12. A chaotic, and perhaps unintentional, campaign led by the Chinese Communists against occupying Imperial Japanese forces, the Hundred Regiments Offensive lasted only a couple of months before the Japanese threw back the insurgency and reasserted control
Following growing perceptions that the Communist Party of China was not contributing enough to the war effort against the occupying Japanese, the CCP’s National Revolutionary Army began planning a great offensive to mend relations with the Kuomintang and improve their image. Growing significantly in number to an estimated 400,000 strong, on August 20 Peng Dehuai ordered twenty regiments to attack Japanese-held cities and their connecting railway lines. However, discovering on August 22 more than eighty had in fact taken part without informing him, Peng had inadvertently launched what would become known as the Hundred Regiments Offensive.
Initially successful, the Chinese destroyed more than six hundred miles of railway and eradicated several strategically important industrial sites. However, from October to December, the Japanese responded with brutal force to reassert control over the lost rural regions under the “Three All” mantra: “Kill All, Burn All, Destroy All”. Culminating in more than twenty thousand casualties for the Chinese, the offensive was the last major campaign led by the communists during the Second World War. It has since been strongly suspected Peng acted without authorization from the Central Committee, with Mao in favor of allowing a prolonged Japanese occupation to increase support for his communist movement to the detriment of Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government.