Photograph of Hangchow waterfront in the 1920s

Naval History and Heritage Command #NH 67127

Hangchow (Hangzhou; 120.167E 30.211N) is the capital of Chekiang Province in eastern China. It is located on the Chientang River and was the southern terminus of the Grand Canal. Its history can be traced back to at least 2000 B.C., and it was one of the cities described by Marco Polo. The population in 1941 was in the ballpark of 550,000 persons.

Hangchow was opened to foreign trade in 1896, but the strong tidal bore from Hangchow Bay keeps the river silted up and closed to most oceangoing vessels. Hence the city has never been a major ocean port. There was an airfield here as early as 1937.

On 26 February 1932, during the first Shanghai incident, the Japanese Navy surprised much of the Chinese Air Force on the ground at Hangchow and inflicted heavy losses. The raid was based on intelligence obtained by decoding American diplomatic cables from Shanghai. Japanese forces landed on the coast northeast of Hangchow on 5 November 1937 in order to flank the Chinese defenses in front of Shanghai. Hangchow itself was occupied on 24 December 1937, apparently against negligible resistance by 10 Army Group. The Japanese remained in control of the city for the remainder of the war.

The city was apparently garrisoned by 22 Division when war broke out in the Pacific.

Rail connections





Tasmanian Advocate (1937-12-28; accessed 2012-5-24)

Hsu and Chang (1971)

Kotani (2009)

Peattie (2001)

Peattie et al. (2011) (accessed 2014-6-8)

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