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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 4/28/2001 12:47:02 PM EDT
I just finished John Toland's "In Mortal Combat 1950 - 1953", an objective look at the Korean conflict. Toland takes a balanced look at the war from the Communist and U.N. positions and is not afraid to point out faults committed by both sides. While the book covers some of the major battles in some detail it is more a report on the progress of the war, the politics involved and the major players and the effect they had on the war's prosecution.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 12:52:49 PM EDT
I am 35, and I know it is sad but most of what I know about the Korean War, is what I learned from M*A*S*H, and we all know how much liberal crap Alan Alda was trying to force down our throats. I wish History channel would devote a few more shows to Korea, the forgotten war.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 12:59:57 PM EDT
Most high ranking officers (Major and above) were told not to talk about the war when they returned home. At least not to talk about how bad we got our asses handed to us.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 10:28:44 PM EDT
I wouldn't say we got our a$$es handed to us. They almost pushed us off the penninusla but McAurther did a number on them and we didn' loose any ground.
Link Posted: 4/29/2001 1:43:09 AM EDT
Read the book "Breakout". An OUTSTANDING book on the Chosin Reservoir campaign. Informative, exciting - excellent book. [url]http://www.fsbassociates.com/fromm/breakout.html[/url] Tate
Link Posted: 4/29/2001 9:24:38 AM EDT
Originally Posted By M15A2: I wouldn't say we got our a$$es handed to us. They almost pushed us off the penninusla but McAurther did a number on them and we didn' loose any ground.
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Well, this isn't my opinion, it's the opinion of a very highly respected Marine officer that fought in the war. (my fellow Marines know who he is [;)]) The only reason we didnt get our asses kicked off the peninsula was because of McAurther's bold move of landing the 1st Marine Division and the 8th Army (I think) at Inchon, taking the N. Koreans by complete surprise. Prior to that, we were getting our asses kicked. We were able to run over the enemy all the way up to China, where hundreds of thousands of the little dinks were there to meet us (to our surprise). The 8th Army got their butts stomped after that, the Chinese split the line between the 8th and the First Marines, causing the 1st MarDiv to be completely surrounded by about 9 Chinese Divisions. (7 on the flanks and 2 trying to cut off lines of withdrawal) Then we got pushed back to the 34th parallel... and we know the rest of the story. While we did a good share of ass kicking ourselves, Korea is another U.S. war the is considered a stalemate, at best. Being a U.S. seviceman, I hate to say something like that. But the more reading and research I do about our past wars, the more I understand that as Americans, we have the natural feeling of superiority over everyone. We often dont realize that our enemies are just as capable as us (sometimes more) in battle and it usually hides the truth about our failures in our past conflicts. I suggest that you get the book "Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller." Even you Army guys! It's a great read!
Link Posted: 4/29/2001 4:25:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/29/2001 4:25:26 PM EDT by Ross]
For a great overview of the whole war "This Kind of War" by T.R. Fehrenbach. For the perspective of the US Marine "The Coldest War" by James Brady. Both are excellent works. easy to read, full of info, though somewhat dated. Still, accurate stuff though. Of all wars, the Korean War should be the one most studied and known by modern Americans. It was the first in a long line of limited wars (some still to come) that affect us greater today than most other events. The whole involvment of the UN and the Comunists, not to mention the Oriental mindset, make it essential for anyone who wants to understand what's going on today. Not to mention the readiness factor that came into play. Unfortunately, it's the least taught war around in the US. I knew the history better than most when I served there in the ROK in the '90s. Still, it just blows you away when you actually stand on some of the same ground and realize just how many Chinese came SWARMING up that little hill. I mean DAMN! All wars suck bad, and Korea was no exception. Ross
Link Posted: 4/30/2001 10:09:13 AM EDT
My stepfather had the misfortune to serve in the infantry in that war (2 purple hearts, 3 bronze stars). He said that the US had overwhelming firepower and he had great confidence in the superiority of our forces. There were two great frustrations. First, our South Koran allies were unreliable, and often left our guys with open flanks. Second, the dips in Washington would agree to a ceasefire as soon as our guys started to get the Chinese on the run.
Link Posted: 5/3/2001 12:33:24 PM EDT
Good comments, all. I wanted to add some things Toland makes clear that I think many Americans are not aware of. First, the Chosin Resevoir was a MacArthur fiasco, pure and simple. Intelligence reports had indicated for some time that several hundred thousand Chinese troops had amassed south of the Yalu River prior to the move along the resevoir. MacArthur had placed the Marines under operational control of General Nate Almond, one of his cronies, who had limited experience, and, as it turns out, ability. He also thought the intelligence reports a joke, which led to the tragedy of Chosin. While Puller gets a lot of press for Chosin (I am not in any way denigrating his contribution), Toland points out in some detail that Cols. Faith and Taplett were the real heroes in the breakout. Faith was killed when his column stalled and Taplett lived to be rotated home. Second, General Walker gets little credit for his control of the 8th Army. However, his retreat was handled with such competence that historians now believe he prevented a second disaster equal in magnitude to the Pusan Perimeter simply by the way he moved his divisions to allow reinforcing actions, and to protect against gaps and ROK soldiers bugging out. Walker was against the Inchon landing and believed his plan to cut Korea at Kunsan in the east allowed for much better logistics and combat control. Third, this was the first time that experienced combat officers were rotated home en masse so that inexperienced commanders could get their "ticket" punched for further promotion. This practice reached catastrophic proportions in Viet Nam. General Hal Moore was the first high ranking official to publicly criticize this process (after his retirement), which led to the death of many soldiers in Korea and later, Viet Nam. For reference, read his book: "We Were Soldiers Once, And Young", which details the battle at Chupong Massiff and the first large scale loss of American troops in the RVN. Fourth, Imposter is right on the money about the ROK allies. They constantly ran when under heavy fire forcing U.N. (read American) divisions to shore up gaps in the lines and prevent catastrophe. A lot of American boys were lost because of the cowardice and poor leadership among the ROK troops. Finally, this war was largely fought from Washington, which as we learned again a dozen years later, leads to disaster. The country was unprepared for the war, it was highly unpopular and the politicians were unwilling to commit the resources needed at key points during the conflict. They also failed to understand that this war was being fought by Mao from China and that Kim Il Sung had little real control. Mao was prepared to lose hundreds of thousands of his troops to embarrass the U.S. and guessed correctly that the U.S. government would never consider using atomic arms. That left him, realistically, in total control of the war.
Link Posted: 5/3/2001 5:46:45 PM EDT
Everyone interested in the Korean war should read "South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu" by Roy E. Appleman. It will make you realize just how close we were to getting pushed out of Korea. The commies over extended their supply lines, or there would be no South Korea. It can be found online at http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/korea/20-2-1/toc.htm Ronnie Blair
Link Posted: 5/6/2001 11:58:11 AM EDT
It went something close to this "They're in front of us,they're in back of us,they're all around us.They can't get away now" Chesty Puller about the Chinese.They don't make 'em like that anymore.I just finished reading Breakout last nite,great book.Nothing personnel to anybody but only Marines could have accomplished that.
Link Posted: 5/7/2001 10:55:09 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/8/2001 4:48:21 PM EDT
I have read a lot about Korea. As a small boy, I recall listening on the radio about losses. I believe the one really responsible for many early U.S. casualties is Harry S Truman. He hated the generals and the military. He and the Joint Chiefs failed to rein in Mac Arthur when they should have. Mac Arthur failed to listen to intelligence experts, and instead relied on yes men lackeys. Clair Blair has a great book about Korea, also. I know that a lot of you admire Truman, but he had his flaws. Eisenhower had promised to go to Korea, and he did. It has been suggested that he also leaked through the Pakistan ambassador that nukes were moved to Okinawa. After that, the talks to end the war excelerated. Just how I feel, John
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