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The Sino-Soviet Border War of 1969 Vol. 1 - First Clash at Damansky Island Helion & Company via Casemate UK


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The Sino-Soviet Border War of 1969 Vol. 1 (9781914059230)

First Clash at Damansky Island

Helion & Company via Casemate UK




The Sino-Soviet Border war of 1969 is seen as the conflict that had the potential to spark a Nuclear War between the two countries. There had been disputes as to where the Northern border of China ended and the Southern Border of the Russian states began. Traditionally many centauries ago the Great Wall was the Northern Boundary. Different treaties over the centauries moved areas from one sides to control and visa versa. The treaty of Petersburg in 1881 transferred the Iliysk Krai region to China and determined procedures for resolving any further border issues. In what might seem a petty dispute in the question of exactly where the border was would be drawn in to question along the Amur and Ussuri Rivers. Tradition was that the border be the middle of the river, as such the dividing line would pass through some islands. The Russians claimed the border should run through the main channel thus granting the islands to them. This ran in the face of the treaties signed. Even though both communist countries there was deep distrust between the two countries and this came to a head on Damansky Island in 1969. The Russians claimed the Island as it was named after a Russian Engineer who dies in 1888 when he drowned on the river, but Chinese sources say it was only formed in 1915. The Island was 500m from the Russian bank and only 300m from the Chinese bank. This small island might have been thought insignificant but it brought to the fore a number of border disputes between the two powers in the 1960s; 




Even though originally kept from the public both sides used the conflict for their own propaganda purposes and it grew out of this. It pulled in more troops, helicopters, and even armoured vehicles. Fighting would take place between both sides in what was a pretty desolate landscape often hand to hand despite the technologies available. A further escalation being the deployment of Scud and Frog Missiles to the region. Despite all the noises at the time both sides now it would seem dont want this period discussed and no official histories or documents are made available to historians. The writers of this book have had to rely on getting first hand accounts, and any documents they can from the period. 




The book is 72 pages long with 4 pages of colour profiles, photos, and maps in the centre.  it gives a brief history of the region prior to 1969, then looks comprehensively at the period of this first conflict at Damansky Island. It looks at the personnel involved, the weapons and tactics of both sides.  





This is an excellent detailed book on this period of unstable relations between the two great communist ideologies who were at loggerheads and which is largely unknown. Highly recommended. 




Review sample courtesy of


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