CHINA: Retreat

Not since the worst years of the Japanese war had China faced a prospect so bitter. The Communist autumn offensive had overwhelmed the Nationalists in Manchuria; the vital North China corridor was under heavy attack. For the second time in a generation, a great Nationalist retreat was under way. Isolated outposts would now be evacuated and lines shortened to save men and materiel for a long war of attrition.

One exception to the Nationalist strategy of evacuation was Mukden (see map), site of the best arsenal in all China. Twice in the last fortnight Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had flown north to...

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