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USSR Bombs Tokyo in 1939?

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by Gromit801, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Member

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    Ah, I would like to apologize with the topic's creator, because I did get off topic talking about a ground war. The topic is only about a bombing campaign. =P
     
  2. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Did the Soviets two or three lane the Tran-Siberian Railway prior to August Storm? If not they managed to move a very large army and supplies in less than 6 months of the cessation of hostilities in Europe. Although I admit that I don't know much about the railway's condition in 1939 or 1945, apparently it was not that terrible of a logistical roadblock for them to overcome. They moved A LOT of men and material from Central Europe to the Far East and attacked full throttle in about 4 months.

    If the border wars of 1938-39 escalated to a full scale conflict, the Uncle Joe would have had to tend to that problem as quickly as possible before Hitler finished dealing with France and Britain.

    My position remains that the Soviets could have thrashed (and possibly trashed) the Kwantung Army, which was largely a light infantry formation, with sub-standard (according to Western standards) armor, artillery, air force and tactics in about a year or so, providing Hitler was kept busy on the Western Front. A tall order yes, but this is what-if land here, so I'm fantasizing the not so quick fall of France and Britain being kicked off the continent right away. Maybe this could have occurred with a spirited pre-emptive strike by France against Germany before the Poles collapsing. Yeah right.
     
  3. green slime

    green slime Member

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    The Trans Siberian Railway was still for long stretches a single lane railroad, even past the 50's, but that hardly matters: most if not all towns, and junctions in between, provided ample room for long trains to pass each other. It was the only realistic way to move large amounts of supplies from the Far East to the West, and vice versa, especially during the summer period. The Russians were very good at it.

    I think it boils down to Joe being very careful about fighting two wars simultaneously; The timing of the Molentov-Ribbentrop Treaty (and the German disregard for the offence this caused Japan), the punishing of the Kwantang Army, the ceasefire agreement with Japan, and the invasion of Poland all slot into place quite nicely for Stalin. It allows him to send supplies and ammunition where it's needed, prevents distractions, and allows campaigns to be concluded tidily, without any messy complications.

    Losses for the Soviets where still quite high; they lost some 250 aircraft of around 800 employed over the whole campaign, and ca 23,000 casualties of 57,000 troops employed. So it wasn't exactly a walk in the park. Advancing further, they would have encountered Japanese prepared fortifications, and IJHQ would have lifted restrictions they had placed on their airforce.

    Could the Soviets have thrown the IJA out of Manchuria? Potentially, but at what cost, and for what gain? It would only endanger the plans for more interesting pieces of real estate available at a perceived lesser cost; the former Tsarist possession Finland (and thus protecting Leningrad), and Bessarabia. It would have been a horrible, nasty, costly war for the USSR. One they really could ill-afford. They would have been funnelling more and more arms and supplies further and further East, when they wanted to ward off an attack from the West.

    Expanding the war into the whole of Manchukuo, and threatening the Empire of Japan, is not something Stalin yet felt confident enough to do.

    I doubt that Soviet bombing would really achieve anything at all on a strategic level. At this stage of the war, "Strategic Bombing" is basically as efficient as flipping people the bird.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed but they still ran into logistical difficulties fighting a demoralized army that was a mere shadow of what it was a few years earlier. Furthermore that was just in Manchuria. Then there is the equipment that they had in 45 that they didn't a few years earlier. Not to mention the experiance in conducting major offensives. Then when you look at the strength of the IJA airforce and the vulnerability of the Trans-Siberian Railway combined with the difficulties of projecting thier force further into China.

    So no I don't see them "clearing the continent post haste".
     
  5. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Even if the Soviets could have bombed Tokyo, I don't they had the means to sustain a bombing campaign and thus they would simple provoke a fight that was not in their interest at the time.
     
  6. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Hmmm, just reading about Nomonhan, in this book, the author asserts that the TransSiberian railway had by then been dual tracked, so I'll bow to his research and blame my faulty, decrepit memory and encroaching senility.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, I believe that by 1939, it was dual, and in some areas triple, tracked from end to end.
     
  8. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    From what I've read in the past (and none of it was in depth or dissertation level), in 1939 the Soviets could have dealt the IJA a serious blow and eventually cleared the continent of them based on the thumping the Soviets gave the IJA in the border wars of 1938-39 if Stalin did not have Hitler to worry about or contend with, that's all.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I seem to remember reading a number of times that the Trans Siberian RR was still single track in some places during WWII. After a fair amount of googleing I couldn't find anything definitive. It was mentioned that the Soviets started upgrading the line in a number of ways includeing dual tracking in 1926 and continued through the 30's and also constructed some alternate routes during this time.
     
  10. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Did they have to detour around the Tunguska event site?
     
  11. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    I believe the event was to the far north where there is nothing of significance.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The original track was laid in that area before the Tunguska Event of 1908.

    As an aside, there was a train on the Trans-Siberian railway that "was there" for the event. "was there" as in about 600 kilometers to the soutwest of the explosion site. The engineer heard a series of bangs and thought there had been a trouble on the train. The passengers had witnessed a bright blue ball of fire trailing smokes streak across the sky.
     
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  13. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Well if it would make you feel any better about it, an extended bombing campaign of Tokyo and other cities could have contributed to border wars breaking out and developing into something of significance.
     
  14. luke_cage

    luke_cage Member

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    I'm late adding to this thread but I just finished reading "Nomohan, 1939" by Stuart Goldman. The author makes a compelling case that events in Nomohan contributed to the start of war in Europe. I won't spoil the book for those who might be interested in it.

    But to amswer the original question, a Soviet bombing of Tokyo would have likely led to a major escalation and possibly all out war between Japan and the Soviet Union. Even if the Japanese senior official wanted to avoid war, the prevalence of "Gekokujo" or "rule from below" whereby younger ultranationalistic amd militaristic middle ranking Japanese officers started and continued wars would had certainly meant a major escalation.

    With nearly a million troops already tied down in China it's hard to see how the IJA could have prevailed over the Red Army in 1939. But it may have taken a while (a year or two?) for the Red Army to fully prevail over Japan on the Asian continent.

    What might be more interesting to speculate on would be how this might have affected events in Europe. With a signficant part of the Red Army tied down in Asia Hitler might have been tempted to invade the Soviet Union earlier. Indeed, Hitler may have seen no need to sign a non-agression pact with Stalin if he perceived the Red Army to be unlikely to engage in a two front war (against both Germany and Japan). Perhaps Hitler would have invaded the Soviet Union in the Spring of 1940, gambling that the Wermacht could knock the Red Army out before the Allies did much.
     

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