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  • Invasion

    Not sure if this has been discussed before but could the Red Army have invaded Hokkaido in '45?

    By all accounts Vasilevsky was about 24 hours away from launching the operation when it was canceled.
    Perhaps there was a message from the Americans 'thanks, but no thanks, we'll take care of things.'

    Antony Beevor at a recent symposium Down Under recently, said it would be impossible for the Soviets to carry it off.

    I'm not so sure about that, Hokkaido was defended by five second class divisions with little in the way of transport & about 150 aircraft. Glantz was ambiguous about the Soviets chances in his detailed paper on August Storm in the Leavenworth papers ..........

    Perhaps someone has info on Red Army amphib ops, & confirm [or challenge Beevor] on their chances of the Hokkaido operation if it went ahead.

  • #2
    Soviet Union hadn't enough quantity of resources on the Eastern front to undertake any marine operations


    • #3
      Originally posted by dobra View Post
      Soviet Union hadn't enough quantity of resources on the Eastern front to undertake any marine operations
      I'm not going to say Hokkaido could have been successfully invaded, but any marine operations? Shumshu and the rest of the Kurils was a pretty flawless operation for a military without any ability for that.
      Кто там?
      Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
      Tunis is a Carthigenian city!


      • #4
        All I can come up with on how many men the Red Army moved in a day in an amphibious operation, is a reinforced division of about 35,000 men.

        I have a list of the Soviet Pacific flotilla somewhere , just have to track it down.

        Naturally it would be light years away from what the Americans were planning, but it wouldn't have to be.

        During August Storm [that was some operation, easily the largest land battle against the Japanese] the Red Army used paras to leap frog ahead & capture airfields to bring in fuel etc, to keep the massive armoured columns on the move, I guess airbourne drops on Hokkaido wouldn't be out of the question.


        • #5
          The Soviets certainly had both an amphibious and an air drop capability during the war and in the Far East, but I question whether either were sufficient for an invasion of any of the Japanese home islands.
          The largest amphibious landings during the war were essentially oversize river-crossing operations in the Crimea, 'shore to shore' landings with a mixed record of success. The 1st Marine Division was organized in the Baltic by the end of the war in Europe, but there is no indication that enough amphibious 'lift' was available to use it as a division - and the only landings in the Baltic were by brigade and smaller units.
          Likewise, the air landings/drops in the Far East were by companies and battalions. The only multi-brigade air drops attempted during the war were, frankly, fiascos and none were attempted after 1943. The Guards Airborne Divisions were all strictly ground units, and by 1945 the only air droppable units left were individual brigades. I don't know if there was enough air transport capacity in the Far East to even drop a brigade, and previous wartime experience with trying to drop a unit and reinforce it later were not happy ones.
          The problem with Hokkaido is that it is BIG. You might put several small units ashore by amphibious or air drop/landing means, but to what purpose? You are not likely to be able to put ashore enough to take the whole island, or even most of it, and you risk serious diplomatic problems trying to garrison it post-conflict in the face of the American Pacific Fleet and Harry Truman, who was much more hardheaded in his dealings than had been Franklin Roosevelt.
          My take is that the Soviet Far Eastern Theatre certainly had the capability to gain a foothold on Hokkaido, but the strategic purpose seems doubtful: for Soviet purposes, the war had been won in Manchuria and on Sakhalin, and further effort was not likely to be worth it. Perhaps someone else more familiar with the diplomatic history can shed some light on the point of Hokkaido landings?


          • #6
            I found those Soviet Pacific flotilla lists I mentioned earlier....

            By August of 1945, the Soviet Pacific Fleet had these as indigenous warships; 2 cruisers (1 the flagship), 10 destroyers, 2 torpedo boats, 19 patrol boats, 78 submarines, 10 mine-layers, 52 mine-sweepers, 49 "MO" (light attack) boats, and 204 motor torpedo boats of their own design and construction.

            But Recognizing the weakness of the Red Banner Fleet in the east, in the spring of 1945; numerous LCIs, LCTs, and 28 Coast Guard frigates were transferred by the United States to the Soviet Union under lend-lease to suppliment their Pacific Fleet. And Soviet sailors were trained in the use of the ships in Cold Bay Alaska by US Coast Guard sailors. The USCG transferred the ships to the USSR, and the Red Banner was hoisted over all of them by late July of 1945 and they sailed for Russia with their new Soviet crews. These ships and training in their use was in anticipation of perhaps the need for a Soviet invasion from the north while America launched their own from the south.

            Here is a complete list of all US specialized "landing craft" supplied to the USSR under Lend-Lease from mid-44 to July 45; this list was supplied by Richard Worth on another forum:

            2 LCVPs: C-42116, C-42737
            2 LCS(S)s: C-7653 (Mk 1), C-51393 (Mk 2)
            2 LCM(3)s: C-29301, C-29309

            54 LCM(3)s: LCM 786, LCM 787, LCM 793, LCM 850, LCM 851, LCM 857, LCM 858, LCM 859, LCM 860, LCM 861, LCM 862, LCM 863, LCM 864, LCM 866, LCM 867, LCM 868, LCM 869, LCM 870, LCM 871, LCM 872, LCM 873, LCM 874, LCM 875, LCM 876, LCM 877, LCM 878, LCM 879, LCM 880, LCM 881, LCM 46972, LCM 46973, LCM 46974, LCM 46975, LCM 46976, LCM 46977, LCM 46978, LCM 46980, LCM 46981, LCM 52410, LCM 52411, LCM 52412, LCM 52413, LCM 52421, LCM 52422, LCM 52423, LCM 52425, LCM 52426, LCM 52427, LCM 52428 (Three of these were lost in attacks in the Far East in 1945 flying the Red Banner.)

            2 LCTs: LCT 1163, LCT 1176

            15 LCT(6)s: TDS.1 (ex-LCT 1047), TDS.2 (ex-LCT 559), TDS.3 (ex-LCT 561), TDS.4 (ex-LCT 563), TDS.5 (ex-LCT 745), TDS.6 (ex-LCT 1015), TDS.7 (ex-LCT 1046), TDS.8 (ex-LCT 1442), TDS.9 (ex-LCT 1445), TDS.10 (ex-LCT 744), TDS.11 (ex-LCT 1434), TDS.12 (ex-LCT 1435), TDS.13 (ex-LCT 1436), TDS.14 (ex-LCT 1437), TDS.15 (ex-LCT 1438)

            30 LCIs: DS.1 (ex-LCI(L) 526), DS.2 (ex-LCI(L) 527), DS.3 (ex-LCI(L) 551), DS.4 (ex-LCI(L) 554), DS.5 (ex-LCI(L) 557), DS.6 (ex-LCI(L) 666), DS.7 (ex-LCI(L) 671), DS.8 (ex-LCI(L) 672), DS.9 (ex-LCI(L) 945), DS.10 (ex-LCI(L) 946), DS.31 (ex-LCI(L) 584), DS.32 (ex-LCI(L) 585), DS.33 (ex-LCI(L) 586), DS.34 (ex-LCI(L) 587), DS.35 (ex-LCI(L) 590), DS.36 (ex-LCI(L) 591), DS.37 (ex-LCI(L) 592), DS.38 (ex-LCI(L) 593), DS.39 (ex-LCI(L) 665), DS.40 (ex-LCI(L) 667), DS.41 (ex-LCI(L) 668), DS.42 (ex-LCI(L) 675), DS.43 (ex-LCI(L) 943), DS.44 (ex-LCI(L) 949), DS.45 (ex-LCI(L) 950), DS.46 (ex-LCI(L) 521), DS.47 (ex-LCI(L) 522), DS.48 (ex-LCI(L) 523), DS.49 (ex-LCI(L) 524), DS.50 (ex-LCI(L) 525). (Four or five were war losses before the PTO was done).

            From 'Clint'
            America was "hedging its bets" as per the atomic bombs, and the need for Downfall, both the Olympic and Coronet operations. It was fortunate for America that the atomic bombs worked, because the Soviets might have gained ground in northern Japan and created a north and south Japan like the east and west Germany, or the north and south Korea.

            Certainly before the bombs the Americans were desperate for Stalins help against the Japanese and he promised that within two months of the end of the war in Europe he would declare war, & he kept his promise, but after the successful testing of the bomb the Soviets were pesona non grata.

            But if the bombs hadn't worked, or failed to bring the Japanese to the point of surrender; America may well have welcomed the Soviet Red Banner Fleet and its armed forces invasion of northern Japan.


            • #7
              I guess it's important to emphasise that both (not just A-bombs alone) factors worked. Up to the moment of the Japanese capitulation Kwantung Army had been already defeated by the Soviets.
              "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"


              • #8
                Should be noted that even before the defeat of the Kwantung Army or the dropping of the A-Bombs, the Japanese government was already debating the 'unthinkable' - surrender. That's because LeMay's firebombing of Japanese cities had already devastated most of urban Japan. The attacks were so destructive that the US Army Air Force was afraid of running out of legitimate targets and had to specifically leave Hiroshima and Nagasaki unbombed so the nuclear weapons would have targets.
                I was in Japan as a child during the Korean War (1951 - 53) and my enduring memory of Tokyo is miles and miles of single-story shacks with a few multi-story buildings all covered with bamboo scaffolding because they were all under construction. The miles of single story buildings occupied the area that had been bombed and burned to nothing in 1945. Conventional bombing was quite capable of matching the nuclear destruction, at least in 1945.


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