HONG KONG, Nov. 28, 1949 (UP) -- The Communists Monday drove to within eight miles of Chungking, the grimy, fog-shrouded Nationalist capital. The city's doom was signaled when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek fled to Chengtu, 175 miles to the northwest.
Dispatches from Chungking indicated the Communists were near the south bank of the Yangtze river across from the mountain city and probably would cross Tuesday morning in the junks, sampans and steam ferries that ply the mile-wide river.
High officials flew to the temporary safety of Chengtu, or to Hong Kong and Kunming. Military forces fled along mountain roads in jeeps, in trucks and on foot in endless streams toward Chengtu. Lesser officials and the populace could only wait for the Communists' arrival.
The battle for Chungking was lost when Gen. Lo Kwang-wen's Nationalist troops were overwhelmed in the Tungtze area, 100 miles to the south, in an unsuccessful effort to halt the Red armies. Then Gen. Hu Tsung-nan's troops rushed south from Chungking to the Kikiang area, 40 miles to the south. But reports from Chungking said they were decisively defeated and were being mopped up.
Communists who by-passed this fighting to reach Nanwanchuen, 12 miles south of Chungking, were reported unopposed in their drive on the capital.
Other Communist forces approached Chungking from the northeast along the Yangtze river or swung southward to join the troops at Kikiang. Some troops moved northwest from Kikiang to cut the Chungking-Chengtu road.
Chungking is located at confluence of the Yangtze and Chialing rivers, a grimy-appearing city of dark gray brick building and straw huts, where a perpetual winter fog keeps orange and banana trees protected from the mountain cold.
Chungking dispatches said Chiang flew to Chengtu after last-minute conferences with Premier Yen Hsi-shan and other high Nationalists at his suburban home.
The city was gloomy, with its residents resigned to Communist capture. No disorder was reported. The city was dead Sunday night from 7 p. m. to 6 a.m. with only the roar if military trucks and the sound of planes, believed to be bombers breaking the silence.
Literally thousands of troops milled through the town, unwilling to fight and thinking only of getting away to Chengtu. Some civil service personnel remained behind because they had no money for travel.
The refugees said many of them slept inside the planes to make sure their places would not be taken by somebody else. They reported the shortage of plane space caused an enormous black market for seats.