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Shumshu Island is located at the northeastern end of the Kurlie Islands (Kuril). To the southeast is Paramushir Strait and Paramushir Island. To the northeast is the Kuril Strait and Kamchatka. Part of the shipping route to Russia via Kamchatka and the Kurilsky Strait. Also known as Ostrov Shumshu or Shimushu-To. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of Japan. Between August 15, 1945 until December 26, 1991 part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Today located in Sakhalin Oblast in Russia.
During World War II, Shumshu Island was defended by roughly 8,000 Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) personnel. The garrison included the 11th Tank Regiment under the command of Col Zueo Ikeda with a force of sixty-four tanks including twenty Type 97 Chi-Ha Shinimoto, nineteen Type 97 Chi-Ha and twenty-five Type 95 Ha-Go. Starting in the middle of June 1944 attacked by American bombers based in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska until early August 1945.
Allied missions against Shumshu (Shimushu)
June 19, 1944–August 12, 1945
On August 15, 1945 Japan accepted the terms of the ceasefire. In accordance with the surrender, the Japanese garrison in the Kurlie islands began preparing for disarmament. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union planned to occupy the Kuries Islands to extend their borders before American occupation forces arrived in Japan.
Battle of Shumshu
On August 18, 1945 a Soviet force of 8,360 troops from the Soviet Army and Navy supported by naval vessels and aircraft make an amphibious landing on Shumshu Island, despite the fact Japan had accepted the terms of surrender and the Pacific War had officially ended. They do not expect opposition.
Although the Japanese were in the process of disarmament they responded to the landing with a counter attack in accordance with their right to defend Japanese territory. Aided by a fog that covered the landing area, forty Japanese tanks from the 11th Tank Regiment attacked the Soviet landing force by rushing the beach area. For more than two hours a vicious close quarters battle ensued as the Soviets rushed to deployed anti-tank guns. During the Battle of Shumshu, the Japanese tanks claimed to have killed 100 Soviets troops but lost twenty-one tanks in the last Japanese armor action of World War II.
Afterwards, the Soviet forces continued to occupy Shumshu Island. On August 20, 1945 a cease fire was signed ending the fighting. On August 23, 1945 the remaining Japanese officially surrendered, ending the last battle of World War II in the Pacific.
After the war, the Soviets removed the Japanese garrison who were now prisoners of war to labor camps, along with able bodied civilian men from the islands. Other civilians were deported back to Japan. In 1946, the island was officially annexed by the Soviet Union. Japan formally gave up sovereignty under the terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951.
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