----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 7:48
Subject: Re: Email about Turkish
This is the most objective report that I've found about who did what
in the Korean War. Of course, it's from the American point of view,
and the battles referred to speak only to general conditions and
results. I still find it impossible to compare any other country's
effort in the Korean War with what America contributed.
America gave its wealth, honor, killed and injured men, and
though other countries did also none did it at the level of the American
selfless contribution. Every other comparison pales
by comparison, indeed, the American men who gave their lives and
suffered lifetime-lasting injuries can never be thanked properly.
Evidence of this: America paid a heavy price for its noble
crusade in Korea: more than 90% of non-Korean UN combat dead were
Americans, many of whom died during the ?talking war.? U.S.
forces suffered 62,200 casualties?including 12,300 KIA?in the war?s
last two years in fixing the DMZ at Line Kansas.
"Some 103,284 American servicemen were seriously
wounded, requiring hospitalization. Twenty-two percent of all
wounded in action died. Chances of surviving wounds were greatly
improved in Korea, however, once they reached the hospital. There
only 2.5% died."
On the other hand, "In the three years of the Korean War,
three Turkish Brigades of 15.000 men participated in the fighting. Totally
724 Turkish soldiers lost their lives and 2,147 wounded and 171 missing in
The following description and most of the above is attributed
WAR IN THE ?LAND THAT
By Richard K.
Reprinted from VFW
Magazine onto the Korean War Educator
with permission from the
Greatest Trial of All
Though little heralded, the GIs who fought the
nation?s first major war of containment displayed tenacity after the war?s
first few months. A European observer remarked of the ?intelligence,
physique, doggedness and an amazing ability to endure adversity with
grace? of the Americans.
Army historian S.L.A. Marshall said, ?The men of
the Eighth Army are the hardest-hitting, most work-man-like soldiers I
have yet seen in our uniforms in the course of three wars.?
Famed correspondent Eric Sevareid, writing in
1953, concluded the GI performance in Korea ?outmatches the behavior of
those who fought our wars of certainty and victory. This is
something new in American society. This is something to be recorded
with respect and humility.?
In his landmark history, The American
Fighting Man, author Victor Hicken called Korea ?the
greatest of all trials for the American fighting man.? He added, ?In
some ways the performance of the American fighting man in Korea was
nothing short of miraculous. Most of the men fought solely out of a
sense of duty, and possibly pride.
?They fought while politicians back home told them
that the war was useless, they sacrificed while friends back home enjoyed
a general prosperity brought on by the war, they fought under military and
political restraint, and they gave battle under some of the most miserable
climatic conditions ever faced by American warriors.?
Regulars, Reservists and ?Retreads?
To assemble an armed force with such sterling
qualities, the military had to tap every manpower source then at its
disposal. At the outset, the regular military establishment was
combed worldwide to fill the ranks of skeletonized units. Hundreds
of National Guard and Organized Reserve units were mobilized, and hundreds
of thousands of individual reservists called up.
Some 20% of Korean War era servicemen had served
in WWII. These ?retreads,? as they were known, proved invaluable
among the inexperienced ranks, especially in the critical first months of
The Army?s composition changed as the war
progressed. In December 1950, over 80% of soldiers were still
regulars. Recalled reservists soon replaced many regulars on the
line. And by the end of 1952, almost two-thirds of Army personnel in
Korea were draftees.
Korea was different in another way, too.
Formerly all-black units were eventually integrated and by war?s end, 13%
of the entire Far East Command was black. Also, the
all-Spanish-speaking 65th Infantry Regiment from Puerto Rico served
there. Women played an indispensable role in the medical field:
500-600 nurses served in Korea.
All personnel were grouped under the Far East
Command, comprising the various branches of the service. The Army
component was divided into the Army Forces, Far East; Eighth Army?I, IX, X
and XVI (Japan) Corps; and the 2nd and 3rd Logistical Commands.
The four corps encompassed eight divisions?1st
Cavalry and the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 24th, 25th, 40th (California N.G.) and the
45th (Oklahoma N.G.) divisions.
Three regimental combat teams?5th, 29th and 187th
Airborne?were also deployed from Hawaii, Okinawa and Japan,
The Marine Corps contributed its 1st Division
(preceded by the 1st Provisional Brigade) made up of the 1st, 5th and 7th
Regiments as well as the 11th Artillery Regiment. Also, the 1st
Marine Aircraft Wing (Marine Air Groups 12 and 33) was stationed in
Naval Forces, Far East, was the umbrella for the
U.S. Navy. United Nations sea power included 90 destroyers, 16
aircraft carriers, 8 cruisers and 4 battleships. The Seventh Fleet
put three major task forces?77, 90 and 95 to sea. TF 77, the
Striking Force, consisted of the Carrier, Screening and Support
Groups. The fast carriers had 24 Carrier Air Groups aboard.
TF90 was the Amphibious Force and TF 95 was the
Blockading & Escort Force which included a Special Bombardment
Group. Additionally, TF 96 was designated Naval Forces, Japan.
A particularly noteworthy Navy accomplishment was
its unprecedented, 861-day naval siege of Wonsan, North Korea?s principal
seaport. Incidentally, the only pure U.S. sea action of the war
occurred July 2, 1950, when three North Korean torpedo boats were
destroyed off Chumunjin.
Some 22 Coast Guard cutters along with 10 shore
units (one at Pusan) were based in the Far East during the war. It
also conducted weather patrols, and positioned air detachments throughout
the Pacific for search and rescue. Fifty men were ashore in
Korea was the first time the U.S. Air Force fought
as a separate service. USAF units were widely dispersed. Far
East Air Forces (FEAF) incorporated the 5th (Japan/Korea), 20th (Okinawa)
and 13th (Philippines). Subordinate units were the FEAF Bomber
Command, FEAF Logistical Forces and the 314th (Japan Air Defense Force)
and 315th (Combat Cargo Command) Air Divisions.
Air operations fell into three main categories:
aerial combat conducted by the 5th A.F.; aeromedical evacuation and
tactical airlift; and air transport. By the end of the war, FEAF
included 69 squadrons with 1,536 aircraft and 112,188 men.
Korea also witnessed the first jet-to-jet aerial
combat. ?MiG Alley,? the area between the Yalu River and Pyongyang,
became famous for such battles. The Air Force chalked up 839 MiG-15
kills during the war. A total of 341,269 sorties were flown by the
?boys in blue? before the armistice took effect.
Facing United Nations forces in Korea were two
determined and distinct armies. The North Korean People?s Army
(NKPA), or In Min Gun, began the war as a tough, mobile, fully equipped
force of 10 divisions. Nearly a third of its personnel were veterans
of the Chinese communist armies that had fought Japan.
Virtually destroyed after Inchon, the NKPA was
eventually reconstituted, reaching a strength of 260,000 by July 15,
1953. It earned an infamous reputation for committing
atrocities. GIs were found bound and shot, burned, clubbed and
NKPA?s ally, the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF),
fielded a formidable army. Once advance elements of the Eighth Army
neared the Yalu, Peking unleashed 300,000 men in November 1950.
Though only 60,000 closed in combat with Marines and dogfaces in the
initial fighting, the impact was devastating.
Ordered to ?kill these Marines as you would snakes
in your homes,? the Chinese in Korea ultimately peaked at 780,000.
Their tactics were particularly nerve-wracking, to say the least.
Human wave assaults accompanied by blaring bugles, rolling drums, clashing
cymbals and ear-piercing whistles were the CCF?s trademark. Such
strategy was costly: CCF units suffered 64% of total communist casualties
during the war.
The typical communist soldier lived an austere
life, with a private earning the equivalent of 30 cents per month.
His diet was meager, consisting only of a small allotment of rice, maize
or kaoliang (a grain similar to Indian corn). Yet he proved to be a
Waging War Korean Style
Whatever the material weaknesses of the NKPA and
CCF, their men took everything that was thrown at them. Fighting in
Korea was divided into two distinct phases, each with its deadly
First was the Blitzkrieg, or war of maneuver,
which lasted from June 1950 until June 30, 1951, when truce talks were
agreed to. It consisted of the communist invasion, expulsion, UN
invasion of the North, Chinese intervention and the expulsion of the
The final phase was the Sitzkrieg, a static,
positional warfare at or near the 38th parallel characterized by massive
artillery duels and infantry struggles. Static trench warfare?known
as the ?frozen war??reminiscent of WWI was the norm once a main line of
resistance (MLR) was established.
(A demarcation line established Nov. 27, 1951,
ended all offensive action.)
Wrote author Fehrenbach, a tank battalion captain
in Korea, ?A new pattern of Korean warfare was being set?one that
resembled more than anything the hideous stalemated slaughter on the
Western Front in World War I.?
Forward deployments called ?patrol bases? or
?outpost lines of resistance (OPLRs)?self-contained bastions from which
small infantry or infantry-armor patrols probed enemy territory?became the
mainstay of the fighting.
Korea, at this point, became mostly a patrol war,
especially at night. This was euphemistically referred to as ?active
defense.? Fights for tactical hills typified the fighting in the
war?s last two years, a period largely ignored in most historical
James Brady, author of The Coldest
War and a Marine rifle platoon leader in Korea, has
described the situation best: ?The fighting was as primitive
as Flanders Field in 1917 or Grant?s siege lines before Petersburg, VA.,
in the Civil War.
?The artillery on both sides was too good,
too deadly by day, and so we fought by night?creeping out through the
barbed wire and the mine fields with grenades and automatic weapons, with
shotguns and knives, to lie shivering in the snow, waiting in
?We lived in crude bunkers of sandbags and
logs, and when we coughed, it came up black as soot. During
shellings or thaws, bunkers collapsed and buried men alive. And
once, in winter, we went 46 days without washing. When we came off
the line that time, they burned our clothes.
?That was the kind of war it had
become?tough, murderous little brawls with men dying on barren
ground. There were no historic battles, only ambushes and raids and
bloody dawns on hills like Yoke.?
To be sure, a few battles?like the Pusan
Perimeter, Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir?of the Korean War
gained lasting notoriety, but countless others are virtually lost to
For instance, the eight days of combat between
April 22 and 30, 1951, known as the CCF Spring Offensive, proved to be the
single biggest battle of the war. A magnificent victory for
the U.S. Eighth army, it repulsed the greatest Chinese offensive of the
war, inflicting 70,000 casualties.
At Chipyong-ni in February 1951, four
infantry battalions of the 2nd Infantry Division?s 23rd Regiment
(including a French unit) made a valiant and inspiring stand against
18,000 Chinese, shattering elements of four CCF divisions.
On the night of Feb. 7, 1951, Lewis W. Millett,
commander of Company E, 27th Infantry, a part of Task Force Fowler, led
his entire company in what was described as the ?greatest bayonet
attack by U.S. soldiers since Cold Harbor in the Civil
War.? Some 47 of the 200 opposing Chinese were
killed. Millett, who earned the Medal of Honor, personally killed
many of the enemy.
Then there was Pork Chop Hill in 1953. Wrote
S.L.A. Marshall: ?All of the heroism and all of the sacrifice,
went unreported. So the very fine victory at Pork Chop Hill deserves
the description of the Won-Lost Battle. It was won by the troops and
lost to sight by the people who had sent them forth.?
There were more than enough forgotten
tragedies, too. On July 30, 1950, 757 untrained recruits of the 29th
Infantry Regiment were ambushed at Hadong. After the NKPAs 6th
Division was finished, 313 Americans were dead and 100 taken
Up North, the 3rd Bn., 8th Cavalry Regiment of
the 1st Cavalry Division was decimated, losing 600 men near Unsan on Nov.
4-5, 1950, in a battle with a CCF which was allegedly not even
present. And though little known, of the 3,200 men of the Army?s
Task Force MacLean/Faith who fought during the Chosin operation, only 385
And in the most concentrated loss of the war,
530 men of the 15th Field Artillery Battalion and 38th Infantry were
killed at Hoengsong in February 1951.
One other especially cruel element of the
fighting was artillery. At one point, 24,000 artillery shells a day
fell on U.S. lines. A peak was reached in June 1953 when 2.7 million
rounds were expended by U.S. forces. Overall, more artillery was
fired in Korea than in all of World War II.
When the historian for the 2nd Infantry Division described
the situation at Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge?two battles waged in
1951?he summed up the infantry experience for most Korean War vets who
fought in that capacity:
?Sweating, heart-pounding, heavy footed
soldiers dragged their throbbing legs up these torturous, vertical
hills. Those who succeeded in grasping their way close to the
bunkers were greeted by the crump and shower of black smoke, dirt and
sharp steel as grenades were tossed on them.
?Dirty, unshaven, miserable, they backed
down, tried again, circled, climbed, slid, suffered, ran, rolled, crouched
and grabbed upward only to meet again the murderous fire, the blast of
mortar and whine of bullets and jagged fragments. Minutes seemed
like hours, hours like days, and days like one long, terrible, dusty,
Wise Beyond Their Years
Besides battle, environmental conditions made life
a living hell for ground fighters. Movement for one, was stymied by
climatic factors. Monsoon-like torrents made roads ?bottomless
rivers of mud.? Foxholes and slit trenches filled to the brim.
Swollen rivers and streams washed out pontoon and treadway bridges.
The cold, miserable weather produced trenchfoot,
dysentery, ?the crud? (fungus) and frostbite. Pancakes froze before
the men could eat them; coffee cooled before it could be drunk.
Men became, as Marshall wrote, ?wise
beyond their years? and developed a ?toughened outlook toward the job far
beyond anything dreamed of in recent times.?
To help alleviate the emotional numbness of that
job, two measures were instituted: R&R and rotation.
Five-day R&Rs (Rest & Recuperation) to
Japan were begun in 1951. Otherwise known as I&I (intercourse
and intoxication), the trips were highly popular: between January 1951 and
June 1953 some 800,000 GIs made it to Tokyo courtesy of the 315th Air
In may 1951, the ?Big R??rotation to the
States?was inaugurated. A tour of duty in Korea depended upon
proximity to the fighting. Rear-echelon forces served 18 months;
combat troops usually fought for nine to 12 months.
Under the point system, a soldier had to earn 36
points to go home. Infantrymen rated four points per month,
artillerymen and combat engineers three; those in support roles garnered
two points a month or rotated after 18 months.
Of course, there were variations. An
infantryman generally spent a year in Korea while tankers did 10 months
in-country. Draftees didn?t always reach 36 points before leaving,
and men sometimes were held past their rotation dates until a replacement
actually arrived in the unit.
Meanwhile, at home, the nation as a whole seemed
unmoved by what its sons were going through in Asia.
?Despite the negative effects of home front disenchantment on morale,?
observed British military historian Edgar O?Ballance, ?the spirit and
cheerfulness of American soldiers remained amazingly high.?
Indeed, Gallup Polls showed only about 30% to 35%
of Americans consistently favored the war. The men themselves sensed
this, and so did the publications that represented them. A common
theme emerged early on that has carried over to this very day.
In 1952, a GI wrote: ?The men in Korea
were the forgotten men; the U.S. was aware of the conflict in Korea only
in the sense that taxes were higher. The soldiers in Korea envied
those at home living in a nation mentally at peace while physically at
As early as January 1953, the Army Times
editorialized: ?Certainly?in many respects?it (Korea) is the most
?forgotten war,? and the men who fight it are lonesome symbols of a nation
too busy or too economically-minded to say thanks in a proper
America paid a heavy price for its noble
crusade in Korea: more than 90% of non-Korean UN combat dead were
Americans, many of whom died during the ?talking war.? U.S. forces
suffered 62,200 casualties?including 12,300 KIA?in the war?s last two
years in fixing the DMZ at Line Kansas.
Some 103,284 American servicemen were
seriously wounded, requiring hospitalization. Twenty-two percent of
all wounded in action died. Chances of surviving wounds were greatly
improved in Korea, however, once they reached the hospital. There
only 2.5% died.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 3:39 PM
Subject: Re: Email about Turkish Brigade
> At 03:31 PM 1/6/2004, you wrote:
> >PS. I lived in Ankara, Turkey, in the late 1970s as
> Thanks, Mike. Forwarded to