Central Hupei Operation

The Central Hupei Operation was one of the engagements between the National Revolutionary Army and Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Known as the Central Hupei Operation, East and West of Hsiang River, in Japan it is called the 漢水作戦 (Han River Operation). The battle lasted from 25 to 30 November 1940.

After the battle of Zaoyang-Yichang in the summer of 1940, the Japanese controlled I-chang and Sha-shih. The Chinese controlled the area east and west of the Hsiang River. Their lines extended from the southwest of Yuan-an via Ching-men, north of Chung-hsiang, and the foothills of Ta-hung Shan, to the area northwest of Sui Hsien astride both banks of the Hsiang River. The Wu-tang Mountains were on the right and the Tung-po Mountains on the left. In coordination with the guerilla forces in the southeast, the Chinese repeatedly struck at the Japanese forces that had penetrated to I-chang. As a result the Chinese believed that the Japanese forces at I-chang and Sha-shih found their flanks exposed and in a difficult position. To relieve themselves of this threat they launched an offensive against the Chinese forces in late November. Japanese sources say the purpose was to probe to find the location of the Army of Tang Enbo. If that was their purpose they were to be disappointed.

On the morning of November 25, the Japanese began their attack in several columns.

On the Western Front between the Hsiang River and Tang-yang, over 1,000 Japanese from the Kayashima Force, advanced northward from Tang-yang toward Hengtien, and broke through the gap between the positions of the 179th and 37th Divisions of the Chinese 77th Corps at Yang-chi-ai.

Over 3,000 Japanese from Murakami Force from [Jingmen] Ching-men broke through the positions of the 27th Division of the Chinese 30th Corps toward Yen-chih-miao.