Wednesday, January 11, 2012


61 Years and a Month Ago

A normal lifetime ago, UN forces (almost all of them American--1st Marine Division, 3rd and 7th Infantry Divisions--with a few British Royal Marines and ROK policemen) were stopped in their retreat* advance out of what we call the Chosin Reservoir by Chinese sappers' demolition of the only road out (at least 16 feet of it). It looked bad for a while; but we dropped in bridging materials, spanned the gap, and most of our guys escaped * advanced to Hungnam, where we loaded them on boats and got the puck out of there.

*I keep having trouble using General Smith's preferred vocabulary.


Two excellent books on Korea: Breakout, by Martin Russ, and The Last Stand of Fox Company, by ???

One note that Russ makes in his book is that the quick and deep military demobilization post-WWII had a huge adverse effect on the readiness of the U.S. to fight in Korea.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
True, The cache of photos I took the road out one from had a photo of guys from Task Force Smith mustering with their canvas duffels. They were virtually wiped out, all victims of getting too small too quick.

The victims of our current ill-advised gutting of the military probably won't be Americans, but pick a Christian minority in a Muslim nation anywhere on the globe. Sorry, guys, we can't help you.

Thanks for the recommendations. The pile continues to grow.
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