U.S. Army Forces in the Korean War

Discussion in 'Korea' started by Warlord, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    I just finished reading two books about the Korean War, "Pork Chop Hill, The American Fighting Man in Action", by S.L.A. Marshall, and "The New Breed", by Andrew Geer; in both, the U.S. Army ends up way down the scale when compared to other outfits.

    In the former, two Ethiopian-performed recon and ambush operations are highly praised by the author, and used to illustrate the clumsiness with which similar patrols were conducted by Army units, taking heavy casualties without much to show for them. In the latter, during the fight for the Pusan Perimeter, Marines have to rush all over the place to plug the holes left in the line by Army units clobbered away, while during the army-sized ambush at the Chosin Reservoir, with the U.S. and British Marines fighting their way out of the trap, refusing to be evacuated by air or even to leave their supplies behind, the Army┬┤s 7th Division takes a thorough beating, with lots of MIA and just a few weaponless survivors coming out only due to the "mercy" of the CCF and the support of Marine Air. X Corps command, made up mainly of Army brass, also takes a lot of heat, with several utterly wrong (and tragic) decisions under its belt.

    I read several books about the Korean "Police Action" in the past, but never had a chance to appreciate this kind of comparison. Was there really such a big difference in quality? What caused it? Or is it a case of biased writing?
  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Tolbooth likes this.
  4. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Well-Known Member

    That's a very interesting article, thanks for posting - I was aware of Marshall's assertion that only 15% of combat infantrymen in the Pacific fired their weapons in an engagement, but had never bothered to see if it was accepted or not. Didn't sound very likely, and the lack of evidence behind it is telling.

    I agree that Greer's book appears to have a strong US Marine focus/bias so perhaps you'd expect the US Army to get a bit of a bashing if only to point up USMC success. It's surely also a little disingenuous to directly compare infantry performance with that of "elite" units, even when performing the same role, unless it is for genuinely analytical purposes.

  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Hackworth charts his path of dillusionment with S.L.A. Marshall in his biography, About Face.

    He doesn't pull any punches.

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