Chinese Nationalist Army Rank Insignia

collar patches, and personal identification patches were usually worn above the left breast pocket (see 'Insignia', below).

Full-cut straight slacks were generally worn with the sen-ice uniform. A popular alternative were riding breeches, worn with either high brown leather boots or high leggings and shoes. Field uniforms were usually the same as those worn by lower ranks in both summer and winter versions. Trousers worn with both seasonal uniforms were often worn with puttees as an alternative to the high leather boots or leggings. Winter field clothing was of wadded cotton in blue-grey shades, similar to that worn by lower ranks. A double-breasted khaki wool greatcoat had two rows of five buttons. An officers' cloak or mantle of khaki woollen cloth had a deep collar and five chest buttons.

Items of US and British uniforms were worn bv some officers of the units trained in India and western China. These included officers' versions of the British KD uniform, mostly made in India, complete with the India-pattern four-pocket belted bush jacket. American items worn by Chinese officers included the short 'M1941' or 'Parsons' fieldjacket in light olive drab. The wearing of foreign items seems to have been an individual choice, and in these units some more traditional officers retained Chinese uniforms right up to 1949.

Chinese Army The 30s

Winter clothing

A double-breasted khaki wool greatcoat was seen in limited use. especially in the mid to late 1930s; but for the most part the winter clothing of the Nationalist Army was based 011 the everyday clothing worn by most peasants in China during cold weather. This consisted of a loose-fitting padded ('wadded') jacket of heavy cotton. Most jackets were originally dyed a blue colour (roughly the shade of unwashed blue denim in the West). I11 most cases the poor quality of the dye meant that after being exposed to snow, rain and sun the blue colour quickly faded to a lighter blue-grey shade - this is sometimes described in the West as 'bright' blue. Matching trousers made of heavy duty cotton, again lined and padded, gave the wearer an ungainly appearance. They were worn with thick woollen puttees, and extra insulating materials could also be wrapped around the legs and feet. Locally acquired fur-lined boots were worn by troops in the coldest areas.

Special cold weather clothing was issued to the northern Chinese troops in 1937-38; fur-lined coats and surcoats ofvarious types were issued to a fortunate few, with goatskin being the most frequent lining.

Fur- and fleece-lined winter hats had been a feature of Chinese winter clothing since the introduction of modern uniforms after 1910. During the fighting in northern China and Manchuria in the early 1930s several types were used, lined with varying amounts of yak. goat, lamb or rabbit skin. Some of these, with copious amounts of fur 011 the inside and the ear flaps, gave the wearer a very untidy look.

By 1937 most fur hats worn by Chinese soldiers were rather smarter and more uniformly made.

Sgt Tung Chi-yuan, claimed in the original caption to have killed 100 Japanese during the fighting on the upper Yangtze river in May-June 1943. Armed with a Chinese Mauser, he wears a simple cotton shirt and shorts with straw sandals, and the usual canvas bandoliers. Note that he has a basketwork sun helmet with the KMT badge on the front.

British Mortar Crew

Gen Sir Claude Auchinleck, Allied C-in-C India, inspects a Chinese mortar crew in training. The weapon is a US 4.2in mortar, the uniforms and web equipment are British, though worn with woollen puttees. In the right background stands a Chinese instructor wearing a British solar topi or pith helmet of Indian pattern. (IWM IND 3775)

Gen Sir Claude Auchinleck, Allied C-in-C India, inspects a Chinese mortar crew in training. The weapon is a US 4.2in mortar, the uniforms and web equipment are British, though worn with woollen puttees. In the right background stands a Chinese instructor wearing a British solar topi or pith helmet of Indian pattern. (IWM IND 3775)

Branch colours:

General Staff =

Infantry =

Cavalry =

Artillery =

Engineers =

Commissariat =

Medical =

Supply Train =

Military Police =

Regional variations did persist, however, including black lambswool lining in hats worn by the 29th Army stationed near Peking in 1937. Another model was worn that September by soldiers of the 'Suiyuan People's Army', which despite its title was a regular Nationalist force defending Suiyuan province. This hat was made of wadded cotton with a peak and padded cotton ear flaps, and a black flu* section visible on the front below the cap badge.

INSIGNIA Collar patches

The Chinese Army had never had a complicated system of insignia, and official unit or regimental badges did not exist. Official insignia were limited to rank and identification patches, with in some cases a divisional sign on the arm.

Ranks were usually shown by a system of rank bars with 1-3 triangles, mounted on coloured collar patches (see the accompanying chart). Below general officers' rank the bars and triangles were displayed on patches of the wearer's branch colour. Rank symbols were usually made of either metal or plastic and were worn on both sides of the collar.

20 Id red yellow blue white dark red green black pink

Identification patches

The most important form of insignia worn by the Chinese Army in 1937-49 was the unique system of identification patches. A white cloth patch was worn above the left breast pocket, displaying various information about the wearer and his unit. A standard patch was divided into six panels - a vertical panel at each side flanking four equal horizontal panels. In these horizontal spaces black Chinese characters described different aspects of the individual's service. The top panel gave the divisional number and the individual's rank: the second gave the soldier's regiment and battalion: the third bore the name of the soldier's battalion commander; and the bottom panel gave the date of the soldier's enlistment. The right hand vertical panel, as viewed, displayed the soldier's name; the left hand panel bore black rank symbols, if any were appropriate.

A smaller and simplified version of this patch was divided 34 horizontally in half, with the man's brigade number in Chinese

Rank insignia, Nationalist Army 1937-46

1. T'o-chi Sbang-chiang (Field Marshal)

Army Rank Insignia

1. T'o-chi Sbang-chiang (Field Marshal)

5. Shao-chiang (Major-General)

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  • pinja
    What are puttees worn bin china/?
    6 years ago

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