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I am trying to understand the exact meaning of the military terms used in the text at the very beginning of the first episode of the show 亮剑 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WAnpfEbR5s), and in particular I would like to understand how all the different military units referenced relate to the organizational structure of the National Revolutionary Army as it existed in the early 1940s (as well as which ones are real and which ones are fictional).

Here is the text I am talking about:

1940年2月,八路军129师于晋中某地区遭日军合围,为掩护师机关及野战医院转移,八路军386旅决死1纵队各一部,在苍云岭主阵地的三个山头上,与日军三千余人展开激战

I basically understand the meaning, which I put here in case there is some obvious confusion: February 1940. The 129th division of the 8th route army is encircled by the Japanese somewhere in Jinzhong, Shanxi province. In order to protect their command and field hospital, they shift their troops. The 1st 决死 column engages in fierce fighting with over 3000 Japanese troops at the three mountaintops comprising the main battlefield at Cangyunling.

It was easy to find online that the 386th Brigade (386旅) was a subset of the 129th Division (129师), which was a subset of the 8th Route Army (八路军).

However, I am confused about what is meant by "决死1纵队各一部":is this referring to a specific one of the 决死队 (https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-cn/%E5%B1%B1%E8%A5%BF%E9%9D%92%E5%B9%B4%E6%8A%97%E6%95%8C%E5%86%B3%E6%AD%BB%E9%98%9F) units that were raised in a collaboration between the communist party and the warlord Yan Xishan, or is this just a naming coincidence ? Does "各一部" in this context mean "all the elements of the 1st column of 决死 troops" ? In the Wikipedia page I link to above, in the section about 山西青年抗敌决死第一纵队, the 386th Brigade is only mentioned once it gets to June 1940, which is after this episode takes place. Before that, it seems to say that the 决死第一纵队 was under the command of the 129th Division in 1939, but nothing about the 386th Brigade specifically. So was there a real-life unit of troops called the 决死1纵队 that was part of the 386th Brigade in February 1940 ? Is there a canonical English translation of 决死1纵队 ? The Wikipedia page unfortunately has no English version.

Would it be accurate to say that 李云龙's 新一团 is itself a subset of the 决死1纵队? What is the difference between the 新一团 and the 独立团 in the show ? Obviously at this point there may no longer be any correspondence to things that actually existed in history. My understanding is that Li Yunlong himself, as well as the battle at Cangyunling, are fictional.

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    No record can be found on either (the battle and the person).
    – r13
    Dec 15, 2022 at 3:29

1 Answer 1

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I think this page will help you know some knowledge about 决死一纵. The short answer is, 决死一纵 is another troop than 129师。

for your questions: 1.

I am confused about what is meant by "决死1纵队各一部":is this referring to a specific one of the 决死队 (https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-cn/%E5%B1%B1%E8%A5%BF%E9%9D%92%E5%B9%B4%E6%8A%97%E6%95%8C%E5%86%B3%E6%AD%BB%E9%98%9F) units that were raised in a collaboration between the communist party and the warlord Yan Xishan, or is this just a naming coincidence ?

It is. It's not coincidence.

2.

Is there a canonical English translation of 决死1纵队 ? The Wikipedia page unfortunately has no English version.

I didn't find it yet. This is not a very famous troop, so maybe no canonical English translation.

3.

Would it be accurate to say that 李云龙's 新一团 is itself a subset of the 决死1纵队?

At least at the stage of the show, it isn't. There is a line in it that says:三八六旅 决死一纵,已经组成了左右两路包围之势。 新一团 is a subtroop of 386旅, So obviously, they are two different troops.

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What is the difference between the 新一团 and the 独立团 in the show ?

After negotiations between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party, the Communist forces reorganized. At this time, the 386 brigade had only 2 regiments, the 771 regiment and the 772 regiment. All other regiments, such as the 新一团, the 新二团, and the 独立团, were later expanded by the Communist Party. Before the 苍云岭之战,李云龙 was in 新一团。After it, 李云龙was dismissed and then transferred to the 独立团as the head.(There is a line said by 李云龙 may misunderstand you in the first episode:弟兄们,咱们独立团自打成立那天起,就没丢下过自己的弟兄。咱们冲回去!There is a mistake. The regiment here should be 新一团 rather than 独立团).

My understanding is that Li Yunlong himself, as well as the battle at Cangyunling, are fictional.

Yes. However, most of the stories and characters in the show are based on real events. 李云龙 was derived by 王近山,and 苍云岭之战 was derived by 黄土岭之战。

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  • What a wonderful answer ! Thank you very much for this. Just an extra bit of information in case someone is interested: According to the Wikipedia article I cited, an alternate name for the 山西青年抗敌决死队 is also 山西新军, which seems consistent with the "Shanxi New Army" mentioned in the English Wikipedia article for Yan Xishan. So perhaps that is the canonical English translation I was looking for. However, the Baike article you gave says they were 中国共产党领导的山西新军的骨干力量, which seems to suggest that the 决死队 were subtroops of the Shanxi New Army and were not same thing. What do you think ?
    – babu_babu
    Dec 15, 2022 at 22:09
  • Also, just to make sure I have a record of it: the reason I was confused was that I interpreted (due to my own incompetence with grammer probably) the sentence "386旅决死1纵队各一部" as talking about different elements of the 决死1纵队 as a subtroop of the 386旅. In fact, it is talking about the 386旅 and the 决死1纵队 as two disjoint sets, and the "各一部" is just saying that both of these military units participated in the battle.
    – babu_babu
    Dec 15, 2022 at 22:54
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    Thank you! I am a big fan of 亮剑。So i am very glad to talk about it. Although 亮剑 is an old show and also has some mistakes (wrong lines) and disadvantages (poor production and poor acting by the extras), it shows may real events including victory and defeat. It also metaphors a lot of real problems which currently also have. Fell free to talk with me anything about 亮剑 :)
    – Havier
    Dec 15, 2022 at 23:17
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    @babu_babu for your first comment, both of them are all true. The reason why they are all true is complicated, but short answer is, that period is the stage of cooperation between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. Many Chinese Communist Party troops are all leaded by Kuomintang's leaders. For example, at that time, 阎锡山 was the 第二战区司令官, 八路军 was belong to the 第二战区, so 阎锡山 was the leader of 八路军。 In the same way, 阎锡山 was also the leader of 山西新军, but 山西新军 was 共产党's troop.
    – Havier
    Dec 15, 2022 at 23:28
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    @babu_babu for your second comment, yes you are right. I just would like to add a new tip. 各一部here means a subtroop, not the whole troop. For example 386旅决死一纵各一部,can be 新一团 and a subtroop of 决死一纵, but not the whole 386旅 with whole 决死一纵。
    – Havier
    Dec 15, 2022 at 23:32

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