One day in early 1942, Zhang Yunyi, commander of the Second Division of the New Fourth Army, saw a few soldiers sneaking into the conference room to pick up cigarettes and smoke after a meeting at the division headquarters. In order to solve the problem of smoking among the commanders and fighters of the Second Division, Zhang Yunyi decided to establish a tobacco factory and entrusted this task to Hu Yiliang, the minister of supply.
However, setting up a tobacco factory was not easy, it required a lot of funds, and the second division was also very difficult at that time, and there was not much money. Although there were many difficulties in establishing a tobacco factory, there were always more ways than difficulties, and soon the Second Division liberated the town of Tongcheng in Tianchang County, where there was even a small tobacco factory.
It turned out that in the early days of the Anti-Japanese War due to the blockade of the Japanese army, the supply of cigarettes in Tongcheng was cut off, so several local large households joined forces to establish a small tobacco factory, but the Kuomintang rulers at that time saw that the tobacco factory was profitable, so they taxed it in various names, at first the tobacco factory could barely maintain, as the taxes levied by the Kuomintang rulers became heavier and heavier, by the eve of the liberation of Tongcheng by the second division, the tobacco factory was dying and on the verge of bankruptcy.
After Hu Yiliang learned of this situation, he immediately reported it to Zhang Yunyi, who felt that this was an opportunity, first, the second division cooperative contributed part of the funds to the tobacco factory to help the tobacco factory tide over the difficulties and resume production; Second, the Second Division sent cadres and soldiers to participate in the production and management of the tobacco factory, learn from experience, and prepare for the preparation of the new plant.
The tobacco factory owners, who had no hope for the tobacco factory, were very happy to learn that the Second Division of the New Fourth Army was willing to invest in the shares, and felt that this was a good opportunity for the tobacco factory to make a comeback, and immediately agreed. According to Zhang Yunyi's instructions, Hu Bishi first took a stake in the tobacco factory, and then prepared to organize the second division's own tobacco factory.
In view of the fact that the tobacco factory invested by the second division is called "Mass Tobacco Company", and the cigarettes produced by Mass Tobacco Company are called "Shenlong Brand", it was decided to name the self-run tobacco factory "Xinqun Tobacco Company" and the cigarettes produced by it "Pegasus Brand". The name of the factory and the name of the cigarette are determined, and the next most important thing is the cigarette machine and the technician.
The technician is still easy to do, the cigarette machine has to be in the enemy-occupied area, and the comrades of the supply department of the second division finally got a cigarette machine, in order to buy this cigarette machine, Zhang Yunyi specially approved 42 yuan Huainan coin, and the first military tobacco factory was also founded in this way, 42 yuan Huainan currency at that time can buy a large fat pig of more than 200 pounds, so there was also a saying of "a big fat pig for a big tobacco factory".
At that time, there was only one small printing workshop in the town, and even the printing task of the "Shenlong brand" cigarette box could not be guaranteed, and the Ministry of Supply could only think of its own way.
The site of the Xinqun Tobacco Company was selected in a landlord's courtyard in Xiaolizhuang in the west of the town, which has about 20 rooms, which is completely sufficient for setting up a factory, and the staff of the tobacco factory are mainly comrades of the supply department of the former Second Division, and then some commanders and fighters of the New Fourth Army and their families were transferred, and some workers were also recruited locally. Everything was ready, and Xinqun Tobacco Company officially started construction in the first half of 1942.
The first manager of Xinqun Tobacco Company was Liu Baohua, who was good at management, in order to run a good tobacco company and make the name of "Pegasus brand", Liu Baohua also worked hard, first of all, pay close attention to product quality, must choose high-quality tobacco leaves, at that time the production areas of high-quality tobacco leaves were in the enemy-occupied area, in order to get high-quality tobacco leaves smoothly, Liu Baohua tried everything to open a secret transportation channel.
In addition to the selection of high-quality tobacco leaves, the requirements for each process are also very strict, so once the "Pegasus brand" cigarettes of Xinqun Tobacco Company were launched, they were deeply loved by the cadres and soldiers of the New Fourth Army.
Initially, "Pegasus" cigarettes were mainly supplied to the troops, after all, the original intention of establishing the tobacco factory at that time was to solve the smoking problem of commanders and soldiers. But as the production became higher and higher, the "Pegasus brand" also began to enter the market, on the one hand, it can meet the smoking needs of the people, on the other hand, it can also supplement the funds for the troops.
At that time, the sales of "Pegasus brand" cigarettes were mainly entrusted to Liu Xinmin, the head of the sales unit, and after Liu Xinmin's efforts and the fact that the "Pegasus brand" itself was a good product, the "Pegasus brand" cigarettes were not only sold in the Liberated Areas, but also in the National Unification Area and the enemy-occupied areas. By the second half of 1944, the Xinqun Tobacco Company was no longer in charge of the troops, but was run by local leadership.