In mid October 1947, the s had gathered forces included the V Corps centered at Luoyang at the east, and the Reorganized 1st and the Reorganized 36th at Tongguan County at the west for the preparation to reopen the Longhai railway transportation / communication line by first surrounding and then annihilating the communist force lead by commander Chen Geng and political commissar Xie Fuzhi. On October 20, 1947, the communist high command ordered Chen Geng and Xie Fuzhi to split their force into three: one part would remain along the railroad to distract the enemy, and the other would strike southern Shaanxi. The third part, the main force, should cross the railroad to push southward, and would strike regions included Nanzhao , Wuyang , and Square City in western Hubei to establish new bases. To carry out this strategy, Chen Geng and Xie Fuzhi decided to launch the Campaign at the Eastern Foothills of Funiu Mountain.
Order of battle
Both sides were equally matched in terms of numbers, but the s enjoyed significant technical advantage in terms of weaponry.
* order of battle: 9 s total
**The Reorganized 1st
**The Reorganized 3rd
**The Reorganized 10th
**The Reorganized 15th
**The Reorganized 36th
**The Reorganized 41st
**Local security brigades and regiments
*Communist order of battle: 9 s total
**The 4th Column
**The 9th Column
**The 38th Army
The campaign started on October 29, 1947 with the communist 55th of the 38th Army deployed along the Longhai Railroad to tie down the forces, and the rest units of the communist 38th Army and the 12th Brigade of the communist 4th Column struck toward southern Shaanxi. The rest units of the communist 4th Column and the communist 9th Column struck the controlled regions in multiple fronts. From November 1, 1947 thru November 4, 1947, Linru , Jia County, Dengfeng , Lushan , and Baofeng fell into the communist hands. The Reorganized 15th guarding these regions suffered greatly in the process, with more than 2,500 killed in the battle of Jia County alone on November 4, 1947. The s were forced to redeploy by dispatching the Reorganized 3rd and the 20th toward Baofeng and Jia County, the 124th Brigade of the Reorganized 41st toward Linru , and the 125th Brigade of the Reorganized 41st toward Xiang City in hope of luring the communists out to fight a decisive battle. However, the enemy would not take the bait and instead, took advantage of the redeployment by striking regions where defense was weakened by the redeployment.
On November 3, 1947, the communist 27th Brigade of the 9th Column besieged the town of Nanzhao , and launched the assault on the town at 1:00 AM on November 4, 1947. The strongest fortification at the Eastern Pass was blown up and attacking enemy subsequently penetrated into the town and annihilated most of the garrison consisted of two battalions. As the survivors attempted to flee via the western gate, they were ambushed by the waiting enemy and the entire 500 strong garrison was thus completely wiped out. After taking the town, the communists opened up the food depot and treasury to distribute food and money to the local populace, most of which was in severe poverty, and thus completely won over the local popular support. On November 5, 1947, the 75th Regiment of the 25th Brigade of the communist 9th Column reached the outskirt of the Square City . Although the s had built many fortifications both inside and outside the town, the local commander Wang Jingxiu was well aware that his four-regiments strong security brigade was not a match for the enemy, and in order to avoid annihilation, the garrison wisely abandoned the town without a fight, thus successfully retreated before the enemy besieged the town. After entering the town, the communist force with strict discipline discredited the negative propaganda about the communists and consequently, the local popular support drastically switched to the communist side.
The initial communist success was totally unexpected by the s, who was completely shocked by the rapid territorial expansion of the enemy. Chiang Kai-shek immediately ordered the of the 5th Corps Li Tiejun to personally lead the Reorganized 3rd and the 20th totaling seven brigades to pursuit the communists for the subsequent elimination. The communists held a conference in the town of Nanzhao on November 8, 1947 and decided not to engage the technically superior adversary. Instead, the s would be lured into the Funiu Mountains and tricked into dispersing themselves into smaller fragments first, and then when the situation allowed, the communists would annihilate these small fragments one by one. While some communist units would fake as the main force to lure the s into the mountains, the actual main force would take advantage of the overstretched defense by establishing new communist bases in the remote and rural regions.
The communist 13th Brigade of the 4th Column and the 25th Brigade of the 9th Column under the political commissar Huang Zhen and the deputy Huang Xiyou of the communist 9th Column had successfully tricked the s in believing that they were the main communist force by faking as a much larger force on their attack toward Zhenping , Internal Township and Western Gorge Entrance regions. The s were tricked to deploy the 3rd Reorganized and the 125th Brigade of the 41st to pursuit the fake enemy main force, and after wasting more than half a month at Summer Hotel and regions, the force not only failed to annihilate the enemy, but was also incapable of stopping the enemy from cutting the communication / transportation line between and Jingzi Pass . The enemy had planned to lure the s into the Funiu Mountains and then annihilate them in ambushes when the opportunity presented itself, but due to the lack of supplies, the s was forced to withdraw and thus escaped unscratched. The enemy did, however, successfully establish two new bases in the regions: the sixth military district by the communist 39th Regiment of the 13th Brigade in the region of Li Qing’s Hotel of Nanzhao county, under the command of the deputy commander of the communist 13th Brigade, Li Xifu , and the seventh military district by the communist 33rd Regiment of the 11th Brigade under the command of the political commissar of the 11th Brigade, Hu Rungui . Meanwhile, the main force of the communist 9th Column and the 22nd Brigade of the communist 4th Column threatened Luoyang by penetrating into the vicinity of the city, forcing the 206th to be redeployed to strengthen the defensive of the city. The 10th Brigade and the 11th Brigade of the communist 4th Column penetrated into regions of Wuyang , Square City , and Miyang , forcing the Reorganized 10th and the 124th Brigade of the Reorganized 41st to be redeployed to east of Beijing-Hankou railroad.
In order to take the initiative by luring the s to overstretch themselves, the newly taken towns of Square City and Nanzhao were intentionally abandoned by the communists, and the s subsequently fell for the trick by ordering Song Kezun , the of the sixth regional security command of Henan to reenter the Nanzhao as the new mayor of the town and the commander the local garrison. The former garrison of the Square City , meanwhile, was ordered back to the town under Wang Jingxiu , the commander. On November 1, 1947, the communist 10th Brigade of the 4th Column in the eastern foothills of the Funiu Mountain launched a surprise attack on Square City , and the defenders abandoned the town and fled, and the town fell into the enemy hands for the second time. On November 13, 1947, the fleeing s were caught up by the 31st Regiment of the 11th Brigade of the communist 4th Column at Temple, and were thus badly mauled by the pursuing enemy. The commander Wang Jingxiu learned that the 20th was moving toward Square City , so he ordered his surviving troops to move toward the town in an attempt to link up with his comrades-in-arms. Little did the s know that their enemy was waiting to ambush them.
On November 21, 1947, the communist 10th Brigade of the 4th Column suddenly struck the town of Nanzhao , and the garrison consisted on a security regiment and two companies was overwhelmed. After losing three companies, including more than 50 killed and over 270 captured alive by the attacking enemy, the surviving s were forced to abandon the town and flee, and thus town of Nanzhao had fallen into the enemy hands for the second time, and this time for good. On November 22, 1947, as the commander Wang Jingxiu ’s surviving Self Defense of the Square City reached Eight Mile Intersection , King Yu’s Village , and Eastern Qi Village regions south of Square City , it was ambushed by the communist 31st Regiment of the 11th Brigade of the 4th Column. Only 100 or so under the command of the commander of the force Bai Guixuan was lucky enough to escape, while all of the rest were annihilated by the waiting enemy. The s suffered 740 fatalities and another 400+ were captured alive by the enemy, including the deputy commander Ma Lianfu , who was able to successfully escape later during a forced march. After his escape, Ma Lianfu immediately went to Kaifeng to ask the provincial chairman Liu Maoen for help, but instead, he was executed on the spot for his failure as Liu Maoen ordered him to be shot in front of other commanders. On the other front, the communist 38th Army established a new base in the regions of Merchant County , Luonan and Merchant Southern , while the communist 12th Brigade established another new base in the regions of Mountain Sun , Yun Xi , Zhen’an , Upper Pass .
On November 23, 1947, the 133rd Brigade of the 20th under the al commander Yang Gancai begun its push toward Square City from Independent tree Town, but the progress was slow due to the stubborn resistance from the 10th Brigade and the 11th Brigade of the communist 4th Column at Yueyang Village , Zan Village , and Northern New Street regions. On November 24, 1947, the 134th Brigade of the 20th also begun its push toward Square City from Nanyang, Henan, and after some setback at Pengyao regions due to enemy resistance, managed to link up with the 133rd Brigade of the 20th in the region to east of Square City . The enemy gave up the town without a fight in attempt to lure the s into the mountain for an ambush but the s refused to be baited and would not venture out of the protection of the city wall. Realizing the isolated was in danger being besieged by the enemy and thus suffering possible annihilation, the s wisely decided to abandon Square City on November 25, 1947, and retreated toward Wuyang , and the campaign concluded with Square City fell into the enemy hands for a third time, and this time for good.
The s suffered more than 12,000 fatalities in their defeat, and a total of eighteen cities and towns had fallen into the enemy hands. In addition, the enemy had successfully turned the guerilla base in the Funiu Mountain into a new communist base, furthermore, the enemy was successful in establishing several brand new communist bases and thus further threatened the reign in the North China Plain. The communist success was mainly due to the correct strategy of first luring the technically superior opponent into dispersing its forces into many smaller fragments, and then to concentrate overwhelmingly numerically superior force in one battle on a single fragmented force for annihilation, and eventually, accumulate many small victories into large ones. The result of the communist strategy was that a total of eighteen towns and cities fell into the communist hands, and the communists had established themselves firmly in the border areas of Henan, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces.