General Xue Yue
|Nickname||Patton of Asia, Tiger of Changsha|
|Born||December 26, 1896|
|Died||May 3, 1998(aged 101)|
|Place of birth||Shaoguan, Guangdong|
|Place of death||Chiayi County, Taiwan|
|Allegiance||Republic of China|
|Years of service||1906–1950|
|Commands held||Commander-in-Chief of 9th war zone|
|Awards||Order of Blue Sky and White Sun|
Early life and career[edit | edit source]
Born to a Hakka peasant family in Guangdong, Xue joined the army in 1914, at the age of 18. When Chiang Kai-shek formed the Whampoa Military Academy years later, Xue was one of the members of the first graduating class. He was one of the most effective nationalist commanders of the Northern Expedition, and was promoted to command the 4th army after the April 12 Incident. During the first stage of the Chinese Civil War, Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek ordered General Xue to lead the Cantonese First Army to attack the Chinese communists during the Fifth Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet, forcing them to start the Long March and his forces chased the retreating communists all the way to Sichuan and Guizhou, until the communist forces retreated across the great swamplands and finally escaped to Shaanxi Province. He then turned his forces around and marched unstopped to Central China and defeated the famed Red Army commanders like He Long and Ye Ting of the communist area which they controlled and forced out of these strongholds. For these accomplishments, Chiang Kai-shek hailed him as "a true example of a Chinese officer".
Second Sino-Japanese War[edit | edit source]
After the Xi'an Incident, however, Xue's loyalty was in doubt after he offered to personally arrest Chiang Kai-shek and hand him over to the Communists if Chiang refused to fight the Japanese immediately. Although he immediately reconciled with Chiang Kai-shek, his relations with the KMT were strained throughout the Sino-Japanese War. Xue commanded the 19th Army Group that fought the Battle of Shanghai. Later, during the Campaign of Battle of Northern and Eastern Henan (January–June 1938) he commanded the Eastern Henan Army. Xue was also involved in the Battle of Wuhan, commanding the 1st Army Corps. In the mountains northwest of Wuhan, Xue succeeded in nearly destroying the entire 106th division of the imperial Japanese army. During the battle, most of the Japanese officers were killed and the Japanese had to air-drop 300 officers by parachutes into the battlefield. This was the only occasion the Imperial Japanese Army had to use airborne strategy to save a whole division from being eliminated by enemy forces during the Second World War.
Xue Yue was also responsible for the victories of the 9th Front, in the First, Second and Third Battle for Changsha. His forces of the 9th Front were also victorious at the Battle of Changde but were defeated in the Fourth Battle of Changsha. During World War II, KMT and General Stilwell would not support him and his soldiers ammunition to fight the Japanese due to Stillwell's belief that there was rampant corruption in the KMT Army. To Stillwell's dismay, however, Chennault supplied Xue with ammunition throughout the war. Xue's 9th Front was also responsible for protecting Chennault's air fields. Chennault and Xue became sworn brothers and remained close friends until Chennault's death in 1958.
Chinese Civil War[edit | edit source]
After World War II, Xue refused to exchange his gold for the Gold Yuan paper currency as mandated by law. When Huang Shaoxiong informed Xue that this was illegal, Xue responded that he and his subordinates' gold was paid in blood and he was personally responsible for it. When Chiang Kai-shek retreated to Taiwan in 1949, Xue was put in charge of defending Hainan Island. The victorious Red Army defeated the demoralized Nationalist Forces. Xue left for Taiwan after the defense of Hainan Island collapsed. He was served as a nominal adviser to the chief of staff in name only. He lived until 1998 to the age of 101. He led Chiang's funeral in 1976.
References[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Xue Yue.|
- Wuhan, 1938, Stephen R. MacKinnon, Robert Capa, p 27, accessed July 2009
- Gregor Benton, ed (1998). Chen Duxiu's last articles and letters, 1937-1942 (illustrated ed.). University of Hawaii Press. p. 45. ISBN 0824821122. http://books.google.com/books?id=6jRpVWJLxHUC&pg=PA45&dq=sichuan+han+yue+railway&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ccFeT8vzGMSa0QGRy-CjBw&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=sichuan%20han%20yue%20railway&f=false. Retrieved 2012 March 2. "24. Xi'an never fell. As for Changsha, Chinese under the Guonaindang General Xue Yue successfully defended the city three times against the Japanese; Changsha (and the vital Guangzhou-Hankou Railway) did not fall to the Japanese until early 1945."
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