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Russia’s MoD Published Declassified Documents From World War II Operation Against Japan

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Russia's MoD Published Declassified Documents From World War II Operation Against Japan

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The website of the Russian Ministry of Defense published another batch of declassified historical documents dedicated, this time to the Japanese campaign of the Red Army.

As it is known, the USSR entered into war with Tokyo on August 9, 1945, and on September 2, aboard the American battleship USS Missouri, representatives of the militarist regime signed the Act of Unconditional Surrender.

The Soviet Union carried out the Japanese campaign, following the agreements reached during the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

At the conference, Moscow promised the United States and Great Britain to enter the war in the Far East three months after the end of fighting in Europe.

As of the summer of 1945, Japan held a very impressive military force in northeastern China, Inner Mongolia and Korea. In total, the Kwantung Army numbered more than 1 million people, 1215 tanks, 6640 guns and mortars, 1907 combat aircraft, and 25 warships of the main classes.

On the border with the Soviet Union and Mongolia, the Japanese erected 17 fortified areas, each 50-100 km wide and up to 50 km deep. The defensive positions of the Kwantung Army included three to seven knots of resistance.

One of the most fortified Japanese positions was the city of Fujin.

The resistance node consisted of stone buildings, bunkers and towers with armored caps. Suicide soldiers fired machine guns.

In Tokyo, it was believed that the capture of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia would take the Red Army about six months.

Moreover, the Japanese General Staff hoped that during this period it would be possible to regroup the forces and launch a counteroffensive, ending hostilities on the territory of the USSR.

Before the outbreak of the war, Moscow had to transfer significant forces and assets to the Far East from the European regions.

The leadership of the Soviet group was entrusted to Marshal Alexander Vasilevsky. The idea of ​​the campaign was to encircle the Kwantung Army, and then dissect and destroy its main forces.

To this end, the Red Army carried out three large-scale operations: the Manchurian strategy, the Yuzhno-Sakhalin offensive and the Kuril landing.

A key role in the success of the Red Army was played by the fighting in northeast China, which began on August 9 and continued until September 2. The forces of the Trans-Baikal, 1st and 2nd Far Eastern fronts, the Pacific Fleet and the Amur Flotilla, Primorsky, Khabarovsk and Transbaikal border districts took part in the Manchurian strategic operation.

Despite the off-road and fierce resistance of the enemy, the Soviet formations quickly captured the cities of Hutou, Matsyaohe, Mishan, Hunchun, Mudanjiang and the Dongning fortified area.

On August 19, the Red Army entered Changchun, the capital of the puppet state of Manchukuo, which was ruled by the Japanese military administration.

An appeal is published by the Chinese commandant of Manchukuo to Major General Fyodor Karlov, whose troops disarmed the Japanese garrison.

Russia's MoD Published Declassified Documents From World War II Operation Against Japan

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The document expresses words of deep gratitude for the liberation from the oppression of the militarists.

In the archival documents published on the website of the military department, one can find information about the stubborn and fanatical resistance of the occupiers.

In particular, the Kwantung Army made extensive use of suicide bombers. They attacked Soviet officers and generals with melee weapons, threw themselves under the tanks, tying themselves with tar and explosives.

Sometimes kamikazes formed a “living” anti-tank minefield. At the same time, suicide bombers rarely managed to commit sabotage. Most often they were shot with fire from machine guns.

However, not all Japanese soldiers and officers acted so recklessly.

Thus, in the combat report of the chief of staff of the Trans-Baikal Front, it is reported that “during the period from 17 to 19 August 1945, 13,800 Japanese soldiers and officers surrendered, including one major general – the commandant of the Hailar fortified area Nomura.”

Realizing the senselessness of hostilities against the successfully advancing formations of the Red Army, a number of high-ranking Japanese military leaders agreed to negotiations on the procedure for disarmament and surrender with the Soviet commanders: Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army Lieutenant General Hata, his deputy Major General Matsumura, commander of the Mukden garrison Lieutenant General Hongo.

“I guarantee a good attitude on the part of the Red Army not only to the senior officers, but also to the soldiers,” the words of Marshal Vasilevsky are quoted on the website.

The South Sakhalin and Kuril operations were not as large as the Manchurian ones, but they were decisive for the capture of strategically important territories in the Pacific region.

The battles for South Sakhalin began on August 11 and ended on August 25. The operation was successfully carried out by the Northern Pacific Flotilla and the 16th Army under the command of Major General Leonty Cheremisov.

“In connection with the successful offensive actions of the Red Army troops, on the morning of August 11, by the decision of the commander of the 2nd Far Eastern Front, General of the Army Maxim Purkaev, our units went on the offensive on Sakhalin Island,” the declassified document of the Russian Defense Ministry reads.

The most difficult test for the Red Army was the assault on the Kotonsky fortified area, which was defended by the enemy’s 125th Infantry Regiment.

The Japanese “fortress” was a network of resistance nodes and strongholds to a depth of 8-12 km, which were in fire communication with each other.

Thanks to effectively artillery, on August 19, the Kotonsky fortified area was captured, which violated the entire system of enemy defense of South Sakhalin.

Russia's MoD Published Declassified Documents From World War II Operation Against Japan

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To discredit the liberation mission of the Red Army, the retreating Japanese soldiers disguised themselves in the uniform of Soviet servicemen and staged a massacre of civilians. In the city of Vanemyao, in the bed of an old river, the Red Army found about 500 bodies of women, children and the elderly.

Among them, Soviet soldiers found survivors: an infant and two wounded women, who told the details of the tragedy.

When the bombing of Vanemiao began, the civilian population left the city and settled down for the night in the bed of the old river. The Japanese ordered the residents to undress and then opened fire on them. Soldiers of the Kwantung Army killed the wounded with knives.

The Japanese were driven out from the Kuril Ridge by the forces of the 2nd Far Eastern Front and the Pacific Fleet.

Russia's MoD Published Declassified Documents From World War II Operation Against Japan

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Russia's MoD Published Declassified Documents From World War II Operation Against Japan

Click to see full-size image

The operation lasted from August 18 to September 1 and was characterized by active operations of the airborne forces of the Red Army. By August 23, Soviet troops occupied the ports of Kataoka, Kashiwabara, captured Shumshu Island and the northeastern part of Paramushir Island.

By the end of August 1945, the Red Army had practically completed the process of disarming the Japanese formations. The absence of enemy resistance is evidenced by the order given on August 29 to Vasilevsky to cancel martial law in the Far East from September 1. It took approximately a month, when the Japanese leadership expected it to take half a year.

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