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Fwd: [kwvets] Fwd: Changjin Journal 11.26.00
Ed - suggest you contact George Rasula with a view to posting his journal
here too. Marty
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2000 23:20:36 -0500
From: jon rasula <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Changjin Journal 11.26.00
CHANGJIN JOURNAL 11.25.00
The Changjin Journal is designed to disseminate and solicit information
on the Chosin campaign. Comments and brief essays are invited. Subject
matter will be limited to history of the Chosin campaign, as well as past
or present interpretation of that history. See End Notes for distribution
and other notices.
Colonel George A. Rasula, USA-Ret, Chosin Historian
Byron Sims, Contributing Editor
IN THIS ISSUE
We continue the Chosin Time Line through the movements and preparations
for the attack west and north of the Chosin Reservoir. You will see four
major players develop in this action (RCT 7, RCT 5, RCT 31 and RCT 1),
with one of the players (RCT 1) being divided into three separate
locations (BCT 1/1 at Chinhung-ni, BCT 2/1 at Koto-ri and BCT 3/1 at
Hagaru-ri). The use of the terms RCT and BCT are very helpful in
identifying organizations, a term used in General Smith's Aide
Sub-units grow out of these RCTs such as F/7 and C/7 of RCT 7 initially
isolated in the area of the Toktong Pass; the Tank Company and Main CP of
RCT 31 which were initially located at Hudong-ni; and Task Force Drysdale
which was made up of units which arrived at Koto-ri before the final
destruction of the bridge in the Funchilin Pass.
Although these are the main characters in this drama of Chosin, there are
peripheral characters who play an important role in the outcome. First
and foremost are the tactical air support units which played a role far
beyond that realized by participants, for the area beyond observation of
the friendly perimeters belonged to them, except during darkness and
hours of low visibility. The shelter that the enemy needed during
daylight hours did not last very long as the scorched earth policy
existed throughout the Chosin campaign. The airlift arm made it possible
to deliver much-needed supplies to the many isolated perimeters, later
providing airlift for thousands of wounded from Hagaru-ri and
Thirty miles south of Yudam-ni was the village of Sachang-ni which was
reached by the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry (1/7) of the 3d Infantry
Division, backed up by 2/7. Although the Marines at Yudam-ni believed
they were being attacked by the 89th CCF Division, one of its regiments
had bypassed and moved south toward Sachang-ni in search of a deep
envelopment route to cut the Marine MSR. There they ran into and were
stopped by the 3d Division units.
The final actors in the play are Task Force Dog of the 3d Infantry
Division which moved up to Chinhung-ni to relieve 1/1 Marines, as well as
the 65th Infantry Regiment which provided units to keep most of the
Chinese at arms length from the MSR during the final withdrawal.
THE CHOSIN TIME LINE
NOVEMBER 25 SATURDAY
BCT 1/7 led the RCT 7 on its move from Hagaru-ri to Yudam-ni during
November 23-25, during which they encountered about 200 Chinese in the
Toktong Pass, scattering them and clearing undefended roadblocks and
booby traps. On November 25 against minor resistance, the battalion
seized Yudam-ni, a deserted town destroyed by air strikes.
The important activities of November 25 and 26 seem to merge into one
flowing parade of marching troops, all directed to positioning units in
preparation for the attack west on November 27.
On the 25th the 1/32 Infantry moved north from Oro-ri and occupied a
position in the BCT 2/5 area south of Hill 1221. This enabled the BCT 2/5
to move to Yudam-ni the following day.
It was this day when a platoon-size patrol of BCT 3/5 encountered a
Chinese soldiers along the road north of the RCT 5 zone east of the
reservoir. From here we begin to see an increase in indicators of CCF
presence while hindsight tells us there was a dire need for deep
reconnaissance rather than combat patrols.
There were many other units on the move, two of which related to the
establishment of the X Corps forward command post at Hagaru-ri. These
were D Company, 10th Engineer Battalion of the 3d Infantry Division, a
platoon of the 4th Signal Battalion, as well as separate signal
detachments to provide long range communications between the Marine
division and major units far to the south. Supply convoys were also
important to the positioning of units, carrying ammunition, fuel and
food. This followed the principle of pushing supplies forward when
preparing for an attack.
More units were on the way to build up the bases at Hagaru-ri and
Koto-ri. The 3/1 Marines urgently needed to establish the perimeter at
Hagaru-ri had not yet arrived. At Koto-ri the defense capability would be
expanded by the addition of Army engineer and signal units and eventually
an infantry battalion, all still on the move far to the south.
NOVEMBER 26 SUNDAY
Although chaplains were conducting services for some units in the
Corps area, others were on the move to the Chosin. On this day major
moves began in the Chosin area. BCT 2/5 moved to Yudam-ni where they
prepared for the attack the following day, to be followed by the
remainder of the RCT on November 27. Colonel MacLean and his forward
command party arrived east of Chosin where they occupied a schoolhouse at
Hudong-ni. Commanders of all four RCTs in the Chosin area had their
staffs hard at work developing detailed plans and orders for the attack.
General Almond was coming up the next day to witness the beginning of the
attack west from Yudam-ni.
Critical areas needed to be manned. Toktong Pass was not yet occupied.
Hagaru-ri, where engineers were already beginning work on the airstrip,
was in dire need of additional defense units. Southwest of Yudam-ni near
Hansang-ni, Marine patrols of platoon and company strength responded to
civilian reports of Chinese troops, investigated and were driven back
with losses. North of Yudam-ni a Marine patrol along the reservoir also
encountered Chinese. These indicators of Chinese presence were increasing
by the hour.
In the 7th Division sector General Barr was informed by civilians that
thousands of Chinese were crossing the Yalu River to his west, moving
south. He adjusted unit dispositions to protect his MSR from that
The Chosin Time Line continues.
In hindsight, the grand envelopment by X Corps turning west to meet Eight
Army may have been a poor plan, but in the end it caused the 1MarDiv to
have two regiments at Yudam-ni, whereas in the original plan one regiment
would have been on each side of the reservoir, each facing two CCF
divisions-or more. Hindsight also tells us that the Chinese commander had
reserves available which were not used in the Chosin battle. We should
not lose sight of the fact that the original Chinese plan called for the
attack to take place the night of November 26, not the 27th. General
Smith may have been very fortunate to have received the order to attack
west, for the move resulted in having two Marine RCTs there for the
breakout. In this case the principle of mass had a decided
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