How badly does Japan lose if a 1938/1939 border conflict escalates with USSR? (Nomanhan, etc)

It seems that the Kwangtung army was out matched in almost every manner.

Less soldiers, less armour, worse armour, less artillery, worse artillery, worse doctrine, less aircraft.

The Soviet East also obeyed and had the support of Moscow while the Kwangtung often disobeyed direct Imperial orders like at Changfukeng.

Let's say Stalin wants to make a statement that red army isn't weak, or he senses Japanese weakness, or wants to be internationally praised, or wants to support China, or wants to secure his Eastern front.

What concessions will Tokyo give to halt this? What will Stalin demand? What's the international reaction? How does this change Europe, USA and China?
 
The Soviet logistics situation in the Far East is not good, and in 1938-39 the Soviets have a lot of other problems (remember their performance in the Winter War in 39-40). So it may not be so safe to predict they'd be able to easily defeat the Japanese. Also, if the Soviet Union is clearly the aggressor, it's an interesting question whether the Germans honor their obligations under the anti-comintern pact; if so, things get very complicated and hard to predict.
 
In this case, I believe Pearl Harbor would be butterflied away. If it's a completely defeat, Japan would retreat from China and maybe even from Korea. Their militarist government might fell and Japan would follow a different path.

European empires in Asia would be left intact, no images of 120,000 British surrendering to an Asian power and they would survive for at least 20 extra years.
 
Less soldiers, less armour, worse armour, less artillery, worse artillery, worse doctrine, less aircraft.

?
And yet in Khalkin Gol the Soviets suffered twice the amount of casualties, lost twice the amount of planes, vehicles and artillery and 8 times more armor/tanks than the Japanese.

Besides that the Soviets did not have the infrastructure to adequately send reinforcements to the far east.

So why would you expect the Soviets to win if the conflict between the Soviets and Japanese escalate into a war?
 
Stalin didn't have any interest in taking Manchukuo until 1945. I think he will probably just demand Mengjiang be annexed into the Mongolian People's Republic, since Khalkhin Gol was sparked by a border dispute in Mongolia after all.
 
And yet in Khalkin Gol the Soviets suffered twice the amount of casualties, lost twice the amount of planes, vehicles and artillery and 8 times more armor/tanks than the Japanese.

Besides that the Soviets did not have the infrastructure to adequately send reinforcements to the far east.

So why would you expect the Soviets to win if the conflict between the Soviets and Japanese escalate into a war?
Exactly this. Any sort of escalation will result in a stalemate at worst for Japan.
 
And yet in Khalkin Gol the Soviets suffered twice the amount of casualties, lost twice the amount of planes, vehicles and artillery and 8 times more armor/tanks than the Japanese.

Besides that the Soviets did not have the infrastructure to adequately send reinforcements to the far east.

So why would you expect the Soviets to win if the conflict between the Soviets and Japanese escalate into a war?
Within the first two days of Nomonhan the Kwangtung used 70% of their total artillery stockpile. Total. For all of Manchukuo. Even the artillery they had no crews had ever practiced firing at maximum range, only 5000 yards for their best piece, and all of the Soviet artillery out ranged them. Up to 20,000 yards for their biggest pieces.
Exactly this. Any sort of escalation will result in a stalemate at worst for Japan.
They had tactical surprise in almost every engagement, including annihilation of the airbase and this forced Zhukov to send his tanks in piecemeal. Hence the large number loss, which of course no one abraded him for because the Soviets could take such minor losses without blinking. The Japanese, materially starved lost a far greater proportion of material and manpower in the region even with literally every aspect of the battle in their favour. What exactly is the Japanese response to a massed armour along the doctrine of deep operations that Zhukov wanted but wasn't able to do?

1. Nomonhan was the farthest point from a railhead along the whole border
2. The Japanese had initial numerical superiority
3. The Japanese had operational advantages (allowed to invade territory)
4. The operational advantage allowed tactical surprises: destruction of soviet airpower on the ground, invading of Mongolia for a pincer attack, attacking first and at night

Now that's certainly was an operational error by Zhukov but there was reason they didn't expect the Japanese to invade Mongolia and escalate but once a war started that would not be the case.

While Manchukuo certainly had better internal raillines in total they had only 2000 trucks in all of Manchuria, less than Zhukov used just for this one operation.

I don't see how you could possibly think that an army with no mobilisation and no artillery could defeat a wide offensive. Especially since the Japanese have never fought tanks or been faced with artillery. You can see this on July 5th when unsupported tanks forced Japanese over the river. Or with Japanese tank attacks being halted by machine gun fire that out ranged the tanks...

While there are limits on Soviets supply lines, particularly in the Mongolia salient the Soviets can draw upon the already present Far East Resources and have an easier time supplying places along the transsiberian.

The road alongside it also means that any attempted bombing of the transsiberian is far less impactful since it is easy to repair.

We could also see that every battle that goes by means that the decimated officer class of the Soviets will be more familiar. Remember that the army Japan faced at Nomonhan was the same winter war level of incompetent in terms of the lower officer corps. This is their weakest point and the Japanese still lost.

Exactly this. Any sort of escalation will result in a stalemate at worst for Japan.
Please source this in anyway.

If you have more sources than the casualties box on Wikipedia I am happy to review my position.

Mine is based primarily on Goldman's Nomonhan, 1939.

At the end of the day for the entire war the Soviets outnumbered Japan in Manchuria in every measure, men, artillery, tanks, trucks, guns, planes. And in every aspect apart from elan and tactical leadership they were qualitively superior.

What can Japan do when faced with a mass of tanks in a prepared attack? Nothing.

We can of course look at the 1945 invasion, after minor logistical changes to the soviet far east, for example of how the Soviets can supply an invasion.

All of this ignores that in addition Mao will now actually be fighting instead of pretending to a Chiang will receive far more Soviet aid.

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/nomonhan-incident-escalates.110946/

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/wi-japan-defeats-the-ussr-at-the-battles-of-lake-khasan-and-khalkin-gol.312874/

Another thread on the subject. You can see that the commenters seem to be split in two camps, people who read a wiki casualty box and people who researched. There's also the historical logic of Japan thinking that the USA was less dangerous than the USSR, even during Barbarossa. And Stalin thinking it too risky to push in Japan with an uncertain Europe. Here he's, or someone is, more aggressive. Instead of stopping after smashing the Japanese the Soviets keep rolling.

What does Japanese collapse in China look like too?
 
Within the first two days of Nomonhan the Kwangtung used 70% of their total artillery stockpile. Total. For all of Manchukuo. Even the artillery they had no crews had ever practiced firing at maximum range, only 5000 yards for their best piece, and all of the Soviet artillery out ranged them. Up to 20,000 yards for their biggest pieces.
And yet even with the IJA allegedly being short on supplies and having supposed inferior artillery the Soviets still ended that battle with a black eye and broken nose. If losing TWICE the amount of men and materials while allegedly having "superior equipment" gives the Soviets those kinds of figures i'd hate to see what happens if the IJA actually does well.

The Japanese, materially starved lost a far greater proportion of material and manpower in the region
You're going to have to provide a citation for this to be honest, and any escalation into a war won't be restricted to just that region, the Soviets will have to try and defend outer Manchuria and North Sakhalin both regions are far closer to Japan, along with any other coastal region of the far east Japan decides to attack.

2. The Japanese had initial numerical superiority
But you said in your original post that the Japanese have "less soldiers, less armour, less artillery, less aircraft". So which is it?

They had tactical surprise in almost every engagement, including annihilation of the airbase and this forced Zhukov to send his tanks in piecemeal. Hence the large number loss, which of course no one abraded him for because the Soviets could take such minor losses without blinking. The Japanese, materially starved lost a far greater proportion of material and manpower in the region even with literally every aspect of the battle in their favour. What exactly is the Japanese response to a massed armour along the doctrine of deep operations that Zhukov wanted but wasn't able to do?
28,000 men for the Soviets is a minor loss? As far as "japanese response to a massed armour along the doctrine of deep operations" bit, pretty much the same possibly. Worked pretty well in Khalkin Gol causing the Soviets to lose over half the tanks they had in that battle.

1. Nomonhan was the farthest point from a railhead along the whole border
3. The Japanese had operational advantages (allowed to invade territory)
4. The operational advantage allowed tactical surprises: destruction of soviet airpower on the ground, invading of Mongolia for a pincer attack, attacking first and at night

Now that's certainly was an operational error by Zhukov but there was reason they didn't expect the Japanese to invade Mongolia and escalate but once a war started that would not be the case.

While Manchukuo certainly had better internal raillines in total they had only 2000 trucks in all of Manchuria, less than Zhukov used just for this one operation.

I don't see how you could possibly think that an army with no mobilisation and no artillery could defeat a wide offensive. Especially since the Japanese have never fought tanks or been faced with artillery. You can see this on July 5th when unsupported tanks forced Japanese over the river. Or with Japanese tank attacks being halted by machine gun fire that out ranged the tanks...
You're just making excuses for the absurdly high losses the Soviets suffered, while trying to make anecdotal arguments over whatever happened during the battle. It doesn't take away from the fact that for the Soviets Khalkin Gol is only considered a "victory" (easily one of the worst pyrrhic victories in modern history). Nor the fact that any war the Soviets would have with Japan would not be restricted to just Nomonhan.

While there are limits on Soviets supply lines, particularly in the Mongolia salient the Soviets can draw upon the already present Far East Resources and have an easier time supplying places along the transsiberian.

The road alongside it also means that any attempted bombing of the transsiberian is far less impactful since it is easy to repair.
It was insufficient, and the Soviets would struggle to reinforce the region once the casualty figures start mounting up.

We could also see that every battle that goes by means that the decimated officer class of the Soviets will be more familiar. Remember that the army Japan faced at Nomonhan was the same winter war level of incompetent in terms of the lower officer corps. This is their weakest point and the Japanese still lost.
"lost" they "lost" because the Japanese weren't interested in escalating a conflict with the Soviets and wanted to focus on conquering China. Just think for a minute here, if the Soviets winning meant them suffering the figures that they suffered at Khalkin Gol relative to the Japanese, what happens when the Japanese actually win?


Anyways to answer your initial question at the very least the Soviets end up losing North Sakhalin. If they really end up sh*tting the bed and whatever faction in Japan has enough influence they'll also take outer Manchuria. Essentially this is the winter war but with the added handicap for the Soviets of having arguably the longest supply bottleneck on land.
 
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I made a post detailing this sort of scenario last week, so I might as well just post that again:

The IJA as a whole was fielding something around 2M troops by 1939, and at least until the Allied navies start sinking transport ships and stuff would be able to supply them.
The Red Army committed about 1.5M to August Storm in 1945 - considering the supply difficulties faced by that operation within a couple of weeks of it beginning this is probably close to the 'maximum effort' that the USSR can manage... everything has to come across the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which is too long to be given additional tracks along a significant length during the period this war would take place.
So quantitatively the two forces, committing everything they realistically can, are roughly equal.

Qualitatively, the advantage lies with Japan: at both the Changfukeng battle in 1938 and Nomonhan in 1939, Japanese forces were outnumbered by quite a significant margin (3:1 in the first case, 2:1 in the second) and still inflicted disproportionate casualties on the Soviets. Outside of those two battles, the Japanese have also been performing quite well in China (at least as far as pitched battles are concerned - the occupation itself was a bloody mess): for this we can look both to the string of victories in 1937-8 and the battle of Nanchang in early 1939 (where a 5:3 Japanese numerical inferiority is probably comparable to what they may face against a Russian spearhead). I will concede the Japanese did lose the Battle of Changsha that September, but the 5:2 inferiority they faced there is unlikely to be repeated in Manchuria absent some shockingly poor strategy or intelligence by the Japanese - always a possibility but not really helpful in considering an "average" scenario.
On the other side, the Soviets gave an average performance against the demoralised Poles in September (4:3 advantage in numbers, non-captured losses are around 3:4 as well), and a pathetic performance against the Finns in November. These fronts do not indicate the Red Army would do very well against the Japanese, and if in this scenario those fronts are active combat zones as well then the Soviet command will have its attention divided which never helps things.

As for the war itself, much of Manchuria north of the big cities like Harbin, Mukden and Hsinking is basically deserts and hills with little infrastructure - if the Russians are the aggressor in this scenario, they will be able to grab this area with little problem as the Japanese can't support a 2M army there, while it is right next to the TSRR. If instead the Japanese are the aggressor, they may hold it if an army is sent further north to cut the TSRR near Chita, or they may concede it and instead focus their effort on Vladivostok and Khabarovsk instead. If Japan does strike at Vladivostok, they will get a bloody nose on the fortifications, although may be able to take the city itself eventually (most likely after a siege and bombardment from the IJN). Chita is probably a doomed effort - they can't push forward any more than they can maintain a large defence in northern Manchuria. Most likely there is some sort of stalemate along the middle of Manchuria: Japan can win the battles, but they can't push forward to take advantage of their victories.

Of course, that is the 'maximum commitment' scenario, where both sides are only interested in that war and nothing else. Which is quite obviously not the case.
Japan's main consideration is China - they've been stuck there for two years now and were still as determined as ever to defeat them even in 1944 when the war elsewhere had gone totally to hell. Unless you have a way out for the Japanese (which is somewhere between extremely unlikely and outright ASB as long as the war is following a near-OTL course), this will be an important consideration for Japan.
During August Storm Japan was maintaining about 700k men in Manchuria, after four years of war with America and eight with China had been pulling forces out of the region. In 1939 most of that obviously hasn't happened yet, and while I don't have a number of Manchurian forces on me at the moment I believe 1M is a fair estimate. At the same time, Wikipedia gives Japan's strength in China in 1939 at just over 1M as well - half their forces are there. If reinforcements for the Manchurian front can't be found in the Home Islands, they will need to come from China.
Meanwhile, late 1939 to early 1940 was a period of Chinese success in the 2SJW - first the battle of Changsha which was a successful defensive battle, followed by the various offensives in Guangdong that almost broke the Japanese position in southern China. If we "reroll the dice", these battles could go much worse for Japan, and they certainly may do so if anything has been pulled out of China to fight the Red Army.
At this stage I leave it to you to decide if Japan could maintain both fronts - if Japanese qualitative superiority can fill in for lesser numbers, then a stalemate may be reached on both fronts. If it cannot, and the Japanese maintain their commitment to China, the Soviets may take over Manchuria throughout 1940 (though probably not Korea, where the terrain is much better for defence and much farther from the TSRR and Soviet supply lines). If the Japanese 'abandon' China and can get a white peace or similar out of Chiang, the possibility exists for a significant Japanese victory.

The Soviets don't really have any other commitments at this time - Poland, Finland, the Baltic States and Romania are all fairly minor fronts and the Red Army is large enough to handle them at the same time as fighting Japan (they can't support any more than 1.5M in the Far East, which is just a fraction of the Red Army's full strength). If Europe stays quiet, then the Red Army has a much larger pool of reinforcements to draw from, giving them the advantage in a long war (but they already had this anyway, with much greater industrial production capabilities than Japan).
The only European power that can influence this at all is Germany (absent the Western Allies attacking Russia or some other drastic changes). Ignoring the possibility of Eastern Poland giving Hitler a bloody nose (France is a very uncertain business as it is), and assuming Germany follows a near-OTL course, the earliest that Barbarossa can take place is 1941. As it was, Germany barely managed to pull it off after being effectively given huge piles of resources by the Soviets, a near-bloodless victory in France and a huge haul of captured equipment taken from the French. Absent any of that, Barbarossa can't achieve anything close to what it did OTL (which was close to the best-German-case), and in 1940 none of that equipment is available to the Germans, and they are also lacking the better part of a year's production. Pz2s against KV-1s is also a stupid idea.
If near-OTL holds in Europe, Germany will find Barbarossa a much more difficult prospect anyway - much of its success came down to the Red Army being part way through a massive expansion and reorganisation just as the invasion began - half formed units without a proper allocation of commanders and resources in exposed positions were up against the elite Panzer divisions. If Stalin has been in an all-out fight in the Far East, he's either not going to see the need for such a drastic expansion (if the Army is performing well against Japan) - in which case the Soviets are better prepared to fight Germany, or he's going to start the expansion much earlier. If the Tripartite Pact is still signed, Germany is marking itself as a clear ally to Japan and a clear enemy to the USSR - Stalin is much less likely to dismiss British intelligence warnings and will start doing whatever he needs to to be ready for Hitler's attack. From September 1940 at the latest.
The Soviets will win in a long war if Germany stays out or Barbarossa goes badly, simply because they have a much larger pool of reinforcements to draw on, but I think a white peace with some territorial adjustments (eg. north Sakhalin in exchange for northern Manchuria or Mongolia) is the most likely outcome. If Germany does come in, Stalin will be under pressure to wrap things up with Japan (defending Moscow/Stalingrad is much more important than throwing more men at Manchuria), which by this point wouldn't have yielded any significant victories. Neither power can decisively beat the other anyway - the IJN will gut the Red Fleet in a matter of days but the IJA will never have the logistic capabilities to strike far across the border, and if they could, there's nothing there worth having anyway.

Chiang Kai Shek is the clearest winner.. Japan can't win against both China and the USSR (a stalemate against both is within the realm of plausibility), and will probably have to choose between one or the other. This would almost have to be the Soviets: if they focus on China, they lose Manchukuo and Korea; if they focus on the USSR, they eventually lose their post-1937 gains, which is less of a big deal. Anything in China that the Soviets take but don't outright annex (or turn into a puppet/SSR) will go to Chiang - a much more obvious ally of Stalin than Mao is in 1939/early 40s, and Chiang, not Mao, would get the bulk of the credit for defeating Japan, which will help when he eventually fights the CCP.

The effects on Europe are unclear - Churchill isn't going to support either side in the fight between Stalin and Japan - he hated communism and Japan at this point isn't a threat to the UK, so "enemy of my enemy is my friend" wouldn't even apply the way it did against Hitler. Hitler himself could go any way imaginable - Stalin's invasion is going to at least begin as a bloody mess, which might encourage him to go for Barbarossa (like the Winter War did IOTL), but if we consider the need to "reroll the dice" re: the battle of France it is very possible that some random butterfly screws up that and suddenly Hitler isn't even in a position to do Barbarossa in the first place.

Roosevelt isn't going to do too much - aid to China might increase if ports are not/re-taken, but isolationism is still strong. If Hitler still bowls France over, the USA would still end up intervening in Europe eventually, but this may not extend to Japan. The occupation of Indochina and Pearl Harbour are both out of the question ITTL.

- BNC
 
And yet even with the IJA allegedly being short on supplies and having supposed inferior artillery the Soviets still ended that battle with a black eye and broken nose. If losing TWICE the amount of men and materials while allegedly having "superior equipment" gives the Soviets those kinds of figures i'd hate to see what happens if the IJA actually does well.
I never said they were short on supplies in this battle. They weren't. I am saying that they are short on supplies in the theatre. This is the best it gets. They don't have better planes, tanks, artillery or troops.


You're going to have to provide a citation for this to be honest, and any escalation into a war won't be restricted to just that region, the Soviets will have to try and defend outer Manchuria and North Sakhalin both regions are far closer to Japan, along with any other coastal region of the far east Japan decides to attack.
Certainly North Sakhalin will fall, there's nothing else of relevance along the coast north of that. Vladivostok will be a great place for Japanese to bleed out on a siege. My guess is that they can't take it before Manchuria falls but I'm not certain hence why I made this thread.

I did cite my source. Nomonhan by Goldman. 70% of artillery stocks.

But you said in your original post that the Japanese have "less soldiers, less armour, less artillery, less aircraft". So which is it?
So I don't know if you honestly misunderstood, you don't understand the difference between local, temporary superiority and a strategic comparison or you're misrepresenting me on purpose.

If 100 Japanese troops find 1 Soviet soldier they will have superiority in arms. That doesn't mean that Japan has more guns than the Soviet Union. Do you understand this?


28,000 men for the Soviets is a minor loss? As far as "japanese response to a massed armour along the doctrine of deep operations" bit, pretty much the same possibly. Worked pretty well in Khalkin Gol causing the Soviets to lose over half the tanks they had in that battle.
Yes? Of course that's a minor loss. When the battle started to go in favour of the Soviets they didn't even press because of the border.

So you're clearly unfamiliar with the battle if you think Zhukov's hurried throwing of even individual units into the path of the surprise advance counts as deep operations:
(since I have it on hand I'll quote to teach you how tanks get lost)

"The main punch of the Soviet counterattack was delivered by the 150 tanks of Mikhail Yakovlev’s 11th Tank Brigade, plus some 154 armored cars mounting 45-mm guns. But they were supported by only 1,200 infantrymen. As each Soviet unit reached the combat zone, it was thrown into the attack directly off the march. The result was a series of uncoordinated assaults with which the Japanese could deal in succession. Because the Soviet armor had little infantry support, Japanese infantry literally swarmed over the Soviet vehicles, some of whose hatch lids were pried opened from the outside. Many tanks and armored cars were knocked out by primitive gasoline bombs and explosive charges carried by “human bullet” tank-killer teams, as well as by antitank guns. However, these repeated tank attacks threw the Japanese advance off balance."

. So like why are you responding? Wasn't I clear that I was looking for people who didn't just skim the casualties box? I didn't make this thread so I'd have to educate people who want to argue with no sources or even understanding of the topic.

You're just making excuses for the absurdly high losses the Soviets suffered, while trying to make anecdotal arguments over whatever happened during the battle. It doesn't take away from the fact that for the Soviets Khalkin Gol is only considered a "victory" (easily one of the worst pyrrhic victories in modern history). Nor the fact that any war the Soviets would have with Japan would not be restricted to just Nomonhan.
Indeed another issue for the Japanese is that they still lost when the front was kept local. As I've already said and the people who I actually made this thread for know the Soviet have an astonishing advantage if the whole front becomes a battleground. You see this is in Lake Khasan when Soviets sent mass waves into machine gun because they didn't want to flank because it would risk going into undisputed territory..

On top of allowing Soviets to stop holding back tactically and operationally the real death knell is the strategic benefit of the weakly defended and incredibly long Manchurian border. As attacks Soviets have the advantage of striking at the weakest point, again a reminder that logistically Nomonhan was the weakest point for the Soviets and one of the strongest for Japanese.

It was insufficient, and the Soviets would struggle to reinforce the region once the casualty figures start mounting up.
Source?

"lost" they "lost" because the Japanese weren't interested in escalating a conflict with the Soviets and wanted to focus on conquering China. Just think for a minute here, if the Soviets winning meant them suffering the figures that they suffered at Khalkin Gol relative to the Japanese, what happens when the Japanese actually win?
The Japanese were winning for the vast majority of Nomonhan. That's the benefit of tactical surprise. Once the Soviets started winning the conflict ended and the Soviets didn't continue past the border, which if they had would have been disaster for the Japanese. But is also a terrible place to push for the Soviets so I doubt they'd push there even if war broke out. As I said Nomonhan was the worst possible logistical position for the Soviets.

Anyways to answer your initial question at the very least the Soviets end up losing North Sakhalin. If they really end up sh*tting the bed and whatever faction in Japan has enough influence they'll also take outer Manchuria.
So just to clarify, you believe that the Japanese Kwangtung will take Vladivostok?

And your source on this is that in a scenario set up for Japanese victory they lost and more Soviets died than Japanese? How are the Japanese planning on conducting assaults without artillery shells?

I just imagine you commenting on the Chinese war about how the Japanese will manage to seize Qinghai and march into Lhasa before Christmas of 1938. Though since you didn't comment on it maybe you forgot Japan is engaged in China.
 
Why do you think Japan was superior in quality because they took less causalities? That's not demonstrated at all from the battle, except as I've already said in tactical doctrine, especially in boldness, and in morale.

Their planes were worse:
"At Nomonhan, however, the Soviets now enjoyed an advantage of roughly 2:1 in aircraft and pilots. This put an increasingly heavy burden on the Japanese air squadrons, which had to fly incessantly, often against heavy odds. Fatigue began to take its toll and losses mounted. Soviet and Japanese accounts give wildly different, and equally unbelievable, tallies of victories and losses in the air combat, but in the words of an official Japanese air force assessment after the battle, “Nomonhan brought out the bitter truths of the phenomenal rate at which war potential is sapped in the face of superior opposition.”99 As was the case in tank combat, the Soviet preponderance in the air was qualitative as well as quantitative."
Chapter 5 of Goldman Nomonhan

During August Storm Japan was maintaining about 700k men in Manchuria, after four years of war with America and eight with China had been pulling forces out of the region. In 1939 most of that obviously hasn't happened yet, and while I don't have a number of Manchurian forces on me at the moment I believe 1M is a fair estimate
Also where are you getting those numbers for the Kwangtung army with no source? In 1940 they had 300,000 men according to Wikipedia.

Size
300,000 (1940)
763,000 (1941)
713,000 (1945)
The Kwantung Army was heavily augmented over the next few years, up to a strength of 700,000 troops by 1941, and its headquarters was transferred to the new Manchukuo capital of Hsinking

I can't believe someone familiar with the battle of Lake Khasan would genuinely use it as an example of casualties in a normal war. Is the Soviet Union going to attack only along lines of machine fire?

Shtern literally frontal assaulted the defensive positions until the Japanese left. You're also talking about numerical superiority which wasn't the case for much of the battle, which again makes me think you've simply read the box on Wikipedia.

To be fair both sides were incredibly limited in this battle but that will always favour a defender. If neither side can expand the front and the attacker has to wave assault up a hill who will have more casualties? Regardless under what method could you possibly expand that to theatre combat without massive adjustments?

Japanese occupying defensive positions take x losses against y kills with both sides avoiding flanking, etc, clearly means the whole front will have same ratio. If anything once you adjust for defensive nature which both attacks ended up being (Soviets attacking Japanese defences in disputed territory)

And again, whenever Japanese took victories it was either by surprise or on the defence. Was there any time the Japanese won without that?

Now I'd like to find statistics on the total size of the Red Banner Army and the Kwangtung in 1938 too but even with the imperial manchukou army there were never 1 million men there at any point.

How on earth will they supply anywhere near your numbers with less than 2000 trucks? Never mind the limited rail network.

Soviets stats for 1941 army here, 500k:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_Eastern_Front

 
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I never said they were short on supplies in this battle. They weren't. I am saying that they are short on supplies in the theatre. This is the best it gets. They don't have better planes, tanks, artillery or troops.
You implied it by claiming that the IJA were down to 70% of their artillery stockpile. If your claim is true than they were short on supplies. So which is it?

.So you're clearly unfamiliar with the battle if you think Zhukov's hurried throwing of even individual units into the path of the surprise advance counts as deep operations:
(since I have it on hand I'll quote to teach you how tanks get lost)
It doesn't matter how they got lost, and if the Soviets were being as restrained as you claimed that's quite honestly worse. How many more would they had lost had the Soviets pressed and been more aggressive in that case?

. So like why are you responding? Wasn't I clear that I was looking for people who didn't just skim the casualties box? I didn't make this thread so I'd have to educate people who want to argue with no sources or even understanding of the topic.
Are you some kind of russiaboo or something? It seems like you're trying to create Russia wank despite most people here disagreeing with you on the idea that a Soviet war with Japan after Khalkin Gol is a good idea.

Indeed another issue for the Japanese is that they still lost when the front was kept local. As I've already said and the people who I actually made this thread for know the Soviet have an astonishing advantage if the whole front becomes a battleground. You see this is in Lake Khasan when Soviets sent mass waves into machine gun because they didn't want to flank because it would risk going into undisputed territory..

On top of allowing Soviets to stop holding back tactically and operationally the real death knell is the strategic benefit of the weakly defended and incredibly long Manchurian border. As attacks Soviets have the advantage of striking at the weakest point, again a reminder that logistically Nomonhan was the weakest point for the Soviets and one of the strongest for Japanese.
x'D Oh yeah, the Japanese are the ones who have logistical problems in this proposed war not the Soviets whatsoever.
 
You implied it by claiming that the IJA were down to 70% of their artillery stockpile. If your claim is true than they were short on supplies. So which is it?
...
It's perfectly possible to have concentrated your supplies in a battle (meaning you have supplies for that battle) at the expense of depleting you strategic reserves in the area, if you win that battle you usual buy yourself enough time to re-balance your supplies, but if you lose that can be more of an issue.

aka the difference between "what you have" vs. "what you have right here & right now"

However the soviets are at the end of long and difficult supply chain as well here, and unless they start a large scale mobilisation their forces and supplies are going to get strung out and not be able to take advantage of victories.
 
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anyway to answer the OP, no the soviets are not going to beat Japan long term here*. They're just operating on the wrong side of their territory and in 1938-39 there are still enough systemic issues in the red army that chasing Japan off the Asian mainland is not going to happen. However Japan also isn't going to win here either because they have materiel and supply issues, are already trying to hold down large territories and they don't have enough equipment to fight a modern war against the soviets in the vast reaches of Asia.


And yet in Khalkin Gol the Soviets suffered twice the amount of casualties, lost twice the amount of planes, vehicles and artillery and 8 times more armor/tanks than the Japanese.

This is true but kind of missing the point and ignoring the context

Firstly most of the soviet losses were in the larger soviet counter attacks against prepared positions (IIRC) well yes that kind of operation is costly in this era.

secondly tanks and planes lost (and men), in abstract yes the soviets lost more than the Japanese did but in short you can't lose planes and tanks you never had.


Ultimately Khalkin Gol is a soviet victory but neither side is actually happy with their own performance and see issues (albeit different ones) to address.


Besides that the Soviets did not have the infrastructure to adequately send reinforcements to the far east.

So why would you expect the Soviets to win if the conflict between the Soviets and Japanese escalate into a war?
I pretty much agree with this (but see below)


*Ok if nothing else happens geo-politically for the next few years and the soviets can concentrate fully on Japan on the Asian mainland yes the soviets will eventually win by just throwing enough resources at it
 
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Also where are you getting those numbers for the Kwangtung army with no source? In 1940 they had 300,000 men according to Wikipedia.

Size
300,000 (1940)
763,000 (1941)
713,000 (1945)
The Kwantung Army was heavily augmented over the next few years, up to a strength of 700,000 troops by 1941, and its headquarters was transferred to the new Manchukuo capital of Hsinking
I got the 2M figure for the entire IJA when I was doing the research for the Twin Vipers, more than a year ago now so can't remember exactly where it came from. Then take out a million operating against China. Most of the rest is going to be going against the Soviets - either there at the start or get moved there after a few months.
In any case, Japan had the capability to bring a million men or so against the Soviets. In a war lasting more than two or three months, this, not the forces available on 9/1/1939 or any other date, will be the important factor. And a million Japanese against the 1,5mn or so that the TSRR can supply gives the Japanese a fair chance in such a war.

Why do you think Japan was superior in quality because they took less causalities? That's not demonstrated at all from the battle, except as I've already said in tactical doctrine, especially in boldness, and in morale.
First off, Changfukeng and Nomonhan are the only two examples of the USSR and Japan fighting between the end of the Russian Civil War and August Storm (and the 1945 IJA is much weaker than 1939, so I don't think that is a fair comparison). Whatever the shortfalls of those battles, they are the best examples to go by. And both times the Red Army took heavy losses.
There's also the respective sides' other combat records. Japan won a string of victories in China throughout 1937-39, and made a mockery of the Allies in Malaya and the Philippines in 1941.
At the same time, the Soviets did ok against an already-defeated Poland, got humiliated by Finland and damn near lost their entire army to Barbarossa, repeatedly.

Perhaps the finer details are missing, but to me, if one side is winning almost every time it fights, and the other gets made a fool of, then the "winning" side (Japan) seems like a better bet to win than the "losing" side (USSR).

Shtern literally frontal assaulted the defensive positions until the Japanese left.
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To be fair both sides were incredibly limited in this battle but that will always favour a defender.
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And again, whenever Japanese took victories it was either by surprise or on the defence. Was there any time the Japanese won without that?
In such a war, the Japanese for the most part are likely to be the defender. Not only do the Japanese have no real way to attack anything along the northern border between Manchukuo and the USSR due to supply issues, but because the Japanese are tied up in their war with China* they aren't going to be attacking the Soviets with the intention of expanding the war: that means the Soviets have to be the aggressor in such a scenario.

If, as you say, the Japanese do better on the defence, then that strengthens my case for them - in such a defensive war, the majority of the battles will be fought with the Japanese on the defence. The only meaningful exception here is Vladivostok.

* = as for China tying down troops being an issue, the China front will be drawn down or given up on by the Japanese if the Home Islands/Pacific can't provide the forces needed to face Stalin. Manchuria and Korea were more important to the Japanese than the Chinese interior was. As the KMT doesn't have any real ability to project power outside its borders in 1940 (and will probably be busy fighting the communists anyway), I don't think it fair to add the Chinese to Red Army numbers.

How on earth will they supply anywhere near your numbers with less than 2000 trucks? Never mind the limited rail network.
They kept a million in China and another 700k in Manchuria in 1941 (your numbers). However they supplied those, that will work in Manchuria south of Harbin. Some of the guns and ammo that was going to the Pacific garrisons goes to Manchuria instead if necessary (those garrisons being on training-levels of equipment, the Manchurians being on war-time levels).

- BNC
 
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They kept a million in China and another 700k in Manchuria in 1941 (your numbers). However they supplied those, that will work in Manchuria south of Harbin. Some of the guns and ammo that was going to the Pacific garrisons goes to Manchuria instead if necessary (those garrisons being on training-levels of equipment, the Manchurians being on war-time levels).
- BNC
Thing is supplying the Japanese army in China/Manchuria and supplying a Japanese army in Siberia/USSR/Mongolia isn't quite the same thing.

1). They'd be fighting very different opponents, that will put very different stresses on material and supply.

2). The Japanese in Manchuria/China were basically living off a large static civilian population pretty much like Chinese warlords, that won't be as feasible in soviet territory.

2a). (kind of linked to 2) The main targets in China are relatively* close to Japanese starting points in Korea/Manchuria (Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai etc). I.e population, resources, control points etc are predominately eastern and get sparser as you go west. Which not only helps Japan seize important stuff first but makes Chinese resistance more fragmented and harder to rally. The opposite will be true for going into the USSR from the east.



*this is still China of course!
 
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Thing is the Japanese army in China/Manchuria and the Japanese army in Siberia. USSR/Mongolia isn't quite the same thing.

1). They'd fighting very different opponents, that will put very different stresses on material and supply
2). The Japanese in Manchuria/China were basically living off a large static civilian populations pretty much like Chinese warlords, that won't be as feasible in soviet territory
Fair points. However I doubt the Japanese would be doing all that much fighting in Siberia, because if we assume that the Red Army is the aggressor and Japan doesn't have their full force deployed immediately, the Soviets are going to take over that northern half of Manchuria with nothing in it, instead of the Japanese making meaningful progress into Siberia. If the front is in Manchuria, it can be compared to China. If we're talking about an IJA that is thinking about taking Chita, then either the Soviets have done something incredibly stupid and been pushed back (I struggle to see the IJA even bothering to do this however due to supply issues) or Japan is the aggressor (which is unlikely without China being defeated).

- BNC
 
Fair points. However I doubt the Japanese would be doing all that much fighting in Siberia, because if we assume that the Red Army is the aggressor and Japan doesn't have their full force deployed immediately, the Soviets are going to take over that northern half of Manchuria with nothing in it, instead of the Japanese making meaningful progress into Siberia. If the front is in Manchuria, it can be compared to China. If we're talking about an IJA that is thinking about taking Chita, then either the Soviets have done something incredibly stupid and been pushed back (I struggle to see the IJA even bothering to do this however due to supply issues) or Japan is the aggressor (which is unlikely without China being defeated).

- BNC
Well the Op seem to be Japan keep going to the north what happens?

Thing is it end up with fighting in Manchuria it going to depend on what the Chinese do since at that point we're basically talking about two armies deciding to fight each other in a 3rd country's territory.
 
They had tactical surprise in almost every engagement, including annihilation of the airbase and this forced Zhukov to send his tanks in piecemeal. Hence the large number loss, which of course no one abraded him for because the Soviets could take such minor losses without blinking. The Japanese, materially starved lost a far greater proportion of material and manpower in the region even with literally every aspect of the battle in their favour. What exactly is the Japanese response to a massed armour along the doctrine of deep operations that Zhukov wanted but wasn't able to do?

1. Nomonhan was the farthest point from a railhead along the whole border
2. The Japanese had initial numerical superiority
3. The Japanese had operational advantages (allowed to invade territory)
4. The operational advantage allowed tactical surprises: destruction of soviet airpower on the ground, invading of Mongolia for a pincer attack, attacking first and at night

Now that's certainly was an operational error by Zhukov but there was reason they didn't expect the Japanese to invade Mongolia and escalate but once a war started that would not be the case.

While Manchukuo certainly had better internal raillines in total they had only 2000 trucks in all of Manchuria, less than Zhukov used just for this one operation.

I don't see how you could possibly think that an army with no mobilisation and no artillery could defeat a wide offensive. Especially since the Japanese have never fought tanks or been faced with artillery. You can see this on July 5th when unsupported tanks forced Japanese over the river. Or with Japanese tank attacks being halted by machine gun fire that out ranged the tanks...

While there are limits on Soviets supply lines, particularly in the Mongolia salient the Soviets can draw upon the already present Far East Resources and have an easier time supplying places along the transsiberian.

The road alongside it also means that any attempted bombing of the transsiberian is far less impactful since it is easy to repair.

We could also see that every battle that goes by means that the decimated officer class of the Soviets will be more familiar. Remember that the army Japan faced at Nomonhan was the same winter war level of incompetent in terms of the lower officer corps. This is their weakest point and the Japanese still lost.
This is massively wrong, on almost every point. First, I shall, as per usual, cite @BobTheBarbarian:

Additionally, during the actual fighting at Khalkhin Gol both the Japanese tanks and infantry consistently outfought their Soviet opponents: although the BTs were better on paper than the Japanese Ha-Gos, the Yasuoka Group tankers knocked out many more Soviet vehicles in pitched engagements than they themselves lost in return, and each time the Red Army attempted infantry attacks on the Japanese positions they were slaughtered. The worst case of this was the series of probes Zhukov launched on 7/8 August to "feel out" the defenders prior to the big show on the 20th; the combined results of these were over 1,000 abandoned corpses on the Soviet side and several tanks knocked out, whereas Japanese casualties (not just killed, but casualties) numbered just 85.

On the whole, prior to Zhukov's general offensive on August 20th the battle was largely a stalemate, with the Soviets being on the receiving end of a nearly 3 to 1 casualty ratio (a ratio also present at Lake Khasan, where the Japanese were even more outnumbered and outgunned).

Coox relies heavily on Soviet-era sources for the narrative on the Red Army side, though most of the book consists of a tactical view of events from the Japanese perspective as described by many of the latter's veterans, either through direct interviews or war journals. The full breadth of information currently available to us from Soviet/Russian sources (Kolomiets, Kondrat'ev, or even the 2013 publication by the Institute of Oriental Studies as edited by E. V. Boykova), simply was not accessible to him in the 1970s and 1980s. From this limitation the reader gains an impression that the battle was much more one-sided than it actually was.

In reality the Japanese Army's claims of damage inflicted on the Soviet side were significantly understated compared to the real thing, a situation paralleled by the Finnish Army's claims in the Winter War. According to figures used by the Japanese in the aftermath of the battle, their estimate of Soviet casualties was about 18,000 ("not less" than their own) with 400 AFVs destroyed - the real figures were 27,880 and 386, respectively. The only major overclaim was in the air, where IJAAF aviators reported over 1,200 downed Red planes, more than six times the actual total. The Soviet 1st Army Group, for their part, initially gave Japanese casualties as 29,085, which was much closer to the truth than the 50 or 60 thousand often seen in "official" sources.
@wiking , after a closer look through my materials (I haven't really debated much about this battle recently either and feel a bit rusty :D), it seems you may have been on to something. According to page 71 of Ed Drea's "Soviet-Japanese Tactical Combat," a big part of why Komatsubara was caught off-guard by Zhukov was because the existing logistics immediately available to the 1st Army Group (2,600 trucks, including 1,000 fuel tankers) were inadequate to meet the needs of an attack the size of the one actually launched, estimated at 5,000 trucks. To bridge the gap, Zhukov was sent an additional 1,625 from European Russia, which proved "barely adequate" to do the job. The concentration of these together with his existing motor pool was seen as "incomprehensible" to the Japanese, but it demonstrated that the other parts of the Soviet Far East were either unwilling or unable to help Zhukov and STAVKA had to tap the main body of the Red Army to settle the issue at Khalkhin Gol.

Had the Japanese commitment to Nomonhan been much larger from the beginning, it appears that the corresponding supply burden on the Soviet side to counteract it might indeed have been borne entirely by trucks from European Russia, which would have progressively weakened Soviet capabilities there on the eve of the premeditated war against Finland. Such a thing would have been unacceptable to Stalin and the top leadership, putting a hard cap on the extent to which the Red Army could send additional support to the battlefront.

Furthermore, going through the 1st Army Group TO&E (http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/battles/khalkhin_gol/Khalkhin_cut1.pdf), for the climactic battle in August the Soviets only had 262 towed artillery pieces of 76 mm to 152 mm in caliber, a total recently boosted by the 76 guns of the 57th Rifle Division that arrived that month (the majority of the 1st Army Group's reinforcements were compiled in July, not August). Adding up the combined total from both the Japanese forces that were defeated at Khalkhin Gol (82 field guns plus 16 regimental guns that could double as field artillery) together with the relief force (350 to 400 field pieces and regimental guns depending on some specifics) and the Soviets are suddenly horribly outgunned, even if their ML-20s had a range advantage. Looking back on it, Coox's claim that this grouping was "fatally deficient" in artillery seems totally absurd, considering it alone had half again the firepower of Zhukov's entire force. What was he thinking?

The only decisive advantage the Red Army would still possess would be the number of tanks, and the Japanese reinforcement group would have had up to 200 anti-tank guns and 276 AT Rifles with them as well. If the 23rd Division and the two regiments from the 7th Division were alone enough to knock out nearly 400 Soviet tanks and armored cars, I don't think even the entire combined armored strength of the Trans-Baikal Military District would have been enough to defeat them had they been there from the start. Frankly, under the circumstances of a "maximum effort" from the Kwantung Army out of the gate it's looking more and more like Zhukov might not have been able to achieve anything like the victory he historically won within the framework of Soviet political and military planning at the time, even allowing for more leeway from Stalin; instead 1st Army Group might have been stalemated and bled white. I may have to retract my initial claim that Soviet victory was inevitable under most all circumstances - in a vacuum, yes, but realistically I'm not so sure.
So no, the Japanese actually had the advantage of artillery and internal supply lines, with the Soviets barely able to do the job by stripping trucks out of the central STAVKA reserve in the European USSR; even that was barely able to allow Zhukov to destroy a single Japanese division. Remember, 1939 was the Soviets conducting Corps-level attacks on a single Japanese division, in which they overall still took 1 for 1 losses in men and lost hundreds of tanks and airplanes.

At the end of the day for the entire war the Soviets outnumbered Japan in Manchuria in every measure, men, artillery, tanks, trucks, guns, planes. And in every aspect apart from elan and tactical leadership they were qualitively superior.
Except they weren't, as OTL demonstrated. The IJA was better, man for man, and had the advantage in both artillery, planes and logistics. The Soviets did have more and better tanks, but the Japanese were still really good at destroying them too, even into 1945.

ALVIN D. COOX, “The Myth of the Kwantung Army,” 1958
"We dreaded and we feared the specter of the Kwantung Army. We pleaded with the Russians, since the very day of Pearl Harbor, to pin down the Kwantung Army, relieve pressure upon our hardpressed forces in the Philippines, and thereby “save the Pacific” from the Japanese, as General MacArthur put it. At the same time we (and the Soviets) worried lest the Japanese assault the USSR first, like the jackal Mussolini had jumped the reeling French in 1940. . . . When, for example, the American Military Mission proposed to the Russians, in December 1943, that a U. S.-supplied logistical base be set up east of Lake Baikal in Siberia, the Soviet Army authorities were shocked by the idea and “literally turned white.”
Major General A. K. Kazakovtsev, Operations Chief of the Far Eastern Front in 1941
"If the Japanese enter the war on Hitler's side... our cause is hopeless."
What can Japan do when faced with a mass of tanks in a prepared attack? Nothing.
Defeat it. See the Battle of Mutchiang in 1945, where the Japanese inflicted equal losses in men and destroyed 300 to 400 Soviet tanks.

We can of course look at the 1945 invasion, after minor logistical changes to the soviet far east, for example of how the Soviets can supply an invasion.
Simple: They can't.

According to S.M. Shtemenko's "The Soviet General Staff at War", at the onset of operations in 1945 STAVKA directed that the Kwantung Army be destroyed within 8 weeks or else the logistical situation would become "perilous". It's easy to see why they stated this, because the capacity of the Trans-Siberian Railway was limited to 13 million tons yearly in 1945 and of this only 9.3 million tons could be used for military needs; this is exactly why the Soviets requested MILEPOST deliveries from the United States. According to John R. Deane's "The Strange Alliance", on pages 263-264, the statistics provided by the Red Army to the United States as part of MILEPOST showed that they would be at a monthly deficit of 200,000 tons. Thus, the 1.25 million tons the U.S. provided in the three months between V-E Day and the Soviet invasion in August gave the Soviets a very limited window to achieve decisive results because after that it would become impossible.

Obviously, this being 1939, the U.S. aid is non-existent. I should also add that eight weeks might also be way too generous. Their exploitation force was bingo on fuel and thus immobile by day three of combat operations:

"Soviet sources do recognize severe short comings in their own logistical planning. The available supply transports were too few to cope with the demand. The road conditions were poor and, together with the rainy weather, caused severe delays in resupply operations. Estimates of fuel requirements were proved to be totally wrong. This severely affected the 6th Guards Tank Army in western Manchuria. This mobile army which was to operate deep behind enemy lines as an operational manoeuvre group (oMG) was in fact out of fuel already on the third day of the operation. It had to be resupplied with emergency air transportation of fuel. one peculiar fact is that the Soviet logistical planning relied heavily on the unrealistic assumption of using enemy railroads for troop and sup ply transports in Manchuria. This raises serious questions of the quality of the Soviet logistical planning. Another explanation is that the Soviet attack actually began before all necessary logistical preparations were in place. However, by launching an attack at an early stage it probably contributed to the creation of surprise."
They ended up not even reaching the outskirts of Mukden with just forward recon units until over a week after the Japanese surrender, and ended up having to use surrendered Japanese trains to occupy strategic areas like Port Arthur. Obviously this wouldn't have been possible with continued Japanese resistance and, in 1939, not possible at all.

In short, the Soviets lack the logistics to conduct strategic offensives against the Japanese, who would be operating in their own backyard here and had demonstrated, repeatedly so, they were the better fighting force.
 
I could go through one by one again and compare "people on the Internet" with published author (in 2012 btw, includes the 2002 article you've referenced. If you really want a break down of why taking a tiny sample and assuming that rings true for the whole front then you'll have to wait as I don't have a pc.

Please, has anyone here actually read any of the literature on nomonhan? I am glad to have this information about the invasion of manchuria.

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Knowledgeable Japanese and Soviet sources agree that in view of the annihilation of General Komatsubara’s forces and the predominance of Soviet air power in the area, if Zhukov had pressed his advantage beyond Nomonhan toward Hailar, local Japanese forces “would have fallen into uncontrollable confusion,” Hailar would have fallen, and all of western Manchuria would have been gravely threatened.119 But while that may have been possible militarily, there was no such intent in Moscow. Zhukov’s First Army Group obediently halted at the boundary line originally claimed by the MPR. At this point, says a Japanese military historian, “Kwantung Army completely lost its head.”

At Hsinking, they decided to launch an all-out war against the USSR then and there. They would throw the 7th, 2nd, 4th, , and 8th Divisions into the Sixth Army, along with all the heavy artillery in Manchukuo, in order to crush the enemy. Recognizing their deficiency in armor, artillery, and air power, they hastily conceived a plan that called for a series of successive night attacks beginning on September 10. This plan was preposterous for a variety of reasons: September 10 was a totally unrealistic target date in view of Kwantung Army’s limited logistical capacity. What did Kwantung Army planners think the Red Army would be doing during the daytime, with their superior tank, artillery and air power? Furthermore, it was madness to begin a major strategic offensive in northwest Manchuria in the autumn, when extreme cold weather soon would immobilize all forces. (The weather turned very cold and heavy snow began to fall at Nomonhan on September 9.) And finally, Japan’s “ally” Germany had just concluded an alliance with Soviet Russia, isolating Japan diplomatically.

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Note the bold. But I guess this historian and the Kwangtung army itself is wrong and actually the Soviets were weaker in every regard (apart from apparently useless tanks)

Now the quotes about fuel is interesting, so you're saying soviet gains would be limited based on their logistical capacity?

/In short, the Soviets lack the logistics to conduct strategic offensives against the Japanese, who would be operating in their own backyard here and had demonstrated, repeatedly so, they were the better fighting force.
So what happens then? The Japanese storm to the urals? Easily brushing aside the incredibly weak Soviets?

Sorry from your quote where the USA asked Soviets to pin down Kwangtung? I am meant to take from that that Kwangtung will destroy the Soviets? What are you trying to say?

"The assertion that the Soviet Union was prepared for and unafraid of a war with Japan was a bit of an overstatement, although Stalin certainly had cause for optimism in the battlefield situation and the larger East Asian strategic balance."
 
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