Otto Braun History of the Long March -- Page 2
The Soviet Zone in Jiangxi

For seven years the communists prospered despite everything Chiang Kaishek and his Nationalists Koumingtong (KMT) could do in The First, Second, Third, Fourth, and now the Fifth, "annihilation" campaign against the "Red Bandits" as he referred to them. Until the Fifth Campaign, the Communists had played hit-and-run. They sucked the KMT deep into their territory and sandbagged them with deadly ambushes. The Communist captured huge quantities of guns and ammunition and from the thousands of KMT prisoners, they replenished losses in their ranks. Now in the Fifth Campaign, thanks to Hitler who had dispatched one of his best Generals, Hans von Seeckt, to come to China to direct the newest tactics. Von Seeckt moved the KMT troops forward very slowly and then built concrete reinforced blockhouses and pillboxes (some 3,000 in the past year). This allowed the KMT to control every path and road. The noose was being drawn around the Red Army slowly but surely. Now the Red Army was confronting the KMT in costly head to head battles. For Chiang, the end to the Red Bandits was near at hand and he took great comfort in this.

Otto Braun

Moscow had sent their German, Otto Braun, to advise the Chinese communist group. The Red Army was now under the leadership of Otto Braun, (Chinese name of Li De) Bo Gu, (a Moscow trained Chinese), and Zhou Enlai. Mao was not in a leadership role and had no say in the operations, military or otherwise. After a year of terrible losses (about 60,000 men), one disastrous battle after another throughout Chiang's Fifth Campaign, the end was near. As autumn 1933 gave way to winter 1934, the Fifth Campaign chewed into Communist territory. The Soviet Republic contracted again and again. By autumn of 1934, the Communists had lost 58% of their territory. It was decided that the Red Army must leave the area in order to survive. On October 16th, the move began. No one was sure where they were heading, they were just leaving.

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