Tu Yu-ming (1905-1981)

Photograph of Tu Yu-ming Fair use may apply

Tu Yu-ming (Du Yuming) commanded the Kuomintang 5 Army in December 1941.  Stilwell initial considered him "Solid on tactics. Ready to fight." Instead, he proved to be a vacillating and sulky commander with the warlord mentality. In one notorious incident, Tu explained to Alexander that he had not moved his artillery near the front because they made his army the best in China: "If I lose them the Fifth Army will no longer be the best." In addition, Tu was receiving contradictory orders from Stilwell and Chiang Kai-shek that left him confused and depressed, particularly since Tu was initially of the impression that Lo Cho-ying was the real commander of Chinese troops in Burma: "... the American general [Stilwell] only thinks he is commanding. In fact ,he is doing no such thing. You see, we Chinese think that the only way to keep the Americans in the war is to give them a few commands on paper. They will not do much harm as long as we do the work!" (Allen 1984)

Stilwell's frustration with Tu reached its peak when Stilwell ordered 22 Division to counterattack the Japanese, who were being held at Toungoo by 200 Division (Tai An-lan). Tu first refused to attack, then repeatedly postponed his attack, then found excuses to not attack after all. 200 Division was forced to give up Toungoo after taking a thousand casualties while inflicting heavy casualties on the Japanese. Tu later accepted an order to have 200 Division defend Meiktila, then did nothing to carry the order out. Chiang was almost certainly in direct contact with Tu and urging him to conserve his forces and avoid any catastrophe in Burma. When catastrophe came anyway (over half the Chinese troops deployed in the first Burma campaign were lost) Chiang was permanently embittered against Stilwell.

Tu had the patronage of Madame Chiang, who wanted Tu appointed commander of the Chinese troops at Ramgarh in India. Stilwell managed to get Lo Cho-ying appointed instead, only to discover that Tu had been named to command Y Force in Yunnan, which was to be the second pincer of Stilwell's offensive into north Burma. Stilwell managed to get Tu replaced with Ch'en Cheng.

Tu later staged a coup on behalf of Chiang that toppled Lung Yun, the independently-minded governor of Yunnan. When Tu was assigned to Manchuria shortly after the Japanese surrender, he confirmed his reputation as one of the most corrupt of the Kuomintang officials by turning the areas under his control into a kleptocracy. Chiang finally had Ch'en Ch'eng relieve Tu. Tu had no better luck as a commander in northeast China, performing poorly in the Huai-Hai battle and being captured by the Communists. He was held as a war criminal until 1959.

Service record


Commander, Armored Regiment
Major general     
Commander, 200 Division

Commander, Siangtan Garrison Command

Deputy commander, 11 Army
Lieutenant general     
Commander, 5 Army

Commander, Kunming Defense Command

Commander, 5 Army Group

Imprisoned as war criminal by Communists




Allen (1984)

Dorn (1974)

Fenby (2003) (accessed 2008-1-21)

Romanus and Sunderland (1953)

Sih (1977)

Wilson (1982)

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