The Soviet Army Offensive: Manchuria, 1945 CSC 1986 SUBJECT AREA History EXECUTIVE SUMMARY THE SOVIET ARMY OFFENSIVE: MANCHURIA, 1945 1. Purpose: To create interest among students of modern warfare to study a relatively unknown Soviet campaign in Manchuria, 1945. 2. Thesis: The Soviet offensive in Manchuria during August 1945 provides an excellent model of current Soviet Army tactics for students of modern warfare. 3. Data: Modern Soviet Army tactics began their evolution in Manchuria, 1938-1939. Major border confrontations with the Japanese Kwangtung Army reaffirmed developing offensive tactics emphasizing the use of fire and maneuver with armor and massive artillery support. In his effort to ensure Soviet supremacy in the Northern Pacific and North Asian continent, Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan soon after Hitler's defeat. The Soviet Army began an impressive redeployment from Europe to the Far East under strict security measures. Meanwhile, Japan's strength in Manchuria was slowly bled away by her war in the Pacific and concerns for homeland defense. Achieving tactical and strategic surprise, the Soviets launched a classic double envelopment along the Manchurian border on 9 August 1945. Advancing under the cover of darkness and pouring rain, the Soviets advanced along three axes covering a frontage of more than 3000 miles. Using armor-heavy forward detachments and displaying flexibility, audacity and initiative at all levels, the Soviets crushed what opposition the Japanese afforded and achieved impressive advances along what the Japanese considered to be untrafficable terrain. The Japanese Kwangtung Army faced severe shortages in all areas and was in the middle of the redeployment of her defensive forces when the Soviets attacked. Japan's lack of armor and anti-tank weapons, failure to correctly estimate the size of the Soviet force build-up and predict the Russian avenues of approach were all reminiscent of her defeat at Nomonhan in 1939. The Soviet Army took excellent advantage of the confusion surrounding the Kwangtung Army's surrender by rapidly advancing and seizing key terrain before (and after) the war's official termination. 4. Conclusion: The Soviet Army's development of a combined-arms concept has its beginning on the battlefields of Manchuria. Faced with conventional and unconventional military might in the NATO arena, military planners and tacticians need to fully appreciate the full scale of the Soviet Army's offensive ability. The best model and classic example of modern Soviet tactics (less nuclear weapons and long range missiles) is available in the study of the Manchurian invasion of August, 1945. THE SOVIET ARMY OFFENSIVE: MANCHURIA, 1945 OUTLINE Thesis Statement: The Soviet offensive in Manchuria during August 1945, provides an excellent model of current Soviet Army tactics for students of modern warfare. A. The Modern Soviet War Machine 1. Soviet Army Tactics 2. Relevance of the Manchurian offensive in today's battlefield B. The Nomonhan Incident 1. Soviet-Japanese relations after 1931 2. Japanese forces 3. Soviet military tactics and deception 4. Lessons learned C. Manchuria January - July 1945 1. Soviet strategic objectives 2. Soviet redeployment 3. Japanese reorganization and deployment 4. Japanese prediction of invasion D. Soviet offensive, 9 August 1945 1. Double envelopment 2. Discussion of Soviet force structure and tactics along axes of advance 3. Reasons for Japanese failure E. War termination 1. Japanese Emperor's surrender decree 2. Confusion concerning surrender 3. Losses at termination 4. Lessons learned THE SOVIET ARMY OFFENSIVE: MANCHURIA 1945 Facing the NATO Forces in Europe is an awesome array of weaponry, firepower and an overwhelming number of combat divisions. While few western observers have witnessed this massive war-machine in action, much has been written concerning the Soviet Army's swift offensive capability on today's modern battlefield. Many agree that the Soviet offensive will be characterized by rapid movement into the enemy rear which will be interrupted by relatively brief, violent meeting engagements. The current Soviet tactical concept calls for a powerful, deep-striking attack in depth with rates of advance approximately 50 kilometers per day under nuclear or nonnuclear battlefield conditions. [2:4-4] Although planning on a high rate of advance, Soviet planners realize they will have to slow down when moving through enemy defensive positions. When engaging enemy defensive positions, the Soviets will try to penetrate weak areas along the flanks or rear or bypass the strongpoint. As a general rule, the Soviets will attack in two echelons with the first echelon made of combined arms armies and the second echelon formed by a tank Army. When the terrain permits the mobility, the Soviets will put their tank army in the first echelon. The first echelon is tasked to penetrate the enemy defenses while the second echelon exploits success, penetrates deep into the enemy's rear areas, reduces bypassed enemy forces or simply commences a new attack in a different direction. [2:2-7] As a student of modern military warfare and Soviet Army tactics, the Soviet offensive in Manchuria, August 1945, provides the most recent model of modern Soviet tactics. As John Erickson states, "....the Soviet Manchurian campaign in 1945 most closely approaches in style and scope what the Soviet command presently envisages in the way of high-speed ground operations--the speed of the advance, high speed movement along several axes without undue attention being paid to open flanks, the logistics problems of maintaining strong armoured columns and the employment of airborne forces in the full 'depth' of the theatre....As an example of the Soviet blitzkreig....the Far Eastern campaign is a much more realistic 'model' than the majority of the operations in the European theatre during the period 1941-45." [5:73] Twenty-seven years after the Russian defeat in the Sino-Soviet War of 1904, the Japanese faced the Soviet Union once again after the Japanese conquest of Manchuria in 1931. Both armies confronted one another along the 3000 mile Manchurian border. After the Soviets signed a mutual assistance treaty with Outer Mongolia in 1936, the Russians commenced a force build-up and by January 1938, had moved a rifle corps into Outer Mongolia [14-1]. That summer both forces clashed in the Chang kufeng/Lake Khasan Incident where the Japanese 19th Infantry Division fought two Soviet Infantry Divisions in a territorial border dispute on the east Manchurian border. This violent border clash resulted in more than 2500 casualties on both sides in a Period of two weeks [14-3]. After the ceasefire on 11 August 1938, both sides maintained a wary presence on the border until 11 May 1939, when another territorial boundary dispute arose near Nomonhan, along the Khalkhin Gol River. With each succeeding engagement both sides continued to bolster their respective forces and the skirmish blossomed into a major confrontation. With a sizeable force already in Mongolia, the Soviet Union assigned command of the Soviet forces to General Georgi K. Zhukov on 2 June 1939. [15-156] While the escalating border clashes continued, General Zhukov began a stealthful force build-up along the Khalkin-Gol River. In the 1904 Sino-Soviet War, Russia learned a bitter lesson over its inability to maintain superior forces at the end of a 4000 mile long logistics trail. [15-154] With the Trans- Siberian railroad incomplete, Russia was unable to reinforce and resupply Czarist troops by land or sea. [15-154] Zhukov was determined to launch a crushing offensive against the Japanese, but not before achieving a sizeable force ratio in his distinct favor. Facing 30,000 Japanese soldiers. Zhukov built his forces up to 35 infantry battalions and over 57,000 men under rigorous security and deception measures. [4-9]. He achieved a force ratio of 4:1 in tanks and 2:1 in aircraft. [15-156] Although the front was located 400 miles from the nearest railroad, he ensured everything was trucked in during darkness. By late June, the Soviets established air superiority in air battles involving 200 to 300 aircraft. [15-157] When he attacked the Japanese on 20 August 1939, he achieved complete tactical surprise and by 3l August, had driven back the Japanese with classic double envelopment tactics using armor and heavy concentrations of artillery. When the cease-fire took effect on l6 September 1939, the Japanese had suffered a phenomenal 75% casualties with over 17,000 men killed or wounded. (13-15] The Soviets reported 9,284 killed or wounded at the battle's end. It is important to briefly examine the Japanese military mind and their failure in underestimating the Soviet Army. Alvin D. Coox stated in The Anatomy of a Small War, "....the Japanese Army ordinarily preferred surprise assaults without supporting guns because fire power was considered of secondary importance in close combat...."[1- 130] Japanese army tactical doctrine emphasized swift victory by decisive infantry action. This doctrine was based on some of the intangibles of combat: morale, fighting spirit and leadership. (4-71] The centuries old, Samurai warrior tradition was of prime importance to Japanese army tacticians. They favored close-in combat in which courage and relentless hand-to-hand fighting favored the spirited Japanese soldier. The Soviet army's doctrine was believed to be inflexible and rigid to the point of being unable to adapt to the Japanese tactics of surprise and maneuver. Due to the long logistics train required to support the Soviet army in the Far East, Japanese planners underestimated the Soviets' ability to mass forces on the border. The Japanese firmly believed they could easily stop any Soviet offensive and then effectively and decisively crush them with aggressive counterattacks. They were dead wrong in both assumptions. On the battlefield at Changkufeng and Nomonhan, the Japanese faced an enemy far superior than previously estimated. In both incidents the Soviets used larger numbers of combat forces, superior firepower and maneuver. The Soviets' doctrine emphasized a combined-arms concept and a protracted war in which the Japanese were doomed to defeat in any war of attrition. [14-90] The devastating effectiveness of Russian armor at Nomonhan swayed Japanese sentiment to build up their tank forces to ten divisions. However, at the start of the Pacific War, they had yet to activate a single tank division. As evidenced by the vicious defense of the Japanese Army in the Pacific Islands during World War II, the border clashes only reinforced the value of the indomitable Samurai fighting spirit--fight to the death. War-fighting concerns in other theaters of the world and these rapidly escalating combat actions between the Soviets and the Japanese in Manchuria lead to the signing of the Neutrality Pact of 1941. The Russians learned the power of tank oriented offensive operations, and "confirmed Soviet views about the need for rapid exploitation of the implicitly transient advantages accruing to the side which attacks first." [14- 65] Despite the relative security of the Neutrality Pact with Japan and the war raging on her European doorstep, the Soviet Union held forty divisions on it's Manchurian border to counter the offensive threat posed by the Kwangtung Army. [10-25] Stalin was determined to eventually enter the war against Japan to achieve several strategic objectives in the Far East. He wished to reestablish Russian influence, rail and base rights in Manchuria, consolidate the Soviets' position in Mongolia and ensure Soviet presence and influence in the Northern Pacific. By the eviction of the Japanese, Stalin would pre-empt any western presence in the North Asian contineent and seize the entire Sakhalin peninsula and Kurile Islands from Japan [8-174]. In April 1945, the Soviets abrogated the Neutrality Pact and commenced a massive redeployment effort which doubled the Soviet forces in the Far East to 80 divisions. During the months of May-July 1945, more than 40 infantry, tank and mechanized divisions plus artillery and combat support units were transferred from the European theater to the Far East. [12-37] This monumental effort required maximum utilization of the Trans-Siberian railroad and 136,000 railroad car loads to move these assault units to the Far Eastern border areas. [12-37] During the peak troop redeployments in June and July, an average of 22-30 trains per day moved Russian units under strict secrecy. [15-159] Surprise was the essential element in the Soviet offensive plan. [12-37] The Russians successfully deployed 30 divisions to western Manchuria without Japanese awareness. [10-1] Deception and surprise was achieved by heavy reliance upon night movement, utilization of assembly areas far removed from the border and simple but strict measures such as instructing senior Soviet officers to not wear rank insignia and to use assumed names.[10-1] The 6th Guards Tank Army left all tanks, self-propelled artillery and vehicles behind in Czechoslovakia and picked up new equipment manufactured in Soviet Ural factories. [7-52] This extraordinary effort resulted in the Soviet Union's ability to field a force in the Far East comprised of 11 combined-arms armies, one tank army and three air armies. Thus, without discovery by the Japanese at the start of war with Japan, the Russian Army fielded 1,577,725 men, 26,137 guns and mortars, and 5,556 tanks and self-propelled artillery pieces. [9-62] The Air Force possessed 3,800 aircraft while the Soviet Navy (Pacific Fleet and Amur River flotilla) had distinct superiority on the seas (600 fighting ships as touted by Gorelov) and an additional 1500 A/C. [l2- 38] This vast array of men and arms gave the Russians a 2.2:1 ratio advantage in men, 4.8:1 in artillery and tanks and a 2:1 advantage in aircraft. [10-29] The threat which kept 40 Soviet divisions, including two tank divisions, from the European front was the Kwangtung Army. In existence since 1919, the Kwangtung Army was more than 1 million men strong in early 1941. [10-25] Manchuria represented the breadbasket and military warehouse for the Japanese armed forces. However, as the Allied effort in the Pacific war intensified, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters began to withdraw elite divisions from the Kwantury Army to counter the Allied threat elsewhere. By early 1943, the Japanese had approximately 600,000 troops protecting Manchuria against an estimated 750,000 Soviet troops deployed on its borders. [18-11] Approaching the end of 1944, this former vanguard of Japanese military prowess found its strength reduced half again from its number in December 1942. [18-118] The Japanese Army was short in more than manpower. They were severely deficient in aircraft, engineer support, communications and armor. What few tanks the Japanese did possess were armed with 57mm guns and were grossly overmatched by the Soviet T-34's. The day of 7 March 1945, saw the complete annihilation of Japanese forces on Iwo Jima and brought the Allies closer to the Japanese homeland. Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ) issued orders on 15 March 1945, which withdrew all remaining elite divisions from Manchuria to the homeland and included two divisions on the border. This also removed the Kwantung Army's 1st Tank Division, the last armor division in Manchuria. [18-125) The result left the Kwantung Army a mere shadow of its former self (its most seasoned division was formed only as late as the spring of 1944). [9-63] This drain on the strength of the Kwangtung Army required a drastic change in the defense plan against the Soviet Union. The Japanese formerly planned to defend along the northern and eastern Manchurian border areas, the expected Russian avenue of approach. They believed the western approaches to be untrafficable to any sizeable Soviet formation due to the vast Mongolian desert and the natural barrier of the Grand Khinghan Mountains. Accordingly, the Japanese had 17 fortified areas covering the assumed approaches into Manchuria over a 1,000 kilometer stretch in the northern and eastern border regions. [12-37] Due to the extreme reduction in strength and armaments, the Kwangtung Army adopted a new operations plan in May 1945. It called for a delaying action along the border, withdrawal to subsequent prepared defensive lines and finally to a stronghold area in southeastern Manchuria for a final defensive action approximately 650 kilometers from the northern and western borders. [10-34] The Kwangtung Army believed that the terrain, long distances involved and determined Japanese resistance would weaken the attacking Soviet forces by the time they reached the final defensive positions and their advance would be stopped and possibly subjected to a decisive counterattack. In this plan only one-third of the Japanese Army would be positioned on the border and the remainder deployed in depth. [10-34] In order to prevent the Russians from discovering their alarming weakness in Manchuria, the Kwangtung Army mobilized reservists and new recruits to form new divisions and brigades to maintain the appearance of a formidable fighting force. In early July 1945, the Kwangtung Army was expanded from 11 infantry divisions to more than 24 divisions. Unfortunately for the Kwangtung Army, more than one-fourth of its entire combat force was mobilized only ten days prior to the Soviet offensive (8 of 24 divisions and 7 of 9 brigades). [4-63] One of two very weak tank brigades was not formed until July 1945, and both brigades were far removed in south central Manchuria. [9-63] The Japanese IGHQ and Kwangtung Army had not heeded the lessons learned at Nomonhan. In the Summer of 1945, their army had no artillery larger than 75 mm, few tanks, no rockets, nor any modern anti-tank weapons. The newly formed 149th Infantry Division did not have a single piece of artillery in its possession when war commenced! [9-63] Ammunition and weapons were in such short supply the Japanese resorted to arming soldiers with bamboo spears. [18-154] Of the 24 divisions in the Kwangtung Army, the Japanese themselves rated only seven or eight to be combat effective. [9-63] In fact, eight of their infantry divisions were rated at being only 15% combat effective while all nine independent mixed brigades were rated at 15% combat effectiveness or less. [18-161] By August 1945, the Kwantury Army had pieced together a combat force of 1,155 tanks, 5,360 guns and 1,800 aircraft, most obsolete. Discounting Japanese forces in South Sakhalin, Korea and the Kuriles, the Soviets faced an inexperienced army totalling little more than 710,000 men. [10-29] In May 1945, the Japanese commenced their unit redeployments and construction of fortifications and barriers to conform with the new defense plan. [18-134] The Japanese problem and "Achilles heel" was simply that their troop redeployments and military construction projects were underway and incomplete when the Russians attacked on 9 August 1945. Although the Soviet movement of troops and material by rail was readily apparent to the Japanese after February 1945, they grossly underestimated the rapidity of the Soviet force buildup. [18-138] The Kwangtung Army's intelligence noted absolutely no concentrations on the western border of Manchuria (where more than 650,000 men were massing) and expected only 8 infantry and 2 tank divisions with 1,000 supporting aircraft on the eastern Manchurian border (the Russians launched the attack with 31 infantry divisions and 12 tank brigades). [20-100] With significantly increased Russian actrivity in July 1945, the IGHQ'S last estimate on 31 July 1945 still fell short of the mark: "....Russian attitude toward Japan will reach a crisis in this early autumn. Recent Russian war preparations against Japan have made unexpected progress. The Soviet Union will be ready to launch hostile action by the end of August. Because of military considerations, it is highly probable that she will enter war against Japan in early autumn." [18-162] The Soviet's offensive plan in the Far East was bold and skillfully planned. A three axes attack was planned along a border more than 4,400 kilometers long. The entire Soviet force was task organized down to the battalion level to suit precise missions, terrain and anticipated enemy defenses to ensure rapid movement through Japanese defenses. Those forces required to move through the most difficult terrain received more engineer support. Forces expected to encounter heavy defensive fortifications received more artillery and all forward detachments were allotted tanks and self-propelled artillery to provide mobility and firepower to affect a high rate of advance. A double envelopment to quickly penetrate deep into Manchuria, encircle the Japanese Kwantung Army and defeat it in detail was the Soviet Army's mission. This plan and tactical tailoring of force structure reflected the Soviet Army's maturation process over four years of intense combat in Europe. [10-43] On 9 August 1945, the main attack took place on the western Manchurian border with the Trans-Balkal Front (group of armies). Here the Soviets planned to defeat border troops, bypass fortified regions and advance quickly across a wide desert and the Grand Khinghan Mountains to secure positions on the central Manchurian plain... all within ten to fifteen days. Entire tank units were in the first echelon of each formation to enhance speed and striking power. This represented the first time the Soviets used a tank army as the spearhead in a major offensive. [7-53] Planned for an advance rate of 70 kilometers/day for its tanks and 23 kilometers/day for its combined arms units, the Russians faced two risky propositions as Glantz points out in August Storm: The Soviet 1945 Strategic Offensive in Manchuria. The Soviet's thrust in western Manchuria would be significantly hindered if the Japanese defenders occupied the key passes in the Grand Khinghan Mountains or if the long supply train failed to keep pace with the rapid pace of the tank and mechanized columns. This front represented 41.4% of the total forces fielded by the Soviets: 654,040 men formed one tank army, four combined-arms armies, one Soviet-Mongolian Cavalry- Mechanized Group, and an air army. More than 49,000 vehicles and 2,400 tanks/SP guns were assigned to move the Russians along a front covering 2,300 kilometers. [10-44] This front advanced in two echelons of armies with the first echelon heavily-weighted with one tank army and four combined-arms armies. The Trans-Baikal Front crossed the Manchurian border at 0010 on 9 August 1945 without artillery nor air preparation. Finding little resistance from Japanese who believed that large armor formations could not operate in this rugged terrain, the 6th Guards Tank Army advanced in two columns 70-80 kilometers apart as the spearhead of the front's offensive. (Note that each tank corps advanced in 4-6 columns presenting a wall of armor 15-20 kilometers wide.) [10-83] By nightfall on 9 August, forward elements of the tank army reached the foothills of the Grand Khingham Mountains, 150 kilometers from the border. [10-83] By 2300 on the 10th of August, the 5th Tank Corps reached the highest point in the mountains and proceeded down toward the central Manchurian plain. (On a single mountain road, this tank corps traveled over 40 kilometers of mountain pass in a mere seven hours.) [10-97] In three days, more than 350 kilometers had been covered over extremely demanding terrain. Due to the rapid Soviet advance and Japanese defensive redeployments, two Japanese divisions in the area never engaged the Soviets. The bold and daring strike by the Russians enabled them to obtain their objectives in the central Manchurian plain on the fourth day of the offensive--one full day ahead of schedule. However, at this point their supply line was extended over 700 kilometers to the rear and all units were severely low in fuel. This required the Trans-Baikal Front to halt its momentum on the 12th and 13th of August to resupply fuel by airlift with only 400 aircraft. [10-103] On the 13th, the Soviets resumed offensive operations being hindered only by weather and desperate Japanese suicide attacks. On the Front's left flank the Japanese put up a fierce and determined effort in the vicinity of Hailar. Bypassed and isolated by the Soviet's first echelon, it fought a valiant but losing battle. Although only rated 15% combat effective [18-161], the Japanese 80th Independent Mixed Brigade required the might of two Soviet divisions and an imposing arsenal of artillery to pound it into submission. [11-176] On 18 August the surviving 3,827 defenders surrendered at Hailar and signified the end of organized resistance by the Japanese in Manchuria. The second pincer of the double envelopment was formed by the 1st Far Eastern Front. Its mission was to penetrate the border area, bypass fortified areas, rout the enemy and link-up with the Trans-Baikal Front deep in central Manchuria. [10-73] As this force faced the most heavily fortified region of the Manchurian border, the "concrete belt" [12-33], as well as extremely marshy terrain, this front was heavy in artillery and engineers while lighter in vehicular support. Its composition consisted of 586,589 men divided into four combined-arms armies, a mechanized corps, an operational group, and one air army. [10-39] Covering a frontage of only 700 kilometers, it advanced in one echelon to affect maximum confusion among the Japanese field commanders while applying pressure along the entire zone of action. [10-171] Commencing the attack without an artillery barrage at 0030, 9 August, under darkness and a torrential downpour from severe thunderstorms, the Soviets launched their forces along multiple axes over terrain the Kwangtung Army had thought to be impassible by large forces. Before the surprised Japanese defenders could react, the Russians had advanced 15-20 kilometers very quickly. The Soviets overcame all obstacles, even building roads through dense forests as their army advanced. [10-113] After breaking through enemy resistance by the end of 14 August, the 1st Far Eastern Front had advanced 120-150 kilometers over taiga and mountainous terrain. Although not as impressive an advance as had by the Trans-Baikal Front, the 1st Far Eastern Front succeeded in tying down the Kwangtung Army in Eastern Manchuria and distracting their attention from the attack occurring in the west. By 16 August the four combined arms armies had secured key cities in the region which ensured the collapse of the Japanese defenses in east Manchuria. [11-3] The Soviets continued to use tank-heavy forward detachments to quickly penetrate through and bypass Japanese defensive positions. Encircled and cut off from any possible reinforcements, follow-on forces methodically overwhelmed the defenders with massive air and artillery support in close coordination with the Russian infantry. Along the northern border of Manchuria, the Soviets planned to advance on a wide front across the Amur and Ussuri Rivers with the 2nd Far Eastern Front. In addition to the two major river crossings, 150 kilometers of spurs descending from the Lesser Khinghan Mountains and vast stretches of marshland on both sides of the rivers were significant obstacles. [10-151] The mission of this supporting attack was to destroy Japanese forces in Northern Manchuria and prevent their withdrawal to reinforce the Southern defensive positions under assault by the Russian main attacks. [10-78] As the supporting attack the 2nd Far Eastern Front comprised only 21% of the Soviet forces in Manchuria. Nevertheless, it was a formidable assembly consisting of 3 combined arms armies, 1 rifle corps, 1 operational group (assigned to the Kurile Islands), 1 air army and 337,096 men. [10-42] The Soviets tailored this front appropriately, assigning only 1,280 tanks and SP's and less than 6,000 guns and mortars. [1-42] The "Amur Red Banner Flotilla," an amphibious force of 200 craft including monitors with 130mm guns, provided landing support in crossing both rivers and fire support during these major amphibious operations. [6- 61] The 2nd Far Eastern Front faced determined resistance along one of its three axes of advance. Combined with delays encountered at the rivers crossings, the Soviet advance was considerably hampered. However, this Front successfully accomplished its mission of destruction and prevented the Japanese from withdrawal. The Kwangtung Army suffered a quick defeat as a result of the Soviets' use of strategic and tactical surprise. The Japanese predicted a Soviet offensive in September and from the more easily supported Soviet borders along north and east Manchuria. Under the worst weather conditions possible, the Russians initiated an offensive under the cover of darkness approaching from areas thought impassable by large troop formations. Using tank units in the leading edge of their first echelons and assault groups, the speed of the Russian advance took full advantage of the incomplete Japanese redeployment and generally weak defensive posture. Poor communications prevailed throughout the Kwangtung Army. The Kwangtung Army Headquarters possessed no means of military communication. Heavy reliance upon public telephone lines proved to be detrimental when the phone lines were disrupted at the beginning of the soviet invasion. [20-12] As a result, the Japanese headquarters had little command and control available over the Kwangtung Army. A unilateral decision by the Japanese General in command of western Manchuria to change the Kwangtung Army's defensive plan in his sector added to the confusion. [20-5] While the Soviet air force served primarily in a transport and reconnaissance role, the Japanese air force struggled to participate in the defense of Manchuria. With most of their fighters deployed south to help counter U. S. B-29 raids, the Japanese commenced reconnaissance flights and very few attack missions on 9 August. For unknown reasons, war plans to interdict enemy rear areas in Mongolia were never implemented. The maximum effort displayed occurred on 12 August with 184 sorties flown that day (only 27 guns, 42 trucks and 500 men were reported destroyed). While severe weather affected both sides equally, the Japanese air force never became a factor. Under orders from a confused Kwangtung Army headquarters the air force ceased operations on 15 August. [16-40] Although the vast majority of the Japanese units did not engage the Russians in combat, those that did demonstrated a high state of morale and effectiveness despite inferior firepower. For example, the Kwangtung Army's combat guide stated that for defense against tanks, the policy was suicide attack, "The essence of anti-tank combat lies in the suicide assault by the entire force; each man must destroy at least one tank." [18-ii] As mentioned earlier, this "special" attack hindered the Soviet advance in some areas. That most Kwangtung Army units did not become engaged is credited to the strategic and tactical surprise achieved by the Soviet Union. Most significant in this analysis of Japanese defeat is the sobering failure of the Japanese to remember the lessons learned at Nomonhan. To have once again severely underestimated the Soviet Army and be subjected to another devastating attack is the fault of Japanese IGHQ. The absence of armor and modern anti-tank weapons in Manchuria was a result of Japanese IGHQ's prewar decision to weight the production of aircraft over the procurement of tanks. [4-90] In January 1945, the Kwangtung Army was further handicapped when IGHQ ordered home approximately one-third of the Army's war materiel and large numbers of staff officers for homeland defense.[17-71] The Japanese Emperor's decree to surrender was issued over the radio on 14 August 1945 after the Japanese notified Allied powers that Japan would accept the Potsdam offer for surrender. However Japanese IGHQ did not issue a formal cease-fire order to the Kwangtung Army until August 17th. [12-39] The result was continued fighting in some areas, surrender in other areas and confusion everywhere. The continued combat impaired already poor communications between Japanese headquarters and field units. This delayed tramsmissions of cease-fire orders on 17 August 1945, during which time the Kwangtung Army was in preparation for a counter attack in the southeast. [13-175] This atmosphere of confusion and anxiety by the Japanese was intensified by the Japanese warrior code of Bushido (fight to the death). Existing Army/Navy regulations expressly prohibited servicemen from surrendering. Surrender was considered shameful and dishonorable, subject to court- martial and execution. To absolve the traditional stigma of surrender and remove legal liabilities, IGHQ published an order which stated that the nation and government of Japan would not regard servicemen "delivered" to the enemy as a result of the cease-fire order as having surrendered under the old law. This had a tremendous psychological effect on the Japanese soldiers...with no dishonor there was no reason to commit suicide. On 19 August, the Kwangtung Army transmitted this order to its field commands and the Japanese capitulated everywhere. [16-115] The Soviets claimed the Kwangtung Army did not agree to surrender until 19 August. They used this claim as a pretense to acquire more territory and ensure their hold and future in the Northern Pacific region. During the confusion of the partially effected cease-fire, the Soviets took full advantage of the motionless Kwangtung Army. They dispatched forward mobile detachments and landed airborne units in key cities. [10-106] On 18 August the Soviets made an amphibious landing on the Kurile Islands. The 25th of August witnessed the surrender of more than 18,000 Japanese in South Sakhalin and on 5 September the Soviets captured all of the Kurile Islands and took 63,840 POW's. [6-51] The official surrender to the Allied Powers occurred on 2 September 1945. As a result of the Russians' meticulous planning and bold offensive plan, they took 594,000 Japanese prisoners including 143 generals and 20,000 wounded. The Kwangtung Army suffered over 80,000 men and officers killed in combat which lasted less than two weeks. In contrast, the well- prepared Soviet Army had 8,219 killed and 22,264 wounded. [13-175] The lessons to be learned from this closing chapter to World War II are many indeed. Foremost in one's mind must be the adaptability and boldness demonstrated by the Soviets as well as the high degree of initiative shown by commanders at all levels during the campaign. The Soviet war machine had matured. It developed a combined-arms army concept which relied on armored units at every unit level as the spearhead of the offensive thrust and heavy concentrations of artillery. Tactical surprise, a key element to their rapid success, was achieved despite the enormous volume of supplies, equipment and men moved forward to the border regions. The Soviet planners were aucacious and imaginative in their utilization of multiple axes of advance through the worst terrain to maneuver hundreds of thousands of men and machines. They task-organized their forces to accomplish their assigned missions in different terrain against varying degrees of enemy opposition. The Manchurian campaign was characterized by its gigantic scale, use of large formations and extensive employment of amphibious and airborne troops. [7-7] As Raymond Garthoff stated, "to mount such a campaign after being bled for four years in Europe represented a major achievement." [7-61] This achievement should be studied closely by present day war-planners and tacticians to avoid the danger of underestimating Soviet military capability. The deception techniques and offensive combined-arms tactics begun by General Zhukov at Nomonhan and refined by Marshal Vasilevsky in the Far East offer a case study in which modern Soviet Army tactics can be studied. With the exception of new weapons, notably long range missiles and nuclear weapons, today's Soviet tactics are very similar to those used in Manchuria. Indeed, the predecessor of the Soviet Operational Maneuver Group (OMG) was the Front army and mobile detachments of this very campaign. Today's OMG is designed to penetrate deep into rear areas, destroy command, control and logistic centers, encircle and destroy enemy forces and capture or destroy vital areas. With the absence of any peace-time Soviet or Warsaw Bloc exercise on such a gigantic scale, "The 1945 attack on the Kwangtung Army with its ten-day capitulation provides a classic of contemporary Soviet military thinking." [15-160] BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Coox, Alvin D. The Anatomy of a Small War. The Soviet-Japanese Struggle For Changkufeng/Khasan, 1938. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1977. 2. Department of the Army. The Soviet Army Operations and Tactics, FM 100-2-1. Washington D.C.: 16 July 1984. 3. Detwiler, Donald S. and Burdick, Charles B., ed. War in Asia and the Pacific 1937-1948. Volume 8; China, Manchuria and Korea (Part I) New York: Garland Publishing, 1980. 4. Drea, Edward J. Nomonhan: Japanese-Soviet Tactical Combat, l939. Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute, January 1981. 5. Erickson, John. Soviet Military Power. London: Royal United Services Institute, 1971. 6. Garthoff, Raymond L. "Soviet Operations in the War With Japan; August, 1945." United States Naval Institute Proceedings, 92 (May 1966), pp. 50-63. 7. Garthoff, Raymond L. "Marshal Malinovsky's Manchurian Campaign." Military Review. 46 (October 1966), pp. 50-61. 8. Garthoff, Raymond L. Soviet Military Policy; A Historical Analysis. New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1966. 9. 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