Battle of Rehe - Last Big Battle on the Great Wall

The Battle of Rehe was launched by Japan and its puppet regime in China on February 21, 1933 and lasted to March 10 the same year. Altogether 300,000 soldiers were involved, marking it the last big battle of the Great Wall. After the lost of Rehe, Japan took over the whole northeast China to the north of the Great Wall, which abetted their ambition to occupy more China territories. 

Where is Rehe?

Rehe was an old administration division in northeast China from February of 1914 to July of 1955, to the north of the Great Wall of China at the boundary of present Hebei, Inner Mongolia and Liaoning. Its capital was the present Chengde City. 

Why did Japanese attack Rehe? 

Before the outbreak of Rehe Battle, the region was under the actual control of Chinese Fengtian Warlord and functioned as the rear base of Chinese anti-Japanese armies in the northeast. However, in the eyes’ of Manchukuo- Japan’s puppet regime in China, Rehe was part of their territory; more importantly, if Japan took over Rehe, they would have a shorter way southward to offend the capital Beijing, rather than passing by the Shanhaiguan Great Wall, which was quite solid and not easy to break. 

Battle Plans of Both Sides – Offended and Defended from Three Directions

The Japanese and Manchukuo army, accounting to 100,000 or so, was divided into three divisions to attack Rehe from north, east and south three directions. The Northern Division Army was planned to set off from Tongliao, to attack Kailu, Xinhui, Jianping and take over Chifeng, and finally captured Chengde. The Eastern Division Army was ordered to start from Jinzhou, and offended Beipiao, Chaoyang, and Yebaishou along Jinzhou – Chengde Railway and at last attacked Chengde. The Southern Division Army departed from Suizhong and attacked Jianchang, Lingyuan and Pingquan and also offended Chengde at last. In addition, there was a small unit of troop arranged to offend Chengde from the south via Gubeikou. 
The Chinese army, mainly consisting of the Northeast Army of National Revolutionary Army and the Northeastern China Anti-Japanese Aggression Volunteer Army, all about 200,000 or so soldiers, were also divided into three divisions to defend. 

Battle of Rehe 

On February 21, 1933, the Japanese army officially launched the offensive to Rehe. Due to the passive resistance of Chinese Northeast Army of National Revolutionary Army led by Kuomintang and poor weaponry of Northeastern China Anti-Japanese Aggression Volunteer Army led by Chinese Community Party, the Japan and Manchukuo army took over many positions one after another not very difficultly, including Kailu, Beipiao, Nanling, and Chaoyang. Some of the commanders of Chinese side even escaped from their positions. However, there were some commanders leading their troops to fight with all their efforts. For instance, Geng Jizhou, a commander of the Northeastern China Anti-Japanese Aggression Volunteer Army, blocked the Japanese army under the attacking of planes and armoured vehicles on February 22. In Chifeng and the surrounding area, Sun Dianyin, a commander of Chinese Northeast Army of National Revolutionary Army, fought against the Japanese army from March 1 to March 8, sacrificing a lot. 
After the falling of Chifeng, the commanders of Chinese side, Tang Yulin and Zhang Zuoxiang gave up Chengde and the Japanese took over Chengde without shedding a drop of blood on March 3. 
On March 10, Japanese captured Wudan and Weichang and the whole Rehe fell. 

What were the Influences of Battle of Rehe

1. The whole northeast China was occupied by Japan. 
2. The volunteer armies in northeast China lost the supports of rear area and the anti-Japanese war became even tougher. 
3. After Rehe Battle, the Japanese army launched several more small attacks along the Great Wall of China, on Lengkou, Jiuling Kou, Xifengkou, and Gubeikou, etc, in order to offend central China to the south of the Great Wall. 
4. The then Chinese government and Japanese Government signed “Tangku Truce” on May 31, 1933, to mark off a demilitarized zone between the Great Wall and Beijing. However, Japan torn up the agreement and launched the July 7th Incident in 1937 in the suburb of Beijing, whereby the Sino-Japanese War broke out comprehensively. 

Further Reading on Famous Great Wall Battles:

 General Meng Tian Attacked the Huns in the North

 Wei Qing and Huo Qubing Beat Back the Huns

 Genghis Khan Breached China Great Wall   

 Tumu Crisis

 The War of Shanhaiguan Great Wall

- Last updated on May. 24, 2022 -
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