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Ch'en Ch'eng (Chen Cheng) was born between 1897
and 1900 in Chekiang
province, China. He graduated from
the Paoting Military Academy and served with several different warlords
before joining the Kuomintang.
He was a close political associate of Chiang Kai-shek and was an
important commander in the latter's anti-warlord and anti-Communist campaigns. Among
other accomplishments, Ch'en crushed the offensive against Kanchow by
5, 7, and 8 Corps of the Communist forces under P'eng Te-huai in February 1932,
defeated P'eng a second time at Kwangchow in January 1934.
Ch'en accompanied Chiang to Sian in 1936
and the two were kidnapped by Chiang Hsueh-liang and compelled to
to join the Communists in a United Front against Japan. Chiang designated Ch'en as his
successor, which created a bitter rivalry between Ch'en and War
Minister Ho Ying-chin.
Chiang ordered Ch'en to relieve Chang Chih-chung as commander of the Chinese troops at Shanghai in August 1938, at the height of the battle. However, Ch'en star was dimmed considerably by his defeat at Wuhan in 1938, which opened the Yangtze valley to the Japanese clear to I'chang.
At a military conference in November 1938, Ch'en stated that victory depended on
... whether we can seize the initiative and conduct mobile warfare throughout the entire country, in order to harass and disperse enemy forces, thereby leading to their attrition and total destruction.
It was a call for guerrilla tactics.
Ch'en was apparently in personal
command of 66
Yunnan, on the border with Burma,
when war broke out in the Pacific. He was highly thought of by Stilwell, who insisted that
he be given command of Chinese forces for the Burma offensive of 1943.
However, Ch'en was dismissed in 1944, purportedly due to ill health,
but it seems likely there was another reason: Ch'en was a close
associate of T.V. Soong, brother of Madame Chiang and the Kuomintang's
representative in the United
States. Disgusted with the corruption and inefficiency of the
Chinese army, he may have played a role in an abortive attempt to
replace Chiang with Soong.
Ch'en was given command of Kuomintang forces in Manchuria in August 1947. He vigorously purged former Japanese puppet soldiers and corrupt officials, making himself so disliked in the process that he was recalled by Chiang. Made governor of Taiwan (Formosa) in December 1948, he is credited with establishing excellent relations with the Taiwanese, thus making possible the retreat to the island in 1949.
Ch'en was a capable leader who saw the need for drastic reform of the Chinese Army. He was also an effective diplomat, serving as Chiang's main channel of communications to the more recalcitrant warlords and even the Communist representatives in the United Front. However, he grew increasingly ill with stomach ulcers, which probably degraded his effectiveness in the crucial early stages of the postwar civil war.
||Born in Chekiang province
||Commander, 27 Division
||Commander, 11 Division
||Commander, 18 Army
||Commander, 3 Route Army
||Commander, Northern Route Bandit
||Director of Army Reorganization
||Commander, Left Wing, 3 War Area
||Vice-minister of war
||Commander, Wuhan Garrison
||Commander, 9 War Area
||Commander, 6 War Area
||Commander, 1 War Area
||Minister of War
||Chief, General Staff
||Director, Notheast Field
||Governor of Taiwan
||President, Executive Yuan
||President, Executive Yuan
||Vice-president, Republic of China
Generals.dk (accessed 2008-1-21)
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