Battle of Lake Khasan

Battle of Lake Khasan

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Battle of Lake Khasan'
Start a new discussion about 'Battle of Lake Khasan'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Battle of Lake Khasan (July 29, 1938 – August 11, 1938) and also known as the Changkufeng Incident (Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 and Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

: 張鼓峰事件; Chinese Pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

: Zhānggǔfēng Shìjiàn; Japanese Romaji: Chōkohō Jiken) in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion of Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 (Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese) into the territory claimed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. This incursion was founded in the beliefs of the Japanese side that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Treaty of Peking between Imperial Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and the Manchu Empire
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers were tampered with.

Background


For most of the first half of the twentieth century there was considerable tension between Moscow, Tokyo and Beijing along their common borders in what is now North East China. The Chinese Eastern Railway
Chinese Eastern Railway
The Chinese Eastern Railway or was a railway in northeastern China . It connected Chita and the Russian Far East. English-speakers have sometimes referred to this line as the Manchurian Railway...

 or (CER) was a railway in northeastern China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 (Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

). It connected China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

. The southern branch of the CER, known in the West as the South Manchuria Railway
South Manchuria Railway
The , and operated within China in the Japanese-controlled South Manchuria Railway Zone. The railway itself ran from Lüshun Port at the southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula to Harbin, where it connected to the Chinese Eastern Railway.-History:...

, became the locus and partial casus belli
Casus belli
is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while means bellic...

 for the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 and subsequent incidents leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

, and a series of Soviet-Japanese Border Wars
Soviet-Japanese Border Wars
The Soviet–Japanese Border Wars were a series of border conflicts between the Soviet Union and Japan between 1932 and 1939.Before Japanese occupation of Manchukuo, the Soviet Union had conflict with China on the border of Manchuria...

. Larger incidents included the Sino-Soviet conflict
Sino-Soviet conflict (1929)
The Sino–Soviet conflict of 1929 was a minor armed conflict between the Soviet Union and Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang of the Republic of China over the Manchurian Chinese Eastern Railway....

 of 1929 and the Mukden Incident
Mukden Incident
The Mukden Incident, also known as the Manchurian Incident, was a staged event that was engineered by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for invading the northern part of China known as Manchuria in 1931....

 between Japan and China in 1931. The battle of Lake Khasan was fought between two powers which had long distrusted each other.

The confrontation was triggered when the Soviet Far East Army and Soviet State Security (NKVD) Border Guard reinforced its Khasan border with Manchuria. This was prompted in part by the famous defection
Defection
In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. More broadly, it involves abandoning a person, cause or doctrine to whom or to which one is bound by some tie, as of allegiance or duty.This term is also applied,...

 one month before to the Japanese at Hunchun
Hunchun
Hunchun is a county-level city in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, far eastern Jilin province, Northeast China. It borders North Korea and Russia , has over 250,000 inhabitants, and streching on a 5,145 square-kilometer...

, in the heart of the Tumen River Area, of Soviet General G.S. Lyushkov
Genrikh Lyushkov
Genrikh Samoilovich Lyushkov was an officer in the Soviet secret police and its highest-ranking defector....

, in charge of all NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 forces in the Soviet Far East. He provided the Japanese with critical intelligence on the poor state of Soviet Far Eastern forces and the wholesale purge of army officers

Events


On July 6, 1938 the Japanese Kwantung Army intercepted and decoded a message sent by the Russian commander in the Posyet
Posyet
Posyet is an urban locality in Khasansky District of Primorsky Krai, Russia, and an ice-free port on the Possiet Bay. Population:...

 region to Soviet headquarters in Khabarovsk. The message recommended that Russian soldiers be allowed to secure previously unoccupied high ground west of Lake Khasan, most notably the disputed Changkufeng Heights, because it would be advantageous for the Soviets to occupy terrain which overlooked the Korean port-city of Najin, as well as strategic railways linking Korea to Manchuria. Within the next two weeks, small groups of Soviet border troops then moved into the area and began fortifying the mountain, constructing emplacements, observation trenches, entanglements, and communications facilities.

At first, the Japanese Korean Army, which had been assigned to defend the area, disregarded the Soviet advance. However, the Kwantung Army, whose administrative jurisdiction overlapped Changkufeng, pushed the Korean Army to take more action because it was suspicious of Soviet intentions. Following this, the Korean Army took the matter to Tokyo, recommending that a formal protest be sent to the USSR.

The conflict started on July 15, when the Japanese attaché
Attaché
Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency...

 in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 demanded the removal of Soviet border troops from the Bezymyannaya (сопка Безымянная, Chinese name: Shachaofeng) and Zaozyornaya (сопка Заозёрная, Chinese name: Changkufeng) Hills to the west of Lake Khasan
Lake Khasan
Lake Khasan is a small lake in Khasansky District, Primorsky Krai of Russia, on the border with North Korea, 130 km southwest of Vladivostok. It has a surface area of 2.23 km2. The Tanbogatyi River flows from the lake...

 in the south of Primorye
Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai , informally known as Primorye , is a federal subject of Russia . Primorsky means "maritime" in Russian, hence the region is sometimes referred to as Maritime Province or Maritime Territory. Its administrative center is in the city of Vladivostok...

, not far from Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

, claiming this territory by the Soviet–Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 border. The demand was rejected.
The first Japanese attack on July 29 was repelled, but on July 31 the Soviet troops had to retreat. The Japanese 19th Division
19th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the .-History:The 19th Division and the 20th Division were raised on 24 December 1915 as a garrison force for Korea. After Japan's victory in the Russo-Japanese War, and subsequent occupation, and then annexation of Korea,...

 along with some Manchukuo units took on the Soviet 39th Rifle Corps under Grigori Shtern
Grigori Shtern
Grigori Mihailovich Shtern 1900, Smila, Kiev Governorate – 28 October 1941) was a Soviet officer in the Red Army and military advisor during the Spanish Civil War. He also served with distinction during the Soviet-Japanese Border Wars and the Winter War....

 (eventually consisting of the 32nd
32nd Rifle Division
The 32nd Rifle Division was first raised in 1934 at Vladivostok and organized as a Siberian Rifle Division. The division initially served Far Eastern Military District as part of the 39th Rifle Corps. It took part in a number of border skirmishes on the Manchurian border near Lake Khasan...

, 39th
39th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 39th Pacific Ocean Red Banner Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Soviet Union's Red Army, formed in 1922, which fought in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria against the Japanese in 1945, and became a motor rifle division in 1957. It later became a machine-gun artillery division,...

, and 40th Rifle Divisions, as well as the 2nd Mechanised Brigade). One of the Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 Commanders at the battle was Colonel Kotoku Sato
Kotoku Sato
was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.-Biography:Sato was born in Yamagata prefecture and graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1913 and the Army Staff College in 1921....

, the commander of the 75th Infantry Regiment. Sato's forces expelled Russian troops from the hill in a night sortie, the execution of which became a Japanese model for assaults on fortified positions.

It was also reported that during the Changkufeng Incident the Japanese orchestrated frontal assaults with light and medium tanks which were immediately followed by Russian tank and artillery counter-attacks. In 1933, the Japanese designed and built a "Rinji Soko Ressha" (Special Armored Train). The train was deployed at "2nd Armored Train Unit" in Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 and participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 and the Changkufeng conflict against the Soviets transporting thousands of Japanese troops to and from the battlefield, displaying to the West the ability of an Asian nation capable of adopting and implementing Western ideas and doctrine concerning rapid infantry deployment and transportation.

On 31 July, people's comissar for defense Kliment Voroshilov
Kliment Voroshilov
Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov , popularly known as Klim Voroshilov was a Soviet military officer, politician, and statesman...

 ordered combat readiness for 1st Coastal Army; Pacific Fleet
Pacific Fleet (Russia)
The Pacific Fleet is the part of the Russian Navy that is stationed in the Pacific Ocean, which formerly secured the Far Eastern borders of the Soviet Union. The fleet headquarters is located at Vladivostok and a number of fleet bases are located in the Vladivostok area...

 was mobilized as well.

Under the command of the chief of the Far East Front
Soviet Far East Front
The Far Eastern Front was a Front — a formation equivalent to a Western Army Group — of the Soviet Army during the Russian Civil War and the Second World War....

, Vasily Blücher, additional forces were moved to the zone of conflict and after several engagements during August 2–9 the Japanese forces were disastrously defeated and thrown out of the Soviet territory.

On August 10, the Japanese prime minister sent to the United States asked for peace and the hostilities ceased on August 11.The Japanese forces were never able to challenge the Red Army again.

Consequences


The Japanese military, while taking the lesson seriously, was willing to engage with the Soviets once more, in the more extensive Battle of Khalkhin Gol
Battle of Khalkhin Gol
The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border Wars fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia and the Empire of Japan in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield...

 (Nomonhan) in the Soviet-Japanese Border War of 1939.

The Soviet losses were blamed on the incompetence of Vasily Blücher. On October 22 he was arrested by the NKVD and later tortured to death.


See also

  • Ivan Pozharsky
    Ivan Pozharsky
    Ivan Pozharsky is a Hero of Soviet Union.He was born in 1905 in Ardatov, now Mordovia. He died in Battle of Lake Khasan near Zaozyornaya Sopka and Khasan Lake. He was buried in Kraskino ....

    , posthumously awarded Hero of the Soviet Union
    Hero of the Soviet Union
    The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.-Overview:...

    for his participation in the battle

External links