935, and the Chinese Muslims crushed the Uyghur insurgents, executed 100 people, and took the family of the Uyghur chief as hostages.[35]

Camels were requisitioned by the 36th Division in Cherchen.[36]

Redesignation Prior to the Sino-Japanese War[edit]

In summer 1937 however, the 36th Division was reorganised as a German-trained infantry division for the Battles of Shanghai and Nanking. In 1942 this division under Major General Li Chih-peng and sent into Burma as part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force to secure the Burma Road and rescue British forces. It played a pivotal part in the Chinese retreat from Burma and successfully blocked the Japanese 56th Division's advance in the Battle of Salween River in 1942.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 124. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  2. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. pp. 142, 144. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Christian Tyler (2004). Wild West China: the taming of Xinjiang. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-8135-3533-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. pp. 83, 251. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 142. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Peter Fleming (1999). News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir. Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 307. ISBN 0-8101-6071-4. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  7. ^ M. Rafiq Khan (1963). Islam in China. Delhi: National Academy. p. 63. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Peter Fleming (1999). News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir. Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 263. ISBN 0-8101-6071-4. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Peter Fleming (1999). News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir. Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 308. ISBN 0-8101-6071-4. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Peter Fleming (1999). News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir. Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 307. ISBN 0-8101-6071-4. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Peter Fleming (1999). News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir. Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 308. ISBN 0-8101-6071-4. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  12. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 87. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 108. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Christian Tyler (2004). Wild West China: the taming of Xinjiang. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-8135-3533-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Christian Tyler (2004). Wild West China: the taming of Xinjiang. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-8135-3533-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Christian Tyler (2004). Wild West China: the taming of Xinjiang. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-8135-3533-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  17. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 89. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  18. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 95. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  19. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 288. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  20. ^ Christian Tyler (2004). Wild West China: the taming of Xinjiang. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 112. ISBN 0-8135-3533-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  21. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 120. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  22. ^ Christian Tyler (2004). Wild West China: the taming of Xinjiang. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 112. ISBN 0-8135-3533-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  23. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 121. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  24. ^ Ai-ch'ên Wu, Aichen Wu (1940). Turkistan tumult. Methuen: Methuen. pp. 89, 234. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  25. ^ AP (1 February 1934). "REPULSE REBELS AFTER SIX DAYS". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  26. ^ AP (17 March 1934). "TUNGAN RAIDERS MASSACRE 2,000". The Miami News. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  27. ^ Associated Press Cable (17 March 1934). "TUNGANS SACK KASHGAR CITY, SLAYING 2,000". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  28. ^ The Associated Press (17 March 1934). "British Officials and 2,000 Natives Slain At Kashgar, on Western Border of China". The New YorkTimes. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  29. ^ AP (17 March 1934). "2000 Killed In Massacre". San Jose News. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  30. ^ "Fighting Continues Tungan Troops Still Active in Chinese Turkestan". The Montreal Gazette. 10 May 1934. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  31. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 123. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  32. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 134. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  33. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 130. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  34. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 130. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  35. ^ Peter Fleming (1999). News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir. Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 267. ISBN 0-8101-6071-4. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  36. ^ Ella Maillart (2003). Forbidden journey: from Peking to Kashmir (illustrated ed.). Northwestern University Press. p. 185. ISBN 0-8101-1985-4. Retrieved 28 June 2010.