Fèng Xì Jūnfá
Flag of Fengtian clique (until December 1928)
|Country||Republic of China|
Beiyang Government (1911–1927) |
First Zhili-Fengtian War |
Second Zhili-Fengtian War
Central Plains War
|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. It was led by warlord Zhang Zuolin, known as the "Grand Marshall;" it was supported by Japan. Between 1920 and 1921 it exercised control of Beijing jointly with the Zhili clique. 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.
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.
- Zhang Zuolin - Overall Fengtian commander
- Zhang Xueliang - Heir to Zhang Zuolin, commander of the Fengtian Air Force
- Zhang Zongchang - Ruler of Shandong, commander of the Shandong Army
- Wu Junsheng - Commander of Fengtian Cavalry
- Guo Songling - High-ranking commander, later defected to the Guominjun
- Li Jinglin - Commander of the Fengtian clique's Zhili Army and governor of Zhili province 1924–25
- Chu Yupu - Commander of the Fengtian clique's Zhili Army and governor of Zhili province 1925–28
- Konstantin Petrovich Nechaev - De facto commander of all White Russian mercenaries who served in the Fengtian armies; official commander of the 65th Infantry Division