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|Invasion of the Kuril Islands|
|Part of the Soviet–Japanese War of World War II|
Map of the invasion of the Kuril Islands
|Commanders and leaders|
|15,000 troops[ citation needed ]||80,000 troops|
|Casualties and losses|
| at least 962 killed |
at least 1,026 wounded
| at least 1,018 killed or wounded|
50,422 surrendered[ citation needed ]
The Invasion of the Kuril Islands (Russian : Курильская десантная операция "Kuril Islands Landing Operation") was the World War II Soviet military operation to capture the Kuril Islands from Japan in 1945. The invasion was part of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, and was decided on when plans to land on Hokkaido were abandoned. The successful military operations of the Red Army at Mudanjiang and during the Invasion of South Sakhalin created the necessary prerequisites for invasion of the Kuril Islands.
Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The 101st Rifle Division was a unit of the Soviet Red Army initially formed as a mountain rifle division on 28 August 1938 within the 2nd Separate Red Banner Army in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city.
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The 87th Rifle Corps was a rifle corps of the Red Army during World War II and the Soviet Army in the early years of the Cold War.
The 355th Rifle Division was a standard Red Army rifle division of World War II, formed twice.
The Japanese Fifth Area Army was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during the closing stages of World War II. It saw combat against the Soviet Union in Japan’s northern territories.
The Japanese 27th Army was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army during the final days of World War II.
The 91st Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Future Division. It was created 12 April 1944 in Paramushir. The nucleus for the formation was the 1st Kuril Islands Garrison Group. It was an oversized type C(hei) security division, with its constituent brigades consisting of six infantry battalions each from July 1944. Highly unusually, the division had two artillery regiments.
The operation took place between August 18 and September 1. The attack was made by the 87th Rifle Corps (Guards Lieutenant General A. S. Ksenofontov) of the 16th Army (Lieutenant General L. G. Cheremisov) from the 2nd Far Eastern Front, and elements of the Kamchatka Defense Area (Major General Alexey Gnechko commanding). Ships and transportation were drawn from the Petropavlovsk military base (Captain Dmitry Grigorievich Ponomarev). The 128th Aviation Division also provided support.
The islands were occupied by the Japanese 91st Infantry Division (Shiashkotan, Paramushir, Shumshu, and Onekotan), 42nd Division (Shimushiro), 41st Independent Regiment (Matua Island), 129th Independent Brigade (Urup Island), and 89th Infantry Division (Iturup and Kunashiri). The Japanese commander was Lieutenant General Tsutsumi Fusaki.
Initial reconnaissance was undertaken on 18 August by a detachment of the 113th Separate Rifle Brigade (Captain-Lieutenant G. I. Brunshtein), carried by two mine trawlers (ТЩ-589 and ТЩ-590) to Rubetzu Bay on Iturup island. The landings on Iturup were continued by the 355th Rifle Division, which also landed on the smaller island of Urup.
On August 23, the 20,000-strong Japanese garrisons on the islands were ordered to surrender as part of the general surrender of Japan. However, some of the garrison forces ignored this order and continued to resist Soviet occupation.
From 22 to 28 August, troops of the Kamchatka Defense Area occupied the Kuril Islands from Urup north.
On 1 September, elements of the 87th Rifle Corps were landed by torpedo boats, mine trawlers and transports (departing from Otomari) on Kunashir and Shikotan in the southern Kuril Islands. This was an assault landing against Japanese resistance. On 4 September, 87th Rifle Corps occupied five smaller islands (Sibotzu, Taraku-Shima, Uri-Shima, Akiuri, and Suiseto).
After September 4, Soviet forces occupied the rest of the Kuril Islands without further resistance.
The islands remained part of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however their true legal status remains in question as part of the Kuril Islands dispute between Russia, Japan, and other parties.
The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands (; Russian: Кури́льские острова́, tr.Kurilskiye ostrova, IPA: [kʊˈrʲilʲskʲɪjə ɐstrɐˈva] or Russian: островá Тисима, tr.ostrova Tisima; Japanese: Kuriru rettō or Chishima rettō is a volcanic archipelago in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast that stretches approximately 1,300 km northeast from Hokkaido, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the north Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many minor rocks. It consists of Greater Kuril Chain and Lesser Kuril Chain. The total land area is 10,503.2 square kilometres and the total population is 19,434.
Nemuro is a subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. Japan claims the southern parts of the disputed Kuril Islands as part of this subprefecture.
Urup, is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Kuril Islands chain in the south of the Sea of Okhotsk, northwest Pacific Ocean. Its name is derived from the Ainu language word for salmon trout. It was formerly known as Company's Land.
A somma volcano is a volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central cone. The name comes from Mount Somma, a stratovolcano in southern Italy with a summit caldera in which the upper cone of Mount Vesuvius has grown.
Shumshu is the second-northernmost island of the Kuril Islands chain, which divides the Sea of Okhotsk from the northwest Pacific Ocean. The name of the island is derived from the Ainu language, meaning "good island". It is separated from Paramushir by the very narrow Second Kuril Strait in the northeast 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi), and its northern tip is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi), from Cape Lopatka at the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The island has a seasonal population of around 100 inhabitants.
The Far Eastern Military District was a military district of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In 2010 it was merged with the Pacific Fleet and part of the Siberian Military District to form the new Eastern Military District.
The 18th Machine Gun Artillery Division is a division of the Russian Ground Forces.
Originally formed as a fortified region, the 33rd Motor Rifle Order of the Red Banner Division was a rifle (infantry) division of the Soviet Union's Red Army. The Blagoveshchensk Fortified Region was created in 1932 and, from 1965 known as the 33rd Motor Rifle Division, continues to serve in the Russian Ground Forces to this day. In 2009 it was downsized into the 39th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade.
Kuril Ainu or Kuril, is an extinct and poorly attested Ainu language of the Kuril Islands, now part of Russia. The main inhabited islands were Kunashir, Iturup and Urup in the south, and Shumshu in the north. Other islands either had small populations or were visited for fishing or hunting. There may have been a small mixed Kuril–Itelmen population at the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The Japan–Russia border is the de facto maritime boundary that separates the territorial waters of the two countries. According to the Russia border agency, the border's length is 194.3 km.
The Invasion of South Sakhalin, also called the Battle of Sakhalin, was the Soviet invasion of the Japanese territorial portion of Sakhalin island known as Karafuto Prefecture. The invasion was part of the Soviet–Japanese War.
The 43rd Army Corps was a corps of the Soviet Army from 1945 to 1989. The corps was first formed as the 137th Rifle Corps in late 1945 and became the 43rd Rifle Corps in 1955. The corps was redesignated as the 43rd Army Corps in 1957 and was based in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. In 1969, it moved to Birobidzhan as a result of the Sino-Soviet border conflict. The corps was disbanded in 1989 was a result of Soviet troop reductions at the end of the Cold War.
The 85th Rifle Corps was a rifle corps of the Red Army and later the Soviet Army.
The IJA Amphibious Brigades were marines brigades of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. They were established in 1943. Although the Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia had been completed at the time of their founding, the Imperial General Headquarters saw the need for flexible countermeasures to defend strategic islands in the Pacific Ocean from impending Allied invasion as the war situation deteriorated for the Japanese Empire.