Skip to comments.The Chinese People's Volunteers and the Strategy of People's War(BARF ALERT)
Posted on 11/24/2002 3:12:21 PM PST by Sparta
Over the years, the bourgeois press has tried to downplay the brilliance of peoples war as carried on by the Chinese Peoples Volunteers in Korea. Various imperialist mouthpieces have made racist portrayals of the so-called hordes of Chinese stupidly making wave upon human wave of useless frontal attacks against a firmly entrenched enemy, accumulating losses that were unnecessary. But the real story which has been noted by honest journalists is that the Chinese Peoples Volunteers developed a unique and effective style of fighting that took advantage of the various strengths and weaknesses of their own army and that of the enemy.
As a Chinese commander explained, "The enemys frontal defense is so tight and its firepower is so well-organized that a frontal attack against such a defense line wont be effective. On the other hand, what the American troops fear most is being cut off from their communications and retreat lines. Given these strengths and weaknesses we shall try to carry to its full effect such tactics as determined and audacious penetration, close-combat battles, and night operations."1
One historian described the U.S. reaction to the CPV attack against a U.S. battalion at Unsan: "The Americans were shaken by the ferocity of the attack. The cavalrymen had never experienced anything quite like it. The enemy moved catlike in the darkness. Infiltrators made good use of cover, probing unerringly for weaknesses in the defense and exploiting each advantage with uncanny speed. It was as if the offensive had been painstakingly researched. The attackers pressed on regardless of losses, although there were few head-on assaults. All this to the blowing of bugles, whistles, and the occasional beating of gongs."2
The official U.S. Marine Corps history of the war cites the derisive comment of one marine: "How many hordes are there in a Chinese platoon?"
The Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett wrote: "The Americans explained every defeat as due to overwhelming hordes, irresistible as the sea, but on innumerable occasions they suffered heavy defeats by tiny groups of men whose morale was high and who had boundless faith in their cause. It was painful for the Americans to have to admit defeat at all, doubly painful to admit they were defeated on equal terms and ten times as painful to admit they were defeated by inferior numbers of Gooks and Chinks, as they referred to Koreans and Chinese in their racial arrogance."3
A ROAD-BOUND ARMY A number of historians have commented that in the realm of supply, supposed strength was turned into weakness for the U.S. Army. They point out that the great advantage of the U.S. military forces was its awesome firepower. But great firepower means that great amounts of ammunition had to be transported to the battlefield. Also, the reliance upon heavy weapons like tanks, artillery, and tracked and wheeled vehicles, meant that the U.S. troops were tied to the roads of their Main Supply Routes. The long lines of vehicles were continually attacked from the surrounding hills of the mountainous Korean terrain. When the Main Supply Routes were cut anywhere along the line, the U.S. forces couldnt be provided for. If the U.S. reopened the Main Supply Route at one place, the Peoples Volunteers had only to cut it somewhere else to put the U.S. troops into jeopardy.
With all their tanks and trucks carrying the great assortment of wares befitting an imperialist army, the U.S. soldiers were road-bound. When the U.S. soldiers went into battle, they hated to leave the safety of their trucks and slog across the hills. Meanwhile, the Chinese Peoples Volunteers continuously baffled the U.S. soldiers with their ability to advance speedily across apparently impassable ground.
The Chinese Peoples Volunteers had to rely largely on their own human or animal transport to move supplies to their front line troops. They got by with fewer supplies than the U.S. soldiers, but what they did get was not solely dependent upon the roads. Rather, the Chinese could move on foot through the mountains on steep trails and through roadless valleys and emerge behind U.S. forces to set up roadblocks and cut off or surround the enemy troops.
Chroniclers of the Korean War have observed that even on foot, the CPV could achieve extremely high march rates 18 miles a day for 18 days straight for one unit. When the Chinese army had to transport supplies by road, they mainly moved at night and without headlights. Lookouts were posted on the highest hills to spot for enemy planes and warn the truck drivers to take cover.
LIVING HARD,FIGHTING HARD As one observer noted, when the U.S. soldier went into battle he went as part of a pampered army. "Not for them a pound or two of parched grain-meal in a cloth roll on which a Korean or a Chinese fighting man could survive with no more than water. America combat rations then ran to meats, poultry, hamburgers, vegetables, fruits, biscuits, coffee, sugar, milk, vitamins, confectionery, packaged to attract the eye of a supermarket customer. Wherever the troops passed there was a litter of empty or wasted packages."4
Further, the U.S. forces had just been having a holiday as occupying troops in Japan. They spent more time forcing themselves on Japanese women than practicing military skills. Now, they were suddenly lifted from their cushy life and dropped head-up against the Chinese Peoples Volunteers.
In contrast, the long years of the Chinese Civil War had battle-hardened the Peoples Volunteers. They had learned to live hard, constantly in need of adequate transportation, ammunition, food, and other supplies. Most of the time the Chinese soldiers walked into battle with little sleep and having only eaten some rice for a meal. They had to be very careful not to waste ammunition, sometimes counting their bullets before an all-out assault. The Peoples Army had none of the comforts of a modern army. Learning how to fight under such conditions turned great weakness into great strength for the Chinese army fighting in Korea. They lived hard and fought hard.
Through the first few battles of the Chinese First Offensive, the enemys weaknesses began to show. In a pamphlet entitled Primary Conclusions of Battle Experience of Unsan, the Chinese summed up their appraisal of the fighting ability of U.S. troops: "When cut off from the rear, American soldiers abandon all their weapons, leaving them all over the place, and play opossum.... Their infantrymen are weak, afraid to die, and havent much courage to attack or defend. They depend on their planes, tanks and artillery. At the same time, they are afraid of our firepower. They will cringe when, if on the advance, they hear firing. They are afraid to advance farther.... They specialize in day fighting. They are not familiar with night fighting or hand-to-hand combat.... If defeated, they have no orderly formation. Without the use of their mortars, they become completely lost.... At Unsan they were surrounded for several days, yet they did nothing. They are afraid when their rear is cut off. When transportation comes to a standstill, the infantry loses the will to fight."5
LURE THE ENEMY IN DEEP The CPV had fought well during the First Offensive and mainly they were successful in battle. In addition, they seized tons of military equipment that the U.S. soldiers left while in full retreat. As the Chinese Volunteers remarked: they liked fighting the U.S. Army more than the ROK troops because when the U.S. soldiers fled, they left behind all kinds of useful equipment.
But many had escaped from the net during the first battles, so the Chinese command set to work planning a new offensive against the U.S. forces. The CPV commanders wanted the imperialists to be surprised by a sudden, massive offensive that would prove to be totally devastating. For this to happen, the U.S./UN forces would have to advance further into a trap.
The First CPV Offensive had made the U.S. more conservative in their advance. They continually stopped and probed for signs of strong resistance. The Chinese command had to devise a plan to lure the U.S./UN forces in more deeply, and more quickly. For as time went on, there would be more opportunity for the U.S. to discover exactly how many Chinese troops were actually in Korea. But the element of surprise was still very much in their favor. Although there was now certain evidence of the Peoples Volunteers in Korea, the U.S. refused to believe that there was much of a Chinese force at all.
The CPV tricked the U.S. by releasing prisoners and withdrawing from the battlefield, giving the illusion that the Chinese were far fewer in numbers and that the U.S. Eighth Army was mainly fighting against the North Koreans who were demoralized by the reverses in the war. The many bourgeois accounts of the war confirm that the U.S. commanders were thoroughly confused. First, a ruthless attack, followed by stillness on the battlefield. It was most puzzling...as if their adversary had disappeared into thin air!
But the U.S. imperialists, forever arrogant and deluded into thinking that all was clear, continued their push to the Yalu and played right into the hands of the Chinese command. On Nov. 25, with great fanfare, the U.S. launched its "Home by Christmas Offensive." The U.S. forces moved northward against light resistance, driving toward the China-Korea border. They hoped to catch the "retreating" Chinese and Korean troops between two prongs of a great pincers between the Eighth Army and the X Corps against the Yalu River. Prior to moving out, the U.S. airforce unleashed a massive bombing campaign to destroy the bridges across the Yalu from China. The U.S. hoped that by destroying the bridges, it would cripple any attempts at reinforcement from the Peoples Republic of China. But despite the tremendous tonnage of bombs dropped, only four of the twelve bridges were destroyed.
Meanwhile, Chinese Peoples Volunteers had concentrated their forces to hit the imperialists hard. Six field armies numbering about 180,000 were thrown against the U.S. Eighth Army. Three of those armies blocked the advance of three U.S. divisions driving toward the Yalu. The plan was to allow these divisions to advance but hit them before they could consolidate their new positions. The Chinese masterfully chose the terrain on which to fight. About 15 miles north of the Chongchon River, from which the U.S. launched their offensive, the ground rises sharply into rough mountainous terrain with narrow valleys extending northward to the Yalu. It was in the hills overlooking these valleys that the CPV secretly amassed...just waiting for their enemy to approach. The U.S. forces were not at all prepared for the CPV onslaught, which sent them into headlong retreat back across the Chongchon River. If the spiriting of the Chinese Peoples Volunteers into Korea was one of the greatest examples of deception in military history, then this second offensive ranked right alongside their previous feat.
The other three CPV armies attacked the main U.S. positions on the Chongchon somewhat inland from where the first three U.S. divisions were attacked. The success of this phase of the offensive depended on a strong frontal attack against the U.S. positions. This frontal assault was designed to hold the attention of U.S. units on the threat in front of them. But the major blow actually fell on the ROK II Corps which was supposed to protect the right flank of the whole Eighth Army. Again, the ROK units were the weakest link in the U.S. chain and the CPV broke it. When the ROK elements crumbled, this left the door open for the Volunteers to hit the exposed eastern flank of the U.S. Eighth Army and allowed the CPV to roll up the enemy from east to west. Consequently, the U.S. 2nd Division caught the full force of this attack on the front, rear, and flanks just outside of the town of Kunu-ri. All U.S. units were ordered to retreat. The Chinese units were now concentrating and moving in broad daylight in pursuit of the retreating U.S. troops.
But more was to come. The Chinese command planned a major ambush for the fleeing U.S. 2nd Division. While other U.S. troops had escaped along a road running west of Kunu-ri, the Chinese command hoped that the 2nd Division would try to escape south down the Kunu-ri/Sunchon Road. In the great confusion of retreat, the U.S. 2nd Division commanders sought exactly this alternative as they thought it to be the shortest and safest route to the rear. Also, there were rumors that the Chinese had set up roadblocks to the west of Kunu-ri. While the U.S. commanders knew that CPV units had been working their way behind the Division, they thought that the Chinese troops were not in any significant numbers. In reality, though, the CPV had already dug in on the high ridges overlooking the road. Further, the Chinese baited the hook for the U.S./UN force by letting a platoon of Sherman M-4 tanks make an unchallenged run down the threatened road. They were after bigger fish!
The only problem for the Chinese forces was how to stop the fleeing U.S. convoy on the road. Once the retreat order was given, the U.S./UN units lost any cohesion as a fighting force and disintegrated into groups of individuals just trying to save their own asses. As a tremendous barrage of firepower rained down onto the seven-mile-long column and fierce fighting erupted amidst napalm attacks by U.S. planes, a small volunteer unit armed with satchel charges crawled up to the front-most tanks and wrecked them, blocking the way. The Kunu-ri/Sunchon road became a gauntlet of death for the U.S. 2nd Division. Finally, the U.S. engineers were able to remove the debris obstructing the road and the remaining units ran for the rear. One bourgeois historian commented on the U.S. losses, "The retreat to Sunchon cost the Americans more than 3,000 casualties, half their guns, and much of their transportation. This was no worse than Washingtons losses at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777. But the U.S. 2nd Division suffered most of them in a single afternoon."6
A NIGHTMAREFOR U.S. IMPERIALISM While the Chinese Peoples Volunteers attacked the U.S. Eighth Army in the west, they also launched an offensive in the east against the Marine X Corps in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir. A series of bloody battles were fought among the surrounding hills in sub-freezing weather against the Marines attempting to take the advantage of the high ground away from the CPV who had cut the imperialists main supply route. The U.S. Marines were forced to fight their way out through a gauntlet of narrow passes suffering heavy losses. They finally succeeded in making it to the port at Hungnam where they loaded onto ships and escaped. The evacuation of the Marines occurred on Dec. 24, the day before Christmas, thus ending the U.S. "Home By Christmas Offensive."
In the eastern theater of operations in Korea, the U.S. X Corps took to the seas in retreat. In the west the U.S. Eighth Army finally stopped their headlong retreat and drew up defensive lines across the midsection of the Korean peninsula. The war dragged on until negotiations ended the fighting in 1953. Although the Chinese Peoples Volunteers were not able to totally annihilate the U.S. forces, the defeat of the U.S. had great international significance. The Chinese forces, together with their Korean allies, had won a victoryat least in the sense of fighting the mighty U.S. forces to a standstill and winning an outcome much more in line with the strategic objectives of the revolutionary forces than those of the imperialists.
At the same time, this was an important learning experience for the Chinese revolutionary army. Throughout the war, and in its aftermath, they carefully studied the strengths and weaknesses of each side, as revealed in the conflict. While it is beyond the scope of this article to sum up all of this, a few further points can be noted. For example, some have commented that while the U.S. "heavy tail" of logistics and supply was a vulnerability, as summed up above, the relatively undeveloped logistics and communication on the Chinese side made for difficulties in sustaining and pursuing an offensive over long distances (different from their strengths in local offensives), in particular up against the firepower and air strength of U.S. imperialism. All this was and is important experience to learn from. As Sun Tzu (an ancient theorist on war, often quoted by Mao) put it, "Know yourself and know your enemy and you can win a thousand battles."
To this day, the memory of the Korean War is a nightmare for the U.S. imperialists. Following their defeat in Korea, the U.S. imperialists were again defeated in Vietnam. In Korea, as Mao said, the Chinese fought the U.S. imperialist forces directly and took their measuregaining a deeper and concrete sense of their strengths and their weaknesses, and learning ways to combat them. While many particular features of the U.S. armed forces have changed since the time of Korea, some basic, underlying strategic weaknesses were revealed there. In the context of the revolutionary wars of today and tomorrow the experience and lessons of "taking the measure" of U.S. imperialism in Korea remains important to the people of the world.ld.
THE TIMES HERALD.com: "6 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARRESTED IN ALGONAC PARK" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "ALGONAC -- Uncovered in the darkness by a motion sensor porch light, seven Chinese nationals smuggled across the St. Clair River were arrested Thursday morning near the state park, U.S. Border Patrol officials said. The illegal immigrants told officials they paid between $60,000 and $65,000 each to smugglers who sneaked them via boat from Canada in the middle of the night.")(112302)
CHARISMA NEWS.com: PERSECUTION WATCH: "CHINA" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "In the weeks leading to the party congress, which began last Friday, the government has banned books, blocked Internet sites and clamped down on other activists. China allows only government-monitored churches, and has harassed and imprisoned Christians who worship outside the official system.") (111102)
For an excellent, though long, oral history of the war there's a two volume set by Donald Knox. Max Hastings' treatment is also very good.
A great read.
I think the Marines have a different version to that one.
Don't sell the Chicoms short. Carlson, a US marine officer was sent over to study Chicom battle tactics in the 30's. Not only did he come back with some techniques which were incorporated in Marine Raider units but also the battle cry of "Gung Ho" which means "let's pull together" in Chinese.
The Chicoms are going to come after us soon. Don't belittle them. They are prepared and seeking vengeance. It's going to be a hell of a war and some of it is going to be on our own soil. They are still masters of infiltration. They follow the admonition of Sun Tzu "when we are near; make the enemy think we are far away....". They are not that far away. (Think South of the Border)
The Chinese invaded in massive numbers and pushed us back until we ultimately stopped them and an armistice was put in place ... never a peace or surrender ... which holds to this day. We cannot underestimate the Chicomms or their numbers and willingness to use them like they did at Chosin.
If Truman had allowed McArthur to defeat the Red Chinese before they invaded, there would be only one united Korea today, I do not believe Vietnam would have ever happened and China may well have thrown off its communist dictator and been a free nation to balance against the Soviets all of those years.
But Truman turned internationalist (globalist) on us and fired McArthur and replaced him with someone who would follow his orders to allow the overwhelming numbers of Chicomms to continue to build and attack when we could have (and IMHO should have) preempted it. That, IMHO, is where we made the mistake in Korea and it has established a pattern, legacy and image of us in the minds of other nations ever since.
I understand that many of the occupation divisions that were brought over from Japan only had 2 of their full complement of 3 Regimental Combat Teams.
Much the same way that the Imperial German Army did in their Spring Offensive in 1918. And the ultimate results were the same: after punching a deep hole in the enemy lines the German (and later the PRC) offensives petered out as their light infantry forces grew exhausted and overextended.
During the inter war years, the Germans sought to mate their WWI infiltration tactics with Allied mechanization in the hopes that offensive momentum could be sustained. The result was later termed Blitzkreig. The PLA has yet to demonstrate mastery of modern mechanized warfare.
It is not remotely true that "the horde attack was all they had". Several items in the article are all too true. When they intervened in strength late in 1950, the Chinese achieved strategic surprise. US and ROK forces were unprepared and poorly disposed to meet them. In forces directly engaged, the Chinese did not have any great numbers edge at that time - they did have large reserves in Manchuria, but could not supply them and so held them out of the battle at first. They nevertheless took the initiative and handed us very serious defeats, some of the worst in US military history.
The means used to accomplish this are pretty fairly explained in the article, despite the hyperbole. Our forces were too road-bound, a fault they had from the very begining of the war, which even the much less effective NK army had been able to exploit the previous summer in the push south to Pusan. The Chinese strength lay in what we would call "mountain infantry", which was effectively the "mobile" arm in the difficult terrain of Northern Korea. They were able to repeated achieve large scale infiltrations and attack us from all sides, simply because our own lines through the highest, most difficult country were non-existent. We regarded terrain as impassible that they used regularly. US physical conditioning was, in general and at that particular time, inadequate to compete in mountain fighting.
Moreover, the initial reverses create command paralysis, shock, and a serious morale problem at all ranks. MacArthur lost control of the battle in Korea, and spent his energies on fruitless fights with his superiors, seeking escalation, instead of on pulling his existing force together or learning to master the new enemy. This led to his recall. Matt Ridgeway proved the command vaccum existing in Korea when he arrived to take over the 8th army, was shocked at what he found, and was rapidly able to restore the army to fighting shape. Within a couple of months, he had the Chinese army's number. But the interim had not been pretty, and deserves serious and objective study by our own military.
Ridgeway learned first that we had to get out of the trucks and off the roads and up into the high ground. That we needed continuous fortified fronts backed by massed and centrally directed artillery and air. These alone did not, however, remedy the situation. The Chinese remained extremely dangerous, funneling down endless streams of reserves from Manchuria, massing them and ammunition for enourmous offensives. The early hill fighting of this period was a bloody affair of exchanges we could not afford to keep up, while they could.
Ridgeway discovered their Achilles heel, alluded to toward the end of the article, once they were a fair ways down the penisula and their supply lines were thus relatively stretched. Their logistics system was extremely primitive. Their force was all "teeth" and little "tail". This did not prevent them from fielding large forces and executing major offensives, despite US air power hitting their supply lines. But it did prevent them from *sustaining* a high combat tempo for long periods. They had to operate in a definite alternating tempo of flurry and lull, rebuilding in the quieter periods the supplies and replacements expended in the hot ones.
By comparison, the robust US logistics system could and did deliver the mountains of artillery ammunition needed to sustain "flurry" levels of fighting for extended periods. And Ridgeway found the way to exploit this edge. He adopted a flexible, counter-punching defense, which avoided the Chinese when their supplies were flush by short withdrawls, and then counterattacked when their supplies were low. He timed successive operations unpredictably. Their dumps were in the wrong places, eliminated by capture after successful counterattacks, etc. Ridgeway combined this with a focus on avoiding unnecessary losses on our side, substituting massive logistics-driven firepower (artillery and air) for infantry blood.
By doing so, Ridgeway was able to restore a colonial-era casualty ratio of 10-20 to 1 against the Chinese. During the long period of fighting between mid 1951 and the eventual armistice, we were in full control of the situation. Driving up the penisula was not worth the cost, because Ridgeway's solution depended on keeping Chinese supply lines stretched, and were most effective in defensive fighting. Of -that- period, it may fairly be said the Chinese were reduced to failed horde attacks. But not of the prior period, around the intervention, and before Ridgeway's new system was developed.
Among the lessons of the whole affair for us, are the following -
1. Underestimating the enemy is always costly. Empty bragging helps nothing and in fact gets men killed. Plan for what a smart and capable enemy could do with the capabilities he has.
2. Laziness in vehicle bound forces is a serious threat. Physical conditioning is a life or death matter. Both continuous lines and perimeter defenses are necessary. Supposedly impassible terrain is not impassible if organized, fit men chose to cross it.
3. Issues of logistics, teeth-to-tail, combat tempo, defensive and offensive stance, cannot be set in concrete in manuals. Commanders must manipulate these elements according to the strengths and weaknesses of own side and enemy forces. They must foresee the enemy's problems with such matters, not merely the constraints they represent to their own side.
4. The commander must always remain fully in touch with the essential elements of the battle. He must be on the spot, not out of country in a distant command post running the war by report. Morale and command shock are very real, and can hit even the best armies and leaders. Sentiment cannot enter assessments of such matters. Any officer, regardless of rank, who falls out of touch with or becomes overwhelmed by events must be relieved immediately.
If the Chinese have only learned the things discussed in this article from the experience, then we have little to worry about, because there is precious little sign here they learned anything. Probably, this is just the public propaganda spin. The subjects alluded to toward the end of the article are where they got their heads handed to them - after the intervention, in the spring and summer of 1951. They probably know this, but they don't talk about it for public propaganda purposes. Their loss - open and objective assessment of lessons makes one stronger, not weaker.
The split came -after- Chinese intervention, and concerned what to do about it. In an overall atmosphere of declining confidence in MacArther by the Joint Chiefs (not just Truman). MacArther responded to the scale of the defeats at the hands of the Chinese by calling for escalation. He wanted to turn loose Chiang's forces on Taiwan to fight against Red China, opening another front outside of Korea. He wanted strategic air, and naval air and gunfire, to attack targets in Red China was well - especially in Manchuria, but also opposite Taiwan. And he urged the consideration of use of nuclear weapons. He presented these recommendations inside the chain of command, and portions of them outside, through the press. It was the last of those that most got Truman's goat.
Meanwhile, he was giving more and more pessimistic reports from the front, saying in effect "agree to my urged escalation, or I will be forced to evacuate Korea". The Joint Chiefs responded by ordering him not to escalate, to fight to hold on in Korea if possible, and to withdraw to Japan if absolutely forced to do so - which they regarded as his call, and he wanted to make their call. He was, in effect, blaming defeat in Korea on failure to escalate - in an effort to bring about an escalation, which he thought it was his duty to achieve, to support his men in the field.
Ridgeway arrived in command of 8th Army while Mac was still in charge of the joint Far East HQ in Tokyo. Ridgeway was the one who turned in around on the ground. The awful conditions he found - morale in the basement, a high command out of the loop, in constant battles upward rather than giving direction downward, the Chinese with the initiative, jumbled units, no clear plans - showed to a demonstration that Mac had lost control of the battle. The Joint Chiefs were aware of the disconnect between the gloom coming from Tokyo, and a new confidence in the ability to defend in Korea, after making essential changes, coming from 8th Army.
-Then- Mac was recalled. He was most definitely -not- recalled because he had been "too successful". That is revisionist horsefeathers. He got knocked silly as a pure military commander by the Chinese intervention he had failed to predict, and never regained his footing. Ridgeway fixed the mess than resulted. Mac deserves great credit for the Inchon plan and the success it brought the previous year against the North Koreans alone - but it was Ridgeway, not Mac, who mastered the Chinese.
Ridgeway is not nearly so well known to the general public as Mac, because he wasn't a media star (unlike Mac or Patton) and never went into politics (unlike Ike or George Marshall). His leadership style was to let his subordinates get the limelight, as long as he got results. But within the army, his performance is well known - particularly in the art of the defensive, against long odds.
For those unfamiliar with him, Matthew B. Ridgeway practically created the US airborne during WW II. He commanded the 82nd airborne from 1943 through Normandy. General Gavin, his successor in command of the 82nd, was one of his proteges. General Taylor, commander of the 101st, did a stint under him in the 82nd before getting his own division. Ridgeway was the commander of the 18th airborne corps during the battle of the Bulge, when the 101 in Bastogne, and the 82nd first in St. Vith and then to the west, stopped the breakthrough. It is no exaggeration to say that he is the guy who won the battle of the Bulge, in its defensive phase (in the counterattack, Patton had a major role, as most know).
He achieved the same quiet, stellar record in Korea, leading 8th army to mastery of the Chinese before succeeding Mac at Far East HQ in Tokyo. He is one of the unsung professionals of the US army of the era, and made an enourmous difference, doctrinally, and organizationally long after his time. Press level or political accounts of the war tend to play up the drama of Mac and Truman, as politicians, over the issue of escalation. But the military reality on the ground is that Mac failed purely as a general, giving up as hopeless (without escalation) a fight Ridgeway showed could be won.
I also said that -after- Ridgeway had developed the defensive system that stopped them - meaning by the summer of 1951 - they were indeed reduced to attrition by "hordes". When all they had left were "hordes", we beat the heck out of them. When they had a quality edge (in "mountain infantry") and the jump on us (early), despite not yet having superior numbers in the theater, is when they nearly beat us. Wars are won and lost by military technique and leadership.
And falsifying history by pretending otherwise is not absence of pedantry, it is begging to pay for the same mistake twice - in blood.
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