Kantokuen

Kantokuen

 

special maneuvers of the Kwantung Army, the conventional name of the strategic plan of Japan’s attack on the USSR in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45).

After fascist Germany’s attack on the USSR on June 22, 1941, an imperial conference of Japanese military and political leaders, held on July 2, 1941, sanctioned practical steps toward preparing a war against the USSR. The Japanese militarists expected that the defeat of the Red Army on the Soviet-German front would create favorable conditions for opening a second front against the USSR in the Far East and for blitzkrieg operations. In accordance with the Kantokuen plan, which was drawn up by the imperial headquarters and the staff of the Kwantung Army, 500, 000 men were secretly mobilized in July 1941, and 300, 000 of them were sent to Manchuria to reinforce the Kwantung Army. The Kwantung Army as redeployed after these measures comprised three front administrations, five field armies, and the Kwantung Defense Army, totaling 700, 000 men. The Kwantung Army also had large units of the armies of Manchukuo and of Inner Mongolia at its disposal.

According to the Kantokuen plan, troops of the Eastern and Northern fronts were to open the offensive from the region of Pogranichnaia toward Voroshilov and from the region of Heiho (Sakhalian) toward Blagoveshchensk and Kuibyshevka-Vo-stochnaia. In the first phase they were to occupy Voroshilov, Vladivostok, Blagoveshchensk, Imam, and Kuibyshevka-Vo-stochnaia; in the second phase, Khabarovsk, Birobidzhan, Birokan, and the Rukhlovo region; then, if events developed favorably, they were to occupy northern Sakhalin. Nikolaevsk-na-Amure, Komsomol’sk, Sovetskaia Gavan’, and Petrovavlovsk-Kamchatskii. The plan provided for cooperation between the ground troops and the navy in landing amphibious forces on Kamchatka and northern Sakhalin and for a naval blockade of Vladivostok. In case the Eastern and Northern fronts were to be successful, the Western Front was to open an offensive on Chita and capture the whole territory up to Lake Baikal.

The Japanese command originally planned to open military operations on Aug. 19, 1941. The stationing of a large Japanese army grouping in Manchuria and the danger that Japan would carry out the Kantokuen plan forced the USSR to keep large forces in the Far East. The heroic resistance of the Soviet armed forces in the summer and fall of 1941, their victory in the battle of Moscow (December 1941—April 1942), and the collapse of the strategic plan of the fascist German command forced the Japanese imperialists at first to postpone the implementation of the Kantokuen plan and then, after further victories of the Red Army, abandon it altogether.

REFERENCES

Final, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969.
Hayashi, Saburo. Iaponskaia armiia v voennykh deistviiakh na Tikhom okeane. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from English.)

N. V. ERONIN

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