With similar cultures, Japan and China both shared and
conflicted thru history. Their relationship would eventually deteriorate
into direct wars changing their neighbor status through World War II and
beyond. Japan?s aggression and territorial expansion emanated into
the Sino-Japanese War, preceded by their penetration into Korean
territories and the intended annexation of the Ryukyu Islands in 1879.
Manchuria turned into a puppet of the Japanese empire when Japan
overran the country in 1932 under the establishment of the Kwantung Army,
and declaring Manchuria as the state of Manchukuo.
Through these conflicts and eventual war with Russia, the
Japanese expansion and occupation of neighboring countries developed the
necessity to control captured armaments of manufacturing arsenals and
private sub-industries. As a result of these events and with the Japanese
military services utilizing a variety of automatic weapons produced within
these countries deems it appropriate to identify them in the relationship.
CHINA, through its Warlord control periods, civil wars, and
defense of invaders had accumulated a vast amount of ordnance arsenals
throughout the country. In 1932 a yearbook was produced on the country?s
general political, and economic status. One of the chapters was devoted
to the condition of its Army and Navy forces outlining arms, uniforms and
equipment. The section on arms provided a summary of Chinese arsenals
listed as follows:
NOTE: This listing pertains
to those arsenals and industries involved in the specific manufacture
and/or repair of automatic weapons and associated ammunition [and
may have also been involved in other small arms ordnance production].
CANTON Arsenal: Canton, China. One of the 5 largest
arsenals for small arms production in the 1920?s, it?s 1930?s production
capacity for small arms ordnance was 8, [Vickers], machine guns and
700,000 ammunition cartridges per month.
CHENGTU Arsenal: Chengtu, capital of Szchwan Province.
Manufacturers of small arms ordnance including machine guns and
FOOCHOW NAVAL Arsenal: Foochow [Minhow], capital of Fukien
Province. Navy?s largest arsenal producing 10 water cooled Maxim machine
guns per day.
HANYANG Arsenal: Hupeh Province, North China. Manufacturing
100 Mauser pistols daily, and 50 Browning water cooled machine guns per
HANGCHOW Arsenal: Hangchow, capital of Chekiang Province.
Specializing in repair work, which included machine guns. Production of
small arms ammunition was 200,000 cartridges per day.
KAIFENG Arsenal: Kaifeng, capital of Honan Province.
Manufacturer of small arms ordnance including machine guns and their
repair. Small arms ammunition production was 50,000 daily.
KIANGNAN Arsenal: Shanghai, produced 50 browning water
cooled machine guns per month and their repairs. Also manufactured
170,000 rifle and pistol ammunition cartridges per day. The arsenal was
dismantled in March 1932 and machinery relocated to the Hangehow Arsenal.
KUNGHSIEN, [HSIAOYI], Arsenal: Manufactured heavy and light
ordnance including machine guns.
NANCHANG Arsenal: Nanchang, capital of Kiangsi Province.
Main products were small arms including machine guns and ammunition.
PEIYANG [Tientsin], Arsenal, Tientsin, North China.
Repairing 10 machine guns per month and later in the mid 1930?s included
manufacturing of small arms ammunition.
TAIYUAN [FU] Arsenal: Taiyuan, [formerly Yangku], capital
of Shansi Province. Arsenal second only to the Mukden, Manchuria
Arsenal. Manufacturing a variety of heavy and light ordnance and
ammunition, which included 500 Mauser pistols, 30 Maxim and Czech ZBvz26
light machine guns per month along with their repairs. Small arms
ammunition production was 120,000 cartridges per day. Manufacture also
included copies of Thompson sub machine guns.
TEHCHOW Arsenal: Tehchow, Hopeh Province, North China,
eastern outskirts of Peiping. Manufacturers of machine guns and small
TSINAN [FU] Arsenal: Tsinan, capital of Shantung Province,
North China. Manufactures of small ordnance including 11 machine guns and
1,700,000 small arms ammunition per month.
There were also many small workshops throughout China
during the restless period that had been turned into small arsenals such
as Kalgan and Jehol which serviced various warlords. Some went out of
existence and some remained such as Johel which provided small arms
repairs and furnishing of small arms ammunition.
Continuing through the 1930?s and into World War II were
additional arsenals and private firms throughout China, Manchuria and
Korea which were involved in quantity production and servicing of machine
pistols, light and heavy machine guns, both prior to and during the
Japanese Expeditionary Forces occupation. As an example, the Japanese
estimates for the small arms ordnance program of fiscal year 1945 in China
listed the following monthly productions:
NANKING: 1000 light machine guns
TIENTSIN: 1500 light machine guns
500 heavy machine guns
Also repairing up to 10 machine
guns per month.
The following is a
listing of arsenals and private firms involved in small arms automatic
weapons production in these countries as evolved in the 1930?s and in
preparation for World War II through its conclusion in 1945.
CANTON PACIFICATION COMMISSION:
Pacification Commission Repair shop, Chih Chiac,
machine gun repairs.
ordnance Repair shop, Chang Ti, Canton,
machine gun repairs.
Central China Airways. Canton reported to repairs Thompson
weapons [sub machine guns]
CHONG JING ARMS REPARATIONS WORKS: Shanghai, China.
Production of Mauser pistols.
CHONGQUING Arsenal: Chunking, China; Originally owned by
warlord: Liu Hsiang renamed to 21st Army Military Equipment
Repair Depot. Produced copies of the Czechoslovakian ZBvz26 light machine
DAGU NAVAL SHIPYARDS: Tientsin, China. Produced copies of
the Czech. ZBvz26 light machine guns.
GONGXIAN Arsenal: Kunghsien, China. Name later changed to
11th Arsenal produced copies of the Czech. ZBvz26 light machine
guns starting in 1937.
GUANGSI Arsenal Preparing Division: Kwangsi, China,
production of ZBvz26 light machine guns.
GUANGDONG Weapons Manufacturing Factory, [1st
Arsenal]: Canton, China; later named the 41st Arsenal
manufactured ZBvz26 light machine guns.
KIANGAU Arsenal: Kiangau, North China. Important Japanese
occupied arsenal, manufacturing ordnance including 11 light and heavy
machine guns per month.
KWANGTUNG Arsenal: Canton, China, later name changed to 41st
Arsenal manufactured ZBvz26 light machine guns before and after its
relocation in 1938.
NANJING Arsenal: Nanking, China, later relocated and merged
with Chongquing Arsenal, which also controlled the 20th arsenal, all
producing ZBvz26 light machine guns.
NANKING Arsenal: Nanking, China. [The head arsenal for
all activities in China, under the control of China Expeditionary Force.]
Produced 40 Maxim water cooled machine guns per month in the early 1930?s.
Later production through July 1945: 20 light machine guns, 80 heavy
machine gun repairs.
NORTH CHINA ENGINEERING CO. LTD: Located in PEKING, North
China, produced light machine guns.
PEIPING: Headquarters of the North China Area Army.
The North China Company, factory #1 located at 51 Yung Ho
Kung Street. Privately owned, started production as an arms factory in
1941. After capture by the Japanese in 1944 it produced 80 light machine
guns per month.
Kanegafuchi Diesel Industrial Company, [Yung Tseng Iron
Works], #6 West, Hsien Tan, Peiping, repaired heavy machine guns.
SHANGHAI Arsenal: Weapon Repair Factory, [sub factory], Yu
Yuen Road, Shanghai, China; repaired machine guns.
SHANSI Arsenal: Sinhsien, Shansi Province, North China.
Manufacturer of Chinese Type 38 machine guns and ZB vz26 light machine
SHANSI MACHINERY BUREAU, [SHANSI MILITARY TECHNOLOGY
PRACTIC FACTORY]: Shansi Province, North China. Manufacturer of Thompson
submachine guns, Mauser pistols.
SICHANG Arsenal: Szechwan Province, China. Manufacture of
Mauser pistols and various small arms ordnance.
TAKU NAVAL DOCKYARD Arsenal: Hopi Province, China.
Produced copies of Mauser pistols.
TUNG-SHAN Supply and Repair Depot: Tung-Shan, China.
Serviced the 6th Area Army with supplies and repairs. Produced
20 light machine guns and its three branch factories manufactured a total
of 30 light machine guns per month.
51st Arsenal: Kunming, China, later changed to
53rd Arsenal after incorporating the 22nd arsenal produced
ZBvz26 light machine guns starting in 1941. The arsenal complex was moved
to Chunking in 1937. In 1942 the 51st arsenal was combined
with the 22nd and 53rd arsenals.
MANCHURIA: The ordnance
activities were centered in Mukden and the suburbs. During the
Japanese occupation, depots were located in Mukden, Chang-chun and Harbin
controlled directly from Tokyo. The main arsenal was at Mukden, Hoten
Zoheisho KK, [Mukden Arsenal Co. Ltd]. This facility contained some 218
buildings and also controlled 37 local small machine shops. All together,
they had a rated capacity for production of 1,680 machine guns annually
and the additional repairing of substantial amounts of machine guns. In
the last quarter of 1944, the actual production was reduced to 200 of each
type due to Allied bombing activity.
Manchuria Machine and Tool Company, 1-4 Kranko Gaj, Tassei
Ku, Mukden, by war?s end was in the process of manufacturing a newly
designed machine pistol originating from Tokyo. The weapon chambered for
the standard 8 mm pistol ammunition encompassed both Browning and the
Japanese Type 14 pistol features. The 20 completed models were
confiscated by the Russians along with parts for 50 additional guns in
various stages of assembly.
KOREA: Japanese Army Arsenal,
Jinsen, [Inchon], Korea. The arsenal was located 5 miles from the port of
Jinsen and 20 miles north of Seoul. Beginning in 1935 and through the end
of World War II, it produced a variety of small arms ordnance. These
activities included the assembly and repair of light machine guns along
with ammunition production.
After World War II, in April 1946 an Allied inventory of
disarmed Japanese ordnance included an accounting of 12,446 light and
heavy machine guns.
JAPANESE TROOPS guarding
the entrance to Mukden Arsenal
after its capture in
September 1931. The soldier kneeling on the right is holding a
Czech. series ZBvz26/30 light machine gun.
This works is
excerpted from the soon to be published book:
DRAGONS OF FIRE
by william m.p.