Taierzhuang 1938 -- Stalingrad 1942-1943
How the Battle of Taierzhuang became the pattern for the Battle of Stalingrad
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Taierzhuang 1938 -- Stalingrad 1942-1943
A militarily powerful country invades a very much larger country to seize territory. The invader has had an almost unbroken string of impressive victories and the larger country seems unable to fend off the invader. The most powerful units of the invader are now tasked with cutting the larger country’s most important north-south transport route which is a waterway. A town on the banks of that waterway is the target set for the invader’s elite combat units to capture. Capturing the town would enable the invader to menace the enemy capital and force it to surrender.
The invading units attack separately on a north-south axis converging on the town. The invading units fail to join but despite that, one large powerful elite unit lunges forward into the town. It becomes mired in street fighting in which the invader’s superior firepower is nullified. The invader’s artillery, tanks and aircraft are ineffectual because the defenders are “hugging the enemy” and resorting to hand-to-hand fighting and night attacks. The invader’s vaunted tanks are not only ineffectual but also vulnerable in the confined spaces of the town. The invader is very severely mauled in capturing 80% or 90% of the town. The defenders fight tenaciously to cling desperately to the last 10% or 20% of the town because therein is the only means of supply and reinforcement from across the waterway.
Victory for the invader seems certain. Defeat for the defenders seems imminent.
Suddenly, the invaders are horrified to realize they have been surrounded by powerful fresh forces, cut off, and are under attack from all sides. The besiegers are now besieged.
Supply by air is attempted in vain.
A powerful rescue column fails too.
Against all expectations, the most powerful among the elite of the invader’s forces suffers a resounding and humiliating defeat. The world is shocked and the invader’s invincibility is shattered. After more years of combat, the invaded country emerges victorious as one the principal Allied Powers of WW2.
Those familiar with the Battle of Stalingrad, USSR, in 1942/43 – will recognize those events as the Battle of Stalingrad.
Very few are aware that all those events had happened 4 or 5 years earlier in the Battle of Taierzhuang, China in 1938!
Are the similarities just coincidence or was Taierzhuang the model for Stalingrad?
Zhukov and Chuikov the 2 commanders instrumental in the victory at Stalingrad had both been USSR Military Attachés in China.
Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov had been tasked by the USSR to observe and study the modus operandi of the Japanese Army invading China. Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was USSR Military Attaché in China from December 1940 to March 1942, and was appointed to command the defense of Stalingrad on 12 September 1942.
After the resounding victory masterminded by Li Zong Ren at Taierzhuang, Jiang Jie Shi (Chiang Kai Shek) flew in all available foreign representatives to witness China’s resounding victory against Japan. Was Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov one of those witnesses or did he learn, soon after, about what happened there?
The next year Zhukov used a similar strategy and tactics to win his victory at the Battle of Khalkin-Gol in 1939. In 1942/1943, Zhukov and Chuikov used a startlingly similar modus operandi to win the Battle of Stalingrad.
Although the raid on Taranto was the model for the raid on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese themselves have always been reticent on this aspect. All who are aware of WW2 are aware of the raid on Pearl Harbor but few are aware that the British raid on Taranto on the night of 11/12 November 1940 was the model for the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor on 7/8 December 1941. Within a week of the raid on Taranto, Japan had ordered its Assistant Naval Attache in Berlin, Lieutenant Commander Takeshi Naito, to fly to Taranto to "investigate the attack and estimate the damage". Naito was the first of many other Japanese officers to probe the Italians for all possible details of the raid. Naito shared his findings with Genda Minoru and Fuchida Mitsuo who were both instrumental in the planning and execution of the raid on Pearl Harbour.
Taierzhuang, China -- 1938
Stalingrad, USSR -- 1942/1943
Similarly, although the Battle of Taierzhuang was the model for the Battle of Stalingrad, the USSR itself had always been reticent on this aspect. Most who are aware of WW2 and Stalingrad consider Stalingrad to be pivotal in WW2 but very few are aware that China’s victory at Taierzhuang in 1938 was the model for the USSR’s victory at Stalingrad in 1943.
But, most who are aware of WW2 are unaware that there was a Battle of Taierzhuang and this situation illustrates that WW2 in China is a blind spot.
To give an insight into this blind spot, Lance Olsen will be publishing a book detailing the Battle of Taierzhuang for the reader to see the Battle of Stalingrad in perspective.
Send an email to indicate your interest to be informed when the book is available. No payment need be made now. When the book is published you will be informed to make payment then for the book to be airmailed to you.
For more information on that blind spot of World War 2 and a more detailed comparison of Taierzhuang and Stalingrad see Taierzhuang 1938 -- Stalingrad 1942 at http://numistamp.com/World-War-2.php
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