The end of fighting. Japanese and Soviet/Mongolian officers meet to discuss a truce.
On The Road to Khalkin Gol (Nomonhan)
- Part Two -
by Henry Sakaida (Continued)
Supposed tank driven by 11th Tank Brigade
Commander Mikhail Yakovlev in a war cemetery on the
west bank of Khalkin Gol.
LtCol Mikhail Yakovlev
joined the Red Army in
1920 and led the 11th
Tank Brigade at
He fought heroically and
was killed on July 12, 1939.
He was awarded the title
of Hero of the Soviet
Union on August 29, 1939.
His name is on several
war memorials at
but like many of his
comrades who died in
combat, his exact grave is
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, economic aid and a guaranteed market for their products evaporated. Having been a Soviet puppet for nearly 70 years, the Mongolians were now left on their own and ill prepared to carry on. The Russians pulled out almost overnight. The Mongolians felt abandoned and now have no love for their former benefactors.
Justin and I took this long journey not only to satisfy our own curiosity, but also to pave the way for those of you who are interested in following our footsteps. The journey is doable, affordable, and a lot of fun!
You will camp along the way and most likely stay the night with a nomadic herding family in their ger.
Justin videotapes the inside of the tank.
The green tank has turned turquoise.
And now, a shameless plug for our guide. If you are stressed and need to get away from it all, and at the same time enjoy nature and history, contact our buddy Chinzorig at www.drivemongolia.com . Mongolia is a great vacation spot. Our guide has led fishing and hunting expeditions with much success. You will run into some interesting people, guaranteed!
General Zhukov directed operations from this hilltop.
The trenches were later lined in concrete to preserve them.
Soviet artillery revetments
clearly visible from Zhukov’s HQ.
A week after I departed, Chinzorig hosted some Americans at a fishing camp. He met a Japanese-American guy from Los Angeles. “Hey, there was someone here from Los Angeles!” our guide told Larry. “What’s his name? I might know him,” quipped the visitor. Chinzorig replied, “A guy named Henry Sakaida…”
“Henry!!! We used to practice Judo in San Francisco back in 1979!” Larry exclaimed. What a small world indeed! Larry was a famous Judo competitor, several times national champion whom I’ve always admired. He is now one of the program directors for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, California. So take a hint from Larry. He knows fish and he knows where the good fishing action is!
I snapped this photo of the town’s sign welcoming visitors.
Mongolia is certainly off the beaten path, but well worth the effort. When you return from your trip, please share your adventures and finds from Khalkin Gol!