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Air War Over Khalkhin Gol

Air War Over Khalkhin Gol Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2011 Title Air War Over Khalkhin Gol
Author Vladimir R. Kotelnikov Publisher SAM Publications
Published 2010 ISBN 978-1-906959-23-4
Format 116 pages, softbound MSRP (BP) £19.99 (Approx 32.50 USD)


SAM Publications released the second title in their 'Air War' series, this covering an undeclared war between the Japanese and Soviet forces 1939. The place was the border region between Japanese-occupied China and Mongolia. The Mongolian government was aligned with the Soviet Union and when the Japanese started pushing into their territory in 1938, the Soviets began to reinforce their allies.

This title looks and the situation from both sides of the conflict from the early days of the Japanese occupation through their initial incursions into Mongolia and the final battle to push the Japanese out of Mongolia.

The contents of this title include:

  • A Troublesome Border
  • The Second Phase
  • A Period of Relative Inactivity
  • The Soviet Offensive
  • Cessation of Hostilities

While casualties were high on both sides of the war, this would be the first major battle for Georgy Zhukov, a Soviet General who would earn his first Hero of the Soviet Union awards after their victory, and would use this vital experience to push the Nazis back away from Moscow just two years later.

The author focuses his work on the air component of this war with a look at the aircraft, crews, and operations. What's interesting in this battle is the Soviet use of light, medium, and heavy bombers as well as a notable figure, the Douglas DC-3. Likewise, the Japanese Army had its own usual array of fighters and one notable figure of their own, the Fiat Br.20 bomber. The title features 53 color profiles of the Soviet and Japanese aircraft used in this conflict as well as a nice array of period black & white photos. At the end of this reference is a nice section providing technical details of each of the 14 aircraft types operated by the combatants during this battle.

This title will definitely appeal to aviation historian as it provides a nice look at the subject with a good look at each combat from different perspectives. The modeler will also enjoy this title for a look at these pre-World War II combatants and their aircraft.

My sincere thanks to SAM Publications for this review sample!


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