Liaoshen Campaign

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Liaoshen Campaign
Part of the Chinese Civil War
Final Attack on Jinzhou.jpg
Battle of Jinzhou.
Date 12 September 1948 – 2 November 1948
Location Manchuria
Result Decisive Communist victory
All of Manchuria falls to the Communists

Republic of China (1912–49) Republic of China

Communist Party

Commanders and leaders

Republic of China (1912–49)Chiang Kai-shek
Republic of China (1912–49)Wei Lihuang
Republic of China (1912–49)Du Yuming
Republic of China (1912–49)Fan Hanjie (POW)
Republic of China (1912–49)Liao Yaoxiang (POW)

Republic of China (1912–49)Liu Yuzhang

Lin Biao
Luo Ronghuan

Liu Yalou
550,000 700,000
Casualties and losses
~472,000 (including non-combat losses) 70,000

The Liaoshen Campaign (simplified Chinese: 辽沈战役; traditional Chinese: 遼瀋戰役; pinyin: Líaoshên Zhànyì), the abbreviation of Liaoning-Shenyang Campaign, was the first of the three major campaigns (along with Huaihai Campaign and Pingjin Campaign) launched by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) during the late stage of the Chinese Civil War. This engagement is known in the Nationalist Government as the Battle of Liaohsi (Traditional Chinese: 遼西會戰). It took place between September and November 1948 and lasted a total of 52 days. The campaign ended after the Nationalist forces suffered sweeping defeat across Jinzhou, Changchun and eventually Shenyang, leading to the capture of Manchuria by the Communist forces.


In the immediate aftermath of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Manchuria was placed under Soviet occupation. Both the Nationalists and the Communists began their expansion in the region after the Soviet withdrawal in March 1946.[1] After the winter offensive of 1947 in Manchuria, the PLA had expanded considerably, surpassing the Nationalists in total operational strength in Northeast China for the first time. By spring 1948, the Nationalist forces were isolated in Shenyang, Changchun and Jinzhou, none of which were connected to each other.[2] In addition, the PLA had control of Jingha Railway, cutting off the Nationalist supply lines to Shenyang and Changchun. Consequently, supplies for Nationalist forces in the Northeast had to be airlifted, which were largely ineffective. The Nationalist government decided to withdraw from Changchun and Shenyang if necessary, and to converge all forces in the defense of Jinzhou to prevent the PLA from entering the Shanhai Pass into the North China Plain.[3]

Communist advance (12 September – 20 October)


On 12 September 1948, the PLA launched a series of attacks along the Jingha Railway and captured Suizhong, Changli, Tashan and Yixian, controlling the area between Jinzhou and Qinhuangdao.

Chiang Kai-shek arrived in Beiping on 30 September and assembled the 39th, 62nd and 92nd Army led by Hou Jingru to reinforce Jinzhou from Huludao. On 2 October, Chiang flew to Shenyang and ordered Liao Yaoxiang to reinforce Jinzhou with the 9th Army from the west to break the encirclement attempt of Jinzhou by the CCP.[4]

By 9 October however, the CCP have amassed 250,000 troops and completed the encirclement of Jinzhou. Between 10 and 15 October, the Nationalist reinforcements for Jinzhou were decisively defeated in Tashan. On 14 October, the Communist forces launched the final assault on Jinzhou. The city was captured in the next evening, along with Nationalist commander Fan Hanjie and 80,000 Nationalist troops.[5]


Changchun had been encircled for more than five months prior to the campaign. Already weakened by starvation, the Nationalist garrison were unable to break out of the city despite of the order from Chiang Kai-shek. Following the fall of Jinzhou, the Nationalist 60th Army in Jinzhou defected to the Communist side on 17 October. Following the defection, the Nationalist New 7th Army agreed to terms of surrender on 19 October. The remaining Nationalist forces in Changchun surrendered the city to the PLA on 23 October, and Nationalist commander Zheng Dongguo became a prisoner of war.[6]

Nationalist counter-offensive (21 October – 28 October)

Battle of Heishan.


After the Nationalist forces suffered heavy losses in Jinzhou and Changchun, Chiang Kai-shek intended to stage a counteroffensive and quickly recapture Jinzhou. He ordered Liao Yaoxiang and the 9th Army Group which has been advancing from Shenyang to continue marching west and attack Jinzhou. However, Liao and other senior Nationalist officers contested this decision. On 16 October, the Nationalist high command reached a consensus and decided to attack Heishan and Dahushan instead, covering their withdrawal to Yingkou in the process. The decision was approved by Chiang, and on 21 October the 9th Army Group launched an attack on Heishan.[7]

The Communist forces successfully defended Heishan and Dahushan, and the Nationalist forces were unable to make any progress. The 9th Army Group was subsequently encircled by the main forces of the PLA and decisively defeated. Over 25,000 Nationalist soldiers had been killed in action, and Liao Yaoxing was captured by the PLA.[8][9]

Fall of Shenyang (29 October – 2 November)

The PLA began to encircle Shenyang on 29 October. As the city fell into disarray, Nationalist commander Wei Lihuang fled from Shenyang by plane on 30 October. The PLA launched the final assault on Shenyang the next morning on 1 November, and the city surrendered soon after. On 2 November, Yingkou was also captured by the Communist forces. The remaining Nationalist forces were lifted off at Huludao and withdrew from the Northeast in its entirety. The Liaoshen Campaign has now concluded.[9]


After the fall of Shenyang, the Nationalist forces in Huludao area were evacuated to Tianjin and eventually retreated to Shanghai by sea. The PLA now occupied all of Manchuria. As Manchuria was the major source of raw materials and heavy industry for the Nationalist government, the result of the campaign were influential in subsequent campaigns between the Nationalists and the Communists. The Nationalist forces suffered heavy losses in series of defeats against the Communist forces, which significantly reduced the military morale. The PLA were numerically superior for the first time since the onset of the Chinese Civil War.



  1. ^ Westad 2003, p. 36.
  2. ^ Westad 2003, p. 175.
  3. ^ Westad 2003, p. 27.
  4. ^ Tanner 2015, p. 115.
  5. ^ Tanner 2015, p. 201.
  6. ^ Tanner 2015, p. 332.
  7. ^ Tanner 2015, p. 267.
  8. ^ Westad 2003, p. 196.
  9. ^ a b Tanner 2015, p. 268.


  • Eastman, Lloyd E. (1986). The Nationalist Era in China, 1927–1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-38591-1. 
  • Koga, Yukiko (2016). Inheritance of Loss: China, Japan, and the Political Economy of Redemption After Empire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 022641213X. 
  • Lary, Diana (2015). China's Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 1107054672. 
  • Tanner, Harold M. (2015). Where Chiang Kai-shek Lost China: The Liao-Shen Campaign, 1948. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253016991. 
  • Taylor, Jay (2009). The Generalissimo. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-03338-8. 
  • Westad, Odd Arne (2003). Decisive encounters : the Chinese Civil War, 1946–1950. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4478-5. 
  • Worthing, Peter (2017). General He Yingqin: The Rise and Fall of Nationalist China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107144637. 
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