Henan Campaign file photo [2192]

Henan Campaign

7 Feb 1938 - 10 Jun 1938


ww2dbaseBattle of Lanfeng
May 1938

ww2dbase20,000 men of the Japanese 1st Army of the Japanese North China Area Army attacked Lanfeng, supported by tanks. The Chinese successfully counterattacked and thwarted the initial invasion. Nevertheless, on 19 May, major Henan province cities of Kaifeng and Xinzheng were threatened. Kaifeng, the capital of the province, fell on 6 Jun.

ww2dbaseThe Yellow River Flood
9 Jun 1938

ww2dbaseHaving just lost Kaifeng, the Chinese were desperate to slow the Japanese advance. The Japanese now threatened Zhengzhou, an important rail junction linking major cities of Wuhan and Xi'an. Chiang Kaishek and his advisors decided to use the force of nature to stop the Japanese. In the morning of 9 Jun 1938, dikes at Huayuankou were opened. Water of the Yellow River flooded out rapidly, creating a natural barrier between the Japanese and the Chinese, but it also gave residents no time to evacuate the area at all, if they knew to evacuate at all, that is. To ensure no intelligence leaked to the Japanese side to prepare to deal with the flooding, it was decided that the Chinese civilians were not to be warned. Somewhere between 500,000 and 900,000 lives were lost as a result of the flooding, and 54,000 km˛ of land destroyed, containing millions of homes. The flood waters eventually flowed into the Chia-lu and Huai Rivers, forever changing the course of the Yellow River. What the flood achieved was mediocre at best, slowing Japanese military and logistical movements, but the obstacles were overcome rather quickly.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Update: Oct 2006


A bombed-out building in Qiankou, Henan, circa May-Jun 1938Chinese civilians displaced by the Yellow River flooding, circa Jun 1938Japanese Type 95 Kurokane scout car being bogged down by the flood caused by intentional opening of Yellow River dikes by Chinese troops, Henan, China, 17 Jun 1938Japanese troops guarding Chinese refugees displaced by war and the Yellow River Flood, China, Jun-Jul 1938
See all 5 photographs of Henan Campaign

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Henan Campaign Photo Gallery
A bombed-out building in Qiankou, Henan, circa May-Jun 1938
See all 5 photographs of Henan Campaign

Famous WW2 Quote
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal