Photograph of Taiyuan Cathedral in 1907

Wikimedia Commons

Taiyuan (112.562E 37.847N) is the capital of China's Shansi province. It was also the location of a major arsenal in 1937.

The city fell to the Japanese on 8 November 1937 following a bitter struggle. 5 Division first approached the city from the north in September, as thousands of panicked civilians thronged the roads to the south and the defenders (7 and 14 Army Groups) established a line about 40 miles (70 km) long north of the city.  Chinese reinforcements were rushed in but were not given opportunity to be properly integrated into the defense. On 13 October the main Japanese assault, supported by artillery and aircraft, hit the Chinese lines. The Chinese line broke ten days later, but the Chinese executed an orderly withdrawal to a second line further south, at Blue Dragon Ridge.

At the same time, 20 and 109 Divisions drove on the city from the east, driving back 2 Army Group. Under pressure from the north, east, and southeast, most of the defenders finally broke and ran in early November, after taking over 30,000 casualties. The Japanese demanded the surrender of the city on 7 November; when this was refused, the Japanese blasted their way through the city walls and engaged in a night-long house-to-house struggle. By dawn the remaining defenders and a considerable number of civilians were fleeing in panic, leaving behind tens of thousands more casualties. The city remained in Japanese hands for the remainder of the war.

By 7 December 1941,  the airfield based 83 Squadron with 10 C5M "Babs". The city was the headquarters of 1 Army.

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