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[KOREAN-WAR-L:11386] Books-No Gun Ri
In response to Walter Wallis's e-mail:
You raise highly relevant points. I'd like to make some observations:
> AS AN EARLY ON COMBATANT FROM 7 AUG 50 AND AS ONE WHO HAS CRITICIZED THE
LACK OF TRAINING OF THE OCCUPATION TROOPS I CATEGORICALLY REJECT THE IMAGE
OF THEM AS SCARED TEENAGERS PANICKING. THEY DID THE BEST THEY COULD AGAINST
THE FORCE AGAINST THEM, AND THEY HELD UNTIL I GOT THERE TO TAKE OVER.
1) The AP team interviewed perhaps 150 U.S. Army veterans of those first weeks in Korea. Most were teen-agers (a few 16 years old, at least one 15 years old), and not surprisingly they remembered they were scared. The night before the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, killed the refugees at No Gun Ri, it pulled back in an unfounded panic. The record shows about 120 discarded personal weapons had to be recovered from the route of withdrawal the next morning.
2) On the other hand, a career soldier later recalled (p. 159 of ``The Bridge at No Gun Ri''): ``By the time we knew what we were doing, we lost 50 percent of our men. But those who remained had become damned good soldiers.''
CIVILIANS DO NOT BELONG IN A COMBAT ZONE. CIVILIANS SHOULD NOT ADVANCE INTO
AN ARMED POSITION AFTER RECEIVING WARNING SHOTS
1) The U.S. military and ROK government handling of refugees was utterly confused in July 1950. Simultaneous orders and ``policies'' were promulgated for villagers to head south, to stay put, and even to head north as the fast-moving combat zone rolled over them.
2) The hundreds of refugees who approached No Gun Ri on July 26, after being rousted and escorted south from their villages by U.S. troops (almost certainly 5th Cavalry), were not given warning shots. First, they were suddenly attacked by U.S. warplanes (the 5th Air Force, against its operations chief's better judgment, was complying with a standing Army request to strafe refugee columns approaching Army lines). Next, it appears that a mortar or artillery round landed squarely in a close-packed group of them. Around the same time, dug-in troops opened up with small-arms fire. Refugees who survived jammed into the No Gun Ri railroad underpasses, where many were killed by machine-gun fire over the next two days. (That basic scenario is based on accounts of both Korean survivors and ex-soldiers.)
WHEN CIVILIANS SHIELD BELLIGERENTS AND PROVIDE COVER FOR THEIR ADVANCES THEY BECOME CANNON FODDER FOR THE SIDE UTILIZING THEM.
There is no evidence that this was the case at No Gun Ri. In addition, a retired colonel and a retired command sergeant major who entered the underpasses at different times said there were no infiltrators there.
Again, documents relevant to the above (such as the 5th Air Force memo describing the blanket policy of attacking refugees) can be found at website http://www.henryholt.com/nogunri/documents.htm