Battle of Mount Song

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Battle of Mount Song/ Battle of Ramou
Part of the Second Sino-Japanese War
ChineseSoldiersSalweenRiver.gif
Chinese Nationalist soldiers fighting near Salween River
Date June 4, 1944 – September 7, 1944
Location Mount Song, Yunnan
Result Decisive Chinese victory
Belligerents
Taiwan National Revolutionary Army
United States United States Air Force
Japan, Imperial Japanese Army
Commanders and leaders
Taiwan Li Mi War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Hisaichi Terauchi Keijiro Kanemitsu, Major
Strength
40,000 + 1400
Casualties and losses
4,000 killed
7,774 injured
1,393 - 1399 killed[1]
7 captured

The Battle of Mount Song or Battle of Ramou (Chinese 松山战役, Japanese 拉孟の戦い)in 1944 was part of the largest campaign in southwestern China during the Second World War. Chinese Nationalist forces aimed to retake control over the Burma Road. The Japanese were losing the war in Burma and aimed to block off the highway connecting China with Burma for as long as they could. Using slave labour from Thailand and Burma they constructed a series of tunnels and bunkers in order to turn the mountain(松山)into a fortress.

The Chinese forces were unaware of the depth of the Japanese defenses, and their underestimation led to heavy casualties. Chinese artillery strikes and US bombing runs had little effect against Japanese forces underground. After initial defence the Japanese command in Northern Burma ordered the majority of the garrison out and left 1400 men (including 300 wounded and 20 comfort women) to defend the mountain top. This encircled group under the command of Major Kanemitsu Keijirou held out and denied the use to the American-Chinese Armies for a further three months.

Japanese attempts to resupply the unit by air on two occassions led to most of the supplies falling into Chinese hands. This was the only occassion where Japanese troops besieged were supplied by air.

Chinese forces finally retook Mount Song through the use of continual bombardment, American airpower and overwhelming numbers of Chinese infantry. In the end the Japanese faced overwhelming force numbering the attackers at 50 Chinese soldiers for every Japanese defender.

Fall and Aftermath[edit]

The Japanese list only one survivor, Captain Kinoshita, an artillery officer ordered out to communicate to Japanese high command the night before the fall of the outpost. Chinese sources say from 7 soldiers were captured out of the total garrison. About 12 Japanese comfort women committed suicide towards the end of the siege. Five to Six Korean comfort women were captured by Chinese and US forces. [2]

After its capture the Burma Road could be used once again.

Although a Chinese victory the small Japanese force unsupplied and lacking air power or heavy artillery held up the entire Chinese Expeditionary Army for over three months considerably lengthening the war in Burma.[3]

Significance[edit]

Accounts of the battle exist in Japanese and Chinese. There has been virtually no recorded reference to this battle in any detail in English sources outside of initial battle reports. It remains a largely forgotten event in the Burma War.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Article about War of Resistance http://www.china1931.cn/China/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=7648
  2. ^ The Chrysamthemum and the Dragon, Sagara Jyunsuke, Kojinsha Press, Tokyo 2004, 菊と龍祖国への栄光の戦い、光人社、東京、2004
  3. ^ Reflections on War in Burma, Noguchi Seiki, Kojinsha Press, Tokyo 2000, 回想ビルマ作戦,野口省己、光人社、東京、2002
  • 《陆军第八军松山围攻战史》,国民党陆军第八军司令部参谋处编撰,重庆陆军大学1947年编印
  • 《陆军第八军第一零三师围攻松山战斗详报》,第二历史档案馆馆藏资料
  • 《陆军第八军第一零三师滇西阵中整训日记》,第二历史档案馆馆藏资料
  • 《滇西作战实录》吴致皋著,台北文星书店中华民国五十一年(1962年)5月第一版
  • 《中国远征军战史》徐康明著,纪念抗日战争及世界反法西斯战争胜利50周年丛书,军事科学出版社1995.7
  • 《中缅印战场抗日战争史》徐康明著,解放军出版社2007.7第一版
  • 《1944:松山战役笔记》余戈著,生活.读书.新知三联出版社2009.8