Huaihai Campaign (淮海戰役) or Battle of Hsupeng (徐蚌會戰) (also Battle of Xu-Beng) was a military action during 1948 and 1949 that was the determining battle of the Chinese Civil War. It was one of the few conventional battles of the war. 500,000 troops of the Republic of China (under the Kuomintang) were surrounded in Xuzhou (Hsuchow) and destroyed by the communist People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Although the Kuomintang nationalists had air superiority, the Communists used concentrated artillery effectively and were thus victorious.
Terrain and infrastructureEdit
Su Yu proposed in a message of 22nd January, 1948 that a "sudden-concentrate, sudden-disperse" strategy of three PLA armies (Liu, Chen, Su Yu) might allow for the sequential destruction of several KMT armies.
Su Yu's operational proposal of 24th September, following the fall of Jinan, suggested the isolation of the Jin-Pu railroad in order to force the Nationalists to fortify the area near the railroad and the Yangtze. Su Yu's plan for the Huaihai Campaign was approved on 25th September 1948.
The Three Phases of the BattleEdit
The Huaihai Campaign is usually divided into three main phases.
On 8th November, two armies (with 23,000 troops) led by He Jifeng and Zhang Kexia, deputy commanders of the Third Pacification Zone of the Kuomintang army (who were actually underground Communist Party members) suddenly revolted on the battlefield. The Seventh Army Group was able to hold out for 12 days without supplies. The two army groups ordered to relieve the Seventh were delayed. On 22nd November, the 100,000 troops of the Seventh Army Group were wiped from the Nationalist order of battle.
23rd November to 6th January
Communist forces from the east and west captured Xuzhou (Hsuchow), a key railway junction, on 1st December. On 6th December, following a PLA breakthrough, the Nationalist Sixteenth Army Group was eliminated. On the same day, the PLA initiated an attack on the Twelfth Army Group.
The Central Plains Field Army, in coordination with the main force of the Eastern China Field Army, surrounded and wiped out the army under Huang Wei at and around Shuangtuichi, southwest of Suhsien. On 15th December, it succeeded in defeating these 120,000 troops and captured Huang Wei, alive.
On 6th January 1949, the PLA initiated a general attack on the surrounded troops of Du Yuming, eliminating the Thirteenth Army Group. The remnants of defeated troops retreated toward the Second Army Group defense area. On January 10, the PLA achieved a breakthrough and the Second Army Group was annihilated. Commander Qiu Qingquan committed suicide and Du Yuming was captured.