Joseph V. Micallef is a best-selling military history and world affairs author, and keynote speaker. Follow him on Twitter JosephVMicallef. Eighty years ago, this month, Soviet and Japanese forces clashed on an obscure river along the border between Mongolia and Manchuria Manchukuo called Khalkhin Gol.

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Contributor: C. Peter Chen. The Japanese considered the river Khalkhin Gol the border between the two territories, while the Mongolians thought the border was 16 kilometers further east, just past Nomonhan. Two days later, the enraged Mongolians returned with a sizeable force and occupied the Nomonhan region. The aggressive Japanese Kwantung Army took this incident as an excuse to move into the Russian sphere of influence, and dispatched Colonel Takemitsu Yamagata and Lieutenant Colonel Yaozo Azuma into Mongolia on 14 May with two regiments from the Japanese 23rd Division.

They were able to drive the Mongolian forces back across the river. Zhukov arrived in the area on 5 Jun with armored cars, light tanks, and aircraft. On 27 Jun, the Japanese 2nd Air Brigade attacked the airfield at Tamsagbulag, and both sides lost several aircraft; this attack was conducted by the Kwantung Army without approval from Tokyo, and after learning of the attack, Tokyo ordered that no further air strikes were to be launched.

He planned for a two-pronged approach. Another force, consisted of 3rd Tank Regiment, 4th Tank Regiment, part of 6th Infantry Regiment, a battalion of 28th Infantry Regiment, and a battalion of 13th Field Artillery Regiment aimed to attack Soviet positions on the east bank of the river Khalkhin Gol and north of the Holsten River.

As the northern prong crossed Khalkhin Gol and drove Soviet troops from Baintsagan Hill, Zhukov launched a counterattack with tanks and armored cars without infantry support.

The Soviet armored force attacked the Japanese on three sides, forcing the Japanese to fall back over the river on 5 Jul. Meanwhile, the Japanese southern prong, which commenced on 2 Jul, met stiff Soviet resistance throughout the advance; it was able to reach the Kawatama Bridge where it was supposed to make contact with the northern prong, but by 9 Jul, the force would be defeated by a concerted Soviet counterattack.

During this time, while both sides were distant from their bases of supply, Zhukov effectively made use of a 2,truck fleet to bring food and ammunition to the front, while the Japanese lacked motored transport. On 25 Jul, 64th and 72nd Infantry Regiments launched a major attack, but it too, would fail to dislodge the Soviets. The Japanese suffered over 5, casualties in the series of failed attacks at the Kawatama Bridge region.

On 20 Aug, 57, men, BT-5 and BT-7 tanks, and aircraft, supported by two Mongolian cavalry divisions, moved in surprise against the weakly defended Japanese front manned by only Japanese 23rd Infantry Division reinforced by several smaller infantry units. As the Japanese were pinned down by artillery and aircraft, Soviet tanks attacked them from the flank and rear, achieving a double envelopment.

After failed attempts by the Japanese to break the encirclement, Japanese 23rd Division was effectively destroyed by 31 Aug. In early Sep, politicians of the two nations successfully negotiated an agreement, and a ceasefire was signed in Moscow, Russia on 15 Sep The Soviet Union and Japan agreed that the border between the break-away state of Mongolia and the puppet state of Manchukuo was to be at Nomonhan, which was what the Mongolians perceived as the border at the start of the conflict.

Japanese Army claimed that it had suffered 8, killed and 8, wounded in series of engagements out of the 75, men committed, but actual number of troops killed might be in the 20,s or 30,s. The Soviet Union claimed that it had suffered 9, casualties out of the 57, men committed, but the Soviets might had understated the figure as well; the actual number of casualties might be between 21, and 24, For his success, Georgy Zhukov was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union and was promoted to the rank of general.

The Japanese Navy, stepping up to fill the void that the Army had once occupied, gained support for its plan to move against European holdings in the Pacific Ocean. Looking further down the road, the ceasefire at the end of this battle would slowly evolve into the basis for the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, which would free up the bulk of Soviet forces in Asia for actions in the Russo-German war.

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Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB. The goal of this site is two fold. First, it is aiming to offer interesting and useful information about WW2.

Second, it is to showcase Lava's technical capabilities. World War II Database. Battle of Khalkhin Gol. Anonymous says: 7 Jan PM Para 5 states that the Japanese were fielding "2 light armor divisions": this is incorrect, by this time the japanese force consisted of 23 IJA Inf Div, with strong reinforcing units, drawn from a number of sources, including 7 IJA Inf Div.

There were no significant IJA armor elements present at this time. See Alvin Coox's "Nomonhan". About the Site. Most Popular. Small Mongolian and Manchukuo cavalry units clashed near the village of Nomonhan in the border region. A combined Soviet and Mongolian force, having surrounded a two-regiment Japanese force near Nomonhan in Mongolia Area of China days earlier, wiped out the Japanese.

Corps commander Lieutenant General Georgy Zhukov arrived in the Mongolia Area of China, bringing reinforcement of armored cars, light tanks, and aircraft. Both sides lost several aircraft. Georgy Zhukov's counterattack forced the northern prong of the Japanese offensive to retreat across river Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia Area of China.

A Soviet counterattack defeated the southern prong of the Japanese offensive in the Mongolia Area of China. Japanese artillery bombarded Soviet positions at the Kawatama Bridge in Mongolia Area of China while infantry units launched small scale attacks. Georgy Zhukov commenced a large-scale surprise offensive against Japanese forces in the Mongolia Area of China. Japanese 23rd Infantry Division attempted and failed to break out of the encircled village of Nomonhan, Mongolia Area, China.


Valdai Club

By Sherwood S. From May through September , the Soviet Union and Japan waged hard-fought battles on the wind-swept deserts along the border of eastern Mongolia. Antagonism ran deep. The decline of the Chinese empire had whetted the territorial appetites of its neighbors, and the expanding empires of Russia and Japan collided in Korea and Manchuria. Their conflicting ambitions sparked the Russo-Japanese War of , which ended in a stunning victory for Japan in


War in the East: How Khalkhin-Gol changed the course of WWII

The conflict was named after the river Khalkhin Gol , which passes through the battlefield. The battles resulted in the defeat of the Japanese Sixth Army. After the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in , Japan turned its military interests to Soviet territories that bordered those areas. Clashes between Japanese and Soviet forces frequently occurred along the border of Manchuria. In , Manchuria was a puppet state of Japan known as Manchukuo , and Mongolia was a communist state allied with the Soviet Union , known as the Mongolian People's Republic. In contrast, the Mongolians and their Soviet allies maintained that the border ran some 16 kilometres 9.


Battles of Khalkhin Gol

Contributor: C. Peter Chen. The Japanese considered the river Khalkhin Gol the border between the two territories, while the Mongolians thought the border was 16 kilometers further east, just past Nomonhan. Two days later, the enraged Mongolians returned with a sizeable force and occupied the Nomonhan region.

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