China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 7/9

February 28, 2011

Morale for UN troops was high. By March 1951, UN forces were within striking distance of the 38th parallel.

Behind the lines, famous Western actors, singers and comedians arrived with USO shows to entertain the troops. Marilyn Monroe and Bob Hope were two examples. In fact, Bob Hope entertained troops in USO shows every year from 1948 to 1990.

Once UN forces reached the 38th parallel, the politicians debated if they should cross the line into North Korea again.

US President Harry Truman (an officer and combat veteran of World War I) wanted a settlement. As he saw it, the first attempt at reunifying Korea had been a mistake and a second attempt would cost more American lives.

However, General MacArthur disagreed. He wanted the war expanded. He wanted to blockade China’s coast and bomb its cities.

Truman fired MacArthur. The president said the cause of world peace was more important than an individual.

General Ridgway replaced MacArthur as supreme commander. General James Van Fleet became the field commander.

Van Fleet had been a colonel at the Normandy Invasion of Europe in World War II, and he hated Communists.

Intelligence reported the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was massing for a spring attack.

Ridgway, having learned the PLA’s tactics, planned to move forward in stages building defensive lines on the way.

On April 22, a second major PLA assault was launched against UN forces. The heaviest attacks were against the weakest section of the UN defensive line.

Ridgway’s strategy of building a series of defensive lines worked. When one line appeared to be in danger of collapse, he ordered troops to fall back to the next fortified line.

Within a week, the PLA ran low of supplies and suffered massive casualties for small gains. Two weeks later, resupplied, the PLA attacked again.  Van Fleet broke combat records for firing artillery shells into the advancing PLA troops killing 35,000 while only losing 900.

Ridgway wired Truman in Washington D.C.saying the time to talk peace had arrived.  The Chinese agreed to meet in July to negotiate an end to the war.

The negotiations were not easy. Both sides treated the other as the loser.

The UN wanted to keep all occupied North Korean territory. The Chinese wanted to return the border to the 38th parallel and have all Chinese prisoners of war returned. Most UN troops taken prisoner had been killed. Of about 100,000 only 13,000 survived.

Return to China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 6

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 6/9

February 27, 2011

There are two sides to every story and as I said in Part 5, there are two reasons for the Korean War.

After more than a century of rebellions, wars, and civil war, China was tired of being bullied by Western Imperial powers and Japan. It wasn’t about to make the same mistakes the Qing Dynasty and the Nationalists had made.

After all, the Japanese had invaded Manchuria through Korea. Why not the US?

Since UN forces were driven back from the Chinese border, we will never know if China’s fears were justified. Would the South Korean army (ROK) have invaded Manchuria taking the UN forces with them?

After all, it was the ROK army that earlier led the charge into North Korea while the UN held back waiting for the politicians thousands of miles away to decide what to do.

After losing South Korea’s capital of Seoul to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the UN’s troops found themselves 35 miles south of the city well below the Han River.

This segment introduces the first use of Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH), which helped keep wounded UN and US troops alive.

MASH units were first used in Korea. They were life saving systems that operated close to the front lines and could quickly relocate.

Each unit was equipped with a helicopter fleet for air rescue, paramedics and cutting-edge medical technology.

The MASH units saved 25% more wounded than in World War II.

By January 1951, the PLA’s supply lines were overextended, which may explain the mystery behind why the Chinese forces started to moved north instead of south about this time.

Since the Chinese were retreating, General Ridgway decided to launch a full-scale offensive called Operation Thunderbolt.

By February, UN troops were overlooking Seoul from across the Han River.

With February came bad weather that turned the earth to mud making it difficult to move and limiting the PLA’s ability to receive much needed supplies to feed and arm their troops. The Chinese were starving.

However, the UN had the US Air force’s huge air transport fleet to deliver food. The winds of war had shifted again and this time it was the PLA that was suffering.

Return to China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 5

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 5/9

February 26, 2011

During war, it is the job of a nation’s media to stir up nationalism and support the troops. When this happens, often the enemy is demonized on both sides, which stirs paranoia and hate, but the truth is more complicated.

Considering China’s history since the First Opium War in the early 19th century to 1949 (a century of war, rebellions and civil war), when UN forces neared China’s border, China’s leaders feared an invasion and reacted.

It’s possible if the UN had not moved beyond the Chongchon River and allowed North Korea’s communist government to survive in the area between that river and the Yalu River, China might not have attacked. It also didn’t help that the US moved forward to attack the Chinese positions after both sides had retreated after China’s first assault.

Meanwhile, at the Chosin Reservoir, the troops of the US 10 Corps celebrated Thanksgiving and dealt with the cold and harsh conditions. An offensive was planned for November 27. Having heard what was happening to the UN forces to the West, the Marines got ready for the worst possible combat situation. The objective of the operation was to take the city of Kanggye where the North Korean government had fled.

The offensive stalled against stiff Chinese resistance and the 10th Corps fell back. Then the Chinese attacked with six divisions.

Soon the 10th Corps was surrounded. The commanding General Oliver P. Smith said, “Gentlemen, we are not retreating. We are merely attacking in another direction.”

The situation was dire. On December 1, elements of the 10th Corps moved from the Chosin taking the wounded with them. The Chinese attacked from all sides.

After thirteen days of fighting while moving toward the ocean and the waiting US Navy, the first of the 10th Corps reached safety.

McArthur wasn’t near the combat as the UN forces retreated from North Korea with great losses. To make matters worse, the UN field commander General Walker was killed in a jeep accident.

Walker was replaced with General Matthew B. Ridgway. His levelheaded wisdom and experience brought a vital balance to the battlefield. He quickly discovered that the moral and confidence of UN troops was poor.

Ridgway attempted to hold the line at Seoul but on January 3, 1951, Seoul fell for a second time.

Return to China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 4

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 4/9

February 25, 2011

US commanders heard rumors that Communist China was moving troops close to the Chinese side of the Yalu River with North Korea.

China’s leaders did not like the US army so close to China. They feared that the US might cross into Manchuria as the Japanese had before launching World War II.

Another factor to consider was that the US supported Communist China’s enemy, Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist Army (KMT) on Taiwan.

The Communists had fought a Civil War with the Nationalists from 1925 to 1949 before winning and America had provided the modern weapons the KMT had used.

American intelligence reports estimated that about 450 thousand Chinese troops might be in the hills north of the Yalu River.

As the UN army moved north, South Korea recovered from the destruction caused by the North Korean invasion.

After centuries of domination by the Mongols, Manchu, Chinese, Russians and Japanese, the South Koreans wanted to govern themselves.

However, China had ruled over Korea off and on for more than a thousand years, and the Chinese culture had a heavy influence on the Koreans. South Korea, on the other hand, did not want a Communist government.

Meanwhile, without much opposition, UN forces continued to advance toward Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

On October 24, 1950, General McArthur ordered his troops to march to the Yalu River and occupy all Korea. This caused the Chinese to attack on October 25.

Surprised, the UN troops took heavy casualties then quickly retreated south, but many died.

General Walker ordered the UN army to fall back to the Chongchon River. Once the UN forces pulled back, the Chinese stopped fighting and returned to the hills to see what the UN’s next move would be.

After several weeks of calm, General McArthur ordered another advance toward the Yalu River and fired on the Chinese positions, which caused the Chinese to attack again on November 25.

Then the Chinese found a gap between the UN forces and split the UN defensive line sending the UN army in full retreat just at the North Korean winter arrived.

As the UN army retreated south, the US 10th Corps dug in around the Chosin Reservoir, which was high in North Korea’s mountains. The brutal winter temperature there was as low as forty below zero.

Return to China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 3

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 3/9

February 24, 2011

In part two, we left General McArthur planning a risky invasion of the South Korean coastal city of Inchon.

First, most of the troops had never been involved in an amphibious landing.

Second, Inchon’s harbor was too shallow at low tide for large ships to maneuver.

To deal with these challenges, General MacArthur decided to invade in two phases synchronized with the high tides.

The first phase would occupy the island of Wolmi-do, which was opposite Inchon. The second phase would land north and south of Inchon on the next high tide.

On the morning of September 15, the US 10th Corps quickly took Wolmi-do island. The island had been bombed and shelled for several days and the North Korean troops had not been ready for such a beating.

As soon as US troops landed, the surviving North Koreans surrendered.

By the time Inchon was taken soon after the second landing, only 20 US troops had been killed.

The next move was to take Seoul, which was 25 miles from Inchon.

The North Korean troops at Pusan, a hundred thirty miles to the south, continued to fight for a week without knowing the Inchon invasion had been successful. They did not know they were in danger of being cut off and surrounded.

When word arrived, the North Korean army retreated north immediately.

As the US Marines advanced on South Korea’s capital of Seoul, they met heavy resistance in the hills surrounding the city. The North Korean troops were dug in and to remove them caused heavy US casualties.

By September 24, UN troops held the high ground above Seoul. The next day, the North Korean troops left the city and retreated north.

After occupying Seoul and having a victory parade, UN and US troops moved north toward the 38th Parallel as the North Korean army continued to retreat further into North Korea.

South Korean troops reached the 38th parallel first but kept going.

However, US troops stopped and waited while Washington D.C. debated what the next move would be—to stop at the 38th parallel or invade the north.

Return to China in 1950 Korea Protecting the Teeth – Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 2/9

February 23, 2011

In part one, I used America’s 1823 Monroe Doctrine to show that similar reasoning was behind Mao’s decision to send the People’s Liberation Army (PLO) into Korea to fight the United States and UN.

I want to point out that China has never been a military threat to the United States, but America, Japan, Russia, Germany, Britain, France, and other countries have attacked China in the past two centuries and the cost in Chinese lives may have been as high as 100 million or more.

The embedded video says that soon after US troops entered Korea to fight the North’s invading army that if support didn’t arrive soon, the war would be short.

It was obvious that the United Nations was losing the race against time as North Korean troops put pressure on the small area behind the Naktong River near Pusan that US and United Nations troops held.

By August of 1950, the US 8th army was spread too thin. The situation looked bad.

General Walton H. Walker was the field commander of the US 8th army. During World War II, he had been one of General George S. Patton’s Army Corps commanders and was a no nonsense Texan. On July 29, he told his subordinates if I ever see you back here again it had better be in a coffin.

The only advantage the US 8th Army had was firepower. The battle raged for weeks over hills that changed hands often. After two weeks of brutal fighting, US troops managed to hold and strengthen the line.

This provided time for the United Nations to send in troops, which arrived in the port of Pusan from countries such as France, Turkey, Thailand, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ethiopia.

Most of the new troops were young and were not seasoned veterans.

Then on December 1, 1950, the North Korean Army launched a final assault. However, the North Koreans were exhausted and could not sustain the fight. 

General Douglas MacArthur, commander of all UN forces, decided to land an invasion force behind the North Korean lines at Inchon.

Seoul, the captured South Korean Capital was twenty-five miles from Inchon. It was a risky venture but MacArthur was confident of success.

Return to China in 1950 Korea Protecting the Teeth – Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea– Part 1/9

February 22, 2011

While searching Google for a Monroe Doctrine link, I stumbled on PCMS Social Studies and a post that appeared January 20, 2011.

Quote: “The Monroe Doctrine was put in place on December 2, 1823 by (President) James Monroe….   He did not want European Countries coming back and taking over the United States….  I know that I would definitely not want someone telling me I have to change the way I believe.”

China’s reaction was the same in 1950 when the People’s Liberation Army entered the Korean War.

Because Korea sat precariously between China, Russia and Japan, Korea had always been at the mercy of its bigger neighbors. For centuries, those nations had fought each other in Korea.

As World War II was ending, in July 1945, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin used his troops in coordination with the US to force the Japanese out of Korea. The Soviet and US armies met at the 38th parallel and agreed to divide Korea along that line.

The Soviets would control the northern half of Korea and the US the south.

While Soviet Russia and America were dividing the spoils of war in Europe and Asia, China was involved in a bloody civil war between the Communist and Nationalist Parties that would last until 1949

Prior to Japan occupying Korea in 1900, Korea had been a tributary state of China for centuries. However, China was in no shape to protest what Russia and the US was doing in Korea.

Two years later, the super powers left Korea leaving behind a Communist state in the north and a capitalist republic in the south ruled by a Korean authoritarian dictator educated at America’s Princeton University.

On June 5, 1950 at 4:00 AM, the Korean War started when North Korea declared war and invaded South Korea by land and sea.

Since the US had deprived South Korea of weapons and ammunition in fear that the south might invade the north and start a war, the North Korean army met little resistance.

The US strategy of restraint had backfired. South Korea had no weapons to defend itself. In two days, Seoul, the capital of South Korea fell to the invading army.

North Korea counted on America doing nothing. However, the majority of Americans in the US was outraged and demanded action, which caused President Truman to send in the United States air force while the US Navy bombarded Korea from the sea.

On July 19, 1950, President Truman called on the United Nations to act quickly and stop the aggression of Communist North Korea.

In the beginning, the US army was weak and far from Korea mostly in Europe. The huge American army that won World War II in 1945 had been disbanded resulting in a much smaller force.

In early July, 1950, an American brigade entered Korea and fought North Korean troops thirty miles south of South Korea’s captured capital of Seoul. The first battle didn’t go well for the US.

Learn about The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.