Ningxia Campaign (1949)
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Ningxia Campaign 1949
Ningxia Campaign
Part of the Chinese Civil War
PLA entering Yinchuan.jpg
The People's Liberation Army enters Yinchuan
DateSeptember 5, 1949 - September 24, 1949
Result Communist victory
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
People's Liberation Army
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army Ma Dunjing PLA Yang Dezhi
PLA Li Zhimin
75,000 75,000
Casualties and losses
40,000+ Low

The Ningxia Campaign was a series of battles fought between the nationalists and the communists during Chinese Civil War in the post World War II era, and resulted in the communist victory.

Order of battle

Nationalist order of battle:

  • Ningxia Corps was commanded personally by Ma Dunjing ()
    • 11th Army was commanded by Ma Guangzong ()
    • 128th Army was commanded by Lu Zhongliang ()
    • Helan Army was commanded by Ma Quanliang ()
  • 81st Army was commanded by Ma Dunjing ()

The following units were deployed in the beginning, but later on, did not participate in fightings:

  • 10th Cavalry Army was commanded by Ma Dunhou ()
  • 5th Cavalry Army was commanded by Ma Chengxiang ()
  • 100th Division was commanded by Tan Chenxiang ()
  • 190th Division was commanded by Ma Zhenwu ()
  • 248th Division was commanded by Han Youlu ()
  • 129th Army was commanded by Ma Buluan ()
    • 287th Division was commanded by Ma Zhang ()
    • 357th Division was commanded by Yang Xiurong ()
  • 82nd Army was commanded by Ma Jiyuan ()
    • 14th Cavalry Brigade was commanded by Ma Chenxian ()

Communist order of battle:

  • XIX Corps was commanded by Yang Dezhi and the political commissar Li Zhimin ()
    • 63rd Army was commanded by Zheng Weishan () and the political commissar Wang Zonghuai ()
    • 64th Army was commanded by Zen Siyu () and the political commissar Wang Zhao ()
    • 65th Army was commanded by the political commissar () and the deputy commander Xiao Yingtang (), the commander Qiu Wei () was ill and did not participate in the campaign.
  • Independent 1st Division of the Northwestern Military Region
  • Independent 2nd Division of the Northwestern Military Region


After their defeat in Lanzhou Campaign, Ningxia was no longer the concern of the nationalist commander-in-chief of northwest China Ma Bufang, who was busy worrying protecting his home base Qinghai. The nationalist deputy commander-in-chief of northwest China Ma Hongkui fled to Hong Kong via air, and left his son, Ma Dunjing () in charge to make a last stand against the communists. The nationalists organized three lines of defense in the regions including Zhongwei, Lingwu, Tongxin (), Jingyuan (), Jingtai (), Zhongning () and Jinji (), and deployed over a hundred sixty thousand troops for the upcoming campaign, but the nationalist strategy was ruined by the disagreements among themselves. Five out of the eight armies deployed were Ma Bufang's force, and they were much more concerned about keeping their own strength to retreat to and guard the inevitable communist advance to their home base in Qinghai, and thus did not put in any real effort to protect Ma Hongkui's Ningxia. These troops of Ma Bufang simply felt that they had done more than enough as they did the bulk of fighting in Lanzhou Campaign, and was worried that if they devote fully in fighting in Ningxia, they would risk being cutting off by the enemy and would never be able to return home. Consequently, Ma Bufang's force refused to take any orders from Ma Dunjing () and never participated in any fighting at all, despite being deployed initially by Ma Dunjing () under previous agreements between Ma Bufang and Ma Hongkui. As a result, only seventy five thousands nationalist troops did the fighting, and the result was disastrous as the nationalists could achieve neither the numerical nor the technical superiority.

The communists launched their offensive in three fronts: By 14 September 1949, towns including Jingyuan (), Tongxin () and Zhongning () had fallen into communist hands. On 15 September 1949, the nationalist Newly Organized 15th Cavalry Brigade guarding Jingtai () surrendered to the communists. The main force of the communist 63rd Army took Changle Bunker (Chang Le Bao, ) to the south of Zhongwei () County on 16 September 1949, after completely destroying two regiments of the nationalist 81st Army. Meanwhile, the 188th Division of the communist 63rd Army approached Zhongwei () County from the west from Jingtai () on 17 September 1949, after pass through Tengger Desert. The nationalist 81st Army was hard pressed from both south and west. Under heavy military and political pressure, Ma Hongbin, the nationalist deputy commander of Northwestern China, and his son Ma Dunjing (, not the same person as Ma Hongkui's son, Ma Dunjing, , the nationalist commander-in-chief of the Ningxia Corps), the commander of the nationalist 81st Army defected to the communist side on 19 September 1949 (and the nationalist 81st Army was subsequently reorganized as the Northwestern Independent 2nd Army on 19 December 1949).

On 19 September 1949, the communist 64th Army launched its offensive against Jingji () and Lingwu, badly mauling the nationalist 128th Army in Jinji-Lingwu Campaign. By 21 September 1949, all three defensive lines organized by the nationalists were completely destroyed. Ma Dunjing () fled to Chongqing by air and the nationalist Ningxia Corps lost it command, and as a result, the nationalist 11th Army, the remnant of the 128th Army and Helan () Army consequently disintegrated as the surviving nationalist troops deserted en masse, after learning their commander-in-chief had fled the battlefield. On 24 September 1949, the communist XIX Corps entered Yinchuan without a fight and the campaign concluded with communist victory. Nationalist lost over 40,000 troops out of the original 75,000, while the remaining deserted, and the communist victory ended the 36-year rule of Ma clique in Ningxia, as well as the nationalist rule over the region.

See also


  • Zhu, Zongzhen and Wang, Chaoguang, Liberation War History, 1st Edition, Social Scientific Literary Publishing House in Beijing, 2000, ISBN 7-80149-207-2 (set)
  • Zhang, Ping, History of the Liberation War, 1st Edition, Chinese Youth Publishing House in Beijing, 1987, ISBN 7-5006-0081-X (pbk.)
  • Jie, Lifu, Records of the Libration War: The Decisive Battle of Two Kinds of Fates, 1st Edition, Hebei People's Publishing House in Shijiazhuang, 1990, ISBN 7-202-00733-9 (set)
  • Literary and Historical Research Committee of the Anhui Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Liberation War, 1st Edition, Anhui People's Publishing House in Hefei, 1987, ISBN 7-212-00007-8
  • Li, Zuomin, Heroic Division and Iron Horse: Records of the Liberation War, 1st Edition, Chinese Communist Party History Publishing House in Beijing, 2004, ISBN 7-80199-029-3
  • Wang, Xingsheng, and Zhang, Jingshan, Chinese Liberation War, 1st Edition, People's Liberation Army Literature and Art Publishing House in Beijing, 2001, ISBN 7-5033-1351-X (set)
  • Huang, Youlan, History of the Chinese People's Liberation War, 1st Edition, Archives Publishing House in Beijing, 1992, ISBN 7-80019-338-1
  • Liu Wusheng, From Yan'an to Beijing: A Collection of Military Records and Research Publications of Important Campaigns in the Liberation War, 1st Edition, Central Literary Publishing House in Beijing, 1993, ISBN 7-5073-0074-9
  • Tang, Yilu and Bi, Jianzhong, History of Chinese People's Liberation Army in Chinese Liberation War, 1st Edition, Military Scientific Publishing House in Beijing, 1993 – 1997, ISBN 7-80021-719-1 (Volum 1), 7800219615 (Volum 2), 7800219631 (Volum 3), 7801370937 (Volum 4), and 7801370953 (Volum 5)

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