Fengtian clique

Fengtian clique
Fèng Xì Jūnfá
Flag of Fengtian clique (until December 1928)
Active 1911–1937
Disbanded 1937
Country Republic of China
Allegiance Beiyang Government (1911–1927)
Kuomintang (1928–1937)
Type Warlord faction
Engagements First Zhili-Fengtian War
Second Zhili-Fengtian War
Central Plains War
Northern Expedition
Overall commander (1920–1928) Zhang Zuolin
Overall commander (1928–1937) Zhang Xueliang

The Fengtian Clique (simplified Chinese: 奉系军阀; traditional Chinese: 奉系軍閥; pinyin: Fèng Xì Jūnfá) was one of several mutually hostile cliques or factions that split from the Beiyang Clique in the Republic of China's Warlord Era. It was named for Fengtian Province (now Liaoning) and operated from a territorial base comprising the three northeastern provinces that made up Manchuria.[1] It was led by warlord Zhang Zuolin, known as the "Grand Marshall;" it was supported by Japan.[2] Between 1920 and 1921 it exercised control of Beijing jointly with the Zhili clique.[1] However, tensions soon began building between the two cliques, and the Fengtian clique clashed with the Zhili clique for control of Beijing, which caused the First Zhili-Fengtian War (1922) and the Second Zhili-Fengtian War (1924). The power of the Fengtian Clique began to decrease in the midst of the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition. While he was retreating North, Zhang Zuolin's Japanese sponsors blew up his train, killing him. After the assassination of Zhang Zuolin in 1928 by the Japanese, his son, Zhang Xueliang, took over the leadership of the clique. Zhang Xueliang then went on to pledge himself and his army to the Kuomintang government in Nanking.[1]

Fengtian Army

The Fengtian Army was named after the home province of its leader Zhang Zuolin, which was Fengtian (奉天), called Liaoning (辽宁) today.

The army of Zhang Zuolin was one of the most modern of the Chinese warlord armies, employing technology that many Chinese warlords did not have. This technology included the Renault FT tank and even a large airforce of around 100 aircraft including Breguet 14 light Bombers and Breguet Type 15 fighters. The Airforce of the Fengtian Clique were commanded by Zhang Zuolin's son, Zhang Xueliang who had, while in Japan, taken a great interest in Military Aviation. Along with these more modern units, Zhang Zuolins army was not too different with other Warlord armies of the time including 'Dare to Die' units which were virtual suicide squads; one unit of Zhang's army lost 5,000 men in one attack.

Alongside these Chinese troops, the Fengtian army employed many White Russian volunteers in its army, one unit of White Russians in the Fengtian Army was the Mukden Lancers. Zhang made good use of White Russian officers, the Soviet documentary film 'Modern Warfare in China in 1924-1925' showed these White Russians, they are named as General Konstantin Petrovich Nechaev, Brigadier-General Chekhov and his second-in-command Colonel Makarenko.

Fengtian commanders

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Fengtien Clique; The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979).
  2. Historical Dictionary of Modern China (1800-1949) by James Z. Gao; Scarecrow Press, 16 jun. 2009; p.115

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