페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-06-26 13:56 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 8 3. The Battle of the Dongning County Town
3. The Battle of the Dongning County Town
After the negotiations at Luozigou, the Joint Anti-Japanese Army Coordination Commission worked hard among the national salvation army units. Members of the commission even infiltrated the mountain rebels\and made strenuous efforts to draw them into the anti-Japanese united front.
Early in September 1933, this commission arranged a joint meeting at which we discussed with Wu Yi-cheng, Shi Zhong-heng, Chai Shi-rong, Li San-xia\and other leaders of the Chinese nationalist units at Laomuzhuhe near Luozigou the plan for attacking the Dongning county town (Sanchakou)\and finalized the plan of operations. On the recommendation of Commander Wu Yi-cheng the meeting unanimously approved the operation plan as we had drafted it.
We did not attack the town immediately after the negotiations at Luozigou; we allowed ourselves more than two months for preparation, because we attached special importance to this battle. We regarded this battle as a watershed in making our anti-Japanese guerrilla army fully legitimate; we also believed that an agreement on the united front with the NSA units would be brought into effect through victory in this battle. Should we succeed in this battle the united front with the Chinese nationalist units would be put on a rock-solid foundation; if not, the positive outcome of the negotiations at Luozigou would be undermined,\and the united front would collapse while still in the stage of formation. Failure in the battle would also stain the military prestige of our guerrilla army which we had built up in the course of bloody battles. It would also cause serious problems if the NSA complained that they had been crushed because of the united front.
This was indeed a tough test for us. Our reconnaissance\and informationrom our local\organizations confirmed that a 500-strong Kwantung Army unit led by Ishida, a puppet Manchukuo army regiment commanded by Commander Qing,\and puppet Manchukuo police\and self-defence corps were posted in the county town. Worse still, the enemy was entrenched in an impregnable fortress which was armed with artillery\and other modern weapons.
At that time some leaders of the Chinese units estimated the chances of occupying the town at only 30 per cent. At the meeting they even expressed concern that our forces were too small in comparison to the enemy, saying that internationally recognized war manuals stated that the forces of the attacker should be three times greater than those of the defender.
However, Wu Yi-cheng\and other people retorted that they had nothing to learnrom such silly prattle, which could only make sense in the Japanese military academy that Ri Chong Chon had attended. They criticized such a passive attitude to the battle.
As the NSA had already failed once in an attack on the Dongning county town, it was no accident that some commanders overestimated the enemy’s strength, fearing the Japanese army with its boasts of “invincibility.”
Once a plan was adopted at the meeting, the coordination commission, in collaboration with Hu Jin-min, allocated to each unit the number of troops which should participate in the battle.
We were to contribute three companies, onerom each of Wangqing, Hunchun\and Yanji to the battle,\and we summoned them to Luozigou.
The company I had takenrom Wangqing\and the company which Paek Il Phyong, the battalion political commissar, led all the wayrom Hunchun, met amidst great emotion near Luozigou at the end of August 1933.
But to our regret, the comradesrom Yanji did not arrive at the rendezvous, for the message had not reached them in time. The Yanji battalion had\selected Choe Hyon’s company, which was the strongest. Before starting the march Choe Hyon had ensured that every man was supplied with 150 rounds of ammunition\and a new pair of shoes. The company left Beidong\and arrived at Macun by forced march in the middle of September, when we were in Xiaowangqing after the battle on the Dongning county town.
As we entered Luozigou with the menrom Hunchun, the men\and officers of the NSA, together with the local residents, welcomed us enthusiastically. Quite a few peasantsrom neighbouring villages came to welcome us too. Their warm welcome was a clear expression of the strength of the anti-Japanese\organizations in this place.
Behind the crowd who were waving their hands\and shouting for joy at our unit stood the able revolutionary Choe Jong Hwa. Though in the service of Manchukuo, as the head of the Anti-Japanese Association in Luozigou, he worked, in fact, mostly for the NSA in the capacity of a member of the anti-Japanese soldiers’ committee,\and he publicized widely the correctness of our line of an anti-Japanese allied front in Luozigou. He encouraged people to supply the NSA units with food grain\and cloth.
We lined up in the street\where the Chinese people lived,\and made speeches appealing for an anti-Japanese national salvation movement. Then we danced\and sang in groups. Even the Chinese shopkeepers along the street suspended their business\and came out in the street to enjoy the performance. As the guerrillas\and the NSA soldiers mingled with one another the town of Luozigou became animated\and festive. The whole town, both the Korean\and Chinese streets, was enveloped in a holiday atmosphere.
Young people who had heard of us jostled each other to see Commander Kim. They were arguing over whether Commander Kim hailedrom Phyongan Province,\or Hamgyong Province,\or Kyongsang Province.
The children were keen to touch the Model 38 rifles\and cartridge belts. Each soldier wore three cartridge belts, one on the waist\and two across his shoulders. As one belt contained 100 cartridges, every one was carrying a load of 300.
Large numbers of women came\and tugged at the guerrillas’ arms, saying, “Men fighting for the country, join us for lunch.”
Even women living several miles awayrom Luozigou brought lunch\and served the guerrillas.
On the day of our arrival at Luozigou, I, accompanied by those working on the coordination commission, paid a visit to Commander Wu Yi-cheng at his lodging.
As old acquaintances, we had an amicable conversation. It was a candid conversation between two men, not a conversation designed to fathom each other’s thoughts, like the first one we had in June.
What had worried me most on my way to Luozigou was whether Commander Wu had given up the idea of fighting the battle\or not in the meantime. I wondered whether such people as Ri Chong Chon, who were not pleased with the alliance, might not have persuaded Wu Yi-cheng to abandon the idea of the battle\and set back the relations between the NSA\and ourselves to the state preceding our negotiations. Those working on the coordination commission had informed me on several occasions of Ri Chong Chon’s ceaseless efforts to get Chai Shi-rong to abort our cooperation. They had been apprehensive that this trick might affect Commander Wu.
But they need not have worried. His commitment to the allied front remained unchanged,\and his determination to redeem his previous defeat through the attack on the Dongning county town was as firm as ever.
What Commander Wu felt was most ignominious was the blow he had suffered during the Japanese “mopping-up” operation in Luozigou at the end of 1932. At that time the Japanese had mobilized ten air force fighters\and hundreds of troops\and crushed the NSA mercilessly. Luozigou had been reduced to ashes\and the NSA driven away to Chengnancun, Xintunzi\and Shitouhezi.
“To be honest, our numbers were greater than the Japanese. But we abandoned Luozigou\and fled to the mountainous area. Whenever I am reminded of the defeat we suffered at that time, I cannot sleep. Even though the Japanese ruffians who occupied Luozigou beheaded innocent people\and hung their heads on the south gate, we remained entrenched in the mountainous area without so much as a thought of revenge. We were simply afraid of the Japanese army. What shame! I will make them pay dearly for it at Dongning.”
As he said this, Wu frequently put his hand on the Mauser on his side. As I saw him burning with thoughts of revenge, I realized that his determination had not lessened. It was a good omen for the allied front.
That day I told him the story of my past life in outline, as I had done to Pan, the member of the provincial party committee. In return Commander Wu told me his own personal history. Through the unceremonious talk of that day I learned that his native district was somewhere near Dongchang in Shandong Province\and he had the nickname of Wu Ji-cheng. When we were holding our conversation two of our guerrillas stood sentry on the roof of Commander Wu’s lodging. The NSA\organized a strict watch around the headquarters that day.
That day Wu Yi-cheng talked as the rumours portrayed him, lounging idly on a tigerskin. He disliked talking formally, sitting crosslegged on a chair, probably because he was corpulent. So I had to talk to him while I lounged with my arm across a wooden pillow.
Wu Yi-cheng\ordered his men to prepare delicious food for lunch as he had a distinguished guest. I told him I had brought my own food\and there was no need to take the trouble to prepare lunch for me. The man who accompanied us\and carried our meals in those days was a Chinese soldier with a pockmarked face. Wu was very interested in the fact that I was speaking fluent Chinese. The knowledge of Chinese I had acquired thanks to my father proved its worth in my work with Wu Yi-cheng.
In Luozigou, the Wangqing\and Hunchun companies discussed on several occasions the tactics for political work among the people.
We stressed the following to the guerrillas; the future direction of the NSA depends on the result of this battle; if our guerrilla army fights bravely in the van the NSA will follow us; if we fail to play our part, they will abandon us; so you must always set an example both in everyday life\and in the battle; we are going to fight this battle for the sake of the allied front rather than for a few rifles\and sacks of grain; we are staking the future of the allied front on this battle; let the NSA soldiers win all the trophies; let us not care what they take, no matter what it is, even opium; but let us keep in mind that there will be no concessions in the political\and moral aspects of our conduct.
Brigadier-general Shi Zhong-heng, one of the leaders of the Chinese nationalist units, supported the plan of the battle most actively. During our stay in Luozigou a friendship transcending nationality\and affiliation sprang up between Shi\and myself. When the large forces of our guerrilla army\and the NSA units were marching towards the Dongning county townrom Luozigou he tried to stay near our unit all the time. When bivouacking he tried to pitch his tents near ours\and act together with our unit in the battle. During the march of a hundred milesrom Luozigou to the Dongning county town, we came to understand each other on a deeper level.
The expeditionary forces which had left Luozigou in early September spent several days on the road. The march was a clear demonstration of the noble revolutionary spirit\and sincere humane traits of the Korean communists. The political\and moral differences between the AJPGA\and the NSA were clearly expressed during the march\and in our daily life.
Wherever we went, we behaved as an army of the people. We did not destroy the mountain shrines on our way nor lay our hands on the delicious foods offered in sacrifice; we did not give it a second glance. When we stopped at Chinese villages we held parties, hung posters on the walls\and conducted\oral propaganda.
Other units caused the villagers much trouble, but we helped them in fetching water, grinding grain, threshing\and weaving cornstalks for fences. In the villages\where Koreans were living we read to themrom story-books.
Since we behaved in this way, the people made rice cakes\and killed pigs for us, saying that our army really appreciated them. They said that other units were hopelessly bad-tempered\and rude, but Commander Kim’s unit was so gentle, affable\and warm-hearted that they spared nothing in their efforts to please us.
Whenever he witnessed the sincere loving care we took of the people\and the genuine support\and welcome the people accorded us, Brigadier-general Shi Zhong-heng praised us profusely, holding his thumb up,\and saying that Commander Kim’s army was a unique gentlemen’s army. On several occasions he instructed his men that they should follow the example of the communist army led by Commander Kim.
“At present some villains are disgracing the NSA in the van of our column. You should not follow their example. God will bless you only if your manners are noble. I hereby warn you in advance that if any unpleasant acts such as toying with women, laying hands on others’ property\or blustering at people should occur, the man will be strictly dealt with, whoever he may be.”
Shi Zhong-heng’s\orders were effective in alerting his men to the need for good behaviour.
Some soldiers of the NSA took flight at the sight of grain stacks on moonless nights, saying that the stacks were Japanese soldiers.
After this occurred several times we made our guerrilla army march in the van of the column\and the NSA units were made to bring up the rear. This insignificant measure inspired the guerrillas to new efforts. They realized very keenly that victory in the battle did not depend on the NSA soldiers who confused grain stacks with Japanese soldiers, but on themselves, that they themselves were the decisive force driving the wheel of the allied front,\and they speeded up the march.
The guerrillas studied even on the march. They sometimes argued about serious political subjects.
“Hey, Comrade Kang, will you please explain the purpose of our attack on the Dongning county town clearly\and wittily? When the Commander told us about it in Luozigou it seemed understandable but somehow it seems hard to grasp now.”
The wily question camerom a man at the tail of the Wangqing company as the expeditionary forces were nearing Laoheishan. He did not ask it out of ignorance; he wanted to test his understanding.
Kang, who had been asked the question, was also a wily man. “Ah, look at him. Trying to roast his crab on someone else’s
fire. If you are so hazy about it, then I will tell you. If I must, I will sing it to the tune of the Ten-point Song.”
And he really did begin to sing it without giving the asker a chance to speak.
What is first?
Realizing the allied front
Even though the heavens collapse, This is first.
What is second?
Expanding our unique guerrilla zone, the citadel,
To the Soviet-Manchurian border,
This is second.
What is third?
Clearing the passage to the Soviet\union Which is welcoming even in chilly weather, This is third.
... ... ...
Pak, who asked the question, was struck speechless\and gestured in astonishment.
“Your talent is worth far more than its weight in gold. The purpose is as clear as the full moon in a blue sky even to such a stupid man as me.”
Kang, the talent of the Wangqing company, deserved this admiration. He was able to encapsulate in that song the complicated circumstances of World War I\and the appalling course of political calamities beginning with the outburst of the September 18 incident to the foundation of the Kingdom of Manchukuo.
His song, which expressed the purpose of the battle poetically in simple words, spread in no timerom the Wangqing company to the Hunchun company, to the brigade of Shi Zhong-heng\and to Chai Shi-rong’s unit. Some of the NSA soldiers hummed the song on the march. The NSA soldiers tried their best to follow the example set by our unit.
But not all the officers\and men of the NSA behaved in that way . Many of them were expecting a windfall, dreaming of the trophies they would be distributing before long. I could seldom find the soldiers who were talking, with noble anti-Japanese sentiment, about expanding the area of operations to the border area of the Soviet\union\and Manchuria\or restoring Manchuria through a strong\and secure allied front with the AJPGA.
One of Shi Zhong-heng’s soldiers marching in the rear of our unit asked one of his companions, “Hey, will there be much opium in Dongning?”
“Well, it may be easily obtainable as there is a regiment of the puppet Manchukuo army there. They cannot exist without opium, can they? But why are you talking about opium all of a sudden when you don’t smoke it?” said the other, glancing at him dubiously.
“Why! Opium is the same as money,\and money is opium. They say you can fly to Yangzhou on a crane if you have a lot of money.”
“You are right! They say one cannot see the sights of Hangzhou without money. You can go to Hangzhou\and Xuzhou with opium which is worth a lot of money. All I want to get is a Japanese-made electric torch.”
“Don’t worry about a small thing like that. You can surely get one, since there are so many Japanese soldiers.”
“Don’t talk so big. Opium\and electric torches can only be taken when the battle ends in victory. Do you think the town will be so simple to capture?”
This conversation I overheard weighed heavily on my mind. Would those soldiers of the NSA who were preoccupied with trophies fight hand to hand with “the warriors of the invincible imperial army”? Would they charge like human bullets at the enemy’s battery, for the sake of the Republic of China?
There was something unsettling in their way of talking\and their gloomy eyes. It was a bad omen.
In Laoheishan we held a joint meeting of the Wangqing\and Hunchun guerrilla units\and once again conducted political work to give them a clear understanding of the purpose of the battle\and its military\and political significance.
Afterwards we advanced to the area of Gaoancun\and Wushegou near the Dongning county town,\and there we reconfirmed the enemy’s condition\and decided upon the plan of battle. That night we located the underground party\organization near Dongning. It was an\organization Pan had formed in Dongning, Gaoancun, Xinlicun,\and Laoheishan\and which he had guided while he was working as the secretary of the Suining central county party committee. It had been exposed\and tracked down by the enemy in the spring of 1932; some of its members had escaped to Wangqing\and the others, remaining in Dongning, had gone into hiding. At that time Pan had sent not only party members\and Young Communist Leaguers but also many guerrillas\and civilians to Wangqing.
When leaving for Hunchun, Pan had asked me to locate\and contact the party\and YCL members hidden underground, re-establish their line of\organization\and take good care of them for him if I had a chance of going to Dongning. Faithful to his request when we announced in Luozigou the programme of the political work among the people, I included an item on reconstructing the underground party\organization in Dongning County through efficient political work among local population.
We restructured the underground party\organization in Dongning County with some party members we found in Gaoancun\and its vicinity,\and re-established its line of\organizational guidance in such a way that the underground party\organization in Luozigou guided its activities. This\organization furnished us with a lot of information. Thanks to its efforts we opened a passage to the Soviet\union without difficulty.
This\organization continued to exist in good condition until the 1940s, implementing our\orders for secret operations to the letter. Following the meeting at Xiaohaerbaling we frequently used this passage when the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army was operating in small unitsrom the secret camps around Mt. Paektu\and training camps in Khabarovsk, the Soviet\union. Many small units used to travel through this passage to the homeland\and Jiandao\and enter the border area of the Soviet\union\and Manchuriarom Mt. Paektu. Individual operatives who were sent to the homeland used this passage when travelling to the Maritime Province of the Soviet\union.
The small unit of Jon Mun Uk, which had been operating on a reconnaissance mission in the Soviet-Manchurian frontier region, also received much helprom this underground party\organization in Dongning. Ya. T. Novichenko3, an internationalist soldier who served at that time in the army on the opposite side of Dongning County on the Soviet-Manchurian border, recalled that he saw small units of the KPRA making frequent use of this passage. The underground\organizations in Dongning were active in harassing the enemy’s rear at the time of the war against Japan,\and rendered great assistance in the liberation of the county town.
From talks with the inhabitants of Gaoancun\and the local area,\and with members of the secret\organizations, we learned that the regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army was strongly anti-Japanese, even though he served Manchukuo,\and that there was bitter discord between the puppet Manchukuo army\and the Japanese garrison in spite of their apparently peaceful relations. They said that the regimental commander was on good terms with Chinese shopkeepers in the county town\and he acceded to their requests. The members of the underground party\organization were well acquainted with the shopkeepers. We\ordered these members to bring influence to bear on the shopkeepers in\order to get the regimental commander to agree to collaborate with us.
The battle of the Dongning county town began on the night of September 6, 1933,\and ended at noon on September 7. I think there were not many instances of battles lasting for 2 days in our war against Japan.
The main thrust of our attack on the county town was directed against a two-storeyed fort built on a mountain ridge outside the west gate. Several heavy\and light machineguns were mounted in the fort. They had constructed a secret underground passage\and a deep communication trench between the fort\and the command post of the Japanese aggressors’ army unit, so as to counter the enemy’s attack by continuously throwing in reinforcements as necessary. This fort was responsible for the NSA’s failure in their attack on the county town.
I posted the Hunchun company which was to block the enemy’s reinforcements at a place called Jjajakgol\and\ordered the Wangqing company to advance along the main line of attack\and seize the fort.
At 9 p.m. a demolition partyrom our unit, which had approached the enemy’s line by stealth, concentrated its fire on the fort when my shot gave the signal for the attack on the town. The enemy reinforced his troops continuously through the communication trench\and the underground passage. The fierce engagement between our forces\and the enemy lasted for hours.
I made the guerrilla unit which had stormed into the town through the west gate blockade the enemy’s barracks while other forces bypassed the fort to the north so as to divert the enemy’s fire; then I sent in the demolition team to seize the fort by means of a violent bomb attack. The fort abandoned resistance\and fell quiet near dawn. Our main force surrounded the barracks of the Japanese garrison in tight formation\and mercilessly checked the enemy’s desperate attempt to launch a counterattack. Some of the Japanese narrowly escaped through the north gate.
NSA units which had entered the town in advance in civilian disguise,\and the other NSA units which had charged into the town through the east\and south gates took up their specified places\and fought the enemy.
The headquarters of the puppet Manchukuo army unit sent a representative to us to convey its acceptance of our proposal to attack the Japanese aggressors in joint operation. If the scheme had gone smoothly, the whole town would have fallen into our hands.
At that moment, however, some of Chai Shi-rong’s units began plundering the shops under the control of the puppet Manchukuo army\and robbing civilian houses; this caused the puppet Manchukuo army to withdrawrom the agreement\and instead launch an all-out attack on us. The Japanese garrison joined this attack.
Some of the NSA units, scared at the vigour of the enemy’s attack, deserted the areas they had occupied\and began to fleerom the town.
Nevertheless, our unit, succeeding in pinning the enemy into a corner of the town, expanded the area we occupied by means of all-out street fighting. Encouraged by this, the NSA units then occupied the munitions factory\and raided the munitions yards. The street fighting continued for hours.
Recognizing that the purpose of the joint operation had been largely accomplished, I gave\orders to withdraw. Guerrilla units that had withdrawn on their own initiative provided covering fire for the withdrawing NSA units.
At this moment we were informed that Brigadier-general Shi Zhong-heng had been seriously wounded\and was still in the town. His men had fled the town, leaving their commander in the jaws of death. His aide-de-camp had not assisted him, either.
In my mind’s eye I saw the NSA soldiers who had been talking about trophies. When I heard them dreaming about opium\and electric torches, I had been apprehensive of pillage\and the effect it might have on the course of the battle. Such pillage had taken place during the battle.\and then, to our surprise, the soldiers had deserted their commander. In general soldiers regard their superior officers as their fathers\or mothers. So in a sense, the NSA soldiers had fled, leaving their parent in the jaws of death. I had heard many stories of soldiers’ conduct in war, but I had never heard of such dereliction of duty. There were links between the NSA soldiers’ pillage\and their faithless desertion of their commander. The greed for material wealth had been overflowed into an extreme of egoism\and cowardice.
A dipper that leaks in the house will also leak outside–how profound the truth of this proverb handed down to us by our ancestors!
A battle may be regarded as an extension\and concise expression of everyday life. Soldiers’ success in battle is always determined in advance in their everyday life, not on the battlefield. A battle is no more than the epitome\and reflection of that life.
History knows no case of an army with inferior moral fibre being crowned with victory. The Nazi army of Hitler’s Germany trembled to defeat mainly because they were morally inferior, having abandoned moral principles\and driven their caterpillar tracks roughshod over the good\and beautiful. The main reason why the Japanese army, which boasted of its invincibility, met its end was also its moral leprosy. Japan could not avoid being smothered by the encirclement of the allied forces\and billions of honest-minded people who condemned\and hated the Japanese army as the most brutal\and shameless in the world. Never in the history of war has there been such a barbarous army as the Japanese army which invaded other countries\and slaughtered their peoples, even taking “comfort girls” with them to battlefields.
War is not only a contest of strength, but also a test of morality\and ethics. An army that neglects the influence which morality exerts on the course of a war\or regards it as an inessential adornment is no more than a heap of rubbish.
I\ordered Choe Chun Guk to rescue Shi Zhong-heng.
Choe\and his men risked their lives to carry out my\orders. Carrying Shi, who had been rescued by our guerrillas, on our backs\and covering our withdrawal with fire, we withdrew safely onto a hill. The guerrillas abused Shi’s men who had abandoned him as cursed cowards. The NSA soldiers deserved this abuse for their behaviour. But the relationship between the NSA\and ourselves was not damaged by this affair.
The battle of the Dongning county town was significant not only because we killed several hundred enemy soldiers. The important point was that after going through this battle the NSA had full confidence in the Korean communists. The Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army was able to act in east Manchuria as proudly\and legitimately as before while flying a red flag. This battle implanted the true image of the Korean communists in the minds of the NSA soldiers.
Afterwards the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist units would of their own free will beat those who attempted to harm our unit.
“September 7, 1933 is the day when I was born again. My liferom that day was bestowed on me by Commander Kim, while my life until then was bestowed on me by my parents. I owe him my life; the AJPGA is the first brother of our national salvation army.” These were Shi Zhong-heng’s words when he regained consciousness.
His words spread a legendary tale to every corner of Manchuria, the legend that the AJPGA was a paragon of noble, self-sacrificing spirit\and loyal comradeship.
On our way backrom the Dongning county town to Luozigou, a journey of a hundred miles, I was constantly at the side of Brigadier-general Shi. All through the first day, we carried him on a stretcher. Even though they saw their commander was being carried by the guerrillas, the NSA soldiers dared not approach the stretcher\and only watched himrom a distance. His aide-de-camp\and some of his men asked us to hand over their commander to them, but the guerrillas refused,\and sent them away.
When his aide-de-camp approached our column for the third time, I\ordered my men to hand over the stretcher. I persuaded the guerrillas by saying that the men had consciences, so they might feel sorry for their mistake,\and even if we only granted the right to carry the stretcher, they would be able to atone for their crime to a small degree.
When we handed Shi Zhong-heng over, the NSA soldiers bowed to us graciously. Brigadier-general Shi greatly regretted the behaviour of his men,\and he apologized to us as a commanding officer for his subordinates’ misbehaviour.
“I am ashamed in front of you, Commander Kim, for these creatures of no account. It is because I have not educated them properly, so please blame me if you will,\and have mercy on my men.”
I was moved by his regarding his men’s shame as his own. I would not have been so deeply moved had he given vent to his anger against his men\or felt even a little bitterness against them. He was indeed a generous, fair-minded soldier. I said:
“As the Chinese proverb has it, even a sweet melon hangs on a bitter stalk. A man cannot always be perfect nor a flower be beautiful for a thousand days. You have regained consciousness following a serious wound,\and we are satisfied with that.” “Another Chinese proverb says that if a man wants to buy a
horse he should study his teeth,\and if he wants to make a friend he should know the other person’s mind. I will take it as a godsend that I made your acquaintance, Commander Kim,\and treasure the gift for all my life.”
Shi Zhong-heng, a dozen\or more years older than I, became my blood-bound comrade-in-arms as we worked to establish the anti-Japanese allied front. After the battle of the Dongning county town he moved his unit to Xibeigou near Macun. We frequently visited each other as one visits relatives,\and deepened our friendship.
I sent him various medicines for the treatment of his bullet wound,\and exposed him to communist influence in an attempt to transform his ideology. As a result, he joined the Communist Party\and became a commander of the people’s revolutionary army.
He fought well in the anti-Japanese joint operations at Luozigou in June 1934,\and rendered highly distinguished service as commander of the 2nd Independent Division after his unit was incorporated into the people’s revolutionary army. In every battle he would lead the charge at the enemy’s positions with a Mauser in his hand. This led his men to believe that he was the bravest commanding officer in the world. The soldiers of the other NSA units also respected\and adored him. Quite a few of them transferred to Shi Zhong-heng’s unit.
He was fatally wounded in the abdomen while leading a charge at the battle of Laosongling. The bullet did not pass through him, lodging in the intestines. He went to the Soviet\union to have the bullet removed, but breathed his last there. When I heard others were mourning his death, I remembered him with aching grief.
Chai Shi-rong, who had joined us in the anti-Japanese front amid the flames of battle in the Dongning county town, was later transferred to the people’s revolutionary army, becoming vice-commander\and then commander of its 5th Army Corps. He made great efforts to maintain friendly ties with us when he was fighting under Zhou Bao-zhong in north Manchuria. I kept in close touch with him even as late as the early 1940s.
When the allied front between the AJPGA\and the NSA had apparently become too strong to break as a result of the battle of the Dongning county town, an unexpected incident occurred which threatened to damage it.
The root cause was a remark by Wu Yi-cheng in praise of Jiang Jie-shi. After returning to Luozigou we held a joint meeting to review the battle. Wu Yi-cheng spoke first. Speaking about the victory of the combined forces in the battle, he suddenly began to extol Jiang Jie-shi\and went on to say that the anti-Japanese war in the northeast of China would only be brought to a triumphant conclusion when Jiang sent guns\and reinforcementsrom the south. This provoked the guerrillas to anger.
Paek Il Phyong, who was there as the commander of the Hunchun guerrilla unit, took the floor\and accused Commander Wu, who had praised\and supported Jiang Jie-shi, of being a reactionary, asking how Jiang could possibly assist\and lead us when the whole world knew that he was a running dog of imperialism.
In a blaze of anger Wu had him arrested\and threatened to have him shot.
At this point, Paek’s men rebelled. They protested: we did not lose a single rank-and-file guerrilla during the battle,\and it is not logical to lose our commanding officer for the sake of the allied front; how could we possibly return to Hunchun after losing our commanding officer? we must save Comrade Paek Il Phyong even if it means fighting with Wu Yi-cheng to the last man of our unit. They were about to dash out with rifles in their hands.
The NSA soldiers had taken their rifles\and were preparing to fire back.
In this hair-trigger situation a single gunshot would result in wholesale deaths\and the disruption of the allied front which had cost so much effort. Wu Yi-cheng turned pale\and pursed his lips.
I jumped up on the platform\and argued with both sides, in
Korean\and Chinese,\and tried to reason with Wu Yi-cheng:
“You may feel angry, Commander Wu, but be generous\and set Paek Il Phyong free. It was most presumptuous of him to call you a reactionary,\and impugn your dignity, but you, too, must think this matter over. Will others listen willingly to your praise of Jiang Jie-shi when the whole China condemns him as a puppet of the imperialists? It was he who kept telling Zhang Xue-liang not to fight against Japan before the September 18 incident. If you kill Paek, the whole of Manchuria will call you a traitor to the nation, so please give the matter deep thought.”
As I finished my speech, some of the NSA soldiers asked themselves, “Who is that man? Is herom the south? A delegaterom the Kuomintang?” Others answered, “From the south? No. He is Kim Il Sung, the commander of the guerrilla army.”
“I spoke as I did out of ignorance, please do not regard me as the same kind of man as Jiang Jie-shi,” Wu Yi-cheng said,\and declared he would withdraw his\order to have Paek killed.
However, two days later he still had not released him. The rank-and-file soldiers of the NSA accused their commander of foolhardiness, saying, “Why does not Commander Wu keep his promise to Commander Kim?” Some of Wu’s men said, “Everything will be alright if we do not shoot him. Can he kill any man he wants?” Another said, “Our national salvation army will be cursed if we kill him.”
While the masses of the soldiers were agitated in this way, the officers lodged letters\and petitions with Wu Yi-cheng, urging the release of Paek Il Phyong. Paek was releasedrom detention by Wu after 3 days.
The process of cementing the allied front with the Chinese nationalist army units was beset with many such painful incidents; perseverance\and sacrifice were required. How could the two “organisms” with the different blood types be effectively combined without difficulties\and distress?
For three successive days the enemy cremated the bodies of the soldiers who had been killed in the battle. Meanwhile, we lost Hu Jin-min. He was killed by an accidental shot on our way back to Luozigou.
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