If Japan had attacked the USSR, would Germany have defeated the Soviets?



  • Turtle, here is some historical information on the Japanese motive and view for aggression against the Soviet Union. http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/20thcentury/articles/nomonhan.aspx, also I subscribe to WORLD WAR II magazine, and in the May 2009 issue there is a good article about it. Enjoy



  • sweat.  thank you.  btw, Monty Python rocks!





  • if japan had of attacked the ussr. Germany would have bet USSR. but the reason why japan and russia signed the pack was because russia had to worry about GERMANY and Japan had to worry about America. So if japan attacked ussr, ussr would have went down in flames then germany and japan would be in a link-up phase with Germany therefore they could help eachother out and not have like mutiple fronts



  • @Imperious:

    I think If Japan only attacked the Soviets in 41, Stalin would have to divert alot of his forces to fight and gave Germany an easier task in June. But realistically Japan could not even hope to get more than the immediate areas north of Manchukuo. Their is no way they had the resources to get to Moscow or anything like that. The loss of the Far east would have meant nothing to Stalin except that he would send reinforcements to push them back, but this was not in Japans interests because it didn’t translate into a solution for her crude oil shortage.

    It was also a war aim for either the Army or Navy and took Japan away from her natural sphere of influence which was to remove all the colonial powers from Asia and dominate China. Japan was not in the war to fight for German interests and the so called “alliance” was nothing but a slip of paper describing the fact that in all likelihood they would all eventually be fighting the same enemies so by inference they are on a “team”.

    but look at it simpler: they could of taken Vladivostok, took away the siberian divisions who were needed to stop operation typhoon, and could of stopped allied supplies to the USSR through the trans-siberian railway



  • Here is great show on the Military History Channel about Soviet and Japanese tensions.  It’s very good.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bwdZvjJlMg



  • @Captain:

    NO NO NO a thousand times No!

    1.) Japan was already heavily committed in a land war in China
    2.) Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1938 left the Japanese feeling reluctant to engage the Soviet Union in a land war
    3.) Japan did not have huge mechanized armies, The Japanese army was not the Wermacht. Fighting and staying supplied in Siberia is a logistical nightmare.
    4.) Japan was forced into a defensive posture within 6-7 months of the US finally joining the war, making offensive operations after this point limited and costly.
    5.) The Soviet Far east did not contain the resources Japan needed for the war, The Dutch East Indies and French Indo China did.

    If Japan made a serious attempt to invade the Soviet Union, via Siberia they would have lost the war very very quickly.

    Captain, I agree wholeheartedly-espcecially your comment about the heavy Jap committment to China, I would if you’ll permit me, also add that the bulk of the Japanese Army in WW2 was not only heavily committed agains the Chinese, but there were very sizable forces guarding against a possible
    Soviet attack in the far east, despite the Jpanese-Soviet non- agression pact!

    So let’s turn this around and say instead- What if the Japanese removed forces from Mancukou and thus had more forces available at the begining of these campaigns: Say another 1-2 regiments on Iwo Jima, another division on Guadalcanal, another 1-2 diisions on Okinawa, another 1-2 divisons to defend the Philipines….

    Think about it…



  • For reasons stated, it was not in Japan’s best intrest to attack Russia.  HOWEVER, it was in the Axis best intrest that they would have attacked.  I didn’t get to read all the posts, (so maybe it has been mentioned) but almost the entire Russian Stalingrad offensesive used troops that had been stationed as a deterent to stop the Japanese from attacking.  A Soviet Spy in Japan informed Stalin that Japan had  no intention of attacking them.  How differently would the war have gone if the Battle of stalingrad was won by the Germans?  The Volga river being cut off… the oil fields in the Caucus falling into German hands?

    I contend that the Japs did not have to attack Russia, just declare war.  That would have kept the troops there.  I am not sure on the distance, but if possible I would have bombed Russian factories that had just run east from advancing Germans.

    I think the real question here is could the Russians have beaten the Germans if the battle of stalingrad became a German victory, which I am certain it would have been if the Japs had at least threatened an attack in the East.



  • @shermantank28:

    @Captain:

    NO NO NO a thousand times No!

    1.) Japan was already heavily committed in a land war in China
    2.) Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1938 left the Japanese feeling reluctant to engage the Soviet Union in a land war
    3.) Japan did not have huge mechanized armies, The Japanese army was not the Wermacht. Fighting and staying supplied in Siberia is a logistical nightmare.
    4.) Japan was forced into a defensive posture within 6-7 months of the US finally joining the war, making offensive operations after this point limited and costly.
    5.) The Soviet Far east did not contain the resources Japan needed for the war, The Dutch East Indies and French Indo China did.

    If Japan made a serious attempt to invade the Soviet Union, via Siberia they would have lost the war very very quickly.

    Captain, I agree wholeheartedly-espcecially your comment about the heavy Jap committment to China, I would if you’ll permit me, also add that the bulk of the Japanese Army in WW2 was not only heavily committed agains the Chinese, but there were very sizable forces guarding against a possible
    Soviet attack in the far east, despite the Jpanese-Soviet non- agression pact!

    So let’s turn this around and say instead- What if the Japanese removed forces from Mancukou and thus had more forces available at the begining of these campaigns: Say another 1-2 regiments on Iwo Jima, another division on Guadalcanal, another 1-2 diisions on Okinawa, another 1-2 divisons to defend the Philipines….

    Think about it…

    Ok, now consider the consequences of removing those forces from China and the pacific? Japan never won the war in China, with reduced manpower you have the threat of Chang and Mao actually going on the offensive.

    The only chance this scenario has is if Japan does not attack Pearl Harbour and goes to war with the Soviet Union at the same time as Germany, but for what? The resources Japan needed are in the South, in Indonesia and Malaysia, not in Siberia. Japan does not have an army capable of the warfare required to fight and move across the great distances of the Soviet Union. Logistically it was impossible for Japan to fight that far inland.

    For me this whole concept is bizarre. As a Master of Strategy and a man who wrote said Masters on Japan in WWII I find the concept of Japan attacking the Soviet Union,  bombing the Ural factories and rolling tanks into Moscow just laughable. It’s on par with “What if Iraq had won desert storm?”

    Sorry if I sound all snooty and condescending, it just can agree with the pro points in this thread.



  • @ Captain Kiwi, I agree with your assessment, but this is a “what if discussion”.

    Ofc Japan would not go very far towards Moscow, as they did not manage to conquer China. Also, the whole idea with this “what if” question is that Japan do not attack the US, this is the same concept that Germany should not attack the US.

    Now, Japan marching towards Moscow is fantasy, the would die b/c of lack of logistics long before they even reached Yakut.

    What if Iraq won the desert storm, I would not believe it if it happened, or US lost the war against Iraq. Not possible.
    But there were some reports during 2006 that situation in Iraq was close to become a civil war, so even if no one doubted that the US would win the invading process, they could lose the occupation segment.

    But remember the Vietnam war, the greatest and mightiest superpower vs a small poor country of peasants. US lost that war, who would believe it?
    The difference in terrain difficulty and the experience from Vietnam and Iraq is probably one of the reasons why Nato was reluctant to engage in big scale war with many ground units vs Serbia.

    I definitely agree with that Japan would lose against the US anyhow, as they would lose against Russia if they went  another direction. But sometimes not even the Powell doctrine is enough for the strongest side to avoid a lost war. Sometimes the strong part gets diced.
    Also Japan could invent the A-bomb, but they needed more time probably than the US was willing to give. That is another discussion though.
    This is related to the A&A discussions, the game starts in 41, so if Japan should ever be an annoying threat to Stalin, Japan must have started preparations for war against Russia in 1930, if not sooner. But this scenario would not happen, b/c Japan+Germany could never be allies in the same way that US+UK was allied.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Japan could not get to Moscow, EVEN if they were given tickets to ride the train from Vladivostok.

    If they were at war just look at what happened in China and subtract 500 to obtain the result.



  • Well, I agree, same principle as it is possible to be diced, though extremely unlikely, in Revised w/o bid and even lose the game, to have Japan reach Moscow is mostly the same as to win against experienced players as axis in Classic w/o bid. I’m not too much into all the details for the real WW2, but even if we give the Japs 20 years, how far could they reach?

    And for the Vietnam war vs the Gulf War, when we look back we can understand that it is possible to lose the first one, but not the last one, and this is related to the Japan vs Russia prospect.
    Japan can only reach so far, and that is not very far, how about Yakut or something similar? Also, the US would win the Nam war if they really wanted to.



  • @Deaths:

    I think I would have to say that a Japanese invasion of the Soviet Far East would have more Benificial for the Axis Powers then the Attack on th USA and her possesions.  If Japan timed her invasion of Russia with the Germans Operation Barborossa, I do not think that Russia would Have been Able to Recover from that.  The Problem really lies within Japans Ability to Render China Useless as a War Machine.  IMHO Japan Should have secured Peace on the Chinese front Before attacking anybody else.

    Now the reality of it all Lies with Mother Russia.  What ever side she is On, WILL win the War.  History teaches us that the Land mass of that size, is VERY,VERY Difficult to control for any invading Power

    But……

    The Outcome of WWII in my opinion was/is largly based on Germany’s inability to knock the British out of the war.  Had Germany been able to do that, I don’t think it would really matter what Japan did after that point.

    The only problem with Speculating about this is Hind sight is always 20/20.  It is easy to say now, what the Axis Powers did wrong or where they went wrong with their War “Game Plan”.

    So i guess that depending on Japans Timing of a russian Invasion really won’t matter unless Japan did not have to fight China also.  Not to mention that Japanes Armour would have been tore apart facing the T-34 or any Russian tank for that Matter.

    Germany and Japan should have Been Better friends and Cooperate their Military Might.  What I mean is What if Japan had Never Attacked the US. But instead took that same Pearl Harbour Fleet and a SNLF with them and Instead attacked Egypt and the Suez Canal along with Rommel and his Afrika Corps.  Egypt would surely fall and allow the Axis Powers access to the Suez and Basically the entire Middle East and her Vast oil resources.  Since Pearl Harbour Never took place, Amerika would still only be a Material supplier and not a Man power supplier…

    they had plans for invading the middle-east, but they knew they would not have enough forces, they didn’t even come through India
    (Japan had great navy, but mediocre landarmy)
    so they planned invasion of Australia, but of course, at the battle of the Coral sea…


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    It wouldn’t matter if Japan attacks russia or not at this point of time.
    The german OKH decided not to go for Moscow after Juli 27th and Hitlers decission was to go for four Russian armys (5th,21st,26th and 37th) in the area of Gomel and Kiev under the considerations that those forces are threaten the flanks of Heeresgruppe Sued and rather be a good opportunity to encircle and destroy them!…
    After that the Moscow push came to an Halt again.
    The majority of the Panzerverbaende had to keep the back floodding russians at bay or help out to destroy certain pockets…when they finally regrouped for the PUSH to Moscow again time was allready running out and winter came close…It’s still amazing that a platoon of
    Artillery  reconnaissance came that close to Moscow that they could look through their binoculars and see the Kremel…
    If Japan would attack pearl harbor the next year it would have maybe an Impact on the Easternfront.
    Japan was a threat no matter what ,because it held the Sibirian forces on the borders to China and if Japan would have been successful w. an attack is written on another paper…
    Also is to consider how it would end if General Guderian wasn’t set back for the difficulties he had w. General Kleist…thats my Input on this Topic



  • Moot question.  Japan DID attack the USSR TWICE in minor border flare-ups in Korea (1938) and Manchuria (1939) already before Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa was launched.  Japs got their asses handed to them by coordinated tank and infantry assaults and lack of communication between air and land forces.  After losing both times, mostly due to lack of armor on the Japanese side, they decided to pick a fight with someone they could whup up on in the ocean, the U.S. in the Pacific.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Halhin_Gol

    (This is also the battle where Zhukov earned his stars and let him to become one of the top soviet generals against the Germans in '41)

    If the Japs actually DID attack the Soviet Union in 1941 in measurable numbers, not sure how well they would have fared since air/naval battles were their specialty and they STILL had huge deficits in armor, compared to the Soviets.  The Reds had the best tanks in the world for the first couple years of the war, and their production capacity would have overwhelmed any newcoming designs (German Tiger/Panther production was pathetic throughout the war, the only serious contenders to the Soviet T-34s and KVs, which were unmatched in their time).  Chances are the Japs would have bogged down somewhere in Mongolia or Vladivostok and had another stalemate with superior Soviet forces holding the line, which I bet even with overwhelming Jap numbers and German attacks in the West would have held the line.



  • @SgtBlitz:

    Moot question.  Japan DID attack the USSR TWICE in minor border flare-ups in Korea (1938) and Manchuria (1939) already before Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa was launched.  Japs got their asses handed to them by coordinated tank and infantry assaults and lack of communication between air and land forces.  After losing both times, mostly due to lack of armor on the Japanese side, they decided to pick a fight with someone they could whup up on in the ocean, the U.S. in the Pacific.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Halhin_Gol

    (This is also the battle where Zhukov earned his stars and let him to become one of the top soviet generals against the Germans in '41)

    If the Japs actually DID attack the Soviet Union in 1941 in measurable numbers, not sure how well they would have fared since air/naval battles were their specialty and they STILL had huge deficits in armor, compared to the Soviets.  The Reds had the best tanks in the world for the first couple years of the war, and their production capacity would have overwhelmed any newcoming designs (German Tiger/Panther production was pathetic throughout the war, the only serious contenders to the Soviet T-34s and KVs, which were unmatched in their time).  Chances are the Japs would have bogged down somewhere in Mongolia or Vladivostok and had another stalemate with superior Soviet forces holding the line, which I bet even with overwhelming Jap numbers and German attacks in the West would have held the line.

    my link mentions the two battles breifly.



  • @Imperious:

    I think If Japan only attacked the Soviets in 41, Stalin would have to divert alot of his forces to fight and gave Germany an easier task in June. But realistically Japan could not even hope to get more than the immediate areas north of Manchukuo. Their is no way they had the resources to get to Moscow or anything like that. The loss of the Far east would have meant nothing to Stalin except that he would send reinforcements to push them back, but this was not in Japans interests because it didn’t translate into a solution for her crude oil shortage.

    It was also a war aim for either the Army or Navy and took Japan away from her natural sphere of influence which was to remove all the colonial powers from Asia and dominate China. Japan was not in the war to fight for German interests and the so called “alliance” was nothing but a slip of paper describing the fact that in all likelihood they would all eventually be fighting the same enemies so by inference they are on a “team”.

    but don’t forget, japan allowed US ships (with russians insignia) to pass to vladivostok, where they brought huge ammount of supplies and tanks for russia.



  • I think the best option the Japanese had would have been to only attack British and Dutch interests in the Pacific. Bypass the Phillipines. Yeah it causes problems, but the US probably wouldn’t intercede unless their own interests were threatened. Afterwards, they could turn their efforts towards India and an eventual linkup with the Germans in the middle east.

    The carrier raid hitting Egypt instead of Pearl Harbor mentioned earlier would have been an excellent idea, if executed at an appropriate time.



  • If Japan and Germany started planning for an attack against the British from 1933, and then after UK was finished they went after Russia, and the Japanese could teach the Germans to make carriers, and the Germans could teach the Japanese to make tanks. Axis would need less luck to win if Russia must fight a two front war, but Japan was not prepared for such in 1939. Preparations must have started earlier.

    It’s not about Japanese tanks in Moscow, it’s about making the Russians use as many forces as possible against the Japanese, and then we could have German tanks in Moscow.



  • @Aretaku:

    I think the best option the Japanese had would have been to only attack British and Dutch interests in the Pacific. Bypass the Phillipines

    Since a time ago, I’m wondering about a possible what if. What if if Spain would gave Cuba independence before 1898? With no Spanish-USA war, it’s possible that or Philippines would receive independence before WW2 or maybe Spain still retains at starting (and also Guam and some others). Any case, it’s few probable that USA would attack a Japan that didn’t menace any USA’s interest. Without doubt, they would not fight for a far asian country without relation with USA

    In case of a Spanish Philippines, there are 2 possible scenarios:

    • Franco wins SCW and controls Philippines. As pro-axis country, Japan would not have any incentive attacking this. As much, we could see Spanish ships fighting Royal Navy in Pacific ocean …
    • Republic wins SCW or SCW doesn’t happen. Many in that time saw Azaña’s government as pro-soviets (true or not, that’s another matter), so it’s possible that Japan still attacks Philippines if they see Spain as too pro-soviet (that could make Spain join european war as they would need UK’s or USSR’s support to fight Japan’s navy). Anyway, I doubt USA attacks Japan to support a so-called commie country when they failed to aid France and UK

    The conclusion: Japan has no real incentive attacking Pearl Harbour, so no USA entry at war. This could mean a victorious Germany (horrible) or soviet flag in Paris (slightly less bad). I wonder if sinking of Maine leaded to Pearl Harbour and later to Hiroshima and Nagasaki  😮



  • I am sure the Russians in 1980 sisn’t think they would lose a hockey game to a bunch of college hockey players from the U.S., but they did. Didn’t they? Never be too sure of what the outcome may be, that is why they play the game.



  • No, The back half of russia is much like Alaska, a frozen wasteland. It would take them forever to get troops north of manchuria, and supplying them would be nearly impossible. There werent any natural resource up there so the japanese had no interest in “capturing” (if you can even call it that) north russia. It would be smarter to send troops into china or inda, where the resources were.


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