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What if Japan attacked the USSR instead of the USA?

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by Bomber Harris, May 19, 2009.

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  1. Bomber Harris

    Bomber Harris Member

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    I apologise if this has been asked before, but I couldn't see it anywhere :D

    I know that before Pearl Harbour, Stalin was reluctant to move his siberian troops away from defending his eastern frontiers in case the Japanese attacked. If Japan had indeed attacked Russia instead of America, how big an effect do you think this would have had? America may not have entered the war, or her entry would have been delayed. Russia would have been fighting a war on two fronts, and Germany might have been able to take Moscow. Of course, the Japanese oil supply was a big issue, but if their attack meant Germany could reach the caucasus, perhaps they could have shared some of the oil?

    What do you all think?
     
  2. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hey -

    Understanding that you are new to the site, I suggest you go back and read the What If... rules and edit your post. Namely, you need to include a paragraph or two on your thoughts about the question you pose.

    Thanks.
     
  3. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I also suggest reading the many previous times we have discussed this. Short answer: Japan loses big time.
     
  4. Heidi

    Heidi Dishonorably Discharged

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    Exacley! Thate;s why Japan attacked an unspecting Emeny (USA)when they were volable,Japan knew that they had no chance withe an emeny allready a fighting fury.
     
  5. Bomber Harris

    Bomber Harris Member

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    Ooops, sorry guys. I looked back over the old pages in this section and didn't see this one asked anywhere - my bad.

    Ah...I thought I had done this. This bit:

    Was supposed to by my thoughts on it. I'll make it clearer next time.

    Once again, sorry.
     
  6. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    "Bomber Harris", if I haven't welcomed you to the forum before this, consider this a "welcome aboard!" This query has been posited, but not so much as a "What If". If you goto this thread you will see what the Japanese did, and why they got their "hats handed to them" in the far east courtesy of on General Zhukov. He (Zhukov) actually employed what can only be called "Blitzkreig", and did it about three weeks before the Nazis waltzed into Poland. Here is the link:

    http://www.ww2f.com/wwii-general/30790-soviet-japanese-non-agression.html

    this was back when we were getting "hiccups", double and sometimes triple posts on the "old server". This one doesn't seem to be doing that.:cool::cool:
     
  7. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    thats a very good question since it might have changed the whole war. As co-belligerants with Germany, few would have been very surprised if Japan had attacked Russia. They had fought the Russians at least twice before, in 1904 (where they won) and at Khalkin-gol in 1939 (where Zhukov kicked their butts good and proper by use of armor.) But if they had attacked Russia in 1941 and not the US several things might have happened.
    -US entry into the war delayed past December 1941 since historically, its hard to get Americans into a war without alot of provocation (although Bush managed to do it in 2003). It would have taken some other reason, perhaps U-boat attacks in the US Exclusion zone for instance.
    -Russian reserves necessarily moved away from Moscow during Operation typhoon, perhaps giving the Germans just enough time to capture Moscow.
    -Russians choose not to move reserves away from Moscow but instead send a token force. Japanese destroy Russian forces and keep moving in Manchuria. Russians hold Moscow and decide to divert forces there later on in 1942 to deal with them.
    -Russians decide to move forces away from their western front in 1942. German offensive resumes. Russian reserves lost due to fighting on two fronts, German offensive succeeds, russian counter offensive fails due to lack of reserves. Germans take Stalingrad.

    The Germans still had a possibility of victory in Russia until the battle of Kursk in 1943, which used up all Hitler's reserves of tanks and aircraft in the east. It was only at this point in the war also, that Russian leadership, organization, tactics and equipment were starting to catch up with the Germans. Despite having great numbers of population upon which to draw reserves (Pre war population of Germany, about 60 million; Soviet Union, 170,000,000(World War II casualties of the Soviet Union - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), the Red Army was in chaos for more than a year after the Germans invaded. Russian army leadership had been decimated by Stalin's senseless purges and were for a long time "leaderless" as Hitler described. The window for German victory was small, a year or two at most, yet if the Japanese had attacked in 1941 it might have been just enough to tilt the balance in favor of Germany.

    Plus no attack on the US means no diversion of Japanese land, air and naval strength to fighting them for a long time. Not attacking Pearl Harbor would have bought the Japanese and Germans at least 6 months and maybe longer before America found a way to declare war.

    As another poster declares, if the Japanese/German alliance had been stronger, Hitler might have found a way to supply oil to the Japanese from the Caucasus or Rumania, perhaps through a pipeline to the indian ocean or some other way, thus, making up the difference from oil lost to the US embargo. And in hindsight it would have been well worth the effort for the Axis to do this.
     
  8. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    To assume that Japan would enter the war solely based on the possibility of Germany's success, is a flawed premise.

    Japan had nothing to gain from a war with Russia and was in no way shake or form ready for one and the battle of Khalin Ghol only reinforces this.

    Not to mention that the Japanese would be suffering logistical problems which would make the German problems look like a walk in the park and doing all of this fighting a superior foe with virtually no armor and nothing to gain.......
     
  9. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    All you say is true. Replace the word "RUSSIA" with "THE USA" and your statement applies even more strongly. The Russians were on the ropes in 1941 and in fact approaching collapse, whereas the US was still almost unaffected by the war and had even greater industrial capacity then Russia - yet the Japanese attacked anyway.
     
  10. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    That transposition won't work, the Japanese expected to "knock the weak Americans" out of the war with one swift blow, the peace loving Americans would tire of the conflict within a six month period, sue for peace, and the Japanese would be able to secure their gains in the south. None of this happened. And the Soviets were far from "on the ropes", there were extensive troops, tanks, and aircraft never sent to the west to defend Moscow. They remained in the east to deter the Japanese from ever attempting another aggressive border crossing. I'll look up the numbers for you if you need them, but it wasn't a "token" force. I checke, and "BWilson" posted this concerning the Soviet Forces in the Far east:

    Soviet troops in the far east on 22 June 1941: 17 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 3 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, and 12 fortified regions organized into five rifle corps and four rifle armies.

    Soviet troops in the far east on 1 January 1942: 19 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 2 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, 2 cavalry regiments, 1 rifle regiment, and 12 fortified regions organized into four rifle corps and five rifle armies.

    Apparently, units sent west were replaced by new formations, so the Soviets didn't really let down their guard vis-a-vis Japan. There are also artillery and tank units listed in the order of battle, what is listed above are the major combat formations, and does not include units assigned to the Trans-Baikal Front
    .

    Source for the data is Index of /BoevojSostavSA/

    On the contrary, attacking the far eastern section of the USSR, and Mongolia is a no win situation in that the oil deposits (needed big time) were unknown at the time. There were some deposits in Mongolia which would have had some long term benefits to the Japanese, but not in the short term. There was tin, tungsten, gold, copper, iron, high grade coal, and other alloys to be had along with hardwood forests.

    But without the oil of the NEI, and the rubber of French Indo-China they were handicapped on both the land and sea. Attacking the USSR and Mongolia gains them nothing as to resources, the the oil of the Baku (which Hitler never gained) were TEN or ELEVEN times zones away with NO way to get them to Japan! No rail, no shipping, no access. After Hitler's surprise non-aggression pact with Stalin, the Japanese felt betrayed since they were co-signatories with Hitler and Mussolini in the Anti-Comintern Pact. Hitler's making a deal with a sworn enemy convinced the Japanese military and governing body to never trust or aid Hitler again, use he and the Nazis if possible, but not aid or count on them for anything.
     
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    'Tis alright, fix and we'll move on, no harm, not foul:)

    Welcome, BTW.
     
  12. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    While times were tough, collapse would be an overstatement.

    Japan needed oil which she could only attain from their Pacific expansion and not from Russia. This Pacific expansion however, would have not only resulted in the U.S. cutting off oil supplies, but also having the unpleasant encounter of being confronted by the U.S. Navy. Japan knew this and decided to take a gamble and get rid of what she saw as an immediate threat, hoping that this would buy her enough time to find new oil reserves.....

    Attacking Russia would not solve any of her problems, on the contrary such an act would only complicate them...... Japans' encounter with Zhukov in 39' was the ultimate deciding factor of Japan's imperialistic ambitions in the north.

    During Stalin's time, Russia had a system resembeling the current Israeli one, in which the populace would receive some sort of combat training. In Stalin's time such an organisation was created and consisted of more then 14 milllion men who at one point received at least "boot camp" training so at a time of need would be immediately called upon. It is thanks to this "camp" that accounted for the Red Army constantly growing in size while the German's were shrinking. With that mentioned, the Siberian troops in the east were not the bottom of the barrel for the Red Army. ;)
     
  13. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    Kwangtung army was in no position to launch any major offensives in 1940,41,42 and so on. The confrontation with Zhukov was more or less him telling Japan that it wasnt worth it.

    I couldnt agree with him more. There would be no benefit in attacking the Far East as it was utterly horrible terrain and would have led to large loss of life on both sides.
     
  14. kimbo1007

    kimbo1007 recruit

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    I think it is a good question, I am aware of the russo japanese conflict just prior to wwII and how the russians were successful. But by attacking the russians in the east say in july 41 and maybe attacking the russian eastern fleet they could preoccupy some russian forces enough where germany could possibly defeat russia in spring or summer of 42. the reason being that having russia defeated would benefit their axis allies germany and italy for that matter as well which means those nations could throw more men at material at japans enemy us and britain thus creating a better chance for japan. any enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine idea. I say italy would benefit as germany could provide more resources to assist them after russian peace treaty. I dont see the japanese defeating the russians in fareastern russia but benefiting from a russian peace treaty with the axis.
     
  15. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Here's an earlier thread on this:

    http://www.ww2f.com/what-if/11995-if-japan-invaded-soviet-union.html

    The Russians would have beaten the Japanese like the proverbial Red Headed step child. They maintained substancially larger military forces in the Far East to those of Japan throughout the war. The Japanese would have found themselves in short order being overrun and losing large chunks of Manchuria.
    Since the Russians have no navy to speak of in the Pacific the IJN would have been largely irrelevant.

    If the US embargos Japan for widening the war by attacking the Soviets and, continues their build up in the Philippines as well as increasingly sending more war material to China the Japanese only find themselves in an ever tightening vice from which they cannot escape.
    By early 1942 the Philippines would have been untakable with the original Japanese invasion forces as US forces there would be more than triple in size. Without US, British, and Dutch resources the Japanese economy would be on the verge of collapse.
    Compounding this, the Japanese would find themselves being ground up in their land war with Russia. Worse yet, none of this would have any profound impact on events in European Russia against the Germans.
     
  16. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

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    Nice Gardner.
     
  17. AnEvilGuy

    AnEvilGuy Member

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    I believe the war would go on longer...
    If Russia transfered a few divsions to combat the Japanese, they would raise another quickly to combat the Germans. If the Japanese advanced too far, they would run into the same problems the Germans did, run out of supplies.
    With Japan's lack of oil, they weren't good with supplies on large landmass. Their tactics were for island fighting were you had a smaller area to fight on, so therefore less transportation is need.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Why would they bother transfering divisions? They had more than enough in place at the time.
     
  19. AnEvilGuy

    AnEvilGuy Member

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    huh, I thought their Eastern area wasn't well protected. Well, any way, the Japanese will get bogged down and reduced attrition warfare like the Germans.
     
  20. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Actually, this ignores the requirement for sea control to successfully pursue a strategy of island fighting. Sea control entails the consumption of massive amounts of oil in warships which far outweighs the logistical requirements in most continental campaigns, especially where rail transport is available.

    Having said that, logistical planning and execution was certainly not Japan's long suite, and logistical difficulties severely hampered almost all of their land and sea campaigns during WW II.

    For example, for every two tons of equipment and supplies the US delivered to it's forces in the Pacific, Japan delivered just EIGHT OUNCES to theirs.
     
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