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RE: Why Didn't the US Win In Korea?
We tried to keep them out with air power. Perhaps if we had IR night vision
equipped planes we could have done better.
[mailto:owner-KOREAN-WAR-L@raven.cc.ku.edu]On Behalf Of Joe Brennan
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2002 7:32 PM
Subject: Re: Why Didn't the US Win In Korea?
Given the whole history of air effort in Korea I think the burden of proof
is on someone who makes a remarkable suggestion like we could have kept the
PVA *out* of Korea with air. I don't think that's plausible at all (again
non-nuclear/radiological as was supposedly considered).
But in general whether one imagines it happening in Oct 1950, or more
realistically in say fall 1951 when the Chinese had been beaten up further
down the peninsula, there are too big issues in assuming we could have
driven back and kept the Chinese at the Yalu:
1. the Yalu border with China is 500 miles long vs. 120 air miles at the DMZ
and 90 miles across the "neck" of NK north of the Pyongyang-Wonsan line. And
the impassable central mountain spine in northern NK allows a force willing
to operate a little farther up in the mountains to flank forces on eithe
side from inland, as happened in the early PVA offensives.
2. we can't assume the Chinese would have committed the same size force, the
size we'd been able to handle at the DMZ. Their inital commitment pushed us
back from the Yalu, fine for them. An ultimately larger force was chewed up
further south in their later offensives: bad for them but it was far away
from their border so not critical. But what if they'd been willing to commit
a force several times that size to push us back from their critical border?
They certainly could have put that many men under arms.
Military minds must have considered these factors, quite aside from
politicians. The perfectly rational *military* solution would have been to
pull back and defend the neck of NK after the PVA broke off its first
offensive in Oct 1950: possibly permanently defensible quite possibly
politically acceptable to the Chinese, but leaving a rump NK and so not
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marc James Small" <email@example.com>
To: <KOREAN-WAR-L@raven.cc.ku.edu>; <KOREAN-WAR-L@raven.cc.ku.edu>
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2002 7:58 PM
Subject: Why Didn't the US Win In Korea?
> At 06:30 PM 9/23/02 -0400, Joe Brennan wrote:
> >It was said it was a "political" decision to settle for a half loaf in
> >Korea. True but also an unavoidable decision w/o nuclear war IMO.
> The settlement of any and all wars is always political, by definition, and
> not military.
> Had the UN determined prior to CHROMITE to push to the Yalu and had so
> the Soviets and firmly, and had then been prepared to invest a LOT of
> airpower in dumping napalm on the river to fry the incoming, yes, the war
> certainly could have had a different outcome, and one without the use of
> nuclear ironmongery.
> But, then, no one in Washington listened to what FEC and X Corps and 8th
> Army was saying. They turned this over to the politicals for resolution
> and, in the end, after weeks of worry, they gave what are arguably the
> elastic of orders ever given a military force.
> Blame the SecDef, Marshall, as he is, arguably, the most marked with this
> shame. Blame Truman, the President, as he backed every call Marshall
> Blame Bradley, the Chairman of the JCS, as he never had an original
> thought in his life and certainly did not begin to think during this time.
> Blame the Chief of Staff of the Army, "Lightning Joe" Collins, for trying
> to live up to his reputation by reversing himself every twelve or eighteen
> In the end, the Korean War could have been "won", had the US had the
> determination to do so. But Truman, Marshall, Bradley, Collins, et al.,
> did not have that determination. Cf Kerensky and the Duma and the Russian
> Revolution. Those who want intelligently and ably, get. We had the
> capacity, but Washington chose not to use it.
> Now, had the US and UN forces accomplished a firm northern line at the
> and enforced it, would that have been a "win"?
> firstname.lastname@example.org FAX: +540/343-7315
> Cha robh bas fir gun ghras fir!