페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-07-03 19:33 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 9 3. Crossing the Laoyeling Mountains
3. Crossing the Laoyeling Mountains
We returned to the guerrilla base when our activities in the enemy-controlled area were over, but we had to leave Wangqing with the knapsacks still on our backs. Zhou Bao-zhong in north Manchuria sent a messenger to us, requesting our assistance.
I took his request very seriously. He was a Chinese friend\and comrade-in-arms who had fought for the common cause in close liaison with me since we had worked together on the anti-Japanese soldiers’ committee. The Luozigou battle had deepened my friendship with Zhou. He was ten years older than I. I regarded it as a noble internationalist duty to meet his request\and made hasty preparation for an expedition to north Manchuria.
One day in late October 1934, when snow was falling in large flakes, the 170-strong expeditionary force of three companies\selectedrom the soldiers in Wangqing, Hunchun\and Yanji, left Duitoulazi\and set out to cross the Laoyeling Mountains.
Nature is a mysterious force. Mountain ranges bound countries,\and divide provinces\and counties. Sometimes a mountainous barrier marks off differences in the levels of development of politics, economy\and culture.
Laoyeling is a steep mountain range that demarcates east Manchuriarom the north\and south of Manchuria, north Jiandaorom east Jiandao,\and east Jiandaorom west Jiandao. The features of the terrain on its northern\and southern slopes present a sharp contrast. The southern side is a series of steep hills,\whereas the northern side is a boundless expanse of vast plains such as can only be found in the Honam area, the southwest of Korea. Most of the people living in east Manchuria south of Laoyeling wererom North Hamgyong Province,\whereas many of those living north of Laoyeling wererom North\and South Kyongsang Provinces.
From the point of view of the level of ideological consciousness, the people in north Manchuria rather lagged behind those in east Manchuria. Consequently, the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people was also not as high as it was in east Manchuria. One day Zhou Bao-zhong confessed that the work of enlightening the north Manchurian people politically was more difficult than that of awakening the east Manchurian people. This was a serious problem faced by the north Manchurian communists in their activities. If we lightened their burden even a little, it would be conducive to the harmonious development of the revolution in northeast China.
We had planned large-scale operations in the south\and north of Manchuria, as well as in east Manchuria\and the homeland. Giving our best efforts to cooperation with neighbouring units was the policy which we had maintainedrom the very start of our struggle. This was why we considered a meeting with Ri Hong Gwang\and Ri Tong Gwang to be one of the main objectives of our march into south Manchuria\and strove hard to achieve it. Helping north Manchuria also meant helping Kim Chaek, Choi Yong Kun, Ho Hyong Sik, Ri Hak Man, Ri Kye Dong\and other Korean communists who were waging a guerrilla struggle in this area.
The expeditionary force seethed with excitementrom the very start. The prospect of a new place always arouses a rainbow-coloured fancies. What is more, the men were mostly aged 18 to 20,\and therefore most curious\and eager for adventure. As I led the unit, I felt the same pride\and joy as they did.
Butrom the moment the expeditionary force left Duitoulazi, I was haunted by an uneasy feeling, which seemed to hobble my steps. The farther awayrom the guerrilla zone we went, the more uneasy I became.
I was on my way to north Manchuria, when the guerrilla bases in east Manchuria were not yet completely freerom enemy encirclement. The long-term special peace-maintenance scheme was a massive programme of “punitive” operations which the Japanese imperialists had worked out in\order to encircle\and overcome us by means of a protracted war, after they had suffered defeat by the summer offensive of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army. The main point of this programme was to divide the year\and a halfrom September 1934 to March 1936 into three periods\and launch their offensives in places\where the public peace was comparatively secure,\and continue until they could crush the last stronghold of the people’s revolutionary army. Their scheme of encroaching siege by means of expanding their occupied area step by step over a long period of time could effectively strangle\and suffocate the revolution.
Of course, our expedition to north Manchuria would make a great breach in the Japanese army’s scheme for the siege.
An equally serious danger threatening the guerrilla zones was the ultra-Leftist anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle which was under way throughout Jiandao. In complete contradiction of the\original goal set by the east Manchurian party committee, this struggle was exploited to meet the ulterior purpose of certain ambitious elements, position seekers, chauvinists\and factionalist flunkeyists in the leadership. Their manoeuvres were disintegrating the revolutionary ranksrom within\and threatened the very existence of the guerrilla bases.
The merciless iron club of a purge campaign punished faithful\and true revolutionaries\and patriotic masses en masse every day, without discriminating friendrom foe. The majority of soldiers\and civilians in the guerrilla bases were suspected of involvement in the “Minsaengdan” case.
Worse still, the spearhead of the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle was directed against Koreans, particularly against cadres\and core elements who were working in important positions in the party, the army\and mass\organizations. The gun barrel of the purge was always aimed at the leading officials, fighters\and most active workers whom the masses had trusted\and followed. For example, Ri Yong Guk, the secretary of the Wangqing county party committee, was executed on a charge of being a “Minsaengdan” member. Commander of the Wangqing battalion Ryang Song Ryong, who was imprisoned\and accused of being a “Minsaengdan” member,\and only released when I stood surety for him, was still under surveillance. In this way, ambitious men\and schemers in Jiandao used the excuse of a purge campaign to plot against true revolutionaries. Kim Myong Gyun, the head of the military department of the county party committee,\and Ri Ung Gol, the secretary of the first district party committee, who were to be executed, on charges of being “Minsaengdan” members, escapedrom the guerrilla zone.
When late October came, heavy snow fell\and a strong wind blew in Manchuria.rom olden times the people in the north had called this wind the Siberia wind.
On the day we left Duitoulazi, too, piercingly cold wind raged as if to check our march over Laoyeling. The Laoyeling Mountains looked like an arrow fixed to a bow. The name of the mountain range can be translated as old man mountain range,\and it indicated a mountain range that was very high\and steep. We spent all day scaling it. Ri Song Rim complained frequently about the steepness of the mountain.
As we were crossing the mountains Ko Pobae encouraged our comrades greatly by displaying his talent. I have already mentioned briefly that when Tong Chang-rong was in Longjing prison, Ko picked a pocket in\order to get himself arrested by the police,\and took a chance on meeting Tong in prison to inform him of our opinion. He was extraordinarily quick with his hands, so that he could, for instance, quite easily “steal” all the money in a big market. He could have lived in luxury simply by exploiting his skill, becoming richer than a millionaire, if he had set his mind to it.
It was a mysterious yet truly laudable act for such a man to come into the mountain\and plunge into the crucible of the revolution.
However, skill with his hands was only one of his talents. His most wonderful achievements were his vocal dexterity\and comedy. Placing his hands on his lips, he could produce all kinds of sound\and he could twitch his face\and set his eyes\and lips askew. When he played such farcical tricks, even Wang De-tai, the 2nd Army Corps commander, who was very blunt\and unsociable, would burst into roars of laughter with his mouth gaping open. When he jumped about on one leg, with the other folded up, nobody could help laughing.
When he strolled about markets\and streets with a sack on his back, singing a beggar’s tune, he looked like the most stupid of men, so he was easily able to deceive the enemy.
He frequently employed this dexterity\and the art of disguise when he went to towns\and villages to sound out the enemy. For this activity he was known by the nickname Pobae (a treasure— Tr.), apparently because he was as valuable as a treasure. Few of his comrades-in-arms called him by his real name. Even I called him by his nickname. His real name was not even widely known. Some people said he was born in North Hamgyong Province\and others said he camerom South Hamgyong Province\or Kangwon Province. Ko Pobae himself did not know\where he camerom.
When asked\where he was born he would reply that he was born in a coastal village of Korea. He did not know his native land because he had come to Manchuria when he was a baby\and his parents died early. He was equal to any task because he had known bitter toil since his childhood. He could do the work of a blacksmith, a builder\or a barber, if necessary.
For some time Ko Pobae acted as a messenger between the north\and east of Manchuria. He did not talk carelessly about what he did\and\where. When his comrades asked him “What are you doing nowadays, Comrade Pobae? Are you a guerrilla?” he said yes. When they asked him “Are you an inspector?” he also said yes. He always answered such questions with such a queer smile that his comrades could not tell whether he was joking\or being serious. This was Ko’s peculiar way of keeping his duties secret.
Just as Ko Pobae followed\and respected me unconditionally, so I trusted\and loved him absolutely. When we were scaling Laoyeling, two Japanese biplanes came flying low over the peak\and then returned. Apparently the “punitive” troops who had been chasing us had informed their headquarters of the\whereabouts of our expeditionary force.
On that day unusually heavy snow fellrom morning to evening. All the mountain ridges\and valleys north of Laoyeling were covered with such deep snow that we could not distinguish one valleyrom another. To make matters worse, a strong wind blew up in the afternoon, so that even Ko Pobae, who knew the terrain as well as the front yard of his own house, was quite at a loss as to which way to go, to say nothing of others who were strangers to north Manchuria. We lost our way at a point 20 milesrom Badaohezi\and halted our march. In the mercilessly pouring snow\and severe cold my men’s eyes were fixed on my face. Ko Pobae, who had been so cheerful stood before me with stooped shoulders, as if he had committed a crime.
“Every year some travellers lose their way\and die, buried in snowdrifts on this mountain pass. Last year, seven\or eight soldiers of the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist army died on this strange mountain. Perhaps we should turn back to a village\and spend one night there until the snowstorm dies down, before resuming our march.”
He suggested this timidly, looking in irritation at the northern valleys of Laoyeling, covered with white snow.
I did not accept his suggestion, because retreat in such a case would have been utterly destructive.
“No, we cannot do that. You have nothing to be afraid of in a place\where you have worn out many shoes. This is Laoyeling, not Haerbaling\or Mudanling, so we have no other choice but to find our way here. All we have to do is to go straight towards the north, using my compass. You have nothing to fear. Brace up. Our comrades in north Manchuria are waiting for us.”
My words heartened Ko Pobae. He forced his way through the snow at the head of the column, making the sound of a motor engine with his mouth. At the sound of the engine all the men in the expeditionary force burst into laughter that reverberated across Laoyeling.
We marched until the next day\and found a small Chinese village. Hardly had we entered this village, when the “punitive” troops of the Japanese army which had been billeted on a neighbouring village attacked us by surprise. So we fought our first battle in north Manchuria.
The “punitive” troops of the Japanese army\or the puppet Manchukuo army in north Manchuria had never fought a battle with the people’s revolutionary army. Their opponents were only such rabble as local bandits\or mountain rebels who would tremble\and turn tail at the sight of the Japanese army.
The Japanese “punitive” troops, who had been accustomed to destroying their foes by simple pursuit, attacked us that day in conceit, taking us for local bandits\or mountain rebels. We quickly occupied a hill\and returned fire, dispatching a platoon to attack the enemyrom behind. The enemy was struck hard,\and quite at a loss what to do. In this battle the enemy suffered heavy casualties.
The news of this battle was spread far across north Manchuria by the enemy. They created a great commotion, saying that laogaoli units had comerom east Manchuria. “They are brilliant fighters. Who on earth commands the unit? It may be Kim Il Sung’s unit which attacked the Dongning county town.”rom that time on the newspapers reported on our unit. In those days the enemy called our guerrilla army “communist bandits”\or the communist party,\or ambiguously, the anti-Manchukuo army.
The expeditionary force won the battle, but all the villagers had taken refuge, so we found ourselves left totally without support, with no way at all of obtaining food. If we were to stay in the village until we found Zhou Bao-zhong, we had to know the enemy’s movements. But we had neither an intelligence network of our own nor any acquaintances. In such a situation it was impossible for us to take the next step. Even Ko Pobae had no knowledge of the\whereabouts of the Ningan guerrilla army. We left the village\and spent one night in an unknown valley. The next day Ko Pobae\and O Tae Song went scouting\and found Zhou Bao-zhong’s camp. In that mountain camp I met Zhou, who was under medical care, with 20 to 30 men under his command. A wound he had receivedrom a mortar shell in the Luozigou battle had festered badly\and had not healed even though months had passed.
Zhou walked out, supporting himself on a stick,\and assisted by his men. He came quite a distancerom the hut to meet us.
“As you see, I am still in bad condition,” he said, smiling sadly, raising his stick,\and then squeezed my hand tightly. “I am very happy to meet you again like this. I hope you will give me a lot of help.”
His greetings were short, but his voice\and look showed how much he expectedrom me.
My reunion with Zhou was an event which symbolized a new chapter in the history of the anti-Japanese armed struggle. This meeting marked the start of the full-scale joint struggle of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army\and the guerrilla units led by Chinese communists.
Just as we attached great importance to our cooperation with the armed forces led by the Chinese communists, so the Chinese communists in Manchuria were making every effort to implement joint operations with the armed forces led by Korean communists. When various Anti-Japanese Volunteers’ Army units such as the anti-Japanese nationalist army, the national salvation army units, the Red Spear Society\and the Broad Sword Society were formed in many places of Manchuria in opposition to Jiang Jie-shi’s policy of non-resistance after the September 18 incident,\and they challenged the Japanese aggressors, both the Korean\and Chinese communists attached great importance to a united front with them\and made great efforts to bring it about. There is no need to repeat here the great success we had achieved through tireless efforts.
After 1934 the activity of the Anti-Japanese Volunteers’ Army gradually declined. When the Japanese had stepped up their offensive, many commanders of the Anti-Japanese Volunteers’ Army had left for China proper, taking their units,\and others had surrendered\or had become bandits. Some of the nationalists like Shi Zhong-heng had converted to communism. The enemy called such units of the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist army “political bandits.”
In this situation the anti-Japanese armed struggle in Manchuria developed through the building-up of an army with a well-organized administration, through an alliance between the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army led by Korean communists\and various anti-Japanese nationalist army units under the influence of the Chinese communists.
Zhou said that the\organization of the Ningan anti-Japanese guerrilla army had not gone smoothly,\and explained in detail. The backbone of the Ningan guerrilla army consisted of the 20 anti-Japanese soldiers who had followed him when he left Luozigou.
When the eastern area bureau of Jilin Province was dissolved\and the Suining central county party committee was\organized, Zhou had taken charge of its military department\and started raising an army, with his 20 men as its backbone. The ranks had soon increased to 50 men when a unit of Korean guerrillas joined his unit. After many negotiations his unit had merged with Ping Nan-yang’s unit, which had its home base in the Erdaohezi area.
Zhou Bao-zhong had recommended Ping as the commander of the merged unit\and he had taken charge of military affairs.
Ping’s real name was Li Jing-pu. He was called Ping Nan-yang for a profound reason. Ping Nan-yang meant “pacifying the south.” In those days the Japanese aggressors were concentrated in the area south of Ningan County. Li Jing-pu intended to fight a decisive battle with the Japanese aggressors entrenched in this area. Thus his unit was named the Ping Nan-yang unit\and its commander Li Jing-pu was called Ping Nan-yang.
As this anecdote shows, he was both courageous\and patriotic. But strong in his anti-Japanese sentiment\and courageous as he was, he suffered difficulties because of his undisciplined men. This also bothered Zhou who, as the leader of the unit, held the real power over it.
When he met me, Zhou requested me to work with Ping Nan-yang in his stead.
“Ping Nan-yang is full of heroic aspirations, but he has a friendly feeling towards you Commander Kim because he was saved by a Korean communist.”
I said that, grateful as I was to him for his confidence, I felt my shoulders burdened with a heavy responsibility. Zhou said with a smile, “I believe only in your extraordinary influence, which persuaded Commander Yu\and Commander Wu.”
He was also worried about relations with the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist army units.
In Ningan County\and its vicinity there were numerous small\and large AJNA units, many of which were hostile to the communists. This was a great obstacle which the Ningan anti-Japanese guerrilla army had to remove immediately if its operations were to be successful. Daping, Sijihao, Zhanzhonghua\and Renyixia units, which made frequent appearances around the centre of Beihutou west of Dongjingcheng, were AJNA units which had once joined with Ping\and later broken with him. These units were hostile to the communists\and, worse still, the Jingan army urged them to surrender, driving an even greater wedge between these units\and the communists. It was difficult to predict what they might become in the future. Shuangshan\and Zhongyang AJNA units, which were engaged only in banditry in the northwest of Tongjingcheng, were under threatrom the Jingan army. Jiang Ai-min’s unit, the strongest of all the AJNA units, small\and large, in the Dangdaogou area, east of Ningan, was vacillating following bitter experiences during a “punitive” operation by the 13th brigade of the Japanese army.
The units under Jiang Ai-min’s command had once escaped to east Manchuria, pursued by the 13th brigade. These units had been plundering food\and had eventually applied for surrender. Our comrades had managed to dissuade themrom surrendering.
Zhou Bao-zhong said that Chai Shi-rong’s unit in Machang had become less active than before.
He complained of the results of the Zhanzhonghua incident in Ningan, which was similar to the Guan’s unit incident14 in Wangqing, saying that this mishap had prevented his unitrom working overtly. The Zhanzhonghua incident was a deplorable event which had taken place before Zhou joined with Ping. When Ping’s unit was suffering internal discord, the rebels offered wine to Ping\and his followers, then disarmed them\and fled. Ping had not even a Mauser. In an effort to re-equip the unit which now had practically nothing, Ping, together with his faithful subordinates, disarmed Zhanzhonghua unit in the Nanhutou area, which had been seeking a way to surrender. After this incident the AJNA units in north Manchuria branded the Ningan guerrilla army which was associated with the name of Ping Nan-yang as an enemy.
In the final analysis, Zhou’s request was that I should play the role of an arbitrator in improving his relations with the AJNA units so that his unit would be able to operate overtly.
Zhou was most seriously worried about the state of the revolutionary movement in the Ningan area. He was exasperated by the failure to develop the revolution in this area, as if his own inability\and negligence were responsible for it.
“From the point of view of the east Manchurian people, Ningan is a place\where no revolutionary wind is blowing. I don’t understand why the masses are in such low spirits. No matter how earnestly we appeal to the people to rise up for the revolution, they remain aloofrom us. Do you know the attitude of the peasants here? They say they can make a living even though the landlords bleed them white. They say, if they go into the mountain they can obtain a lot of land,\and why should they shed blood for the revolution when they can till the land\and earn a living?rom the point of view of the common people, the vast areas of land may make them happy, but at the moment it dulls their class consciousness. I don’t know whether we should be proud of the vast lands of north Manchuria\or regret that they exist.”
Listening to him I burst out laughing.
“Ha, ha, it is fortunate for the 400 million Chinese people that the vast land exists.”
Zhou Bao-zhong, too, laughed merrily, which smoothed the wrinklesrom his face.
“Yes, it is. The vast territory\and fertile land are a source of well-being for the whole nation. I was pointlessly worried. Comrade Kim, I have told you about my problem. Help me, please. I can only sleep at peace, if I can find a way to develop the revolution in Ningan, but I don’t know how to do it.”
I could fully sympathize with his problem. He was an able\and well-informed man, but his health was too bad for the arduous north Manchurian revolution. His festering wound prevented himrom displaying his ability fully. What is worse, he had few hardcore elements at his disposal.
In the hut in Badaohezi we spent a few days discussing ways of developing the revolution in north Manchuria. We concluded that going among the people was the solution to many difficult problems arising in the north Manchurian revolution. Awakening the people\and mobilizing them was the only way to save the north Manchurian revolutionrom stagnation. To this end, we had to conduct political work among the people\and step up the military operations of the guerrilla army. The armed ranks would be expanded in the course of fighting,\and the revolution would develop through struggle. If we remained idle\and did not fight, we could do nothing.
Without intensifying our military operations it would be impossible to improve our relations with the AJNA units\and win them over as allies\or to restore Ping Nan-yang’s image, which had been disgraced by the Zhanzhonghua incident.
We confirmed that we shared the same opinions on such matters.
When we met with Zhou in his hut, Wu Ping, the Comintern’s special representative to Manchuria, was also there,\and he showed us the six-point anti-Japanese national salvation programme which he had broughtrom Shanghai. The\original name of this document was the “Basic Programme of the Chinese People on Anti-Japanese Operations.” This document was published in the name of the National Armed Self-defence Preparatory Committee of China. It was signed by the renowned figures Song Qing-ling, Zhang Nai-qi, He Xiang-ning\and Ma Xiang-bai. Wu Ping said that the signatories to the document had automatically become members of this committee\and that thousands of people had already signed it.
The six-point programme of national salvation reflected the policy of the anti-imperialist united front which the Chinese Communist Party proposed when the Japanese imperialists were trying to occupy the north of China proper by posing as the protector of China,\and Jiang Jie-shi was starting the fifth “punitive” operation against the communist army. In the Chinese revolution, too, the communists did their best to unite\and mobilize all the national forces. I therefore considered the six-point programme as a document in season.
For 10 days we discussed these matters comprehensively with Wu Ping. As I spoke with him I learned that the Chinese communists had broken the siege of Jiang Jie-shi\and started the long march of 25 thousand ri under the banner of the northward advance against Japan, in accordance with the strategy of Mao Ze-dong. We were encouraged greatly by the fact that the Chinese revolution had gone overrom retreat, following the failure of the first civil war, to a partial offensive, consolidating on its success.
The anti-Japanese national salvation movement launched in China proper, as well as the powerful thrust of the northward advance against Japan started by the Chinese communists, would create favourable conditions for the revolutionary struggle of the Korean\and Chinese communists in the east\and in other parts of Manchuria.
Zhou Bao-zhong attached one of his platoons to our unit for joint operations. The expeditionary force left the camp at Badaohezi together with this platoon.
A few days later the first shot demonstrating the fraternal friendship\and the proletarian internationalism of the Korean\and Chinese communists rang out in Shitouhe near Lake Jingbo. The 200-strong Japanese “punitive” force which had left Beihutou after hearing about the appearance of our revolutionary army, became the target of our machineguns\and was mowed down in the middle of Lake Jingbo.
Following this battle we struck a heavy blow against a Japanese army unit in the Fangshengou area. The myth of the “invincible imperial army” which had boasted of winning battle after battle in the vast area of north Manchuria began to disintegrate. This also constituted a breakthrough in the Japanese imperialists’ plan for the siege of the guerrilla zones in east Manchuria.
The Ningan people rejoiced over our victory,\and spread the news of the laogaoli army.
Ping Nan-yang, the commander of the Ningan anti-Japanese guerrilla army, was the first to visit us when he heard the news. As we were marching toward Xiqinggouzi after a meeting with the hardcore party members of a district party\organization in Nanhutou, who later helped the Wangqing guerrilla army both materially\and morally, Ping appeared suddenly before me together with one of Zhou’s\orderlies\and repeated excitedly, “Congratulations!” without even introducing himself.
I\ordered the marching column to halt\and spoke with him informally.
“Commander Kim Il Sung, the whole of north Manchuria is buzzing with the news of your victory. My men are delighted at the news. Let me hold the hand which makes the Japanese tremble.”
Holding my hand in both of his, he looked me full in the face with an expression of friendship.
“I have received a report that some of my men in the north of Dongjingcheng have been attacked by the Jingan army. Whenever we meet the Japanese\or the Jingan army we have a hard time of it. The thought of it makes my blood boil.”
“Then, shall we try taking a turn with the Jingan army?” “Commander Kim, if we fight together with you, we will
become bolder\and learnrom you.”
As Ping requested, I accepted his 40 men into our expeditionary force\and sent Zhou’s platoon back to his camp in Badaohezi, together with the\orderly who had guided Ping to me. At the same time, I sent the soldiers of the Yanji company back to Jiandao, in view of the tense situation in east Manchuria resultingrom the enemy’s “punitive” operation.
When Ping came to me Zhou sent with him a messenger who had comerom east Manchuria. This messenger told us about the situation in Jiandao.
As we were marching through Beihutou, I\ordered the unit to leave only one set of footprints in the snow. Because we had to pass close by one of the enemy’s assembly points, we had to conceal our tracks. Leaving one set of footprints meant that everyone in a rank of ten\or a hundred men walked by stepping in the footprints of the man at the head of the column, so that it looked as if only one man had passed.
As he watched our companies teaching his soldiers how I had instructed them to march like a single man, to wipe away their trace, to disperse the unit during the march\and to billet soldiers on a village, Ping commented that the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army was well-versed in guerrilla warfare.
Together with Ping’s unit we destroyed two battalions of the Jingan army led by Lieutenant Colonel Takeutsi in the Xinanzhen area, wiped out another Jingan army unit in a joint operation with an AJNA unit under the command of Zhongyang on the River Dahailanghe,\and attacked a cavalry company\and the 6th infantry company of the Jiangan army in Laozhuanjia, Badaohezi.
As a result of these victorious battles, Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist army units which had been in difficult circumstances came one after another to join our expeditionary force.
After meeting briefly again with Zhou in his camp at Badaohezi, we crossed the River Mudan in late December, defeated a Jingan army unit\and raided a puppet Manchukuo police station in Xinanzhen at the request of Daping, Sijihao, Zhanzhonghua,\and Renyixia units of the AJNA. We launched these battles in\order once again to enlist in the Ningan guerrilla army those AJNA units which had left Ping Nan-yang. While engaging in active operations on our initiative\and dealing a succession of blows to the enemy, the Ningan guerrilla army continually expanded its ranks by enlisting AJNA units\and other people in local areas who volunteered to join the army.
“Commander Kim, I have nothing to fear now. I am convinced that we can defeat both the Japanese\and the Jingan army. I don’t know how I can repay my great debt to you,” Ping Nan-yang said confidently, squeezing my hand, on the day when we fought the Jingan army in Xinanzhen.
“Don’t mention it. I hope you will destroy as many of the enemy as possible. An army is toughened through battle, isn’t it?” I encouraged him enthusiastically, grasping his hands.
During our expedition we also met Chai Shi-rong\and Jiang Ai-min\and discussed the anti-Japanese allied front with them.
Jiang Ai-min, who had been routed by the 13th brigade of the Japanese army, went to east Manchuria to meet me\and then came back after hearing that we were fighting in north Manchuria. He appeared unbelievably cheerful\and high-spirited for a commander who lost many battles.
“To tell you the truth, I went to Wangqing to request your assistance. Fang Zhen-sheng said that he was sorry he could not help me because they were also in difficult circumstances. Commander Kim, please help me.” Jiang Ai-min spoke frankly about his problem without concern for his honour as the commander of a great unit.
Fang was a Chinese who became a regimental commander of our army after we came to north Manchuria.
We achieved a great deal through joint operations with Ping’s unit\and other large\and small AJNA units. The military\and political objectives we had set for the expedition were being achieved rather smoothly.
When we later returned to Jiandao after completing our expedition, we heard the glad news that Zhou Bao-zhong had successfully formed the 5th Army Corps of the Northeast People’s Revolutionary Army, based on the Ningan anti-Japanese guerrilla army. Most of the Chinese AJNA units which had developed a strong militant relationship with us through the fighting in deep snow in north Manchuria joined the 5th Army Corps.
Many of the cadres of the 5th Army Corps were my intimate friends in the days of the expedition to north Manchuria. Ping Nan-yang became the commander of the 1st Regiment of the 1st Division\and then was promoted to division commander; Chai Shi-rong was appointed commander of the 2nd Division before being promoted to a deputy corps commander. Jiang Ai-min was in command of the 5th Regiment of the 2nd Division. His unit had many Korean communists who had shared bloody battles with us.
On hearing the news of the formation of the 5th Army Corps, I wished Zhou success, picturing in my mind the land of Ningan, far beyond Laoyeling.
Together with the battle of Luozigou, the first expedition to north Manchuria marked our first success in frustrating the enemy’s plan for a siege,\and made a significant contribution to defeating the enemy. Our offensive routed the main force of the 13th brigade of the Japanese army\and the Jingan army unit in Ningan.
We shed much blood in north Manchuria. The political instructor of the Yanji company\and the young\orderly Ri Song Rim fell in battle. This was the bitterest loss to me.
Ri Song Rim was the first\orderly whom we had recruited on our arrival in Wangqing. He had been\orphaned by the Japanese “punitive” operation. We took him\and raised him, providing him with clothes\and teaching him to read\and write. He had grown into a quite handsome boy. He would sleep, with his arm round my neck. Ryang Song Ryong had said that a grown boy should not be indulged if he was to become a man\and that he should be sent to the Children’s Corps school.
Ri Song Rim cried\and said he would not go.
Ryang had begun to hate him since Ri began visiting the Children’s Corps school to show off the small pistol which I had given him. One day, when we were at a meeting, he had gone to the school in secret\and called out the snotty children who were playing in the yard to the willowy dike to show off his pistol. Before he had disassembled the pistol\and reassembled it, the break was over. When the teacher came into the classroom to begin the new lesson, he was surprised,\and called out the children’s name. None of the children who had gone out to see Ri’s pistol had come back.
Ryang heard this story\and suggested to me I should replace the\orderly with another man because he might cause an accident.
But I did not accept his suggestion.
Ri Song Rim had been to Onsong\and Jongsong with me,\and stayed for a long time on the mountain at the back of Tumen. He was a plucky\and courageous\orderly who was not afraid of death.
I remember he was killed in battle near Tuanshanzi. We were fiercely attackedrom two sides by the Japanese army\and the Jiangan army. As he was running to convey my\orders to Ping’s unit, he was surprised by the enemy. I saw his Mauser after he died. The magazine was empty\and there were several dead bodies of the enemy scattered around him. He made the enemy pay dearly for the blood he shed. We cried so sadly that Ping Nan-yang also cried loudly.
When I found Ri’s dead body on the field of our victory the first thing I saw in my mind’s eye was the Children’s Corps school in Wangqing which he had visited as if it were his own home. In this school he was one of many childhood friends who were inseparablerom each other.
How could I meet the Children’s Corps members of Wangqing after burying Song Rim in north Manchuria? I choked on my tears,\and there was a lump in my throat.
When my comrades-in-arms suggested we break the frozen ground\and bury him, I dissuaded themrom covering his body with frozen earth because I felt as if he would come to life again\and snuggle into my bosom. I could not turn on my heel knowing I had to leave my child\orderly in this terribly frozen land.
Ri Song Rim, who complained of the steepness of the mountain as we crossed the Laoyeling Mountains, is now lying quietly in that valley with his comrades-in-arms, listening to the song of new life ringing across the vastness of Manchuria.
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