I know the battle Chindit is talking about, but it was in 1939. The Japanese attacked the Russians and lost something like 20,000 men in the attack. After this attack, russia and japan had a non-agression treaty until 1945 when russia attack japanese forces in manchuria. Although, the non-agression treaty, not the battle, helped Russia. This allowed Zhukov and a horde of exprienced soldiers to help the losing war on the Eastern Front.
well, even though Zhukov_2003 has somewhat stolen my thunder I will (very graciously) respond to the original request and fill in the tiny gap Z-2003 has left me.
The big battle was ‘Nomonhan’ (there is another name for it which is Mongolian ‘Khalkhin Gol’ though there are others) in 1939 and did indeedcost the Imperial Japanese. They lost about 25,000 men to the Soviets 5,000. The Japanese were very badly organised and even though possessed great aggression lacked decent transport and even water supplies. Zhukov’s armour ran rings around Japanese artillery units (literally).
However, everyone wanted out of this fight. The Russians had other things to worry about and the Japanese army in Manchuria had deeply embaressed Tokyo. (Apparently the Emperor had ordered there to be no fighting).
In the air the Japanese did a little better relative to the Soviets.
Most interesting was how these respective armies were then regarded. The Soviets were seen as expert but then went on to suffer humiliation at the hands of the tiny Finn army and so were downgraded in everyone’s eyes. The Japanese were seen as next to useless until they swept the British and Americans aside and so were then elevated to ‘superhuman.’
As Zhukov-2003 says these Russian Siberian troops (about 50 divisions) were thrown at the Germans outside Moscow in December 1941 and removed the G threat to Moscow for the rest of the war.
Now, I’ve saved the best to last.
Zhukov_2003 is wrong to say the battle was only 1939. There WAS also a battle in 1938 (though nothing like on the scale of that a year later) about 1,200 soviet losses to 500 Japanese.
There was also a border clash in 1936 but I think this was Mongolian forces (supported later by the Soviets) against Manchurian troops (supported by the Japanese).
Apparently, the whole incident flared up because of confusion over which country owned a hil on the borderl.
Clearly though, as has been said, these battles resulted in the Soviets not having to face a war on two fronts after Barbarossa began.
A final interesting point is the Russian attack into Manchuria in 1945 swept the remnants of the Japanese army there aside and was only stopped by two nuclear devices.