Xiao County, Jiangsu
|Allegiance||Republic of China|
|Years of service||1926 - 1968|
|Commands held||10th Army, National Revolutionary Army|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Changde
Battle of Changsha
Battle of Taierzhuang
|Awards||Order of Blue Sky and White Sun|
Fang Xianjue (Traditional Chinese: 方先覺 ; Simplified Chinese:方先觉) was born in a small Jiangsu (now in Suzhou, Anhui) village gentry family in 1903. After studying with the village tutor, he went to Xuzhou Provincial High School, and later studied at the Nanjing 1st Industrial School, then later went to National Central University (later renamed Nanjing University in mainland China and reinstated in Taiwan). After completing his formal education, he decided to attend Whampoa Military Academy and graduated class of 1926.
He started as a platoon leader in the National Revolutionary Army (NRA), and got promoted to the rank of army general during the Second Sino-Japanese War. After KMT lost the Chinese Civil War, he relocated with the Nationalists to Taiwan and later became the deputy commander of the NRA army group in charge of defending the Pescadores Islands. General Fang personally participated in the Battle of Taierzhuang, the Battle of Changde, and the Battle of Changsha. Retired from military in 1968 and later died in 1983.
Defense of Hengyang
Fang Xianjue commanded the NRA 10th Army in the Defense of Hengyang, where he was besieged for 47 days after fighting off numerous assaults by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). On the night of August 8, 1944 he telegraphed Chongqing about the long resistance and his will to fight to the death for the sake of the country. After running out of ammunition and supplies, with no hope of getting reinforcement and a botched suicide attempt, he surrendered to the Japanese on the condition that all POW would not be harmed and all wounded Chinese soldiers would get medical treatment. Initially, he tried to shoot himself, but was wrestled out by his subordinates. The Japanese commander unconditionally accepted his terms out of respect for his fierce defense of Hengyang, where the IJA suffered almost 30,000 casualties in its attempt to take the city (this number is almost 1/2 of total Japanese casualty suffered from the entire Operation Ichi-Go). On the other hand, the Chinese suffered 7,400 casualties.
He later escaped from captivity and received a hero's welcome from Chiang Kai-shek in Chungking, where he received the Order of Blue Sky and White Sun. The surviving Japanese veterans of the 11th Army, who personally participated in the battle of Hengyang, organized a group trip to Taipei to pay respect to Fang Xianjue in 1983 after his death.