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"Lugou Bridge Incident and Second Battle of Hebei" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2024 12:48 p.m. PST

"ww2dbaseBeginning in late Jun 1937, the Japanese Kwangtung Army in the puppet state of Manchukuo located in northeastern China performed a large-scale military exercise near the Chinese border west of the Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge). While the military exercise in China was allowed per the 15 Jul 1902 supplemental agreement to the Boxer Protocol, the Japanese garrison size in the region was somewhere between 7,000 and 15,000, which was over the limit set by the protocol. In the night of 6 Jul 1937, unlike previous exercises, the Japanese Army failed to inform the local Chinese authorities that a night exercise was underway, leading to the Chinese forces mistakenly regarding the Japanese movement as a raid, and a few of the Chinese soldiers fired a number of ineffective rifle shots at the direction of the Japanese. At about 2300 hours, a small exchange of fire took place between the two sides. Very soon after, Japanese Kwangtung Army Major Kiyonao Ichiki reported that one of his soldiers failed to return. Suspecting that the soldier was captured by the Chinese, regimental commanding officer Colonel Renya Mutaguchi placed a telephone call to Colonel Ji Xingwen of the 219th Regiment, 37th Division, Chinese 29th Route Army, demanding that his troops be allowed to enter Chinese territory to search for the missing soldier; the request was rejected by the Chinese. At 2340, General Qin Dechun of the Chinese 29th Route Army was contacted by Japanese military intelligence with the same demand, and he also denied the request, but offered that he would dispatch his troops in the morning to search for the missing soldier; meanwhile, Qin ordered General Feng Zhian of the 37th Division to enter heightened alert. Before daybreak, the missing Japanese soldier turned up, though none of the senior officers at the regimental level were informed. At 0330 in the morning of 8 Jul 1937, four Japanese mountain guns and a machine gun company arrived in the area in preparation for hostilities. At about 0450, General Qin allowed two Japanese investigators to cross the border into the town of Wanping, where the missing soldier was suspected to be held. At 0500, Japanese machine guns opened fire at Chinese positions, while armored cars and infantrymen attacked the Lugou Bridge and a nearby railroad bridge. Colonel Ji and the 1,000 men under him defended Lugou Bridge, which was taken by the Japanese for a brief period on 8 Jul, but in the morning of 9 Jul, at about 0600, Chinese troops were able to retake it…"

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