Imperial Japanese Army Captures Hengyang

The Battle of Hengyang was the longest defense of a single city of the entire Second Sino-Japanese War.

When Changsha fell to the Imperial Japanese Army on June 19, 1944, Hengyang became their next target. The reorganized 11th Army, consisting of 10 divisions, 4 brigades, and over 100,000 men, assumed the task of attacking Hengyang. The city was an important railroad junction and had several airports used by USAAC one-star Brigadier General Claire Lee Chennault's Flying Tigers which were engaged in bombing operations of the Japanese homeland. Therefore, Field Marshal Hajime Sugiyama(杉山 元), chief of imperial staff and war minister, ordered the city must be taken at all costs. On June 22, Japanese 68th and 116th divisions received their orders to attack the city, which started the 48 days of seige and defense.

[The] city of Hengyang and the nearby airfield held against the initial assault. In Aug, the second attack against Hengyang commenced with the Japanese 11th Division taking heavy casualties from well-laid Chinese defensive emplacements. The 58th Division, however, was able to breach the Chinese defense and enter the city. The Chinese attempted to send in reinforcements, but the attacking Japanese forces prevented the reinforcements from reaching their comrades now trapped in the city. Hengyang was taken after a total of 47 days of fighting with heavy tolls on the Japanese, who had suffered over 900 officer casualties, including 390 deaths.