Sunday, December 26

1885: Beiyang Air Fleet Defeated At Jiuliancheng

China's Beiyang Air Fleet was formed by the Qing dynasty near the end of the 19th century along western lines to help ensure China had the necessary modern forces to resist the Western powers and Japan.

The Sino-French War of 1884-5 had demonstrated to the Chinese the need for air power and they embarked on a rapid programme of raising air fleets following the war, relying on aeronef and aerostat of British and Russian construction to equip their fleets. Unfortunately many of the vessels were not maintained properly and indiscipline was rife in the fleet due to poor leadership, low pay and opium usage.

The Beiyang Air Fleet saw much action in the Sino-Japanese War 1894-5, supporting the Chinese army at the Battles of Seongwhan and Pyongyang and the navy at the Battle of the Yalu River, however it was badly mauled losing over half the fleet in a major air battle above the Yalu River at Jiuliancheng as the Japanese seized control of the skies to launch their invasion of Manchuria.

The remnants of the air fleet continued to provide as much support as was practical for the army notably at Lüshunkou but the fate of the fleet was sealed when they attempted to prevent the Japanese bombing of Tianzhuangtai but were overwhelmed by the superior numbers and vessels of Japanese aerial fleet.

1 comment:

  1. Nice bit of hypothetical background there - I'd often considered such a fleet for 1/3000th Pre-Dreds, but never for Aeronef - throws up some nice possibilities - isn't there a visitor's gallery at the Brigade website with pics of just such a fleet someone put together? Methinks I'll have to follow up on this.....


Distinguished Gentlemen