Sorry for jumping in (10 years too late), but when was this supposed Soviet invasion of Japan to take place? During WWII, following WWII, or much later?megjur wrote:According to David Glantz, the Russian force would have used 6 assault craft escorted by 4 destroyers and torpedo cutters for the first division, followed 2 hours later by 4 frigates 4 trawlers, and "4 large craft called hunters" to land the remainder of the lead rifle division and secure the Rumoi region. How the Russians expected to accomplish this if there were any Kamikaze action is beyond me. Perhaps they counted on the shorter distance from Sakhalin to Hokkaido as somehow making up for the shortfall in shipping, with ships making several sorties to land soldiers.
Another point to consider is that even if the invasion was a improvised affair, even a small Soviet foothold on mainland Japan at the time of the surrender would have been very problematic and most likely led to a Soviet claim on all of Hokkaido. Either that or the U.S. would have had to force them to leave.
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megjur wrote:As late as August 22, 1945 the Soviets had serious plans in the works to invade Hokkaido, Japans north island. The job was to have fallen on the 87th Rifle Corps and was to commence on 8/21. There was unexpectedly heavy resistance on the Russian take over of Sakhalin however and the Hokkaido operation was moved to August 24 or 25. The landings would occur at Rumoi, and though the assault fleet could be considered rag tag in comparison to the American fleet, there was less resistance expected and the Russians were confident they could carry it out. This invasion of the Japanese homeland would be coming a full 2 months earlier than the planned Operation Olympic invasion of Kyushu. Even though the Russians were prohibited by the Potsdam agreement from moving into Hokkaido, the fact that they continued to fight the Japanese even after the Emperors August 15th surrender announcement would give the Russians an excuse to keep fighting and move into Hokkaido, Potsdam allowing for "contingency planning." Imagine the geo-political fallout from the Russians occupying Hokkaido and a divided postwar Japan. The threat of Russian occupation of Japan may have also influenced Trumans decision to use the A-bomb and thus hasten the wars end. Stalin canceled the Hokkaido invasion when he saw that Japans surrender was inevitable and further Russian advance would damage relations with the allies and possible lead to U.S. naval action, and possible conflict. Trumans firm stand with Stalin regarding Soviet incursion into Japan ranks as one of the most important decisions ever made by Truman.
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I have a couple of problems with this whole concept -
1. Never heard of this plan previously. Initial thread does not say where these plans were found or anything about their validity. Quite possibly yet another effort by some planning department buried away somewhere making plans about things that were never seriously considered, plenty of examples of this.
2. The stated choice of Rumoi. I have been to this town many times and it has many disadvantages as a place for an amphibious invasion. The (artificial) port is pretty small now, I can only imagine what it was like 70 odd years ago, if it existed at all. The coast generally is very open and wild for any shipping. Eggress from the coast is via a single narrow gorge which could be easily defended before opening into the central Hokkaido plains. The closer (to Sakhalin) Soya Bay at Wakanai is far more suitable in all regards.
3. Little apparent preparation for such an operation. Other posters have talked about the lack of Soviet Naval ability in the area and I agree with their view. However in other theatres the SU possessed a modest sea lift ability and if such an invasion was ever intended surely some of that would have been moved east, as were the land and air forces.
That said I think such an attack would have been successful. No doubting the quality and quantity of Soviet land and air forces available at the time in the area. The distances involved could easily have allowed air support from Sakhalin and Vladivostok. Soviet forces had plenty of experience in such shoe-string operations such as in the Crimea / Kerch area and pulled them off, all be it with their unique willingness to take casualties when doing so. As also pointed out I agree that Japanese ability to resist would have been very limited and their ability to reinforce limited by demands elsewhere and limited transport options to the area.
Consequences of such an attack and the fact on the ground of Soviet forces occupying mainland Japan would I think have been huge. Being of the school that a soviet attack was the real fear of the powers that were in Japan the reality of invasion may well have bought those who opposed surrender to the Americans to their senses and seen a concentration against Soviet invasion instead, with quiet - or not so quiet - American assistance.
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MacArthur's people would have started secretly running guns to the Japanese Army on the condition that the Americans would be allowed to "walk-in" in the South.
We'd have been "all smiles" to our gallant Soviet Allies, while helping the Kempetai supervise a guerilla war against the Soviet Occupation in Hokkaido. Of course, Stalin and Zhukov would have repaid us in kind in the American Occupation zones in Europe.