The United States Marines

                                in North China

                                 1945 - 1949


                              Henry I. Shaw, Jr.

                                Printed   1960
                                Revised   1962
                                Reprinted 1968

                       Historical Branch, G-3 Division
                       Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
                           Washington, D. C. 20380

                           DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
                           WASHINGTON, D. C. 20380


     The United States Marines in North China, 1945-1949 is a concise 
narrative of the major events which took place when Marine ground and air 
units were deployed to the Asian mainland at the close of World War II.  The 
text and appendices are based on official records, interviews with 
participants in the operations described, and reliable secondary sources.  The 
pamphlet is published for the information of Marines and others interested in 
this significant period of Marine Corps history.


                                  R. G. OWENS, JR
                          Brigadier General, U. S. Marine Corps
                              Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3


                         THE UNITED STATES MARINES IN 
                            NORTH CHINA, 1945-1949

                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                           Original    Online
                                                           Page        Page

The United States Marines In North China, 1945-1949           1           6
Notes                                                        27          32
Appendix A - Major Armed Clashes Between U.S. Marines 
 and Chinese Communists                                     A-1          35
Appendix B - Marine Casualties Incurred as a Result of 
 Attacks on Sentries, Recreation Parties, and 
 Individuals                                                B-1          37
Appendix C - Aircrew Losses Incurred by Marine 
 Squadrons in Operational Crashes in North China            C-1          38

             The United States Marines in North China, 1945-1949


                              Henry I. Shaw, Jr.

                               HOPEH OPERATIONS<1>

     The III Amphibious Corps (IIIAC) had just begun a period of intensive 
training, in preparation for the invasion of the Tokyo Plain, when the war 
ended abruptly.  Within 48 hours, a warning order had been dispatched to all 
units of the corps to be prepared to mount out for the Shanghai area about 1 
October. In anticipation of a wide variety of possible military operations, 
the training schedule was modified and accelerated.  But before a week had 
passed, Admiral Nimitz advised the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, 
Pacific (FMFPac), that tentative plans contemplated the employment of IIIAC in 
North China, to accept the surrender of Japanese troops for the Chinese 
Central Government and to supervise the repatriation of Japanese military and 
civilians.  The corps headquarters and corps troops together with the 1st 
Marine Division would occupy positions in the vicinity of Tangku, Tientsin, 
Peiping, and Chinwangtao in Hopeh Province and the 6th Marine Division (less 
the 4th Marines) would move into Tsingtao in Shantung Province.  The 1st 
Marine Aircraft Wing would move its planes and men to airfields in the 
Tsingtao, Tientsin, and Peiping areas. (See maps inside covers).  Commitment 
of the entire corps in the Shanghai region was assigned as an alternate 
mission.  Tentative plans for these operations were issued on 29 August, 
setting the mounting-out date for 15 September.  The 3d Marine Division on 
Guam and the 4th Marine Division on Maui were designated area reserve for the 

     According to plan, the Hopeh occupation force got underway first.  The 
corps embarkation order was issued on 8 September, and loading of the corps 
troops began at Guam on the 11th. Loading was completed on 19 September, and 
the IIIAC Chief of Staff, Brigadier General William A. Worton, departed by air 
with an advance party to report to Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, 
USA, commanding the China Theater (ComGenChina), at Shanghai and proceeded to 
Tientsin to prepare for the reception


of the occupation forces there.  The Commanding General, IIIAC, Major General 
Keller E. Rockey, sailed with the convoy from Guam for Okinawa the following 
day.  Here, ships carrying the troops of the 1st Marine Division (Major 
General DeWitt Peck) rendezvoused with this convoy on 24 September.  Two days 
later, corps troops and the 1st Marine Division sailed from Okinawa for the 
anchorage off Taku.

     Long before daybreak on 30 September the convoy anchored in the bay off 
the mouth of Hai River.  With dawn, as if out of nowhere, appeared a swarm of 
sampans manned by enthusiastic Chinese crews who sculled their small craft 
close to the transports to exchange mutually unintelligible badinage with the 
troops lining the rails and to trade cheap trinkets.  The aura of good-natured 
welcome continued as the Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Division, 
Brigadier General Louis R. Jones, and his staff boarded a patrol craft to lead 
a procession of LCTs carrying men of the 7th Marines over Taku bar and into 
the narrow channel that led upriver to the Tangku docks.  It was the start of 
a daylong victory parade.  "Until long after dark groups of Chinese lined the 
river banks, gathered...outside their...houses to cheer each boatload of 

     At 1030, General Jones set foot on the docks and met with Chinese port 
officials to complete arrangements initiated by General Worton's advance party 
for the reception, transportation, and billeting of the Marines.  The 3d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, entrained for Tientsin, while 2/7 bivouacked in the 
warehouse area beside the docks. Elements of the IIIAC Shore Brigade, built 
around the 7th Service Regiment, also disembarked on the 30th to start 
unloading cargo.  On every hand, the "Chinese military and civilian 
authorities were cooperative in the extreme,"<3> and no trouble of any kind 
was experienced with the Japanese garrison.

     The tumultuous welcome that greeted 3/7 when it arrived in Tientsin was 
repeated and reinforced the following day as the 1st Marines and Division 
Headquarters Battalion reached the city by rail and road.  The streets were 
packed with Chinese of all classes and European expatriates.  Trucks and 
marching troops literally had to force their way through the happy, 
flag-waving throngs to reach their assigned billets in the former 
International Concessions.  To many of the men, it seemed that their welcome 
must have out shone and out shouted "any welcome given to troops any time, any 
place, and anywhere during the war."<4>


     The first element of IIIAC to come in direct contact with the highly 
explosive internal situation prevailing in North China was the 1st Battalion, 
7th Marines.  On 1 October, 1/7, reinforced, under Lieutenant Colonel John J. 
Gormley, sailed from Taku for the all-weather port of Chinwangtao, rail 
terminal for the shipment of coal from the Tangshan mining area. Former      
Japanese puppet troops occupying the town were engaged in desultory fighting 
with Communist regulars and guerrillas who held most of the surrounding 
countryside.  Because, as Gormley reported, "all factions, civilian and 
military, were anxious to cooperate with our troops,"<5> the Marine commander 
was able to stop the fighting.  He ordered the puppet forces withdrawn from 
their perimeter defenses and replaced them with his own men.  The local 
Communist commander disclaimed any designs on the area without full American 
cooperation.  The aura of universal trust was short-lived, however, and before 
the month was out, the Communists were regularly sabotaging rail lines leading 
into the city and firing on Marine-guarded trains.

     Chinwangtao was only one of many spots where the Marines, in pursuing 
their assigned mission in China, clashed with the Communists.  While open 
warfare was avoided by both sides, the area of intermittent conflict spread as 
IIIAC expanded its hold on key cities and vital routes of communication.  The 
first Marine casualties were incurred in a fire fight on the Tientsin-Peiping 

     On 5 October, reconnaissance parties proceeding from Tientsin to Peiping 
found 36 unguarded roadblocks scattered along the route; jeeps were the only 
vehicles that could get through. The following day a detail of engineers, 
guarded by a rifle platoon, was sent out to clear the road.  About 22 miles 
northwest of Tientsin, the engineer group was fired on by an estimated 40-50 
Chinese troops, later identified as Communists, and forced to withdraw.  Three 
Marines were wounded.  On 7 October, the engineers went out again, this time 
with a rifle company of the 1st Marines, a platoon of tanks, and carrier air 
cover, and the road was cleared without incident.  A convoy of 95 vehicles of 
the 5th Marines reached Peiping to join men of the regiment who arrived by 
rail.  Regular road patrols were established to insure that the 
Tientsin-Peiping road stayed open.

     The harassing tactics of the communist Eighth Route Army and its 
affiliated partisans were all too familiar to the Japanese troops who had 
guarded the areas being taken over by the


Marines were was strong evidence to indicate that the Japanese had a great 
deal of respect, even fear, of the Communists,<6> and that they were quite 
willing to get free of incessant forays, ambushes, and sabotage.  General 
Rockey, acting for the Chinese Central Government, accepted the surrender of 
the 50,000 Japanese troops in the Tientsin-Tangku-Chinwangtao area at Tientsin 
on 6 October.  Four days later, the Japanese forces in the Peiping area, an 
additional 50,000 men, surrendered to the Eleventh War Area commander, General 
Lien Chung Sun, Chiang Kai-shek's personal representative in North China. Most 
of the Japanese were concentrated in centrally located bivouac and barrack 
areas to await repatriation, but those who held outlying posts were given 
orders to remain on guard duty until relieved by recognized Central Government 
forces or U. S. Marines.

      Many of the puppet troops transferred their allegiance to Chiang 
Kai-shek after the defeat of Japan, and most units were accepted and given 
official status. Other formations remained unrecognized or went over to the 
Communists.  In addition, the Chiang-appointed mayors of Tientsin and Peiping 
organized their own armed supporters to back up their powers.  It was a 
chaotic situation and one that pointed up the need for stability, which was 
provided by the potential strength of the Marines.

     By 30 October, all major 1st Division units were ashore and established 
in their initial areas of responsibility. The Peiping Group, headed by General 
Jones and built around the 5th Marines (less 1/5) reinforced by 2/11, was 
established in the Legation Quarter of the ancient capital, with a rifle 
company at each of the city's two airfields. The 1st and 11th Marines 
controlled Tientsin, its airfield, and its approaches. The Taku-Tangku area 
was garrisoned by 1/5, and the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 7th Marines held 
strongpoints along the Tangku-Chinwangtao railroad.  Corps troops were 
stationed mainly in Tientsin, with necessary supporting detachments in the 
field with division units.

     Headquarters of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, under Major General Claude 
E. Larkin, was set up on 6 October at the French Arsenal near the airfield 
east of Tientsin.  Headquarters and service squadrons of the wing and its air 
groups (MAGs) arrived in China with their equipment throughout the month, and 
flight echelons staged into their assigned firelds at Tsingtao, Peiping, and 
Tientsin as facilities were readied for them.  A destructive typhoon which 
raged over Okinawa from 9-11 October damaged much of the heavy equipment of 
wing units stopping there en route


and materially hampered Marine air operations in North China during the 
remainder of the year.

     The first extensive use of the airfields under Marine control was made by 
the Chinese Central Government. The 50,000 men comprising the Ninety-second 
and Ninety-fourth Chinese Nationalist Armies (CNA) were airlifted to Peiping 
from Central and South China by the U. S. Fourteenth Air Force between 6-29 
October.  The Ninety-second CNA remained in the Peiping area while the 
Ninety-fourth moved to Tientsin, Tangku, Tangshan, and Chinwangtao.  One cause 
of gradually increasing anti-Marine activity on the part of the Communists is 
found in the IIIAC war diary's statement that "movement of these armies was 
facilitated by our forces, in that lines of communication, which made it 
possible, were kept open by our guards."<7>

     The scope of Marine rail guard activities increased rapidly after the 
initial deployment of the 1st Division.  First, intermediate stations between 
the principal rail centers were occupied, then outposts were established at 
strategic points, and, finally, vital coal and supply trains were guarded.  
Chinese track repair gangs, fair game for the guerrillas, needed protection if 
the railroad was to be kept operating. The presence of CNA forces may have 
made the Eighth Route Army more wary, but it did not prevent frequent 
Communist incursions into areas where destruction of roadbed and bridges would 
be most damaging.  The III Corps' first month in China revealed the pattern of 
future months which stretched into years.  Set down in the midst of a 
fratricidal war with ambiguous instructions to abstain from active 
participation while "cooperating" with Central Government forces,<8> the 
Marines walked a tightrope to maintain the illusion of friendly neutrality.

     Although the enormous task of processing over 630,000 Japanese military 
and civilian repatriates in North China fell mostly to IIIAC, the process was 
well started by the end of October and promised to proceed smoothly so long as 
the Japanese could reach American-controlled areas. However, the disciplined 
strength and tactical and technical know-how of the Japanese appealed to both 
sides in the Chinese civil war and hard-pressed local Communist and 
Nationalist commanders were wont to detain or attempt to recruit their former 
enemies as allies.  This situation revealed itself first at Tsingtao, 
destination of the 6th Marine Division, and the planned repatriation port of 
more than half of the Japanese in North China.


                             SHANTUNG OPERATIONS<9>

     Immediately after he accepted the surrender of Japanese forces in the 
Tientsin area, General Rockey left for Chefoo to investigate conditions at 
that port, the objective of the 29th Marines of the 6th Division.  Communist 
troops had already seized the city from the Japanese, installed a party 
official as mayor, and were not sympathetic to the request from Admiral Thomas 
C. Kinkaid, Commander of the Seventh Fleet, that they withdraw before the 
Marines landed.  After a conference on 7 October with the Communist mayor, who 
asked for withdrawal terms incompatible with IIIAC's mission,<10> Vice Admiral 
Daniel E. Barbey, Commander, VII Amphibious Force, recommended that the 
landing be temporarily postponed.  Rockey concurred in a decision to delay the 
Chefoo operation, and on 9 October, ComGenChina was informed by Rockey that 
the 29th Marines would land at Tsingtao with the rest of the 6th Division.

     An advance party under Colonel William N. Best, 6th Division 
Ouartermaster, preceded the main convoy to Tsingtao to make arrangements for 
billeting troops and to obtain information regarding the local civil, 
military, and political situation. The division commander, Major General 
Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., and a small staff transferred to the destroyer escort 
NEWMAN en route to the target. They wished to arrive on 10 October, a day 
ahead of the scheduled landing, to confer with Chinese officials.

     During the early afternoon of 11 October, the first of the division's 
transports docked at Tsingtao's wharfs.  The 6th Reconnaissance Company, 
landing first, moved through the crowded streets, lined with a cheering, 
flag-waving throng, to secure Tsangkou airfield, about 10 miles from the city.  
The observation planes of VMO-6 were launched from the escort carrier 
BOUGAINVILLE the next day and landed safely at the field. The remainder of the 
division landed amidst the bin of enthusiastic applause during the next few 
days. By 16 October, all troops were ashore and established in their assigned 

     Local adherents of Chiang Kai-shek, backed up by armed irregulars 
recognized by the Central Government, were running Tsingtao.  The Communists, 
who held most of Shantung Province, controlled the countryside to the 
outskirts of Tsangkou airfield.  The Japanese and their puppet troops held the 
rail route


leading into the interior.  Until CNA units arrived at Tsingtao in sufficient 
strength to replace the Japanese, there was little hope of rapid fulfillment 
of repatriation plans.

     On 13 October, an emissary from the Communist commander in Shantung 
arrived in Tsingtao with a letter for General Shepherd. In it was an offer to 
cooperate with the Marines "to destroy the remaining Japanese military forces 
and the rest of the traitor army (puppet army)."  In order to "best establish 
local peace and order," Communist troops would be sent into Tsingtao with the 
expectation that the Marines would not oppose them.  The Communist leader 
noted that CNA troops were preparing to enter Tsingtao with American help for 
the express purpose of attacking the Communists.  In the resultant "open 
conflict," he hoped "that our both armies continue to maintain friendly 

     The Communist emmissary was soon sent back with the general's short and 
pointed reply.  Shepherd stated that the mission of the 6th Division was a 
peaceful one and did not involve the destruction of either the Japanese or 
their puppets; there would be no such cooperation as the Communist commander 
desired.  He further indicated that it was neither necessary nor desirable 
that the Communists enter Tsingtao as the city was peaceful and should 
disorders of any form arise his "division of well-trained combat veterans 
"would be" entirely capable of coping with the situation."  As to the 
preparations for CNA troops to enter Tsingtao, such matters were entirely 
beyond the control of 6th Division Headquarters, however, Shepherd stated his 
own credo in regard to the civil war:

        On my own behalf, however, I can say without reservation that 
     it is my determination that the sixth Marine Division will in no 
     way assist any Chinese group in conflict against another.<12>

     The formal Japanese surrender of the Tsingtao garrison, about 10,000 men, 
took place on the city's racecourse on 25 October before the assembled troops 
of the 6th Division.  General Shepherd and Lieutenant General Chen Pao-tsang, 
Chiang's representative, took the surrender in the name of the Chinese Central 
Government.  The Marines assumed responsibility for disarming, subsisting, and 
repatriating those Japanese within their area of control.

     Clashes between the communists and the Japanese and former


puppet troops were frequent in Shantung during October, and at General 
Shepherd's request, planes of MAG-32 started regular reconnaissance patrols on 
26 October to check the status of the rail lines and their Japanese guards and 
to insure adequate warning of any Communist move against Tsingtao.

     The flight echelon of MAG-32 reached Tsingtao on 21 October, and it was 
followed soon after the planes of MAG-12 staging up from the Philippines to 
their base at Peiping.  By the end of October, elements of all the wing's 
major units had landed in China.  MAGs-12 and -24 were established at 
Peiping's airfields and MAGs-25 and -32 were stationed at Tsingtao together 
with the wing's personnel reception and processing center.<13> Major General 
Louis E. Woods arrived in Tientsin on 31 October to assume command of the wing 
from General Larkin.

     The first few weeks of the 6th Division's occupation of Tsingtao revealed 
a situation somewhat different from that which faced IIIAC in the 
Peiping-Tientsin-Chinwangtao area.   The Chinese Central Government's 
effective strength in Hopeh Province gained rapidly during October, due in 
large part to the Marines' control of the major cities and lines of 
communication between them.  CNA troops there soon reached a position of 
strength in relation to their Communist opponents.  In Shantung, however, the 
Communists held most of the coastline and vast areas of the interior prior to 
the arrival of the Marines, and had withdrawn most of their troops from 
Central China to make a fight for this vital province.  Because the Communists 
respected the implied threat of the 6th Division's air and ground strength, 
backed up by the guns and planes of the Seventh Fleet, Tsingtao remained a 
Nationalist island in a Communist sea.

     The primary mission of the Marines in China, as expressed by the 
Secretary of the Navy, was "to accomplish the disarmament of the Japanese and 
to provide for their repatriation up to the point where General Wedemeyer 
considers that the Chinese Nationalist government troops can alone carry out 
this mission."<14>  This mission could not be fulfilled in Shantung until CNA 
forces could gain control of the interior and release the Japanese from their 
vital guard duties.  The prospect of a short tour of duty in China, at least 
by the Marine forces in Tsingtao, was not good.


                            MARINE TROOP REDUCTION<15>

     IIIAC's disposition in Hopeh placed it squarely astride the route to 
Manchuria along which Chiang Kai-shek moved to regain the rich northeastern 
provinces.  After U. S. ships landed the Thirteenth CNA at Chinwangtao on 
30-31 October, a steady stream of Manchuria-bound troops funnelled into North 
China through the Marine-controlled area.  Although the Nationalists had a 
relatively safe point of debarkation and protected rail-heads, their lifeline 
into Manchuria was tenuous.  From the Great Wall to Mukden and on to 
Changchun, every mile of track, every bridge, and every switch was the 
potential target of Communist attacks.  As the American military attache at 
Chungking reported, "the principal weapon of the Communists in their efforts 
to prevent the Central Government from occupying areas dominated by them is 
the effectiveness of Communist troops against the railroads in those 

     General Wedemeyer, in his capacity as military advisor to Chiang 
Kai-shek, had warned the Chinese leader early in November that he should first 
consolidate his grip on North China before attempting to occupy Manchuria.  
Despite the Nationalists' marked superiority in men and equipment, Wedemeyer 
felt that the CNA had neither adequate forces nor transport to insure 
appropriate logistic support and security for the long and vulnerable supply 
route.  The effective suppression of Communist guerrilla activity in North 
China required the commitment of overwhelmingly superior CNA forces.  When 
large numbers of these troops were drained off for the Manchuria drive, vast 
areas in the interior of Shantung and Hopeh fell to Communist control.  The 
Nationalists' premature Manchuria operation contained within it the seeds of 
Nationalist destruction, and they ripened in a few short and bloody years into 
total defeat.

     On both political and moral grounds, it was impossible for the United 
States to take a decisive military role in another nation's civil war, and the 
average Marine on postwar duty in China found himself an uneasy spectator or 
sometimes an unwilling participant in a war which he little understood and 
could not prevent.  A steady procession of "incidents" involving Marine guards 
and raiding Communists continued until the last Marine cleared Tsingtao in the 
spring of 1949.<17>


     The explosive nature of the situation is best illustrated by an incident 
that occurred soon after the Marines arrived in China.  On 14 November, a 
train carrying General Peck and an inspection party was fired on near Kuyeh, 
while en route from Tangshan to Chinwangtao.  A desultory fire fight lasting 
several hours ensued between the Marine train guards and Communist forces 
located around a village some 500 yards north of the track. General Rockey 
approved Peck's request for a bombing mission against the village, but only 
simulated strafing runs were made because of the danger to innocent civilians 
and the lack of a clearly definable target of hostile troops.  Late in the 
afternoon, a company from the 7th Marines, sent to aid the beleaguered train, 
found that the opposing forces had melted away.  Peck's train returned to 
Kuyeh after dark.

     Next day, the general's train was halted in the same general area by a 
break in the track, and again it was taken under fire.  During the night, some 
400 yards of the rail line had been torn up.  Several Chinese section hands, 
attempting to repair the break, were killed or injured by mines planted near 
the right of way, but there were no Marine casualties.   Since repair work was 
expected to take two days, General Peck returned to Tangshan, headquarters of 
the 7th Marines, where he boarded a light observation plane and continued to 
Chinwangtao by air.

     The Kuyeh incident demonstrated the need for strong CNA offensive action 
to clear the railroad line, and to arrange this, General Peck was authorized 
to deal directly with Lieutenant General Tu Li-ming, Commanding General, 
Northeast China Command.  The Nationalist leader agreed to drive back the 
Communist guerrillas and to avoid Marine positions while he was doing so, in 
order to keep American forces out of the conflict.  The Marines, in turn, 
would help release Nationalist troops for this operation by assuming 
responsibility for guarding all rail bridges over 100 meters long between 
Tangku and Chinwangtao, a distance of approximately 135 miles.

     Even before this new task was added to the extensive security commitments 
of the 7th Marines, IIIAC had recognized the need for additional troops in the 
regiment's zone of responsibility, which extended from Tangku to Chinwangtao, 
and on 30 October, the corps had ordered the 6th Marine Division to provide a 
reinforced infantry battalion for duty in the Chinwangtao area.  General 
Shepherd sent the 1st Battalion, 29th Marines, from Tsingtao on 6 November, 
and it landed the next day at Chinwagtao.  There, these 6th Division men were 
placed under operational control of the 7th Marines. They soon were plagued by


incidents involving blown tracks, train derailments, and ambushes, which were 
to be the lot of Marines on duty in the midst of the Chinese civil war.  While 
American casualties amounted to only a handful compared to the toll from an 
island assault, these China dangers were particularly distasteful because the 
war was supposed to be over, and the slowly rising casualty list loomed large 
in the eyes of the men who manned the isolated guard posts and rode the dusty 
coal trains.

     China duty had been coveted in the prewar Marine Corps, and, for the men 
who garrisoned the major cities in 1945, a China assignment still had much of 
that appeal.  Marine commanders set up a system to rotate troops on dangerous 
and exposed outposts, and to grant liberty in Peiping and Tientsin to the men 
on rail guard duty.  Rest from the constant strain of watching and waiting was 
brief, however; in a few days, the Marines again were standing guard along the 
rail line.

     Coal shipments guarded by the 1st Marine Division were vital to the 
Chinese people.  General Wedemeyer pointed out that it was "a military 
necessity that at least 100,000 tons of coal reach Shanghai every month,"<18> 
and his orders to IIIAC were to insure that this coal reached its destination.   
Without it, the public utilities and factories needed to keep the economy of 
that key city alive would cease to operate, and the lack of coal would mean 
starvation for thousands of people. Perhaps the average Marine standing his 
turn on guard and huddling against the biting winter wind that blew down out 
of the Mongolian desert was not aware of this, but his superiors were, and 
they lived under the constant pressure of that knowledge.

     The United States was determined to try every feasible measure to achieve 
peace in China and promote the country's economic recovery.  On 27 November 
1945, President Truman appointed General of the Army George C. Marshall as his 
Special Representative in China to attempt mediation of the differences 
between the Nationalists and Communists.  Truman said it was "in the most 
vital interest of the United States and all the United Nations that the people 
of China overlook no opportunity to adjust their internal differences promptly 
by methods of peaceful negotiation."<19>

     The immediate Chinese reaction to the President's appointment was very 
favorable, and it was evident that a man of Marshall's unquestioned personal 
integrity was essential in


she role of mediator.  But the basic problem proved insoluble. either the 
Nationalists nor the Communists could overcome their distrust of each other:

        The National Government was convinced that the U.S.S.R. had 
     obstructed the efforts of the National Government to assume control 
     over Manchuria in spite of the provisions of the Sino-Soviet Treaty
     of August 1945 and that the Chinese Communists were tools of the
     U.S.S.R. The Chinese Communist Party was suspicious of the
     Kuomintang and believed that its aim was the destruction of the 
     Chinese Communist Party.  The Government leaders were unwilling 
     to permit Communist participation in the Government until the 
     Communists had given up their armed forces, while the Communists 
     believed that to do so without guarantees of their legal political 
     status would end in their destruction.<20>

     General Marshall managed some cooperation early in his mission, when both 
groups agreed to meet with him and form a top-level negotiating Committee of 
Three.  Chiang Kai-shek appointed General Chang Chun as his representative, 
and Mao Tse-tung, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, appointed Chou 
En-lai.  The committee held its first formal session at Chungking on 7 January 
1946, and three days later, agreed on a cease-fire to take effect at midnight 
on 13 January.  The terms of the agreement were simple.  Both sides were to 
cease hostilities and halt all troop movements except those of the CNA forces 
into and within Manchuria, where Chinese sovereignty was being reasserted.  An 
Executive Headquarters would be established at Peiping following the Committee 
of Three pattern to supervise the cease-fire agreement, and operational teams 
including a Nationalist, a Communist, and an American officer, would go into 
the field to insure compliance with cease-fire provisions.  It was made clear, 
however, that American participation in the work of the Executive Headquarters 
would be restricted to aiding the Chinese members.  In effect, each American 
team member acted as did General Marshall, but in a greatly restricted 

     For IIIAC the cease-fire agreement meant a lessening of the hit-and-run 
guerrilla attacks, but there was never a time in the following months when a 
guard detachment could consider itself safe.  By March, political and military 
differences had again split China wide open and, although a pretense at 
negotiation continued, clashes increased between Communists and


Nationalists.  Neither side was blameless in the covert renewal of 
hostilities, but the major share of blame fell to the Communists, who 
definitely violated the 10 January agreement in wholesale manner in March and 
April by moving troops from Shansi and Hopeh into Manchuria.  With the 
assistance of the Soviet occupation forces, which conveniently withdrew when 
Chinese Communists arrived to take over, and which left large stockpiles of 
Japanese weapons and munitions behind, Mao Tse-tung managed to strengthen 
considerably his military position during the respite gained by the 

     At the same time that the Communists built up strength for the 
forthcoming show-down campaign and the Nationalists reinforced their 
Manchurian armies, Marine units in China were hit by the severe postwar 
reduction of America's troop strength.  By December 1945, thousands of men in 
the III Amphibious Corps were eligible to return to the States under the point 
discharge and rotation plan, and increasing numbers would become eligible in 
each month of the new year.  Although some replacements (low point men and 
regulars) were available from Marine units disbanding elsewhere in the 
Pacific, or from the United States, this number did not meet the minimum 
requirements of the units remaining in China.

     In the first quarter of 1946, substantial reductions in the number of 
Marines in China were made and many veteran units were deactivated. Approval 
for IIIAC to disband the 6th Marine Division was received from General 
Wedemeyer on 13 December 1945.  The division would shrink into a reinforced 
brigade, with its infantry component organized around the skeletonized 4th 
Marines, whose headquarters was then in Japan. On 24 December, General 
Shepherd, commander of the division since its formation on Guadalcanal in 
September 1944, turned over his command to Major General Archie B. Howard, and 
returned to the United States.

     January brought the end to one major Marine responsibility in North 
China.  Arrangements were completed to turn over custody of remaining Japanese 
personnel and equipment and the responsibility for Japanese subsistence and 
repatriation to the CNA. The actual transfer was well underway.  To pursue 
their operations in North China and Manchuria, the Nationalists needed the 
large stores of Japanese munitions held under Marine guard, but as a matter of 
American policy, General Wedemeyer had refused this materiel to the CNA unless 
the Central Government assumed complete responsibility for the Japanese.  The 
Marines, however, were still to play a prominent part in repatriation 


Wedemeyer directed that American forces in the Ghina Theater furnish 
supervisory assistance in processing, staging, and loading out the 
repatriates.  In addition, Marines would continue to furnish guard details for 
American-manned repatriation ships. Approximately 300,000 Japanese, both 
military personnel and civilians, remained in North China at the end of 
January 1946.

     On 14 February, IIIAC issued its Operation Plan 1-46 which noted that 
"incident" to the turnover of responsibility for Japanese prisoners of war and 
civilians together with all their supplies, equipment, and repatriation to 
Chinese authorities, the work load of this Corps has been materially 
reduced."<21>  The plan outlined the scope of the postwar reorganization of 
IIIAC and directed immediate action to release eligible personnel in order to 
assist in the demobilization of the Marine Corps.  It was expected that the 
necessary reorganization and redeployment would be effected in February and 
March.  Shipping to return 12,000 Marines to the United States was scheduled 
to arrive in China during the latter month.

     In addition to the deactivation of the 6th Marine Division, the plan 
called for a reduction and regrouping of headquarters and service troops at 
all levels of command, a disbanding of 1/29 and the third battalion of each 
infantry regiment, and deactivation of the last lettered battery of each 
artillery battalion within the 1st Marine Division.  The 4th Marines, backbone 
of the proposed brigade at Tsingtao, would be the only infantry regiment in 
the Marine Corps to retain the World War II organization of three rifle 
battalions.  The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing was to return the headquarters and 
service squadrons of MAG-12, as well as VMF(N)-541 and VMTB-l34 to the United 
States, and to turn over control of the south airfield at Peiping to the Army 
Air Forces units supporting the Executive Headquarters.

     By the end of March, this reorganization had taken place at Tsingtao, and 
on 1 April 1946, the remaining elements of the 6th Marine Division became the 
3d Marine brigade, consisting of headquarters, service, medical, and artillery 
battalions in addition to the 4th Marines.<22>  On 17 April, Brigadier General 
William T. Clement relieved General Howard as brigade commander.  The 1st 
Marine Division completed its last ordered deactivation on 15 April, and the 
III Amphibious Corps staff and units were pared down to skeleton strength.

     The personnel situation of IIIAC was still far from ideal, however, even 
though its operational commitments had been drastically cut.  By mid-April, 
nearly all Marines who had taken part


in the original movement of China had been sent home or were being processed 
for return.  Except for a relatively small number of regular officers and NCOs 
with combat experience, the majority of IIIAC was composed of men fresh from 
boot camp. The tremendous public pressure to release combat veterans and other 
men eligible for discharge had been responsible for severe restrictions on the 
length and scope of both recruit and advanced training.  Many of the thousands 
of Marines who arrived in China late in 1945 and in the early months of 1946 
were badly in need of training in even the most basic military subjects.  To 
meet this serious problem, IIIAC set up a comprehensive program which provided 
for corps, division, and regimental schools in needed specialties, and 
established extensive unit training in basic military subjects.  Since the 
corps continued to be heavily committed during this transition period, a large 
part of this schooling was accomplished by on-the-job training.

     On 1 May, the China Theater was deactivated and most of the residual 
functions were assumed by the Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces in China 
(Lieutenant General Alvin C. Gillem, Jr.).  Operational control of Marine 
forces reverted to the Commander, Seventh Fleet, and III Amphibious Corps was 
directed to contribute to the fleet's mission "to support the foreign policy 
of the United States in China."<23>  With the exception of security guard for 
coal shipments from the Tangshan area, Marines had accomplished most of their 
original missions, such as the repatriation of Japanese.  The primary 
remaining function for the Marine garrison forces was to provide "security of 
areas occupied by, or necessary for the support of, United States 
installations, property, and personnel."<24>  General Rockey was also directed 
to maintain liaison with the Peiping Executive Headquarters for the seventh 

     Although not stated in IIIAC's instructions implied was directive that 
the corps give all assistance possible to the United Nations' efforts to ease 
China's economic distress resulting from her long years of war.  The United 
States was the strongest supporter of the United Nations Relief and 
Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) which was set up to distribute food, 
clothing, and other needs to the victims of World War II.  China was allotted 
more of these supplied than any other country. Considerable numbers of UNRRA 
personnel, many of them Americans, arrived in China after November 1945 to 
administer the program, and they added substantially to the security burdens 
of Marine forces.  Since political considerations were secondary to the needs 
of the people, UNRRA operated in both Nationalist and


Communist-controlled territory.  At General Marshall's suggestion, the Marine 
commanders at Tsingtao participated in the early arrangements for delivery of 
relief supplies to Communist areas in an effort to foster better understanding 
between the Marines and the Communists.  But these efforts brought about no 
significant improvement in the Communist attitude, and the constant round of 
harassing attacks continued.

     The progress of reorganization and reduction of Marine forces continued 
after the IIIAC came under control of the Seventh Fleet.  During May and June, 
both MAG-25 and MAG-32 returned to the States, leaving the Headquarters of the 
1st Wing, with attached transport and observation squadrons and the fighter 
squadrons of MAG-24, to execute Marine air commitments.  On 10 June, at 
Tsingtao, the headquarters and supporting troops of the 3d Brigade merged with 
those of the 4th Marines.  III Corps headquarters was also deactivated on 10 
June, and most of the corps staff was reassigned similar duties on the 1st 
Division staff. Corps headquarters and service-type units were disbanded.  
Excess staff officers and other personnel were either reassigned or returned 
to the United States.

     The resulting organization, with a total authorized strength of 24,252, 
received the task force designation of Marine Forces, China.  It included the 
1st Marine Aircraft Wing and 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), with the 4th 
Marines (Reinforced) attached. General Rockey assumed command of both the task 
force and the division.

     By the end of June, the number of Marines in North China had been cut to 
less than half the original strength committed in September 1945, and there 
was every prospect that the reduction would continue.  Unfortunately, there 
was no corresponding decrease in the number of incidents involving the 
Communists and Marine train guards and outposts.  After an initial interval of 
relative calm following Marshall's cease-fire arrangement, the tempo of the 
harassing attacks mounted.  On 7 July, the Chinese Communist Party issued a 
manifesto bitterly attacking the United States' policy toward China and its 
support of the Central Government.  Following this propaganda outburst, two 
serious incidents indicated that the Marines were going to bear the brunt of 
this Communist displeasure.

     In one instance, on 13 July, the Communists ambushed and captured seven 
Marine bridge guards in an area about 15 miles from Peitaiho, while the men 
were attempting to procure ice for


their detachment mess from a nearby village.  Strong Marine and CNA patrols 
combed the area, but were unable to locate the men.  After an Executive 
Headquarters field team conducted extensive negotiations with the local 
Communist command, the Marines were released unharmed on 24 July; but as a 
price for setting them free, the Communists demanded an apology for what they 
called unlawful entry into the "liberated area." U. S. authorities answered 
with a strong protest.

     Five days after the release of these Marines, the second incident 
occurred in another area of the 1st Division's zone. A routine motor patrol of 
1 officer and 40 enlisted men was escorting six supply trucks from Tientsin to 
Peiping when it was ambushed near the village of Anping by a strong force of 
uniformed Chinese armed with automatic weapons, rifles, and hand grenades.  
The lieutenant commanding the escort was killed in the first burst of enemy 
fire, and a fight which lasted for four hours ensued.  An air-supported relief 
column rushed out from Tientsin, but arrived on the scene too late to trap the 
ambush party.  Three Marines were killed and 12 wounded in the fire fight; one 
man later died of wounds.  Two others were injured when a jeep, returning to 
Tientsin for aid, turned over.

     This was by far the most serious clash that had occurred between Marines 
and the Communists up to that time.  A specially selected fact-finding team 
from the Executive Headquarters in Peiping, formed at the specific request of 
Chiang Kai-shek and Chou En-lai, investigated the incident.  Communist 
delaying tactics and vicious misrepresentations finally caused General 
Marshall to instruct the United States team personnel to withdraw and submit 
their report to him.  In essence this report stated:

          ...that a Communist force had ambushed the motor convoy of 
     Executive Headquarters and UNRRA supplies escorted by a United 
     States Marine unit, that it had killed three Marines and wounded 12 
     others and that no National Government troops were present or 
     involved in the incident.

     The deliberate Communist ambush was additional proof that the chances for 
peace in China were nonexistent.  Without regard to their truce agreements, 
both sides initiated hostilities wherever the military situation seemed to 
favor them, and "each side took the stand with General Marshall that the other 
was provoking the fighting and could not be trusted to go through


with an agreement."<26>  A general war was in progress by the end of August, 
despite every reasonable effort by American representatives to stop it, and 
Marines were placed in the unenviable position of remaining neutral in the 
middle of a battlefield.

                              MARINE WITHDRAWAL<27>

     Marine commitments in the Tsingtao area were never as extensive as those 
which the 1st Division encountered in Hopeh Province, and by midsummer of 
1946, even the mission of supervisory assistance to the Nationalists in 
repatriation activities had ended.  Except for those Japanese held prisoner in 
Siberian labor camps by the Soviets and a small number of technicians retained 
by the Chinese, all Japanese had been returned to their home islands.  The 
primary responsibility of the 4th Marines became that of supporting American 
naval activities at Tsingtao, which was an important base for the Seventh 
Fleet and, in addition, the location of the training center where Nationalist 
crews were taught to man and maintain the ships transferred to the Central 
Government under United States naval aid programs.

     On 1 August 1946, the 1st Division directed that Marine forces in 
Tsingtao be reduced to a reinforced infantry battalion and that the 4th 
Marines (Reinforced) return to the United States.  The regiment's 3d Battalion 
was to remain in China as a separate unit under operational control of the 
Commander, Naval Port Facilities, Tsingtao.  The 12th Service battalion would 
also remain to continue its role of furnishing logistic support for Marine 
activities in Tsingtao.<28>  A company of 3/4 was assigned to guard 1st Wing 
facilities at Tsangkou airfield, from which VMO-6 would operate as a 
reconnaissance and liaison agency for 3/4.

     The last elements of the 4th Marines embarked on 3 September, and on the 
same date, 3/4 came under direct naval command.  The deletion of the 4th 
Marines from the 1st Division troop list came at the same time that the last 
Marines were being withdrawn from guard duty on the coal trains operating 
between Tangshan and Chinwangtao.  During August and early September, the CNA 
finally assumed all responsibility for the security of the coal fields and the 
rail line between Peiping and Chinwangtao. After 6 September, Marine guards 
were assigned solely to those trains which transported American personnel and 


     The ending of the dangerous coal train and bridge guard assignments 
enabled General Rockey to pull in his outposts and concentrate the 1st 
Division units in the major cities.  The 7th Marines, reinforced by 3/11, 
moved to barracks in the Peitaiho-Chinwangtao area while division headquarters 
and special troops, the 1st Marines, and the rest of the 11th Marines set up 
in Tientsin.  The 5th Marines Regimental Headquarters and its 2d Battalion 
moved to Peiping as the security force for American property and personnel at 
the Executive Headquarters, and 1/5, with a detachment of the 7th Service 
Regiment, provided the guard and operated the fort and supply installation in 
the Taku-Tangku area.  After its regrouping, the division was better able to 
coordinate and vigorously prosecute a new training program aimed at a goal of 
maintaining its units in a high state of combat readiness.

     General Rockey, who as senior Marine commander in China had borne the 
major share of responsibility for avoiding open conflict throughout a 
protracted period of Communist harassing attacks, was finally relieved on 18 
September 1946.  The new commander of Marine Forces, China and the 1st Marine 
Division was Major General Samuel L. Howard, a veteran "China-hand."<29>  Soon 
after Howard took over, he received convincing proof that the Marine 
withdrawal from the rail line had not brought an end to Communist attacks.  
The munitions stored at the 1st Division ammunition supply point (ASP) at Hsin 
Ho, six miles northwest of Tangku, proved to be an irresistible magnet for 
raiding parties.

     On the night of 3-4 October, a Communist company broke into the Hsin Ho 
dump to steal ammunition.  A sentry from the 1/5 guard detachment discovered 
the attempt and exchanged fire with the Communists.  A rescue party from the 
main guard which entrucked to come to his aid was forced to dismount and build 
up a firing line when a fusillade of small arms fire struck the truck, 
wounding the driver.  Before additional reinforcements could arrive from 
Tangku, the Communists disappeared into the darkness.  An investigation in the 
morning revealed that several cases of ammunition had been stolen from one of 
the storage tents near the compound's fence; most of these were recovered, 
however, in the immediate dump area.  Papers found on the body of a man killed 
in the raid and the statement of another, who was wounded and abandoned in the 
hasty withdrawal, established conclusively that the attack had been made by an 
organized Communist unit.

     The civil war was not going well for the Communists in the fall of 1946, 
and they emitted a constant stream of


vilification and accusations which placed the blame for their predicament on 
American aid to the Nationalists.  General Marshall, who was the personal 
target of much of this political abuse, was still willing to continue in his 
role as mediator, but could get no honest cooperation from either side.  The 
Nationalists, flushed by temporary successes in Manchuria and North China, 
were striving for an overwhelming position of strength from which they could 
dictate peace terms.  The Communists, fighting for their political existence, 
felt that they could not afford to negotiate from weakness.  Both Mao Tse-tung 
and the top American observers realized that the Nationalists were becoming 
seriously overextended in both a military and an economic sense; so much of 
the gross production of Nationalist China was being diverted to the war effort 
that General Marshall warned Chiang Kai-shek that economic collapse was 
inevitable before military victory could be achieved.  Most of the members of 
the Nationalist hierachy, convinced that the CNA would prevail, refused to 
accept the fact that immediate peace was essential to their political 

     Although truce negotiations dragged on fitfully through the remainder of 
1946, there was seldom evidence of good faith on the part of either 
belligerent and the days of the Marshall mission were numbered.  On 6 January 
1947, President Truman, acting on Marshall's recommendation, ordered the 
general to return to Washington<30> and directed that American participation 
in Peiping's Executive Headquarters be ended.  This action also had the effect 
of ending a stormy era of Marine involvement in China's internal strife since:

        ..."it" made it possible to withdraw all United States Marines 
     from North China, except for a guard contingent at Tsingtao, the 
     location of the United States Naval Training Group engaged in 
     training Chinese naval personnel.<31>

     By this time, many Marine units already had orders to new duty 
assignments dictated by postwar commitments of the division and the wing.  In 
December, the 7th Marines, with 3/11 and 4/11 attached, departed for the 
United States, and the depleted 11th Marines and the 1st Tank Battalion (less 
Companies B and C) sailed for Guam.  Two squadrons of the 1st Wing, VMF(N)-533 
and VMF-115, were transferred to the Hawaiian islands, and VMO-6 was released 
from the Tsingtao garrison for return to the States. The 1st Marines assumed 
all guard duties in Tientsin from the relieved units and sent two companies to 
Chinwangtao as a security detachment for the rear echelon of the 7th Marines, 
which was


directed to dispose of all surplus government property in the 
Peitaiho-Chinwangtao area.  At the end of January, all units had cleared China 
and passed to operational control of FMFPac. The remaining elements of Marine 
Forces, China, were not long in following.

     On 1 April 1947, operation plans were issued detailing the steps to be 
taken in the withdrawal and redeployment from China of the 1st Marine Division 
and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.  Most of the wing units, including headquarters 
and MAG-24, were slated for Guam as was the 5th Marines, which was to join the 
1st Marine Brigade then forming on the island.  Division headquarters 
battalion and division troops (less reinforcing detachments to infantry units) 
were to return to the United States to the amphibious training base at Camp 
Pendleton.  A rear echelon of about 1,900 men, composed of the 7th Service 
Regiment with 1/1 as security troops, was to remain temporarily at Tientsin to 
load out heavy equipment and dispose of surplus government property.  When the 
division headquarters left China, the rear echelon would come under 
operational control of the Marine commander at Tsingtao.

     A new command, Fleet Marine Force, Western Pacific (FMFWesPac), was to be 
activated at Tsingtao on 1 May under Brigadier General Omar T. Pfeiffer.  Its 
principal mission was to be security of United States naval training 
activities.  In addition to the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines already at Tsingtao, 
the 1st Marines (less 1/1) was to join the garrison, the regimental 
headquarters and service company being redesignated Headquarters Company, 
FMFWesPac.  Air support for Pfeiffer's command would be provided by the three 
squadrons remaining at Tsingtao (Air FMFWesPac): the wing service squadron, 
VMF-211, and VMR-153. The composition of FMFWesPac after all necessary 
transfers were completed would be: Headquarters and Service Battalion; 3/4; 
2/1; 12th Service Battalion; AirFMFWesPac.<32>

     The last major clash between Marines of the 1st Division and Communist 
forces occurred shortly after the withdrawal plans were issued.  The scene was 
again the isolated ammunition supply point at Hsin Ho, and the attack gave 
every evidence of being well planned and coordinated.  On the night of 4-5 
April, an enemy raiding party with an estimated strength of 350 men made 
simultaneous attacks at three widely separated points on the dump perimeter.  
Five Marine sentries were killed in the initial exchange of fire, and the 
Communists broke into the ammunition storage area.  Eight more Marines were 
wounded as the heavily


outnumbered guard detachment attempted to contain and beat back the 
penetration.  In accordance with their carefully laid plan, the Communists 
brought up horse-drawn carts and pack animals to haul away captured ammunition 
and set up an ambush on the road to Tangku, anticipating the fact that the 
commanding officer of 1/5 would immediately dispatch reinforcements to Hsin 
Ho.  The lead vehicle of the Company C rescue column was disabled by land 
mines, and heavy fire forced the Marines to dismount and engage the ambush 
party, which closed to grenade range before it was finally driven off.  Using 
their preponderance of strength at the supply point and the time advantage 
gained by their ambush, the Communists were able to disengage and withdraw 
from the scene of action, covering their retreat by blowing up two of the 
ammunition stockpiles.  Although Company C pursued the raiders through the 
darkness for more than eight miles it was unable to reestablish contact, and 
dawn air searches revealed that the Communist force had disappeared into the 
maze of fields, villages, and brush, that dotted the countryside north of 
Tangku. The bodies of six uniformed Communists were found at Hsin Ho, and it 
was estimated that 20-30 wounded men had been carried away during the 
withdrawal.  Marine casualties totaled 5 dead and 16 wounded in the worst 
incident in the history of strained relations between the Marines and the 
Communists.<33>  On 21 April, the division turned over the ASP and its 
contents to Nationalist troops as part of the American program of postwar 
lend-lease aid.

     During April and May, units of the 5th Marines and the 1st Wing loaded 
out and sailed for Guam, and the 1st Marines (less 1/1) joined FMFWesPac at 
Tsingtao.  Marine activities were terminated at Peiping, Tangku, and 
Chinwangtao.  The remaining elements of the division not assigned to the rear 
echelon embarked in June, and on the 21st, the division command post closed in 
Tientsin and opened in the USS RENVILLE.  The 1st Marine Division, now little 
more than a skeleton outfit of headquarters and service troops, had ended 21 
months of quasi-war with the Chinese Communists.

     After June 1947, the mission of protecting American lives and property in 
China fell to General Pfeiffer's forces at Tsingtao.  On orders from the 
Commander, Naval Forces, Western Pacific, successor to Seventh Fleet, 
FMFWesPac was to have an infantry battalion ready at all times to be 
air-transported to Shanghai, Nanking, or Tientsin where most American 
nationals were located.  Surprise alerts and practice air lifts were a 
constant feature of the Marine training program thereafter.


     FMFWesPac was an unusual command in the sense that it functioned 
simultaneously as a naval base guard detachment and a major FMF air-ground 
team.  Coupled with instruction and practice in interior guard duties was a 
program of individual training and small unit combat exercises designed to 
prepare for the possibility of Communist attacks on Tsingtao and to meet the 
continuing requirement that a FMF unit be ready for amphibious operations.  
Reinforcements in the form of landing parties from ships of the fleet were 
regularly instructed in infantry tactics by the Marines, and periodically the 
two battalions, organized as battalion landing teams,<34> boarded ship to 
participate in landing exercises with fleet units.

     Tsingtao became the only Marine duty station in China on 1 September 1947 
when the rear echelon of the 1st Division cleared Tientsin and left for the 
United States.  A month later, the ground units of FMFWesPac were all 
redesignated and reorganized under the new "J" Tables of Organization which 
were aimed at making the most efficient use of the limited manpower available.  
Most of the reinforcing elements of Pfeiffer's command became detached 
companies or platoons of the separate battalions of the 1st Marine Division.  
The infantry battalions assumed the names, battle honors, and traditions of 
regiments: 2/1 was redesignated the 1st Marines and 3/4 the 3d Marines.

     All types of combat training sought to give both officers and men 
experience in handling the problems of larger units, even though a great deal 
of this practice dealt with woefully under strength and often "paper" 
organizations.  The Marine Corps reorganization in autumn of 1947 obviously 
had many shortcomings, but it attempted to cope with the budgetary and 
personnel restrictions of the period, and to keep in being units whose combat 
tradition and reputation were an invaluable morale factor.

     Military training and guard duty filled only a portion of the Tsingtao 
garrison's time during the next year.  Liberty in the Chinese city was 
generously granted, an extensive recreation program was implemented, and 
off-duty educational activities, both through local studies and by 
correspondence, were encouraged.  A considerable number of dependents were 
permitted to come out from the States in keeping with a postwar policy of 
reuniting service families wherever possible.  Duty at Tsingtao was much like 
that at any overseas station, but there was one critical difference.  The 
fighting between the Nationalists and Communists grew steadily more violent 
and bitter and the possibility of Marine involvement was always present.



     In the fall of 1948, the economic and military collapse of the 
Nationalists, predicted by Wedemeyer, Marshall, and a host of other qualified 
observers, came about in Manchuria.  In a few short months, the Communists 
captured vast quantities of munitions and absorbed thousands of defecting 
Nationalist troops who had lost all desire to fight.  In the cities of South 
and Central China, the pauperized populace, led by agitators, became 
increasingly more dissatisfied with its lot of continuous war and gave strong 
evidence that it would accept any change which promised peace.  By December, 
the ultimate success of the Communists was so obvious that the Director of the 
American Military Advisory Group of Nanking, Major General David Barr, USA, 
told his superiors at the Pentagon that:

        Only a policy of unlimited United States aid including the 
     immediate employment of United States armed forces to block the 
     southern advance of the Communists, which I emphatically do not 
     recommend, would enable the Nationalist Government to maintain a 
     foothold in southern China against a determined Communist advance... 
     The complete defeat of the Nationalist inevitable.<35>

     The safety of many Americans and nationals of friendly foreign powers was 
imperiled by the steady Communist advance into North China.  In November, the 
State Department had ordered their evacuation, and to meet the need for 
security troops in Shanghai, port for the Yangtze Valley and an announced 
Communist objective, the Secretary of the Navy ordered the 9th Marines 
(actually a reinforced battalion) to embark for China. The unit left Guam on 
28 November, staged through Tsingtao where evacuation plans were coordinated 
with FMFWesPac, and arrived at Shanghai on 16 December.

     FMFWesPac was under orders to withdraw from China once its evacuation 
mission was completed. While civilians were sent directly to the States or 
transshipped to Shanghai for further movement, essential Marine Corps and Navy 
equipment was loaded out and the vanguard of the garrison boarded ship.  
VMF-211, which was to fly fighter cover for the evacuation, completed carrier 
qualification flights on 21 January and reported to the CVE Rendova.  The rest 
of AirFMFWesPac had departed Tsingtao by 1 February.  With the exception of 
Company C, 3d Marines, quartered ashore to patrol the harbor area, all 
elements of FMFWesPac were afloat by 3 February.  Headquarters and service 
troops and the 1st Marines (Reinforced)<36> left China on


8 February to rejoin the 1st Division, leaving the 3d Marines and 9th Marines 
to continue evacuation operations.

     For more than a month, the 3d Marines remained afloat in Tsingtao harbor, 
while the Communist drive gained momentum against disintegrating Nationalist 
opposition.  On 17 March, the 3d Marines, less Company C, sailed to Shanghai 
to take over the mission of the 9th Marines, which left for the United States 
at the end of the month.<37)  While the battalion stayed on board ship at 
Shanghai, the Communists reached their Yangtze valley objectives, crossed the 
river, and on 24 April, occupied the Nationalist capital at Nanking.  On the 
28th, the 3d Marines left Shanghai for Tsingtao, pausing there for a few days 
before it left for the states.  On 6 May, the 3d sailed, leaving Company C as 
a cruiser-borne reinforcement for Naval Forces, Western Pacific.  A relief for 
this company, C of the 7th Marines, arrived at Tsingtao on 14 May to take over 
the watch, and the last element of the 3d Marines departed.  In less than a 
month, the 7th Marines company was also on its way home.  The possibility of 
landing American troops in China without precipitating costly fighting was now 
remote, and the American fleet stood off from the Communist coast.

     As an instrument of American policy, the Marines were first committed to 
assist in the repatriation of more than a half million Japanese and to help 
the Chinese Central Government reestablish its sovereignty over occupied 
territory. Ordered to avoid involvement in the civil strife but to defend 
themselves if attacked, "the Marines were the balance of order"<38> in North 
China, while they controlled the vital coastal cities and lines of 
communication.  They reinforced General Marshall's attempt to secure peace, 
and when this failed, were given their traditional role as protectors of 
American lives, interests, property in China.

     After postwar demobilization drastically cut American troop strength, the 
skeletal Marine units strung out along Hopeh's rail lines invited Communist 
harassing attacks.  Even after the rail guard duty ended and the Marines 
concentrated their forces, the communists occasionally tested the defenses 
with minor success.  When the last Marine garrison was set up at Tsingtao, the 
combination of infantry and air, backed up by guns of the fleet, proved a 
sufficient deterrent, and the port city remained inviolate even though the 
Communists controlled most of Shantung Province.


     When the defeat of the Nationalist armies forced an American withdrawal, 
the Marines provided a security force that insured the escape of hundreds of 
foreign nationals who might otherwise have ended up in Communist prisons.  
Faced with a round of trying and often, dangerous assignments during the 
postwar years of China duty, when their full fighting power was always held in 
check, the Marines acquitted themselves well.  The Communists, concerned 
solely with their drive to conquer China, did not choose to meet the Marines 
head on.  Once they were secure in their control of the mainland, however, the 
time of that encounter was not long delayed.  In November 1950, they met the 
Marines again, this time in full-scale battle, in the rugged hills of North 



(1)  Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from: 
     IIIAC WarDs (War Diaries), Aug-Sep45; 1st MarDiv WarDs, Sep-Oct45; 1st 
     MAW WarDs, Sep-Oct45.  Unless otherwise noted, all material cited is 
     located in the Historical Archives, Historical Branch, G-3, HQMC.

(2)  Eyewitness account quoted in George McMillan, "The Old Breed: A History 
     of the First Marine Division in World War II," (Washington: Infantry 
     Journal Press, 1949), p. 428.

(3)  1st MarDiv WarD, Sep45, p. 2.

(4)  Quoted in McMillan,  "op. cit.," p. 428.

(5)  1st MarDiv WarD, Oct45, p. 2.

(6)  Col Charles W. Harrison interview by HistBr, G-3, HQMC, dtd 15Nov55.

(7)  IIIAC WarD, Oct45, p. 5.

(8)  IIIAC OPlan 26-45, dtd 1Sep45, App I to IIIAC WarD, Sep45.

(9)  Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from: 
     IIIAC WarDs, Sep-Oct45; 6th MarDiv WarDs, Sep-Oct45; 1st MAW WarD, Oct45.

(10) The mayor's terms were: (1) Advance information of the time or landing; 
     (2) No CNA troops to accompany the Marines; (3) No change in the city 

(11) 6th MarDiv WarD, Oct45, Encl A.

(12) "Ibid.," Encl B.  General Worton, Chief of Staff, IIIAC, received a 
     similar emissary in Tientsin in mid-October. An offer to share control of 
     Tientsin with the Communists was refused.  Harrison interview, "op. cit."

(13) Because of its location, Tsangkou airfield was a major staging stop for 
     most transports en route to Tientsin and Peiping from South China or 
     bases in the Pacific.   As a result, and because Tsingtao was an 
     all-weather port, the wing service squadron established a personnel 
     center for all wing operations at Tsangkou, taking over the functions or 
     Marine Air Depot Squadron 1.

(14) James V. Forrestal, "The Forrestal Diaries", Walter Millis, ed. (New 
     York: The Viking Press, 1951), p. 108


(15) Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from: 
     IIIAC WarDs, Nov45-Jul46 1st MarDiv WarDs, Nov45-Mar46; 1st MAW WarDs, 
     Nov45-Ju146; 3d MarBrig WarDs, Apr-May46; 4th Mar WarDs, Jun-Jul46; U. S. 
     Dept of State, "United States Relations with China" (Washington, 1949), 
     hereafter "State Dept Rept."

(16) "State Dept Rept," p. 110.

(17) See summary of incidents at the end of this article, Appendices A and B.

(18) IIIAC SpecO No. 226-45, dtd 6Dec45, in IIIAC WarD, Dec45.

(19) "State Dept Rept," p. 133.

(20) "Ibid.," p. 136.

(21) IIIAC OPlan 1-46, dtd 14Feb46, in IIIAC WarD, Feb46.

(22) The Medical Battalion, 3d Marine Brigade, was formally activated on 8 
     April 1946.

(23) IIIAC OPlan 2-46, dtd 1May46, Annex C, in IIIAC WarD, Apr46.

(24) "Ibid".

(25) "State Dept Rept", p. 173n.

(26) "Ibid.," p. 178.

(27) Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from: 1st 
     MarDiv WarDs, Aug46-Jun47; 1st MAW WarDs, Aug46-Apr47; FMFWesPac WarDs, 
     May47-Jan48; AirFMFWesPac WarDs, May47-Feb48; FMFWesPac G-1, G-2,G-3, 
     G-4, and Air 5-3 Repts, Mar48-Jan49, variously dated and incomplete (HQMC 
     S&C Files); 3d Mar S-3 PeriodicRepts Nos. 1 and 2, Feb-Mar49 (HQMC S&C 
     Files); Unit Muster Rolls, Nov48-May49 (Unit Diary Sect, Pers Dept, 

(28) The 12th Service Battalion remained under operational control of the 
     senior Marine supply echelon in China, the 7th Service Regiment at 

(29) General Howard, who spent three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner, 
     had commanded the 4th Marines in China just prior to the outbreak of the 
     war and led the regiment during the defense of the Philippines.


(30) On 7 January 1947, General Marshall was appointed Secretary of State.

(31) Forrestal, "op. cit.," p. 219.

(32) The 12th Service Battalion and AirFMFWesPac were attached for operational 
     control only; administrative control remained with 7th Service Regiment 
     and 1st MAW respectively.

(33) 1st MarDiv G-2 PeriodicRept No. 52, dtd 8Apr47, Encl A.  Convincing 
     evidence that this attack was long in preparation was furnished by the 
     discovery on the body of a Communist of a copy of the dump's guard roster 
     for 29 January 1947.

(34) As there was no organic artillery unit assigned to FMFWesPac, one rifle 
     company in each battalion received an augmentation of artillerymen to 
     provide a provisional firing battery, and a small artillery staff section 
     was added to Headquarters Company, FMFWesPac.

(35) "State Dept Rept," p. 336.

(36) Company B, 3d Marines, was attached to the 1st Marines on 29 January 

(37) Company C, 9th Marines, including one platoon on security guard at the U. 
     S. Embassy in Nanking, was transferred to the 3d Marines on 28 March 1949 
     and redesignated Company B, 3d Marines.

(38) Forrestal, "op. cit.," p. 179.


                                  Appendix A
                          Major Armed Clashes Between
                     U. S. Marines and Chinese Communists

                           October 1945 - May 1947

                             Marine       Communist
Date      Location          KIA  WIA      KIA  WIA        Remarks

 6Oct45   Tientsin-               3       unk  unk     Ambush of road recon-
          Peiping Road                                 naissance party by
                                                       an estimated 40-50

18Oct45   Langfang-          -    -        6   unk     Ambush of train by
          Peiping rail-                                force of unknown
          road                                         strength.

 2Nov45   Village 3 miles    -    -        1   unk     Motor patrol attacked 
          north of Tientsin                            by group of irregulars

14-       Kuyeh vicinity     -    -       unk  unk     CG, 1stMarDiv inspec-
15Nov45   on railroad                                  tion train fired on
                                                       by force of unknown

 8Jan46   Bridge near        -    -       unk  unk     Bridge guard attacked
          Anshan                                       by 25-30 irregulars.

16Apr46   Bridge near        -    -       unk  unk     Bridge guard attacked
          Lutai                                        by irregulars of un-
                                                       known strength.

 5May46  Bridge near         -    1       unk  unk     Bridge guard attacked
         Hanku                                         by force of unknown
                                                       strength with mortars.                                   

21May46  Village 10          1    1        2   unk     Reconnaissance party
         miles south of                                attacked by 50-75 
         Tientsin                                      irregular troops.

1Jun46   Bridge near         -    -        5   unk     Force of unknown
         Peitaiho                                      strength attacked
                                                       bridge guard.

26Jul46  Anping between      -    -       unk  unk     Motor patrol attacked
         Tientsin and                                  by group of unknown
         Peiping                                       strength.


29Jul46  Apring between      4   11        12  unk     Motor convoy attacked
         Tientsin and                                  by group of about 300 

 5Aug46  Hsin-Ho ASP near    -    -       unk  unk     Fire fight with Com-
         Tangku                                        munist raiding party.

 9Aug46  Railroad 2 miles    -    -       unk   4      Coal train derailed
         north of Lntai                        est     and ambushed by an 
                                                       estimated 50 troops.

12Aug46  Hsin-Ho ASP near    -    -       unk  unk     Fire fight with Com-
         Tangku                                        nunist raiding party.

 4Oct46  Hsin-Ho ASP near    -    1        1    1      Attack by organized
         Tangku                                        group of about 100

 4-      Hsin-Ho ASP near    5   16        6   25      Attack by two com-
 5Apr47  Tangku                                est     panies of Communists,
                                                       about 350 men.

27Aug47  North Shore         -    -       unk  unk     Landing party attempt-
         Shantung                                      ing to destroy crashed
         Peninsula                                     plane attacked by 
                                                       force of unknown

31Jan48 Tsankou              -    -       unk  unk     Patrol pinned down
        airfield                                       by fire from force of 
                                                       unknown strength.

        Totals              10   33       33*  30*     

*  Throughout this period it was customary for the attacking Communist troops 
   to carry off their casualties if it was possible.


                                  Appendix B

                  Marine Casualties Incurred as a Result of
           Attacks on Sentries, Recreation Parties, and Individuals

Date      Location                 KIA  WIA              Remarks

19Oct45  Tangshan vicinity          -    2            Jeep ambushed.
29Oct45  Peiping vicinity           -    1            Jeep ambushed.
 4Dec45  Anshan vicinity            1    1            Hunting party attacked.
 9Dec45  Tientsin vicinity          -    1            Individual on recreation
                                                      liberty attacked.
15Jan45  Tangshan vicinity          -    2            Trucks ambushed.
 7Apr46  Lutai vicinity             1    -            Hunting party attacked.
 7May46  Lutai                      -    1            Sentry attacked.
 2Jul46  Hangku                     -    1            Sentry attacked.

         Total                      2    9


                                  Appendix C

                Aircrew Losses Incurred by Marine Squadrons in
                      Operational Crashes in North China

Date             Location             Plane Type                Losses

22Oct45          Hopeh                Fighter                        1
 8Dec45          Shantung             6 Dive Bombers                10
11Dec45          Shantung             Photo-Reconnaissance           2
11Mar46          Hopeh                Fighter                        1
22Apr46          Hopeh                Fighter                        1
25Apr46          Shantung             Utility                        1
13Jun46          Hopeh                Fighter                        1
22Sep46          En route to Hawaii   Transport                      4
24May47          Hopeh                Fighter                        1

                                      Total                         22*

*  On 26 August 1948, one of an R5C transport's engines temporarily failed in 
   flight and a part of the crew bailed out over water; one man was not 


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