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The Army that Vanished - Mystery Files

Updated on March 26, 2012
The Army that Vanished
The Army that Vanished


There are many unexplained disappearances, some of which defy all logical possibilities. These incidents are even more baffling when more than one person vanishes at the same time. It somehow confirms that something strange is going on.

There are a number of stories of mass disappearances. Whole regiments have been known to vanish off the face of the earth, but the story I am about to relate is of a magnitute larger, when three thousand soldiers of the Chinese Army just disappeared overnight without trace and were never seen again.

Nanking Massacre Victims
Nanking Massacre Victims

The Rape of Nanking

The year was 1937. China and Japan were at war and hostilities had been raging for six months. Japan was about to execute the infamous "Rape of Nanking", widely regarded as one of the most horrific massacres in military history. The events leading up to this abominable act produced one of the most bizarre and puzzling disappearances in recorded history.

South of the city of Nanking, the Chinese Colonel Li Fu Sien was preparing to make a stupendous last-stand defensive manouver. He had sent for three thousand reinforcements, and they had arrived.

The men were placed along a line some 2 miles (3.2km) long set up to defend a bridge - a crossing place of major importance on the Yangtze River. They were equipped with large amounts of heavy artillery and were quite prepared to fight to the last man if necessary - Death or Glory!

Having inspected his men, the Colonel uttered some motivating words before returning to his headquarters, back beyond the line, to await the inevitable Japanese attack.

Nanking Bridge destroyed by the Japanese
Nanking Bridge destroyed by the Japanese

The Disappearance

When dawn arrived, the Colonel was still asleep. he was awoken by an aide who brought the news that, try as they might, they were unable to make any contact with their troops on the line.

Immediately, an investigating party was put together and set off to try to ascertain what had happened. On arrival at the line, they were met with a chilling sight. Every position was deserted, not a single man to be found anywhere. The equipment remained. The heavy guns stood in position ready to be fired, but there was no one to fire them.

Every position was eerily deserted, but in good order with no sign of struggle or fighting. Closer to the bridge, the sentries remained and they were interrogated for information. to a man they swore that not a single man had crossed the bridge during the night, let alone three thousand troops!

The missing men were never found. When the war finally ended, the Japanese's records were examined for some clue as to what may have befallen the missing men, but the records showed no trace of the three thousand missing troops. They were never seen again.


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  • Gaizy profile image

    Gaizy 6 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    Thanks scarytaff - but who knows? you could be right!

  • scarytaff profile image

    Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

    So that's where the terracotta army came from, but how did they get turned into stone? Sorry, Gaizy, its just my warped sense of humour. Great hub.

  • Gaizy profile image

    Gaizy 6 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ rick combe - I wouldn't blame them if they did desert :) but where did they go? There were limited options for getting out of the place and we are talking about three thousand men scarpering in the space of a few hours. None of the men were ever found again, even after the war had ended and they had access to the Japanes records, none of them could be found.

  • Gaizy profile image

    Gaizy 6 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @nasake - I don't know. If it was a mass desertion, where did they go? The sentries confirm that they didn't cross the bridge, so presumably they would have to go back through their own lines. I could see that maybe one or two men could do this undetected - but three thousand!

  • rick combe profile image

    rick combe 6 years ago from USA

    Something tells me that the soldiers got out while the getting was good.

  • nasake profile image

    nasake 6 years ago from England

    wow, that is weird. I didn't know that things like that actually went on, as silly as that sounds.

    I wonder what happened to them? what do you think could have happened?