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Chinese Contribution

Discussion in 'War in the Pacific' started by Ricky, Oct 9, 2022.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Another random thought that occurred to me and will hopefully stimulate some discussion here.

    The vast majority of the Japanese army spent the war in China, yet China is rarely discussed, let alone credited. There is an obvious comparison to the USSR against Germany, yet the war vs Japan tends to be thought of first and foremost as the island-hopping campaign (USA vs the IJN). The Burma/India campaign in usually referred to as the 'forgotten war' with good reason. And China tends to be reduced to a footnote or two about Vinegar Joe, flying over the 'hump' and the communist guerilla war.

    Now I'm not arguing that the Chinese army was particularly effective, but imagine (for example) how far the Japanese could have got through India if they hadn't been so tied up in China. And Chinese troops were active in Burma/India, shoring up the northern flank. The Western Allies (especially the British Empire) owe the Chinese a lot IMO
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Japanese tried to conquer China for seven years and failed. "Ain't that tuff enough".
     
  3. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn Member

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    Congratulating the Chinese for acting in their own interests seems a bit much. Mao resisted Japanese occupation because he wanted to being in charge of oppressing the Chinese.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I'm of two minds. In his book about the OSS in Burma Behind Japanese Lines, author Richard Dunlop numerous times talked about the lack of training and overall unpreparedness of Chinese troops. In several engagements they were unable to match the Japanese, even though the Japanese were outnumbered. The troops seemed more concerned with political developments, i.e. the conflict between the Communists and the Nationalists.
    By the same token, the Chinese did hold back the Japanese for seven years. It's difficult to imagine what damage the Japanese could have done if they were able to dispense with China and direct all of their military might against the US and Britain.
    It's an interesting question and demands a great deal of thought. Thanks for bringing it up.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    WTF
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Japanese Monographs are interesting read on this topic, along with many others.
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The Chinese did win a number of victories such as the first three battles of Changsha in 1939-42. Many of the nominal Japanese victories were less than complete, with Chinese armies escaping encirclement or the Japanese, having taken an objective, unable to retain it. The Chinese also had some success in Burma, both during the early and late-war campaigns.

    An analogy might be made to Napoleon's Spanish campaign, which dragged on for years, tied down a significant share of his forces, and created a constant drain of troops and resources.

    The Chinese conflict certainly made the rest of the Alllies' war easier; on the other hand, without Japanese aggression in China, we might not have been fighting them at all.
     
    Domobran7 likes this.
  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Japanese kept telling Hirohito that the war in China would be over in a year. Every year since 1937 actually.
     
  9. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Another comparison with Germany vs USSR, 'knock the door in and the whole structure will fall' lol
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Lou,
    Interesting thought, though I would think the conversion of ground strength would be hard to convert into sea strength, which I think would be the largest hurdle to overcome when facing the US..

    Releasing large numbers of ground forces to be used in SE Asia would have facilitated a drive into India, though. But supporting such an endeavor long term could put them back in the same boat, considering the Japanese would still have to ship men supplies, etc from Japan by boat pretty much all the way to ports in these newly captured territories, exposing them to the affects of the only successful unrestricted submarine warfare in history.
     
  11. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    ...until the Burma railway was completed. And if they decided to use some of those spare troops to help create the railway (and even make it bigger/longer) then they could cut sea routes to a minimum quite quickly. Certainly before the US subs got into high gear.


    Another crazy thought... if the army wasn't mired in China, is it possible that they might rethink going for the Northern Expansion Doctrine? After all, one of the key problems faced by the Kwantung Army was that they were severely outnumbered by Soviet forces. Assuming that Japan took Manchuria in 1931 but then didn't go to war against China in 1937... you could argue that maybe they would be able to achieve closer numerical parity with Soviet border forces. Could they even win Khalkhin Gol?

    This might be going in a rather fantasist direction
     
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    They still have to get them across water from Japan to Burma, to use that railroad
     
  13. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    If the Japanese would’ve went north, say in conjunction with Operation Barbarossa, I think that they might’ve met with initial success but eventually the Rooskies would’ve fell back and regrouped. Supplies and replacements arriving on the Trans-Siberian RR would facilitate an offensive to push the IJA back into Manchuria and beyond IMHO. The Rooskies thumped the Japanese royally in the 1939 border wars with great ease. Even with them pulling out quality units to face the Germans, those units were replaced by newly raised and other green units to the point that there was little change in the numerical strength (on paper anyway) to face the IJA. Additionally, the Japanese armor was inferior and in small quantities as compared with Soviet mechanized formations.

    This scenario is just my opinion, so let the haters hate.
     
  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    One aspect of this scenario is that almost half of American Lend-Lease to Russia passed through Japanese waters, to Vladivostok and the TSRR. Ironically the principal danger to Russian freighters on this route was American submarines, which inadvertently sank five of them.

    The larger question might be the Japanese motivation, other than war for the sake of war, which frankly was much of the rationale for the war in China. We know today that Siberia has extensive natural resources, but - comments/corrections welcome - AFAIK these were not known and the technology to exploit them did not exist in the 1940s. Japan went to war in 1941 to secure resources which they needed immediately to support their economy and the war in China (this all could have been resolved by terminating that war, but that was unacceptable to their military leadership). The East Indies offered wells, refineries, mines, farms, etc. which could be promptly put to use once occupied. The Japanese anticipated - correctly - that these could be taken and put into their service with the combat power available. Siberia presented no such opportunity.
     

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