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View Full Version : A Historical Perspective on Light Infantry, Re: CCF



Inst
11 Jan 10,, 05:45
This US military writer seems to be effusive in praise on the PVA troops in Korea. It's been more than 20 years since original publication; for the experts on the forum, what flaws do you find in his analysis?

Officer of Engineers
11 Jan 10,, 05:59
Need the reference.

Inst
11 Jan 10,, 06:07
http://carl.army.mil/resources/csi/content.asp

Scott McMichael

I'm assuming the PLA has lost the capability to do this type of warfare, and it's only the North Koreans who still bother with this kind of stuff, especially with their hundred-thousand man special-operations force.

Officer of Engineers
11 Jan 10,, 06:32
This is out of date material. The Chinese rendered two entire armies combat ineffective (50% reduction per army) trying to encircle the Eighth Army. Therefore, the research is flawed to begin with.

Inst
11 Jan 10,, 19:11
Are you referring to the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir?

The writer seems to be biased towards the strengths of light infantry; but in his analysis he does note the limitations of that particular army. In part due to poor logistical factors caused by UN air superiority and an inferior Chinese industrial base, the Chinese could not fight on the operational level. They could achieve tactical successes, but they could not sustain an offensive over 3 to 4 days. On the other hand, the Chinese were tactically sophisticated in the maneuver phase of the war and sufficiently adept in the stalemate phase for it to be effectively a stalemate. The Chinese also had an organizational advantage expressed in a morale advantage, against US forces which at the time expected that ground wars would become obsolete due to nuclear weapons, although as the war dragged on and PVA strengths were negated, morale began to flag.

I do note that most of their tactics would be obsolete against a modern Western army, mainly because night-fighting is now a major strength of Western armies, due to superior IR technology and training. This was evident in the recent Iraq War where the US military actually preferred to fight at night.

Officer of Engineers
11 Jan 10,, 19:35
Had MacArthur stood his ground and turned the Eighth Army around to face the blunt of the PVA, the Chinese would have lost two armies and Kim would be shouting his propaganda from Beijing.

The PVA's victory in Korea had as much to do with MacArthur losing nerve as it did with Chinese operational planning. When you had to leave 4 Artillery Divisions behind in attempt for your foot infantry to outrace the Eighth Army, you were surrendering your already disadvantaged firepower in an attempt to gain maneuver and maneuver has never replaced firepower.

At the end, you had one single PVA company trying to cut off an entire Eighth Army. While getting that one single PVA company into place was indeed impressive, it was nothing more than suicide.

You will note that once the PVA came up to the Commonwealth Brigade at Kapyong, they were stopped.

Maj McMichael concentrated too much on their successes (and without proper context, ie MacArthur's lack of will) and not enough on their failures.

Inst
11 Jan 10,, 20:22
Thanks.

zraver
12 Jan 10,, 03:28
Had MacArthur stood his ground and turned the Eighth Army around to face the blunt of the PVA, the Chinese would have lost two armies and Kim would be shouting his propaganda from Beijing.

The PVA's victory in Korea had as much to do with MacArthur losing nerve as it did with Chinese operational planning. When you had to leave 4 Artillery Divisions behind in attempt for your foot infantry to outrace the Eighth Army, you were surrendering your already disadvantaged firepower in an attempt to gain maneuver and maneuver has never replaced firepower.

At the end, you had one single PVA company trying to cut off an entire Eighth Army. While getting that one single PVA company into place was indeed impressive, it was nothing more than suicide.

You will note that once the PVA came up to the Commonwealth Brigade at Kapyong, they were stopped.

Maj McMichael concentrated too much on their successes (and without proper context, ie MacArthur's lack of will) and not enough on their failures.

Sir your more studied on the issue than I am. Do you think the 8th Army could ahve stood its ground initially, and if not then where. The initial assault hit UN troops that were at the far end of along supply line in hostile country with poor rear area protection and widely spaced units. Whose troops were shivering from the cold, exhausted from the march, denied air cover and led by Walker whose failings as CinC of the 8th are legion. But whose death would rattle the confidence of the Army.

I don't think the UN could have stood its ground in the beginning. Then once the rout starts how do you stop it. You might argue that the 8th should have stood in front of Seoul or the North Korean coastal plains along the west coast but this is when Walker was killed. Once an army loses its commanders there is going to be trouble especially before a new commander can assert himself.

I think that if your going to bring out the knives vs mac it should be for his complete disregard of the threat the Chinese posed. He could not conceive of it and so did not prepare for it even when warned. Once the Chinese hammer blow landed the 8th shattered and I think it may have taken what it took historically to put it back together. namely Spring weather, new commander, shorter lines, reinforcements, friendly air cover, and an exhausted enemy.

Officer of Engineers
12 Jan 10,, 06:16
Z,

You've already made an eval on the new intel

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/warfare-modern-age/2928-korea-reluctant-dragons-red-conspiracies.html

zraver
12 Jan 10,, 07:51
Z,

You've already made an eval on the new intel

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/warfare-modern-age/2928-korea-reluctant-dragons-red-conspiracies.html

yes sir I ahve, but that was dealing with the question of why China jumpe din, not if the US could have stopped the assault. I think the factors in December 1950 doomed the 8th Army to a route given poor direction from mac and poor leadership from Walker combined with the factors I outlined above. Once the route started, I don't see how it could have been stopped until the Chinese shot their bot and the UN forces were the ones operating on interior lines under a new and capable commander with better weather for their style of firepower based warfare.

Officer of Engineers
12 Jan 10,, 08:14
Z,

I do not want to put words into your posts but I had thought your observations were spot on. The timeline presented by the Chinese (that they only prepared for war after Mac crossed the 38th) was crap. By the same token, can the Chinese had actually marched that fast from the Yalu to the 38th had Mac actually decided to defend?

Do reacall the first primary stopping action was Kapyong where the Commonwealth Brigade decided to make a stand and succeeded.

Added to this, the Eighth Army was surrounded by no less than 8 times beginning at the corps level at the Yalu ending up with a company blocking force at the 38th. Simply put, Mac did not read the AARs, else he would have realized the Chinese were surrounding him with less and less forces each and everytime.

Ok, that was what we have known during Korea.

With the new intel, we were NEVER in an unattenable situation. The only thing the Chinese had on us was the element of surprise. However, I am willing to disregard this new intel but I cannot disregard that the last blocking force against the Eighth Army was company strength. Mac could not have read into that?

zraver
12 Jan 10,, 14:36
Z,

I do not want to put words into your posts but I had thought your observations were spot on. The timeline presented by the Chinese (that they only prepared for war after Mac crossed the 38th) was crap. By the same token, can the Chinese had actually marched that fast from the Yalu to the 38th had Mac actually decided to defend?

Do reacall the first primary stopping action was Kapyong where the Commonwealth Brigade decided to make a stand and succeeded.

Added to this, the Eighth Army was surrounded by no less than 8 times beginning at the corps level at the Yalu ending up with a company blocking force at the 38th. Simply put, Mac did not read the AARs, else he would have realized the Chinese were surrounding him with less and less forces each and everytime.

Ok, that was what we have known during Korea.

With the new intel, we were NEVER in an unattenable situation. The only thing the Chinese had on us was the element of surprise. However, I am willing to disregard this new intel but I cannot disregard that the last blocking force against the Eighth Army was company strength. Mac could not have read into that?

I am not saying the Chinese moved that fast per se, but a routed army will run from rumors to where they think they are safe and to where the commanders can reestablish cohesion and command.

Officer of Engineers
12 Jan 10,, 15:05
Ok, I think we're talking pass each other here. The UN Forces stopped running only after Kapyong. If 2 PPCLI had collapsed, then the line was again the Pusan Perimeter. It was only from that point on that MacArthur felt comfortable enough to stop running.

It took one decisive action for the UN Forces to stop running ... but those decisive actions were abound way before Kapyong. The Chinese let the Marines escape at Choisin mainly because they could not do a damn thing about it. By the same token, had the Marines decided to stay, the Chinese could also do nothing about it. They were already exhausted and ready for collapse.

The point I'm trying to make here is that the signs were there that the Chinese were exhausted. A good general should have read them. And a good general did - at Kapyong.

zraver
12 Jan 10,, 18:05
Ok, I think we're talking pass each other here. The UN Forces stopped running only after Kapyong. If 2 PPCLI had collapsed, then the line was again the Pusan Perimeter. It was only from that point on that MacArthur felt comfortable enough to stop running.

It took one decisive action for the UN Forces to stop running ... but those decisive actions were abound way before Kapyong. The Chinese let the Marines escape at Choisin mainly because they could not do a damn thing about it. By the same token, had the Marines decided to stay, the Chinese could also do nothing about it. They were already exhausted and ready for collapse.

The point I'm trying to make here is that the signs were there that the Chinese were exhausted. A good general should have read them. And a good general did - at Kapyong.

But what general should get the blame? Walker was the man on the ground, Mac was in Japan. It can be argued that it was Walker who owns the greater part of the disaster.

Officer of Engineers
12 Jan 10,, 22:47
The Longest Retreat in USArmy history and even Seoul was abandonned a second time and Inchon dynamited. Those decisions clearly rest with MacArthur.

zraver
13 Jan 10,, 00:15
The Longest Retreat in USArmy history and even Seoul was abandonned a second time and Inchon dynamited. Those decisions clearly rest with MacArthur.

Sir, Gen. Walker was killed on 22 Dec with the battle for Seoul already under way, the Chinese would not secure the city until Jan 4, 1951. The UN forces were beaten mentally and robbed of their commander. They didn;t manage to stop until Ridgeway's reforms (he had absolute command after Dec 25, 1950) and his use of massed artillery to break up the infantry attacks of the Chinese coupled with the Chinese having out run their supplies. it looks like the PVA still had enough oomph in December and early Jan to push the UN forces back by force.

Officer of Engineers
13 Jan 10,, 06:12
Z,

All allied action post PVA thrust and pre-Ridgeway was reactive. Ridgeway was the 1st pro-active action. You can blame Walker all you want but come on!, the longest retreat in USArmy history and at no time did MacArthur stated, we will retreat no further?

Also, be advised that I am not questioning your research but have you studied the 2nd Battle of Seoul? There is absolutely NO REASON why 100,000 men cannot defend against a 200,000 man force into that city.

zraver
13 Jan 10,, 19:57
Z,

All allied action post PVA thrust and pre-Ridgeway was reactive. Ridgeway was the 1st pro-active action. You can blame Walker all you want but come on!, the longest retreat in USArmy history and at no time did MacArthur stated, we will retreat no further?

The blame lies on Walker, had he kept his command intact instead of spread out the rout might have been averted, but i stress might. Where Mac is to blsme is before the PVA jumped in. Had he told Walker to be on guard...

However, once they did, and they hit a spread out unprepared UN force the rout was on. Walker as the commander on the scene failed to get the troops under control, it was his job, not Mac's. Blaming Mac is like blaiming Ike for Market Garden.


Also, be advised that I am not questioning your research but have you studied the 2nd Battle of Seoul? There is absolutely NO REASON why 100,000 men cannot defend against a 200,000 man force into that city.

I've actually been looking for a good source on it via the net, do you have one? And i think you mean the 3rd battle where the UN was defending.

zraver
13 Jan 10,, 20:28
"The Seoul bridgehead was, at best, precarious.19

Further testimony on just how precarious the position was came from engineers on duty at the Han bridges who reported on the 2d that the river was frozen solid enough to support foot traffic, as evidenced by Korean civilians leaving the Seoul area. The forces above the city faced not only the likelihood of strong frontal attacks and the chance of being enveloped by enemy forces to the east but also the possibility of being trapped by enemy forces crossing the ice just outside the flanks of the bridgehead.20"

Sir if this is true, then here was no river barrier to aid the defenders.


Ridgway's instructions to Brig. Gen. Frank S. Bowen, Jr.'s combat team were a hedge against a surprise appearance of enemy forces pushing in from the northeast or east. Indeed, what had happened or was likely to happen in the South Korean corps sectors remained difficult for Ridgway to ascertain. From reports reaching him on the

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2d he knew that the ROK Capital Division on the east coast had reached line C without contact, but about the most that could be positively said of the remaining ROK divisions was that no one knew for sure where they were or what condition they were in.23

Wee, great feeling it must have been to have the host nations commitment up in the air and thus leaving the whole force hanging in the breeze.


Faced with these near-chaotic conditions in the east and the imminent arrival of Chinese forces at the bridgehead, Ridgway reminded his forces that they would defend their positions only as long as they could do so without risk of being enveloped or trapped. The danger of entrapment applied especially to the I and IX Corps. Yet, while he attached this limit to the defense of the bridgehead, he did not intend that Milburn and Coulter adopt only an alert wait-and-see attitude. On the previous day, through either lack of effort or lack of opportunity, neither Milburn nor Coulter had executed the punishing attacks Ridgway had directed. Irritated by this failure, Ridgway personnally made it clear to both corps commanders on the 2d that these attacks would be made.29

I think this is evidence that the lower echelon commanders had still not gotten free of the defensive mindset and where already mentally beaten. Ridgeway would repalce a lot of senior officers in the coming days.


The Evacuation of Seoul

The Chinese first hit the Seoul bridgehead from the northwest along Route 1. The 50th Army sent forces against the I Corps left, those in the van reaching the outpost line of the 25th Division just before 0300 on the 3d. Forced back by the encounter, the outpost troops passed behind the main division position two hours later. Either pursuing troops of the 50th or west flank forces of the 39th Army next opened small arms fire on the 35th Infantry on the division right.30

Other forces of the 39th marching south through the hills west of Route 33 meanwhile approached the British 29th Brigade, opening a strong attack on the Northumberland Fusiliers at the brigade right at 0730 and then striking still harder at the Royal Ulster Rifles on the left. The Fusiliers gave ground and two companies of the Rifles were overrun, but counterattacks by infantry and tanks recaptured the lost positions in midafternoon and forced the Chinese to disengage.31

In the IX Corps sector, leading units of the 40th and 38th Armies opened light jabs and small arms fire against the 24th Division about 0500. The small attacks-the largest by a company at the division left-hit but failed to penetrate the 21st Infantry and finally died out at midmorning. In the 19th Infantry sector to the east of the 21st, the 2d Battalion steadily lost ground to attacks that grew from company to regiment in size. Counterattacks well supported by air and artillery restored the battalion line early in the afternoon, but not without a continued contest for the ground regained.32

By noon on the 3d the attacks on the bridgehead convinced Ridgway that a withdrawal below Seoul had to start soon. While the assaults themselves were not overwhelming, they laid the proverbial final straw on a heavy burden of other problems and disadvantages. The administrative and logistical complexity of moving close to seventyfive thousand troops and their equipment across the Han was a prime concern. So was the problem of clearing the Seoul area of ROK national, provincial, and local government officials, foreigners who included an

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American Embassy group, and possibly the city's entire populace.33

A limited number of bridges would complicate the river crossing. All permanent bridges had been destroyed in past days, and none had been repaired. Just two engineer structures, one 50-ton hybrid M4-M4A2 floating bridge and one 50-ton shoofly (decked railroad) bridge spanned the Han directly below Seoul behind the I Corps; just one 50-ton M2 floating bridge, four miles east of Seoul, crossed the river behind the IX Corps. Only five floating footbridges were available for the potentially large civilian exodus. The ice was solid enough to support pedestrians but not vehicles.34

The bridges, moreover, were vulnerable. The Chinese had not yet made any lasting penetration of the bridgehead, but if stronger attacks succeeded, they could deploy artillery far enough forward to destroy the crossings. Since the Han in the Seoul area was tidal and threw up chunks of ice as the water level shifted, the river itself was a threat. Although engineers were on round-the-clock duty to protect the spans from ice damage, the periodic upheavals nevertheless could tear loose the supporting pontons at any time. Another danger was the possibility that panic-stricken civilians might surge from Seoul and overwhelm the troops guarding the crossings. Either of two results would be calamitous: civilian traffic would preempt the bridges, or Ridgway would have to employ drastic measures against the civilians to regain the crossings for military use.

Enemy operations east of the bridgehead also had a strong influence on Ridgway's decision. In the deep North Korean salient extending south from Inje, the division and reinforced regiment earlier estimated to be in the Hongch'on area were now identified as the 2d Division of the North Korean II Corps and the 12th Division of the North Korean V Corps. According to current estimates, these two corps together controlled either ten or twelve divisions. Intelligence sources, moreover, continued to report the movement of the North Korean III Corps, which had three divisions, from the Wonsan-Hamhung region to the Inje area.35

Apparently shaping up were a North Korean attack to seize the Wonju rail and road center and a concurrent attempt, as evidenced by strong guerrilla operations along Route 29 as far south as Tanyang forty miles below Wonju, to cut off the forces defending the North Korean objective. Since the enemy's seizure of Wonju would prevent the Eighth Army from using the central rail line to support operations in the Seoul area, Ridgway now considered the North Korean effort in the east to be a well-planned maneuver timed and tied to the main Chinese attack in the west.36

That the X, ROK III, and ROK I Corps could establish an adequate defense in the east remained, at best, uncertain. General Almond, with characteristic alertness, viewed the presence

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of North Korean forces between his three ROK divisions retiring from the north and his 2d Division in the Wonju area as an opportunity for a hammerand-anvil maneuver with the South Koreans pounding the enemy against General McClure's positions. But Almond had yet to get a grip on the hammer. There was still no definite word on the whereabouts of the ROK 5th and 8th Divisions, and the latest information on the ROK 2d Division indicated that two of its regiments were still surrounded and that the third had been reduced to a battalion.37

Sir, imangien ou were the commander- your an engineer and combat officer after all. earlier in the paper Ridgeway estimated he faced 300,000 and had 75,000 in the battle for Seoul. With the limits on the bridges, the number of civilians, the collapse of the RoKA leaving your supply situationin doubt and with UN commanders still to timid to be aggressive. The frozen rivers while hindering the UN provided easy crossing for the infantry heavy communist forces....

Officer of Engineers
17 Jan 10,, 06:38
Z, first off, my apologies. Real life came in and my response in this very fun debate ... was taken off its tracks. I hope you don't mind for this late response.


The blame lies on Walker, had he kept his command intact instead of spread out the rout might have been averted, but i stress might. Where Mac is to blsme is before the PVA jumped in. Had he told Walker to be on guard...But it was MacArthur's job to read the Chinese both before and after the intervention ... and he sucked both before and after.


However, once they did, and they hit a spread out unprepared UN force the rout was on. Walker as the commander on the scene failed to get the troops under control, it was his job, not Mac's. Blaming Mac is like blaiming Ike for Market Garden.Ike gave the go for MARKET-GARDEN but that's an apple to oranges comparison.

Korea was the longest retreat in USArmy history and it should not have been, not against a WWI Army. I absolutely agree that Walker screwed up but it was Mac's job to read the Chinese and he did an abmisal job.


"The Seoul bridgehead was, at best, precarious.19

Further testimony on just how precarious the position was came from engineers on duty at the Han bridges who reported on the 2d that the river was frozen solid enough to support foot traffic, as evidenced by Korean civilians leaving the Seoul area. The forces above the city faced not only the likelihood of strong frontal attacks and the chance of being enveloped by enemy forces to the east but also the possibility of being trapped by enemy forces crossing the ice just outside the flanks of the bridgehead.20"

Sir if this is true, then here was no river barrier to aid the defenders.

Wee, great feeling it must have been to have the host nations commitment up in the air and thus leaving the whole force hanging in the breeze.

I think this is evidence that the lower echelon commanders had still not gotten free of the defensive mindset and where already mentally beaten. Ridgeway would repalce a lot of senior officers in the coming days.

Sir, imangien ou were the commander- your an engineer and combat officer after all. earlier in the paper Ridgeway estimated he faced 300,000 and had 75,000 in the battle for Seoul. With the limits on the bridges, the number of civilians, the collapse of the RoKA leaving your supply situationin doubt and with UN commanders still to timid to be aggressive. The frozen rivers while hindering the UN provided easy crossing for the infantry heavy communist forces....Z, yes, it was safe for foot traffic and not motor traffic ... which was why I find incomprehensible that the defence collapsed. A well place mortar round can wet and freeze an entire platoon. It would have been a well laid trap and the Chinese knew it. They did not use the ice en mass.

However, you are absolutely right, that this was an army that was beaten mentally. But it was beaten by a WWI army and Mac allowed it to be beaten by a WWI army. If Walker could not do the job, then it was Mac's job to replace him.

The very fact that Ridgeway and the 28th Commonwealth Brigade could turned it around so fast meant the Mac did not do his job and instead allow circumstances to do his job for him.

A lesson, if I recall correctly that you have stated that was learned from the Union side during the American Civil War.

Mihais
17 Jan 10,, 21:10
Sir,to my shame,Korea was not on top of my readings.
Wasn't MacArthur proposal to bomb the Yalu bridges a move that would have killed the Chinese offensive?As a corollary,were the Chinese aware of the political decision not to bomb the bridges?And did he had the freedom to remove 8th Army CO?

Officer of Engineers
18 Jan 10,, 19:20
Mac was authorized to bomb the Korean half of the bridges and he did but Mac wanted to attack Manchuria, into China proper and that he was not authorized to do.

As for the Chinese, they rebuilt the bridges but about 12 inches under the waterline in order to hide them. Sometimes, this worked. Other times, not. In bright sunlight, you can still see the bridges.

MacArthur was never in a habbit of replacing his generals.

ANZAC
19 Jan 10,, 08:30
Max Hastings states in his book 'The Korean war'' that MacArthur contemplated removing Collins but realised that Collins was seen as the plucky hero of Pusan back in the States, so backed off & put his protegee, his chief of staff Gen Edward M Almond in command of X corps to more or less lead the way, Almond often conferred directly with MacArthur over Collins head, which didn't make for a very harmonious arrangement.


Hastings also states that....''The advance on the Yalu reflects a disdain for intelligence & for the cardinal principle of military prudence, seldom matched in 20th century warfare.''

A lack of solid intelligence & over confidence, were major flaws in MacArthur's 'Home-by-Christmas' offensive to evict the Chinese forces from Korea and to end the Korean conflict.

ANZAC
27 Jan 10,, 08:38
Apart from MacArthur making noises about using Nuclear bombs, how close did the U.S. come to using them in the Korean war?

Things were looking very bleak after the Chinese attacked, with many units of the Eighth Army catching ''Bug Out''disease, virtually throwing away their weapons & bugging out, that the US Joint Chiefs were seriously talking about using nuclear weapons to save the 8th army...as Hastings writes.....

How close did the U.S. come to, in the Winter of 1950, to employing nuclear bombs against China?

Much closer, the answer must be, than the Allies cared to believe at the time.
Americas leading military men from the joint chiefs down, were not disturbed by the prospect of using them.

Had the Chinese proved able to convert the defeat of the UN forces into their destruction, had 8th army been driven headlong for the coastal ports with massive casualties, it is impossible to say with certainty that Truman would have resisted demand for an Atomic demonstration against China.

The pressure upon the politicians from the military leaders of America might well have become irresistible in the face of strategic disaster.

Thankfully it didn't get to that situation, [the more mobile UN forces could retreat much faster then the Chinese could attack] but the use of nuclear weapons was always a possibility as Truman said at a press conference on 30th Nov. that the U.S. would take whatever steps necessary to meet the military situation, including the use of nuclear weapons.

Officer of Engineers
28 Jan 10,, 07:32
Two points.

1) Truman would have attacked the bases in Manchuria before he would used nukes.

2) Pusan was ready to receive the Chinese. Allow me to rephrase. Pusan was ready to kill the Chinese.

Triple C
29 Jan 10,, 04:10
Max Hastings states in his book 'The Korean war'' that MacArthur contemplated removing Collins but realised that Collins was seen as the plucky hero of Pusan back in the States, so backed off & put his protegee, his chief of staff Gen Edward M Almond in command of X corps to more or less lead the way, Almond often conferred directly with MacArthur over Collins head, which didn't make for a very harmonious arrangement.


"Lightning Joe" Collins? He was not "regarded" as a war hero back in the States, he IS a war hero. He made his reputation in Europe during WWII. What were the stated causes for Mac to relieve him?

Triple C
29 Jan 10,, 04:14
To Z and EoE,

I read EoE's link to the old thread. Fascinating read. Thank you Sir. From the Chinese perspective, it looks like Korean War was a military catastrophe of the first order. They knew they were out-gunned, but they must have been shocked to find out by how much they were out-gunned.

Officer of Engineers
29 Jan 10,, 04:38
Triple C,

By the same token, those Chinese Officers were experienced enough and knowledgable enough to know not to let up on the momentum. Yes, they were outgunned but by the same token, if the Eighth Army was retreating, you cannot give up the chase.

The Chinese mistake was giving up the chase in exchange for trying to surround the Eighth Army. THAT was their death knell. They were lucky that neither Macarthur nor Walker saw it ... and reading the AARs, I am dismayed on how much they've misread the Chinese strategic picture.

MacArthur should have ordered Eighth Army to stand their ground.

astralis
29 Jan 10,, 05:16
col yu,


MacArthur should have ordered Eighth Army to stand their ground.

what is your read-- had 8th Army stood their ground, would that mean the chinese armies would be shattered? ie an easy roll up to the yalu afterwards?

Officer of Engineers
30 Jan 10,, 02:03
Depends on where they make their stand but no, it would not be all the way back to the Yalu. Do recall that there were four PVA artillery divisions that were left behind. That would make one hell of a defensive line.

ANZAC
30 Jan 10,, 06:18
"Lightning Joe" Collins? He was not "regarded" as a war hero back in the States, he IS a war hero. He made his reputation in Europe during WWII. What were the stated causes for Mac to relieve him?

That of course should read ''Walker'' was the plucky hero of Pusan, not Collins, during the Korean war Collins was chief of staff of the army back in Washington & MacArthur's superior.

Triple C
01 Feb 10,, 09:30
That of course should read ''Walker'' was the plucky hero of Pusan

*Chuckles* That happens to the best of us. Would anyone like to bring me up to speed on Walker's various failures as commander? I am only semi-familiar with his conduct as Corps commander in the 3rd Army and there wasn't much evidence of incompetence during tjat tenure. From the sounds of it contributors here think he screwed up royally.

zraver
02 Feb 10,, 04:17
*Chuckles* That happens to the best of us. Would anyone like to bring me up to speed on Walker's various failures as commander? I am only semi-familiar with his conduct as Corps commander in the 3rd Army and there wasn't much evidence of incompetence during tjat tenure. From the sounds of it contributors here think he screwed up royally.

look at the unit placements and spacing even after first contact with the Chinese. He allowed his army to get horribly spread out, where they could not support each other.

ANZAC
03 Feb 10,, 07:12
A breakdown in the echelons of the high command didn't help matters much according to Hastings, who thinks that Walker was a good Corps commander but handling an army was too much for him.

It was a difficult task, not only because of shortages in manpower, equipment, and training areas in Japan, but also because Walker had a difficult relationship with MacArthur, and [especially] MacArthur's chief of staff, Major General Ned Almond. Neither MacArthur nor Almond had confidence in Walker.

Mac, wasn't game to sack him so put Almond in command of X corps & would confer with Almond over Walkers head, which didn't do much for Walkers confidence.

And Almond in turn [who was an undistinguished divisional commander in WW2 & was determined to make his mark in Korea] had his hands full with General O.C.Smith, commander of the 1st Marine division, who thought that Almond was a glory hound & Hastings says he's on record as saying that Almond was crazy with some of the dumb orders he gave.

Luckily the 8th army could retreat faster then the Chinese could attack & eventually th Chinese out ran their logistics & slowed down plus fortunately Ridgeway took command when Walker was killed & very quickly turned the army from a shattered mess into a fighting unit, & when at last Mac was sacked, [he was losing his grip by then] Ridgeway took overall command & stabilized the situation.

Triple C
04 Feb 10,, 10:39
Hastings, who thinks that Walker was a good Corps commander but handling an army was too much for him.

Which is why I asked. Walker commanded a Corps in the 3rd Army and in so far as I can recall, was a conventional but solid commander at that level. :frown:



Luckily the 8th army could retreat faster then the Chinese could attack & eventually th Chinese out ran their logistics & slowed down plus fortunately Ridgeway took command when Walker was killed & very quickly turned the army from a shattered mess into a fighting unit, & when at last Mac was sacked, [he was losing his grip by then] Ridgeway took overall command & stabilized the situation.

The more I read about "the general with the grenade harness" the more I am impressed with Ridgeway. What a general!