After the outbreak of the full-scale Anti-Japanese War in 1937, the main force of the Red Army was reorganized into the Eighth Route Army. At that time, the entire army had 45,000 people, including 14,000 people in each of the three main divisions and 3,000 people in the troops directly under the headquarters.
In the actual reorganization process, the 115th Division had more than 15,500 troops, the 120th Division had 14,000 troops, the 129th Division had 13,000 troops, and the troops directly under the headquarters had about 3,000 troops. The actual strength was between 45,000 and 46,000. between.
Obviously, among the above three divisions, only the 120th Division has the standard 14,000 men.
In the Chinese army at that time, the establishment of infantry divisions was not uniform. Even if they were the establishment of the second brigade and the fourth regiment, the actual number of troops was very different.
At that time, the infantry division of the Eighth Route Army was also a system of two brigades and four regiments, but the size of the entire division was still not small.
This is mainly because at the infantry regiment level, we have established 12 infantry companies, which is 3 more companies than the 9 companies of the general infantry regiment. In addition, in terms of divisional troops, artillery, engineering, transportation, cavalry and other units are fully equipped. In addition, more independent groups, teaching groups and other units have been compiled.
In the case of the 120th Division of the Eighth Route Army, the so-called second brigade and four regiments refer to the 358th Brigade and its 715th and 716th regiments; the 359th brigade and its 717th and 718th regiments.
In terms of units directly under the division, there are cavalry battalion, artillery battalion, engineer battalion, spy battalion, baggage battalion, and a communication battalion, which is not much mentioned, but can be seen in some historical materials.
In addition to the above-mentioned 6 directly affiliated battalions, the 120th Division also has a teaching group.
If the 3 directly affiliated battalions are converted into one regiment, then the actual strength of the 120th Division can be roughly converted into 7 regiments, so it is not surprising that there are 14,000 men.
However, we need to pay attention to the fact that the battalions directly under the command at that time, except for the cavalry battalion, were not worthy of their name.
For example, the artillery battalion actually has no artillery, and the soldiers are not artillery.
Therefore, each brigade battalion of the 120th Division is actually basically an infantry unit.
How big is the division’s artillery? There really were, but not in the nominal divisional artillery battalion, but in the infantry regiments below, and certainly not every regiment had guns.
According to the historical records of our army’s artillery, the 120th Division actually had 2 mortar companies at that time, which were respectively established in the 715th and 716th regiments of the 358th Brigade.
Although it is said that there are 2 mortar companies, there are actually only 4 guns, and each gun company has only 2 guns on average.
In terms of artillery shells, the entire division has a total of 86 shells, with an average of only 20 shells per gun, and only more than 40 shells per artillery company.
As for the other infantry regiments and battalions, I’m sorry, they don’t even have a single mortar.
So at that time, the Eighth Route Army’s main division with 14,000 people had so many combat troops, but these 4 mortars and 86 shells were all the heavy firepower.
Not to mention the equipment of the mountain artillery, even the equipment of the mortar is extremely shabby.
Since the real artillery heavy firepower was extremely weak, the actual “heavy firepower” of the 120th Division at that time had to be borne by light and heavy machine guns.
What we need to pay attention to here is that when the 120th Division was dispatched during the Anti-Japanese War, it was not the entire division.
In most historical materials, the 120th Division dispatched 8,218 troops, and the units involved were all of the 358th Brigade, the 717th Regiment of the 359th Brigade, and the Teaching Regiment. It was later reorganized as a garrison.
Among these 8218 people, there are detailed personnel classifications.
Among them, there are 793 commanding personnel, 237 political personnel, 4905 combat personnel, 1974 staff members, 77 supply personnel and 232 health personnel.
In terms of the configuration of weapons and equipment, there are a total of 3368 carbine rifles, 735 short guns, 31 heavy machine guns, 112 light machine guns, 59 submachine guns, and the 4 mortars we mentioned above.
It is also worth noting that General Zhou Shidi, then the chief of staff of the 120th Division of the Eighth Route Army, recorded another strength statistics in his diary:
The division has 9,595 men, 4 mortars, 35 heavy machine guns, 143 light machine guns, 1 flower machine gun, 4,091 carbine rifles, 788 shell guns, 91 pistols, 67 portable submachine guns, and 2 sabres. 117 bayonets and 276,955 rounds of various bullets.
The difference between the two strength statistics is calculated as follows:
The number of troops is 1377, 4 heavy machine guns, 31 light machine guns, 8 submachine guns, 1 flower machine, 723 rifles, and 144 short guns.
According to the statistics of the strength of this difference, it is basically the strength of a battle group.
Therefore, it is very likely that General Zhou Shidi’s statistics included the 718th regiment, but after that, the regiment stayed behind, and the other three combat regiments plus teaching regiments and cavalry battalions actually drove to the front line, so it was 8,218 people. strength number.
According to this calculation, the combat regiment of the 120th Division at that time, basically each infantry battalion machine gun company was equipped with 3 heavy machine guns, and the whole regiment had about 9 heavy machine guns. In terms of light machine guns, each infantry company basically comes in a configuration of 3. In other words, the combat regiments of the 120th Division that actually went to the front have about 40 machine guns available for each regiment.
This equipment rate was the strongest lineup that our army could achieve at that time, but it was still far from the ideal allocation situation.
At that time, the battalion-owned heavy machine guns of the national army were often equipped with 4 to 6 machine guns, and some elite adjustment troops had as many as 9 machine guns in the infantry company.
Our army believed that the ideal infantry company should be equipped with 6 light machine guns, but in reality it can only meet half of the needs.
And there were two problems:
The first is that the machine guns at that time were basically captured in the previous civil war, and the models were complicated, old, and performance degradation was common;
The second is that our ammunition is not sufficient. There are less than 20,000 rounds of heavy machine guns and more than 20,000 rounds of light machine guns. This is seriously insufficient for machine gun firepower.
Therefore, in addition to artillery, the configuration of machine guns that can be used as “heavy firepower” and ammunition reserves, the material conditions of our army’s main division are like this.
If there are enough shells and bullets, in the ambush at Yanmenguan, there is no need to charge with a round of firepower. It is really unsustainable for ammunition. And if you rush down to fight the devils, you have to pay more casualties and sacrifices.
Therefore, it was quite difficult for the ancestors to fight against Japan at that time, and they had to fight for their lives due to insufficient material conditions. Today, we must not forget that arduous and glorious history.