Photograph of Japanese troops at the Peiping Gate

U.S. Army. Via

The city now known as Beijing (116.379E 39.912N) was originally Anglicized as Peking, then renamed Peiping by Chiang Kai-shek prior to the Pacific War.  The climate here is hot, dry, and dusty, with frequent sandstorms off the Loess Plateau to the west.  The city had a population of about a million and a half in 1937, and Nan T'ai airfield was nearby. 

By 1937 north China had become a powder keg, with tensions growing between the Kuomintang, various Chinese warlord factions, and the Japanese China Garrison Army between Peiping and Tientsin. When Tokyo had the "bad judgement" (Peattie et al. 2011) to deploy 3 Battalion, 1 Infantry Regiment to an old British barracks near the Marco Polo Bridge on the outskirts of Peiping, the facilities were found to be too small and barracks had to be constructed at two other sites. This left the battalion fragmented and intermingled with troops of the Chinese 21 Army.

The spark was lit on 7 July 1937, when a minor skirmish between Japanese and Chinese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge outside Peiping rapidly escalated. The Japanese commander, Mutaguchi Renya, was a hyperaggressive officer who believed that weakness was provocative. Within four days Japanese intelligence learned that Chiang was sending in reinforcements, and the Army General Staff responded by ordering in reinforcements from Kwantung Army and Korea. On July 29-30, the Japanese captured Peiping and Tientsin, and by 8 August some 200,000 Japanese troops had been mobilized.

At the time war broke out in the Pacific, Peiping was the headquarters of North China Area Army, which had superseded China Garrison Army. The city remained firmly in Japanese hands throughout the war, although by late 1944 its airfields (Lanfang and Nanuan) were being raided by American P-51 Mustang fighters from Sian.

Rail connections

Feng Tai



Road connections


Climate Information:

Elevation: 171'

Temperatures: Jan 34/14, Apr 70/45, Jul 88/70, Oct 68/43, record 109/-9

Rainfall: Jan 3/0.2, Apr 4/0.7, Jul 13/9.6, Oct 3/0.6 == 24.2" per annum


Craven and Cate (1952; accessed 2012-4-11)

Drea (2009)

Hata et al. (2002)

Hoyt (1993)

Pearce and Smith (1990)

Peattie et al. (2011)

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