15 Aug 1937
  • A new political police force, the SIM (Servicio Investigacion Militar), was established in Republican Spain. It was controlled by the Communists and contained many Russian advisers. ww2dbase [AC]
  • In the afternoon, 8 P-26 fighters, 5 Gladiator fighters, and 13 Hawk II and Hawk III fighters of Chinese 8th, 17th, 28th, and 34th Squadrons intercepted a group of 20 Japanese G3M bombers en route to attack Nanjing, China; 4 bombers were destroyed and 6 bombers were damaged. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The Japanese government announced its intention to eliminate anti-Japanese movements within Chinese borders; the utter disregard for Chinese sovereignty in this announcement made it an unofficial declaration of war to the Chinese. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Rear Admiral Masakichi Okuma and his Japanese Navy Destroyer Squadron 5 were placed in charge of evacuating Japanese residents in Southern China to Taiwan. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese bombers conducted a raid on the Chinese capital city of Nanjing; it was the very first time this city was subjected to aerial bombing. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Chiang Kaishek officially assumed the role of the commander-in-chief of the Chinese military for the duration of the Second Sino-Japanese War and issued orders to reorganize Chinese Communist forces under Nationalist command. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Lieutenant Yue Yiqin of the 22nd Pursuit Squadron of the Chinese 4th Pursuit Group, flying a Hawk III biplane fighter, shot down four Japanese carrier-based A5M fighters over Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China at dawn. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Liu Cuigang engaged in aerial combat over Shanghai, China flying a Hawk III fighter, claiming the downing of a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Mao Yingchu, flying a Hawk III biplane fighter, claimed a Japanese B2M carrier torpedo bomber over Shanghai, China. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Liu Zhesheng, flying a Hawk III fighter, shared the credit of a B2M aircraft from carrier Kaga with other pilots near Shanghai, China. He was forced to break off from the engagement after his aircraft was damaged in the fuel tank. ww2dbase [Main Article | Event | CPC]
  • Arthur Chin and his 28th Pursuit Squadron was deployed to Chuyung Airfield near Nanjing, China. In the afternoon, he saw combat with aircraft of the Japanese Kisarazu Kokutai. He claimed two G3M bombers, but was not given credit; post-war studies in Chinese and Japanese records showed that he probably should have been given credit for the two victories. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Wong Sun-sui, flying a P-26 fighter, shot down a Japanese G3M bomber over Nanjing, China; this was his first victory. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Cen Zeliu, flying a CR.32 fighter, pursued and damaged a Japanese bomber south of Nanjing, China alongside of his flight leader Lieutenant Harry Low, but failed to shoot it down. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Japanese Army General Iwane Matsui, en route from Tokyo, Japan for China where he would pick up his newly assigned command over the Shanghai Expeditionary Force, noted to War Minister Hajime Sugiyama that "[t]here is no solution except to break the power of Chiang Kaishek by capturing Nanjing. That is what I must do." ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
  • Iwane Matsui was recalled from the retirement list. ww2dbase [Main Article | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 15 Aug 1937
Smoke above Zhabei district of Shanghai during battle, Aug-Sep 1937Japanese soldiers guarding a Chinese prisoner of war at bayonet point, south of Yuepu, Shanghai, China, Aug 1937; note Japanese censor

15 Aug 1937 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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