Helion's Red Star vs Rising Sun Vol 2
|$29.95 MSRP from Casemate|
72 pages, softcover,
This is the second volume in Helion's series on the 1930's wars between the Soviet Union and Japan. This conflict occurred on the border between Japanese controlled Manchuria (Manchukuo) and Soviet controlled Mongolia along the Nomonhan River. Hence the name of the war. This was in early/mid 1939 before war broke out in Europe.
For a few years there had been border incursions by the Soviets/Mongolians into areas claimed by the Japanese/Manchurians. Initially these were minimal events but as often happens when dealing with the Soviets, things escalated when the Soviets started bombing Manchurian targets. Thanks to the somewhat trigger-happy Japanese Kwantung Army units in the area, things escalated.
Not surprising is that the Japanese underestimated the Soviet forces and did not have the manpower or equipment superiority (especially tanks and artillery) to properly conduct operations. It also didn't help that the Soviets got capable leadership (Zhukov) and the result was a fairly overwhelming defeat for the Japanese Army. Soon events in Europe caused both sides to put their attentions more to Europe for the Soviets and Southeast Asia for the Japanese, making the last major confrontation between the two sides until August 1945.
The author has provided a very readable book that provides not only a look at the events leading up to the campaign, but also the men and equipment that were used. Of course there is always a political aspect of things and that is covered as well. Air power played a significant part in the operations and while the Japanese generally had the best aircraft and pilots, they simply did not have enough of them and were eventually overwhelmed by numbers. A similar situation took place on the ground and all of that is covered. I very much liked the full color profiles, of which there are more than the usual number as well as the period photos and maps that are included. It makes a great companion to the edition on the Kalkin Gol and is highly recommended to all.
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