Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chipyong-ni 1951

Decisive battle for FebruaryOver at GFT.


  1. Great post Chief. Will you be doing Wonju in the future? Also another question: When did X Corps come under the control of 8th Army instead of being an independent Corps?? Did that happen when Ridgway first took over 8th Army or later?

    Regarding the Bugout you mentioned, there was a vet in our local VFW post who was an unfortunate participant. His recollections were primarily of cold and hunger. His unit still only had summer uniforms. They had plain leather boots and no gloves or mittens and they lost more casualties to frostbitten toes and fingers than to enemy action. He used to sleep with his rifle inside his fart sack with him to keep it warm so that his fingers would not stick to the metal parts when woken for sentry duty. And he said it was a rare day when they were resupplied with C-rats. When going thru abandoned villages they used to supplement their diet by ransacking hootches looking for stone crocks of kimchi that had been hidden and left behind.

    The Chicoms were better prepared for the weather with their quilted uniforms and initially were better supplied until their supply lines got too long and got interdicted by Air Force and Naval Air strikes.

    I guess the winter uniforms and the rations were enroute in Japan or Pusan or stuck at a rail junction somewhere. Truman's SecDef Louis Johnson was relieved in late September before the Bugout but he undoubtedly laid the groundwork for the sorry supply situation that followed. And Johnson and the Air Force nuke cabal led by Lemay were also the main proponents of using nukes in Korea.

    I always liked Ridgway. He got out to visit the units at the front, and got subordinate commanders to follow his lead so they would know what was really going on instead of via second hand briefings. And according to Halberstam's "Best and Brightest" he was also the guy who years later advised both Ike and Lyndon Johnson against deeper involvement in Vietnam. Ike listened, too bad that Lyndon didn't.

  2. mike: I don't know if I'll get back to Wonju; it was the counterpart of Chipyong-ni so I kind of think that the latter serves as a good example of the type.

    U.S. Army says that X Corps was placed under EUSA on 24 DEC 1950, so just about the time that Ridgeway took over. But you could also make the case that after the evacuation fron Hamhung it made operational sense to terminate the direct connection between X Corps and the Dai Ichi. As with so much concerning MacArthur, it's kind of hard to seperate the actual military imperatives from the emotions that are generated by ol' Mac.

    The U.S. Army was woefully prepared for everything about Korea, from tactics and equipment to logistics. Jim and I are planning to write up the Battle of Osan in July to discuss the whole problem that the U.S. Army has had with asymmetric opponents, overestimating its own capabilities, and the evr-popular CRS Syndrome...

  3. You are right. Walker was killed on the 23rd and the order comes down the next day for X Corps to chop to 8th Army.

    After looking at Wiki, what I would like to know about Ridgway is how and hell does a Corps Commander get grenade fragmentation wounds? I know that in WW2 there were several generals and Admirals KIA or WIA. But none other than Ridgway I think from combat so close they were wounded by a hand grenade. Don't answer, I will pick up a copy of his bio next time I visit Powells bookstore in your fair city.

    I think General Walker is underrated. He did a hell of a job considering how SecDef Louis Johnson had gutted the Army (and Navy and Marines also) in favor of the Air Force will-of-the-wisp nuclear strategy. Walker did a great job holding on to Pusan with just a bunch of ragtag units until he could get a force buildup. And he had to put up with MacArthur and a split command also.

    Does CRS still mean what it used to mean? I can't remember!