Evacuation of Manchukuo

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The Evacuation of Manchukuo occurred during the Soviet Red Army's invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo as part of the wider Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation of August 1945.

The Soviets recovered territory which had been captured by Japan during the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905, and they dismantled the Manchu industrial infrastructure. This deprived Chiang Kai Shek's troops of a vital region of China, and gave Mao Zedong's VIII Army the opportunity to overrun the ancient Manchu kingdom.[citation needed]

Kwantung Army strength[edit]

On August 10, 1945, troops of the 17th Japanese Front (in Korea) and the fifth Japanese Air Army were placed under the command of the Kwantung Army. At this point, the Japanese Kwantung Army numbered nearly 750,000 officers and men. It had 1,155 tanks and self-propelled guns, 1,800 warplanes, and 30 warships and gunboats. The entire Japanese force deployed in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and Korea numbered over one million officers and men.

Russian military operations in Manchukuo and Korea[edit]

The Soviet Army possessed 1.7 times more Infantry, 4.5 times more armor, and 2.8 times more aircraft than the Japanese. On the sea theater, Russian naval forces, unlike Japan, had no aircraft carriers and battleships. However, the chances of those vessels appearing in the Gulf of Korea or the Japan Sea were low, since Russian air domination was complete.

On August 9, 1945, the Soviet Army began the Sungari Offensive. The Amur Flotilla assisted troops of the second Far Eastern Front in routing the Japanese Kwantung Army. Having crossed the Amur and Ussuri rivers with the help of the Amur Flotilla, troops from two Soviet armies and an infantry corps captured two river bridgeheads.

The Japanese army used a variety of field artillery in an attempt to stop the Red Army, but had very limited ammunition available at the front line and failed to achieve significant results against the Russian infantry and armor erupting from the Soviet Far East and Mongolia into Manchukuo and Mengchiang.

At the same time and with gunboat support a Soviet landing party entered Fuyuan and quickly took the city. The First Brigade of river gunboats from the Amur Flotilla, having swept shipping channels, entered the estuary of the river Sungari to support the troops as they landed with artillery fire. On August 10, Soviet forces captured the Sungari Fortified District and the Tuntsiang defense center. It was here that the crew of the gunboat Sun Yatsen distinguished itself.

When Soviet forces took the Futsing Fortified District, the gunboat, acting jointly with a detachment of armoured launches, destroyed five permanent emplacements, a munitions depot and six mortar batteries with precise artillery. At the same time, the Sun Yatsen transferred landing parties across the river and supported their land operations with artillery fire.

On August 18, troops of the 15th Army captured the Sun'u Fortified District and Sun’u City and took 20,000 Japanese officers and soldiers prisoner. On August 19, Soviet ground troops and Amur Flotilla sailors captured Sansing. On August 20, in Harbin, after combat action captured by Soviet paratroopers, the first and second Amur Flotilla Brigades accepted the capitulation of Japan's Sungari Flotilla only.

If remarked why Soviet air superiority was virtually total;In any case, if any Japanese Army planes attempt to take off from their airdromes,Russian fighters almost instantly shot them down.soon after the crushing raids of Soviet Air Force and Soviet Naval Air Service aviators on Japanese land bases and ports in Manchukuoan and Chosen coasts.

Paratroopers formed from crews of warships and coastal units of the Pacific Fleet landed in Port Arthur (Liaoshun) and Dairen (Dalian). On August 25, 17 GST seaplanes which had flown five hours from Sukhodol airport near Vladivostok landed in the Port Arthur inlet with landing parties made up of Pacific navymen. On the same day, Japanese garrisons in Port Arthur and Dairen laid down their arms, and the Russian Pacific navy hoisted the Soviet naval ensign over Port Arthur fortress.

It was the Pacific Fleet's aviation group that opened hostilities by delivering heavy strikes against the Japanese-controlled Korean ports of Yuki, Rashin and Seishin, which served as the Japanese naval bases in North Korea. As a result of Soviet air strikes, Japan's sea communications were cut during the first days of the war.

Soon after effective raids by Soviet aviators on Japanese bases Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral I. S. Yumashev decided, by agreement with Marshal A. M. Vasilevsky, to make landings in Yuki, Rashin and Seishin. On the eve of the operation naval bombers and attack planes continued to attack those ports. At the same time, the ports were attacked from the sea by torpedo boats led by division commanders Captain K. V. Kazachinsky, Captain S. P. Kostritsky and Lieutenant-Captain M. G. Malik. The sea and air attacks seriously weakened the defenses of the three cities, causing the Japanese to lose as many as twenty transports and other vessels.

The purpose of the Seishin landing operation, achieved during the first days of the war, was to capture the Japanese naval base in order to deprive the enemy of the ability to transport reinforcements, equipment, and ammunition from Japan, and also to prevent the evacuation of troops and equipment to Japan proper. Seishin was a fortified district with 4,000 officers and men, protected from the sea by coastal artillery. The Pacific Fleet's intention was to make a sudden landing to capture the port's moorage line and reconnoiter enemy forces. It was planned to subsequently land the main forces, occupy the city and hold it until the arrival of the 25th Soviet Army's troops advancing along the coastline.

The main landing force included the 355th Separate Marine Battalion under Major M. Barabolko (1st echelon), the 13th Marine Brigade under Major-General V. P. Trushin (2nd echelon) and the 335th Infantry Division (3rd echelon). The destroyer Voikov, mine-layer Argun, eight coast guards, seven minesweepers, twenty-four torpedo boats, twelve landing vessels and seven transports were involved. The air protection and landing support group had 188 bombers and 73 fighters — almost seven air regiments. Major-General Trushin was in command of the entire operation with Captain A. F Studenchikov leading the landing party.

At 0700 hours on August 13, after the Pacific Fleet air force had finished bombing enemy defense structures in Seishin, six torpedo boats led by Lieutenant-Captain Markovsky sailed to Seishin. These boats came with a scout detachment under Senior Lieutenant V. N. Leonov, and a company of submachine gunners under Senior Lieutenant I. M. Yarotsky from Inlet Novik (Russky Island). As the vanguard of this landing party advanced along the streets of Seishin, Japanese resistance became fiercer. The sailors advanced slowly while engaged with the enemy in hand-to-hand fighting. On the morning of August 14, fighters of the first echelon landed in Seishin, with the second echelon landing on August 15. There was no need to land the third echelon, since the six thousand sailors who had already entered Seishin were sufficient to capture the city. By the afternoon of August 16, the sailors, cooperating with the 393rd Infantry Division of the 25th Soviet Army, had captured the city.

The success of the landing was largely possible thanks to the effective support provided by warships and naval aviation. The destroyer Voikov, the minelayer Argun and other warships opened fire against the enemy sixty-five times. The coast guard Metel, under Lieutenant-Captain L. N. Baliakin provided support to the landing party by shooting down an enemy plane. Metel's artillery also destroyed an armoured train carrying combat equipment, a Japanese coastal battery, and eight enemy concrete fortifications and emplacements.

In the Battle of Seishin, the Japanese lost more than 3,000 officers and men and a large quantity of armaments and equipment. Hundreds of Soviet officers and men were awarded orders and medals.

After taking Seishin, Pacific Fleet sailors under the command of Studenchikov captured two more major strongholds: the ports of Odetsin and Genzan, where 6,238 Japanese officers and men were taken prisoner.

One particular case as the action sustained by Japanese against Soviets in Kotou Fortress, as part of Japanese Army Frontier Fortified Districts, located near Ussuri River in the Soviet-Manchurian border. If one of most strongest fortress in Manchukuo, among others eight Japanese fortresses in Russian-Manchu frontier.

Your detachment as the 15th Border Guard Unit,same unit are special artillery unit also conformed by 1st Battery (with 5 howitzers and operators), 2nd Battery (with 6 heavy cannons and 2 field guns with personnel), 3rd Battalion (Type 88 75mm AA Guns with operators),13th Battery (Type 90 24 cm Railway Gun and personnel) and 14th Battery (Experimental 41 cm Howitzer and operators); all unit under lead in time by Captain Ohki.

During July 1945 the 15th Border Guard Unit was created and commissioned for the garrison of the Kotou Fortress. When the Soviets irrupted over Manchukuo in Aug., 1945, stayed ones 1,400 units in place. Thought the Soviets announced the surrender of Japan, Japanese garrisons did not believe this. They decided to continued to fight until last men.

Such gun fired and destroyed a railway bridge of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Then, it fired with over 100 rounds during about one week until it was overrun by Red Army.in same action, the Type 90 24 cm Railway Gun was moved to other position for best firing against Russians. It was destroyed by Soviet artillery and abandoned heavily damaged by Japanese in area. The battle for Kotou Fortress ended on August 26; at same time Japanese forces in others frontier posts used Type 45 24 cm Howitzers against the Soviets which invaded Manchukuo in that period.

The fate of the Puyi regime[edit]

On August 9, Kwantung Army supreme commander, General Otozō Yamada, informed Puyi that the Soviet Union had violated the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact and had invaded across the Manchukuo frontier. Although assured by General Yamada that the situation was under control, the same day Hsinking was attacked by the first air raid of the war, and Puyi witnessed explosions from bombs falling near the Wei Huang Gong palace.

On August 10, General Yamada advised Puyi that although the Army was "giving heavy resistance" the capital was being temporarily evacuated to Tonghua. Puyi was reluctant to abandon Hsinking, but was warned that if he did not leave, he would be the first killed by Red Army troops. Puyi donned the uniform of Commander in Chief of the Manchukuo Imperial Army as a gesture of solidarity with his troops.

On August 11, Puyi and other members of the imperial court departed Hsinking by train. Hiro Saga witnessed the local population preparing to receive the Red Army by making hammer and sickle flags. Because of the rapid Soviet advance, the entourage was unable to reach Tunghua, and changed its route to Talitzou, arriving at night. On the way, they witnessed Japanese military convoys fleeing south, in contrast to General Yamada's assurances that "the Japanese army are gaining and destroyed many aircraft and enemy tanks". Talitzou station was a scene of panic, with civilians desperately attempting to board the overcrowded last trains "crying and bribing guards to let them enter and between guards there were fights."

At Talitzou Puyi and his court stayed in a two-storey administrative building belonging to a mining company. Puyi talked with his Japanese advisors about his future, and plans were made to take him to Korea, which the Allies had yet to invade, and from there to Japan. Puyi was uncertain where he would like to stay, but settled upon Kyoto.

On August 15, the group met around a radio receiver, listening to Japanese emperor Hirohito announcing the unconditional surrender of Japan. Pujie translated the speech for the group. Hiro mentioned how both brothers shook hands and cried.

Two days later, on August 18 Puyi formally renounced the Manchukuo throne and proclaimed the dissolution of the Manchukuo government. In a symbolic vote, all present approved, and Puyi stamped his seal to enact the law, ending the Manchukuo government after 13 years and five months. Coincidentally, it was at Talitzou 350 years before that Puyi's ancestor Nurhaci began his campaign to defeat the Ming Dynasty.

The region was no longer safe due to Communist guerrillas, and the group divided; one part returned to Hsinking with ex-prime minister Zhang Jinghui for a last radio contact with Chiang Kai Shek, in an unsuccessful attempt to give over control of Manchukuo to the Kuomintang to prevent Soviet occupation. The women in the entourage were sent separately by train towards Korea, as it was thought that they were not in immediate danger, and were not political targets of the Soviet or Chinese forces. As the train left Hiro saw Puyi cry.

At Talitzou airport a Tachikawa Ki-54, was prepared for Puyi's escape. Puyi selected only eight people, including his brother Pujie, Yuyan, Big Li and his personal medic. The small plane took the imperial entourage to Mukden where a larger plane,one Mitsubishi Ki-57 was to take them to Korea. However, while waiting at Mukden, Soviet troops seized the airport, disarming the small Japanese garrison.

Puyi and his companions spent the night at the airport under guard, and the next morning were taken aboard a Russian plane. Between Mukden and Khabarovsk the plane landed for refueling, where Puyi spoke to the Soviet commander, telling him that he "did not like being in the same airplane with Japanese war criminals" and the Japanese were left at the airfield while Puyi continued on. On reaching Khabarovsk, Puyi was first sent a hotel which was transformed into a detention centre. Later he was sent to "Detention Center N°45" in a school building in same city.

References[edit]

  • Aisin Gioro, Puyi (2002). From Emperor to Citizen: The Autobiography of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi. Foreign Languages Press. ISBN 7-119-00772-6. 
  • Behr, Edward (1977). The Last Emperor. Bantam. ISBN 0-553-34474-9. 
  • Cotter, Edward (2007). Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Monarchs. Annick Press. ISBN 1-55451-062-7.