THE BATTLE FOR SUNG SHAN
US ARMY IN WOORD WAR II
THE CHINA-BURMA-INDIA THEATER
STILWELL’S COMMAND PROBLEMS
COMMAND PROBLEMS IN CHINA THEATER
XI. THE CHINESE TAKE THE OFFENSIVE
X. FACING THE COMMAND PROBLEM
THE BATTLE FOR SUNG SHAN
The Battle for Sung Shan
Since the Chinese attempt to cut the center out of the Japanese position on the Salween by taking Lung-ling had failed, the attention of the Chinese commanders had shifted from Lung-ling to Sung Shan.(75) The hill mass of Sung shan dominated the area where the Burma Road cross the Salween and so barred the direct approach from China down the Burma Road. The Chinese had invested it with a containing force in their initial drive on Lung-ling. That drive had been supplied by air, and now that the Chinese were stalled between Lung-ling and Sung Shan, air supply was not too adequate, and clearing the Japanese from Sung Shan appeared essential.
(77: In addition to the Y-FOX Journal, Y-FOX 1944 Historical Report, Japanese Study 93, and Japanese Officers’ Comments, sources consulted for this section are: (1) Rpt, Col Carlos G. Spaht, CO, U.S. Ln Gp, 8th Army, to Dorn, 29 Jul 44. AG (Y-FOS) 319.1. (2) Interv with Spaht, Baton Rouge, La., 1 Oct 48. (3) Of the six Chinese Armies to participated in the Salween campaign, the 8th Army prepared the only detailed and frank account of its role. Theis translated history, including tactical maps, is among the papers of Colonel Spaht. (4) Ltrs, Spaht to authors, 24 May, 29 Jul, 24 Sep, 2 Oct, and 28 Oct 47, OCHM.)
Sung Shan (the name Pine Mountain applies to its highest peak) is an intricate hill-mass rising to 3,000 feet above the Salween gorge. It is roughly triangular in shape. The Burma Road, in climbing out of the Salween gorge, runs along the northeast side of the triangle, angles sharply round its northern tip, then runs back down along the northwest side of the triangle. In all, thirty-six miles of the Burma Road were dominated by the Japanese guns on Sung Shan. Time did not permit building a cutoff road to bypass Sung Shan. The Japanese defensive system, manned by some 1,200 men under Maj. Keijiro Kanemitsu, was built around elements of the 113th Infantry, supported by a battalion of mountain artillery, some transport troops, and some tansport troops, and some engineers. Of the 1,200, only 900 were effective.
In June, during the containing phase, the Chinese had assembled seven 150-mm. howitzers, two 75-mm. howitzers, and two 76-mm. field guns. Later joined by some pack artillery, and directed by an American artillery observer in a liaison plane, the Chinese cannoneers dueled with Major Kanemitsu’s gunners. Finally, the Japanese howitzers ceased to fire on the Burma Road Engineers and the Chinese who were preparing to rebuild the Burma Road bridge over the Salween. Now safe, the engineers proceeded with their rebuilding. During theis same containing phase, the Chinese New 28th and New 39th Divisions had made attacks in regimental strength against Sung Shan. On 15 June, they succeeded in taking a peak at the southeast corner of the triangle, but failed to take its twin at the southwest corner, two miles away. Other Chinese attempts failed, though heavy casualties were taken in the attempt.
As the period of containment merged into one of preparation for all-out attack, General Wei’s hand was strengthened by the arrival of the 8th Army (the Honorable 1st, the 82d, and 103d Divisions). Originally stationed on the Indochina border, it had begun to arrive in battalion increments at the time of the Chinese seback at Lung-ling. The 8th Army had some lend-lease equipment, but only two thirds of its officers had been exposed to Y-FOS training efforts. The relief of the New 28th Division by the 3d Infantry, Honorable 1st Division, on 27 June was not well co-ordinated, for the Japanese were able to reoccupy the positions the New 28th Division had taken in June. Japanese also filtered through the Chinese lines to reinforce Sung Shan, and as further evidence of Japanese determination, on 28 June Japanese aircraft, three fighters, and two transports circled Sung Shan and made a supply drop, some of which fell in the Chinese lines.
Accompanied by Y-FOS personnel under command of Col. Carlos G. Spaht, the 8th Army assembled east and south of Sung Shan and set 5 July for the attack. The Chinese artillery fired a nightlong preparation, and at dawn of 5 July two Chinese regiments attacked but not in strength. A few positions were overrun, the Japanese counterattacked, and at nightfall the Chinese were back in their initial position, minus seventy dead. Colonel Spaht reported to Dorn that teamwork between the demolition squads and the assault teams had left much to be desired, that further training was badly needed.
The 8th Army’s next attempt was made by the 246th Regiment the night of 7-8 July. It was directed against the southwest corner of the triangle and surprised the Japanese defenders of Kung Lung-po peak. By midnight the Chinese had all Japanese strongpoints in their hands, but shortly after midnight the Japanese counterattacked over that was for them familiar terrain and drove off the 246th regiment, inflicting more than 200 casualties. Y-FOS’observers reported that the Chinese grew quite confused during the night fighting and often shot at one another. The 246th Regiment had to be replaced by the 207th Regiment. The 307th faced what was for them a new Japanese defensive tactic between 10 and 12 July. Since the Chinese in climbing up the hills tended to bunch along the easies routes to the top, the Japanese used their machine guns to keep the Chinese huddled down in the natural cover the hill afforded, then hurled grenades and mortar shells into the parties of Chinese. Such tactics were of deadly efficiency, and so the 8th Army brought up another regiment to reinforce the battered 207th.
Two weeks passed before the 8th Army again essayed an attack on Sung Shan. This time, instead of piecemeal attacks by a regiment or two, 8th Army prepared the attack by moving its howitzers up to pound Japanese positions at from 1,500-3,200 yards with direct fire. When the Chinese attacked with three regiments, on the morning of 23 July, the division commander of the 103d personally directed the 75-mm. fire, and on occasion placed shells twenty-five to forty feet in front of the assaulting Chinese. Captured Japanese diaries contained praise of the artillery and of the 103d Division’s valiant infantry. This well-led, co-ordinated attack succeeded and dawn the Chinese were in Japanese positions almost at the crests of the two peaks Kung Lung-po and Tayakou. Alarmed by the successful Chinese artillery fire, Major Kanemitsu on 26 July pleaded for Japanese air support to attack the Chinese batteries, which had been emplaced in the open to use direct fire. Japanese fighters promptly responded, and machine-gunned the Chinese cannon and crews. The damage plus the moral effect halted the Chinese attack for a week, until 3 August.
When the 308th Regiment resumed the advance on 3 August in had blame throwers which it used with devastating effect to take the crest of Kung Lung-po. There the Chinese found several Japanese tankettes, which had been dug in for use as pillboxes. When the Japanese failed to make their usual prompt counterattack Y-FOS personnel surmised they might be short of ammunition. This was so, and Major Kenemitsu decided to raid the 8th Army’s artillery positions and supply dumps to replenish his supply. Seven parties of Japanese volunteers truck during the night of 9 August, destroying several howitzers and taking away all the light weapons and ammunition they could carry.
At this time, Burmeses civilians, who had been jmpressed into the Japanese service as laborers and who were found hiding in Japanese dugouts, estimated that Kanemitsu had 700 men, most of them wounded or starving. Actually, he now had but 300, including sick and wounded.
Having tried attacks by night, during rainstorms, and by surprise, none of which had quite succeeded and all of which had taken precious time, the Chinese now decided on a return to more formal siegecraft. With technical advice from Y-FOS engineers, the Chinese on 11 August began digging under what seemed the key to the Japanese positions that remained in the Sung Shan triangle. Significant of the closeness of the fighting, the tunnels needed to be but twenty-two feet long to put the mines in place under the Japanese pillboxes. One mine held 2,500 pounds of TNT, the other 3,500 pounds.
The mines were fired on 20 August at 0905 and the resulting destruction was quickly exploited by engineers armed with flame throwers. In one pillbox forty-two Japanese were buried alive, of whom five were rescued. The prisoners stated that they had been asleep and had never suspected that they were being undermined. At 0920 the 3d Regiment against light opposition took the few strongpoints that remained on Sung Shan proper. Kanemitsu’s men still held out in scattered pockets about the triangle. These launched desperate counter-attacks on 21 and 22 August. That of the 22d produced particularly bloody fighting in which the Chinese lost many company grade officers.
After the failure of these counterattacks there was nothing left but mopping up. Actually, since the completion of the new Salween bridge on 18 august and the mine blast on the 21st, the rest was anticlimax, even Major Kanemitsu’s death on 6 September, and the macabre ceremony the next day when the Japanese burned their colors and slew their wounded. Of the 1,200 Japanese on and around Sung Shan, 9 were captured, and 10 were believed to have escaped. The significance of Sung Shan lay in that it had cost the Chinese 7,675 dead to clear that block from the Burma Road, of which some 5,000 were from the 8th Army, leaving it but two understrength regiments fit to fight for Lung-ling.
As August waned, the Generalissimo was committed “in principle” to given Stilwell command in China. Events along the Salween did not suggest there would be any speedy relief for China by a victory on that front, while in east China the Japanese had not as yet met effective resistance. Delay in breaking the blockade of China and in setting up an effective barrier to Operation IGHIGO in east China meant still further deterioration in China’s military and political situation. Defeats in the field place great strain on coalitions; events on the Salween and south of Changsha would be felt as far away as Washington.
松山（中文意思是长满松树的山）是坐落在怒江峡谷的一座海拔3，000英尺（海拔1800米。译注）的地形复的群山。从地图上看大约是一个不等边的三角形。缠绕在怒江峡谷之间的滇缅公路，从这个三角形的东北慢慢到了正北面形成尖角，然后沿着西北下滑。日本军在松山控制的滇缅公路大约有36英里。时间不允许再修一条绕过松山的公路。日本人的防御系统是在金光惠次郎少校（Maj. Keijiro Kanemitsu）指挥下的1，200名士兵，是第113联队的基本部队，并得到了一个山地炮兵营、一些运输部队和一些工程人员的支持。1，200人中，作战人员有900名。
在由Carlos G. Spaht上校指挥下的Y-FOS（美国中国远征军参谋团）人员的陪伴下，第8军于7月5日从东面和南面开始了对松山的进攻。中国的炮兵经过了彻夜的炮火装备，7月5日凌晨，两个团的中国部队开始了进攻。由于兵力不足，虽然部分日本人的阵地被占领，但是日本人马上组织反击，结果到了黄昏，中国人在损失了70多人的情况下，又回到了原来的阵地。Carlos G. Spaht上校向弗兰克·多恩（也称窦恩）准将报告，破坏班和偷袭小队之间的配合非常糟糕，要求这样的训练必须马上加强。