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  • Japan joins in Barbarossa.

    Okay, everyone seems to think that a Japanese attack on Siberia would have been an automatic defeat for Japan. This seems to be entirely based on Nomonhan in 1939, which was the first time that Russian troops had ever defeated Japanese troops.

    I don't by it.

    Nomonhan had been a dress rehearsal for Operational Plan #8. Originally planned as a thrust into the Lake Baikal region, logistical realities caused a switch to the focus eastwards. Khabarovsk is famous for being vulnerable from the south, and the railway is within artillery range for much of the way north of Lake Hanka.
    One-ton howitzer shells were produced to smash Soviet bunkers, and Japanese aircraft production in 1941 was over 5,000 planes, emphasizing fighters. In tanks, they lacked both numbers and a machine comparable to the Russian heavy tanks, but they planned to gain air-superiority, thus obtaining the upper hand in ground battles. Up to 500 navy aircraft would hit Vladivostok on the first day, and again on later days until it was unusable by the 5 destroyers, 70 submarines and 200 torpedo boats stationed there. The full weight of the Combined fleet would make it impossible for the Red Fleet to interrupt the flow of men and materials flowing from Japan.

    Going South in 1941 left an enemy in their rear while adding 3 new ones. Going into Siberia would put Germany in the Emperor's debt.

    The Siberian Soviet Army was formidable in June of 41, but much less so by August. By withdrawing Divisions from French Indo-china and from Central China, Japan could have massed troops in Manchuria while at the same time taking much of the wind out of America's ire at Tojo. And forget the Magic intercepts, Roosevelt could have said the shy was blue and Stalin would not agree without going out to have a look for himself.

    Source;Peter G. Tsouras, Rising Sun Victorious.
    Last edited by The Exorcist; 15 Jun 09, 14:23.
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

  • #2
    So what the Japanese are effectively going to do is bow to US pressure (apparently) and withdraw their forces before the embargo seriously tightens. This might give them the opportunity to build up stocks, assuming they manage to keep their intentions obscure (or US Intelligence misreads their intentions like they did historically) for long enough. Of course as soon as they attack the US will cut all exports of war making goods just as they did when the Japanese moved into Southern French Indo-China. One has to say that the Japanese will be faced with the same dilemma at about the same time but with their forces deeply committed in the open tracts of the Far Eastern USSR as well as still fighting a war of subjugation against the Chinese. It *might* help the Germans in the short term but it spells serious problems for the Japanese when supplies run low.
    Signing out.

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    • #3
      The biggest problem the Japanese would have faced in Siberia was it's commander, a General Apanasenko. A master of improvisation that thrived on adversity, he was also one of the only men in that part of the world who understood how serious Barbarossa was. Never stinting when Moscow ordered him to send divisions west, he also managed to turn class C units into class Bs by taking Zeks, peasants and whoever else he could find and putting them into uniform. This included several hundred officers languishing in Gulags.

      Most of his tanks were t-26, but in early August he still had a Brigade with T-34s that the STAVKA had somehow over-looked. He would have used the time to strengthen and man border fortifications and do all he could to put combat units right where the Japanese would least enjoy finding them.

      The Biggest problem the Russians would have had in Siberia was another Russian. This man was General Lyushkov, chief of NKVD for the far east, who defected to Japan...
      Last edited by The Exorcist; 15 Jun 09, 14:50.
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
        It *might* help the Germans in the short term but it spells serious problems for the Japanese when supplies run low.
        Siberia is a treasure-trove of natural resources in itself, and one less vulnerable to submarine interdiction... altho in 1941 nobody could have known how successful US Subs would eventually be in strangling Japan.

        Furthermore, Japan is looking at wrapping this up by the onset of winter, same as the Germans (and this makes it much more likely to happen, too)
        If that happens, why should they not go ahead with what they did in December? The Navy would be basically intact, and an early start on conscription would replenish the Army.
        "Why is the Rum gone?"

        -Captain Jack

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        • #5
          Japan's big problem would be the same as Germany's..lack of a heavy bomber force!! However several squadrons of modified flying boats might have succeeded..in cutting the Trans-Siberian rail link..that would have placed the Soviets at a great disadvantage...with re-enforcements and equipment far far away in the Urals...most of the Siberian populace was indigenious and not "patriotic"..if u really want to get creative...a negotiated peace with China or even a cease fire in place would have freed numerous divisions for the Japanese...China might not officially recognize such a move...but I doubt if China would be capable of retaking much lost ground during the year or two it would have taken Germany AND Japan to take out Uncle Joe!!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
            Siberia is a treasure-trove of natural resources in itself, and one less vulnerable to submarine interdiction... altho in 1941 nobody could have known how successful US Subs would eventually be in strangling Japan.

            Furthermore, Japan is looking at wrapping this up by the onset of winter, same as the Germans (and this makes it much more likely to happen, too)
            If that happens, why should they not go ahead with what they did in December? The Navy would be basically intact, and an early start on conscription would replenish the Army.
            How do the Japanese get the resources back? And more importantly, where is the oil? IIRC there was none found at the time.

            Regards,
            Dennis
            If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

            Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
              Siberia is a treasure-trove of natural resources in itself
              Indeed it is, although the big problem would be (in the case of the oil say) not just getting it (assuming the Soviets don't sabotage it they way they managed it in the West) but then refining it into a usable form. The US was way ahead in this particular field which was why the embargo hit the Japanese very hard and why the British imported their fuel from the US rather than utilising Middle East sources.

              Furthermore, Japan is looking at wrapping this up by the onset of winter, same as the Germans (and this makes it much more likely to happen, too) If that happens, why should they not go ahead with what they did in December?
              It's a big 'if' though and they're going to have to do it whether they're finished with the Soviets or not. I disagree on it making it much more likely that the USSR will collapse by December 1941 - a bit but not enough imho - leaving Japan much more vulnerable than historically. As I see it this is a higher risk strategy (hardly possible you would have thought) with little real gain, at least in the short term (i.e. the war years).
              Signing out.

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              • #8
                What date did Russia start oil production in Siberia?
                "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Half Pint View Post
                  What date did Russia start oil production in Siberia?
                  With out active oilfields Japan would have little oil to do much of anything.

                  After the way the Russians slapped the Japanese in 39 I doubt that they were interested in another try.

                  Nothing in it for Japan, they wouldn't have gone.
                  "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                  Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                  you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                    Siberia is a treasure-trove of natural resources in itself, and one less vulnerable to submarine interdiction... altho in 1941 nobody could have known how successful US Subs would eventually be in strangling Japan.
                    Well, this is a widely spread myth. Most of the oil is located in the Western Siberia in impassable swamps or under a huge layer of permafrost. And most importantly, the Siberian oil was only discovered in early 1970ies, so basically all the Japanese would get in the immediate area of their offensive (Far East and the Baikal region) would be just timber and a bit of minerals.
                    www.histours.ru

                    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      The Biggest problem the Russians would have had in Siberia was another Russian. This man was General Lyushkov, chief of NKVD for the far east, who defected to Japan...
                      But how would he have been a problem for the Russians? He defected in 1938 - 3 years are more than enough to change codes and all the other stuff to make his information useless to the enemy. And by the way, he was the one who advised the Japanese to invade the USSR by no less than 4000 tanks - something they didn't even dream about.
                      www.histours.ru

                      Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                      • #12
                        Yes, the codes would have been changed, but other things are harder to alter, such as infrastructure and all those fortifications, which had been started in 1932.

                        4,000 tanks is an awful lot, especially considering that Japan only built 1,000 in 1941, double what they made the year before. However, they had copied the 45mm AT guns they had captured in 1939, making them in 47mm for some reason, so they did have a respectable weapon in 1941 in that regard.

                        Also, the Soviets were in a bad position for defense. Spread out in a huge arc from Mongolia to the ocean, they were facing an invasion from a foe with good interior lines of communication. After spending a decade building up Manchuria's infrastructure, Japan was in a good position to launch an offensive.
                        "Why is the Rum gone?"

                        -Captain Jack

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                          Yes, the codes would have been changed, but other things are harder to alter, such as infrastructure and all those fortifications, which had been started in 1932.
                          Well, he was an NKVD boss, so he was hardly so well aware of the fortifications and such. Surely he had the security clearance for that but guys like him were much more busy butchering people and weaving intrigues to save their own hides than going deep into military matters. I wonder if he escaped with all the papers detailing the things you mentioned, for otherwise it would be impossible for him to memorise all of that.

                          4,000 tanks is an awful lot, especially considering that Japan only built 1,000 in 1941, double what they made the year before.
                          Basically their tanks were a laughing stock even compared to the Italian armour, and I doubt even this 4000 number would've been enough. And while in Mongolia they could've performed well, the taiga forests of the Far East are still a quite hard terrain for them.

                          However, they had copied the 45mm AT guns they had captured in 1939, making them in 47mm for some reason, so they did have a respectable weapon in 1941 in that regard.
                          Heh, that's rather ironic. I've read in some Russian sources that the reason a 45mm gun was developed in 1930ies was the huge number of 47mm naval artillery shells that remained at the warehouses since the Czar's times. Their were thinned down 2mm for some reason the sources didn't mention - maybe it improved the ballistics or something.

                          Also, the Soviets were in a bad position for defense. Spread out in a huge arc from Mongolia to the ocean, they were facing an invasion from a foe with good interior lines of communication. After spending a decade building up Manchuria's infrastructure, Japan was in a good position to launch an offensive.
                          The question is what they would've accomplished by this. Their movement westwards could only be possible along the Transsiberian for all the terrain around is simply impassable for all kinds of vehicles. The Soviets could block their movement by rather small units - think of the Finnish war on a giant scale - and there were still thousands kilometres to the Urals.
                          www.histours.ru

                          Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                          • #14
                            Vehicles and good supplies are things that the Japanese did remarkably well without, more so than almost any Army in the world. They adapted to the Jungle, the very worst place in the world to make war, with amazing speed and success. Few Japanese troops had even seen a Jungle before 1941.

                            Consider the shock of the USSR having a war on two fronts, and loosing on both. There can be no question of reinforcements for the Siberian Front in 1941. The Japanese did not have to rely on the Trans-Siberian RR until they began to approach Baikal, which would not happen until after the Maritime provinces had been secured. In other words; after they had already won a huge victory and eliminated much of the Army facing them.

                            Politically, could Stalin have withstood that, when you add that to what the Germans were already doing?
                            "Why is the Rum gone?"

                            -Captain Jack

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                              Vehicles and good supplies are things that the Japanese did remarkably well without, more so than almost any Army in the world. They adapted to the Jungle, the very worst place in the world to make war, with amazing speed and success. Few Japanese troops had even seen a Jungle before 1941.
                              But you can't win the war with infantry alone - what good would it do against Soviet tanks and defences then?

                              Consider the shock of the USSR having a war on two fronts, and loosing on both. There can be no question of reinforcements for the Siberian Front in 1941. The Japanese did not have to rely on the Trans-Siberian RR until they began to approach Baikal, which would not happen until after the Maritime provinces had been secured. In other words; after they had already won a huge victory and eliminated much of the Army facing them.
                              This is only plausible in case if they trapped the Soviet Siberian armies. Had it continued fighting and while retreating, Stalin would've still recalled some divisions to Moscow, sacrificing the Far East that was of a far less importance.

                              Politically, could Stalin have withstood that, when you add that to what the Germans were already doing?
                              This was nothing terribly new for the Soviet leadership and people - during the Civil war the Whites were very close to victory in August 1919 as they were at the gates of Moscow after gaining huge territories in the Ukraine and Central Russia, but thanks to Trotsky's superhuman efforts they Red Army managed to repel their attacks. And there was the Entente (that Japan was a part of, by the way) intervention as well - the whole Soviet republic shrank to a small inkspot on the map around Moscow. This was all fresh in people's minds and the current situation could be explained as a temporary setback.
                              www.histours.ru

                              Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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