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Dadao Hero of the 29th Army: Zhao Deng-Yu 赵登禹

In early 1933, the Japanese army took over Shan-hai Guan (also known as Yu-guan), located in the East of Hebei Province, and subsequently entered the Re-he Province. In 4th March, they took over Cheng-de County and began a series of assault on various entrances of the Great Wall of China. 6 days later, 10th March, the Japanese army closed in on Xifengkou.

Zhao Deng Yu was given the order to lead the 109th Brigade from Shu County, Tianjin, in an urgent night march of 20 kilometres to reach Hai’er Ling, “Child’s Ridge” of Xifengkou, before the Japanese army does, and repel the enemy’s advance party to secure a defensive line. To ensure success, Zhao Deng Yu ordered his troops to wait till the enemy soldiers come within a 100-metres range, before ambushing with hand-grenades and the Big-Saber.

Admist the big chaos, the enemy’s fighter planes, artilleries and tanks were unable to be put to use. Zhao Deng Yu‘s leg was also injured by a grenade blast during the battle. At nightfall, seizing the opportunity when the Japanese soldiers let down their guard, Zhao Deng Yu led 3000 men on an Pincer Maneuver to flank the enemy on both sides, causing massive damage and captured plenty of weapons and ammunitions.

After days of intense battle and many unsuccessful assaults by the Japanese army, they eventually gave up, allowing the Chinese army to achieve victory in defending Xifengkou. At the battle of Xifengkou, 5000 to 6000 Japanese soldiers were killed.

After the battle at the Great Wall of China, the 29th Army was stationed at Chaha’er Province. Zhao Deng Yu was recognized for his valiant efforts in the battle and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, holding the appointment of Division Commander of the 132nd Division. In August 1935, the 29th Army was sent to Beiping.

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident (also known as Lugouqiao Incident) happened on 7th July 1937, with the Japanese army attacking Wanping City. The 29th Army put up a resistance, with Zhao Deng-Yu being appointed by 29th Army Commander Song Zheyuan as the Commander in Nanyuan, Beijing together with Vice-Commander Tong Ling-ge.

On 28th July 1937, the Japanese Army launched a massive assault of tens of thousands of troops and over 30 fighter planes at Beiping, Tianjin and various nearby areas. Due to the technological and military superiority of the Japanese Army, the Chinese Army sustained more damage. Nanyuan was flanked left and right by the Japanese Army, with massive air-raids conducted by more than 40 Japanese fighter planes, and supported by a 3000-strong mechanized team on the ground. The Japanese Army managed to cut and divide the Chinese Army into smaller pieces, and surrounded them.

At this time, Zhao Deng Yu brought with him around 30 warriors, and commanded the 29th Army’s Defence Brigade and Military Training Students Group into a fierce hand-to-hand battle with the Japanese Army. The Chinese side suffered great losses. Command came down from the HQ for Zhao Deng Yu to retreat to Dahongmen in Beijing. The Japanese expected such a move, and laid an ambush by flanking the road from Nanyuan to Dahongmen with machine guns.

To rouse up the troops’ morale, Zhao Deng Yu led the way first by travelling in a vehicle towards Dahongmen. However, when his vehicle reached the Yu-he Bridge, explosives were set off and Zhao Deng Yu sustained serious injuries. Encouraged by his men to retreat for safety, Zhao Deng Yu refused and continued his attack on the Japanese. A subsequent grenade blast broke both his legs and Zhao Deng Yu went unconscious.

When he finally woke up, Zhao Deng Yu said, “Leave me. Go to Beiping and tell my mother that his son has died for the country and did his ancestors proud. Please tell my old mother to set her mind at rest.”

After saying these words, Zhao Deng Yu stopped breathing.

Both the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) and Gongchandang (Chinese Communist Party) strongly recognized Zhao Deng Yu‘s heroic efforts. In 31st July 1937, the Kuomintang conferred posthumously the rank of General to Zhao Deng Yu. In 1945, the Beiping governor renamed the Beigou Road into Zhao Deng Yu Road. After the People’s Republic of China was established, the Beijing governor’s office did several repairs and improvements to Zhao Deng Yu‘s grave at the west entrance of Lugouqiao. Zhao Deng Yu‘s name can also be found in Taipei‘s Martyrs Shrine.

To learn more about the Dadao Chinese War Sword, you may visit here:

Jack Chen Ancient Chinese Martial Arts Manuals


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