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Monday, April 23. 2012
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From America's vantage point, mostly anti-American demonstrations have come out of South Korea over the decades.
In retrospect, it wasn't worth battle deaths of 33,000+ American kids.
Yes it was. And I suspect many South Koreans woud agree with me. This is Chess, not Checkers.
And if only the Western Powers had the balls they once did. But that's long gone, alas.
That was a terrible video, prouction wise. Sorry, but it was.
Even at this late date most historians are at a loss to describe ChiCom grand tactics during the Korean War.
First off, it was two wars fought back to back. ( Shades of Iraqi Freedom )
The first war was a blow-out success for the UN/ NATO with a decisive victory under MacArthur.
The second war was the Final Phase of the Chinese Civil War -- which had been running on for two generations and then some.
The Final Phase of the Chinese Civil War featured ChiCom formations in the 'second echelon' as a blocking force. These were exclusively Northern Armies riven with Mao loyalists through and through.
In front of these guards formations the ChiComs force fed Southern Armies into UN/ NATO guns with the Deliberate Purpose of liquidating these formations, entire. Up until 1949 these were the fellows that had supported the Nationalists.
Both then and now Western analysts can't come to grips with the ChiCom goal of utterly destroying the Southern boys and thusly securing their grip on the whole nation.
You can read simply any number of accounts -- and the West stays entirely clueless!
The shockingly deep penetrations in the winter snows were successful precisely because the formations were Southern troops equipped with Thompson machine guns -- identical to those used by American troops in WWII -- particularly the paratroops and mechanized infantry.
You see, America had sold, shipped and re-erected ENTIRE factories to produce these guns. They were established solely in the Southern sector -- equipping Southern formations, only.
When you read the accounts of the Chosin there are endless references to being faked out by the distinctive gun sounds of the Thompsons.
So you know that the Chinese were Southern formations -- running around with guns that America had given to the Nationalists for free!
This desire to liquidate the ENTIRE Southern group of Armies never let up. It's the real reason for Pork Chop Hill.
By staying utterly clueless to the last, the West demoralized their forces and fundamentally set themselves up for defeat in Vietnam -- which was conflated into being Korean War #2.
But, as you can see, China was NEVER going to send 'volunteers' into Vietnam the way they did into Korea. Indeed, the only formations that China would've had to hand in the mid-60s would've been Northern loyalist formations CRITICAL to the regimes' control of China, itself.
A nation riven with Red Guards was NEVER a prospect to engage in a Vietnamese campaign -- topped off by the absolute hate and rage all Vietnamese have towards the Chinese. (It's a 5,000 year old story.)
When you analyze every war as being the same as the one prior -- you're blinded.
This is now replicated in WWIV which Bush and Obama want to fight as if it's a clone of WWIII -- aka the Cold War.
Containment can't possibly work against islamists and islamism when you have open borders and refuse to read enemy doctrine and creed.
We have often suffered from projection - assuming that the enemy feels the same way about casualties as we do. The Chinese utter indifference to casualties stunned every front-line soldier on our side.
I read David Hackworth's book long ago. He described machine-gunning a Chinese human wave assault from a hill. They didn't even bother shooting back - just accepted the casualties and flowed past his hill like a flood.
It wasn't until years later I understood that those casualties were a feature, not a bug to Mao.
The other dynamic going on with the Chinese in general may be that since the 19th Century they had "got used to", as it were, wars of ghastly military and civilian casualties.
It took a long time for the Quing Dynasty to finally collapse in the 'Teens, and for decades before that the Imperial Gov't would periodically lose control over vast swathes of China to local warlords and rebel movements. For example, the Taiping Rebellion was going on about the same time as the American Civil War; over about fifteen years it is estimated that maybe more than 20 million Chinese died from the resulting violence and famine.
People in the West weren't and aren't generally aware of just how violent the mid and late 19th C. was in China; the Western press might have describe a "localized rebellion" and that might have been true, but in the context of China that might meant a vast but densely populated area.
The West was involved in some of those Rebellions, such as the Boxer Rebellion, but not always. There were also Western mercenaries offering their services to local warlords. Run a search on the "Ever Victorious Army". It's a fascinating -- and distressing!! -- period in Chinese history.
Can you recommend a book or article on the Korean War?
"On the night of 25 November, one day after Eighth Army began its offensive, the CCF struck Eighth Army with massive numbers of troops. Thousands of Chinese soldiers, armed with burp guns [ Thompson machine pistols, Ed. ]and grenades, with bugles blaring, swarmed the American positions. Several American units were overrun and destroyed. The CCF onslaught took MacArthur and the U.N. forces completely by surprise and almost instantly changed the tide of the war. Soon, Eighth Army was in full headlong retreat southward."
Even in this account the author is entirely unaware that ONLY Southern ChiCom armies had Thompsons -- and is further unaware that the DISTINCTIVE SOUNDS of the Thompsons were the CRITICAL tactical edge that permitted the ChiComs to penetrate.
Fulsome disaster was taken has friendly fire because the RoK troops had also been issued Thompson machine pistols. Their lighter weight and ability to spray bullets made them a huge hit with the smaller stature RoK soldiers. ( When the war began most RoK troops had had no automatic weapons experience what so ever!
The 7th Infantry was nearly destroyed -- some of its regiments were effectively wiped out. (!!!)
The 2nd Infantry shamed itself so badly that the US Army has refused to let its colors come home. (!!!) That's the REAL reason that it's the 2nd Infantry that still stays deployed to Korea.
There are no decent Korean War histories for me to point to.
It's a campaign that's been obscured by WWII and Vietnam.
It's also a tale embarrassing to the MacArthur legend. So the US Army historians have stayed out of it as much as possible.
The Russians did not allow troops to retreat from the Eastern Front during WWII. In fact, they shot anyone who deigned to do so. Over 300,000 Russians were shot trying to escape the butchery of the front lines.
China is not the only country indifferent to casualties.
WWI demonstrated that.
This is absolutely true, though somewhat context-sensitive. Definitely in the early years of the War that kind of thing would happen in regular army units. Later on when they were clearly winning the practice dropped off.
However, throughout the war the Soviets used "Penal Battalions". These were comprised of "criminals" - which might mean real criminals in the thieving and stealing sense, soldiers who had committed some sort of military offense, or it might also mean people who committed some sort of ideological "crime". Or somebody who simply got on the wrong side of a powerful Commissar.
You might be offered a choice of say 15 years hard labor (meant death) or a chance to "purge" your crime with blood in a penal battalion. You might survive.
They would used penal battalions for things like a quick & easy "Reconnaissance by Force" - basically run a bunch of partially armed soldiers at suspected German positions and take note of where the defensive positions were when they lit up. They got military intelligence out of it, they forced the Germans to degrade their men and supplies dealing with such attacks, and got rid of some pesky criminals, too boot. Nice, huh?
A saw an interview once with a man who as a kid got stuck in a penal battalion basically because he stuck up too hard for his teacher, who had been arrested on political charges. He was used in such a recon by force action. You could indeed retreat - but only if you were so badly wounded you could not realistically advance. The trick was gauging at what point you could come back and not get machine gunned. He kept getting wounded but only turned around when he finally got hit in the face - and he still wasn't sure they wouldn't shoot him anyway.