Hungry Soldiers — “团长, 我们饿死了” (Photos are of new recruits, not POWs)

An army too big!

No one knows with any certainty just how many Chinese soldiers – including “Warlord” forces – were drafted into the resistance armies during the 8+ years of the fighting against Japan within China’s borders.

Wartime censuses are always vague, collected to overstate offensive size, or minimalize reported losses, so we cannot get very far with the hodge-podge of “official” sources. Foreign estimates are perhaps more reliable because they are less political, and gauged to plan for aid down the road. But even then…

Vladimirov’s Yenan Diaries (p???) (185) gives a set of figures circulated in the Red Special Area in ( ), but they seem too small. The standing total at any one time is stated as 3.5 million, but of this 2 million are lost every year and have to be replaced, which of course diminishes the effectiveness of the whole. On this replacement basis, about 15 million were lost, by death, wounding, desertion and capture. Peattie et al, ed. puts (p 46) the latter count at “perhaps as many as” 10 million, which, on the same “flow” basis (2/3.5) puts the total at 5.5-6.0 million – which seems too big, though probably closer to the truth.
C:\Users\User\My JP documents\Website modules from dec 17 2010\Yenan and WWII military\blogessay excisions.doc
More recently published statistics for the province of Hunan suggest a planning total of 5 million, nominally therefore all dependent on the KMT governemnt and its allies for logistical support. …. 2013年12月13日 中国湘学网

Staple Food Supply to the KMT Army during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression-Taking Hunan Province and the 9th Zone for Example
汤水清 罗玉明 温 波 have more recently cited the figure of 5 million, which seems to confirm that the “paper” strength, used for what planning there was, TARGETTED a standing army of 5 million, the real number of effectives obviously being a lot less.

Either way, Central HQ’s ability to supply (or plan for the supply) of so many was never any where nearly adequate. Not only in ordnance, but in rations, the belly on which armies have always moved.

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