Battle of Langfang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Battle of Langfang
Part of Seymour Expedition
Date June 18, 1900[1]
Location Langfang, China
Result Chinese victory[2] Failure of expedition[3]
Belligerents
 United Kingdom
 German Empire
 Russia
France France
 United States
 Japan
 Kingdom of Italy
 Austria-Hungary
Qing dynasty Imperial China
Righteous Harmony Society
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom Edward Seymour
German Empire Captain von Usedom
Qing dynasty General Dong Fuxiang
Qing dynasty General Ma Fulu
Qing dynasty Ma Fuxiang
Qing dynastyMa Haiyan[4]
Qing dynasty Colonel Yao Wang
Ni Zanqing
Strength
United Kingdom 916
German Empire 540
Russia 312
France 158
United States 112
Japan 54
Kingdom of Italy 40
Austria-Hungary 25
2,157 total
3,000 Muslim Kansu Braves
2,000 Boxers[5]
Casualties and losses
7 dead, 57 wounded estimated at 200 Kansu Braves, 200 Boxers (around 400 total)

The Battle of Langfang was a battle in the Seymour Expedition during the Boxer Rebellion involving Chinese imperial troops, the Chinese Muslim Kansu Braves and Boxers ambushing and defeating the Eight-Nation Alliance expeditionary army on its way to Beijing, forcing the Alliance forces to retreat back to Tianjin. The Alliance force at Langfang consisted of Germans.[6]

Preceding clashes[edit]

The Chinese Imperial Tenacious Army under General Nie Shicheng was waging a brutal campaign to suppress the Boxers under orders from Commander in Chief Ronglu. At the same time General Nie was fighting the Boxers, the foreign Eight Nation Alliance launched an invasion of China to reach the Legations at Beijing. The Imperial Court then decided to change its tack and halt the suppression campaign against the Boxers and fight the foreigners instead. There was too much bad blood between General Nie and the Boxers for them to cooperate with each other against the foreigners, so in response, the Imperial Court sent another Chinese Army, the Muslim Kansu Braves under the anti-foreign General Dong Fuxiang fight alongside the Boxers against the foreign Eight Nation Alliance forces.

On June 4, Boxers lost 480 dead in a battle against Chinese Imperial troops under General Nie Shicheng at Langfang.[7][8][9]

At Langfang the Alliance forces arrived on June 11.[10]

On June 11 and June 14, Boxers armed only with bladed melee weapons directly charged the Alliance troops at Langfang armed with rifles and machine guns in human wave attacks and the Boxers also blocked the retreat of the expedition via train by destroying the Tianjin-Langfang railway.[11]

During clashes at Langfang, Boxers armed with swords and spears charged the British and Americans, who were armed with guns. At point-blank range one British soldier had to fire four bullets into a Boxer before he stopped, and American Capt. Bowman McCalla reported that single rifle shots were not enough: multiple rifle shots were needed to halt a Boxer. Only machine guns were effective in immediately stopping the Boxers.[12]

It was announced that foreign troops attempting to enter Beijing would be resisted by General Dong Fuxiang's forces.[13]

The Battle[edit]

Gen. Dong Fuxiang, along with his Chinese Muslim Braves, prepared to ambush the invading western army. The Muslim Gen. Ma Fuxiang and his brother Gen. Ma Fulu personally planned and led the attack, with a pincer movement around the Eight Nation Alliance force.[14] On June 18 Dong Fuxiang's troops, stationed at Hunting Park in southern Beijing, attacked at multiple points including LangFang. The forces included 5000 cavalrymen, armed with modern rifles.[15][16] They led a force of Hui Muslims, Dongxiang Muslims, and Baoan Muslims in the ambush at Langfang with Ma Fulu personally leading a cavalry charge, cutting down enemy troops with his sword.[17] The Boxers and Dong Fuxiang's army worked together in the joint ambush with the Boxers relentlessly assaulting the Allies head on with human wave attacks displaying "no fear of death" and engaging the Allies in melee combat and putting the Allied troops under severe mental stress by mimicking vigorous gunfire with firecrackers. The Allies however suffered most of their losses at the hands of General Dong's troops, who used their expertise and persistence to engage in "bold and persistent" assaults on the Alliance forces, as remembered by the German Captain Usedom and the right wing of the Germans was almost at the point of collapse under the attack until they were rescued from Langfang by French and British troops, and the Allies then retreated from Langfang in trains full of bullet holes.[18] The foreign troops, especially the Germans, fought off the attack, killing 400 at a loss of seven dead and 57 wounded. The Kansu Braves lost 200 and the Boxers another 200. The Boxers directly and relentlessly charged the allies during the attack, which unnerved them. The need to care for the wounded, a lack of supplies and the likelihood of additional Chinese attacks resulted in Seymour and his officers deciding to retreat to Tientsin.[19][20] The unexpected attack on Seymour by the Chinese army was prompted by an allied European and Japanese attack on the Dagu Forts two days previously. As a result of the attack in Dagu, the Chinese government had decided to resist Seymour's army and kill or expel all foreigners in northern China.[21]

Early on Sunday morning, 17th June, a week after we had started, the Taku Forts were taken by U the Allied Forces in order to relieve Tientsin. That city was invested by the Boxers who began to bombard it next day. Of this of course we were quite ignorant. But the Court in Peking must have received instant news of the fact, for on the afternoon of the 18th Captain von Usedom, the German officer in command of the troops left at Langfang, was attacked by the Imperial forces belonging to General Tung-fuh-siang's division. Their numbers were estimated at 7,000 and they were well armed _^ with modern rifles which they used with effect, so that we suffered considerable casualties.

Charles Clive Bigham Mersey (Viscount), A Year in China, 1899–1900, p. 177.[22]

Messages were then sent back to Lofa and Langfang, recalling trains 2, 3, and 4, the advance by rail being found to be impracticable, and the isolation and separate destruction of the trains a possibility. In the afternoon of June 18, train No. 3 came back from Lofa, and later in the evening Nos. 2 and 4 from Langfang. The latter had been unexpectedly attacked about half past 2 in the afternoon of June 18, by a force estimated at 5,000 men, including cavalry, large numbers of whom were armed with magazine rifles of the latest pattern. Captured banners showed that they belonged to the army of General Tung Fu Hsiang, who commanded the Chinese troops in the hunting park outside Pekin, showing that the Chinese imperial troops were being employed to defeat the expedition. This army was composed of especially picked men, 10,000 strong, commanded from the palace. They were said to be well armed, but indifferently drilled.

United States. Adjutant-General's Office. Military Information Division, Publication, Issue 33, p. 528.[23][24][25]

On 17th messages were sent back to Lofa and Langfang to recall Nos. 2, 3, and 4 trains, it being evident that the advance by rail was impossible, and the isolation and separate destruction of the trains a possibility. No. 3 returned on the afternoon of 18th June,, and in the evening Nos. 2 and 4 from Langfang. Captain Von Usedoni (His Imperial German Majesty's Navy), the senior officer present with Nos 2 and 4 trains, reported that they had had a severe engagement with the enemy, who unexpectedly attacked them at Langfang about 2.30 p.in. on that day (18th) in great force estimated 'to be-fully 5,000 men (including cavalry), large numbers of whom were armed with -magazine rifles of the latest pattern. The banners captured show them to have belonged to-tho army of General Tung Fu Hsiang, who commands the Chinese troops-in the Hunting Park- outside Peking, and it was thus definitely known for the first time that Imperial Chinese troops were being employed against us. The attack was made in front and on both flanks, the enemy pouring in a heavy fire on the allied forces coming out to engage them ; they were driven off with much loss, but when they saw our forces retiring towards the trains they rallied and made another attack ; a halt was then made and the men were once more beaten off with greater loss than before, and then finally retreated. In this action the Chinese lost over 400 killed, the allied forces 6 killed and 48 wounded.

*DESPATCHES of which the following are Copies, have been received from the Commander-in-Chief and the Rear-Admiral on the China station, relative to the attempted relief of the legations at Peking; the capture of the Taku forts; and operations at Tientsin :—
  • Admiral Seymour's Despatch
  • Letter No. 384, from Commander-in-Chief on the China Station, dated 27th June, 1900.
  • Combined Naval Expedition to attempt the Relief of Legations at Peking.
  • No. 384
  • Tientsin, 27th June, 1900.

The principal battle appears to have been that which was fought at Lang Fang on June 18, the battle which decided the Admiral to turn back. The allied force here consisted only of about one-third of the expedition, the British detachment being supplied by the Endymion, Aurora, and Orlando. The enemy numbered about 5,000, and it was not until after between two and three hours' hard fighting that the attack was repulsed. The enemy sustained a loss of between 400 and 500, while the loss on our side was 58 killed and wounded. Two days previously the Admiral had discovered that his communications with Tientsin had also been cut, that the bridge at Yangtsun was destroyed, and that the trains were useless.

The Naval Annual, p. 206.[26]

It was this battle which led Seymour's forces to realize that the Chinese Imperial Army had joined the fight alongside the Boxers and played a role in his decision to retreat to Tianjin.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Elleman, Bruce A.; Paine, S.C.M., eds. (2007). Naval Coalition Warfare: From the Napoleonic War to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Cass Series: Naval Policy and History. Routledge. p. 91. ISBN 1135985340. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  2. ^ Paul A. Cohen (1997). History in three keys: the boxers as event, experience, and myth. Columbia University Press. p. 428. ISBN 0-231-10651-3. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  3. ^ Jaques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: F-O. Volume 2 of Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: A Guide to 8,500 Battles from Antiquity Through the Twenty-first Century. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 568. ISBN 0313335389. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  4. ^ 民国少数民族将军(组图)2 - 360Doc个人图书馆
  5. ^ Xiang, Lanxin (2014). The Origins of the Boxer War: A Multinational Study. Routledge. p. 263. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  6. ^ Leonhard, Robert R (2011). "The China Relief Expedition Joint Coalition Warfare in China Summer 1900" (PDF). The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. p. 12. Retrieved 31 October 2010. 
  7. ^ http://uca.edu/politicalscience/dadm-project/asiapacific-region/china-1900-present/
  8. ^ Cohen, Paul A. (1997). History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 48. ISBN 0231106505. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  9. ^ Harrington, Peter (2013). Peking 1900: The Boxer Rebellion (illustrated ed.). Osprey Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1472803043. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  10. ^ Harrington, Peter (2013). Peking 1900: The Boxer Rebellion (illustrated ed.). Osprey Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 1472803043. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  11. ^ Boot, Max (2014). The Savage Wars Of Peace: Small Wars And The Rise Of American Power (revised ed.). Basic Books. ISBN 0465038662. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  12. ^ Robert B. Edgerton (1997). Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military. WW Norton & Co. p. 72. ISBN 0-393-04085-2. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  13. ^ http://newspaperarchive.com/us/indiana/madison/madison-courier/1900/06-14/page-3
  14. ^ 马福祥 (in Chinese), China LX Net .
  15. ^ Arthur Henderson Smith (1901). China in Convulsion 2. FH Revell. p. 441. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  16. ^ Сергей Леонидович Тихвинский (1983). Модерн хисторий оф Чина (in Russian). Progress Publishers. p. 397. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  17. ^ 抗击八国联军的清军将领——马福禄 - 360Doc个人图书馆
  18. ^ Lanxin, Xiang (2014). The Origins of the Boxer War: A Multinational Study. Routledge. p. 264. ISBN 1136865896. 
  19. ^ Davids, p. 107.
  20. ^ Bacon, Admiral RH The Life of John Rushworth, Lord Jellicoe. London: Cassell, 1936, p. 108
  21. ^ Davids, p. 83; Fleming p. 103
  22. ^ Mersey (Viscount), Charles Clive Bigham (1901). A Year in China, 1899-1900. Macmillan and Company, limited. p. 177. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  23. ^ Publication, Issue 33. United States. Adjutant-General's Office. Military Information Division. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1901. p. 528. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  24. ^ United States. Adjutant-General's Office. Military Information Division, p (1901). Publications, Issues 33-34. p. 528. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  25. ^ Slocum, Stephan L'H.; Reichmann, Car; Chaffee, Adna Romanza (1901). Reports on Military Operations in South Africa and China. Volume 33 of War Department, Adjutant General's Office (Issue 143 of Document (United States. War Dept.)). Contributor United States. Adjutant-General's Office. Military Information Division. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 528. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  26. ^ The Naval Annual. J. Griffin. 1901. p. 206. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 

External links[edit]