In November 1934, the Red Army decided to cross Xiang River in southern China to break through the surrounding Kuomintang forces. A month later, most of the army had made it to safety. But the 34th Division of the 5th Army was still locked in fierce battle.
Though his troops were massively outnumbered, Commander Chen Shuxiang knew he had to endure. The Red Army’s safe retreat depended on him stalling the pursuing enemy. For four nights and five days, Chen and his troops fought off wave after wave of relentless attacks. Yet they stood firm. But when it came for their turn to retreat, the passage of escape had already been blocked off by the Kuomintang army.
Chen and his troops fought hard, but it wasn't enough to break through enemy lines. As the commander of his troops, Chen Shuxiang didn't give up hope and led his soldiers into the mountains and resorted to guerilla warfare. Without enough food and supply, the 34th Division suffered great casualties in the harsh winter.
Zi Yiqing, an eyewitness to the Long March
“I saw many dead bodies on the ground, just lying there. It was after three days of frost. Who could survive that in the wilderness?”
During his final battle, Huang was wounded and captured. Interrogated by the enemy, Huang refused to tell the whereabouts of the Red Army’s main forces, and committed suicide to keep the information secret.