Jurong airfield

Jurong Airfield (Chinese: 句容飞机场; pinyin: Jùróng fēijīchǎng), may also be romanized as Chuyung (Cantonese), was an air force base serving in defense of former capital city of Nanjing during the Republic of China era on the mainland.

Jurong Airfield

句容飞机场
Summary
Airport typeMilitary
ServesNanjing, Jiangsu, China
LocationJurong, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China

HistoryEdit

During the period of the Nanjing Decade, the Imperial Japanese forces staged the Manchurian Incident, which prompted the urgency of the Chinese government in strengthening the national defense of the capital city; Commandant of the Chinese Military Academy General Zhang Zhizhong first proposed to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek the building of Jurong airbase to guard Nanjing. During the construction work on Jurong Airbase, many ancient artifacts were excavated on-site, including ceramic "Korean water kettles" (water containers used by soldiers of Han Shizhong of the Song Dynasty), an ancient tomb, multiple coffins, sacrificial objects and swords. The construction of Jurong airbase was completed in 1934, requiring 610,000 cubic meters of earthwork, over 220,000 yuan in labor and miscellaneous expenses.[1][2]

On 13 August 1937, in what is known as the first battle of World War II in Asia, the Chinese Air Force had dispatched the following units to Jurong airbase in support of the Battle of Shanghai and defense of Nanjing: the 17th Pursuit Squadron, 3rd Pursuit Group composed of Boeing P-26/281 fighters, which included pilots Liu Lanqing, Qin Jiazhu, along with members of the original Chinese-American volunteer group of fighter pilots John "Buffalo" Huang and John Wong Pan-Yang, plus pilots and crew of the 28th PS, 5th PG flying the Curtiss Hawk II fighters that included Capt. Chan Kee-wong, Lt. Arthur Chin, Lt. Louie Yim-qun et al., the 8th PS, 3rd PG composed of Fiat CR.32 fighters commanded by Capt. Chen Yau-Wei, and several additional Hawk IIs and a Hawk III from the 34th Provisional PS.[3][4]

On 15 August 1937, the air raid warning net established with the help of the American advisor to the Chinese Air Force, Claire Lee Chennault, reported an incoming flight of 16-20 Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force (IJNAF) G3M twin-engined fast bombers entering the airspace over Suzhou on approach to Nanjing, whose mission was to neutralize Chinese Air Force assets at Jurong airbase; Jurong scrambled eight 17th PS P-26/281 fighters, seven 28th PS Hawk IIs, five 8th PS CR.32s, and five Hawk IIs plus a single Hawk III to engage the incoming Japanese raiders. In the ensuing confusion of the battle, Capt. John Huang Xinrui (flying the P-26/281 #1703) is credited with the first enemy aircraft of the first raid of the Battle of Nanjing to be shot down, identified as the 4th or 5th bomber of the Kisarazu Kokutai Shotai led by Lt. Yoshida. Maj. Wong would share in another G3M with Lt. Su Yongxiang. Lt. Qin Jiazhu (flying the P-26/281 #1702) would shoot down another G3M which crashed southeast of Nanjing, Capt. Cen Zeliu and Lt. Liu Qiwei shared one kill, while Capt. Chan Kee-wong shot up two G3Ms that were observed to have gone down over Nanjing; these kills may have been the shared kills made by Capt. Chen and Lt. Huang of the 8th PS and/or several other shared kills made by pilots of the 4th PG that flew in from Hangzhou Jianqiao Airbase to help defend the capital city, but erroneously credited to others while omitting Capt. Chan Kee-wong's credit for the kill(s).

As the battle for Shanghai raged on through the end of August and into September, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF) was harassing Chinese strongholds in the north of the Yellow River, specifically with the eruption of fighting at the Battle of Taiyuan, and at the southern front, in Guangdong Province by carrier aircraft of the IJNAF; the limited Chinese Air Force combat aircraft numbers now had to be further stretched thin over the massive warfront as the 28th PS, 5th PG stationed at Jurong Airbase had to be split into two smaller squadrons and detached to the Battle of Taiyuan in the north, commanded by Capt. Chan Kee-Wong, and Nanxiong and Guangzhou in the south, commanded by Lt. Arthur Chin, culminating into the Battle of Canton.The 8th and 17th squadrons of the 3rd group would remain in Jurong to continue defense of Nanjing and the continued support of the battle of Shanghai, with some members, including Capt. Cen Zeliu, soon being dispatched to the northwest at Lanzhou to train in the new Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 series of fighter aircraft.

Following the Fall of Shanghai, many soldiers of the National Revolutionary Army retreated westward across Jiangsu province in a running battle, and finally through the Jurong area where the 51st and 66th Division put up a bloody last-stand, losing Jurong on 6-8 December 1937; the capture of Jurong had placed Nanjing city within striking range of Japanese heavy artillery. Following the Fall of Nanjing, the provisional wartime capital was established at Wuhan as the war raged into 1938; many Imperial Japanese Army positions at Jurong and surrounding areas faced continued guerrilla warfare attacks by the New Fourth Army from 1938, until the end of the war in 1945.

The location of the historic Jurong airbase is described to be at 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the north gate of Jurong County, Zhenjiang City, the former provincial capital of Jiangsu, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of Nanjing, and is now the site of Jurong Polytechnic College of Agriculture and Forestry.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 小小书房记 (2020-10-05). "88年前,镇江有一座"句容飞机场",它的前世今生很传奇……_手机网易网". NetEase 網易. Retrieved 2020-12-06. 句容位于南京东大门,历史上就是兵家必争之地。1931年,“九一八”事变之后,国名党政府为防御日军自上海攻击南京,决定在句容北门外兴建机场,作为南京大校场空军基地的预备机场,专供战斗机使用。在平整土地时,挖出许多韩瓶(传说为宋韩世忠士兵所用的陶质水壶);还挖出一座古墓,有棺有椁,殉葬品中还有宝剑。当年在句容建的战斗机场,对保卫南京领空有着极其重要的战略意义。如今,战斗机机场成了著名的镇江农业科研所和省农林职业技术学院的区域,周边小区密集,环境优美,人口众多,商业发达,北部新城的快速发展指日可待!{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Cheung, 2015, p. 43.
  3. ^ Sun, Lianggang. "Shanghai 1937 – Where World War II Began". SHANGHAI 1937 - WHERE WORLD WAR II BEGAN. When did World War II begin? Most audiences will find the answer surprising; Americans might say December 7, 1941… for Europeans, it was September 1, 1939… but in China, people will tell you a different date. August 13, 1937.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Martyr Qin Jia-zhu". RoCAF @ air.mnd.gov.tw. Qin Jiazhu flying out of Jurong on a fighter escort of Hawk III fighter-attack planes to attack Japanese landings at Wusongkou, north of Shanghai, was shot down and killed over Wusongkou{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Bibliography

  • Cheung, Raymond. OSPREY AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES 126: Aces of the Republic of China Air Force. Oxford: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2015. ISBN 978 14728 05614.