|Died||22 Jul 1951|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseSong Tiancai was born into a poor family in Song County, Henan Province, China in 1880. In 1884, his mother passed away, and he was taken to his uncle Song Naimo. In 1890, at the age of 10, he began taking on odd jobs to make money. In Feb 1920, he joined the forces of the local warlord, seeing action as a company commander in Aug 1920. In 1925, he was promoted to a battalion commander. In 1927, as his faction joined under warlord Feng Yuxiang, he was promoted to command at the regiment level; in this role he participated in the Northern Expedition, seeing success in combat in Lanfeng (Henan Province), Kaocheng, and Puyang in Henan Province and Daming in Hebei Province. After the conclusion of the Northern Expedition, he was rewarded with a promotion to lead the 8th Brigade of the Republic of China. In 1930, as Feng was defeated by Chiang Kaishek during the Central Plains War, he switched allegiance to Chiang, and was given command of the 75th Division. In 1931, he took on the concurrent duty of being the commander of Nanyang, Henan Province.
ww2dbaseIn the early 1930s, a company commander stationed at Fangcheng, southern Henan was on the verge of mutiny, and Song dispatched his song Song Zhenwu, to dissuade the potential rebel; Song Zhenwu would be killed after an altercation. When Song Tiancai's troops arrived in response, the entire company had fled and disappeared. In anger, he ordered the destruction of a section of Fangcheng, resulting in the burning of 80 homes and the massacre of 48 civilians.
ww2dbaseIn 1935, Song and his 75th Division embarked on a campaign against Communist forces near the border of Anhui and Fujian Provinces in eastern China. When the Second Sino-Japanese War began in Jul 1937, he was named the commander of the Xiamen-Zhangzhou region of Fujian Province, China; unproven rumors had him abusing his powers during this time, receiving payments from smugglers who operated at the port of Xiamen. On 10 May 1938, Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces arrived at Xiamen, taking the city after two days of fighting. Having lost face, he resigned from his field posting in Nov 1938, and would play no additional parts for the remainder of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Returning home to Song County, he became active in local politics, overseeing the establishment of new schools and libraries and the upgrade of roads and railroads. In 1944, Japanese troops invaded Song County; during the campaign, the Japanese attempted, in failure, to persuade Song and other county leaders to surrender to avoid bloodshed. Between 1944 and the end of the war, he lived in hiding in Yang Mountain, Henan Province.
ww2dbaseAfter WW2, Song continued to be a local leader. In 1947, as a member of the county legislature, he organized militia forces in Song County to fight the approaching Communist forces in the resumed Chinese Civil War. In Sep 1947, he personally commanded a small group of 400 militiamen against a much larger Communist invasion force near Tianhu, Henan Province, China. Upon defeat, he fled to Nanjing, China. In the late 1940s, he slowly made his way to Shanghai, where he was captured in 1950. Transported back to Song County for trial, which was presided by a Communist Party judge, he was sentenced to death. He was executed at Tianhu on 22 Jul 1951.
ww2dbaseSource: Baidu Baike
Last Major Revision: Aug 2012
Song Tiancai Timeline
|3 Sep 1947||Song Tingcai led 400 militia troops in a failed action against a much larger Communist force at Tianhu, Henan Province, China.|
|20 Nov 1950||Song Tiancai was captured by communist forces in Shanghai, China.|
|22 Jul 1951||Song Tiancai was executed at Song County, Henan Province, China.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945