Chinese Communist Order of Battle

Note: The order of battle pages in the Pacific War Online Encyclopedia are still under construction.

We present here the Chinese Communist order of battle from 7 December 1941 on, as near as we have been able to determine it. This order of battle is uncertain due to the secretiveness of the Chinese Communists and the chaos in China during the war years, which for the Chinese began in 1937 with the Japanese campaign against Shanghai.

The rank and unit structure of the Chinese Communist Army is difficult to correlate with anything in Western armies. Some sources claim that divisions had grown to the size of Western army groups by the time of the Japanese surrender. Some support is given to this claim by the success of the Communists in the Civil War of 1945-1949.

Units that deployed as part of a higher echelon (such as battalions assigned to regiments) are not listed separately. Also, units redesignated from other units are not included separately. The intent is to give a reasonable reinforcement schedule for war games.

Tabulated information

Unit. This is the name of the unit.

Commander. This is the commander of the unit at the time of its activation. For units already active when war broke out, it is the commander of the unit on 7 December 1941. In general, we do not display commanders below flag or general rank.

Start. This gives the date and location of the unit's activation. For units already active when war broke out, only the location is given (at 8:00 AM on 7 December 1941, Hawaii time). If no locationis given, a unit should be assumed to be at the same location as its operational headquarters (or administrative headquarters if no operational assignment is given.)

Administrative Assignment. The administrative assignments in this table represent the formal organizational structure. The table is sorted by adminstrative assignment, such that every unit appears after the unit to which it is administratively assigned.

Operational Assignment. The operational assignment, if one is given, represents temporary attachment to another unit for a single operation. For example, an aircraft carrier might be administratively assigned to a carrier division, but be operationally assigned to a task force for a particular mission.

Notes. Miscellaneous information about a unit, such as its manpower and equipment, where it was raised, what its initial orders were, and how well it
performed in battle.

Organization of the tables

The order of battle tables are laid out for maximum readability by software tools while retaining some semblance of human readability. Because the complete orders of battle for the major powers are many megabytes in length, we have broken the tables up into individual sections of less than 400K to avoid difficulties with older Web browsers.

In addition to the displayed text and associated links, each unit has an HTML anchor with a unique identifier based on the unit name. For example, the entry for Pacific Fleet includes the anchor Pacific_Fleet, which appears immediately before the unit name in the table. These anchors are used to cross-reference the tables but may also be of use to software tools scanning the tables.

We are considering offering the complete orders of battle as SQL files or as C++ code. Users of the Encyclopedia who desire these or other formats may write to and make their desires know.

The order of battle

Operational Assignment
People's Liberation ArmyMao Tse-tung Yenan (109.481E 36.601N)

Eighth Route Army Chu TehShansi province
People's Liberation Army

Claimed to have grown from 80,000 to 600,000 troops during the war. Chu Teh, who was not trusted by Mao, was largely a figurehead; de facto command was exercised by his deputy, P'eng Te-huai. During the period of the United Front, when the Communist forces were nominally part of the national army, Chiang designated 8 Route Army as 18 Army Group and authorized its strength at 40,000 men, a limit that was ignored. One regiment from each of its divisions was retained at Yenan to protect the Communist base.
115 Division   Lin Biao
Eighth Route Army

Ambushed and nearly annihilated a column of 10,000 men from 5 Division in 1937 at Pingxingguan (113.959E 39.345N). However, the division itself lost nearly a thousand casualties.
120 Division Ho Lung northwest Shansi province
Eighth Route Army

129 Division Liu Po-ch'eng
Eighth Route Army
Includes 769 Regiment.
New Fourth Army Chen Yi
Fukien and Kiangsi provinces People's Liberation Army
Ordered north of the Yellow River by Chiang in 1940. This resulted in clashes with the Kuomintang and the end of effective cooperation between the Kuomintang and the Communists. Its authorized strength under the United Front was 12,000 men, a limit likely ignored.
Shansi-Chahar-Hopei  Guerrilla Base
Wut'ai Mountains of northeast Shansi People's Liberation Army

Shansi-Hopei-Shantung-Honan Guerrilla Base
Taihang mountains of south Hopei and western Shantung People's Liberation Army

Shansi-Suiyuan Guerrilla Base
Ningwu and Shen-ch'ih counties
People's Liberation Army

Shantung Guerrilla Base Fan Chu-hsien Shantung
People's Liberation Army

East Kiangsu Guerrilla Base
East Kiangsu
People's Liberation Army

Central Kiangsu Guerrilla Base
Central Kiangsu People's Liberation Army

South Kiangsu Guerrilla Base
South Kiangsu
People's Liberation Army

Huai River North Guerrilla Base

People's Liberation Army

Huai River South Guerrilla Base

People's Liberation Army

Central Anhwei Guerrilla Base
Central Anhwei
People's Liberation Army

East Chekiang Guerrilla Base
East Chekiang
People's Liberation Army

Hupeh-Honan-Anhwei Guerrilla Base

People's Liberation Army

East River Guerrilla Base 
People's Liberation Army

Ch'iung-ya Guerrilla Base
People's Liberation Army


Ellis (1993) (accessed 2008-8-16)

Hsiung and Levine (1992)

Sih (1977)

Willmott (1982)

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