New Fourth Army

The New Fourth Army (simplified Chinese: 新四军; traditional Chinese: 新四軍; pinyin: Xīn Sì Jūn) was a unit of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China established in 1937. In contrast to most of the National Revolutionary Army, it was controlled by the Communist Party of China and not by the ruling Kuomintang. The New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army were the two main communist forces from 1938. The New Fourth Army was active south of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), while the Eighth Route Army was based in Yan'an in the northwest.

New Fourth Army
Active12 October 1937 - 23 January 1947
Country Republic of China
AllegianceFlag of the Chinese Communist Party (Pre-1996).svg Communist Party of China
BranchFlag of the Republic of China Army.svg National Revolutionary Army
TypeArmy Light Infantry
RoleGuerrilla Warfare
Size10,300+ (1937) 290,000+ (1947)
Part ofCPC Central Military Commission
Nationalist Government Military Affairs Commission
Garrison/HQJiangsu, Anhui
Motto(s)Resolving the National Crisis (共赴国难)
ColorsGrey Uniform
EquipmentHanyang 88, Chiang Kai-shek rifle, Type 38 rifle, Mauser C96, Type 41 75 mm Mountain Gun
EngagementsSecond Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War
Ye Ting, Xiang Ying, Liu Shaoqi, Chen Yi, Su Yu
Arm badge (1945)N4A - NRA New Fourth Army (Communist) badge 1.svg
Arm badge (1941)N4A - NRA New Fourth Army (Communist) badge 2.svg
Headquarters of New Fourth Army in Jing County, Anhui
1940 group photo of New Fourth Army commanders who had participated in the Nanchang Uprising of 1927. Front row from left: Zhou Zikun, Yuan Guoping, Ye Ting, Chen Yi and Su Yu.

Members of the New Fourth Army wore their badges on the left arm, with "N4A" and the soldier's unit and name listed on the badge.

After the Xi'an Incident, the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong formed a United Front against Japan, which was already in control of Manchuria and pushing into North China. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident in July 1937 marked the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

In October, 1937, an announcement was made that Red Army soldiers active in the eight provinces in southern China — those who did not embark on the Long March would be part of the New Fourth Army. The New Fourth Army was established on December 25, 1937 in Hankou, moving to Nanchang on January 6, 1938, when the detachments began marching to the battlefront. At the beginning, the New Fourth Army had four detachments and one task force battalion and numbered roughly ten thousand. Later the army moved to Anhui province. Ye Ting was the army commander, Xiang Ying the deputy army commander.

It was in theory a united front against Japan but in practice there was friction between Nationalist and Communist Forces, which intensified in the fall of 1940, culminating in the New Fourth Army Incident with a full-fledged battle between the New Fourth Army and KMT National Revolutionary Army forces. Up until that point, most of the battles had been skirmishes. The army was fully reorganised after the incident and remained in active combat until the end of the war.



In 1938 the 1st, 2nd and 3rd detachments began marching to the battlefront in southern Anhui and southern Jiangsu. The 4th detachment got northern and middle Anhui . Because they were in the back of the Japanese army, the New Fourth Army didn't annihilate too much Japanese troops at first. In most of the time they were establishing base areas and recruiting new recruits. After the Japanese had occupied Wuhan, the New Fourth Army took the opportunity to set up several guerrilla camps in this area.


In 1939, the Japanese Army stopped attacking the Nationalist forces on a large scale. The New Fourth Army was restricted in the south of the Yangtze River. In order to establish a new base area, the New Fourth Army sent an advance team to Northern Jiangsu and conflicted with guerrillas of the Nationalist forces here. In the battle of Huangqiao, the New Fourth Army destroyed the 89th Army and the 33rd division of the Nationalist forces. The Eighth Route Army also dispatched the 4th detachment's 12,000 men to support the New Fourth Army.


In January 1941 the Nationalist forces surrounded and destroyed the headquarters of the New Fourth Army in retaliation. The New Fourth Army lost about 8,000 soldiers. The commander of the New Fourth Army was also caught. The Communist Party of China (CCP) made a strong protest and announced the rebuilding the New Fourth Army in northern Jiangsu. At this time the New Fourth Army had already seven divisions and 90,000 soldiers. Between 1941 and 1943, the New Fourth Army fought mainly with the Japanese and lost a part of base areas. Because of the heavy losses, the 6th Division's designation was revoked.


Because of the lack of troops, the Japanese ceased attacking the New Fourth Army actively. Several fierce battles erupted again between the New Fourth Army and the Nationalist forces. The New Fourth Army tried to establish base areas in eastern Zhejiang, Hunan and Hubei Province. When World War Two ended, they stopped operations and withdrew from base areas. At this time, the New Fourth Army already had 268,000 soldiers. In order to occupy northeast China in time, Huang Kecheng ordered the 3rd Division's 35,000 men to leave his base area.


In summer 1946, Chinese Civil War had broke out. The Nationalist forces attacked the 5th Division first and occupy its base area successfully. But in middle Jiangsu Su Yu's 1st Division miraculously won by fewer and wiped out 56,000 soldiers of the Nationalist forces. Because of the lack of troops, the 1st Division, 2nd Division, 4th Division and 7th Division had to withdraw to Shandong in winter 1946. In January 1947, the New Fourth Army and Shandong Military Region of People's Liberation Army were merged into East China Field Army.


The New Fourth Army Headquarters (Chinese: 漢口新四軍軍部舊址) was located at No. 332-352, Shengli Street, Jiang'an District, Wuhan. The site was renovated by the Wuhan People's Government in 2005.[1] On March 5, 2013, it was named a Major National Historical and Cultural Sites.[2]

Main leadershipEdit

military posts First term Second term Third term
Commander Ye Ting (叶挺, 1938.2 - 1941.1) Chen Yi (陈毅, 1941.2 - 1947.1)
Deputy Commander Xiang Ying (项英, 1938.2 - 1941.1) Zhang Yunyi (张云逸, 1941.2 - 1947.1)
Political Commissar vacancy Liu Shaoqi (刘少奇, 1941.2 - 1943.11) Rao Shushi (饶漱石, 1943.12 - 1947.1)
Chief of Staff Zhang Yunyi (张云逸, 1938.2 - 1941.1) Lai Chuanzhu (赖传珠, 1941.2 - 1945.12) Chen Shiqu (陈士渠, 1946.1 - 1947.1)
Deputy Chief of Staff Zhou Zikun (周子昆, 1938.2 - 1941.1) vacancy Yuan Zhongxi (袁仲希, 1946.1 - 1947.1)
Director of Political Department Yuan Guoping (袁国平, 1938.2 - 1941.1) Deng Zihui (邓子恢, 1941.2 - 1945.12) Shu Tong (舒同, 1946.1 - 1947.1)
Deputy Director of Political Department Deng Zihui (邓子恢, 1938.2 - 1941.1) vacancy Tang Liang(唐亮, 1946.1 - 1947.1)



Most of New Fourth Army's military officers were the guerrillas of Chinese Red Army, the others were from 8th Route Army . The experience in China's Civil War made them rapidly expand their forces in the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War . During the eight years of the war the officers with excellent abilities were usually promoted faster . For example, general Zhang Aiping was only a battalion commander of Chinese Red Army in 1934 . However he had been a division commander of New Fourth Army in 1945 .

Military EducationEdit

With the rapid expansion of the size of the army, a large number of junior officers and newly recruited students need training. Because of the lack of teachers, the Eighth Route Army dispatched hundreds of military instructors to the New Fourth Army twice. From 1940 to 1942, the New Fourth Army had built established six military training schools in the battlefield . These military training schools were collectively referred to as branches of the Anti-Japanese Military and Political University .

School principal Establishment time belongs to Number of periods Number of the Cadets
4th branch school Peng Xuefeng (彭雪枫) 1940.3 4th Division 7 5000
5th branch school Chen Yi (陈毅) 1940.11 3rd Division 4 3000
8th branch school Zhang Yunyi (张云逸) 1941.5 2nd Division 4 3000
9th branch school Su Yu (粟裕) 1942.5 1st Division 5 3300
10th branch school Li Xiannian (李先念) 1942.2 5th Division 5 5000
10th branch school (Anhui) Tan Xilin (谭希林) 1945.3 7th Division 1 600


In the first three years, New Fourth Army operated independently with the regiment as its basic unit . After the New Fourth Army Incident , the army was reorganized into seven divisions and nineteen brigades ..


In spring 1938, Chinese Red Army's surviving guerrillas in the South were organized into New Fourth Army's four detachments .

Detachment Commander Order of battle Commander Troop strength
1st Detachment Chen Yi (陈毅) 1st regiment Fu Qiutao (傅秋涛) 2300
2nd regiment Zhang Zhengkun (张正坤)
2nd Detachment Zhang Dingcheng (张鼎丞) 3rd regiment Huang Huoxing (黄火星) 1800
4th regiment Lu Sheng (卢胜)
3rd Detachment Zhang Yunyi (张云逸) 5th regiment Rao Shoukun (饶守坤) 2100
6th regiment Ye Fei (叶飞)
4th Detachment Gao Jingting (高敬亭) 7th regiment Yang Kezhi (杨克志) 3100
8th regiment Zhou Junming (周骏鸣)
9th regiment Gu Shiduo (顾士多)
Pistol regiment Zhan Huayu (詹化雨)


After the New Fourth Army Incident, New Fourth Army was rebuilt in January 1941 .

Division Commander Order of battle Commander Troop strength
1st Division Su Yu (粟裕) 1st Brigade Ye Fei (叶飞) 12000
2nd Brigade Wang Bicheng (王必成)
3rd Brigade Tao Yong (陶勇)
2nd Division Zhang Yunyi (张云逸) 4th Brigade Liang Congxue (梁从学) 18000
5th Brigade Cheng Jun (成钧)
6th Brigade Tan Xilin (谭希林)
3rd Division Huang Kecheng (黄克诚) 7th Brigade Peng Mingzhi (彭明治) 20000
8th Brigade Tian Shourao (田守饶)
9th Brigade Zhang Aipin (张爱萍)
4th Division Peng Xuefeng (彭雪枫) 10th Brigade Liu Zhen (刘震) 15000
11th Brigade Teng Haiqing (腾海清)
12th Brigade Tan Youlin (谭友林)
5th Division Li Xiannian (李先念) 13th Brigade Zhou Zhijian (周志坚) 14000
14th Brigade Lou Houfu (罗厚福)
15th Brigade Wang Haishan (王海山)
6th Division Tan Zhenlin (谭震林) 16th Brigade Luo Zhongyi (罗忠毅) 8000
18th Brigade Jiang Weiqing (江渭清)
7th Division Zhang Dingcheng (张鼎丞) 19th Brigade Sun Zhongde (孙仲德) 3000
Others Independent Brigade Liang Xingchu (梁兴初) 1000


By the end of World War II, the New Fourth Army had grown to 268,000 men .

Division Commander Order of battle Commander Troop strength
Jiangsu and Zhejiang Military Region Su Yu (粟裕) 1st Detachment Wang Bicheng (王必成) 26000
2nd Detachment He Kexi (何克希)
3rd Detachment Tao Yong (陶勇)
4th Detachment Liao Zhengguo (廖政国)
1st Military Subarea Zhong Guochu (钟国楚)
2nd Military Subarea Chen Liping (陈立平)
3rd Military Subarea He Minxue (贺敏学)
middle Jiangsu Military Region Guan Wenwei (管文蔚) 1st Military Subarea Huang Yifeng (黄逸峰) 11000
3rd Military Subarea Chen Yusheng (陈玉生)
4th Military Subarea Lu Sheng (卢胜)
5th Military Subarea Wei Yongyi (韦永义)
6th Military Subarea Bao Houchang (包厚昌)
Teaching Brigade Liu Fei (刘飞)
2nd Division
Southern The Huai River Military Region
Luo Binghui (罗炳辉) 4th Brigade Liang Congxue (梁从学) 40000
5th Brigade Cheng Jun (成钧)
6th Brigade Chen Qingxian (陈庆先)
Eastern Route Military Subarea Bi Zhanyun (毕占云)
3rd Division
Northern Jiangsu Military Region
Huang Kecheng (黄克诚) 7th Brigade Peng Mingzhi (彭明治) 50000
8th Brigade Zhang Tianyun (张天云)
10th Brigade Liu Zhen (刘震)
Independent Brigade Qin Jian (覃健)
4th Division
Northern Huai River Military Region
Zhang Aipin (张爱萍) 9th Brigade Teng Haiqing (腾海清) 50000
11th Brigade Zhang Zhen (张震)
12th Brigade Rao Zijian (饶子健)
5th Division
Hubei, Anhui and Henan Military Region
Li Xiannian (李先念) 13th Brigade Zhou Zhijian (周志坚) 47000
1st Military Subarea Wang Haishan (吴诚忠)
2nd Military Subarea Wang Haishan (王海山)
3rd Military Subarea He Bingyan (贺炳炎)
4th Military Subarea Han Dongshan (韩东山)
5th Military Subarea Wu Shian (吴世安)
6th Military Subarea Chen Gang (陈刚)
Middle Henan Military Subarea Chen Xianrui (陈先瑞)
Southern Hubei Military Subarea Zhang Tixue (张体学)
Hubei and Anhui Command Huang Shide (黄世德)
7th Division
Wanjiang River Military Region
Tan Xilin (谭希林) 19th Brigade Lin Weixian (林维先) 27000
Southern Anhui Military Subarea Liang Jinhua (梁金华)
Hanhe Military Subarea Sun Zhongde (孙仲德)


  1. ^ 水世闿.汉口新四军军部旧址发现记[J].武汉文史资料,2007,(第8期). pp21-27.
  2. ^ 中华人民共和国中央人民政府. 国务院核定公布第七批全国重点文物保护单位. 2013-05-03.