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|Invasion of the Kuril Islands|
|Part of the Soviet–Japanese War of World War II|
Location of the Kuril Islands in the Western Pacific.
|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 Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, 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, nowadays, nearly three decades after 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, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.
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 over 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 50 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 socialist state in 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 centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The 2nd Far Eastern Front was a Front—a formation equivalent to a Western Army Group—of the Soviet Army. It was formed just prior to the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and was active from August 5, 1945, until October 1, 1945.
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.
The 89th Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Destruction Division. It was created 28 February 1945 in Sapporo, by cobbling together 43rd and 69th independent mixed brigades, converted to 3rd and 4th mixed brigades, plus headquarters of the 77th division. It was an oversized type C(hei) security division.
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 A. R. Gnechko commanding). Ships and transportation were drawn from the Petropavlovsk military base (Captain D. G. 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, in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately 1,300 km (810 mi) 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 (4,055.3 sq mi) and the total population is 19,434.
The Treaty of Saint Petersburg between the Empire of Japan and Empire of Russia was signed on 7 May 1875, and its ratifications exchanged at Tokyo on 22 August 1875.
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.
The Habomai Islands (Russian: Хабомаи, Japanese: 歯舞群島 or 歯舞諸島 are a group of islets in the southernmost Kuril Islands. They are currently under Russian administration, but together with Iturup, Kunashir, and Shikotan are claimed by Japan.
Paramushir (Russian: Парамушир, translit. Paramushir, Japanese: 幌筵島, translit. Paramushiru-tō or Horomushiro-tō, Ainu: パラムシㇼ or パラムシㇽ, translit. Para-mu-sir, is a volcanic island in the northern portion of Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It is separated from Shumshu by the very narrow Second Kuril Strait in the northeast 2.5 km, from Antsiferov by the Luzhin Strait to the southwest, from Atlasov in the northwest by 20 kilometres, and from Onnekotan in the south by the 40 km wide Fourth Kuril Strait. Its northern tip is 39 kilometres from Cape Lopatka at the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “broad island” or “populous island”. Severo-Kurilsk, the administrative center of the Severo-Kurilsky district, is the only permanently populated settlement on Paramushir island.
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.
Kiichirō Higuchi was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.
The Battle of Shumshu, the Soviet invasion of Shumshu in the Kuril Islands, was the first stage of the Soviet Union's Invasion of the Kuril Islands in August–September 1945 during World War II. It took place from 18 to 23 August 1945, and was the only major battle of the Soviet campaign in the Kuril Islands and one of the last battles of the war.
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 85th Rifle Corps was a rifle corps of the Red Army and later the Soviet Army.
The 355th Rifle Division was a standard Red Army rifle division of World War II, formed twice.
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.