Equally you have the Japanese trying out new tactics and weapon systems, and drawing totally and utterly the wrong conclusions simply because of their world view. There's one other reason why this small brushfire war keeps cropping up, this is because it is so well researched. At first glance you might think, especially from the Japanese point of view, that this is impossible, as there's no more than three or four works on the subject. Luckily one of those works (Nomonhan, by Dr Alvin Coox) is a masterpiece. The book itself is about two inches thick, and is well over 1000 pages. Dr Coox must have put an unimaginable amount of time into it, including interviewing a great many Japanese veterans of the war. If you're remotely interested in the Japanese in World War Two it's a must have, as it explains and gives insight and depth into something that is often seen as baffling and simplistically explained here in the west, the Japanese psyche and world view that gave the war in the CBI and PTO it's rather distasteful but unique character.
Including today's article, and the previous ones, there's at least one more story that I could use as a start point for an article, but today we'll be looking at the Ioki Detachment.
The fighting at Nomonhan stuttered to life when in early 1939 a force of Mongolian troops went looking for grazing for their horses. As is often the case in history the trouble was that the border wasn't clearly defined. Both sides claimed the Mongolian troops were on their side of the border, and despite it being in the middle of nowhere with no strategic importance the Japanese reacted by dispatching the reconnaissance regiment from the 23rd Division, to see off the interlopers. This ill fated force was named Detachment Azuma after its commander. In short order the force was destroyed and both sides turned their attention to this insignificant desert.
|Japanese troops marching to Nomonhan, you can see what he terrain is like from this picture.|
|Japanese at Nomonhan|
At 2000 the artillery cut off like a light switch. The deafened, thirsty and battered infantry peeked over the top of whatever cover they had left only to see Soviet troops advancing, about thirty meters away.
Part two will be next week.
www.aviapress.com and pwencycl.kgbudge.com