Japan and the Soviet Union

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by renrich, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    What would have happened if, instead of attacking the US at Pearl Harbor, Japan had only attacked the British in China and Burma and the Dutch in the East Indies and had mounted an attack against the Soviet Union in the Spring of 1942?
     
  2. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Renrich,

    Interesting thought. I had actually thought myself that it might have worked out pretty well if the Japanese had reached an agreement with Germany to share the oil fields in the Caucasus and mounted a two front offensive against the USSR.

    Had such a thing happened then the Soviet Union would've no doubt collapsed within a year and a half.

    Another great thing for the axis would've been the US unwillingness to go to war then. Had the Japanese not attacked at Pearl Harbor and Hitler not declared war on the US, then Britain and the rest of Europe would've been screwed big time.

    Again goes to show how stupid Hitler sometimes was.
     
  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    The British would have lost Burma and China, the US would ae attacked Japan as they were the ones applying political and economic pressure on Japan over their actions in China. I do not believe that the USA would stand on one side and wach Japan up the stakes. The difference of course is that Japan wouldn't have had the advantage of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour and their losses would have been significant when they faced the USN in open conflict.
    The attack on Russia would have failed as they simply didn't have the type of equipment needed for a war in Russia. The second ranked equipment in Russia such as the BT series tanks would have been more than effective against Japan leaving the first line equipment to face Germany.
     
  4. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,925
    Likes Received:
    641
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4 michaelmaltby, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
    Renrich - an interesting scenario but seriously flawed. In May - Septemeber 1939 when Japan tried to take on the USSR in Manchuria they received a drubbing. The conflict revealed how seriously the Japanese "misunderestimated" [thank you for that word Geo Bush :)] the Soviets. Japan did NOT understand the concept of fighting an industrial war - the Russians overwhelmed them in material (and ultimately outfought them) but Japan repeated the same mistake 2 years later at Pearl Harbour - taking on the US.

    Powerful as the German forces were in Russia I cannot see a scenario where Germany would have defeated the Soviet forces. The USA might not have gone to war in 1941 without Pearl Harbour, but the US started making aid available to the Soviets shortly after Barbarossa - before Pearl Harbour.

    The Soviets had an entire military force positioned in the Far East - in reserve. The Japanese had poor tanks, no sense of Blizkrieg-type operations, limited reserves of fuel and strategic materials, stretched lines of communication and simply would have lacked the PUNCH to link up with the Germans in the Caucasus.

    With or without the US in the war the Germans would have been snuffed at Stalingrad and then rebuffed at Kursk. The war might have lasted several more years without Pearl Harbour and the US (forces + industrial might) BUT Germany and Japan fighing in Manchuria, Siberia and the oil rich Soviet 'Stans doesn't spell success for me -- in the end the Soviets would prevail.

    A better "what if" scenario might be if the Japanese had seriously whipped the Soviets in 1939 - as they did in 1905 [think Finland winter war]. If that had happened the Soviets would never have had peace and quiet in their rear - or secure interior lines of communication.

    MM
    Toronto
     
  5. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Texas
    I don't think that Japan was motorized enough, or could even produce enough vehicles to win a large campaign in the west. But if Japan would have attacked the USSR proper then I think that the greatest benafactor would not have been Japan but her ally, Germany. If the Japanese forces could put enough pressure on the Soviets, I think that would've relieved enough pressure from the eastfront to allow the Germans to take those key cities, allowing a victory over the communist regime, and possibly a stalemate of the whole war for the ETO.
     
  6. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sorry but there is no way that the Soviets could've dealt with both the Germans and the Japanese, it would've been over quickly.

    The Japanese didn't have good tanks, true, but tanks are but one thing. The Japanese had lots of infantry to boot, and fanatic infantry at that. Furthermore and even more crushing was the the Japanese airforce, which would quickly sweep the VVS out of the skies in the far east while the Luftwaffe easily dealt with their part in the west.

    There's simply no way the Soviets could've dealt with this at all. They were hard pressed enough against the Germans alone, so a Japanese attack from the east would've proven disasterous for them. There's also no doubt that a combined landbased invasion of the USSR by the Germans and the Japanese would've resulted in a lot of technology shared, esp. within the area of tanks. So the Japanese would've very likely had a tank similar to the Panzer IV not far after.
     
  7. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Agreed. The Japanese could under no circumstances do it alone, the brunt of the effort would be achieved by the Germans. But the sheer size of the Japanese army and skilled airforce it possessed would've been enough to remove a huge amount of pressure off of the German army's back in the west.

    The IJA IJN would have a turkey shoot against the Soviet VVS and quickly establish airsuperiority, allowing for tank busting a/c to deal with the puny Soviet tanks until the Japanese cold devise a good one of their own. With the help of the Germans the Japanese might very well have had their own Panzer IV's ready not long after.
     
  8. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,541
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Engineer and overgrown schoolboy
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Michael
    with no US in the war, there'd be no second front for the Nazis to worry about, unless you're prepared to countenance a D-Day manned only by UK/Canadian forces. With that in mind, they could throw much more of their weight at the Eastern Front and when you consider how close they came to defeating the Soviets in the real time-line, they'd have flattened them under this scenario.

    Peripheral interests to this what-if would be the revitalised interest of Italy in a war without the US, the Romanians and don't discount the Finns who had a very vested interest in removing a large threat from their eastern border. With Japan providing the second front, I don't see a way for the Soviet Union to survive.

    I think any link-up of Japanese forces in, say, Manchuria with German forces in the Caucasus is ambitious, to say the least, that is a forced march of titanic proportions. Japanese forces would do well to tie up Soviet forces in the Far East and allow the Germans to deal with the European end of the Soviet Union.

    If Hitler has regained his senses sufficiently to not declare war on the US, then we can assume he's also decided that wading into Stalingrad with the cream of his battlefield army is just as silly. With Stalingrad (and any other focus of stiff resistance) isolated, he can concentrate on tackling the Soviet Army on the battlefield, something his military were far more capable of; thus defeated, just encircle and wait for Stalingrad to surrender or starve.
     
  9. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,925
    Likes Received:
    641
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    Colin - I appreciate your argument but it doesn't change a single important fact - both Geramny and Japan contributed more to their own defeat than any other factor - simply by making ill-thoughtout decisions or emotional decisions. Attacking Pearl Harbour displayed a fundamental ignorance on the part of the Japanese - whatever were they thinking. And the alternative strategy - to expand into Mongolia was equally misguided -- totally underestimating Soviet industrial might and Zhukov's prowess. Likewise - making Stalingrad a strategic objective instead of by-passing it [indeed even thinking that a knock-out punch could be delivered by December 1941 when General Wiinter took command] was pure Nazi hubris.

    No - I can't see Britain and the Commonwealth re-taking Western Europe, but the Soviet leadership would have never accepted defeat.

    An alliance of two seriously flawed allies - both dillusional in their objectives/philosophy - does not make a longterm effective alliance.

    MM
     
  10. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    #10 Glider, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
    To boot sums it up. It had excellent infantry but on foot, with the distances a war in Russia involves, not forgetting winter. To assume that its over quickly sounds like the same mistake Napoleon and Hitler both made. You have to allow for a winter. Germany at least had a reasionably sized air transport fleet, the Japanese had basically none, just a handful of aircraft. Ground transport was also almost insignificant.

    The IJAF was small and still in the spring of 1942 partialy equipped with the Ki27. The Russian airforce was just as well equipped, but larger and had done well against the Japanese Airforce before the war.

    I am sure that Russia woldn't have found it easy but a war in Russia was totally the wrong conflict for Japan. Its armies were too lightly equipped from rifles, SMG's, machine guns, AAguns, field guns and howitzers and once again, transport.
    There is every doubt that they would have shared technology. I am hard pushed to come up with more than one or two items of technology that they shared to the degree that it was deployed in the field. The ones that I can think of were out of date by the time they were deployed. If you could list any it would be appreciated. For instance, the MP40 and Panzerfaust alone would have made a huge difference to the Jananese Army in WW2 but none were deployed that I know of.
    Simple question, what tank busting aircraft did the Japanese have and how long would it take to design, develop and build an effective Japanese tank capable of taking on a T34 or KV1?

    That said the Japanese did have one thing that the Germans didn't and that was a good number of long ranged bombers that could have made life more difficult for Russia. They may have lacked payload but they did have the range to force Russia to spread out its fighter defences.
     
  11. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,925
    Likes Received:
    641
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    Glider I'm with you - a thoroughly pragmatic response to Soren. The single most effective thing that Japan could have done to support Germany in such an alliance would be strategic bombing of re-located Soviet industry. And we know that strategic bombing of British and Germany industry - while bloody - was not a game changer.

    I don't think many posters appreciate the extent to which the Soviets PASTED the Japanese in 1939. The Japanese occupied ground that the Soviets had previously "ranged". It was June-July with daylight from 04:00 until 22:30. Once in position the Japanese troops were fixed by the Soviets - short of water - and while they were courageous as hell, the Bushido code and Japanese elan were no match for Soviet commanders who could afford to take huge casualties. Japan thought the the USSR was the Russia they had humiliated in 1905 ... they were wrong, as with their assessment that the USA was demoralized into ineffectiveness by the Great Depression.

    MM
     
  12. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sorry Glider but you are terribly mistaken.

    The IJN would be attacking just as-well as the IJA, and the Zeros would've swepped any resistance from the VVS aside with ease. There's also no doubt that a lot of Zeros would simply be given duty with the army airforce.

    The Japanese army also would not have to go through all of the USSR to have an effect. They simply needed to tie up the Soviets on a second front to take off pressure from the German's back. And seeing that the Soviets were already pushed to the limit by the Germans and could've been defeated by them alone had it not been for some stupid mistakes made by the German high command, then if the Japanese attacked in force in the east it would've quickly been all over for the Soviets.

    Also please recognize that the reason that the Germans Japanese didn't share more technology in WW2 than they did was simply because of the fact that they didn't enter any land based operations together, heck not even any aerial ones. Had that happened the Germans would without a doubt have handed over a lot of technology to the Japanese. They did afterall ship information a very long way over regarding jet technology.
     
  13. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Colin1,

    I agree with you completey. It is odd that people don't realize just how close the USSR was to defeat even without the help of the Japanese. Had the Japanese attacked in force from the east, along with the German offensive in the west, then the Soviet Union wouldn't have lasted long at all.

    Think of this: The Soviets are fighting all they can in the west just in an effort to hold on against the Germans when all of the sudden a 3 million strong Japanese force starts invading from the east. What to do? Do you send your airforce over there to keep the Japs from completely ruling the skies, which they probably will anyhow because they've got much better a/c and pilots, or do you keep them in the west at the mercy of the LuftWaffe ? Also what about your army ? Do you split it up and risk a total quick defeat at the hands of the German army or do you just let the Japanese advance unhindered ?

    I'd give the Soviet Union exactly 5 months until defeat had the Japanese attacked at the same time as the Germans, no more. The Japanese AF had the range to srike deep within the USSR, and enough soldiers to slowly but steadily take piece by piece of land in the east. All that needed be done was capture enough land to place airbases within striking range of all Soviet production facilities, and then hold them or push further in to occupy even more of the Soviet army.
     
  14. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,925
    Likes Received:
    641
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    #14 michaelmaltby, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
    Soren - please tell me, in your scenario: are the Germans led by Hitler? And are they STILL attacking Stalingrad? Or is their alliance with Japan also sharpening their sense and muting their hubris?

    You write: "It is odd that people don't realize just how close the USSR was to defeat even without the help of the Japanese." Easy to say, but what proof have you that the USSR was months from defeat. And when? December, 1941? ... just before the fresh divisions poured in from Siberia

    Summer offensive 1942? .. just before blundering into Stalingrad for nothing.

    Summer 1943 .. Kursk? .. with the Soviets knowing the time and date of the attack for months before th event and a defense in depth thoroughly prepared.

    I will argue that when the war with Russia began in 1942 - the Soviet Union was on a stronger military industrial footing than Germany was. The Five Year Plans were beginning to work. [I am NOT discussing QUALITY of production]. Germany didn't ramp up until 1942-43. Without US intervention (and hence no strategic daylight bombing) I'm sure German industry would have worked production miracles, but Russia - unlike Germany and Japan - had vast amounts of territory it could surrender. And success for either Geramny or Japan would mean longer and longer lines of communication and supply. As it was, Germany had to devote large resources to supply their eastern armies over often insecure supply lines -- now imagine those lines stretching to the Urals.

    And the attacking kamikaze pilots would have been Soviet - ramming Japanese Betty's and the like.

    Further, I believe everyone posting here is underestimating China. Japan was deep in China and China was vast. Would Japan have conquered China if the US had not enetred the war? As with Russia-germany, I doubt that very much. Japan would have been bled white and in the end (15 years) the Communist forces would have prevailed.

    I have great admiration for German military/technological/organizational excellence but in the end - in both WW I and II - this was defeated by citizen soldiery (and I include the Soviet comrades in this definition for the purposes of this debate).

    MM
     
  15. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Michael,

    Remember how close the Germans were at winning eventhough they entered Stalingrad. They had 90% of the city at one point, and Stalin was at his knees ready to beg for peace. It was the US involvement which stopped the Germans taking it all. And had the Japanese not attaeked Pearl Harbor and instead invaded the USSR then the US would've not entered the war as soon as it did. That would've been great for the Germans in two crucial ways: 1.) Not another superpower to deal with in the west 2.) A great amount of pressure taken off the German army in the east by virtue of the help provided by the Japanese.

    PS: The USSR was invaded in 1941, not 42.
     
  16. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,669
    Likes Received:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vojvodina, Serbia
    #16 imalko, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
    Well Soren, its odd that people don't realize just how close the USSR was to defeat even without the help of the Japanese... And its also odd how people disregard Soviet countermeasures taken during Barbarossa and blame German failure solely on Hitler's poor decisions and bad weather.

    Let me remind you that Stalin held large and well equipped and trained forces in the far East for most of 1941 to be able to counter possible Japanese attack and these forces were used at Moscow front only after he received reliable intelligence that Japanese are not going to attack. These forces in my opinion were more that enough to fight off any Japanese attack.

    Punny Soviet tanks? T-34? This superb tank appeared in 1941 in ever increasing numbers. And even those earlier "punny" Soviet tanks were better then anything Japanese had and kick their ass at Battle of Khalkhyn Gol in 1939. That is why Japanese never dared to attack USSR again.

    Which tank-busting planes Japanese had exactly? I never heard of any. Granted that Zero was probably better fighter than anything Soviets had in 1941, but question remains how many of these plane were at disposal at that time. Anyway I was always under impression that Japanese used only their "less capable" planes in China and mainland Asia, like Ki-27 and Ki-43. Japanese bomber had long range but small payload. Were they capable to attack Ural industrial ares from Far East? I don't think so.

    My point is that Japanese attack would helped Germans but wouldn't solved anything. Decisive battles would be fought on Soviet-German front. Even without intervention of Soviet "Far East" divisions I don't think that Germans were capable to take Moscow in November 1941 (after all what happened in true time line). And question remains would even fall of Moscow in November 1941 meant the decisive victory for Third Reich?

    With US out of the war and Japanese attack on USSR the war would last maybe longer but probably would have ended with defeat of Axis powers. More so if Japanese attack had occured in 1942 and not in 1941.(Which was Renrich's original premise I believe).
     
  17. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #17 Soren, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
    Couldn't disagree more imalko.

    The Soviet Union wouldn't have lasted 6 months in a combined attack by Germany Japan. The Soviets had reserves yes, but they were essential in the fight against the Germans and they could under no conditions be left out.

    As for tank busting, the Ki-46 could've done a fine job at that. And seeing that the Japanese weren't going to attack the US they would have all their Zeros focused against the Soviets, and that would've meant the total and utter destruction of the VVS. As for the tanks, as already mentioned the T-34 was in the west not the east, and each and every single one was needed to fight the Germans alone. None were available to go to the east, only the puny T-26 and the like were ready in the east.

    Had the US not stepped in during WW2 then the USSR would've lost against the Germans, even without the help of the Japanese. The Germans poured a collosal amount of material and manpower to the west in the war against the western allies. Without anyone to fight in the west the Germans would've steamrolled straight through the Soviet Union, only the occasional and unnecessary city fights Hitler loved so much would stall the advance from time to time.
     
  18. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,541
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Engineer and overgrown schoolboy
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    With no US in the war
    the Germans could have sustained their hold on the oilfields and the heavy-industrial and arable territories in the Ukraine. This was the tipping point for the Germans in the real time-line, Stalingrad was simply where everything started to tangibly unravel; German commanders in this what-if would not have faced the decision of 'press on eastwards OR press south and secure the oilfields - but not both'.
    Couple the sustained pressure on Russia's western front with an organised, numerous and capable military in the east. Japan doesn't have to beat the Soviets, they simply have to contain them (there's only so far east they can now push their war manufacture) and tie up sizeable portions of their ground and air forces with fanatical infantry and aircraft that like nothing better than to dogfight at low level plus bombers with a very respectable range.
    With the Kriegsmarine securing Baltic resupply lines and the IJN ruling the Indian Ocean, I still can't see a way out for the Soviet Union.
     
  19. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,768
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    When was Stalin on his knees begging for peace? I don't remember reading that anywhere. In fact Stalin gave orders that no Russian soldiers were to retreat. Seriously, when was Stalin on his knees begging?

    While I agree that Germany could have defeated Russia, Stalin was not begging for peace. Not at Stalingrad or at any other time.
     
  20. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,669
    Likes Received:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vojvodina, Serbia
    #20 imalko, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
    This reserves (Siberian and Far East divisions) were deployed against the Wehrmacht only in December 1941 at Moscow. And this happened only after Stalin recieved positive and reliable inteligence that Japanese will not attack. Up until December 1941 this Soviet reserves were unengaged.

    Possible regarding the T-34 in the east but even those "punny" T-26 were better that anything Japanese had.

    Disagree. US stepping the war was important and crucial for final overall outcome of the war but this didn't saved the Russians from defeat in 1941. Russians effectively won the war at the gates of Moscow in December 1941 and they did it almost on their own.
    One more point - in 1941 the Germans effectively didn't have anyone to fight in the west.
     
Loading...

Share This Page