Chang Fa-kuei (1896-1980)

Photograph of Chang Fa-kuei

Wikimedia Commons

Chang Fa-kuei (Zhang Fakui) was born in Kwangtung province, China, and received his military education at the Wuchang Military Academy. He was an old crony of Chiang Kai-shek, having been an instructor at the Whampoa Academy and commander of 4 Army in the Northern Expedition of 1926, and was a close associate of Li Tsung-jen. He proved himself a forceful commander in these early campaigns.

Chang retired in 1927, but came out of retirement to brutally suppress the Communist uprising in Canton in December of that year. In 1929 he unsuccessfully tried to break with Chiang himself. He was rehabilitated in July 1937 and commanded the Chinese forces at Shanghai, which resisted the Japanese for four months, taking 60% casualties before being outflanked by amphibious landings and routed.

By the time of Pearl Harbor, Chang was in command of the 4 War Area. Dorn (1974) claims that Chang took this command, which covered Kwangtung and Kwangsi provinces, because this was as far from the Japanese as he could get. By this time, he had little loyalty left to Chiang and had gone soft, becoming personally corrupt. Dorn's attitude probably reflects that of Stilwell, who referred to Chang as "Fish-head" in his diaries (Romanus and Sunderland 1953). However, Chang rejected overtures from Wang Ching-wei to join the collaborationist Nanking government in 1938. His forces were soundly defeated during the 1944 Ichi-go offensive. Cut off from Chungking in southeast China, Chang attempted to establish his own government with Hsueh Yueh but could garner no U.S. support.

Chiang naturally never trusted Chang again, and although Chang was recalled to active duty during the Chinese civil war, he played no important role and retired after fleeing the mainland.

Chiang was physically unimposing but was acquired a reputation for physical courage early in his life, sometimes being called "Chang Fei" after a legendary Chinese hero. He never trusted the German advisers employed by Chiang early in the second Sino-Japanese War, telling one interviewer that "I always had a bad impression of the Germans" (quoted in Harmsen 2013).

Service record


Born in Kwantung province

Commander, 4 Army

Commander, 12 Division


Commander, Chekiang-Fukien-Anhwei-Kiangsi Border Area

Commander, 8 Army Group

Commander, Right Wing, 3 War Area

Commander, 2 Army
Commander, 4 War Area

Commander, Kweilin War Area

Commander, 2 Front Army

Dies at Taiwan


Dorn (1974)

Dupuy (1992) (accessed 2007-11-28)

Harmsen (2013)
Hsiung and Levine (1992)

Peattie et al. (2011)

Romanus and Sunderland (1953)

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