New Fourth Army

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New Fourth Army
Active12 October 1937 - 23 January 1947
Country China
Allegiance Chinese Communist Party
Branch National Revolutionary Army
TypeArmy Light Infantry
RoleGuerrilla Warfare
Size10,300+ (1937) 290,000+ (1947)
Part ofCCP Central Military Commission
Nationalist Government Military Affairs Commission
Garrison/HQJiangsu, Anhui
Motto(s)Resolving the National Crisis (共赴国难)
ColorsGrey Uniform
EquipmentHanyang 88, Chiang Kai-shek rifle, Type 38 rifle, Type 99 rifle, Mauser C96, Nambu pistol, Type 41 75 mm Mountain Gun
EngagementsSecond Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War
Ye Ting, Xiang Ying, Liu Shaoqi, Chen Yi, Su Yu
Arm badge (1945)
Arm badge (1941)
Headquarters of New Fourth Army in Jing County, Anhui
1940 group photo of New Fourth Army commanders who had participated in the Nanchang Uprising of 1927. Front row from left: Zhou Zikun, Yuan Guoping, Ye Ting, Chen Yi and Su Yu.

The New Fourth Army (simplified Chinese: 新四军; traditional Chinese: 新四軍; pinyin: Xīn Sì Jūn) was a unit of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China established in 1937. In contrast to most of the National Revolutionary Army, it was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and not by the ruling Kuomintang. The New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army were the two main communist forces from 1938. The New Fourth Army was active south of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), while the Eighth Route Army was based in Yan'an in the northwest.

Members of the New Fourth Army wore their badges on the left arm, with "N4A" and the soldier's unit and name listed on the badge.

After the Xi'an Incident, the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Communist Party led by Mao Zedong formed a United Front against Japan, which was already in control of Manchuria and pushing into North China. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident in July 1937 marked the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

In October 1937, an announcement was made that Red Army soldiers active in the eight provinces in southern China — those who did not embark on the Long March would be part of the New Fourth Army. The New Fourth Army was established on December 25, 1937 in Hankou, moving to Nanchang on January 6, 1938, when the detachments began marching to the battlefront. At the beginning, the New Fourth Army had four detachments and one task force battalion and numbered roughly ten thousand. Later the army moved to Anhui province. Ye Ting was the army commander, Xiang Ying the deputy army commander.

It was in theory a united front against Japan but in practice there was friction between Nationalist and Communist Forces, which intensified in the fall of 1940, culminating in the New Fourth Army Incident with a full-fledged battle between the New Fourth Army and KMT National Revolutionary Army forces. Up until that point, most of the battles had been skirmishes. The army was fully reorganised after the incident and remained in active combat until the end of the war.



In 1938 the 1st, 2nd and 3rd detachments began marching to the battlefront in southern Anhui and southern Jiangsu. The 4th detachment got northern and middle Anhui. Due to being in the back of the Japanese army, the New Fourth Army didn't eliminate very many Japanese troops at first. The majority of the time they were establishing base areas and enlisting new recruits. After the Japanese had occupied Wuhan the New Fourth Army took the opportunity to set up several guerrilla camps in the area.


In 1939 the Japanese Army stopped attacking the Nationalist forces on a large scale. The New Fourth Army was restricted to the south of the Yangtze River. In order to establish a new base area the New Fourth Army sent an advance team to Northern Jiangsu and clashed with guerrillas of the Nationalist forces there. In the battle of Huangqiao the New Fourth Army destroyed the 89th Army and the 33rd division of the Nationalist forces. The Eighth Route Army also dispatched the 4th detachment's 12,000 men to support the New Fourth Army.


In January 1941, the Nationalist forces surrounded and destroyed the headquarters of the New Fourth Army in retaliation, losing the New Fourth Army about 8,000 men. The commander of the New Fourth Army was also caught. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made a strong protest and announced the rebuilding the New Fourth Army in northern Jiangsu. At this time the New Fourth Army had already had seven divisions and 90,000 soldiers. Between 1941 and 1943, the New Fourth Army fought mainly with the Japanese and lost a portion of the Army's base areas. Because of heavy losses the 6th Division's designation was revoked.


Due to a lack of troops the Japanese ceased actively attacking the New Fourth Army. Several fierce battles erupted again between the New Fourth Army and the Nationalist forces. The New Fourth Army tried to establish base areas in eastern Zhejiang, Hunan and Hubei Province. When World War Two ended they stopped operations and withdrew from base areas. At that time the New Fourth Army had 268,000 soldiers. In order to quickly occupy northeast China political commissar Huang Kecheng ordered the 3rd Division's 35,000 men to leave his base area.


In the summer of 1946 the Chinese Civil War broke out. The Nationalist forces attacked the 5th Division first and occupied the division's base area successfully. However, in middle Jiangsu Su Yu's 1st Division miraculously won despite having fewer forces and wiped out 56,000 Nationalist soldiers. Later, because of a lack of troops the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th Divisions had to withdraw to Shandong in the winter of 1946. In January 1947 the New Fourth Army and Shandong Military Region of the People's Liberation Army were merged into the East China Field Army.


Former site of the New Fourth Army Headquarters in Hankou, Wuhan.

The New Fourth Army Headquarters (Chinese: 漢口新四軍軍部舊址) was located at No. 332-352, Shengli Street, Jiang'an District, Wuhan. The site was renovated by the Wuhan People's Government in 2005.[1] On March 5, 2013, it was named a Major National Historical and Cultural Sites.[2]

Main leadership[edit]

military posts First term Second term Third term
Commander Ye Ting (1938.2 - 1941.1) Chen Yi (1941.2 - 1947.1)
Deputy Commander Xiang Ying (1938.2 - 1941.1) Zhang Yunyi (1941.2 - 1947.1)
Political Commissar vacancy Liu Shaoqi (1941.2 - 1943.11) Rao Shushi (1943.12 - 1947.1)
Chief of Staff Zhang Yunyi (1938.2 - 1941.1) Lai Chuanzhu (1941.2 - 1945.12) Chen Shiqu (陈士渠, 1946.1 - 1947.1)
Deputy Chief of Staff Zhou Zikun (1938.2 - 1941.1) vacancy Yuan Zhongxi (袁仲希, 1946.1 - 1947.1)
Director of Political Department Yuan Guoping (1938.2 - 1941.1) Deng Zihui (1941.2 - 1945.12) Shu Tong (1946.1 - 1947.1)
Deputy Director of Political Department Deng Zihui (1938.2 - 1941.1) vacancy Tang Liang (1946.1 - 1947.1)



Most of the New Fourth Army's military officers were guerrillas of the Chinese Red Army, others being from the 8th Route Army. Experience from China's Civil War led to them rapidly expanding their forces at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. During the eight years of the war officers with excellent abilities were usually promoted faster. For example, general Zhang Aiping was only a battalion commander of Chinese Red Army in 1934 but had become a division commander of the New Fourth Army by 1945.

Military Education[edit]

With the rapid expansion of the size of the army a large number of junior officers and newly recruited students needed training. Because of a lack of teachers the Eighth Route Army dispatched hundreds of military instructors to the New Fourth Army in two separate occasions. From 1940 to 1942 the New Fourth Army built and established six military training schools in the battlefield. These military training schools were collectively referred to as branches of the Counter-Japanese Military and Political University.

School Principal Establishment time belongs to Number of periods Number of the Cadets
4th branch school Peng Xuefeng 1940.3 4th Division 7 5000
5th branch school Chen Yi 1940.11 3rd Division 4 3000
8th branch school Zhang Yunyi 1941.5 2nd Division 4 3000
9th branch school Su Yu 1942.5 1st Division 5 3300
10th branch school Li Xiannian 1942.2 5th Division 5 5000
10th branch school (Anhui) Tan Xilin 1945.3 7th Division 1 600


In the first three years of its existence the New Fourth Army operated independently with the regiment as its basic unit. After the New Fourth Army Incident the army was reorganized into seven divisions and nineteen brigades.


In the spring of 1938 the Chinese Red Army's surviving guerrillas in the South were organized into the New Fourth Army's four detachments.

Detachment Commander Order of battle Commander Troop strength
1st Detachment Chen Yi 1st regiment Fu Qiutao 2300
2nd regiment Zhang Zhengkun [zh]
2nd Detachment Zhang Dingcheng 3rd regiment Huang Huoxing [zh] 1800
4th regiment Lu Sheng
3rd Detachment Zhang Yunyi 5th regiment Rao Shoukun 2100
6th regiment Ye Fei
4th Detachment Gao Jingting [zh] 7th regiment Yang Kezhi (杨克志) 3100
8th regiment Zhou Junming (周骏鸣)
9th regiment Gu Shiduo (顾士多)
Pistol regiment Zhan Huayu [zh]


After the New Fourth Army Incident the New Fourth Army was rebuilt in January, 1941.

Division Commander Order of battle Commander Troop strength
1st Division Su Yu 1st Brigade Ye Fei 12000
2nd Brigade Wang Bicheng [zh]
3rd Brigade Tao Yong
2nd Division Zhang Yunyi 4th Brigade Liang Congxue [zh] 18000
5th Brigade Cheng Jun [zh]
6th Brigade Tan Xilin
3rd Division Huang Kecheng 7th Brigade Peng Mingzhi 20000
8th Brigade Tian Shourao (田守饶)
9th Brigade Zhang Aiping
4th Division Peng Xuefeng 10th Brigade Liu Zhen 15000
11th Brigade Teng Haiqing (腾海清)
12th Brigade Tan Youlin [zh]
5th Division Li Xiannian 13th Brigade Zhou Zhijian [zh] 14000
14th Brigade Lou Houfu [zh]
15th Brigade Wang Haishan [zh]
6th Division Tan Zhenlin 16th Brigade Luo Zhongyi [zh] 8000
18th Brigade Jiang Weiqing
7th Division Zhang Dingcheng 19th Brigade Sun Zhongde [zh] 3000
Others Independent Brigade Liang Xingchu 1000


By the end of World War II the New Fourth Army had grown to 268,000 men.

Division Commander Order of battle Commander Troop strength
Jiangsu and Zhejiang Military Region Su Yu 1st Detachment Wang Bicheng [zh] 26000
2nd Detachment He Kexi [zh]
3rd Detachment Tao Yong
4th Detachment Liao Zhengguo [zh]
1st Military Subarea Zhong Guochu [zh]
2nd Military Subarea Chen Liping
3rd Military Subarea He Minxue [zh]
Middle Jiangsu Military Region Guan Wenwei [zh] 1st Military Subarea Huang Yifeng [zh] 11000
3rd Military Subarea Chen Yusheng [zh]
4th Military Subarea Lu Sheng
5th Military Subarea Wei Yongyi [zh]
6th Military Subarea Bao Houchang
Teaching Brigade Liu Fei
2nd Division
Southern The Huai River Military Region
Luo Binghui [zh] 4th Brigade Liang Congxue [zh] 40000
5th Brigade Cheng Jun [zh]
6th Brigade Chen Qingxian [zh]
Eastern Route Military Subarea Bi Zhanyun [zh]
3rd Division
Northern Jiangsu Military Region
Huang Kecheng 7th Brigade Peng Mingzhi 50000
8th Brigade Zhang Tianyun [zh]
10th Brigade Liu Zhen
Independent Brigade Qin Jian [zh]
4th Division
Northern Huai River Military Region
Zhang Aiping 9th Brigade Teng Haiqing (腾海清) 50000
11th Brigade Zhang Zhen
12th Brigade Rao Zijian [zh]
5th Division
Hubei, Anhui and Henan Military Region
Li Xiannian 13th Brigade Zhou Zhijian [zh] 47000
1st Military Subarea Wang Haishan [zh]
2nd Military Subarea Wang Haishan
3rd Military Subarea He Bingyan
4th Military Subarea Han Dongshan [zh]
5th Military Subarea Wu Shian [zh]
6th Military Subarea Chen Gang
Middle Henan Military Subarea Chen Xianrui [zh]
Southern Hubei Military Subarea Zhang Tixue
Hubei and Anhui Command Huang Shide (黄世德)
7th Division
Wanjiang River Military Region
Tan Xilin 19th Brigade Lin Weixian [zh] 27000
Southern Anhui Military Subarea Liang Jinhua [zh]
Hanhe Military Subarea Sun Zhongde [zh]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 水世闿.汉口新四军军部旧址发现记[J].武汉文史资料,2007,(第8期). pp21-27.
  2. ^ 中华人民共和国中央人民政府. 国务院核定公布第七批全国重点文物保护单位. 2013-05-03.
Preceded by Armed Wing of the Chinese Communist Party
12 October 1937-1 November 1948
with Eighth Route Army
25 August 1937-1 November 1948
Succeeded by