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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 13 2. In the Dear Walled Town

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-07-23 12:30 댓글0건

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 13  2. In the Dear Walled Town

  

   


 

2. In the Dear Walled Town

 

Wan Shun pinned great hopes on jiajiali\or sworn brotherhood. He made this proposal in\order to establish good-neighbourly relations with the People’s Revolutionary Army\and thereby maintain military supremacy over the enemy. Wu Yi-cheng, too, had once proposed the establishment of jiajiali with us. It was a common trend among Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist units to enter into alliances with the People’s Revolutionary Army by jiajiali\and keep the communists bound in the alliance.

But establishing jiajiali\or sworn brotherhood did not imply the automatic formation of a common front against the Japanese\or its development into a durable alliance.

 

Solid comradeship can only develop through battle,\and its real worth can only be proved by repeated trials. In the new situation governing our advance to Mt. Paektu, a joint military operation to contain the enemy could constitute the best opportunity to make anti-Japanese units loyal allies of the People’s Revolutionary Army\and establish a durable alliance with them.

The battle of Fusong county town in August 1936 was typical, with special significance in establishing a solid common front with anti-Japanese units.

“Now that we have established a common front, what about attacking a big walled town?” I suggested.

“Let’s go ahead,” he agreed without giving second thoughts to the matter. “With your unit, Commander Kim, I can attack any enemy, can’t I? I now feel as if I command the whole world. Let’s attack a big walled town.”

The mountain rebel commander’s answer was surprisingly confident, for he had the habit of turning tail even without attempting to fight, when encountering the Japanese. He might have been bragging in the excitement caused by the effect of opiate smoking.

Wan Shun constantly puffed opiate even in our presence. This expressed his special confidence in us. Usually Chinese opium addicts never smoked opiate in the presence of strangers. Wan Shun’s unceremonious attitude was a good sign. He had never smoked opiate, before commanding the anti-Japanese unit. When still young he had been an excellent fighter. He had distinguished himself in every battle\and had soon taken command of a large unit.

Once his unit was threatened by total destruction, surrounded by the Japanese. Breaking through the encirclement, it suffered heavy casualties. Wan Shun himself narrowly escaped. This crisis made him a pessimist. The Japanese, who used to fall upon his unit, yelling like wolves hunting in packs, were too strong an enemy for the indisciplined, poorly-equipped soldiers of the anti-Japanese unit. To make matters worse, Commander Wang had been pursing them\and sapping their strength.

Wan Shun had withdrawn into a deep mountain, entrenched his unit in a mud wall\and only maintained the existence of his unit by robbing the people of their property, instead of fighting the enemy.

Living at the expense of the people, he had become more\and more of bandit. The old “bandit commander”, who had retired into a mountain, had taken to opiate smoking in grief\and anger.

Many of his men, tired of such a life in the rebel army, had discarded their guns\and returned to their hometowns. Some of them had become bandits, while some of them under a white flag had gone to the barracks of the puppet Manchukuo army. Commanding officers had spent their time on gambling, not even caring how the times were changing. The despotic habit of officers, who beat\and swore at their men at the slightest offence, had reduced their relationship to deplorable levels.

Wan Shun’s unit was on the brink of total collapse.

 

They could only be saved rom ruin, via an alliance, which would inspire them with confidence in victory through practical joint operations against the enemy. Consequently I proposed an attack on a big walled town, after success in alignment with Wan Shun’s unit. Things went smoothly, as he gladly agreed to my proposal.

“All my officers\and men are filled with admiration at the way you, Commander Kim, destroyed Commander Wang. The attack on a town, in cooperation with your unit, will be very welcome to them. Please plan the operation immediately,” Wan Shun said.

He was very envious of our success in the battles of Laoling, Xinancha, Xigang, Daying\and other places. He found our tactics in these battles very mysterious.

He said that famous Chinese generals in the ancient warring age defeated their enemies by resourceful strategy,\and that the Japanese fought bravely. He asked me what tactics I used to achieve victory in every battle.

I replied with a smile that the art of war was important, but that the soldiers’ mental state was even more vital.

He said he could see with one glance that my men were all courageous\and strong. He heaved a deep sigh, complaining that his men were all so stupid that he could hardly trust them.

“Don’t worry, Commander,” I said. “If we jointly fight the Japanese successfully, they will also become courageous without any shadow of a doubt. Please, choose the town we should attack.”

Wan Shun waved his hand, asking me to\select the target.

 

We exchanged views about the objective of the attack, but did not reach agreement that day. He seemed to want to attack Fusong county town, but did not insist upon it. That was fortunate for me. Fusong like Jilin was dear\and familiar to me\and would never be forgotten in my life.

Fusong was an\ordinary county town, which could be found in many parts of Manchuria. When I was a primary schoolboy there, the town had no two-storey\or higher building\or electric lighting.

 

Most of the hundreds of houses in the town were straw-thatched houses\or cottages. There were brick buildings, tile-roofed houses\and square wooden houses, but there were so few of them that they could be counted on fingers.

These poverty-stricken thatched houses\and cottages were nevertheless as dear to me as part of myself,\and Xiaonanmen\and the River Songhua I had frequented remained dear to my memory\wherever I went\and were as dear to me as the memory of the scenery of my home village.

This was the town\where I had received my father’s will, which served as my compass throughout my life. Ten years had already passed since I, bearing his will in mind, had plodded behind his coffin to the graveyard at Yangdicun. One saying has it that rivers\and mountains change over ten years. I wondered if the scenery surrounding the graveyard had changed.

Containment of the enemy in Fusong was extremely significant rom various angles in the implementation of our strategic plan to advance to Mt. Paektu. I knew this better than anyone else, but could not easily bring myself to decide to attack Fusong.

After Wan Shun’s departure, we began a wide range of reconnaissance work in real earnest to determine a suitable objective of attack while at the same time guiding subordinate\organizations of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland.

While we were busy making preparations for the joint operation with Wan Shun’s unit, Li Hong-bin, the commander of the first detachment of Wu Yi-cheng’s unit, came to me with his detachment without prior notice. His face was puffy rom sweat\and his clothes were blotched with crusts of salt\and dust, after a long forced march in the sweltering mid-summer heat.

His detachment was the strongest of Wu Yi-cheng’s unit. He himself was Wu Yi-cheng’s right hand. Able\and loyal to his commander, he was held in great affection by him. He was on joking terms with us.

We had met Wu Yi-cheng’s unit for a short time at Qinggouzi in northern Manchuria. How come this detachment had travelled as far as Fusong in the wake of the People’s Revolutionary Army which was advancing southwards? “Commander Wu has sent me to you, Commander Kim.” The detachment

commander enthusiastically conveyed Wu’s best regards for me, despite the fatigue of the long march. “The old man told me to fight in cooperation with your unit, as he knew it would be marching southward towards Mt. Paektu. I was really at a loss what to do, when I was told to find your unit. When I asked how on earth I would find your unit on this vast land of Manchuria, which appears rom nowhere\and disappears into nowhere, he roared, ‘You fool! Why do you worry so much? You may crawl like a crab\or on all fours, but don’t miss the place\where the gunshot is the loudest. There you’ll find Commander Kim.’ He was right. In Fusong gun crackings were the loudest in the whole of Manchuria.”

 

“Certainly. Our unit makes gunshots almost every day. We soon plan to attack a large town in cooperation with Wan Shun’s unit. If you don’t mind, I would like your detachment to take part in this operation. What do you say?”

“Why should I mind such a good offer, when Commander Wu sent me over here for cooperation? The old man said that he would also come to join us immediately after dealing with some unsettled affairs.”

His arrival at the time of our successful alliance with Wan Shun’s unit was a double blessing.

I was thrilled to the heart. Had he come thousands of miles really to help the People’s Revolutionary Army? When we met at Qinggouzi, Wu Yi-cheng had been extremely depressed, because Zhou Bao-zhong had not recognized him as forward commander of the anti-Japanese forces, an event which troubled him.

At that time Wu Yi-cheng had not talked a lot about cooperation with us. The very fact that the man, who had been speaking of grievances against

Zhou Bao-zhong, sent Li Hong-bin to us, saying that he would fight on the united front with Kim Il Sung’s Communist Party till the last moment of his life, reflected his invariable support\and trust in us. He hesitated for some time after Wang De-lin’s retreat to China proper via the Soviet\union, but always sought cooperation with us, without betraying the cause of the united front. This was, indeed, worthy of our respect.

Fortunately, Wan Shun was visiting us at that time; consequently Li Hong-bin joined in the discussion of the joint operation even without taking time off to untie his shoestrings.

We discussed the objective of our attack again.

 

I suggested Mengjiang as the target of our attack. I had stayed at Mengjiang for about a month, recruiting reinforcements\and rehabilitating an underground\organization, in summer 1932 on my return rom my visit to Ryang Se Bong’s unit at Tonghua. We were familiar with the place\and had a foothold there. Consequently I was convinced that I could achieve our objective without difficulty if we fought there.

Wan Shun was not keen on the town, insisting that it was too far away. He insisted that, even if the attack was successful, we might fall into the enemy’s encirclement on our way back. He had in mind Fusong county town.

“Commander Kim, let’s attack Fusong,” Li Hong-bin echoed with clenched fists in excitement. He had ample reason to speak in favour of Fusong. When leaving Emu, he had sent a company commander of his detachment, Mou Zhen-xing by name, on a reconnaissance mission to learn my\whereabouts. However, the company commander had been captured by the gendarmerie in Fusong during his mission. The enemy had pressed him to explain the aim of his entry into the town\and the man he planned to meet. He had maintained his silence. The gendarmes had tortured him, pouring boiling water into his mouth. His mouth had been scalded\and lips blistered. But the strong-willed company commander had resisted in silence, refusing to stain his honour.

 

The enemy had dragged out the man to the northern outskirts of the town, along with patriotic peasants in Fusong area, who had been detained on the charge of being “in contact with bandits”,\and shot him\and the peasants. But he was only wounded,\and had pretended to be dead. A kind-hearted man had carried him away\and treated him, before sending him back to his unit. This undying company commander had brought to light the atrocities of the Japanese gendarmerie in Fusong.

Li Hong-bin gave me a brief recount of the atrocities witnessed by the company commander.

After the death of Commander Wang, the Japanese army\and police blocked the wall gates\and issued permits to the inhabitants, who were supposed to pass through the gates, in\order to “arrest all people in touch with bandits”. People who went through the gates without a pass\or holding an outdated pass were all tortured; any one who resisted was murdered in secret. The brutality of their murder was unprecedented throughout history.

The enemy took the people arrested at the gates, to a hotel near Ximen bridge, locked them up in the hotel, before dragging them at dawn to the brink of the marsh on River Toudao-Songhua\and beheaded them. The Japanese soldiers were encouraged to cut off the victims’ heads with their swords\and see the gushing blood to train their mettle. It was a fiendish act which even the devil would shudder at.

The beheaded bodies were thrown into the marsh. Naturally in later days the people of Fusong called the marsh the harbour for the murdered. The enemy sought out immediately people, who let out the beheading secret\and killed them in the same brutal manner. Their bodies were also thrown into the harbour for the murdered.

The blood in my heart boiled with rage. My mind was gripped with the pang of remorse, as I realized that the thoughts of refraining rom upsetting my precious memory of Fusong with a gunshot\or clouding it with powder fumes, constituted naive feelings of compassion.

Of the many walled towns around Mt. Paektu, Fusong was one of the strategic points, including Linjiang\and Changbai, which the enemy attached special importance to. Regarding Fusong as one of the central bases for “suppressing the disturbance of public peace in the eastern frontier region”, the Japanese imperialists stationed in that town large forces rom Kwantung Army, puppet Manchukuo army\and the police.

Takahashi’s crack unit known to have been toughened in battle, was entrenched in the town. It was therefore very important to put Fusong under our military control\and thereby occupy the area round Mt. Paektu.

“Destroy the fiendish enemy entrenched in Fusong county town to wreak the people’s vengeance upon him!”\and “Save innocent prisoners, who are being beheaded in the walled town like hell!” These continual, hot-blooded outcries seemed to stir me up in my imagination. I must attack Fusong first. In that town, which fills me with tears, guiltless people are murdered at the mercy of the sword of Japanese samurais every day. Why should I go to Mengjiang, knowing that such a tragedy is taking place within a hailing distance? If I attack Fusong, I shall thereby gain revenge upon the people’s enemy, strengthen the united front with the Chinese anti-Japanese units,\and occupy Mt. Paektu area without difficulty. Consequently I must fight there without a moment’s delay.

 

I thought that an attack on the town of Fusong would constitute the most sympathetic greetings to the townsfolk, as well as an expression of the warmest\and truest love I could ever offer them.

Therefore I decided to attack Fusong\and open up a decisive phase in occupying the northwestern area of Mt. Paektu.

After agreeing upon the target of attack, we sent out scouts to reconnoitre the town again.

Studying the reconnaissance report, I had the premonition that we had to fight against heavy odds. The town’s defences were far stronger than we had predicted. Like all other walled towns in Manchuria, Fusong was surrounded by a solid mud wall reinforced with gun emplacements.

The only thing in our favour was that a company of the puppet Manchukuo army on guard duty at the wall gates was under our influence\and I knew the town’s streets well. The company included an\organization of the Anti-Japanese Association, which had been formed by political operatives rom our unit. The deputy company commander Wang, head of the\organization, promised that he would post reliable members of his\organization as guards at the wall gates at the attack hour\and let them open all the gates at the same time.

 

We held a briefing, which specified the combat mission of each unit. My unit would occupy the battery on the eastern hill\and then destroy the enemy in the town by attacking in the direction of Dananmen\and Xiaonanmen. The Chinese anti-Japanese units would attack in the direction of Dongmen\and Beimen. We also planned the People’s Revolutionary Army’s small-unit attacks on Songshuzhen\and Wanlianghe (Wanliangxiang) the day before the main attack, in\order to divert the attention of the enemy, which was intent on defending the town.

 

I could add that our battle preparations were satisfactory. We were confident that the battle would end in our victory.

Contrary to our expectations, however, we faced serious difficulties at the outset. This difficulty was caused by the anti-Japanese units, which failed to keep the time of assembly\or acted arbitrarily.

From excessive enthusiasm, Li Hong-bin’s detachment advanced directly to Dongmen, instead of coming to the designated spot of the assembly area at Jianchanggou, while Wan Shun’s unit did not arrive at the appointed hour of assembly. All this irritated me almost beyond endurance. I sent out my\orderly to discover what had happened to them\and waited for more than an hour, but Wan Shun’s men failed to show up at Jianchanggou.

The date\and hour of the attack was not an arbitrary decision. The attack had been timed after a full discussion with Wan Shun\and all the other anti-Japanese unit commanders about good\and bad omens.

The commanders of the anti-Japanese units had been restrained in timing by superstitious considerations. The detachment commander was preoccupied with numbers representing the date\and hour of attack.

 

He insisted that, according to the theory of Yin\and Yang, an even number stood for Yin\and odd number for Yang\and that therefore, to be lucky, important events should be so timed for odd numbers such as 1, 3, 5, 7\and so on to make up the date\and hour of attack.

We had not taken the theory of Yin\and Yang into consideration, when we decided to attack the town at 1 hour on the 17th, which coincided with the 1st of the 7th month by the lunar calendar to Li Hong-bin’s satisfaction.

 

Wan Shun, who had arrived at Jianchanggou earlier with some of his unit, was greatly embarrassed\and in the end, made all his men face the eastern sky\and chant something like a spell with hands clasped. He must have been wishing for divine help. The other unit commanders reproached the old man for his unit’s treachery. Wan Shun was sweating heavily.

I felt pity for the old commander, who was at a loss about what to do, attracting the critical eyes of his colleagues. Strange to say, I wished I could speak in his defence rather than call him to account. Nobody was more enthusiastic about the arrangement of the joint operation than him. Nobody had offered more creative opinions than he had. He had reiterated to his men the importance of keeping the time of operations\and observing operational discipline. This provided strong support\and encouragement to us, as we attached such great importance to a common front with the anti-Japanese units.

 

The awkward discrepancy, which obliged me to feel sympathetic with him, lay between his unstinted efforts to effect an alliance with the People’s Revolutionary Army\and his practical inefficiency, which obstructed the development of the operation.

Nevertheless, I was in no position to sympathize with\or pity anybody. As time passed, my heart contracted, for I was in command of the whole operation. I had fought hundreds of battles, but had never been so irritated\and embarrassed as I was.

I regretted that I had not given stronger emphasis at the briefing to the need to keep time. I had laid special emphasis on refraining rom harming people’s lives\and property\and damaging our relations with the people. I had not wished to see the recurrence in Fusong of the misconduct, committed by the men of the anti-Japanese units in the battle of Dongning county town\and would not tolerate it.

I had not been particularly concerned about the potential delay in the arrival of Wan Shun’s unit. The neglected matter caused me the greater shock.

The shocking accident which might reverse the tide of the battle, drove us into a critical situation, which placed us between two alternatives—adopt flexible measures\or abandon the battle itself. It was impossible to discard the operation, which had been prepared with such great effort. Any cancellation of the attempted attack would dampen the morale of the soldiers of the anti-Japanese units\and the People’s Revolutionary Army, a morale which had soared in anticipation of the joint operation.

Lack of opiate for Wan Shun’s officers\and men had caused their delayed move. Many of them were opium addicts. Without smoking opium, they could not march at the required speed.

To make the joint operation succeed, we had to send opium to Wan Shun’s unit, which was on the march.

If we had not taken such emergency measures, the unit would have spent the whole day on their way.

After the battle of Emu county town, Wang Run-cheng had told me that the anti-Japanese units had acquitted themselves comparatively well in the joint operation, thanks to opium. At that time I had accepted his words as a mere joke. Learning that the delay of Wan Shun’s unit was caused by a lack of opium, I understood that Wang had told me the truth.

Wan Shun’s unit arrived much later than the fixed time. The regimental commander of the main force was the last person to arrive, gasping for breath,\and report to his commander of the arrival.

Wan Shun drew his Mauser rom his holster\and threatened to shoot the regimental commander.

I had never felt the harm of opiate more keenly than at that moment. This painful experience led us to enforce later on awful regulations on shooting opium addicts in the guerrilla army.

Allegedly opium heralded the downfall of the Qing dynasty, which was several hundred years old. Qing fought two Opium Wars against Britain which had smuggled opium into Qing. The opium grown in India flowed into Qing\and turned millions of people into opium addicts. In return a tremendous amount of silver flowed out rom Qing. Britain made fabulous profits rom opium dealing.

Lin Ze-xu\and other progressives of Qing roused the people to resist opium smuggling, against the British aggressors. The resistance was fierce, but Qing had to yield Hong Kong, a part of its territory, to Britain, owing to the treachery of her ruling class.

After all, we can truly say that opium swallowed up China. Opium was the cause of the greatest disgrace\and pain the Qing dynasty left to the Chinese nation in the 19th\and 20th centuries. Even in the 1930s secret opium dealing was widespread in Manchuria. Many of the people who led hand-to-mouth existence, to say nothing of the rich\and government officials, smoked opium. Whenever I saw opium addicts looking vacantly at the world with dim eyes\and snivelling noses, I could not help recollecting the long bleeding history of our neighbour\and feeling pity for her people.

 

All the assembled units marched at gasping speed, but in vain. The members of the Anti-Japanese Association rom the company of the puppet Manchukuo army, who had been standing sentry at the wall gates, waiting for the promised signal, poured sand into the breeches of their machine-guns at the hour of relief\and withdrew rom their guard posts. Our plan of passing through the gates by stealth to destroy at a stroke the enemy in the walled town failed to work rom the very start.

Frankly speaking, at the time I thought we should give up fighting. In that situation it might be wiser to put off the battle to a later date.

However, our hatred for the enemy was too strong,\and our expectations from that battle in our plan to occupy Mt. Paektu area were too great for us to abstain rom attacking Fusong, which was drenched in blood\and close in our sights.

If our 1,800-strong force retreated even without attempting to attack, what would become of us? The public would despise us as a rabble. The great cause of the common front against the Japanese would fizzle out. The gunshots we planned to sound on Mt. Paektu might have no effect.

I called upon the commanding officers of the People’s Revolutionary Army to stand in the van in difficult situations\and lead the battle, which had been prepared with such great efforts, to victory at the risk of their lives.

The battle began after all that complexity.

 

On my attack\order, the men of the People’s Revolutionary Army seized the battery on the eastern hill in one go\and charged in the direction of Xiaonanmen. The soldiers of the anti-Japanese units also advanced towards Beimen\and Dongmen. A hand-to-hand fight occurred in the street in front of Xiaonanmen. An enemy machine-gun spat fire at our men, who were closing in at the gate. At my command post near Xiaonanmen, I was almost deafened by the cracking of a machine-gun.

The units of the People’s Revolutionary Army broke through the gate into the town with fire support rom their machine-gun company.

The breakthrough was made by the self-sacrificing efforts of my men. I received a report that Wan Shun’s unit, which had been attacking Beimen, was retreating, frightened off by the roar of enemy gunfire. I\ordered company commander Ri Tong Hak to take his company to Beimen at once to help Wan Shun’s unit.

A little later, Li Hong-bin’s men, who had been attacking Dongmen, began retreating, frustrated by the enemy’s counterattack, so that the enemy force, which had come out of Dongmen, was swarming towards Xiaonanmen.

To make matters worse, the report that Jon Kwang’s small unit had returned without raiding Wanlianghe distressed me. The River Toudao-Songhua had been flooded,\and therefore it was impossible to cross. The fear of roaring enemy gunfire was not the only reason for the retreat of Wan Shun’s unit rom Beimen. They mistook the small unit returning rom its raiding mission for an enemy reinforcement\and were afraid that they might be attacked rom front\and behind.

Wan Shun’s disarrayed attacking formation badly affected Li Hong-bin’s unit on his flank,\and the latter broke up. Jon Kwang’s belated report of his failure to perform the raiding mission had such a destructive effect on combat as a whole.

The confused battle situation had not calmed down, when the day was already breaking. The situation was becoming more\and more unfavourable as the minutes passed. Li Hong-bin came running to me.

“General,” he said, “it seems hopeless. If we waste any more time, we will be totally destroyed.”

He implied an immediate general retreat.

 

“Ah, it’s all over for me!” he cried, looking up helplessly at the grey of the morning sky.

I gripped him by the shoulder\and shouted at him, “Detachment commander, don’t be discouraged too much. We must brace up in a situation like this\and turn the misfortune into a blessing. Do you recall the saying that woe lurks in good luck,\and blessing lurks in misfortune?”

I did not say this because I had any bright idea to turn the misfortune into a blessing. I was merely reaffirming my decision to take the battle initiative by employing luring tactics as the anti-Japanese units had begun retreating.

Luring the enemy out of a walled town into a valley in an unfavourable situation to encircle it\and thereby destroy it constituted a tactical principle of guerrilla warfare. I had this alternative in mind when planning the battle. However, this kind of tactics could only be effective when applied at night.

We were poised between two choices: withdraw rom the engagement before daylight\or launch a frontal charge, unafraid of death.

Even after deciding to employ luring tactics, I hesitated about\ordering a retreat for fear of possible casualties, when a miracle happened. A thick fog suddenly covered the town\and the surrounding area\and made it impossible to see an inch ahead.

I\ordered all the unit commanders to gather the scattered soldiers\and withdraw onto the eastern hill\and the ridge of Xiaomalugou.

The enemy pursued in haste our retreating forces.

 

When we started climbing the eastern hill, I heard a gunshot rom the col under the hill. I halted with apprehension, for I remembered I had left seven\or eight women soldiers in the col to let them prepare the morning meal after the battle. The enemy believed our main force had retreated to that hill\and seemed to be attempting to forestall us, by occupying the col\and then striking my C.P.\and the main force rom both sides.

The rifle crackings at the col grew louder. Evidently the women soldiers were exchanging heavy fire with a large enemy force.

I sent out my\orderly to ascertain what was happening at the col. The\orderly returned with the answer that Comrades Kim Hwak Sil\and Kim Jong Suk were determined to hold out at any cost to ensure the security of Headquarters. I should say that my C.P. was saved by the heroic efforts of the women soldiers, who checked the enemy at the col that day. If they had failed to contain the enemy, we would have been unable to climb the hill to forestall the enemy. The women\and fourth company of the 7th regiment defended the eastern hill, braving death.

 

While fierce fighting took place for the col, the main force of the 7th regiment occupied the heights, south of the eastern hill\and lay waiting in ambush in a long line. The anti-Japanese units also secured the opposite ridge with the valley in between. Only then did the company, which had been covering the retreat of the main force, withdraw through the foggy valley, luring the enemy. The company also reached the shoulder of the hill\and lay in ambush.

 

Takahashi’s unit which had been notorious for beheading fell into a trap, which provided no escape. The outcome of the battle was now as good as decided.

The crackings of fire engagement between our soldiers on the hill\and the enemy down in the valley reverberated for some time. Takahashi’s men bravely attacked in waves as Wan Shun had said, but each of the attacking waves was repulsed, causing many deaths. Realizing that their charges had no effect, the enemy ceased fire\and lay flat at the foot of the hill awaiting the arrival of reinforcements.

I\ordered a counterattack.

 

At the melodious bugle signal, my men dashed at the enemy, mowing them down. Kim Myong Ju, a squad leader of the 7th regiment, who was nicknamed “Yanji Prison”, led the men in hand-to-hand combat.

Kim Myong Ju had been arrested in the May 30 revolt\and imprisoned in Yanji prison. He had tried to escape with other members of the underground\organization in the prison on six occasions in five years. He had killed the chief warder with an ax\and succeeded in the last attempt. He earned this nickname rom his comrades-in-arms in honour of the success.

 

He had another nickname: Chilsongja, which meant a pistol loaded with seven cartridges at a time. He had distinguished himself in seven big battles before he was wounded. His comrades coined the nickname to remember the events. He was a lion of our unit, who did not fear death.

Ryo Yong Jun, a company commander of the 8th regiment, who had given Kim Myong Ju self-sacrificing assistance in the struggle to escape rom Yanji prison, fought no less courageously than Chilsongja. They became bosom friends in the struggle.

Kim Hwak Sil, nicknamed “Woman General” of the guerrilla army, shot her machine-gun with both eyes wide open all the time. When asked why she did not close one eye, she answered that she wanted to look squarely at the ugly faces of the Japanese. She mowed down the screaming enemy with her machine-gun. She also joined in the bayonet charge that day.

The battle of Fusong also produced an anecdote about Kim Jong Suk who, with a Mauser in each of her hands, killed more than a dozen enemy soldiers by firing shots as if shooting a machine-gun.

Wan Shun’s regimental commander, who had been threatened with a Mauser because of opium, stood on a rock, commanding his unit in the rain of enemy fire. All the anti-Japanese units fully displayed their real strength that day.

Takahashi’s “crack unit” was totally destroyed in the valley. The tragic event was reported to the Kwantung Army headquarters on the morning of the same day. As I learned later rom reading the Tong-A Ilbo\and Joson Ilbo, enemy bombers with full loads of ammunition took off rom the airfield in Xinjing on a mission to support the troops in Fusong,\and enemy reinforcements left Tonghua, Huanren\and Sipingjie in great haste. The garrison force in Junggangjin was also sent to Fusong on an emergency mission.

 

Takahashi had probably sent a very exaggerated report to Kwantung Army headquarters, just as battalion commander Wen at Luozigou had done. Otherwise, why would they have sent such large reinforcements to Fusong\and make such a great commotion? Enemy forces also surged rom Linjiang, Changbai, Mengjiang\and other neighbouring counties towards Fusong to rescue Takahashi. But even these frantic efforts made at great speed were unable to rescue Takahashi rom the trap. When some of these reinforcements arrived at Fusong on the afternoon of August 17th, the outcome of the battle had already been decided.

 

As we withdrew deep into the forest after the search of the battlefield, the enemy bombers rom Xinjing blindly\dropped bombs over the gun emplacement on the eastern hill, which had been destroyed at our hands,\and over the people’s houses around the town.

 

“Commander Kim, weren’t these aircraft caught by your hypnotism?” Wan Shun said, looking up gloatingly at the madly diving bombers.

That single comment was enough to convince me that the aim of the battle had been achieved to my satisfaction.

In front of Wan Shun all the hundreds of his men, with full loads of booty on their backs, marched triumphantly, led by the regimental commander. Who would believe that these light-gaited, bright-faced men had once failed to keep the assembly hour\and had thrown the operation into chaos for lack of opium? Sounds of laughter rose continually rom their marching column.

 

“If we continue fighting in this manner, these men may give up smoking opiate,” I said to Wan Shun confidently, pointing at the men. “Won’t you forgive the regimental commander, please?”

At these words, Wan Shun’s eyes became moist.

 

“Thank you, Commander Kim. That was what I should have asked you. Your advice has forgiven us all, I believe. Now I think my men can do their bit. I will remain loyal to the united front with you, Commander Kim, like Wu Yi-cheng until the last moment of my life.”

The battle of Fusong county town, as in Dongning county town\and Luozigou was doubtlessly a momentous event, which paved the way to transforming the ideology of the officers\and men of the anti-Japanese units. They realized the taste of a united front in this battle. Practice will always give people more tangible\and stronger belief than a theory. The validity of our idea\and theory of a united front with the anti-Japanese units was proved again in the battle of Fusong county town.

This battle taught us many serious tactical lessons. I had fought many battles, but had never experienced such a changeable situation. A battle situation usually changes with the movement of the enemy. However, in the battle of Fusong an abnormal situation occurred because of our own carelessness,\and resulted in temporary confusion.

 

When an unexpected change occurs in a battle\and an obstacle results, owing to the change, the commander must cope with the situation by adopting flexible measures with an iron will, audacity\and sober judgement\and break through the difficulty with composure. I think this is an inevitable requirement for the battle against the enemy, to safeguard state interests\and in the efforts to harness nature\and transform society. To meet the changing situation skilfully\and make a prompt decision in accordance with the occasion are the major qualities, which all commanding officers must possess.

 

I consider the results of the battle of Fusong county town to be very satisfactory. To be frank, we attached greater importance to the political impact of the victory than to the military\and technical significance.

It was politically significant because we strengthened the common front with the anti-Japanese un

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