Offensive limited to small-unit actions
by Jim Caldwell
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 6, 2001) - When Operation Sundial was postponed in Korea 50 years ago this week, offensive action was limited to small-unit attacks and patrolling the front lines.
Nov. 11, 1951 -- U.N. commander Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway cancels plans that Eighth Army commander Gen. James Van Fleet had created for an offensive move to a line named Duluth, south of Pyongyang. That automatically kills Operation Sundial, which called for ROK I Corps to advance to Wonsan on the east coast. After attaining their objectives, IX Corps and the ROK I Corps were to link up and trap North Korea units between them and Line Kansas.
At U.N. headquarters, plans for that offensive -- and for advancing to the Yalu River -- are updated, but Ridgway doesn't think they'll ever be used. The cost in lives is too great to simply revert to positions somewhere along the Kansas line as part of the peace settlement.
Nov. 12 -- Ridgway tells Van Fleet to assume an "active defense." Van Fleet will be allowed to take terrain that enhances the defense lines, but can't commit more than a division to any single action. He can also attack to retake ground lost to communist actions. At the same time, he must take advantage of conditions that will inflict the most casualties on the enemy.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree with Ridgway's approach. With such limitations, action along the front settles down to patrolling and small-unit clashes.
After the Nov. 8 meeting of the subcommittees of the truce talks teams, Ridgway talks again to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The demarcation line the communists propose does not take into consideration the Eighth Army gains since July. He thinks the communists intend to remain along that line as much as possible. In effect, it's a de facto cease-fire line, Ridgway argues.
If he has to give them Kaesong, Ridgway wants to stand fast on the principle that the line of contact that exists when the armistice becomes effective is the actual line of demarcation.
The JCS disagree and tell Ridgway that the U.N. negotiators can push to delay selecting the line of demarcation, but the communists have made great concessions even to move to the line they now identify. If the U.N. vetoes the reds' proposed line, they may revert to their original bargaining point, the 38th Parallel.
Nov. 14 -- In a subcommittee meeting, Gen. Lee Sang Cho, North Korea, agrees that settling on the demarcation line now is a de facto cease-fire. Gen. Henry Hodes criticizes the reasoning for that.
The talks turn bitter. Chinese Maj. Gen. Hsieh Fang twice challenges the U.N. to agree to a cease-fire immediately and then settle the issues of peace enforcement, prisoners and other items later.
Then Hsieh gets upset and calls Hodes "turtle egg," a great insult in the Chinese language. When talking about Adm. Turner Joy, chief U.N. negotiator, Hsieh refers to him as "the senior delegate of your delegation, whose name I forgot."
The U.N. team ignores the insults, but the talks are deadlocked.
Nov. 12 -- Sen. William F. Knowland, (R-Calif.), demands the United States take action against China for extorting money from Chinese-Americans across the nation. At least 3,000 of the 40,000 Chinese-Americans in New York have received letters demanding money be sent to Chinese communist organizations or their relatives in China will be tortured, killed and ancestral graves will be demolished. If they responded, they received more letters.
Many of the 40,000 other Chinese-Americans across the country have also received extortion letters, according to a spokesman.
Those victimized in San Francisco have begun registering so the United States can protest to the U.N.
Nov. 14 -- U.S. casualties for the week ending Nov. 9 total 99,226 with 16,805 dead.
Many military and government officials in Tokyo and Washington immediately criticize Hanley for releasing unverified charges, and for causing unnecessary grief for families of Americans missing in Korea.
His report raises a furor in Congress. Sen. Edwin C. Johnson (D-Texas) and Reps. W. Sterling Cole (R-N.Y.), John W. Byrnes (R-Wis.), and J. Frank Wilson (D-Texas), call for dropping the A-bomb on communists in Korea.
A report from Formosa claims that communist China has about 1,000 Soviet-built planes of its own and more than 800 others are being flown in China by Russian pilots.
(Editor's note: Jim Caldwell is a writer for the TRADOC News Service)
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