October 16, 2014

Khalkhin Gol, 1939

Soviet BT-5s
Soviet BT-5s on Khalkin Gol.


The Khalkh River
2. The Khalkh River or Khalkha or Halaha River is located in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region. It has a length of approximately 145 miles and runs in a north-south direction.

Japanese plans for a potential attack on the Soviet Union
3. Japanese plans for a potential attack on the Soviet Union.

The frontier between Manchukuo and the Mongolian People’s Republic
4. In 1939 the Khalkin Gol was at the frontier between Manchukuo, the puppet state that Japan has created in Manchuria, and the Mongolian People’s Republic allied with the USSR. The Japanese view was that the border between the two countries was the Khalkin Gol, while the Mongolian/Soviet view was that the border should be placed 10 miles to the east, at Nomonhan village.

The Japanese Army Moves First

In June 1939 the Japanese army crossed the Khalkin Gol
5. In June 1939, after a number of frontier engagements, the Japanese Army assumed the offensive and crossed the Khalkin Gol. The offensive was repulsed by the Soviet forces and by the end of July the Japanese had withdrawn.

Japanese soldiers cross the Khalkin Gol
6. Japanese soldiers cross the Khalkin Gol river.

Japanese light tanks on the attack
7. Japanese light tanks on the attack.

Tank crews gathered in front of a Type 89 Chi-Ro tank
8. Tank crews gathered in front of a Type 89 Chi-Ro tank during the battle. 

Mongolian troops
9. Mongolian troops defending the western bank of the Khalkhin Gol river.

Zhukov Strikes Back

Georky Zhukov with Khorloogiin Choibalsan
10. Georky Zhukov with the Mongolian communist leader Khorloogiin Choibalsan. Zhukov arrived in the front on June 5, 1939. After the failure of the Japanese offensive he decided to end the matter. On August 20 he launched his assault. With three infantry divisions he fixed the Japanese center, while with the bulk of his armor he moved around the Japanese flanks and encircled them. A cease-fire was agreed between the two sides on September 15. After that disaster the Japanese lost their taste for an invasion into Siberia.

Soviet troops on the offensive
11. Soviet troops on the offensive.

A BT-5 crossing the Khalkhin Gol
12. A BT-5 crossing the Khalkhin Gol.

Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go captured tank
13. Soviet soldiers taking a look at a Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go tank.

Japanese POWs
14. Japanese POWs.


Photos attribution
1. soviet reporter, via Wikimedia Commons
2. Map data ©2014 AutoNavi, Google, SK planet, ZENRIN
3. Hokushin-ron-Map.png:, via Wikimedia Commons
4., 5. Christophe cagé, via Wikimedia Commons
6. captured photo, via Wikimedia Commons
7. Mainichi Shinbun Sha, via Wikimedia Commons
8. Dōmei Tsushin, via Wikimedia Commons
9. http://www.svoboda.org/content/article/1807981.html
10. soviet reporter, via Wikimedia Commons
11., 12., 14. Виктор Антонович Тёмин, via Wikimedia Commons
13. П.Сергеев. Танки Японии во Второй мировой войне. — «Военные машины», 2000