Menglianggu Campaign - 74th Reorganized Division Besieged

74th Reorganized Division Besieged

On May 11, 1947, the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division begun their push northward from Duo Village under the cover of nationalist 25th and 83rd Reorganized Divisions, and by May 13, 1947, it succeeded in taking regions including Yang family’s Camp (Yang Jia Zhai, 杨家寨), Buddhist Mountain Cape (Fo Shan Jiao, 佛山角) and Horse Herding Pound (Ma Mu Chi, 马牧池), and planned to take Tanbu on May 14, 1947. At the dusk of May 13, 1947, the high command of communist East China Field Army ordered the communist 1st Column and 8th Column to take advantage of the local terrain and penetrate deep behind the enemy to sever the links between the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division and other nationalist units nearby. In the evening of May 13, 947, the communist 1st Column and 8th Column deployed a portion of their forces in front of the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division for blocking actions, while the main forces outflanked the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division and penetrated into the nationalist line as planned. The 3rd Division of the communist 1st Column succeeded in taking Cao (曹) Village and highland to the north of the village, threatened Mengyin, and formed a defense position to block nationalist 65th Reorganized Division in the future to prevent it from reinforce the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division. The main force of the communist 1st Column succeeded in taking strategic positions including Yellow Dipper Peak Mountain (Huang Dou Ding Shan, 黄斗顶山), Yao (尧) Mountain, Celestial Horse Mountain (Tian Ma Shan, 天马山), and Border Plaque(界牌), severed the link between the nationalist 74th and 25th Reorganized Divisions. The nationalist 25th Reorganized Division attempted to breakthrough, but its attempt was beaten back by the stubborn enemy and the nationalist 25th Reorganized Division was forced to withdraw back to Peach Village to regroup after suffering heavy casualties. The communist 8th Column divided its force into two portions, with a portion of the force taking strategic positions including Horizontal Mountain (Heng Shan, 横山), Old Cat’s Nest (Lao Mao Wo, 老猫窝) to the southeast of Menglianggu mountains, while the main force taking strategic positions including Peach Blossom Mountain (Tao Hua Shan, 桃花山), Nose Mountain (Bi Zi Shan, 鼻子山), and the Mountain of Heap of Rocks (Lei Shi Shan, 磊石山), thus successfully severed the link between the nationalist 74th and 83rd Reorganized Divisions as planned. Meanwhile, the communist 4th and 9th Column attack the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division head on, successfully checked the nationalist advance by taking regions including Yellow Deer Camp (Huang Lu Zhai, 黄鹿寨), Buddhist Mountain Cape, Horse Herding Pound, Su Family’s Hotel (Su Jia Dian, 隋家店). The communist 6th Column operating behind the enemy line in southern Shandong reached regions of Guanshang (观上) and White Wharf (Bai Bu, 白埠) to the southwest of Duo Village from Copper Stone (Tong Shi, 铜石) region in the morning of May 14, 1947 after a forced march.

Up to the point at which the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division was first attacked by the enemy in the evening of May 13, 1947, the nationalists still did not realize how grave the situation was going to be, and the nationalist commanders were still prepared to carryout their original plan of taking Tanbu on the next day. On May 12, 1947, Tang Enbo ordered ordered Major General Li Tianxia, the commander of the nationalist army sized Reorganized 83rd Division to send out a regiment to reinforce nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, probing the enemy's weakness while performing its mission. MG Li sent out the (brigade sized) 57th Regiment of the (Division sized) Reorganized 19th Brigade of the Reorganized 83rd Division led by the regimental commander Colonel Luo Wenlang (罗文浪) to take Peach Blossom Mountain, 5 km to the southeast of Menglianggu. However, the nationalist reinforcement was ambushed by the enemy, with the entire vanguard of the regiment being completely wiped out on May 12, 1947, with the battalion commander Major Wang Shouheng (王寿衡) being killed in action. The next day, the rest of the (brigade sized) 57th Regiment of the (Division sized) Reorganized 19th Brigade of the Reorganized 83rd Division was wiped out by the enemy after being cutting off from the rear, and the regimental commander Colonel Luo Wenlang being captured alive by the enemy. The failure of taking Peach Blossom Mountain, 5 km to the southeast of Menglianggu meant that the link between the nationalist Reorganized 74th Division and its most probable reinforcement had been severed.

After nationalist commanders learned on May 14, 1947 that nationalist strongholds including Celestial Horse Mountain, Horse Herding Pound and the Mountain of Heap of Rocks had fallen into the enemy hands, they became aware that the enemy was planning to surround and destroy the 74th Reorganized Division, which subsequently retreated toward Menglianggu Mountains and Duo Village. The communists chased after the nationalists retreating southward, with the communist 4th Column and 9th Column in the front, and after a night of battle, they succeeded in taking the region along Tang Family’s Valley (Ta Jia Yu Zi, 唐家峪子) and Zhao Family’s City (赵家城子). At dawn of May 15, 1947, Duo Village, the last nationalist stronghold had fallen into the hands of communist 6th Column (with the help of communist 1st Column). After fierce battle in the Menglianggu and Lu (芦) Mountains, the communist 8th Column succeeded in taking Ten Thousands Springs (Wan Quan, 万泉) Mountain, thus linked up with communist 1st Column and 6th Column. By the end of May 15, 1947, the communist 1st, 6th and 8th Columns had succeeded in achieving their objective of completely cutting off the nationalist 74th Reorganized Division, which was totally surrounded just like the communists had planned.

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