Uniforms of Puppet Armies

Uniforms of the puppet armies were as diverse as the armies themselves, with a motley assortment of dress. Some troops that had come over from the Nationalist side wore their old uniforms with the old insignia removed. Others were issued with simple cotton uniforms and Japanese caps with new insignia added, while many were simply given surplus Japanese uniforms with the Japanese insignia taken off.

The puppet regimes did not invent new insignia and flags for their armies on a large scale; what new badges were used were based on the old Republican flag from the 1911-28 period. The five-coloured star was used by the first puppet regime, the East Hopei Autonomous Anti-Communist Government, set up in 1935, and by the Provisional Government set up in Peking in 1937. The Reformed Government established in Nanking in 1938 used the same flag as the two earlier regimes and a cap badge based on the flag but of a slightly different design (the badge used the same colours but each of the five colours was the petal of a five-coloured flower).

In 1940, when the Wang Ching-wei regime took over, uniforms were issued that were identical to Nationalist ones in every detail. This was because the Wang regime claimed to be the true Nationalist government of China, so they wanted their army to look the part. Wang Ching-wei's general's uniform had one distinctive feature - a small Nationalist sun emblem at the front of his gold collar patch, alongside three gold triangles that denoted his rank. The Wang Ching-wei regime even used the same flag as the Nationalist government, with the addition of a small yellow pennant which carried an inscription which told of the anti-Communist nature of the regime. This pennant was added at the insistence of the Japanese.

All the puppet regimes were desperately short of money: the only form of revenue came from tariffs charged on smuggled goods. This meant that there was little or no money available to clothe and equip the armies, so anything they could get from the Japanese or from captured Nationalist stocks was put to use.

Civil War Cooking Equipment Fire

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