Ristian Science Monitor Randy Dotinga writes that it s a towering tale of official ineptitude and battlefield fortitude that plays out against the backdrop of America s most forgotten modern war Sadly to many Americans it is simply the war that took place between WWII and Viet Nam On Desperate Ground is an account not of a heroic victory but rather a heroic retreat Sides makes the case that the tragic and bloody circumstances that led to the retreat would have never occurred without the misjudgment of a narcissistic seventy year old military commanderGeneral Douglas MacArthur was the supreme commander of allied powers in the Pacific and as such was in charge of the postwar occupation of Japan when North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25 1950 and drove the South Korean and US Armies south to a perimeter surrounding the port of Pusan at the tip of the Korean peninsulaOn September 15 MacArthur launched an audacious highly risky amphibious landing in South Korea at the port of Inchon located due west of Seoul the South s capital city A lot of things could have gone wrong but they didn t And the invading Marines were able to liberate Seoul and drive the North Korean army in disarray back to the north beyond the 38th Parallel which divided the two countries War is the nfolding of miscalculations Barbara TuchmanSides lays the blame for the miscalculations that followed Inchon suarely on the shoulders of Douglas MacArthur After the dramatic success of the Inchon landing hubris defined as a feeling of excessive pride self confidence and arrogance became an overwhelming mindset that hampered Douglas MacArthur s vision of what was to come after InchonHad the war ended with the North Korean army defeated and driven back to the north it would have lasted about three months But because of official ineptitude at the top the war lasted another three years ending in stalemate with the two countries still divided at the point they were when the war beganUnfortunately MacArthur s delusions of grandeur got the best of him and instead of ending the fighting with the liberation of South Korea he made plans to cross the border and march all the way to the Yalu the river that separates North Korea and ChinaThe General had assured President Harry Truman that organized resistance would be terminated by Thanksgiving and that the troops would be home by ChristmasTruman asked that MacArthur be sensitive to any indication that China or the Soviet Union might enter the war He demanded that at the first sign of any involvement on the part of either of those nations that MacArthur was to halt his advanceSides writesMacArthur played down Truman s concerns His own intelligence indicated that the Chinese wouldn t dare enter the conflict and if they did he was sure his forces would destroy them He did not think much of Mao s troops He believed they were nothing than a band of serfs subsisting on rice ball and yams relying on little burp guns and fizzly explosives that ハリー・ポッターと賢者の石 (ハリー・ポッターシリーズ usually failed to detonate an army held together with hemp string and bambooIt was on October 15 that MacArthur assured Truman that the Chinese would not enter the war Four days later Chinese troops in large numbers began to infiltrate into North Korea MacArthur refused to believe the clear intelligence that reported the infiltrations and moved ahead with his plans to march to the Yalu RiverSides calls it one of the most egregious intelligence failures in American military history If Sides isnable to hide his disdain for the role that MacArthur as well as General Ned Almond the overall commander in the field played in Korea he expresses great admiration for the commander of the First Marine Division General Oliver P Smith He writes that Smith is one of the great From Beautiful Zion to Red Bird Creek underrated generals in American history that he was cerebral soft spoken but also a man of ruthless efficiency He was a by the book Marine but he knew when to throw the book away In other words Smith was the anti MacArthurMacArthur s grandiose battle plan involved three columns marching north toward the Yalu River The columns would be separated from each other by high mountains which made communication between them extremely difficult and important made it impossible for one column to come to the aid of another in case one got into troubleSmith s Marines would have the most difficult assignment They would be forced to march than seventy milesp a narrow road that wound its way into the highlands eventually to a large artificial lake known as the Chosin Reservoir After they achieved that objective they were to keep going Sex, Rock Optical Illusions until they reached the Yalu located a hundred miles from the reservoirFrom the start Smith opposed the plan but he wasnable to convince MacArthur and Almond that the march to the reservoir would put his command in a dangerously exposed position The major problem was
there was only one road to the reservoir and only one road out was only one road to the and only one road out the event retreat became necessary and it didIn addition the Marines had other problems including the terrain and even worse what turned out to be one of the coldest winters ever experienced in North KoreaFortunately Smith did not suffer from the hubris that characterized MacArthur and Almond and thus he possessed the foresight to take some precautionary measures in the event that his division was attacked andor surroundedAnd of course the Chinese were in the area and they did attack The Marines about 13000 men were cut off and surrounded by 120000 Chinese troops The battle was fought in extremely brutal weather that saw temperatures dip to 20 degrees below zero or at times even lowerAt the mess tent a cup of scalding coffee would accumulate a skim of ice within minutes Canteens and C rations froze solid Fingers stuck to metal It had a cauterizing effect on wounds Blood from bullet holes or shrapnel tears simply froze to the skin and stopped flowing It is estimated that the Chinese suffered an estimated 30000 killed in action and about 12000 wounded The Marine casualties included 750 dead with 3000 wounded and about 200 missingHow the division escaped is a remarkable feat a successful retreat that was made possible by a general who From Mistress to Wifey unlike MacArthur and Almond took nothing for granted Yeah this is the book There aren t many authors who can keep my bedside lamp burningntil 0300 hrs on a workday but that s what happened to this one Any good war story has to have a mixture of brass officers strategy planning and balls grunts action blood and guts brotherhood Hampton Sides has mixed these ingredients in just the right combination which is about one part brass to three parts ballsSides spends a bit of time explaining what we already knew that MacArthur was as crazy as a shithouse rat an officer who loved to be in the rear with the gear surrounded by sycophants His real effort is expended in relating the heroic battles of the USMC against overwhelming Chinese forces in the battle for the Chosin Reservoir commonly called the Frozen Chosin I m not going to relate any exploits here Sides has already done that for you in his book Suffice to say that these leathernecks are a bunch of tough hombres and there s enough action here to satisfy even Lee Ermey God rest his leathery old soul I ll give the Sarge his due since he was snubbed by Hollywood this yearSides also covers the famous retreat possible only by American ingenuity and the fact that they had tons of gear they could Disney Infinity: Character Encyclopedia use to just miracle bridges out of seemingly thin air Probably no other country at that time could have pulled off that retreat simply for want of the euipmentThe author has generously p What a treat to have Sides create a narrative fors on a tough job our soldiers had in Korea and gather in some lessons relevant to our precarious position today in that part of the world I ve had nothing but 5 star reads with this talented storyteller and history sleuth and this one continues that tradition His major focus here is on a critical campaign that almost started World War 3 namely MacArthur s initiative after landing at Inchon and retaking Seoul to invade North Korea and win the war with a drive to the Yalu River boundary with China This triggered People s Republic of China s deployment of than 200000 troops across the Manchurian border About 120000 of these soldiers surrounded the 20 thousand or so American Marine and Army troops around the Choisin Reservoir properly Changjin These men had been sent to the austere mountainous region with a fragile supply line in the form of a 78 mile stretch of two lane road back to the port of Hungnam with many vulnerable choke points and a critical bridge From the perspective of key officers and enlisted men Sides delivers a well crafted and harrowing story of how the Marine and Army troops held p to being surrounded and assaulted by overwhelming forces and boldly pulled off a successful fighting retreat Along the way he covers enough of the whole war and antecedent events to provide a good context to this major turning pointIn addition to excessive enemies the trapped UN forces faced the extreme challenges of the terrain and the winte. Rtainty would not intervene in the war As he was speaking 300000 Chinese soldiers began crossing the border Led by the 13000 men of the 1st Marine Division the Americans moved far north into the trap Mao had set for the arrogant MacArthur at the Chosin Reservoir What followed was one of the most heroic and harrowing operations in American military history Faced with annihilation and temperatures plunging to 20 degrees below zero the surrounded Marines fought through. ,
Download On Desperate Ground The Marines at The Reservoir the Korean War's Greatest BattleR weather As can be seen below the Choisin Reservoir region is rough country for the logistics of combat and few soldiers beset there had any alpine warfare training or experience And winter in high country there meant temperatures that often got to 20F It s hard to convey the personal impact of such cold better than the following face You could imagine the difficulties of digging a foxhole in such weather the constant threat of frostbite and challenges of treating the wounded Despite these challenges advantages the UN forces included better clothing and weapons than the Chinese and Communist Koreans and in clear weather total dominance of the skies for air strikes and supply drops The following map can provide some geographical perspective and illustrate the main phases of the war In the bottom right you can see how far the North Korean army had pushed the South Korean and occupying UN forces by September 1950 to a small region around Pusan The brutal rban warfare leading to the loss of Seoul and desperate retreat to the south was well covered in another comprehensive book about the war David Halberstam s masterful The Coldest Winter America and the Korean War You can see how the invasion of Inchon opened the door for an effective assault on the flank and supply lines of the invaders MacArthur from his command site in Japan couldn t resist following Smitten up the successful retaking of South Korea with an attempt to defeat the North once and for all Truman warned him to pull back at any sign of engagement in the war by the Chinese but the Joint Chiefs gave him plenty of latitude to push as hard he wanted He was aware of lots of Chinese troops over the border in Manchuria but he was blind to the possibility of their willingness to defend their client state and for a long time ignored plenty of evidence that regular Chinese army troops were present in force one soldier complained If you are shot and killed by an enemy that isn t there are you still alive You can see how the Choisin Reservoir area was effectively the tip of the spear for whole military campaign The book doesn t delve much into the tough fighting by the 7th Army Infantry Division to the east of the Reservoir region or UN troop battles in northwestern Korea Fortunately General Oliver Smith Commander of the First Marine Division was assigned to lead the advance through the Chosin region He had experience with MacArthur s overreaching in the Pacific theater of World War 2 where he fought with the First Marines in theirseless slaughter in the taking of the island Pelieu 6500 casualties He had reason to believe that many Chinse troops had already infiltrated into North Korea and that they were advancing into a trap His idiot supervisor as X Corps Commander and MacArthur acolyte Major General Edward Almond constantly pressing him to recklessly advance ahead Smith slowed their advance and left supply caches along the way He wisely took the initiative to build A White Slave in Turkey Book 1 - A BDSM Novel up the mining town at the southern tip of the Reservoir Hagaru ri into a stronghold and direct his brilliant chief engineer Col John Partridge to direct work around the clock to construct a landing strip suitable for C47 cargo planes for supply and evacuation of the wounded Major General Oliver Smith commander of the 1st Marine Division accompanies MacArthur on a tour after taking InchonIn the next map the print will be too small but itsefully illustrates the encirclement of the Marine positions to the west of the reservoir and of the Army task force on the east side Lt Colonel Faith s story of holding in the face of mass attacks and then leading his Army 1898 units on a breakout is so tragic in its details His column was effectively cut in half at one bottleneck and only 1000 of 2500 made it to the relative safety of Hagaru a few hundred as individuals walking across the ice wounded and freezing To the west the survivors of the embattled outpost Yudam took enough hills by fierce combat to enable them to break through multiple roadblocks and ambushes on the road to Hagaru Another dangerous bottleneck to surmount was Tonktong Pass which the particularly brave Fox Company led a colorful Captain William Barber had lost most of its men guarding for days from a strategic hill With consolidation of his forces at Hagaru Smith eventually got the message through to command that retreat was necessary to prevent total obliteration he famously preserved morale of his troops by exclaiming Retreat hell We re not retreating we re just advancing in a different direction The fighting retreat down the road toward the port of Hungnam was brilliantly orchestrated by Smith against tall odds With just enough trucks to cram his wounded in he made the sad decisions to execute their dying prisoners and to bury 117 of their dead in a mass graves Many refugees followed in the convoy s wake on foot The convoy came to a dead stop at high point called Funchilin Pass due to a large span of the bridge there having being blown out by the Chinese Calling again for the magic of Partridge s engineering skills led to thenusual plan of having the Air Force deliver by parachute eight massive girders of 2900 pounds each to repair the breach Evacuation of the survivors of whole expeditionary force and 14000 refugees to boot at Hungnam was a massive and successful effort involving nearly 200 ships A sad but necessary breah of the Marine principle to not leave fallen comrades behind the burial of 117 Marines Army soldiers and Royal British Commandos on the evacuation road south of ChoisinThe outcome of the Battle of Choisin Reservoir was a complete turnaround in the war All of MacArthur s claim just weeks earlier to be close to ending the war was ashes in his mouth as he realized the impossibility of defeating China s vast forces and armaments supplied by the Soviet Union When he was called on the carpet by Truman for getting him in very hot water with his electorate and inspiring
Sen Joe McCarthy to call for his impeachment MacArthur claimed to have intended to forceJoe McCarthy to call for his impeachment MacArthur claimed to have intended to force s commitment to their imperialist Commie designs Before the war was finally over and back to the permanent standoff across the 38th parallel both men supposedly considered se of nuclear weapons The result of the Korean War was a return to a standoff between two Koreas across the 38th parallel which was supposed to be a temporary division between Soviet and Allied occupation zones after the ouster of Imperial Japan from the peninsula toward the end of World War 2 Compared to long wars like Vietnam and Afghanistan the three years of fighting was relatively short But the casualties were very high making it a shame how it has become a forgotten war by many According to Wikipedia the US suffered about 34000 battle deaths South Korea about 138000 North Korea about 215000 and China 114 183000 Other NATO nations such as the UK Canada Turkey and Australia suffered 300 1000 combat deaths As often neglected in the butcher s bill for war civilian deaths dwarf those of the soldiers with 374000 estimated for South Korean and over a million for North Korea The US campaign of massive bombing of all North Korean cities in the war is the major contributor to the huge disparity For every death recorded multiply by 2 or 3 for the injured and maimed Seems hardly worth it to return to the status o All it proved is that the US with NATO was willing to make sacrifices to block national dominos from falling But in the mind of most enemy soldiers they were defending their homeland and the sense of threat felt by the PRC over American occupation of a land at their borders might be comparable to the US stance if China or Russia were to invade Mexico Regardless of the politics and whether you consider the fateful invasion of North Korea a tragic mistake the contribution and sacrifices of soldiers on both sides should not be forgotten Ironically the civil war never technically ended Amid all the Trumpery involving Korea this year a small step forward was made when the presidents of the two Koreas met at the demilitarized zone in April and pledged to forge a peace treaty within a year s timeIn its excellent balance between coverage of the big picture of a war at the level of generals and politicians while weaving the human story of those in desperate combat this shares many of the virtues of Sides Ghost Soldiers his previous
history of the battle of and successfulof the Battle of Bataan and successful of survivors from a Japanese prison camp by an intrepid group of commandos Sides excels in marshalling all available resources and his own interviews with participants to create a narrative as readable as a good novel Unlike that book he didn t delve much into the actions of the adversaries of the Americans or even into the stories of their allies One exception is the details on the life of a Seoul medical student who was born in the north and eagerly served as a translator for the NATO forces This book was provided for review by Doubleday If you want a bit of a preview check out the excellent PBS documentary film the Battle of Choisin for which Sides served as a consultant and commentato. The enemy forces with ferocity ingenuity and nearly nimaginable courage Hampton Sides's superb account of the battle relies on years of archival research and interviews with scores of Marines and Koreans who survived the siege While expertly chronicling the follies of the American leaders this is an immediate grunt's eye view of history enthralling in its narrative pace and powerful in its portrayal of what ordinary men are capable of in the most extreme circumstanc. .
Hampton Sides latest book ON DESPERATE GROUND THE MARINES AT THE RESERVOIR THE KOREAN WAR S GREATEST BATTLE has met or even surpassed the high standards for excellent narrative history that he has set in his previous works The book is based on extensive interviews memoirs command of secondary sources and the ability to place the reader along side historical decision makers and the soldiers who carried out their orders Whether Sides is writing about James Earl Ray and the assassination of Martin Luther King the last survivors of the Bataan Death March a biography of Kit Carson or the late 19th century voyage of the USS Jeanette to the nchartered Artic waters he tells his stories with Vérité (Love at Center Court, uncanny historical accuracy and incisive analysisIn his current effort Sides conveys the authenticity and intensity of war on the Korean peninsula His portrayal of the bravery of America soldiers is clear andnsettling as the realism of combat is laid bare for all to see At times it is difficult to comprehend what these soldiers were able to overcome and reading the book during the week of Veteran s Day makes Sides work that relevantSides integrates all the important historical figures into his narrative including American Marines and members of the US Army We meet the egotistical General Douglas MacArthur and his staff of sycophants and supplicants MacArthur can carry out the Inchon landing against all odds but this logistical miracle seems to fuel is insatiable need for further glory Fed by men like General Ned Almond whose main goal was to carry out MacArthur s wishes sluffing off any advice or criticism by other planners the only result could be the disaster that encompassed American soldiers at the Chosin Reservoir and along the Yalu River Disregarding intelligence that went against his own staff MacArthur and Almond would push on disregarding and ignoring contrary opinions President Harry Truman appears and seems to go along with MacArthur particularly at the Wake Island Conference Beyond the Qumran Community until proof emerges that over 250000 Chinese Communist soldiers have poured into North Korea from mid October 1950 onwardPerhaps Sides most revealing portrait in explaining how American soldiers met disaster in the Chosin Reservoir region was his comparison of the views of Major General Oliver Prince Smith the Commander of the First Marine Division a by the book Marine who described MacArthur as a man with a solemn regard for his own divinity and Major General Edward Ned Almond MacArthur s Chief of Staff All Almond cared about was speed disregarding the obstacles that Smith faced in planning MacArthur s assault on northern Korea Smith was a deliberate and fastidious planner who resented Almond s constant goading He felt that Almond strutted around like MacArthur and made pronouncements based on minimum intelligence Almond was a racist who down played the abilities of Hispanic American troops and thought very little of the fighting ability of the Chinese For Almond s part he viewed Smith as an impediment to his overall goals of carrying out MacArthur s wishes He believed that Smith was overly concerned with planning minutiae and his deliberate approach detracted from his grand plansSides portrayals of American soldiers and the their character provides insights and provide a mirror for the reader into the person s abilities and their impact on theirnits individual bravery and the success or failure of their Daniels Pet unit battalion or company s mission Studies of Lee Bae Suk a Chinese American who escaped North Korea as a teenager and enlisted in the Marines Captain William Earl Barber Commander of Company F 2nd Battalion role protecting the Toktong Pass a key route to the Chosin Reservoir and a student of Sun Tzu as was Mao Zedong the exploits of Seventh Marines Company E known as Easy Commander First Lieutenant John Yancy at Hill 1282 Lieutenant Chew Een who led the column to rescue Fox Company encircled by Chinese troops the Jersey contingent of private Kenneth Benson and Private Hector Cafferata Jr s heroism in Fox Company Lieutenant Thomas Hudner who would earn the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery for his attempt to rescue Ensign Jesse Brown who hailed from a Mississippi sharecroppers background to become the first African American fighter pilot in the US Navy are among many along with other portrayals that are eye opening as so many soldiers continued to fight on against all odds despite wounds that would not have allowed most to even standprightSides description of combat is almost pure in of itself but completely nnerving A prime example is the fight for Hill 1282 and the rescue attempt of Fox Company The Chinese would attack American soldiers in human waves by the thousands paying little or no attention to casualties as Marines repeatedly cut them down The carnage and suffering are hard to comprehend as is the bravery of US Marines fighting in sub zero temperatures in the middle of the night to protect a small piece of geography in northern Korea against an enemy lacking in communications sing the nnerving sounds of bugles cymbals whistles and such to organize their attacks Battles are seen through the eyes
OF THE PARTICIPANTS AND THE WILL AND DESIRE OFthe participants and the will and desire of man is on full displaySides has written an excellent narrative military history but on another level he has produced a study that highlights the relationship
between men in combat and how they rely pon each other for their survival It is a book about heroes themen in combat and how they rely pon each other for their survival It is a book about heroes the of war and the incompetence of decision making by people at the top who are willing to send men to their deaths
in many cases without batting an eye themany cases without batting an eye The reads like a novel but it presents history as truth that cannot be denied or dismissed I am giving this book 5 stars The 5 star rating for me means the book possesses a WOW factors and this book certainly had me expressing that sentiment on several occasions To begin with I have to confess that 20th century wars generally do not have a great deal of appeal for me as they tend to have been overly done by popular media Conseuently I do not know much about the Korean War and surprisingly this war didn t seem to get the sual media exposure of wars fought after the invention of movies television and the internet The only movie I can recall about the Korean War was Gregory Peck in Pork Chop Hill It has been called the Forgotten War and that really is true I read Jeff Shaara s historical fiction regarding the same subject last year and that book opened my eyes and awareness to the battle depicted in these pages but I cannot imagine a better concise readable and entertaining treatment of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir that what has been accomplished by Hampton SidesWhile the author has written a history he has written it with the heart pounding excitement of a bestselling thriller Even knowing the outcome of the various disparate events in this battle I couldn t put the book down سفر عاشوريات _ 1000 جملة ساخرة until I read another page and then another and well we all know how that goes Sides doesn t go into a lot of detail about the specifics of the engagements and the strategies and tactics This is not that sort of book What the reader is given is a strong sense of living the struggles and terrors that were experienced by Marines and soldiers that were there and those that commanded them While many of the stories told in this book may have been previously recounted in other works this author still does a masterful job of telling the stories for the benefit of readers that are not as knowledgeable of this War or this battle This book is an example of how history really should be written so that ordinary people can better appreciate and digest the information that we should all be familiar with The reader cannot help but put this book down and come away with a betternderstanding of the horrors of war and a greater appreciation for the young people that are sent off to endure these horrors This book is going on my Highly Recommended bookshelf and I hope all of you give this book a well deserved read Enjoy Sun Tzu says in The Art of War that in battle there are nine kinds of situations nine kinds of grounds The final and most distressing type is a situation in which one s army can be saved from destruction only by fighting without delay It is a place without shelter and no possibility of easy retreat If met by the enemy an army has no alternative but to surrender or fight its way out of its predicament Sun Tzu calls this desperate ground Hampton Sides On Desperate GroundHampton Sides graduated from Yale with a degree in American history However he first made his mark as a journalist whose work was published in major periodicals But beginning with the publication of Ghost Soldiers in 2001 he has become a hugely successful author of critically acclaimed narrative historiesHis latest is On Desperate Ground The Marines at the Reservoir the Korean War s Greatest Battle published in 2018 As the subtitle indicates it is not a comprehensive study of the Korean War but primarily focuses on the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir In his review of the book in the Ch. 12 hrs 8 minsFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice a chronicle of the extraordinary feats of heroism by Marines called on to do the impossible during the greatest battle of the Korean WarOn October 15 1950 the vainglorious General Douglas MacArthur Supreme Commander of UN troops in Korea convinced President Harry Truman that the communist forces would be The Angel Intrudes (1918) utterly defeated by Thanksgiving The Chinese he said with near ce.