Japanese Air Order of Battle and Operations Against 'August Storm'
An air order of battle for the Second Air Army, principal air unit of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, the main Japanese force facing the Soviet invasion, Operation August Storm, August 1945, is given in Japanese Monograph No. 151, transcribed below. Modern place names where they differ, Kitai numbers of aircraft types and other editorial notes are in .
[ORGANIZATION] Units Under the Control of the Second Air Army July 1945
[STRENGTH] Number of Second Air Army Aircraft: About 10 August 1945
[Unit] [Aircraft Type] [Number]
[Adds to 990 as given. The Soviet estimate of Kwantung Army air strength was 1800, presumably not figuring such a high percentage of totally non-combat types]
Another 20 transport and liaison types were in the flying section of 2 nd Air Army Hq. and Kwantung Army Hq. There were also a number of unserviceable planes at each repair depot.
CHRONOLOGY OF OPERATIONS
9 August: The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and the Red Army crossed the Manchurian border in several places. One force moved west from the Vladivostok and Khabarovsk areas, another south from the direction of Chita toward Harbin, Hsingking [ Changchun] and Mukden [ Shenyang]. The 81 st Ind Air Squadron reconnoitered the eastern and western fronts.
10 August: The Soviet Zabaikal Area Army (motorized) [Transbaikal Front] crossed the border of Outer Mongolia and advanced to Horengoro.
The [15h Air?] Brigade moved to Chinchow [ Jinzhou] and the 101 st Air Training Brigade, reinforced by the 4 th Advanced Air Training Unit, to move to Tsitsihar [ Qiqihar]. After redeployment these units were to attack the enemy in the vicinity of Linhsi [Linxi] and Taonan.
11 August: A powerful enemy force moved south on the Uruschin-Linhsi road. As ordered the 15 th Air Brigade advanced to Chinchow and Tsitsihar.
12 August: The enemy reached the line of Hailar, Wuchakow [Wuchagou], Tulieh, Mactu, Linhsi and on the eastern front, the area of the Muling [river] position.
The 101 st Air Training Brigade (reinforced) advanced to Tsitsihar. The 15 th Air Brigade attacked Linhsi and the 101 st Air Training Brigade attack the enemy 50km west of Lichuan [Tuquan]. 25 Type 4 fighters, 17 Type 2 two seater fighters and 142 [sic, only 70 listed in the OOB] Type 1 fighters were used in these attacks and the results were 27 guns and 42 trucks destroyed and about 500 men and horses killed.
13 August: The enemy main body reached Hsingan [Wangyemiao or Ulan Hot or vicinity], Lichuan and Chinchaimiao (40km SW of Taonan) apparently for the purpose of concentrating his forces.
The Air Army continued its attack in spite of the bad weather. The 15 th Air Brigade, flying into a storm, returned to Anshan. The 101 st Air Training Brigade attacked the enemy 30km west of Taonan with selected planes.
Sortie Strength: 3 Type-99 assault planes, 4 Type 1 fighters.
Results: 8 tanks.
14 August: The enemy at the western front deployed along the Hsingan-Lichuan-Linhsi line and began preparations of the advance; approximately 1,500 motor trucks were coming from the rear. The enemy constructed airfields in the vicinity of Hsingan and Taipsi [Taiping]. The main force of the enemy on the eastern front was preparing for attack near Muling, and 150 tanks advanced through an opening to the left of the Mutankiang [ Mudanjiang].
The Air Army continued to attack with an element while preparing for renewed attacks against the enemy main body on the western front, which were scheduled for the 15 th. An element of the 15 th Air Brigade attacked the enemy in the vicinity of Linhsi. The main body of the 101 st Air Training Brigade (with the 4 th Advanced Air Training Unit attached) attacked the enemy 15km W of Taonan.
Sortie Strength: 5 Type 4 fighters; 7 two seater fighters; 13 Type 1 fighters; 4 Type 99 assault planes.
Results: 3 tanks.
The 15 th Air Brigade and the 101 st Air Training Brigade concentrated their entire forces at Anshan and Kungchuling [Gongzhuling], respectively. The Hane Air Unit, composed of the 26 th Air Training Unit and the 4 th Advanced Air Training Unit, concentrated at Fenchipo [Fenshui] and prepared for the attack of the 15 th, with the issuance of the Hane Air Unit Operation Order A, No. 48. Then, the 15 th Air brigade and Hane Air Unit advanced to Ssuping [Siping] and to the west of Hsinking, respectively. Preparations of the 1 st Hane Special Attack Unit (5 th Air Training Unit) began.
15 August: No change in the enemy situation.
Carried out the scheduled attack in the morning. The entire force of the 15 th Air Brigade attacked Taonan from Ssuping. The entire force of the 101 st Air Training Brigade advanced to Tsitsihar and made preparations for the attack in the afternoon. The entire force of the Hane Air Unit attacked Taonan from Hsinking and advanced to Tsitsihar.
Sortie Strength: 12 Type 4 fighters; 9 two seater fighters; 18 Type 1 Fighters
Results: 23 planes; 135 motor trucks; 2 warehouses; 5 positions; approximately 300 men. [P-63’s of the 17 Fighter Regiment, Soviet Tactical Air Forces, claimed a Ki-27 or Ki-43 among those attacking A-20’s and damaging one, near Wangyemiao 15 August].
The Imperial Rescript on cease-fire was received at noon.
Upon receipt of the Imperial Rescript ending the war at noon of the 15 th, the attacks were suspended and the forces, maintaining strict watch for the purposes of self- defense, waited in readiness. Subsequent attacks and the projected special attack of the 5 th Air Training Unit suspended at 2400 hours.
[Only combat and otherwise selected entries are excerpted from the entries of 16 August through 4 September.]
17 August: …The Hane Air Unit provided one squadron, under the command of Captain Kamata, to escort Prince Takeda on his flight from Seoul to Hsinking.
18 August: …The squadron of the Hane Air Unit completed the escort mission for Prince Takeda (4 planes in suicide plunge). [Loza in “Commanding the Red Army’s Sherman Tanks” reports an attack by 6 suicide planes on his 46 th Tank Brigade, 6 th Guards Tank Army, near Tongliao 19 August, one truck was destroyed and a Sherman damaged].
19 August: …a paratroop unit of the Soviet Army landed in the Hsinking East Airfield about 1400 hours….Also the river guard of the Manchurian Army started a revolt, and it was feared that the liaison with North Manchuria might be cut off at the Second Sungari River. Therefore on the morning of the 19 th, the 15 th Air Brigade was hastily concentrated at Hsinking and ordered to attack (the Manchurian force), and at the same time search and attacks were carried out against these forces by an element of the 42 nd Air Training Unit.
ADDITIONAL JAPANESE AIR UNITS FACING THE SOVIETS, AUGUST 1945
A probably incomplete list follows of air units engaging or possibly engaging the Soviets other than those of the Kwantung Army given in Monograph 151:
5 th Air Army ( China): apparently the 90 th Air Regiment (Ki-48) was the only Japanese air unit in China proper to engage the Soviets, though others advanced in preparation. It flew 20 sorties against the Soviets 14 August.
JAAF fighter units in Korea: The 22 nd, 25 th and 85 th Air Regiments, Ki-84, were based in southern Korea at the end of the war. They engaged USAAF units over Korea in August but no information is known of operations against the Soviets. However according to a Russian source, the North Korean air force operated Ki-43’s at least until the late 1940’s, apparently from Japanese units stationed at some point in northern Korea (the 25 th had Ki-43’s on hand at least into 1945).
JNAF fighter unit in Korea: Hikotai 304 of Air Group 252 (formerly Fighter Squadron, Genzan Air Group) was based at Wonsan, northern Korea in 1945. Several sources indicate that this unit was equipped with some N1K1-J Shiden (George) and J2M Raiden (Jack) fighters in addition to A6M5’s (Yak-9’s of the 19 th Fighter Regiment, Soviet Fleet Air Arm, claimed 2 J2M’s in northeastern Korea, 15 August).
Ki-45 at Mukden ( Shenyang)
Photo source: Frontline Illustration, 6/2001.