Chang Fa-k'uei 張發奎 T. Hsiang-hua 向華
Chang Fa-k'uei (1896-), a leading Cantonese military officer, commanded the 12th (Ironside) Division, later and better known as the Fourth Army. Although a sometime supporter of Wang Ching-wei who participated in several anti- Chiang Kai-shek movements, he was given important commands during the Sino-Japanese war.
A native of Shihhsing hsien on the northern borders of Kwangtung province, Chang Fa-k'uei was born into a poor peasant family. His father, Chang Chu-ch'i, finding farming difficult, had obtained a clerical post in the hsien magistracy. This enabled the boy to attend school and, at the age of 12, he enrolled in the higher primary school in the hsien city. A stubborn lad, he was expelled from the school for insubordination in 1910, at the age of 15. In 1911 Chang Fa-k'uei left his home district for Canton, where he served for a time in the Tseng-pu Weaving Works. It was the year of the anti-Manchu revolt, and the lad soon was attracted to the movement. After the republic was established in 1912, Chang gained admission to the Whampoa Military Primary School near Canton. Teng K'eng (q.v.), then dean of the school, took a liking to the boy and sponsored his membership in the Kuomintang. After being graduated from the Canton school in 1914, Chang Fa-k'uei went to Wuchang, where he joined the Army preparatory academy. In 1916 when the southern provinces launched the campaign against Yuan Shih-k'ai, who had proclaimed himself monarch, Chang Fa-k'uei left the academy and returned to Canton to join the army. Together with Hsueh Yueh (q.v.), he served under Teng K'eng and Chu Chih-hsin (q.v.) in numerous revolutionary actions.
Before Sun Yat-sen left Canton for Shanghai in the summer of 1918, he organized a Kwangtung Army and placed it under the command of Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.). To avoid an open clash with the Kwangsi warlords, Sun sent Ch'en Chiung-ming with that army to Fukien. Teng K'eng was chief of staff in this army, and Chang Fa-k'uei served under Teng.
In 1920 this Kwangtung Army returned to Kwangtung and ousted the Kwangsi warlords from Canton. Sun Yat-sen then returned to Canton, where in 1921 he was elected president extraordinary. The Kwangtung Army had expanded, and Teng K'eng, the chief of staff, was also commander of its 1st Division. Chang Fa-k'uei was a battalion commander, and soon his battalion was incorporated into the special guards regiment which was charged with the personal protection of Sun Yat-sen. In 1922 Chang Fa-k'uei lost his friend and mentor Teng K'eng, whose assassination proved to be the prelude to Ch'en Chiung-ming's revolt against Sun. At the time of that revolt, which took place early in the morning on 16 June 1922 when Ch'en Chiung-ming's subordinates surrounded Sun's headquarters in Canton, Chang Fa-k'uei and his battalion were in Shaokwan, where Sun had established the headquarters of his northern expeditionary army. Chang and his men thus escaped the assault by Ch'en's forces. Army units loyal to Sun which had entered Kiangsi found Ch'en Chiung-ming's forces to be overpowering and they turned toward Fukien. Chang Fa-k'uei was unable to join them, and for a time he took his men to his native district of Shihhsing in northern Kwangtung.
Meanwhile, Liang Hung-k'ai, who was loyal to Sun, had succeeded Teng K'eng as commander of the 1st Division. That division had to take refuge in the Kongmoon area, and, eventually, Liang summoned Chang Fa-k'uei to join him. Then, in 1923, the 1st Division of the Kwangtung Army was reorganized, and Chang Fa-k'uei contributed many troops to it. Because of the aid given by the Kwangsi and Yunnan armies to Sun Yat-sen's cause, Ch'en Chiung-ming had been forced to evacuate Canton and retreat to his home district in the East River area. Sun Yat-sen then named Liang Hung-k'ai commander of the First Anti-bandit Army (the "bandit" referring to Ch'en Chiungming), and Li Chi-shen, hitherto chief of staff to the 1st Division, took over its command. Chang Fa-k'uei was promoted to the command of the independent regiment in the division. In 1924 there was a further reorganization, and Chang Fa-k'uei was assigned to command one of the regiments which formed the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division. The brigade commander was Ch'en Ming-shu (q.v.), and the commander of the other regiment under the same brigade was Tai Chi. The division saw action in the campaign against Shen Hung-ying, another Kwangsi warlord whom the Peking government had attempted to use against the southern government. It also fought in the final East River campaign against Ch'en Chiung-ming in 1925, and, later, against the Kwangsi and Yunnan armies of Liu Chen-huan and Wang Hsi-min.
In July 1925 the Kuomintang organized the National Government at Canton. In August of that year, the various armies under the Canton government were reorganized and standardized as units of the National Revolutionary Army. A part of the Kwangtung Army, with the former 1st Division as the backbone, was organized as the Fourth Army, with Li Chi-shen (q.v.) as commander. That reorganization marked the first appearance of the name Fourth Army. Chang Fa-k'uei first served as the commander of an independent brigade, but that unit was soon expanded into the 12th Division. The Fourth Army, at the time of its founding, was commanded by Li Chi-shen, and its four divisional commanders were Ch'en Ming-shu, Ch'en Chi-t'ang, Chang Fa-k'uei, and Hsu Ching-t'ang.
When the National Government launched the Northern Expedition in 1926, under the over-all command of Chiang Kai-shek, Li Chi-shen was appointed to secure the rear base at Canton. Of the four divisions of his Fourth Army, however, two were assigned to join in the expedition. These were the 10th Division under Ch'en Ming-shu and the 12th Division under Chang Fa-k'uei. These two divisions of the Fourth Army formed the vanguard unit that spearheaded the drive into Hunan in July 1926. Chang Fa-k'uei was chiefly responsible for the final capture, on 29 August 1926, of Ting-ssu-ch'iao, and he followed that victory by taking another strategic point, Ho-sheng-ch'iao. These two battles broke the morale of the enemy forces of Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.) and won the name "Ironsides" for Chang Fa-k'uei's division. After the capture of the Wuhan area, both the 10th Division of Ch'en Ming-shu and the 12th Division of Chang Fa-k'uei were enlarged into armies. Ch'en Ming-shu's 10th Division was expanded into the Eleventh Army, made up of three divisions, the unit which later became the famous Nineteenth Route Army. Chang Fa-k'uei's 12th Division, with the addition of the 25th Division, took over the name of the Fourth Army, and carried over the "Ironsides" appellation.
In what was referred to as the second phase of the Northern Expedition, Chang Fa-k'uei led his men farther north from Wuhan and reached Kaifeng. Feng Yu-hsiang (q.v.) had thrown his support to the side of the southern forces, and Honan province came into the hands of the National Government. Chang Fa-k'uei and the army units returned to Wuhan. By that time, the growing rift between the Wuhan and the Nanking factions of the Kuomintang was becoming manifest. Ch'en Ming-shu left the army because he did not agree with the Wuhan stand. Chang Fa-k'uei then was given command of the Eleventh Army, as well as the Fourth Army. Meanwhile, T'ang Sheng-chih (q.v.) had assumed the position of commander in chief in the Wuhan government, and by the summer of 1927 it appeared that the differences between Wuhan and Nanking might have to be settled by military action. Chang Fa-k'uei was appointed commander in chief of the Second Front Army, which, in addition to the Fourth Army and the Eleventh Army, included the Twentieth Army.
At that time, Chang Fa-k'uei was accused of being a Communist, or at least a sympathizer. Although that charge soon was disproved, his forces did include several known Communists and fellow travelers. At the headquarters of his Second Front Army, Kuo Mo-jo served as chief of the political department. In the Fourth Army, Yeh Chien-ying was chief of staff; in the 25th Division of the army, Chang Yun-yi was divisional chief of staff and Chou Shih-ti was a regimental commander. In the Eleventh Army, Yeh T'ing was commander of the 24th Division. And the Twentieth Army was headed by Ho Lung. Chang Fa-k'uei led his army eastward from Wuhan, and some of his troops had reached Nanchang by late July 1927. At that time, however, the Kuomintang authorities at Wuhan, headed by Wang Ching-wei (q.v.), began a purge of the Communists. On 1 August 1927, Yeh T'ing, commander of the 24th Division, and Ho Lung, commander of the Twentieth Army, staged the famous Nanchang insurrection, later marked as the birth of the Chinese Communist army, and forced Ts'ai T'ing-k'ai, the commander of the 10th Division, to join them.
Acting promptly, Chang Fa-k'uei rallied the remainder of his army, consisting of the 12th Division and the 25th Division of the Fourth Army, and the 26th Division of the Eleventh Army, to suppress the rebels, who had openly identified themselves as Communists. They were unable to resist Chang Fa-k'uei's attack and evacuated Nanchang to retreat southward. Ts'ai T'ing-k'ai took the opportunity to break away, and he led the 10th Division into Fukien.
Chang Fa-k'uei moved his army back to Canton in October 1927. In November, when Li Chi-shen left Canton for Shanghai to attend a meeting dealing with the reunification of the Kuomintang, Chang Fa-k'uei staged a coup and gained control of Canton. He issued a declaration which voiced opposition to the special committee of the Kuomintang that was then being organized at Nanking in an attempt to patch up intra-party differences. The National Government treated the Canton incident as an open revolt and issued orders for the arrest of both Chang Fa-k'uei and Huang Ch'i-hsiang, then the commander of the Fourth Army.
Meanwhile, some Kwangsi units and those Kwangtung units which were loyal to Li Chi-shen were threatening to advance on Canton against Chang Fa-k'uei. These included the forces of Ch'en Chi-t'ang and Ch'en Ming-shu, who had now resumed the command of the Eleventh Army. Chang had to send his men to both eastern and western fronts to meet them. At that juncture, Communist elements headed by Yeh Chien-ying, who was in command of the officers' training regiment left behind in Canton city, staged the Canton Commune of 11 December 1927. Chang Fa-k'uei and Huang Ch'i-hsiang escaped to Honam (Honan) island, and they quickly recalled the 26th Division and the 1st Model Division, commanded by Hsueh Yueh, back to the city. The Communist uprising was suppressed after only three days.
The forces of Li Chi-shen then converged on Canton, and Chang Fa-k'uei was defeated. He withdrew to the Kwangtung-Kwangsi border. Both Chang and Huang Chi-hsiang issued a public statement accepting responsibility for the Canton tragedy and announced their departure from the army. The Fourth Army was then placed under the command of Miao P'ei-nan, and it joined the final phase of the Northern Expedition in 1928, being assigned to the First Army Group under Liu Chih.
Chang Fa-k'uei left Canton and went to Japan for a rest. Meanwhile, after the successful conclusion of the Northern Expedition, the National Government carried out a plan for the reduction of the armed forces which was based on the principle of reorganizing each army into a division; the Fourth Army was turned into the 4th Division, with Miao P'ei-nan still in command. Early in March 1929, however, Miao resigned. Nanking was then sending an expedition against the Kwangsi leaders, Li Tsung-jen and Pai Ch'ung-hsi, who were in control of the Wuhan area. Chang Fa-k'uei returned to China and resumed the command of the 4th Division, and Chiang Kai-shek also appointed him commander in chief of the right wing of the expeditionary forces against the Kwangsi generals. This meant that in addition to his own 4th Division, Chang had over-all command of the 10th and 11th divisions. In May he defeated the Kwangsi troops at Shasi and occupied Ichang.
Four months later, in September 1929, Chang Fa-k'uei again broke with Chiang Kai-shek and launched another movement, purportedly for the protection of the party. He marched his troops from Ichang to Hunan with the aim of returning to Kwangtung. The Kwangsi leader, Li Tsung-jen, who had fought bitterly against Chang Fa-k'uei only a few months before, now turned to assist him. The 4th Division and the Kwangsi Army then formed a coalition to attack Kwangtung. They marched on Canton in November 1929, but were defeated by Ch'en Chi-t'ang. Chang Fa-k'uei and his allies retreated to Kwangsi and remained there while he sought to reorganize and rebuild his forces. In the spring of 1930 another coalition against Chiang Kai-shek was organized, with Wang Ching-wei, Yen Hsi-shan, Feng Yü-hsiang, and Li Tsung-jen as the major participants. They undertook the so-called enlarged conference movement of 1930, sometimes called the Yen-Feng coalition. With the help of Li Tsung-jen, Chang Fa-k'uei enlarged his forces to comprise two armies, the Fourth and the Seventh.
Chang Fa-k'uei and Li Tsung-jen, supporting the Yen-Feng coalition in the north, marched into Hunan in May 1930. They advanced as far as Yueh-chou by June, but were met by superior forces from Nanking. In July they were expelled from Hunan and retreated to Kweilin. Soon the Yen-Feng coalition collapsed completely. Li Tsung-jen and Chang Fa-k'uei, however, maintained their forces in western Kwangsi, and in October 1930 they successfully repelled an attack by troops from Yunnan.
In the spring of 1931, before the Nanking authorities could reach a decision regarding measures to be taken toward Kwangsi, another anti-Chiang Kai-shek coalition was organized. The new movement, based at Canton, was precipitated by Chiang Kai-shek's detention of Hu Han-min (q.v.) in March 1931. In May, four members of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang led a movement to impeach Chiang. Ch'en Chi-t'ang, Li Tsung-jen, and Chang Fa-k'uei were reconciled, and their Kwangtung and Kwangsi forces provided the military backing for the separatist regime formed at Canton in May 1931. Wang Ching-wei, Sun Fo, Eugene Ch'en, and T'ang Shao-yi provided the political leadership.
The Japanese invasion of Manchuria in September 1931 caused the reconciliation of Nanking and Canton. At the Fourth National Congress of the Kuomintang, held in both Nanking and Canton, Chang Fa-k'uei was elected to the Central Supervisory Committee of the party. At this time, Chang retired from his military command. In the summer of 1932 the government awarded him a grant for travel abroad. He left China on 12 November 1932 and visited Europe, the United States, and Southeast Asia during his stay abroad. It was not until 1935 that Chang Fa-k'uei was summoned back to China by the government. He was then appointed commander in chief of operations in the Anhwei-Chekiang- Kiangsi-Fukien border areas. By that time the Communists had abandoned their base in Kiangsi, and the focus of Nationalist operations against them had shifted to the northwest. Early in 1937 Chang Fa-k'uei became pacification commissioner on the Kiangsu-Chekiang border. It was understood that his mission was the construction of a secure defense line in that area to face the possible full-scale Japanese invasion of China.
When the Sino-Japanese war did break out in July 1937, Chang Fa-k'uei was assigned to command the Eighth Army Group and was given responsibility for the Shanghai-Woosung sector. He established his headquarters on an island situated across the Whangpoo River from the city of Shanghai and engaged the Japanese in battle for about three months. When the Chinese forces abandoned the Shanghai area, Chang moved his troops to Kiangsi. In the campaign to defend the outer perimeter of the Wuhan area in 1938, he commanded the Second Army Group.
After the fall of Wuhan and Canton to the Japanese, Chang Fa-k'uei was named in 1939 to command the Fourth War Area, with headquarters at Chuchiang (Shaokwan), the wartime capital of Kwangtung. He continued to hold that command until 1945. Late in
1939 he engaged the Japanese in a sharp battle in northern Kwangtung and won. In 1940 he moved his headquarters to Liuchow in southern Kwangsi. Toward the end of that year, he recaptured Nanning and Lungchow in Kwangsi and the Fangch'eng and Yinchou districts of southern Kwangtung. The situation in south China remained relatively stable during the war years until 1944, when the Japanese launched another offensive. In October 1944, the Japanese advanced into Kwangsi. In early November, Chang Fa-k'uei's forces gave up both Kweilin and Liuchow with little resistance and withdrew to western Kwangsi. They reached the Poseh district with most of their equipment lost and with their supply and medical services in a state of chaos.
One of the first tasks undertaken by General Albert C. Wedemeyer, who took over command of the United States forces in China from General Joseph W. Stilwell in October 1944, was the relief, re-equipment, and training of Chang Fa-k'uei's battered forces. Under the new Sino-American military cooperation program, Chang Fa-k'uei became commander of the Second Army Group. By May 1945, when the Japanese began their withdrawal from south China, that force comprised four armies, including the New First Army, which had been trained and equipped by the Americans. With the Japanese retreat, a diversionary attack into Indo-China was planned for July 1945, and Chang Fa-k'uei was assigned the mission of occupying Kwang-chou-wan, or Fort Bayard. On 26 May his forces recovered Nanning from a small Japanese rear guard unit. The Forty-sixth and Sixty-fourth armies followed the withdrawing Japanese. After the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the Japanese offer to surrender, the United States War Department on 12 August rescinded the order for the drive on Kwang-chou-wan.
One incongruous aspect of Chang Fa-k'uei's wartime role which was destined to have lasting political significance was his part in stimulating and sponsoring the alliance between the Vietnamese nationalists and the Communists. In the spring of 1941 a group of Vietnamese nationalists, meeting at a small town in southern Kwangsi near the Indo-China border, organized a Vietnamese League for Revolution and Independence, colloquially labeled the Viet Minh. The objective of the Viet Minh, which represented an alliance of Vietnamese Communists and various non-Communist groups, was to develop a resistance movement against the Japanese in Indo-China. Nguyen Ai Quoc (Ho Chi Minh), a veteran Communist, was a leading figure in the league, and the radical nature of its propaganda and political activities conducted on Chinese soil led Chang Fa-k'uei to arrest Ho Chi Minh and to jail him from August 1942 until September 1943.
Encouraging resistance to the Japanese, however, was in the Chinese interest. On the urging of Nguyen Hai Than, a Vietnamese nationalist who had ties with the Kuomintang, Chang Fa-k'uei and the Chinese Nationalist authorities at Chungking agreed to sponsor the cause of the Vietnamese exiles. In the summer of 1942 the Vietnamese in Kwangsi were organized into a special training group near Liuchow, where the Fourth War Area cadre training corps was based, under the jurisdiction of Chang Fa-k'uei. A new meeting, held at Liuchow in October 1942 under Chang's auspices, led to the formation of the Vietnamese Revolutionary League, the Dong Minh Hoi. The Chinese placed Nguyen Hai Than at the head of the new organization and appointed Chang Fa-k'uei to a supervisory role as director.
The Dong Minh Hoi, however, proved ineffectual in intelligence work in Indo-China, which was one of the main tasks Chungking had envisaged for it. After reappraisal of the situation, the Chinese Nationalists concluded that the Vietnamese Communists might be "more useful allies and that the Indochinese Communist party could be maneuvered and controled. Chang Fa-k'uei therefore released Ho Chi Minh from prison in September 1943. The Viet Minh then joined the Dong Minh Hoi, and the quality of intelligence work improved notably. The Vietnamese factions in China continued to bicker among themselves, however. At the same time, the Free French military mission at Kunming was increasingly concerned by the obvious anti-colonial potential represented by the Viet Minh movement. At the end of March 1944 another conference, held at Liuchow under Chinese auspices, established a so-called provisional republican government of Viet Nam, with Ho Chi Minh at its head. Chang Fa-k'uei still felt that he could control the new organization, and Chungking still believed that the arrangement would enable Chinese influence to replace the former French authority in Indo-China.
Chang Fa-k'uei's armies, however, were battered by the impact of the Japanese offensive of late 1944. In October 1944 Ho Chi Minh named his lieutenant Vo Nguyen Giap to head a Vietnamese guerrilla force which was established in Tonkin on 22 December 1944. Chang Fa-k'uei may have been aware of the true character of the Viet Minh movement, but he reportedly did not inform the National Government authorities at Chungking that Ho Chi Minh was the same man as the well-known Communist Nguyen Ai Quoc. In any event, Chang apparently assumed that Nationalist rule would continue in China after the war and that, after the removal of both Japanese and French authority from Indo-China, the prosperous, mineral-rich Tonkin area would be brought under Chinese influence. As a result of Chinese Nationalist assumptions and policies, it was the Viet Minh organization which created the first effective anti-Japanese forces in Viet Nam, spread its propaganda among the indigenous population, and received credit for anti-Japanese activities there during the war. The Viet Minh seized power at Hanoi in August 1945 and confronted the Allied forces with a fait accompli. The organization then went on to defeat postwar French efforts to reestablish colonial rule in the area.
In 1945 Chang Fa-k'uei was appointed commander in chief of the new Second Front Army and assigned the mission of moving down the West River to occupy Canton. That move was accomplished in September 1945, and Chang received the formal surrender of the Japanese forces in the Canton area. He was then appointed director of the Generalissimo's headquarters at Canton and he held that post during the postwar period until early 1949, when he served briefly as commander in chief of Chinese land forces. In June 1949, however, he retired to take up residence in Hong Kong, where he had already gained the respect and goodwill of the local British authorities, many of whom had worked with him in south China during the Japanese war.
Early in 1950, after the Chinese Communists had gained control of the mainland and Chiang Kai-shek and his associates had moved to Taiwan, Chang Fa-k'uei was often identified as a leader of the so-called third force movement in Hong Kong. That movement, however, proved to be short-lived. At the same time Li Tsung-jen, who had left for the United States, announced that he intended to continue to exercise authority as acting President of the Republic of China and appointed Chang Fa-k'uei to command the land forces. Chang at once issued a statement rejecting the appointment.
After his brief and unfortunate venture with the third force movement, Chang Fa-k'uei consistently affirmed his continued loyalty to the government on Taiwan and his resolute opposition to the Communists. In 1960, however, when the presidential election was about to be held in Taiwan, Chang Fa-k'uei joined other Chinese public figures, including a Young China party leader, Tso Shun-sheng, in issuing a statement from Hong Kong opposing a third term for Chiang Kai-shek. Since the Hong Kong group was merely voicing support of the 1947 constitution, which does not permit a third presidential term, that statement did not imply that Chang was opposed to the Kuomintang or to Chiang Kai-shek personally.
In the autumn of 1960 Chang Fa-k'uei visited the United States, where he was given an enthusiastic reception by the Chinese community in New York and in other parts of the country. At the time he was president of the Tsung Tsin Association of Hong Kong, the society for the Hakka people of Kwangtung. At a banquet given in his honor on 10 October 1960 by the Tsung Tsin Association of New York, he delivered a stirring speech in which he called upon all overseas Chinese to support Taiwan and expressed his confidence that the campaign against the Communists on the mainland would eventually succeed. The address greatly impressed his audience. Two weeks later, representatives of the Chinese community in New York entertained Chang at another banquet, where he repeated these views. In spite of periodic reports that Chang Fa-k'uei would accept a high government post in Taipei, he continued to reside in Hong Kong and did not visit Taiwan.
Chang Fa-k'uei was generally regarded as one of the most capable army officers associated with the Chinese Nationalist cause and was known for his victories on the Northern Expedition and for his emphasis on military discipline. Although in the late 1920's his army included a significant number of Communists, he himself consistently avoided identification with that party. During the early stages of his career, he looked upon Teng K'eng as his military mentor. In later years, Chang was associated with Wang Ching-wei and the reorganizationist group in the Kuomintang, and his opposition to Chiang Kai-shek stemmed principally from that connection. During the Japanese war, Chang had no contact with Wang Ching-wei after Wang moved to Nanking to work with the Japanese. After the Communist victory on the mainland, Chang Fa-k'uei, aside from the ill-advised third force movement in the early 1950's, attempted to avoid politics.
张发奎粤北始兴县人，出身于贫苦农民家庭。他父亲张居之因耕种难以度 日，在县衙门里找到一个录事（书记）的差事，因此才能供他儿子上学。张发 奎在十二岁时去县城高小上学，1910年十五岁时，因顽劣不驯被开除出校。
1911年，张发奎离家去广州，在黄埔纺纱厂做工，这时的反满起义引起张发 奎的注意。1912年民国成立，张发奎进入黄埔初级军校。学校校长邓铿对他很 喜爱，介绍他加入了国民党，1914年毕业后，张发奎去武昌入陆军预备学堂。
1918年夏，孙逸仙由广州去上海前，组织粤军由陈炯明指挥。为了避免和 广西军阀公开冲突起见，孙令陈炯明率军去福建。该军由邓铿任参谋长，张发 奎隶于邓铿部下。
1922年邓铿被刺，这是陈炯明叛乱的先声，张发奎失了至友和恩人。1922 年6月16日凌晨，陈炯明部包围孙逸仙广州大本营，当时张发奎和他的部队在 孙逸仙设立北伐指挥部的韶关，因此未遭陈炯明袭击。效忠孙逸仙的各部队进 入江西，那里陈炯明的军力极强，乃又转向福建，张发奎未能随同前去，率军 驻于粤北始兴。
忠于孙逸仙的梁鸿楷继邓铿任第一师师长，一师避驻江门，梁召张发奎前 往。1923年粤军第一师改编，其中张发奎原部极多。孙逸仙得到桂滇军队的援 助，陈炯明被迫撤出广州，转移到他的老家东江地区。孙逸仙任命梁鸿楷为第 一路讨逆军司令，第一师参谋长李济琛升任师长，张发奎任该师独立团团长。
1924年军队进一步改编，张发奎任第一师第一旅的一个团长。该旅旅长是 陈铭枢，该旅另一个团长是戴戟。第一师击败北京政府企图用以反南方政府的 桂系军阀沈鸿英，又在1925年于东江之役最后击败了陈炯明，不久又击败刘震 寰、杨希闵的桂滇各军。
1925年7月，国民党在广州成立国民政府，8月，国民政府统率的各军统 一改编为国民革命军。以旧第一师为骨干的粤军改编为第四军，军长李济琛。 第四军是改编后才出现的番号。张发奎任独立旅旅长，该旅不久扩编为第十二 师。四军初编时，军长为李济琛，四个师长是陈铭枢、陈济棠、张发奎、徐景 唐。
1926年国民政府开始北伐，蒋介石统率全军，李济琛留守广州后方。四军 四个师中，陈铭枢第十师和张发奎第十二师随军北伐。这两个师任先头部队， 1926年7月插入湖南。1926年8月29日,张发奎最后占领了汀泗桥，接着又拿 下了战略要地贺胜桥。这两次战役，大大打击了敌人吴佩孚的士气，张发奎师 获得了 “铁军”的称号。
攻占武汉地区之后，陈铭枢第十师扩编为第十一军，下隶三个师，这就是 后来著名的第十九路军。张发奎除原属第十二师外，又加第二十五师，扩编为 第四军，号称“铁军” 。
在称为北伐的第二个阶段中，张发奎率军由武汉北向进攻开封。冯玉祥投 向南军，河南全省落入国民政府之手。张发奎回师驻军武汉。当时国民党内部 武汉、南京两派冲突日益明显。陈铭枢因反对武汉离开了军队，张发奎乃同时 统率第四、第十一两军。
当时，张发奎被怀疑为共产党人，至少是共产党的同情者,但未能证实。他 的部队中确有一些知名的共产党人和同情者。第二方面军总指挥部政治部主任 是郭沫若，叶剑英是四军的参谋长，张云逸是二十五师参谋长，周士第是团长。 在第十一军中，叶挺是二十四师师长，第二十军是由贺龙指挥的。
张发奎由武汉率军东进，1927年7月他的一部分部队到达南昌。当时，以 汪精卫为首的国民党武汉政府开始清除共产党。1927年8月1日,二十四师师 长叶挺.二十军军长贺龙发动了著名的南昌起义，并迫第十师师长蔡廷锴参 加。以后这一天被称为是中国共产党的军队诞生的日子。
张发奎当机立断，纠集余部，其中包括四军的十二师、二十五师，十一军 的二十六师迅即向公开承认为共产党人的起义军进攻。他们未能抗击张发奎的 进攻，撤出南昌，向南方转移，蔡廷锴在中途脱离，率领第十师转向福建。
1927年10月，张发奎率部回广州。11月，李济琛离广州去上海参加会议。 讨论国民党的重新统一问题。张发奎在广州发动政变，发表宣言反对南京国民 党召开弥合党内分歧的特别会议。国民党认为这是一次公开叛变，下令通缉张 发奎和四军军长黄琪翔。
桂系军队和忠于李济琛的粤军反对张发奎向广州进军，其中有陈济棠和重 新统率第十一军的陈铭枢。张发奎分兵东西两翼抗御。在这关键时刻，留在广 州的军官教导团团长叶剑英率领共产党人于1927年12月11日成立广州公社。张 发奎、黄琪翔逃到河南小岛，迅即纠集第二十六师和薛岳的第一教导师赶回省 城，三天后将共产党的起义扑灭。
张发奎离广州后，去日本略事休息。北伐胜利结束后，国民政府实行裁 军，编军为师。第四军缩编为第四师，仍以缪培南为师长。1929年8月初，缪 培南辞职。当时南京方面正在讨伐控制武汉地区的李宗仁、白崇禧桂系势力。 张发奎回国后又任第四师师长，蒋介石并任命他为右翼讨伐军司令，意思是除 第四师外另又增加他的军力，由张全权指挥第十师、第十一师。5月，他于沙 市击败桂军后攻占宜昌。
四个月后，1929年9月，张发奎又与蒋介石破裂，发动一次称为保卫国民 党的运动，率军由宜昌到湖南，准备回广东。几个月前和张发奎苦战的李宗 仁，这时转过来支援他。第四师和桂军联合攻打广东，1929年12月向广州进 军，不久被陈济棠击败，张发奎和他的盟友撤到广西，着手改建整编他的部队。
1930年春，以汪精卫、阎锡山、冯玉祥、李宗仁为主组成反蒋联盟，举行 所谓1930年扩大会议运动，也有人称之为阎冯联盟。张发奎得到李宗仁的帮 助，扩编他的军队为两个军：四军和七军。
张发奎、李宗仁声援北方阎冯联盟，1930年5月进军湖南，6月径直到了 岳阳，但被来自南京的强大部队击败，7月乃从湖南撤往广西桂林。不久，阎 冯联盟瓦解，李宗仁、张发奎把军队驻留在桂西。1930年10月击退滇军入侵。
1931年春，南京当局对广西的问题尚未解决，一个新的反蒋联盟又出现。这个以广州为基地的新的运动为蒋介石所觉察，于1931年8月逮捕胡汉 艮。5月国民党中央监察委员会四个监察委员弹劾蒋，陈济棠、李宗仁、张发 奎又重新合作，并以他们的两广军队为武力后盾支持1931年5月在广州成立的 分裂政府，汪精卫、孙科、陈友仁、唐绍仪是这个政府的政治首脑。
1931年9月，日军侵占东北，南京、广州又言归于好。在南京、广州同时 召开的国民党第四次全国代表大会中，张发奎当选为党中央监察委员，此时， 张脱离军界。1932年夏，政府颁发一笔奖金给张出国游历。1932年11月12日张 离国，遍游欧美、东南亚各地。1935年，政府召回张发奎，任命为司令，负责皖浙赣闽边境地区军事。当时，共产党巳撤离江西根据地，国民政府反对共产党的军事行动的重点已转移 到西北。1937年初，张发奎任苏浙边区绥靖主任，他的主要任务是在该地区筹 建防御工事，以应付可能出现的大规模的日军侵略。
1937年7月中日战争爆发后，张发奎在淞沪一带指挥第八集团军，他设司 令部于黄浦江东滨的一个小岛上对抗日军，为时三月之久。上海失守，张发奎 撤至江西。1938年保卫武汉之役，他指挥第二集团军。
武汉、广州失守后，1939年张发奎任第四战区司令，设司令部于战时的广 东省会曲江。张担任此职至1945年。1939年底，他在粤北与日军苦战获胜。 1940年移司令部至广西柳州，是年年底，他收复广西的南宁、龙州和粤南的边 防城镇廉州。南方的战局一直到1944年都比较稳定。1944年10月，日军开始新 进攻，指向广西，11月初，张发奎稍加抵抗便撤离桂林、柳州，转移到百色， 大批装备都已遗弃，给养和药物十分困难。
1944年10月魏德迈将军接替史迪威将军指挥驻华美军后，到任后的任务之 一是给张发奎的被打垮了的部队重新加以装备和训练。在中美军事合作计划中， 张发奎任第二方面军司令。1945年5月，日军开始从华南撤退时，张发奎指挥 的四个军中，有全部美式装备和训练的新一军。随着日军的撤退，1945年7月 准备在印度支那进行局部反攻，责成张发奎攻占广州湾。5月26日,从少数日 军后备队手中夺回南宁，四十六军和六十四军追赶撤退的日军。原子弹投到日 本本土，日军投降，8月12日美国防部撤消了向广州湾进军的命令。
张发奎在战时的另一个作用，是他对促成越南革命党和越南共产党的联合 施加了政治影响。其实这对他是很不相称的。1941年春天，有一批越南革命党 人在越南边境广西南部的一个小城镇开会，组织越南独立革命联盟，简称为越 盟。越盟是一个越南共产党和各种非共产党组织的联盟，它的宗旨是在印度支 那开展抗日运动。一位老练的共产党人阮爱国（胡志明）是越盟的主要人物。 他们在中国领土内的过激宣传和政治活动，促使张发奎在1942年8月到1943年 9月逮捕监禁了胡志明。
西的越南人集中在柳州附近训练，张发奎的第四战区干部训练班也在那里。 1942年10月张发奎授意在柳州开会组成越南革命同盟，举阮海东为首领.由张 发奎负监管责任。
重庆的主要目的原是利用越南革命同盟搜集印度支那的情报，但他们对这 一工作做得不力。国民政府乃重新考虑越南共产党的情况，认为越南共产党人 可能成为更为有用的同盟者，而印度支那共产党是可以加以利用和控制的，所 以张发奎就在1943年9月释放了胡志明。越盟加入越南革命同盟，收集情报的 工作有显著改进。但是在中国的越南人内部的派系经常发生纠纷。同时，驻昆 明的自由法国军事代表团，对越盟的反殖民主义的运动日益关注。1944年8月 底，在中国方面的授意下，越盟又在柳州开会，决定成立越南临时共和政府， 以胡志明为首领。张发奎认为他能控制这个新组织，重庆方面也认为这项安排 可以使中国的势力替代印度支那的前法国势力。
但是张发奎的军队被1944年底日军的进攻所击溃。1944年10月，胡志明任 命他的副手武元甲统率越南游击队，该游击队于1944年12月22日在东京湾组 成。张发奎可能觉察到越盟的真实性质，但据说他并未向重庆国民政府当局报 告胡志明即著名共产党人阮爱国这一事实。不管怎样，张发奎总认为战后只要 国民政府在中国当权，日本和法国的势力从印度支那撤走，那末富饶而矿藏丰 厚的东京湾当然是在中国势力范围之内。由于国民政府的这种设想和其所釆取 的政策，使得越盟在战争期间在越南创建了第一支有效地抗击日军的武装力 量，在当地人民中开展宣传活动，他们的抗日活动受到人们的赞扬。1945年8 月，越盟占取河内，在盟军面前造成既成事实。这个组织继续打破了战后法国 在那里重建殖艮统治的打算。
1945年，张发奎任新建第二方面军司令官，他受命沿西江东下占领广州， 1945年9月完成。张发奎接受广州地区日军正式投降，任广州行营主任一直 到1949年，在此期间，他曾一度任中国陆军总司令。1949年6月，他退休移居 香港，得到香港当局的尊敬和优待，因为其中有好些人是同他在抗日战争时在 华南一起共事过的。
1950年初，中国共产党控制了大陆，蒋介石及其随从人员迁住台湾，张发奎常被视为是香港第三势力的首领人物。第三势力的活动是短命的。与此同 时，李宗仁到美国去，声称继续行使代总统的权力，任命张发奎为陆军总司 令，张发奎却公开声明加以拒绝。
经过短促而不幸的投身于第三势力之后，张发奎经常表示继续效忠台湾政 府坚决反共。但是1960年台湾即将进行总统选举时，张发奎和青年党左舜生等 其他社会名流在香发表声明，反对蒋介石连任第三届总统。他们声称只支持 1947年宪法，该宪法规定蒋不得连任三届总统。这项声明未被看作是张发奎反 对国民党和蒋介石个人。
1960年秋，张发奎去美国，受到纽约和其他地区华侨团体的热烈接待，当 时他是香港广东客家“宗敬”协会会长。I960年10月10日在纽约“宗敬”协会 举行的欢迎午宴上，他发表了一篇激情的演讲，要求海外华侨拥护台湾，表示 深信反攻大陆必将最后成功。这篇演说使听众深为感动。两周后，纽约华侨代 表再次设宴招待，张发表了同样的讲话。不断传说张发奎将出任台北政府要 职，但他一直住在香港未去台湾。