Battle of Han River
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseJapanese troops launched an attack on Chinese regular and guerilla forces in the Yichang and Sha region of Hubei Province in China. Codenamed Han River Operation, the main goal of the Japanese was to prevent the Chinese forces from exploiting the Japanese flank. On 23 Nov, the attacking forces of the Japanese 11th Army were in position, organized into five groups, under the overall command of Lieutenant General Waichiro Sonobe. The attack was launched in the morning of 25 Nov. Although the Chinese 5th War Area had already detected the Japanese build-up and had prepared defenses, the Japanese were stil able to break through in several area, including the positions held by Chinese 37th, 77th, and 179th Divisions. On 26 Nov, the Japanese offensive continued to deal heavy casualties on the Chinese forces, but the momentum was slowed as the Chinese made use of their knowledge of local mountainous terrain to frustrate Japanese advances. On 27 Nov, Chinese forces (27th, 31st, and 44th Divisions) launched counterattacks at several locations, forcing the Japanese to fall back at some of them. By 28 Nov, Sonobe issued the order for his forces to fall back to the original lines, and the Chinese troops gave chase west of the Xiang River. The Japanese continued to lose many men during the retreat until tanks and aircraft arrived to cover the withdrawal. The retreat was completed on 30 Nov. According to the Chinese, the failed Japanese operation resulted in 5,000 Japanese killed and 7,000 to 8,000 wounded.
Last Major Update: Apr 2011
Battle of Han River Timeline
|23 Nov 1940Â||Japanese 11th Army began to prepare for an offensive in Hubei Province, China. The army was organized into five groups under the overall command of Lieutenant General Waichiro Sonobe.|
|25 Nov 1940Â||Japanese 11th Army launched an offensive in Hubei Province, China.|
|27 Nov 1940Â||Chinese 27th, 31st, and 44th Divisions counterattacked against the Japanese offensive in Hubei Province, China.|
|28 Nov 1940Â||Lieutenant General Waichiro Sonobe ordered the Japanese 11th Army to fall back in Hubei Province, China.|
|30 Nov 1940Â||In Hubei Province, China, Chinese troops halted the offensive launched by the Japanese 11th Army five days prior.|
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