1937, when the anti-Japanese resistance war began, Japanese warplanes started random bombardment on NanJing, of total over one hundred rounds. Their main targets were of non-military nature. The most prosperous and populated area--southern part of NanJing received most of the bombing. The bombing on September 25th was the most devastating, from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Japanese war planes flew five rounds of total 95 sorties, dropped about 500 bombs, led to more than 600 civilian casualties. A refugee camp at XiaGuan was bombed, more than 100 died. Among the bombed targets, besides power plants, water works and radio stations, there was also the Central Hospital with a red cross on its building's roof.
On November 20th, Japanese invaders pressed on towards NanJing. The KMT government made the announcement to move its capital to ChongQing city. NanJing was in chaos. Bureaucrats all fled, left behind them helpless civilians. Before the war, NanJing had a population of one million, as the war began, people started to evacuate, however, only those high officials and rich could go far, ordinary people at most went to nearby places. On the other hand, refugees from the fronts continuously flew into the city. The KMT government did nothing to help them. Some US and British public figures in NanJing advised to form a "International Committee" and designate certain regions as "Safety Zones". The KMT government agreed.
On November 25th, Japanese attacked NanJing from three directions: the eastern front along the Shanghai-NanJing railway, attacking the front; the center front along the NanJing-HangZhou railway, taking XiShui, JuRong attacking from back; the western front advancing from GuangDe, XuanCheng and WuHu, encircling NanJing. At the beginning of December, Japanese army from three directions all reached the periphery of NanJing, and engaged in battle with the defending forces. Then, NanJing had a defending force of over one hundred thousand men, commanded by general Tang ShengZhi, commander of the garrison force. Tang took the strategy of abandoning the positions outside the city, and was entrenched in a besieged city.
On December 12th, Japanese main force mounted a fierce attack on YuHuaTai.
By noon, YuHuaTai fell. At 2 PM, they stormed ZhongHua gate, an opening to
the city was made. At 5 PM, Tang ShengZhi called in officers ranked division
and above for a twenty-minute meeting, distributed an order for breaking
out. He and the majority of the defending force then crossed the river and
Tang ordered to reatreat
On the 13th, Japanese captured NanJing, and from then we see a more horrible picture.