House-to-house fighting during the battle of Taierzhuang. The war on China, against all expectations of the Japanese invaders, was not an easy conquest, and in many ways anticipated events on the fronts of the Second World War.



A militarily powerful country invades a very much larger country to seize territory. The invader has had an almost unbroken string of impressive victories and the larger country seems unable to fend off the invader. The most powerful units of the invader are now tasked with cutting the larger country's most important north-south transport route which is a waterway. A town on the banks of that waterway is the target set for the invader's elite combat units to capture. Capturing the town would enable the invader to menace the enemy capital and force it to surrender.

The invading units attack separately on a north-south axis converging on the town. The invading units fail to join but despite that, one large powerful elite unit lunges forward into the town. It becomes mired in street fighting in which the invader's superior firepower is nullified. The invader's artillery, tanks and aircraft are ineffectual because the defenders are "hugging the enemy" and resorting to hand-to-hand fighting and night attacks. The invader's vaunted tanks are not only ineffectual but also vulnerable in the confined spaces of the town. The invader is very severely mauled in capturing 80% or 90% of the town. The defenders fight tenaciously to cling desperately to the last 10% or 20% of the town because therein is the only means of supply and reinforcement from across the waterway.

Victory for the invader seems certain. Defeat for the defenders seems imminent.

Suddenly, the invaders are horrified to realize they have been surrounded by powerful fresh forces, cut off, and are under attack from all sides. The besiegers are now besieged.

Supply by air is attempted in vain.

A powerful rescue column fails too.

Against all expectations, the most powerful among the elite of the invader's forces suffers a resounding and humiliating defeat. The world is shocked and the invader's invincibility is shattered. After more years of combat, the invaded country emerges victorious as one the principal Allied Powers of WW2.

Those familiar with the Battle of Stalingrad, USSR, in 1942/43 - will recognize those events as the Battle of Stalingrad.

Very few are aware that ALL THOSE EVENTS had happened 4 or 5 years earlier in the Battle of Taierzhuang, China, in 1938!

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