Japanese are Victorious Over Chinese at Xinkou

Yan Xishan gathered all available Chinese troops under his command to make a stand at Xinkou, because this location is flanked by Wutaishan and Yunzhonshan, which is favorable for the defenders and is also a gateway to Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi. On October 1, Japanese central command ordered Itagaki Seishiro to lead the Fifth Division and Chahar Expeditionary Force for the final assault on Taiyuan. On the same day, the military commission of the Chinese Nationalist government ordered the 14th Group Army (commanded by Wei Lihuang) to fight the Japanese at Xinkou. The 14th Group Army, along with Yan Xishan’s eight armies, organized a frontal defense of Xinkou, while the 18th Group Army (without the 120th division) and 101st division, 73rd division and the newly formed 2nd Division organized the defense on the right flank along the Sutou River’s south bank, commanded by Zhu De, while one division was sent to the enemy's rear to harass their left flank. The 6th Group Army organized into two divisions and one brigade, comprised the Chinese defense on the left flank along with the 120th division (commanded by Yang Aiyuan), which concentrated their forces at Heiyu and Yangfangkou, while one division was sent to the enemy's rear to harass their right flank. The 34th and 35th Armies were in reserve, commanded by Fu Zuoyi, to control the Dingxiang and Xinxian area.

On October 2, the 2nd brigade from the Chahar Expeditionary Force started their attack on Gouxian (now Gouyangxian), and the 19th Army’s Chinese defenders held off the attack until October 9, by then the Gouxian had fallen into Japanese hands. The 15th brigade from the Chahar Expeditionary Force marched around Gouxian and attacked Yuanping, and engaged the 34th Army’s 196 brigade, led by Jiang Yuzhen. After intense close-quarter combat, the defending Chinese soldiers were wiped out and the Japanese took Yuanping on October 12. By this time, the invading forces were ready to make their move on Xinkou.

Due to the unfavorable developments on the battlefields, Chinese commander Wei Lihuang had to re-organize the defense line on October 2. He positioned the 9th, 61st, and 35th Armies to form the central defense line, holding their position along the Xinkou mountains passes; while the 14th Army, 71st and 66th Divisions commanded by Li Mo'an formed the left flank, controlling the Yunzhongshan area. Finally, the 33rd, 17th and 15th Armies formed the right flank, controlling Wutaishan.

On October 13, Itagaki Seishiro led 50,000 Japanese troops on a major assault against Xinkou. The 5th Division was on the left wing, and concentrated their attack on Nanhuaihua; while the 15th Brigade was on the right wing, focusing their efforts on Dabaishui, with the 2nd Brigade was in the rear defending the inner Great Wall. The 5th Divisions used 30+ airplanes, 40+ heavy artilleries, 50+ tanks to flank the infantry’s assault; while the Chinese central defense forces used the favorable terrain to put up stiff resistances despite a lack of firepower. The Xinkou battles rages on for days, with the Nanhuahua position changing hands many times. On October 16 the Chinese central defense force begin a major counter-attack to take the high grounds at Nanhuahua, during this battle the commander of the 9th Army Hao Mengling became the first Chinese army general to be killed in action during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Despite his death, the 61st Army commander Chen Zhangjie and subsequently the 19th Army commander Wang Jingguo continued to lead the defense of Xinkou and successfully held their defensive positions. 

During this time, the Communists’ Eighth Route Army executed several guerrilla attacks in the Japanese troops rear at Lingqiu, Guangling, Weixian, Pingxingguan, Ningwu and Yanmenguan. On the evening of October 19, the 769 Regiment of the 120th Division attacked Yangmingbao airbase, and successfully destroyed 24 Japanese airplanes on the ground.

By this time the Japanese had suffered close to 20,000 casualties without making much progress on their assault of Xinkou. Therefore the Japanese Northern China Area Army had to add three additional regiments on October 22, 27 and 29, to assist in the attack of Nanhauhua. However, the Japanese troops still could not take this important position and had to re-direct their attack to Dabaishui, and the Chinese defenders were able to fight the Japanese to a stalemate.

On November 11, 1937, after securing control of Shanghai, the Japanese army advanced towards Nanking from different directions. In early December, the Japanese troops were already in the outskirts of Nanking.