The area around Hujingtou in the island of Little Kinmen (aka Lieyu 烈嶼) is full of historical significance. It was the closest front line in Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War, only 5 KM from Xiamen. Now the museum and displays in the area are open to tourists who can experience what it was like to be on the front lines during the standoff between the PRC and KMT forces.
The Hujingtou Battle Museum was built in 1988 , and features a castle like building, including moats and cannons on display. The museum details battles that occured on little Kinmen such as the Da Eer Battle and the August 23 Artillery Battle (aka Second Taiwan Strait Crisis) in which the PRC and KMT forces battered each other with artillery fire for 4 weeks, killing roughly 800 soldiers in total. The battle resulted in a stalemate, with neither side gaining any ground and the Chinese using up all their ammunition.
The Battle Museum also conspicuously leaves out history of the 1987 Lieyu Massacre in which ROC forces shot and killed 19 Vietnamese shipwrecked fisherman and tried to cover it up.
How to get there:
From Kinmen, take the ferry from Shuitou Harbor to little Kinmen. You can drive your scooter onto the ferry, or take a taxi once you get to the other side. The fort is on the northwestern corner of the island.
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM every day
Map: Please see below:
On our trip to the island of Little Kinmen (aka Lieyu), we first visited the landmine museum, shortly after which we set off to Hujingtou via scooter. Along the way we saw some very interesting war exhibits near the shoreline of Mao Gong Shi Island Recreation Area, like this manikin soldier with his sights pointed at Xiamen in the background.
There are still tons of spikes sticking out of the beach. I think the reason they have not been cleaned up is because of the environmental impact it would have.
Xiamen, China, only 3 miles across the water from Little Kinmen.
Next to the beach there are also other forts and exhibits to explore. The entire island is a giant museum. After all, this was the front lines of a civil war that went on for decades.
The entrance to the Hujingtou Battle Museum along with large cannons on display. There was no one "Battle of Hujingtou," this place just pieces together all of the battles and sprawls that took place on Little Kinmen.
Large artillery pieces on display inside.
I'm not sure which battle the above painting is depicting, perhaps the battle of Dadan.
Painting of soldiers operating a large cannon.
Movie on display talking about the ROC army in Kinmen.
"The Combat Glory of the Lieyu Regiment"
"Lieyu (Little Kinmen), Dadan islet and Erdan islet are the outlying islands of Taiwan's outlying islands. During the era of confrontation between the Nationalist and Communist Governments, they were the frontline of the frontline. Dadan and Erdan are located southwest of Lieyu, facing Xiamen. Dominating access to Xiamen Harbor, they have been a military target for centuries."
"Peishan (north mountain) and Nanshan (south mountain) are small highlands in the north and south parts of Dadan, connected by a stretch of sands. Nanshan, with a height of 98 meters, dominates the whole islet. Both north and south ends of the island are very rocky; small boats can only approach at high tide. The eastern and western beached are relatively flat and suitable for landing."
"Erdan islet is a rocky highland without good beaches or harbors. The northern shore is virtually inaccessible. The natural geography makes these islets easy to defend and difficult to attack."
"On July 26, 1950 at 18:10, the Chinese government launched artillery attacks on Dadan and Erdan. At 20:00, more than 700 soldiers from the 2nd battalion of the 258th regiment of the 86th division of the Chinese army launched from nearby Xiamen University on 27 motorized sailboats to attack Dadan and Erdan. 23:30 The artillery attack ceased, and the invaders divided into three groups and attacked the central sands of Dadan from either side. some were blasted back to the sea by the 1st Battalion of the 225th Regiment of the 75th Division of the Nationalist Army. The survivors hurried to attack Peishan and Nanshan."
"July 27, 00:50 the more exposed parts of Nanshan fell to the enemy."
"02:40 positions on Peishan also fell. At dawn, because signal communications had failed, battalion commander Shi Heng-feng detached orderly Lai Sheng-ming to carry word to Peishan."
"07:40 battalion commander Shi, grasping the overall situation, gave orders to counter-attack."
"08:30 the soldiers on Peishan and Nanshan fought together and overcame the enemy in Nanshan. Some enemy forces attacked Erdan Islet. Ultimatley, the Nationalist army defeated the Chinese army, killing 300 and capturing 252 enemy soldiers."
"In October 1951, Chiang Ching-kuo toured Dadan and presented an inscription reading: "Be fearless (Da-dan) in shouldering the burden of counter-attack and national recovery." Thereupon the name Dadan (heavy burden) was changed to Dadan (fearless) (the pronunciation is the same, but the Chinese characters are different), to encourage all soldiers to carry our the honorable duty of national recovery."
"In 1958, the Chinese government planned to invade Kinmen and Matsu. On August 23 at 18:30, the Chinese army fired artillery rounds on the front-line islands of Kinmen, Lieyu, Dadan, and Erdan from its positions at Wei-tou, Lian-deng, Xiamen, and Zhenhai. Lieyu was hit by more than 30,000 shells. By Septemper 5, Lieyu, Dadan, and Erdan had been hit by more than 80,000 shells. The 9th Division protected the islets resolutely, making urgent repairs to their defences while under fire and at the same time fighting back to defeat the enemy's goal of cutting them off. The 9th Division was besieged on these isolated islets and attacked day and night. It sustained itself through a month of fierce fighting. Its bravery, persistence and determination have made it a model for the Nationalist Army."
Old guns and photos on display.
This place reminds me of a certain space ship from Star Wars.
The movie cut to the soldiers doing yoga on the beach.
One of the most impressive sights in the musuem is the view of Shiyu (Lion Island), which is the closest inhabited island to the PRC. From the museum, you can use a telescope to look at the island and the island of Xiamen.
Closeup of the military fortifications still in operation on Shiyu. ROC flag is painted prominently.
This rock is the closest ROC territory to China. There's no one on it. If you have the misfortune to be shipwrecked here, you might be shot.
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.