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Thread: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

  1. #31
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    The Tetrarch (Light Tank MK VII) was used in limited numbers by the airborne forces in Madagascar (May 1942) and on D Day but was hopelessly outclassed as a gun tank (2 pdr main gun, even when equipped with the littlejohn adaptor). It was withdrawn not long after D Day and the M22 (Locust) was used on Op Varsity instead in very small numbers.

    The Harry Hopkins (Light Tank Mk VIII) would possibly have been a better vehicle especially the Alecto SPG or Dozer variants if it had been available.
    How would these have gone against the Japanese tanks in China and Manchuria?

    I'm wondering whether the Japanese relied upon tankettes in those theatres as they did in their southern thrust?
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  2. #32
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    I would love to find out how the Tetrarch fared in Soviet service as 20 were sent and received by them.

    It was a small tank armed with the standard 2 pdr and was relatively fast. Having them in service as the light tank in 1940 with the BEF instead of the MkVI (which they were supposed to replace) may have made a significant contribution.

    The were probably comparable to the Japanese light tanks and much better than the tankettes, Having them airlifted into the areas to provide immediate mobile fire support would probably have been worth the expenditure (fuel, munitions, spares and repairs).

    As a personal preference if they had concentrated on the Harry Hopkins (Light Mk VIII) and especially the Alecto SPG (95mm Howitzer) and Dozer variant, they would have had 2 very useful light support vehicles (Light dozers come into a whole usefulness of their own)
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
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  3. #33
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Japan's preferred option was to move into Siberia, but it discounted this as beyond its abilities and chose instead to go southwards.

    That's not a 'what if' but a real decision based upon a careful analysis by Japanese military and political leaders of all relevant factors and Japanese ambitions, which says all that needs to be said about what was likely to happen to Japan if it attacked the USSR.

    The Soviet forces marshalled against Japan at the time and throughout the war were probably sufficient to repel a Japanese attack. The Japanese military leaders certainly thought so.

    A Japanese attack on the Soviets would probably have been contained by local Soviet forces without any impact on German actions to the west.

    However, by not attacking the US, Britain, the Netherlands, and Australia to the south and east, Japan would have allowed those nations to focus their resources solely upon Germany, which would only have hastened the defeat of Germany.
    Don't forget, Rising Sun, that Japan had a current and ongoing treaty with the Soviets at the time. This served the Soviets because it allowed them to focuds on the Germans and served the Japanese because it safeguarded Manchuria. It's true, apparently, that the Japanese had been badly bloodied by the Russians earler by armies led by Marshall Zhukov.

    Still the "careful" calculations of the Japanese Imperial Army were incredibly badly informed if it meant that they thought that attacking the US would be easier than attacking the Russians. My thinking is that the Japanese planners were very poorly led, but were definitely seduced by the lure of Dutch-controlled oil in Indonesia. Why the Japanese thought that attacking Hawaii would make the acquisition of that oil easier is anybody's guess since the US would definitely NOT have declared war on Japan if it had simply gone after British and Dutch possessions in the far east. As it happened, the only viable force that could counter the Japanese - American carriers - was not even in Hawaii at the time of the attack.

    Frankly, the history of Japanese actions prior to and during WW2 in the Pacific amounts to a series of devastating blunders all around.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    The soviet-japane agreement was rather ..fictional. Westerners traditionally forgetting about a MILLION FAR-EAST Red army that stay there ALL the war as guaranty of Japanese "friendly intentions ".i read, even during fierce battle of Stalingrad the Stavka keep this reserve untouched. The same role played the Kwantung army - almost 1 million had been keeped out of active war in Pacific.
    I do believe that indeed Japanses has chosed the "South direction" of agression only in november 1941 i.e. when it has became clear - the Barbarossa was failured. I will not wonder if Moscow falls in september 1941 as Hitler promised to all the world- the Japane might easy to attack the Russian far east yet in december.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

  5. #35
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by royal744 View Post
    Don't forget, Rising Sun, that Japan had a current and ongoing treaty with the Soviets at the time. This served the Soviets because it allowed them to focuds on the Germans and served the Japanese because it safeguarded Manchuria. It's true, apparently, that the Japanese had been badly bloodied by the Russians earler by armies led by Marshall Zhukov.

    Still the "careful" calculations of the Japanese Imperial Army were incredibly badly informed if it meant that they thought that attacking the US would be easier than attacking the Russians. My thinking is that the Japanese planners were very poorly led, but were definitely seduced by the lure of Dutch-controlled oil in Indonesia. Why the Japanese thought that attacking Hawaii would make the acquisition of that oil easier is anybody's guess since the US would definitely NOT have declared war on Japan if it had simply gone after British and Dutch possessions in the far east. As it happened, the only viable force that could counter the Japanese - American carriers - was not even in Hawaii at the time of the attack.

    Frankly, the history of Japanese actions prior to and during WW2 in the Pacific amounts to a series of devastating blunders all around.
    Treatys seemed to matter little to many of the countries engaged in hostilities during WW2 so there would be no reason to really assume that the Japanese/Soviet one would be honoured if either side considered it to be advantageous to discard it (as the Soviets did in 1945).

    The Kwantung Army seemed to be left to its own devices during 1939, it did not seem to be under close control and was given a fair degree of latitude in it's actions. I don't think the Battle of Khalin Gol was actually a strategic decision by the Japanese High Command, more of a 'its happened can we profit from it but not go to all out war'.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    Treatys seemed to matter little to many of the countries engaged in hostilities during WW2 so there would be no reason to really assume that the Japanese/Soviet one would be honoured if either side considered it to be advantageous to discard it (as the Soviets did in 1945).
    You stole my thunder there.

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    The Kwantung Army seemed to be left to its own devices during 1939, it did not seem to be under close control and was given a fair degree of latitude in it's actions.
    My reading suggests that it was less a case of being given latitude than the Kwantung Army going off on a frolic of its own when it suited it, and Tokyo being unable - or in some cases perhaps choosing to be unable - to assert control. This was a consequence of the fractured political and military lines of control in a difficult domestic political situation created by the tensions between the militarists and the civilian government.

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    I don't think the Battle of Khalin Gol was actually a strategic decision by the Japanese High Command, more of a 'its happened can we profit from it but not go to all out war'.
    That's pretty much my understanding of it. A small border incident grew into something a lot bigger and was abandoned when Japan realised it was going to get flogged.
    ..
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  7. #37
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by royal744 View Post
    Still the "careful" calculations of the Japanese Imperial Army were incredibly badly informed if it meant that they thought that attacking the US would be easier than attacking the Russians.
    It wasn't purely an IJA decision, but a decision of the combined IJA and IJN approved at imperial conference level.

    The thrust to gain the NEI oil was driven primarily by the IJN need for oil, as indeed was the decision to go to war because of the limited supplies to sustain the IJN after the oil embargoes imposed upon Japan.

    This is somewhat simplistic, but it seems that the IJA and IJN pursued separate agendas and that the IJN favoured expansion into areas beyond those already controlled by the IJA, i.e. going south across the seas to give the IJA some possessions rather than consolidating the IJA land grabs in China.

    Quote Originally Posted by royal744 View Post
    Why the Japanese thought that attacking Hawaii would make the acquisition of that oil easier is anybody's guess since the US would definitely NOT have declared war on Japan if it had simply gone after British and Dutch possessions in the far east. As it happened, the only viable force that could counter the Japanese - American carriers - was not even in Hawaii at the time of the attack.

    Frankly, the history of Japanese actions prior to and during WW2 in the Pacific amounts to a series of devastating blunders all around.
    With the benefit of hindsight we can see them as blunders, but viewed at the time the attack on Hawaii was the final step in a logical chain which said that America had to be neutralised when Japan attacked the NEI and Malaya, which necessitated taking the Philippines to prevent America straddling Japan's lines of communication to the NEI and Malaya, which in turn required neutralising Pearl Harbor to prevent that fleet steaming to the assistance of American and Filipino forces in the Philippines. And it worked very well in the early stages but, as Yamamoto said after receiving confirmation of the decision to go to war, or something like this (Can't recall exact wording) "We shall control the Pacific for six months after the start of the war, but after that ...."

    I think that Japan's critical failure in planning wasn't in deciding to attack Hawaii, for that made sound strategical sense in its overall planning, but in failing to anticipate the strength of American response, both at a popular and military level, to that attack.

    Japan should be grateful for the Germany First policy, because otherwise it would have been wiped out by 1944 if America had devoted all its resources to the war against Japan as most Americans probably wanted following Pearl Harbor. And that is without the atom bomb.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 07-27-2011 at 08:48 AM.
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  8. #38
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    Treatys seemed to matter little to many of the countries engaged in hostilities during WW2 so there would be no reason to really assume that the Japanese/Soviet one would be honoured if either side considered it to be advantageous to discard it (as the Soviets did in 1945).
    Actually, the Rissians did not discard it. They let the treaty lapse and informed the Japanese beforehand that they were doing do.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    The Treaty was a 5 year treaty signed in April 1941, it had a provision to denounce it after 4 years (basically giving 1 years notice of termination), if it was not denounced it would automatically be extended for another 5 years.
    On the 5th of April 1945 the Soviets denounced the treaty as was their right, this meant the treaty stopped being in force in April 1946.

    Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact

    The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, guided by a desire to strengthen peaceful and friendly relations between the two countries, have decided to conclude a pact on neutrality, for which purpose they have appointed as their Representatives:

    The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics;
    His Majesty the Emperor of Japan - Yosuke Matsuoka, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jusanmin, Cavalier of the Order of the Sacred Treasure of the First Class, and Yoshitsugu Tatekawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Lieutenant General, Jusanmin, Cavalier of the Order of the Rising Sun of the First Class and the Order of the Golden Kite of the Fourth Class,
    who, after an exchange of their credentials, which were found in due and proper form, have agreed on the following:

    Article one: Both Contracting Parties undertake to maintain peaceful and friendly relations between them and mutually respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of the other Contracting Party.
    Article two: Should one of the Contracting Parties become the object of hostilities on the part of one or several third powers, the other Contracting Party will observe neutrality throughout the duration of the conflict.
    Article three: The present Pact comes into force from the day of its ratification by both Contracting Parties and remains valid for five years. In case neither of the Contracting Parties denounces the Pact one year before the expiration of the term, it will be considered automatically prolonged for the next five years.
    Article four: The present Pact is subject to ratification as soon as possible. The instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Tokyo, also as soon as possible.
    In confirmation whereof the above-named Representatives have signed the present Pact in two copies, drawn up in the Russian and Japanese languages, and affixed thereto their seals. Done in Moscow on April 13, 1941, which corresponds to the 13th day of the fourth month of the 16th year of Showa.

    V. Molotov
    Yosuke Matsuoka
    Yoshitsugu Tatekawa
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    On the 5th of April 1945 the Soviets denounced the treaty as was their right, this meant the treaty stopped being in force in April 1946.
    Well soviet side had formally explained it's decision by "Japanes will to continie the war".
    There is text of Molotov's note to japanese ambassador.
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/s4.asp
    On Aug. 8, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R. Molotoff received the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Sato, and gave him, on behalf of the Soviet Government, the following for transmission to the Japanese Government:

    "After the defeat and capitulation of Hitlerite Germany, Japan became the only great power that still stood for the continuation of the war.

    "The demand of the three powers, the United States, Great Britain and China, on July 26 for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces was rejected by Japan, and thus the proposal of the Japanese Government to the Soviet Union on mediation in the war in the Far East loses all basis.

    "Taking into consideration the refusal of Japan to capitulate, the Allies submitted to the Soviet Government a proposal to join the war against Japanese aggression and thus shorten the duration of the war, reduce the number of victims and facilitate the speedy restoration of universal peace.

    "Loyal to its Allied duty, the Soviet Government has accepted the proposals of the Allies and has joined in the declaration of the Allied powers of July 26.

    "The Soviet Government considers that this policy is the only means able to bring peace nearer, free the people from further sacrifice and suffering and give the Japanese people the possibility of avoiding the dangers and destruction suffered by Germany after her refusal to capitulate unconditionally.

    "In view of the above, the Soviet Government declares that from tomorrow, that is from Aug. 9, the Soviet Government will consider itself to be at war with Japan

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

  11. #41
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Well soviet side had formally explained it's decision by "Japanes will to continie the war".
    There is text of Molotov's note to japanese ambassador.
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/s4.asp
    That's the Soviet explanation to Japan, but the Soviets were already committed to going to war against Japan as part of a long-standing agreement with the other Allies that the USSR would attack Japan after Germany was defeated.
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  12. #42
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    That's the Soviet explanation to Japan, but the Soviets were already committed to going to war against Japan as part of a long-standing agreement with the other Allies that the USSR would attack Japan after Germany was defeated.
    Sure, it was the matter of discussion since Tehrain conference. Yet in 1943 it were clear the USSR should join the war against Japane. The Japane knew this via the German intelligence service, but i heard the Japanese still hoped for possible the Soviet/Allies hostilities to avoid the total war against Japane.
    Last edited by Chevan; 07-28-2011 at 11:06 AM.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

  13. #43
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    If you read John Toland's The Rising Sun, written pretty much from the Japanese perspective, you will see just how peculiarly messed up the Japanese direction of the war was and how woefully cumbersome their decision making process was. While the Japanese were quite successful at first when they launched their initial surprise attacks - surprise attacks are often successful against essentially unprepared and fairly helpless enemies (witness Hitler's Barbarossa) - they were spectacularly unsuccessful in the follow up. Consider that within 6 months of Pearl Harbor 1) the thrust to Australia had been stopped in the Coral Sea and 2) the offensive power of the IJN had been crippled at Mdway. It was all downhill from there. It took a long time to defeat the Japanese because of the tenacious and suicidal fighting spirit of their troops where personal death was honorable and held in high regard, whereas the Americans, Aussies and British preferred to be alive after the battle. But all this resulted in was the senseless deaths of millions of Japanese to no good purpose.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Sure, it was the matter of discussion since Tehrain conference. Yet in 1943 it were clear the USSR should join the war against Japane. The Japane knew this via the German intelligence service, but i heard the Japanese still hoped for possible the Soviet/Allies hostilities to avoid the total war against Japane.
    Which makes it all the more curious why the Japanese tried to negotiate a peace in mid-1945 through the Soviets when Japan knew that the USSR was about to, or at least likely to, attack it.

    Perhaps this is just another example of Japan's failure to understand the other side's attitudes and likely responses to Japan's actions, as with Pearl Harbor.
    ..
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  15. #45
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Which makes it all the more curious why the Japanese tried to negotiate a peace in mid-1945 through the Soviets when Japan knew that the USSR was about to, or at least likely to, attack it.

    Perhaps this is just another example of Japan's failure to understand the other side's attitudes and likely responses to Japan's actions, as with Pearl Harbor.
    "Unrealistic" and prone to fantastic schemes to avoid certain defeat characterized Japan's deliberations throughout the war. Japan was defeated the moment it attacked Pearl Harbor - they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble, lives and cities by not underestimating the allies before they attacked. As I mentioned earlier, their planning on a strategic level was terrible. Japan's ambassador to Russia had taken the measure of the Russians and knew how intractable they were and how unlikely they were to listen to Japanese proposals. His bosses in Tokyo paid no attention to his warnings.

    They had "never" lost a war before. Defeat was inconcievable. The shame of it was unbearable. It took the emperor to tell them to "bear the unbearable".
    Last edited by royal744; 08-19-2011 at 03:17 PM. Reason: content

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