Soviet–Japanese War
Part of World War II
Japanese soldiers during the Siege of Vladivostok (MGS)
Japanese soldiers watching the shelling of Vladivostok on September 12, 1939.
Date April 19, 1939 – August 12, 1940
(1 year, 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days)
Place Manchuria and the Mongolian-Manchukuoan border
Result Phyrric Japanese victory
  • Tactical Soviet and Mongolian victory at the Mongolian-Manchukuoan border
  • Japan captures Vladivostok
  • Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact
  • The Northern Expansion Doctrine (Hokushin-ron) gets discredited
Japan Empire of Japan
Manchukuo Manchukuo
Soviet Union Soviet Union
Flag of the People's Republic of Mongolia (1930-1940) Mongolian People's Republic
Commanders and leaders
Japan Hirohito
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Kenkichi Ueda
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Kotaro Nakamura
Manchukuo Pu Yi
Soviet Union Joseph Stalin
Soviet Union Grigoriy Shtern
Soviet Union Vsevolod Yakovlev
Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
Naval Ensign of the Soviet Union.svg Ivan Yumashev
Flag of the People's Republic of Mongolia (1930-1940) Khorloogiin Choibalsan
Units involved
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Kwantung Army
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Korea Army
Manchukuo Manchukuo Imperial Army
Soviet Union Far Eastern Front
Soviet Union Transbaikal Front
Naval Ensign of the Soviet Union.svg Pacific Fleet
Flag of the People's Republic of Mongolia (1930-1940) Mongolian People's Army

The Soviet–Japanese War (April 19, 1939 – August 12, 1940) was a conflict between the Soviet Union and the Empire of Japan and a part of World War II.


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 or (CER) was a railway in northeastern China (Manchuria). It connected China and the Russian Far East. The southern branch of the CER, known in the West as the South Manchuria Railway, became the locus and partial casus belli for the Russo-Japanese War and subsequent incidents leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War, and a series of Soviet-Japanese Border Wars. Larger incidents included the Sino-Soviet conflict of 1929 and the Mukden Incident between Japan and China in 1931. The battle of Lake Khasan was fought between two powers which had long distrusted each other.


Imperial Japanese Army recorded 152 minor incidents on the border of Manchuria between 1932 and 1934. The number of incidents increased to over 150 per year in 1935 and 1936, and the scale of incidents became larger.

In January 1935, the first armed battle, Halhamiao incident (哈爾哈廟事件 Haruhabyō jiken) occurred on border between Mongolia and Manchukuo. Scores of Mongolia cavalry engaged with Manchukuo army patrol unit near the Buddhist temple Halhamiao. Manchukuo Army incurred slight casualties, including a Japanese military advisor.

Between December 1935 and March 1936, the Orahodoga incident (オラホドガ事件 Orahodoga jiken) and the Tauran incident (タウラン事件 Tauran jiken) occurred. In these battles, both Japanese Army and Mongolian Army used a small number of armored fighting vehicles and military aircraft.

In June 1937, Kanchazu Island incident (乾岔子島事件 Kanchazutou jiken) occurred on the Amur River (Soviet–Manchukuo border). Three Soviet gunboats crossed the center line of the river and occupied Kanchazu island in the river. The IJA 1st Division sunk one of the Soviet gunboats by artillery fire and damaged another. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested and Soviet soldiers abandoned the island.

Order of Battle

Japan Japan

3rd Army

  • 9th Infantry Division
    • 7th Infantry Regiment
    • 19th Infantry Regiment
    • 35th Infantry Regiment
  • 12th Infantry Division
    • 24th Infantry Regiment
    • 46th Infantry Regiment
    • 48th Infantry Regiment
  • 57th Infantry Division
  • 1st Tank Brigade
  • 7th Artillery Brigade
  • 5th Separate Engineer Regiment
  • 9th Separate Engineer Regiment
  • 27th Separate Engineer Regiment
  • 33rd Truck Brigade
  • 49th Truck Brigade
  • 66th Truck Brigade
  • 67th Truck Brigade

4th Army

  • 1st Infantry Division
    • 1st Infantry Regiment
    • 49th Infantry Regiment
    • 57th Infantry Regiment
  • 24th Infantry Division
    • 22nd Infantry Regiment
    • 89th Infantry Regiment
  • 19th Infantry Division
    • 73rd Infantry Regiment
    • 74th Infantry Regiment
    • 75th Infantry Regiment
    • 76th Infantry Regiment
  • 2nd Armored Brigade
  • 44th Truck Brigade
  • 68th Truck Brigade
  • 8th Artillery Brigade
  • 7th Separate Engineer Regiment

Soviet Union

Campaign of 1939

Japanese eastern offensive

Siege of Vladivostok

Japanese western offensive

Counterattack at Khalkhyn Gol

See also

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