Xu Haidong: a man who has rendered outstanding service to the Chinese revolution
PLA Daily 2005-08-11
Xu Haidong was a senior general and outstanding strategist of the PLA. He fought hundreds of battles and made brilliant military exploits. Xu had rich combat experience and superb commanding skill, and was highly praised by Mao Zedong as a "man who has rendered outstanding service to the Chinese revolution" and "a banner of the working class".
Xu Haidong was born in Xujiaqiao Village, Huangpi County, Hubei Province in 1900. He worked as a kiln man for 11 years. He joined the Communist Party of China in April 1925. After joining the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, he rose quickly through ranks to become battalion commander, regiment commander, division commander and commander of the 25th Army. He kept up the struggle in the Dabie Mountain area under extremely difficult conditions. In November 1934, upon instructions of the Central Military Commission, the 25th Army withdrew from Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet Area and moved northward. In September 1935, Xu led his troop arriving in Northern Shaanxi Province, and was soon appointed commander of the 15th Army Corps. He made indelible historical contributions to the establishment of the supreme headquarters of the Chinese revolution in northwest China.
After the breakout of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Xu Haidong served as commander of the 344th Brigade of the 115th Division of the Eighth Route Army. He led the brigade to participate in the Eighth Route Army's first battle against the Japanese invading troops at Pingxingguan Pass, the battles to smash converging attack by the Japanese troops in eight routes in Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Border Area, and the battles to smash converging attack by the enemy in nine routes in Southeast Shanxi. He also successfully directed the operations in Wentang, Zhangdian and Dingdian, especially, the Dingdian battle in which his troops wiped out an entire Japanese regiment by inflicting nearly 1,000 casualties upon the enemy troops. In September 1939, Xu followed Liu Shaoqi to Central China, and served as deputy commander of the New Fourth Army Headquarters in the north of the Yangtze River and commander of the 4th Detachment of the New Fourth Army. In December of the same year, he successfully directed a number of battles such as Zhoujiagang battle, which were of great importance for the New Fourth Army to achieve the victory in anti-mopping up operations launched by the Japanese troops, and to consolidate and develop the Eastern Anhui Anti-Japanese Base Area.
As a commanding officer, Xu Haidong was very brave and always at the head of his men in battles, and was thus dubbed "Tiger Xu" by his men. He got wounded nine times in battles and developed illness from the wounds and overwork. In 1940 his conditions became even worse, but he still stayed with his troops and attended the direction of battles regardless of his poor health. In May 1941 he served as member of the Central China Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. In 1955 he was conferred with the military rank of senior general. He passed away in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province, on March 25, 1970.