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by Dimitar Nedialkov
Propeller Publishing 2005
Cover Price: $19.50
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|Japan Against Russia
In The Sky of Nomonhan
The "Nomonhan Incident" or Battle of Khalkhin Gol was a border skirmish between the Russians and Japanese from May 14, 1939 that concluded with a cease fire on September 16, 1939 in the remote eastern border area of Mongolia. Although largely unknown to the outside world, this battle was a crucible for the tactics, strengths and weaknesses of both the Russian and Japanese Army years prior to the out break of full scale war for both nations. Although several lengthy publications in English are available that focus on the land battle, none focus specifically on the air war.
The primary Japanese aircraft was the Ki-27 Nate fighter and the Soviet fighters the I-15 and I-153 biplanes and I-16 monoplane. The battle also utilized aircraft types soon to be antiquated, like the massive TB-3 heavy bomber an Fiat BR.20. It was also the combat debut of the Ki-21 Sally, that would serve throughout the Pacific War.
The 80km front line and 30-40km wide area became a battle field for more than 900 Soviet and 450 Japanese aircraft. New tactics and missions type for aircraft were refined, moving air power into the future of war, including the emphasis of reconnaissance, fighter sweeps, bomber escort and infantry support. Both sides learned and ignored tactical and design lessons from the battle, to the determent and advantage of each.
This book covers both the Japanese and Russian sides. The author, Ph. D. Professor Dimitar Nedialkov, himself an military pilot and scientist presents new information on the Russian side of the battle, particularly losses that help to provide a new perspective of this air battle. The book includes color profiles of fighters and bombers of both sides, plus over fifty photos from Japanese and Russian archives related to air operations. In addition is a four page index. Although the book's English translation is not perfect, those errors do not detract from an otherwise spectacular overview of this most interesting and largely unknown battle that predates the start of World War II.
Review by Justin Taylan
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