Battle of Jianmenguan

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Jianmen Pass Campaign
Part of the Chinese Civil War
Date December 14, 1949 - December 18, 1949
Location Sichuan, China
Result Communist victory
Belligerents
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
PLA
People's Liberation Army
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the ROC
?
Flag of the PRC
?
Strength
1,000 800
Casualties and losses
500 killed
300 captured
?

The Battle of Jianmen Pass (Jianmen Guan Zhandou, 剑门关战斗) was a battle fought between the communists and the nationalists during the Chinese Civil War in the post World War II era and resulted in communist victory. The battle was a one of the battles in Chengdu Campaign, which in turn, was part of Southwestern China Campaign.

Jianmen Pass (Jianmen Guan, 剑门关) was one of the key gateways of Sichuan. There are 72 peaks in the mountain and the only road going thru the mountain was 50 metre wide. Whoever controlled this 2 km long stretch of the road controlled the gateway of Sichuan, and the nationalists had built an elaborate system of bunkers in the area to strengthen its defense against the expected communist invasion.

Order of battle

  • Nationalists
    • A regiment of local garrison
    • A company from the retreating 55th Division
  • Communists
    • The 540th Regiment of the 180th Division of 60th Army of the XVIII Corps

After taking Guangyuan on December 14, 1949 in Chengdu Campaign, the communists decided that Jianmen Pass (Jianmen Guan, 剑门关) must be taken. The 540th Regiment of the 180th Division of 60th Army of the communist XVIII Corps was tasked with this job and after three days of forced march of more than 40 km in the mountain, the communist 540th Regiment reached Jianmen Pass (Jianmen Guan, 剑门关). The communist 540th Regiment immediately launched its assault on the pass by first completely annihilating a company from the retreating nationalist 55th Division tasked to strengthen the defense. Afterward, one of the battalion of the communist regiment was sent to outflank the defenders by passing the mountain terrain which was considered impossible by the local populace, including the defenders. The rest of two battalions of the communist regiment crawled forward along the ravine under the cover of darkness, and by 10:00 PM, they were within 50 metres in front of the pass. The attackers then launched their assault in the dark under the cover of heavy fire, and with the help of the battalion that outflanked the defenders, they were able to cross the last ravine via a log and overwhelmed the defenders. With Jianmen Pass (Jianmen Guan, 剑门关) falling into the enemy hands, the nationalists had no choice but to retreat and abandon the town of Jiange (剑阁) in the afternoon of December 18, 1949.

The communists managed to capture over 300 prisoners-of-wars and had all the remaining people killed in the fierce battle, and more importantly, the taking of Jianmen Pass (Jianmen Guan, 剑门关) secure the passage for the communists to invade deeper into the heart of Sichuan.

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