My Father in the Anti-Japanese War
My Father in the Anti-Japanese War
By Song Shiqiang
August 15, 2022 marks the 77th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War. This war was the first complete victory for the Chinese nation in the war of anti-aggression and national liberation in modern times, and it was a major event in the history of China and the world in the 20th century, as well as a spectacle in the history of war.
Mr. Song Shiqiang, general manager of Kinghelm Electronics, as the son of the Chinese nation, the descendant of the Sichuan Army who once bravely fought against Japanese invaders, and also a entrepreneur who lives in a peaceful time and struggles under the tide of digital economy, he commemorates the soldiers(including his father) in the Anti-Japanese War with great respect...
"Die for one's country, unafraid of death". In the the Anti-Japanese War of the Chinese nation more than 80 years ago, the brave and skillful Sichuan Army was the mainstay, and the soldiers of Xichong County even led the way. For the peace of their hometown, national dignity and territorial integrity, they paid their youth, blood and even lives. According to the statistics, one sixth or one fifth soldiers in in the Anti-Japanese War are from Sichuan. About 300,000 Sichuan soldiers died and disappeared, and about 350,000 were wounded, totaling more than 650,000. Xichong County had a population of only 320,000 at that time, more than 65,000 people went to the anti-Japanese battlefield, and more than 30,000 soldiers were wounded and sacrificed, that is, one tenth people died and bled for the country. Xichong County was also top among all the counties supporting thefront in terms of money, food, labor and materials, which did its best to win the war!
My father's name is Song Yongshu, and I’m his youngest son Song Shiqiang. My father and many of his fellow villagers participated in the glorious Anti-Japanese War. Born in 1922 in Luoshugou Village, Fu’an Town, Xichong County, my father joined the 29th Group Army of Kuomintang, which was under the command of Wang Zanxu from Xichong County. In the famous Suizao battle, he was wounded in the Dahongshan area of Hubei Province.
My father was the third child in his family, with two brothers and one sister. When he was only a few years old, the family couldn’t afford to feed him, so his grandpa sent him to the Zhaojue Temple as a young monk in Chengdu, and he had no chance to receive education. When he was a little older, his family took him home. He learned from his grandpa, a craftsman who makes articles from bamboo strips, and his father was handy and practical, who was the best craftsman in his hometown.
After the Kuomintang started the overall war, men were grabbed to replenish the troops all over Sichuan. At the beginning of the implementation of the policy "draw one in three men, draw two in five men", my eldest uncle was disabled, so my second-eldest uncle Song Yonglong was enlisted. As the front situation was very tight In 1939, my father was summoned for an initial interview. When the head in charge of that recruitment saw my father was short and skinny, he told my father to wait for a few more years. Later on, as the number of troops was not enough, so my father was asked to feed the officer's horse. In this way, after a short period of intensive training in Nanchong Camp of the recruits, my father rushed to the front in Hubei, following the 44th army under the command of Wang Zejun, second son of Wang Zan Xu. At that time, many fellows of my father from the same village also joined the army, they are Song Shiyou, Feng Xinji, and Feng Xincai etc. "Brothers and fathers fought together to defend China and expel Japs", it was very common for Xichong soldiers to go to the front to resist Japanese invaders. Wang Zan Xu with his son Wang Zejun took command at the front, when Wang Zan Xu is returning Chengdu to recuperate, he asked the eldest son of Wang Zejun to drop out of school and go to the front directly. Three generations of a family go to the battlefield together, it should be quite unique on world war calendar!
Wang Zanxu He Yixiang, the general of PLA Song Yongshu, my father
Xichong has been a township with lots of loyal and honest celebrities since ancient times, and this backcountry gives birth to many heroes understanding the righteousness. For example, Ji Xin sacrificed himself for his master Liu Bang in Han Dynasty, besides Zhang Lan and Luo Lun fought for the country. Xichong was also the hometown of Zhang Lan, Xian Ying and other leaders of China Democratic League, and it had an open atmosphere and did a good job in the propaganda and mobilization of the Anti-Japanese War, so a number of people volunteered to join the army. Xichong, the place got this name because it was located in the west of ancient Chong State, later Ji Xin sacrificed himself for his master Liu Bang who became the first emperor of Han Dynasty, so Ji Xin was poshumously awarded the title“An Guo Gong”and his hometown was renamed as Anhan county. There are lucid waters, lush mountains and outstanding people in Xichong, Buddhist temples densely covered towns and villages, known as the land of Buddhism. Xichong has popular specialties such as lion cake, fragrant peach, and Xichong is committed to become "China's organic ecological agriculture county". At that time the event "800 heroic men from Sichuan", which caused a sensation in Xichong, was composed mainly of students from Bashu Middle School (today's Xichong Middle School) and Taiping Yuying Middle School, who were assigned to General Wang Lingji's 30th Army Group. Some Xichong’s communists Yu Jiangzhen, He Yixiang and other senior cadres, also rushed to the forefront of the Anti-Japanese War.
The 44th Army of Kuomintang was not only the ace of the 29 group army, but also was Xichong Army under command of Wang Zanxu for many years. The officers and soldiers of the 44th Army were mainly from Xichong and Nanchong, and they were organized together by various relations, such as fellow villagers, friends and even relatives. There were Wang Zanxu's words spread among people of Xichong: "As long as someone from Xichong comes here, I don't care what the fuck, just takes a bowl and eats his fill first." At that time, it was very difficult to eat one’s fill, so Wang Zanxu's words became a favourite tale. As the 44th Army was not affiliated to Chiang Kai-shek's Central Army, the soldiers had very poor equipment and supplies like horsetail grenades made in Sichuan, old weapons made in Hanyang and even broadswords and spears. In addition, the soldiers still wore straw sandals in winter, so they were called the "straw sandals Army" by people outside. Wang Zanxu governed the army very severely and he did a good job in the ideological and political work of the army, so the fighting capacity of the soldiers was quite strong. At that time, more than 30,000 people from Xichong were under the command of Wang Zanxu, which shows the prestige and influence of Wang Zanxu and his 44th Army.
The 29th Group Army of Kuomintang first defended the areas around Xiangfan and Suizhou in Hubei Province, and then reached the Dahong Mountains. My father first worked as a groom and orderly for a company commander. As soon as the troops went to the front, they fought very fiercely, because there was a significant gap between them and the Japanese army in terms of weapons, equipment, combat quality, individual combat strength and cooperation. Therefore, the Sichuan army had been in a passive situation and suffered serious casualties.
Later, my father was sent to the front to fight against the Japanese invaders after simple training. XiChong army gradually adapted to the combat style of the Japanese army, adjusted the way of battle quickly, took advantage of local villagers’ support, familiarity of the terrain and high number of people, carried forward the spirits of collaboration, loyalty and valor,which greatly hamstrung the effectives of the Japanese army. In the battle of Dahong Mountains, the 29th group army annihilated more than 4,000 enemies and disrupted the Japs' plan to attack inland China. Wang Zanxu and the soldiers of the 29th Group Army are the pride of our Xichong people, Wang took the lead in the battle and rushed in the front, and he insisted on commanding the army at the front although he was seriously wounded. The reason why they were so brave and strong is because they firmly believed that they share weal and woe with the country and the nation. The 29th Group Army also participated in the battle of Wuhan, the second battle of Changsha, the battle of western Hubei, the battle of Changde and other battles, and it fought with the Japanese army for more than 2300 times, killing and wounding more than 40,000 Japanese invaders in total!
My father annealed himself in the battle and gradually grew into a qualified soldier in the process of fighting with his comrades. When he was young, he started with the logistics support in the army, often risking the Japanese artillery blockade to deliver food to the soldiers at the front line. Once the pot on his back was pierced by a bullet from the Japs, which also saved his life. My father told me that they had to practice their ability hard to kill the enemies. If they could not throw grenades far enough, were not qualified in shooting, or lost in a hand-to-hand battle, they would get up at midnight to practice. My father's right leg was pierced by the Jap's bullet, and soon he went to the front after recovery, leaving two big scars on his leg. Later, he couldn’t do heavy farm work when he returned home. There were some fellow villagers who died and were wounded in the war. My second-eldest uncle's ears were deafened by gunfire, and my distant cousin Song Shiyou died at the anti-Japanese front in Hubei.
A group of anti-Japanese heroes emerged in this war such as Sun Fu, Ma Shuheng, Wang Chengzhang, Zhang Qingli, Zhao Biguang and Li Nong, and there were 21 generals from Xichang. I met Zhao Biguang when I was a child, and his sister was my cousin. Mr. Zhao would tease us when he came to visit our relatives. Zhao Biguang's army captured the Japanese artillery, Li Nong scared the Japs to beg for mercy with a machete, Wang Zanxu commanded the "Dahong Mountains Battle", which left a legend on the Sichuan Army anti-Japanese monument.
The number of "800 heroic soldiers" from Xichong was actually 856. They were students organized by Xichong County and participated in many tragic battles such as "Nanchang Battle" and "Shanggao Battle" in Jiangxi Province. Finally only one alive called Li Hongyi among the 856 soldiers, he was wounded severely three times, later a few pieces of shrapnel still remained in his body. Xichong’s heroic soldier Li Limin fought hand to hand alone against 4 Japs and he was stabbed into the body 3 times", but he didn’t fall down and even became more brave, the Japs were greatly shocked by his spirit. meekly disarmed surrender. Now there is still a memorial hall of the 26th Sichuan Army Division in Jinxian County, Jiangxi Province, and I also plan to take time to pay my respects. These hard battles and victories not only showed the fighting spirit of the Sichuan Army, but also strengthened the confidence of the Chinese people to defeat the Japanese invaders.
My father told me that the Japanese soldiers were very short, even shorter than the Sichuanese. However, the Japanese soldiers were well-trained, strong and combative, with accurate marksmanship and excellent hand-to-hand combat. There was a rule among the Japanese soldiers, the bullets must be taken out first before the hand-to-hand combat. While the Sichuan soldiers were a little astute, they often secretly kept the bullets in the rifle. When the Sichuan soldiers were about to lose in the combat, they would shot, later the Japanese soldiers learned to treat our army in this way, too. My father warned us that the war was very cruel, and it was really tragic to see his comrades die suddenly and the wounded die without treatment. Whether a comrade or an enemy, the scene at that time is unbearable to recall, which let me know that onewhofalling behindwould beoppressed since I was a child, so we must be self-reliance, self-improvement, and cherish the hard-won peace a lot!
One of my classmates went to visit an "Anti-Japanese War Memorial Hall" in Teng County, Shandong Province. He arrived late, and he was told that the old man on duty had already gone to bed. But when my classmate said he was from Xichong, the old man immediately got up and put on the old uniform to give a detailed introduction for him. The old man said the Sichuan army especially Xichong soldiers built a strong anti-Japanese wall with flesh and blood for Teng County, and they want to reserve this memorial hall so that the future generations can remember the kindness of Sichuan army.
Later in the "Huaihai Campaign", the Kuomintang army was seriously short of supplies, my father was in the army at the front line and he could not bear to starve, so he joined the Communist army with two rifles. Under the leadership of the Southern Jiangsu Military Sub-Division of CPC, the 44th Army of Kuomintang was defeated and its commander Wang Zejun was captured.
Later, my father also took part in the wars in Vietnam and Korea, which can be said that he took a long journey, experienced a narrow escape and made great achievements. He had served as a cook, and a soldier of communication. The description of my father’s third-class merit was that he had walked barefoot in the snow carrying the radio for two days, besides he was hard-working and strictly abided by the three disciplines and eight regulations of CPC. After the completion of the rural "land reform" in 1953, my father returned home from the army with a row of military medals on his chest and a certificate of second-class disabled soldier. My father had been living a simple rural life, held the position of production team leader, farming at ordinary times, he raised our six brothers and sisters, and he died in 1986 at the age of 63 years old.
Today is the 77th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, I would like to present this article to my father Song Yongshu, the brave soldiers of Xichong and the predecessors of the Sichuan Army. I heard that Mr. Li Hongyi and his 800 comrades had a last wish hoping to erect an anti-Japanese monument on the top of Huafeng Mountain in Xichong County, facing the southeast, in memory of the Xichong soldiers who participated in the anti-Japanese battles in Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Shandong. I don’t want their heroic deeds to be faded, although they died, their spirit of protecting their home and defending their country will always be the precious spiritual wealth for people of Xichong, Sichuan, the Chinese nation and world's peace-loving race!