The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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In 1941, Hailar (119.73E 49.21N) was an important Japanese base in northwest Manchuria, on the Mongolian Plain just west of the Greater Khingan Mountains. When war broke out, the city was headquarters of 6 Army. There was an airfield here, which based 6 Heavy Air Regiment with 27 Ki-21 "Sally".
The city was a major objective of the Russian offensive in Manchuria and was
reached by fast-moving Soviet forces on 8 August 1945. The city was heavily fortified with trenches, barbed wire, and
concrete pillboxes, and manned by the 6000 troops of 80 Independent Mixed Brigade plus some auxiliaries and service troops. Only Hutou
in eastern Manchuria was comparable in strength. However, the Russians
swept around the strong points and found a corridor into the city from
the northwest, securing a foothold, though failing to trap 119 Division before it could retreat into the Greater Khingan Mountains. Lacking infantry to attack immediately, and under heavy Japanese artillery fire from Mt. Oboto (119.734E 49.243N),
the Russians were forced to pause until elements of 86 Rifle Corps
could be brought up. An attack on 11 August was beaten off by the
Japanese, and a second attack on 16 August found resistance still
strong. The surviving 3827 Japanese
troops did not surrender until
18 August. However, by then the main force of 36 Army had bypassed the city and was through the Greater Khingan Mountains on the way to Tsitsihar.
The Soviets presented charges to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East that the Russian population of the city was massacred on 9 August 1945 at the insistence of the commander of Kwantung Army, Yamada Otozo. Yamada was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by the Soviets for this and other offenses.
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