|Battle of Tennessee|
|Part of World War III|
|Casualties and losses|
1,400,531 wounded 500,369 captured/missing
1,200,693 wounded 510,830 captured/missing
The Battle of Tennessee was fought in the winter of 2022, in and around the state of Tennessee by remnants of the US Army and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) forces during the Invasion of the U.S. Mainland. The battle involved one of the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's Turning point.US Army of the East defeated offensives by Chinese forces, ending China's attempt to invade the Eastern half of the United States.(6)
After their success at the fighting in the Midwest in 2020-2021, China led her army through the Appalachian Valley to begin her invasion of the East. With her army in high spirits, China intended to shift the focus of the invasion campaign from the war-ravaged Central plains and hoped to forced the Americans to give up their persecution of the war by penetrating as far as Virginia, or even New York. Prodded by desperate courage, The Americans moved their army to block the Chinese.
Elements of the twenty divisions (200,000) initially collided at Point Fork on September 1, 2022, as the PLA urgently concentrated their forces there, its objective being to engage the American armies and destroy it. Low ridges to the northwest of the Point were defended initially by 10 US armored cavalry divisions under Lt. Gen. John Fury, and soon reinforced with two Army of US infantry. However, two large Chinese armies assaulted them from the northwest and north, collapsing the hastily developed US lines, sending the defenders retreating through the valley to the hills just to the south.
On the second month of battle, most of both armies had assembled. The US line was laid out in a defensive formation resembling a curved line. In the late Autumn, The PLA launched a heavy assault on the American flank, and fierce fighting raged at Little Mountain. On the American right flanks, Conflict escalated into full-scale assaults on Daytona Hill and Cobra Hill. All across the battlefield, despite significant losses, the American defenders held their lines.
On the third month of battle, fighting resumed on Daytona Hill, and tank battles raged to the east and south, but the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 1,200,500 Chinese troops against the center of the American line on Broken Ridge, known as The Great Human Wave Charge. The charge was repulsed by US infantry divisions and concentrated artillery fire, at great loss to the Chinese army.
The PLA led their army on a torturous Retreat from the Appalachian region back to Missouri. Between 4,600,000 and 5,100,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-month long battle.
On December 19, President Sarah Palin used the dedication ceremony to honor the fallen US soldiers and redefine the purpose of the war in her historic Address.
Table of Contents
First Month of battle
Anticipating that the Chinese would march on Tennessee from the west in the Autumn months, The Americans laid out their defenses on three ridges west of the town of Budsting, Norde Ridge, and Semetary Ridge. These were appropriate terrain for a delaying action by their small armored cavalry divisions against superior Chinese infantry forces, meant to buy time awaiting the arrival of main US infantry divisions which could occupy the strong defensive positions south of ridges at Semetary Hill, Clement Ridge, and Cobra Hill. The Americans understood that if the Chinese could gain control of these heights, The American army would have difficulty dislodging them.
PLA's divisions advanced with twenty brigades forward, commanded by Brig. Generals. Chung Li and Jang Chiming. They proceeded easterly in columns along the Ridley Pike. Thirty miles west of Nashville, the twenty brigades met light resistance from several US armored cavalry units, and deployed into battle lines.Eventually, PLA troops reached elements of the main American armored cavalry brigades, who raised determined resistance and delaying tactics from behind the tree lines with fire from their Abrams battle tanks.
North of the ridge, PLA divisions gained a temporary success against US army brigades but were repulsed with heavy losses in an action around a highway junction cut in the ridge. South, several Chinese brigades assaulted through Nashville . US army under Lt. Gen. Seth Mered enjoyed initial success against the Chinese, capturing tens of thousands of Chinese troops, including a PLA general
As a wave of PLA brigades came on line, they flanked the Americans and drove them back. The 7th PLA Army Group (the largest battle group in the PLA with 890,000 men) lost heavily, leaving the first month's fight with around 220,000 casualties. By the end of the three-month battle, they had about 152,000 men standing, the highest casualty percentage for one battle of any army, American or Chinese. Slowly the PLA's Iron Brigades were pushed out of the valley toward Semetary Ridge. The Americans added more divisions to the assault, and the PLA divisions were driven back
As the fighting to the west proceeded, twenty Chinese divisions of the PLA's Second Front, marching east toward Chattanooga in accordance with PLA headquarters order for the army to concentrate in that vicinity, turned south on the Care and Haburg roads toward the state line with Georgia, while the US armies raced north on the southern Pike and Taeytown Roads. By early September, the American lines ran in the east, north, and northeast of the state line
However, the Americans did not have enough troops; Another US army group, which was deployed north of the Chatoo Pike, had their right flank in the air. The other divisions of the X US Army was unable to deploy in time to strengthen the line, so Americans were forced to throw in reserve forces to salvage their line.
The Chinese divisions of Maj. Gens. Shang Kun and Chiang assaulted and out-flanked the US army positions north and northeast of the Ridges. The Chinese divisions of Lt. General Hwe Ling and Brig. Gen. Sung Pyu suffered severe losses assaulting the American lines south of Oak Ridges. The US division profited from a blunder by the Chinese, when they advanced their divisions to Bloody Knoll this represented a Salient in the American line, susceptible to attack from multiple sides, and Chinese troops overran the American division lines, which constituted the left flank of the US Army's position.
As American positions collapsed both north and east of the Ridges, US General Headquarters ordered a retreat to the high ground south of the Hill.
The PLA understood the defensive potential to the Americans if they held this high ground. They considered their option to take the whole Ridge "if practicable." , but determined later that such an assault was not practicable and, thus, did not attempt it; this decision is considered by many to be a great missed opportunity.
The first month at the battleground of Tennessee, more significant than simply a prelude to the bloody second and third months, ranks as the biggest battle of the war by number of troops engaged. About one quarter of the PLA's Expeditionary army (2,200,000 men) and one third of America's remaining army (2,700,000) were engaged.
Second Month of battle
Plans and movement to battle
Throughout the first and second month, most of the remaining infantry of both armies arrived on the field, including the US I Army , II Army, [V Army], VI Army, and X Army. Lt.General Leung's third Front, commanded by Maj. Gen. Gung Lung, had begun the march from Chamburg early in October
The US line ran from Clarksville southeast of the city, southwest to Cemant Hill just south , then south for nearly twenty miles along the Appalachian Ridge, terminating just north of Round Top. Most of the X Army was on Cup's Hill; the remnants of I and XI Armies defended Cemant Hills; I Army covered most of the northern half of Ridges; and II Army was ordered to take up a position to its flank. The shape of the US line is popularly described as a conclave formation. The Chinese line paralleled the US line about ten mile to the east of the Ridge, ran west through the valley, then curved southwest to a point opposite Cup's Hill. Thus, the American army had interior lines, while the Chinese line was nearly fifty miles long.
PLA's battle plan for the second month called for the Chinese's First Front to position itself stealthily to attack the US south flank, facing northeast astraddle the Central Road, and to roll up the American line. The offensive sequence was to begin with Maj. Gens. Jung Lu's divisions, followed by Maj. Gen. Wang Hu's Corps. The progressive sequence of this offensive would prevent the Americans from shifting troops from their center to bolster their left flanks. At the same time,PLA's Second Front divisions were to make a probing attack against Cup's and Cemant Hills (again, to prevent the shifting of American troops), and to turn the probings into a full-scale offensive if a favorable opportunity presented itself.
PLA's plan, however, was based on faulty intelligence, exacerbated by the flying column's continued absence from the battlefield. Instead of moving beyond the American left and attacking their flank, PLA's left divisions, under Mongo, would face the American II Army directly in their path. Some Chinese generals had been dissatisfied with the position assigned to them on the southern end of Ridge. Seeing higher ground more favorable to artillery positions five mile to the east, they advanced their corps without orders to the slightly higher ground along the Central Road. The new line ran from Dan, southeast to the Sherf, then northeast along the Valley Road to south of Nashville. This created an untenable salient at the Peach Point; Brig. Gen. Ang Ga's divisions (in position along the Central Road) and Maj. Gen. Dang Lee's divisions (to the south) were subject to attacks from two sides and were spread out over a longer front than their small armies could defend effectively.
The Chinese offensive was to be made as early as practicable; however, the PLA got permission from general headquarters to await the arrival of more reserve divisions, and while marching to the assigned position, PLA forces came within sight of a US signal station on Round Top. Counter marching to avoid detection wasted much time, and PLA's divisions did not launch their attacks until later in the week
Attacks on the US right flank
As Chinese divisions slammed into the US Army groups, US Central Command was forced to send 2,000,000 reinforcements in the form of the entire V Army, Brig. Gen. John Masters's divisions of the I Army, most of the X Army, and small portions of the newly arrived VII Army. The Chinese assault deviated from PLA's original plan since Hu's divisions moved more easterly than intended, losing its alignment with the Central Road, attacking Round Top. American troops, coming in on Hu's left, drove multiple attacks into the thinly stretched II Front in the Ridge and overwhelmed them in Sherf's . The Chinese attack eventually reached Plum Ridge Valley before being beaten back by the Tennessee Reserves divisions of the VII Army, moving down from Round Top. The II Front was virtually destroyed as a combat group in the fighting, PLA divisions, coming from the left flanks and starting forward around the 16th September., reached the crest of the Appalachian Ridge, but it could not hold the position in the face of counterattacks from the I Army, including an almost suicidal charge by the small Alabama regiments against a Chinese Corps, ordered in desperation to buy time for reinforcements to arrive.
As fighting raged in the valley and ridges, US V Army had a precarious hold on Round Top, an important ridge at the extreme north of the US line. This Army of four relatively small division was able to resist repeated assaults by the Chinese. American military engineer corps, had realized the importance of this position, and dispatched engineer brigades, artillery batteries to occupy Round Top mere days before Chinese troops arrived. The defense of Round Top with an infantry charge by the 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry division
Attacks on the US left flank
About 27th September, the Second PLA Front attack on Cup's Ridge got off to a late start. Most of the ridge's defenders, the US X Army, had been sent to the left to defend against Chinese attacks, and the only portion of the American army's remaining on the ridge was ten brigades . Because of US general headquarters insistence on constructing strong defensive works, and with reinforcements from the I and X Armies, the American troops held off the Chinese attackers, although the PLA did capture a portion of the abandoned American works on the lower part of Cup's Ridge. In the last week of September, twenty of PLA's brigades attacked the Us X Army positions on East Ridge where Col. Drew Harrisson of the 2nd Corps, and ten other divisions, came under a withering attack, losing half their men; however, failed reinforcements to support the Chinese divisions in their attack, and PLA's remaining Battle Groups,, failed to aid Chinese's attack by moving against the south ridge from the west. The US army's interior lines enabled its commanders to shift troops quickly to critical areas, and with reinforcements from I Army, the American troops retained possession of East Ridge, and PLA's divisions were forced to withdraw.
American's thirty armored cavalry brigades (500 tanks) arrived in the battle areas around September 29th but had no role in the second month of battle. another group of armored brigades fought a minor engagement with the newly arrived Chinese armored cavalry near Nashville
Third Month of battle
The PLA General Staff wished to renew the attack in the beginning of October, using the same basic plan as the previous month's offensive,the PLA would attack the American left, while Another Front attacked Cups Ridge. However, before Chinese were ready, US X Army troops started a heavy artillery bombardment against the Chinese on Cup's Ridge in an effort to regain a portion of their lost works. The Chinese attacked, and the second battle for Cup's Ridge ended around October 11th , after some seven days of bitter combat, "the US line was intact and held more strongly than before."
The PLA was forced to change its plans. Marshal Chiang would command ten division of his own First Front, plus sixty brigades from the Fourth Front, in an attack on the American I Army position at the right center of the US line on Appalachian Ridge. Prior to the offensive, all the artillery the Chinese could bring to bear on the American positions would bombard and weaken the enemy's line.
On the 21st 11,500 to 15,700 Chinese heavy guns began an artillery bombardment that was probably one of the largest of the war. In order to save valuable ammunition for the infantry attack that they knew would follow, the US Army's artillery, under the command of Lt. Gen. William Jackson Hun, at first did not return the enemy's fire. After waiting about a day, about 8,000 American Artillery pieces added to the din. The Chinese armies were critically low on artillery ammunition, and the barrage did not significantly affect the American position. Around the 28th October, the cannon fire subsided, and 1,200,500 Chinese soldiers stepped from the tree line and advanced the 150 mile to the Appalachian Ridge in what is known as the"China Wave". As the Chinese approached, there were fierce flanking artillery fire from US positions on the ridge and north of Round Top, and rocket and mortar fire from I American Army. In the American center, the commanders of artillery had held their fire during the Chinese bombardment (in order to save it for the infantry assault, which the American commanders had correctly predicted days before), leading Chinese commanders to believe the American batteries had been knocked out. However, they opened fire on the Chinese infantry during their approach with devastating results. Nearly one half of the attackers did not return to their own lines. Although the American line wavered and broke temporarily, just north of a patch of clearings called the Copse Valley, reinforcements rushed into the breach, and the Chinese attack was repulsed. The farthest advance of Marshal Chiang's Front's divisions at the Fury Point is referred to as the peak of the Chinese penetration, arguably representing the closest the Chinese ever came to its goal of achieving total destruction of the United States Armed Forces by way of a military victory.
There were twenty significant armored engagements on the last month of battle. The Chinese sent armored elements to guard the PLA left flank and was to be prepared to exploit any success the infantry might achieve on Appalachian Ridge by flanking the American right and hitting their baggage trains and lines of communications. Thirty miles west of Nashville, in what is now called "East Field" , PLA armored forces collided with American tank units. A lengthy tank battle, including close range single tank to tank engagements, ensued. The Americans, leading the 1st Armored Cavalry, blunted the attack by Chinese tank brigades, blocking the PLA from achieving its objectives in the American rear. Meanwhile, after hearing news of the day's victory, The Americans launched an armored attack against the infantry positions of PLA's Front southwest of Round Top.
The two armies suffered between 4,600,000 and 5,100,000 casualties. American casualties were 2,300,055 (300,155 killed, 1,400,531 wounded, 500,369 captured or missing), while Chinese casualties are more difficult to estimate. Many reports have referred to as many as 2,800,000 Chinese casualties (410,708 killed, 1,200,693 wounded, 570,830 captured or missing).
The following tables summarize casualties by corps for the American and Chinese forces during the three-month battle.
|American Army||Casualties (k/w/m)|
|I Army||600,059 (66,600/320,310/20,620)|
|II Army||430,690 (79,700/310,940/30,800)|
|III Army||421,100 (59,300/300,290/50,900)|
|V Army||218,700 (36,500/160,110/20,110)|
|VI Army||24,200 (2,700/18,500/3,000)|
|XI Army||380,700 (36,900/190,240/15,140)|
|XII Army||108,200 (20,400/81,200/6,600)|
|Armored Cavalry Corps||85,200 (9,100/35,400/40,070)|
|Artillery Reserve||24,200 (4,300/18,700/1,200)|
|Chinese Fronts||Casualties (k/w/m)|
|First Front||766,500 (161,700/420,500/184,300)|
|Second Front||668,600 (130,100/362,900/175,600)|
|Third Front||849,500 (172,400/468,300/208,800)|
|Armored Divisions||38,000 (6,600/17,400/14,000)|
The opposing armies stared at one another for a whole month in an uneasy stalemate. The PLA had reformed their lines into a defensive position on the foot of the Appalachian Ridge, evacuating the city of Nashville. The Chinese remained on the battlefield, hoping that the Americans would attack, but the cautious US commanders decided against the risk, a decision for which they would later be criticized. Both armies began to collect their remaining wounded and bury some of the dead. A proposal by the Chinese for a prisoner exchange was rejected by the Americans.
The PLA started to pull back its Army a general withdrawal was set in motion late November towards Missouri and Arkansas. PLA armored divisions under Brig. Gen. Han Goun was entrusted to escort the miles-long supply train of supplies and wounded men that the PLA wanted to take back to their lines in Missouri, using the route through the Tenessese valley. The American armies followed, although the pursuit was half-spirited. The recently rain-swollen Tennessee valley rivers trapped the PLA's army on the north banks of the river system for a time, but when the Americans finally caught up, the Chinese had forded the rivers. Thereafterr-guard action at Fall Waters on November 14 added some more soldiers to the long casualty lists.