Sunday, May 8, 2011

Works Cited

Bos, Carole D. “Korean War”. Awesome Stories, 25 Oct. 2005. Web. 5 May 2011.

Buhite, Russell. Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. (Ed.). The dynamics of world power, a documentary of United States foreign policy (1945-1973). Book IV: The Far East. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1973. Web. 5 May 2011.

Evanhoe, Ed. The Korean War. Special Forces and Special Operations Association, 1999. Web. 2 May 2011.

Kortegaard, Bert. The Korean War. Kortegaard Engineering, 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 4 May 2011.

Marcus, Robert. A Brief History of The United States Since 1945. New York, New York City: St. Martin’s Press Inc., 1975. Print.

Millet, Allan R. “War Behind The Wire: Koje-do Prison Camp”., 20 Jan. 2009. Web. 6 May 2011.

July 27, 1953: The End

It’s finally over. After so many deaths and so much destruction, a cease-fire has been signed. Technically, this doesn’t mean an end to the war between North and South Korea, but we’ll take whatever we can get at this point. At the end, 53,000 ROK and UN troops have been killed, including over 8,000 Americans, but the sad part is more than half of them were killed AFTER peace talks had begun (Evanhoe). A large amount of MIA’s and casualties came from North Korean concentration camps used to contain the POWs, with a large amount of those deaths suspected to be murders. At lease now the press can’t give us any new grief about goings on in the war, and I can go home to my family.

April 20-26, 1953: Peace Talks Resume

Peace talks are underway again, and I personally think that this will be the final set of meetings that are needed for this war. Sick and wounded POWs are beginning to be exchanged, and I am sure as hell happy to see these American boys getting out of there alive. Hopefully these peace talks are signaling the end of the war, but you never really know what these communists are up to. One minute, talks of peace and cease-fires are on the table, but the next they’ve cut off all peace communication and have launched another attack on our troops. We can’t afford to lose many more American lives to this war, our citizens are just getting over the losses of World War II and now this? I pray this will end soon.

Image Caption: Peace Talks Continue in Kaesong.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

January 25, 1953: Operation SMACK

The media is at it again. This morning, the 31st marines attacked an enemy stronghold nicknamed “spud hill” in an operation dubbed “SMACK”. We thought that the operation was going to be a cakewalk of a victory, but we were unfortunately proven quite wrong. Despite heavy armor and air support, the 31st was driven back with heavy casualties. The worst part of it is, this new reporter showed up here to cover the assault, and we’re now being accused of just throwing the 31st into combat and disregarding all of the lives lost just to put on a show for some brass visiting from back stateside. This is the kind of skewed journalism that can ruin our reputation not only as a military, but as an entire country. This young man has no idea what he could have possibly started with that article, what kind of alliances could crumble from those false reports. God help us all if they do…

November 18, 1952: POW Olympics?

I’ve just received some oddly disturbing news from some released American prisoners of war. The communists are trying to stage some sort of POW Olympics (Evanhoe). I mean I’ve heard strange things about the communists before, but this? This is just too strange for words. There are several speculations going around headquarters about what they could possibly be up to, but nobody is really sure what the answer actually is. The speculation that I find to be most accurate is the theory that the communists are trying to make it seem like the POWs are so happy to be in this “North Korean paradise” that it makes North Korea look like their saviors instead of their captors. These happy go lucky Olympics are unfortunately a fa├žade, as we have knowledge that behind the mask of these sick games, American POWs are being tortured and murdered by their so called “saviors” from North Korea.

Image Caption: An American POW is killed in a concentration camp in North Korea.

Friday, May 6, 2011

August 29, 1952: Misfire

The news I have just received is awesome. Awesome in the sense of “God has awesome power”. A 1400 plane bombing raid was authorized and executed today on the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. The city has been almost entirely obliterated by U.S. bombing, and the civilian casualty count is unknown at this time, but is estimated to be very high. Desperation is beginning to become clearer as we continue on with this war. This kind of destruction is beyond describing with words, and now I have to figure out how to tell the American people that we bombed a city full of millions of innocent civilians. This REALLY isn’t going to go over well with them. I’ll let the press coverage speak for itself on this one.

Image Caption: A plane drops bombs on Pyongyang, North Korea.

June 23, 1952: Bombings

Bombing of North Korean defensive and strategic positions and cities has always been decent, standard targets under the rules of engagement, but now North Korean power plants, including dams and Nuclear power plants has been authorized. This must mean we’re getting desperate, looking to hit them where it really hurts. Confidence and morale is beginning to fall, and we’re not sure how much longer we can continue to fight this war. The bombings caused harsh retaliation by the Chinese forces in Korea, being treated with a special kind of brutality in communist POW camps. The largest percentage of our missing in action troops are airmen and the bombings are hurting the Korean people, not the communist Russian supply factories or the Chinese troops that are on the ground. I am starting to fear that this bombing raid is being done strictly for morale, instead of being strategic in nature.

February 18, 1952: Koje-do Prisoner of War Camp Riots

Today, there was another riot in the Koje-do POW camp. This riot occurred after the UN army denied prisoner interrogation. Prisoners wanted to be interrogated to prove that they were not part of the Communist war effort so therefore they should not be in the POW camp. The UN army and camp commanders were not willing to go through an interrogation process so they kept the prisoners locked up. Anger was being built up and the prisoners were not content with the situation at hand.

As tensions began to rise, the 3rd Battalion 27th Infantry entered the compound and thousands of prisoners were ready to fight. Although the prisoners were locked up in camp they had managed to make weapons. Their weapons consisted of spears, clubs, and homemade grenades (Millet). The prisoners were valiant today but they must have gone crazy to think they could defeat the 3rd Battalion with makeshift weapons. The troops killed almost fifty prisoners after opening fire and the whole skirmish resulted in one-hundred forty casualties of prisoners. The 3rd Battalion lost only one soldier today but almost forty men were wounded. I was not there during the riot but I heard it was a sad effort by the prisoners. I hope this war ends soon.

Image Caption: Prisoners in the Koje-do POW Camp.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

September 13-October 13, 1951: The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge

After around a month of fighting in the area known as the Punch Bowl, the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge has ended. Neither side made any serious advances on the other, so the battle became more of a battle “for” Heartbreak Ridge. It was difficult for us to make any damage upon enemy forces because we did not have the higher vantage point that the North Koreans and Chinese had. The U.S. Army destroyed the ridge into what looked like a bomb site with an overkill of tanks, airstrike, and artillery. After significant damage had been done to the hill, the 23rd Infantrymen scurried up the hill taking fire from the enemy.

The battle was tough. It was extreme trench warfare going up the hillside and soldiers were using every last resource to kill their enemy. The battle consisted of bombs, bullets, mortars, grenades, knife fights, and hand to hand combat. My troops proved exhausted as I saw them sliding down the hill with no energy just to get more ammunition and start their next attempt up the hill again. After around two weeks, the 23rd Infantrymen were lessened to the point that they could no longer fight. In response to the previous failure, soldiers built better roads in the Mundung-ni Valley below Heartbreak Ridge. Tanks could now head up and down the valley and destroy North Korean and Chinese forces hiding on the ridge (Bos). In only a few days, tanks had destroyed enemy bunkers and killed almost all enemy troops. After the battle the numbers astonished me; we eliminated around 25,000 troops from the Chinese and North Korean forces. I am proud of my American and ally forces and believe we can celebrate after this tough battle.

Image Caption: American soldiers shoot across the Mundung-ni Valley at Heartbreak Ridge.

April 11, 1951: Truman gets rid of MacArthur

Just as I had predicted, Truman was so fed up with MacArthur that he fired him and is not longer the general of the United States Army. It had been a long battle between Truman and MacArthur and it is easy for me to say that neither man liked the other. Although they were not fond of each other, they both had a great deal of respect for one another. MacArthur forgot that Truman was ultimately the one and only Commander in Chief even though MacArthur was second below him. MacArthur continuously disobeyed Truman’s explicit orders and criticized his ideals for the war. In a letter to Congressman Joseph W. Martin, MacArthur says,

“My views and recommendations with respect to the situation created by Red China’s entry into war against us in Korea have been submitted to Washington in most complete detail. Generally these views are well known and clearly understood, as they follow the conventional pattern of meeting force with maximum counterforce, as we have never failed to do in the past. Your view with respect to the utilization of the Chinese forces on Formosa is in conflict with neither logic nor this tradition” (Buhite 401).

Truman has put General Matthew Ridgway as Commanding General of the American war effort while MacArthur is set to return home in about a week. Although it will be different without MacArthur’s strong sense of character and determination, I will be glad to work with a more cautious man who thinks things through before making a terrible mistake. I have learned much from MacArthur but I look forward to working closely with Ridgway and fighting this war intelligently.

Image Caption: General Ridgway is appointed as the Commander of the U.S. Army in Korea.

January-February 1, 1951: Battle of Twin Tunnels and Peace Talks

After months of fighting, we have reached a new year. The enemy has opened up with 500,000 troops and sent our armies south of the 38th parallel and took control of Seoul once again. Today on February 1st, the Battle of Twin Tunnels began (Evanhoe). The Twin Tunnels are a set of tunnels for railroad in South Korea. I went with the 23rd Infantry Regiment, French Battalion, and 347th Battalion to mitigate area. We lost a lot of men but we killed almost 1,500 Chinese enemies and had a successful day.

The UN has decided to schedule Peace Talks because of the lack of progression in this war. The war has become increasingly bloody with casualties on the rise. Each month that the fighting goes on I become luckier to still be alive. The Peace Talks will include America, China, North Korea, and South Korea (Marcus 67). The talks will begin in August 1951 but are expected to last longer than a year. Hopefully, a negotiation can be made quickly because I want out of this hell that I am stuck in. MacArthur is losing patience as he and Truman begin to quarrel more and more and I see his day as commanding General coming to an end soon.

November 25-28, 1950: Regrets

Chonju is really turning into a nightmare for us. Fierce counterattacks against the ROK army and our own 21st marines are halting any advance into the city. Everything was fine today until night fell, and that’s about when all hell began to break loose. Defensive lines inside the city were pummeled by Communist forces, and throughout the night confusing, blind firefights were occurring at every defensive position we had set up. Right after midnight, our defensive regiments had fragmented and scattered around the city, leaving a rag-tag defense of what we could call a “position” only in terminology, seeing as they had for the most part been abandoned to attend to firefights elsewhere in the city. On the 27th, 3,200 American soldiers were captured by the Chinese army, which I am sure will lead to some political red tape (Evanhoe). Today, the 28th, a full scale retreat from the city was ordered. Over 200,000 Chinese troops have also been discovered fighting alongside the North Koreans, and we have received intelligence that the Chinese are planning to increase that number to almost 400,000. This war is certainly giving us much more than we bargained for. General MacArthur has also withdrawn this published comment that the war would be “Over by Christmas.” I’m sure he’s regretting saying that right about now.

Image Caption: American Soldiers take a break from the fighting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

October 25, 1950: Crossing the Yalu River

About ten days ago, President Truman met with General MacArthur on Wake Island. Truman was concerned that the United States could cause an even larger war with Russia or China. Truman ordered MacArthur to not send American troops the across Yalu River, the border of North Korea and China. Truman also disapproved of MacArthur’s statements that war with China would restore a pro-Western Chinese Government. If American troops crossed the border, chairman of the Communist party of China, Mao Zedong said that he “would not sitback with folded hands” (Marcus 66). Truman clearly was not willing to take any chances, but after the meeting, the General told me he is prepared to cross the Yalu River if need be.

Despite Truman’s orders, some of MacArthur’s divisions reached the Yalu River today. This was a clear mistake on the General’s part. Chinese troops were ready just as Zedong had warned Truman and it was said to be one of the bloodiest days in Korea so far. After fire fight, the American and Chinese divisions fell back. MacArthur came to the conclusion that the Chinese were willing to have a truce because the battle had been so gruesome. I knew MacArthur made a mistake when he decided to have troops advance on the Yalu River. He is becoming so impulsive during this war and it is going to cost him sooner or later. Although MacArthur made a mistake, thankfully the Chinese fell back just as we did or else we might be waging a war with China.

Image Caption: General MacArthur (left) and President Truman (right) shake hands after the Wake Island Conference.

September 15, 1950: The Inchon Landing Continued

Image Caption: Troops head towards Inchon Harbor on warships after Wolmi-do Island is secured by (UN) forces.

September 15, 1950: The Inchon Landing

Early this morning, Joint Task Force Seven made an important attack on Inchon Harbor. The Joint Task Force Seven consists of 320 plus warships, four of which are aircraft carriers, which carried 70,000 troops of X corps into the harbor (Kortegaard). This landing initiated the amphibious battle to gain control of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The Inchon Harbor is in the Yellow Sea located in Incheon city in close proximity to Seoul. General has no doubt set up a brilliant plan for this attack on Inchon. The terrain of this area is extremely beneficial towards the North Korean army which makes it almost impossible for the United Nations (UN) forces. On September 13, the USS Mansfield headed into Incheon Harbor and began firing at Wolmi-do Island. These bombardments continued up until yesterday and ceased when the X corps hit Wolmi-do Island.

The 3rd Battalion Marines, 5th regiment Marines, landed on “Green Beach” and began the first amphibious battle since the attack on Okinawa in 1945. Wolmi-do was captured in just a few hours resulting in only seventeen casualties (Evanhoe). Later this afternoon, the 3rd Battalion Marines got ready for the next advance on Incheon city. The 5th regiments Marines arrived at “Red Beach” that evening and infiltrate the seawall. Ammunition was sprayed all over the field but in just a short amount of time, Marines signaled success on a hill with a flare. In the meantime, 1st Marines landed on “Blue Beach” and began making headway to Incheon. Today was successful invasion and I believe under the strong commander General MacArthur, Seoul will under control in no time.

Image Caption: The strategy of the invasion on Inchon Harbor.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

August 5, 1950: Battle of Naktong Bulge

Today, the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, arrives at Pusan. Pusan is located on the southeastern coast of South Korea. A battle is about to take place along the Natong River which is the shape of a “U” and forms the Natong Bulge. The 3rd Battalion, 34th infantry, 24th division is located in this area waiting to defend around a 15,000 yard sector (Evanhoe). This 15,000 yard sector that the 3rd Battalion must defend is much larger than anything that they have trained for. Most sectors they defend are around 10,000 yards or less. General MacArthur was worried that the 3rd Battalion could not single-handedly defend the 15,000 yard sector. MacArthur asked me if I believed bringing in three more infantry companies would be sufficient to defend the area. I was ecstatic that MacArthur asked for his assistant’s opinion in such a pivotal battle. I told MacArthur not to fret but to not bring in the three companies. MacArthur, a strong arrogant man, did not follow my opinion. Instead, MacArthur created a triangle shaped strategy and had three companies overlooking the lower valley. There was a company overlooking from the southern corner of the bulge, a company overlooking from the northern corner, and the last company over looking from the western corner. With strong reinforcements posted at higher ground, MacArthur was confident with his strategy.

Above Image: One of the three companies of the 3rd Battalion waits for commands from an elevated position.

June 26, 1950: The Beginning

Yesterday morning, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) artillery opened fire on the Republic of Korea, which was shortly followed by a land invasion over the 38th parallel. Later that day at 11 AM, war was declared between the two nations. The North Koreans also took a small city called Uijongbu near the 38th parallel. Today, President Truman put General Douglas MacArthur in charge of a support/evacuation operation with three major objectives: send ammunition and equipment to prevent the loss of Seoul, provide ships and aircraft, evacuate American citizens, plus Air Force fighters and Navy ships to protect the evacuation, and send a survey task force to South Korea to militarily analyze the situation, and determine the best route of action to take in aiding the South Korean people in the fight against communism (Evanhoe).

My job is to assist General MacArthur in the aforementioned tasks. The North Korean communists are thought to be supplied by communists in China and the U.S.S.R. What we don’t know is the exact amount of Soviet involvement, regarding whether or not they are simply supplying the North Koreans or are actually reinforcing them with ground troops. Regardless, the fight against communism in Korea will be a long and difficult task for MacArthur and the rest of the free world.

Author's Note

This is a student project created for a United States History class. The posts in this blog are of historical nature about a specific event in U.S. History. This blog deals with The Korean War. This is not meant to be expert scholarship and there may be errors. This is a first attempt at learning something in more depth. There has been a genuine effort to properly cite all pictures, quotes, information gathered in this research project. For a list of sources see the final blog.

by Adam O'Connor, Brad Keller