Tianjin Campaign

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Tianjin Campaign
Part of the Chinese Civil War
Date January 3, 1949 - January 15, 1949
Location Tianjin, China
Result Communist victory
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
People's Liberation Army
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army Chen Changjie 陈长捷 (POW) PLA Liu Yalou 刘亚楼
130,000 340,000
Casualties and losses
all killed or captured 7,030 killed, 19,214 wounded

The Tianjin Campaign was the final major engagement in the Pingjin Campaign, fought between the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government and the People's Liberation Army led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Chinese Civil War. The fall of Tianjin to the CPC effectively concluded the larger Pingjin Campaign.[citation needed]

The original communist plan was to take Tanggu first to cut off the nationalist escape route via ocean and then force the nationalists in Beijing and Tianjin to surrender, in order to save the two historical cities from the destruction of the war. However, the nationalist resolve to defend the cities to the end was strong and reconnaissance had revealed the sounding regions of Tanggu was not suitable for building fortifications and deploying assaulting forces, and the region strongly favored defenders. The communists were forced to change their plan by attacking Tianjin first. According to the geography of Tianjin, which was characterized in its long span in the north-south direction and short span in the east-west direction, the communists made a plan of simultaneously attacking from the east and west, cutting off the city in the middle, and then first taking the southern portion of the city, and afterward taking the northern portion of the city.

From January 3, 1949 through to January 12, 1949, the communists cleared all 18 nationalist strongholds outside the city, and the defenders were forced to take refuge behind the city wall. After the nationalists behind the city wall had refused to surrender for three times when asked, the communists launched their final offensive on the city on January 14, 1949 at 10:00 AM. After 29 hours of fierce fighting, the entire besieged nationalist garrison of the city totaling more than 130,000 was completely annihilated, and Chen Changjjie (陈长捷), the nationalist commander-in-chief of the defense, was captured alive along with many of his subordinates, including his deputy, Major General Qiu Zongding (秋宗鼎), the deputy commander-in-chief of nationalist Tianjin Garrison, Major General Yang Wei (杨威), the chief-of-staff of the nationalist force defending Tianjin, Major General Li Yeqing (李叶清), the secretary-general of nationalist headquarter in Tianjin, and Major General Cheng Zijian (程子践), the nationalist inspector-general from Nanjing, hand-picked personally by Chiang Kai-shek himself. With the exception of the 7th Chinese Textile Factory, which was completely destroyed in the final offensive, most of the rest of the infrastructure of Tianjin was captured intact. The price paid by the attacking communist force is relative low in the campaign, suffering a casualty rate that include 7,030 killed, and 19,214 wounded, without any missing or being captured. Among those communists killed were several hundred Japanese troops of the former-Japanese Imperial Army, who stayed in China after World War II and joined the communists.


The immediate consequence of the nationalist defeat in Tianjin Campaign was that the nationalist garrison of Tanggu, consisting of the 17th Army Group and five divisions from the 87th Army, had been completely isolated and had to withdraw via ocean, which in turn, worsened the overall situation for the nationalists during the Pingjin Campaign. The nationalist defeat in the Tianjin Campaign was also one of the most important factors forcing Fu Zuoyi to surrender to the communists, which resulted in the conclusion of the Pingjin Campaign.

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