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The United Nations Strike Back

By late January 1951, local successes by United Nations forces and a renewed offensive spirit within Ridgway's command had-altered the combat scene and had improved the outlook. No longer was the threat of forced evacuation so real. Nor was the need for new decisions on national policy so pressing.

Attempts by United Nations leaders to arrange a cease-fire in Korea continued fruitlessly throughout the winter. A 14 December resolution by the U.N. General Assembly had established a Cease Fire Group, but otherwise had led to nothing. The Chinese rejected every overture to negotiate except on their own terms. In mid-January, the First Committee of the General Assembly established several principles as the basis for a cease-fire: withdrawal of all non-Korean forces from Korea; free elections under United Nations supervision and arrangements for interim administration; and, after a cease-fire, a conference including representatives of the United States; USSR, and Communist China on settlement of Far Eastern problems. The United States voted for this arrangement even though some American authorities were very skeptical about it.

A statement of these principles was sent to the Chinese Communist Government with an invitation to negotiate a cease-fire. The Chinese countered with a few principles of their own which included their acceptance into the United Nations Organization and the withdrawal of American forces from the Formosa area. The Chinese must have known the United Nations would not agree to these terms, and therefore were probably not surprised when the terms were rejected. [1]

Since the beginning of the Korean War, relations between the United States and its most important allies, Britain and France, had been strained to some degree, particularly after the October crossing of the 38th Parallel. The western nations had not yet reconciled their divergent points of view on the conduct of the campaign, relations with the Chinese Communists, and the disposition of Formosa. But as a result of the Chinese Communist rejection of the United Nations cease-fire proposal, there for the first time appeared to be some ground for a common allied approach to the

[1] Department of State, U.S. Policy in the Korean Conflict, July 1950-February 1951 (Washington, 1951), pp. 27-37.

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problems posed by the Chinese. [2] In following up this slight advantage, American leaders undertook to gain acceptance of the American viewpoint by Rene Pleven, French Prime Minister, when he visited President Truman in Washington on 29-30 January 1951. [3]

In anticipation of Pleven's visit, Department of State planners prepared for the President a statement of American objectives in Korea and the probable paths toward those objectives. This compilation of views amply illustrated that while the American Government had a broad pattern for Korea, no specific means to work out this pattern had yet been developed.

The Korean venture was of necessity a partnership arrangement. Most of the partners who had to be consulted by the United States, the senior partner, hesitated to subscribe to any step which might enlarge the area of conflict or in some other way prove detrimental to their national interests. The United States had no desire, and indeed no intention, to stand alone against the Communists in Korea. The Department of State insisted that the United States should continue to urge the United Nations to adopt a policy of bringing to bear the greatest possible collective pressure upon the Communist aggressor in Korea. This policy, it was felt, would increase the chances of reaching an honorable solution in Korea and would deter similar aggressions elsewhere. [4]

France had supported continued resistance in Korea, but was eager for a peaceful settlement if possible, and had expressed great opposition to extending hostilities outside of Korea. The Department of State therefore recommended that President Truman assure Pleven that the United States would continue to try to confine the fighting to Korea. [5]

About this time, the United States was pressing the United Nations to pass a resolution branding Communist China as an aggressor. The Department of State therefore urged the President to assure Pleven that in the American view the passage of this resolution would not constitute authorization for the extension of hostilities to China, and that the United States had no intention of asking the United Nations for authority to take any measures involving operations against Chinese territory. But the United States Government, in its capacity as the Unified Command, reserved the right to take action essential for protecting the United Nations forces under its command. Consequently, the Department of State felt that Pleven should know that in the event of large-scale air attacks against U.N. troops from Manchurian bases, the United States would bomb the bases from which the attacks originated, and that if the Chinese Communists attacked American forces outside of Korea, the United States would take counteraction. The Joint Chiefs of Staff thought that the Department of State was right and placed their seal of approval on these views. [6]

President Truman and Prime Minister Pleven, on the first day of their talks, concentrated on the situation in Asia.

[2] Memo, Gen. Duff, Dep. ACofS G-3, DA, for CofS, USA, 23 Jan. 51, Incl 3, in G-3, DA file 320.2, Case 60.

[3] (1) JCS 1776/187, 26 Jan. 51. (2) JCS 1776/186, 24 Jan. 51. Both in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 151.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

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The President told the French Prime Minister substantially what his advisers had recommended. He stated forcefully that he saw no way for the United States to recognize the Communist regime in Peiping, and that he was convinced that the Communists had moved into Korea because they feared the progress being made by the western powers in the Far East. He assured Pleven that the United States was striving for world peace, but that only collective security could bring this about. The United States therefore would not negotiate with the Chinese to restore peace in Korea at the price of collective security and national self-respect. [7]

Since the first intervention by the Chinese, the United States, through Ambassador Austin, had championed a resolution before the General Assembly of the United Nations which would brand China an aggressor nation and at the same time provide a method of bringing about a cease-fire. Many member nations of the United Nations, fearing that such a step would only increase the scope of the fighting and widen the breach between Communist China and themselves, hesitated to support the resolution. But President Truman urged passage of the measure in line with his determination that "For my part, I believe in calling an aggressor an aggressor." [8] Finally, on 1 February, after much hesitancy on the part of some member nations and complete opposition by the USSR and its satellite member nations, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution naming the People's Republic of China an aggressor nation and calling for the achievement of United Nations objectives in Korea by peaceful means. [9] India and Burma voted against calling Communist China an aggressor. Seven nations of the non-Communist world and Yugoslavia did not participate in the voting. [10]

The Combat Scene

Regardless of political efforts to find common ground for negotiation, the issue between the Communists and the United Nations in Korea continued to be decided at this stage of the war on the battlefield. The success or failure of the United Nations political efforts would, it appeared, depend on the success or failure of the United Nations military measures. During late January and February, General Ridgway concentrated on means of exploiting to the very limit the capabilities of the forces under his command. Conferring with his I and IX Corps commanders on 21 January, he ordered them to mount a strong combat reconnaissance into the area bounded by the Suwon-Ich'on-Yoju road and the Han River to develop enemy dispositions, disrupt hostile concentrations, and inflict maximum destruction on the enemy. [11] This reconnaissance, designated Operation THUNDERBOLT, jumped off on 25 January and made consistent progress against generally light resistance. (Map

[7] Truman, Memoirs, II, 437-38.

[8] (1) Statement by the President, 25 Jan. 51. (2) MacArthur Hearings, p. 3513.

[9] UN Doc. A/1771, quoted in Department of State Pub 4263, U.S. Policy in the Korean Conflict, July 1950-February 1951, p. 37.

[10] Memo, Dr. Ralph J. Watkins for Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, 1 Mar. 51, in G-3, DA file 381 China, Case 8/8.

[11] Memo, Notes on Conference with CG I Corps, CG IX Corps, and Vice Comdr 5th AF, Gen. Ridgway, 21 Jan. 51, in GHQ, UNC SGS.

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VII) By the end of January, the enemy's main line of resistance still had not been developed; but Ridgway's forces had reached a line four to six miles north of the line Suwon-Kumyangjang-ni-Ich'on and were continuing their advance.

Understandably encouraged by the January advances, General Ridgway in early February outlined plans for the immediate future and his ideas on longer-range moves. Ridgway informed MacArthur that the Eighth Army was inflicting maximum losses upon the enemy and delaying to the utmost enemy attempts to push farther into South Korea.

This was being done, Ridgway claimed, at the same time that complete coordination within and between the corps was insuring the integrity of all major units. General Ridgway reported that his forces in the western sector were moving forward in phased, closely coordinated advances to develop the enemy dispositions on that front and to kill as many of the enemy as possible with a minimum of friendly losses. Ridgway told MacArthur that if it proved tactically sound and militarily possible, he would send his troops as far as the Han River where they would hold. He also planned a coordi-

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nated attack on the central front in the very near future to reach and hold the general line Yongp'yong-Hoengsong-Yangnung. [12]

In General Ridgway's opinion, the advance to the Han, at least as far east as Yongp'yong, was a sound operation with potentially high results so long as enemy resistance did not stiffen to the point where United Nations losses canceled out military gains. But from Yongp'yong eastward to the Sea of Japan, a distance of ninety airline miles, the Korean front ran through a rugged, wooded area lacking roads and any natural terrain line on which to base defensive positions that could be easily or profitably held. General Ridgway had no illusions about setting up a static defense or making substantial advances in that sector. With regard to this part of Korea, he said, "Assuming as I do, a continuation of a major effort to destroy us, prolonged efforts to hold any such line, would in my view, require far greater forces than are now available, and entail a heavy attrition, with little or no commensurate gain." Ridgway made it plain to MacArthur that he saw little wisdom in a general advance beyond the line of the Han River in view of the great risks. He would recommend such an advance only if the Chinese forces should voluntarily withdraw north of the 38th Parallel. As to the 38th Parallel, General Ridgway told MacArthur that he considered it indefensible with his present forces. If Eighth Army tried to hold any part of the former boundary too many men would be lost. [13]

Likewise, any attempt at the moment to retake the South Korean capital would, in General Ridgway's opinion, be foolish from a purely military viewpoint. To occupy Seoul would place an unfordable river through or behind his defensive positions. Therefore, unless a sudden opportunity arose to trap and destroy a major enemy force, in which the retaking of Seoul was incidental, he would leave Seoul to the Chinese. [14]

Ridgway set forth five major assumptions: the enemy would continue a major effort to force the Eighth Army from Korea or to destroy it in place; there would be no major reinforcement of the Eighth Army; the basic plan and directives under which the Eighth Army was operating were sound and required no present modification; the 38th Parallel could not be defended with forces then available; and elsewhere north of the Han, terrain lines across the peninsula were not good enough to justify the losses required to take and defend them. He asked General MacArthur for his views on these concepts. [15]

General Ridgway's analysis and plans presented MacArthur, according to General Whitney, ". . . with a dilemma." Whitney explained later that MacArthur placed far greater stress on the factor of supply ". . . than Ridgway apparently did." MacArthur had not changed his opinion that Seoul was a vital supply hub which had to be seized if enemy supply was to be effectively curtailed and that sound psychological advantages lay in capturing the ancient capital city. "Therefore," Whitney recalls, "he had no intention of holding the Eighth Army

[12] Ltr., Gen. Ridgway to Gen. MacArthur, 3 Feb. 51, in GHQ, FEC SGS files.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

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south of the Han River. Yet he understood fully that Ridgway's caution was natural because of the heavy blow the army had sustained when he had sought to hold the Seoul area before.... MacArthur worded his reply carefully." [16]

MacArthur did, indeed, word his reply carefully, so carefully that he seemed to agree with all of Ridgway's proposals and ideas. MacArthur informed Ridgway on 4 February, "I interpret your objective to be such advance with concomitant pressure by your own forces as will develop the enemy's main line of resistance." If this line developed south of the Han, MacArthur agreed that no attempt should be made to push farther. If, on the other hand, the Eighth Army reached the Han without serious resistance, MacArthur believed that Ridgway should drive forward until either the enemy line had been developed or the fact established that the enemy had no such line. Ridgway had said essentially the same thing when he recommended an advance only if the Chinese had voluntarily withdrawn north of the parallel. [17]

MacArthur's thinking on retaking Seoul seemed to parallel that of the Eighth Army commander. He agreed that the military usefulness of Seoul was practically nil, but that its occupation by Ridgway's forces would yield certain valuable diplomatic and psychological advantages. More tangible advantages would accrue from taking the Inch'on port facilities and Kimp'o Airfield. Use of these would greatly reduce the supply difficulties and increase the power of Ridgway's air support in forward areas. He said that if Inch'on and Kimp'o presented "easy prey," they should be taken. In closing, MacArthur commended Ridgway highly, saying, "Your performance of the last two weeks, in concept and in execution, has been splendid and worthy of the highest traditions of a great captain." [18]

The enemy had not forgotten the September landing at Inch'on. American intelligence agencies learned that the Chinese were very worried over the possibility of another amphibious landing either at Inch'on or at the narrow waist of Korea. Ridgway asked MacArthur to consider exploiting these enemy fears by naval feints to simulate possible landings. MacArthur ordered these diversionary actions, which, at Inch'on, forced the employment of at least one North Korean division to guard the port against the threatened attack. Later on, this enemy division was pulled out of Inch'on and thrown against Ridgway's advance from the south in Operation THUNDERBOLT. Noting this, Ridgway asked MacArthur to resume the naval demonstrations to draw enemy forces away from the front. Hence, high-speed amphibious ships sailed from Pusan and again simulated actual landing operations in the Inch'on area. [19]

On 5 February, General Ridgway or-

[16] Whitney, MacArthur: His Rendezvous with History, pp. 460-61.

[17] Rad, C 54811, CINCUNC to CG Army Eight (Personal) for Ridgway, 4 Feb. 51.

[18] (1) Ibid. (2) Commenting on this exchange, General Whitney noted, "Here was one of the marks of leadership; MacArthur thus got his conflicting views across to Ridgway without doing violence to sensibilities which had been suffering acutely in the difficult campaign." See Whitney, MacArthur: His Rendezvous with History, p. 461.

[19] (1) Comd Rpt., G-3 UNC, Jan. 51, App. 4, Part III, Incl 48. (2) Rad, CG-2-621 KGOO, CG Army Eight to CINCFE, 6 Feb. 51. (3) Rad, COMNAVFE to CTF 90 and CTF 95, 6 Feb. 51.

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dered the X Corps to attack in the central sector. For several days, Almond's troops made good progress in their advance, known as Operation ROUNDUP; but enemy resistance increased steadily as the X Corps approached the main enemy positions. In the west, meanwhile, other Eighth Army units drove ahead, piercing the enemy's defenses south of Seoul and forcing the Chinese back across the Han River in the Seoul area on 10 February. In reporting these successes to the Department of the Army on 10 February, General Willoughby, MacArthur's G-2, adopted a justifiably optimistic tone. He claimed that the enemy was not voluntarily withdrawing from any of his positions but was being forced to do so. He pointed out that once Ridgway seized the Han River, the enemy could find no defensive positions short of the old North Korean defense line along the 38th Parallel. Any enemy withdrawal to the 38th Parallel would have to be viewed,

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Willoughby claimed, as a decision forced on them by a series of defeats in the field with an accompanying attrition in men and materiel. He told staff officers in Washington that the enemy had definitely been kicked back and so long as United Nations pressure could keep the enemy off-balance, the initiative would remain with MacArthur. [20]

But just what MacArthur intended to do next in Korea was not clear to officials of the Department of the Army. In an effort to get abreast of the situation, Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, General Bolte's successor as Department of the Army G-3, asked General MacArthur to explain his plans. High-level talks in which Army officials were to take part in the very near future made it necessary that MacArthur submit his views on probable short-range military developments. Taylor asked MacArthur specifically if he intended to push north and, if so, if he also intended to move his prepared defense base forward. [21]

MacArthur based his reply on the exchange of views with General Ridgway earlier in the month. In fact, had he transmitted Ridgway's letter to General Taylor without change, the effect would have been the same. "It is my purpose," MacArthur told Taylor, "to continue the ground advance until I develop the enemy's main line of resistance or the fact that there is no such line south of the 38th Parallel." A constant advance, MacArthur pointed out, would keep the Chinese and North Koreans off-balance. This would allow his own forces to take full advantage of their superior artillery firepower and armor and, as MacArthur expressed it, "to flush the enemy from concealment where he may have escaped air attack." MacArthur promised that if his attacks showed that the enemy was not present in strength south of the 38th Parallel, he would immediately notify the Joint Chiefs of Staff and request instructions before moving farther north. He was obviously preparing well in advance to refute any possible charges that he intended to make another crossing of the parallel without full authority from higher headquarters. [22]

Although the measures he had recommended against the Chinese outside of Korea had not been taken and no reinforcement had arrived, MacArthur's command had not been driven out of Korea as he had predicted. Yet he still insisted that he be allowed to bomb Manchuria. "It can be accepted as a basic fact," he told Taylor, "that, unless authority is given to strike enemy bases in Manchuria, our ground forces as presently constituted cannot with safety attempt major operations in North Korea." Where previously he had insisted that bombing China was necessary to permit his forces to stay in Korea, General MacArthur had modified this view to the extent that he now felt it was necessary to bomb China in order to operate in North Korea. [23]

MacArthur said that it was evident to him that the enemy had lost his chance of a decisive military decision in Korea. But he still considered that the Chinese retained the potential, so long as their base of operations in Manchuria was immune from air attack, of resuming the

[20] Telecon, TT 4364, GHQ and DA, 10 Feb. 51.

[21] Rad, DA 83262, DA to CINCFE, 11 Feb. 51.

[22] Rad, C 55315, MacArthur (Personal) for Taylor, 11 Feb. 51.

[23] Ibid.

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offensive and forcing a withdrawal upon his command. "We intend to hold the line of the Han up to the point of a major and decisive engagement," the U.N. commander claimed. He no longer feared forced evacuation, but he did anticipate being forced back from the Han, how far he could not say. Once forced back from the river, however, his forces would be able to stabilize the line because logistic difficulties would prevent the enemy from full exploitation of the initial advantage. "The capability of the enemy is inversely and geometrically proportionate to his distance from the Yalu," is the way MacArthur expressed it. MacArthur also made a plea for security of his plans by telling Taylor, "It is earnestly requested that no estimate of the situation be released in Washington." He claimed that in the past his plans had been jeopardized by leaks to the press of his secret reports and by "injudicious speculation which has emanated from more or less authoritative sources." He reminded Taylor that reports and estimates should be released only at the discretion of the field commanders. [24]

Secretary of the Army Pace grew concerned lest the success of early February probing attacks lead to over-optimism on the part of the American public. He feared this might give rise to speculation as to whether United Nations forces might not again advance to the Yalu River. He notified MacArthur on 13 February that the actual situation was being depicted for press officials, and that they were being cautioned against putting out unjustifiably glowing reports on progress in Korea. He hoped that this step would curb any wrong trend in public thinking on the matter. [25]

General MacArthur visited the battlefront in mid-February for a first-hand look at the situation in the field. When he returned to Tokyo, he issued a public statement which warned that, in spite of recent advances by his forces, the future of the Korean fighting depended upon international considerations and upon high-level decisions which had not yet been received by his headquarters. It is obvious that he still had not abandoned hope that his recommendations to bomb China, use Nationalist troops, and blockade Chinese ports would be approved. Or, if he had abandoned hope, he at least wanted to keep these recommendations alive in the public mind. [26]

With reference to the battlefield situation of the past several months, MacArthur credited his strategy of rapid withdrawal before the Chinese in December with lengthening the enemy's supply lines and "pyramiding his supply difficulties." But he insisted that recent tactical successes by the Eighth Army under Ridgway not lead to over-optimism. The Chinese, MacArthur cautioned, still retained a tremendous potential for further offensive operations. In this last contention MacArthur was correct. [27]


While the successes were being achieved in the west, Operation ROUND-

[24] Ibid.

[25] Rad, W 83277, DA to CINCFE, 13 Feb. 51.

[26] This public statement was duly noted by Washington authorities and later cited as an example of MacArthur's violation of the 6 December directive. See MacArthur Hearings, p. 3539.

[27] Statement, General MacArthur in Pacific Stars and Stripes, February 14, 1951.

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UP was beating itself out against strong resistance and enemy counterattacks in the central sector north of Hoengsong. The U.S. X Corps and the ROK III Corps met increasingly heavy enemy concentrations in their attempts to advance. American intelligence already had warned that the enemy was shifting most of his forces from the west to the central zone. Unable to hold in the west, the enemy apparently was massing his strength against the relatively weak center of the United Nations line.

On the night of 11-12 February, two Chinese armies and a North Korean corps struck the central front, scattered three ROK divisions, and forced the troops in this sector to abandon Hoengsong and withdraw southward toward Wonju. The enemy was obviously aiming his attack at the communications centers of Wonju, near the center, and Chip'yong-ni, near the west flank of the X Corps sector; whose seizure would assist further advances to the south and west. General Ridgway therefore resolved that Wonju and Chip'yong-ni would be held.

At nightfall on 13 February, three Chinese divisions opened attacks against Chip'yong-ni. For three days, the 23d Regiment of the U.S. 2d Division, with the French battalion attached, staved off all efforts by the Chinese to overrun the town and killed thousands of the enemy.

Although the Chinese were stopped in the Chip'yong-ni area, enemy forces farther east bypassed Wonju and advanced south almost to Chech'on before the Eighth Army could halt them. Weakened by great losses in men and ham-strung by an inadequate logistic system, the Chinese and North Koreans then called off their attack and withdrew.

For the Eighth Army, there was no resting on laurels. Even before the front lines stabilized, General Ridgway opened Operation KILLER to destroy the enemy east of the Han River line and south of the general line Yangp'yong-Hyonch'onni-Haanmi-ri. The main effort was directed along the Wonju-Hoengsong and Yongwol-P'yongch'ang axes. Ridgway issued strict orders that this would be no runaway drive north. He demanded close lateral coordination within and between the two attacking corps, the IXth and Xth, and emphasized that his purpose was to kill enemy troops.

General Ridgway took American newsmen in Korea into his confidence on Operation KILLER, but with the strict provision that they would not disclose the plan until after the attack had started. By so doing, Ridgway hoped to prevent publication of rumor or conjecture from compromising his intentions to attack. But on 20 February, General MacArthur flew into Korea and during a press conference at Wonju that day announced to the newsmen that he was going to launch an offensive in a day or two. This startled and amazed General Ridgway, not only because MacArthur had disclosed Ridgway's intentions to the enemy, but also because the planned offensive had originated with the Eighth Army, not General MacArthur. The premature announcement, however, had no effect on the outcome of Operation KILLER. When the Eighth Army jumped off on 21 February, the enemy faded away; and within eight days, Ridgway's troops reached their assigned objective. [28]

[28] Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Policies, p. 403.

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Supply Problems

Despite the fading resistance, the Eighth Army's move northward had not been easy. For heavy rains and thawing in the combat area had severely hampered the movement of vehicles and transport of supplies. Besides the harmful effect of bad weather, supply operations were also inhibited by the heavy battle damage to overland supply routes. This combination of weather and battle destruction prompted Ridgway to call upon General Stratemeyer for greater effort to support his advance units by air. He asked that Stratemeyer's planes airlift a daily minimum of 200 tons of cargo by C-47 aircraft to forward airfields. [29]

Stratemeyer, believing that Ridgway was asking too much, appealed to General MacArthur, pointing out that the forward airfields were too small and dangerous to risk landing planes, even C-47 cargo transports. He claimed that these forward airstrips would have to be lengthened to at least 4,000 feet before they would be safe enough to use in support of Eighth Army front-line divisions, and asked that the job, if these airfields were to be lengthened, go to the Army Engineers. [30]

But MacArthur supported Ridgway. He did want the airfields improved, but he did not want to take engineer troops away from the Eighth Army to do it. In reply to Stratemeyer's appeal, MacArthur declared that army engineers were scarce even though the maximum number possible had been shipped from the United States. Units in Korea had been committed and were being used full time to repair the Eighth Army's overland supply lines. Therefore, no army engineers would be made available to the Air Force from Ridgway's scanty resources. Instead, Stratemeyer was directed to bring up Air Force engineer troops from Okinawa. These troops would be replaced on Okinawa by native laborers. General MacArthur noted that his experience in Japan had shown him that Japanese contractors were capable of handling the type of construction then being done by Air Force engineer troops on Okinawa. [31] Stratemeyer asked MacArthur to reconsider, but was again overruled and directed to carry out this order. He was told, however, that if he so desired, he might accomplish the airstrip improvements without bringing up Air Force engineers from Okinawa. [32]

This action, of course, did not solve the immediate problem. General Ridgway, apparently unaware of MacArthur's action, called on General Hickey, the acting chief of staff at GHQ, for his support. "In the northward advance through the mountainous terrain of central and western Korea," Ridgway explained:

     it had become increasingly difficult to maintain pressure 

     sufficient to inflict maximum casualties upon the enemy. As you 

     know, we have experienced some difficulties arising from recent 

     rains here-we are seeking every possible means to anticipate and 

     provide for adverse conditions while operating in extremely rugged 

     terrain over lines of 

[29] Rad, CG-2-1399 KGLO, CG EUSAK to CG FEAF, 26 Feb. 51.

[30] Rad, AX 2844 DO, CG FEAF to CINCFE, 16 Feb. 51.

[31] Rad, CINCFE to CG FEAF, 16 Feb. 51, in G-4, GHQ, UNC file AG370.5.

[32] (1) Staff Sec. Rpt., G-4 GHQ, UNC, Feb. 51, ch. II, p. 3. (2) USAF Hist. Study No. 72, USAF Operations in the Korean Conflict, 1 November 1950-30 June 1952, pp. 151-52 and 155.

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     communication rendered undependable by the approaching rainy 

     season. [33] 

Ridgway told Hickey of his request to Stratemeyer and pointed out that in his opinion some airfields in the forward area could be developed rapidly to meet his needs with a minimum of engineer effort. "Inasmuch as the support of these additional aircraft is of vital importance to current and planned operations, I would appreciate it very much if you would give your personal attention to my recommendations on this subject." [34]

On 6 March, General Stratemeyer called on Air Force headquarters in Washington to send him five engineer aviation battalions and other specialized engineer units to construct forward airfields. This request was turned down and Stratemeyer was told by his own service, as he had originally been told by MacArthur, to bring up his engineers from Okinawa. Eventually, in April and May, Stratemeyer transferred an engineer aviation group and three engineer aviation battalions to Korea from Okinawa. [35]

Combat Strength

The seemingly insoluble problem of the lack of fighting men continued to plague the United Nations Command throughout the winter of 1951. Within the Eighth Army, General Ridgway made drastic cuts in the service units and transferred the excess men to combat units. He recommended that the percentage of service troops be trimmed down in Japan as well and he asked that the maximum possible number of men already in or arriving in the theater be diverted from service-type duty to combat. He insisted that the percentage of service personnel to combat personnel being sent to Korea was too high for the needs of the Eighth Army, and he recommended reclassification if necessary to meet the combat requirements. At this time, 57,000 men were performing service support duties in Korea and almost 35,000 in Japan. [36] But even though the greatest possible number of men was transferred, Ridgway's divisions remained well below their authorized strengths in infantry and artillery.

General MacArthur realized by late January that he could expect no major reinforcements for Korea from the United States. But such successes as Ridgway's troops had scored during the month had convinced him that the Eighth Army was going to stay and make a fight of it. As anxious as the field commander to see the divisions in Korea made as strong as possible, MacArthur took the problem to the Army Chief of Staff on 29 January. "The continuous lack of combat replacements for the seven months of combat is a matter of grave concern to me," MacArthur complained to Collins. He anticipated a suggestion to convert his local service support personnel to combat soldiers, by telling Collins that this had already been done. He had integrated ROK soldiers into American units also. But, MacArthur told General Collins, there was no acceptable

[33] Rad, G-3287 KCG, CG Army Eight to CINCFE (Hickey), 2 Mar. 51.

[34] Ibid.

[35] USAF Operations in the Korean Conflict, 1 November 1950-30 June 1952, pp. 151-52.

[36] (1) Rad, CG1-1033 KAGCP, CG Army Eight to CO Japanese Replacement Center, Info CINCFE, Jan. 51. (2) Rpt., Strength of Service Unit, tab 169A, in G-3, DA files.

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substitute for trained combat replacements. [37]

"To date," MacArthur pointed out, "Army divisions have been fighting from twenty to fifty percent below authorized strength in infantry and artillery units." He expressed particular concern because this lack of replacements would not let him rotate combat-weary soldiers. General MacArthur also pointed out that the shortage of combat soldiers within Ridgway's divisions necessitated extended frontages which were susceptible to infiltration and which exposed not only combat elements but supply and communications lines as well. This latter condition had resulted in abnormally high casualties in rear areas. Only the Marine division in Korea did not suffer from lack of men. MacArthur pointed out to Collins that this division was at full strength and had been for some time. [38]

The shortage of replacements within the Far East Command amounted to approximately 40,000 men. General Collins decided that the only way to take care of this deficiency, at least temporarily, was to pull more men away from the General Reserve. He did not intend to repeat the experience of the previous autumn when the General Reserve had been stripped to virtual ineffectiveness, but he did approve a levy of 14,300 men in February. Most of this levy was to be placed on the four National Guard divisions and the two RCT's called to active duty the previous September. General Collins directed the Department of the Army G-1 to start action-at once to ship these men to MacArthur within the next four to six weeks. Collins expressed the hope that MacArthur's needs could be met almost in full and that, ultimately, the Army could send him 27,000 men above and beyond the normal flow of replacements. [39]

On 30 January Collins sent to MacArthur a full explanation of the steps the Army was taking to give him sufficient soldiers. "You can rest assured that we here are aware of your personnel shortages and the effect upon your operations," Collins said. He explained that since the number of men being trained and shipped to the Far East from the replacement training centers in the United States had proved inadequate, he was calling on the General Reserve. Of the 14,300 men to be taken from the Reserve, the great majority would be infantry and would arrive in the Far East during the last week of February. This, while not meeting the needs entirely, would at least bring the fighting divisions closer to authorized strength. Collins reminded MacArthur of their talks in Tokyo earlier in the month. At that time MacArthur had agreed with Collins that any sizable levy upon the General Reserve would cause a great delay in bringing units within the United States, including those destined for Europe, to a satisfactory state of combat readiness, and had further agreed that this would be a most serious mistake. [40]

Collins also informed MacArthur that the shortages of trained combat troops throughout the entire Army were such that he had directed an Army-wide reduc-

[37] Rad, C 54360, MacArthur (Personal) for Collins, 29 Jan. 51.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Min., 59th mtg. Army Policy Council, 30 Jan. 51.

[40] Rad, DA 82320, Collins (Personal) for MacArthur, 30 Jan. 51.

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tion of 3 percent in service personnel. He felt that this could be done without seriously affecting the fighting efficiency of combat units. [41]

Although General Collins had told MacArthur on 29 December that it would not be practicable to obtain more troops from other members of the United Nations, the Joint Chiefs took certain steps in that direction in late January. In their opinion, increased active participation in the Korean fighting by other member states of the United Nations would not only bolster MacArthur's forces, but would serve as well to bind those states more closely together in opposition to Communist aggression, wherever it might occur. The Joint Chiefs accordingly recommended to Secretary of Defense Marshall on 24 January that he ask the Secretary of State to exert renewed pressure on other member states to furnish ground forces to MacArthur's command. They asked that the general criteria established for such forces in August 1950 be observed and that Great Britain and the NATO countries on the European continent not be solicited. [42]

When on 6 February the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Earl D. Johnson, visited the Far East Command, General Beiderlinden, MacArthur's G-1, took advantage of Johnson's presence to register additional complaints on the manpower shortages. "The failure to provide adequate replacement support has had a deleterious effect on the entire Korean operation," Beiderlinden told Johnson.

     Every expedient was employed to close the gap and maintain combat 

     units without retraining. Wounded men were returned to the front 

     lines again and again without sufficient recuperation to assure 

     full recovery. Combat units were combined, stripping personnel from 

     one to fill another. ROK, United Nations forces, indigenous 

     personnel and incapacitated limited service, all were exploited to 

     the maximum.... The end result of such personnel planning must 

     inevitably be reflected in extended frontages, inability to develop 

     full combat effectiveness, all resulting in adjustments in tactical 

     planning combined with abnormal casualties. [43] 

But this reclama could have had little effect, for the Army was already exerting the greatest practicable effort to meet MacArthur's needs. In fact, by 27 February, the effort had been so successful that Army officials were able to promise MacArthur twice-monthly increments of replacements totaling over 55,000 by the end of April. The majority of these would be trained in replacement training centers in the United States. [44]

National Guard Divisions

During December, General MacArthur had made several unsuccessful attempts to secure divisions of the National Guard for his theater. On 18 December, he had asked that all four of the National Guard divisions called to active service in September be moved to Japan at once. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had turned him down, "pending continued consideration at a governmental level as to the future United States courses of action in Korea...." [45] Again on 30 December,

[41] Ibid.

[42] Memo, Gen. Bradley for Secy. Defense, 24 Jan. 51, sub: Military Assistance for Korea.

[43] Memo, Gen. Beiderlinden for Hon. Mr. Johnson, 6 Feb. 51, sub: Status of FEC Enlisted Replacements During FY 51, in G-1, GHQ, UNC files.

[44] Rad, DA 84382, DA to CINCFE, 27 Feb. 51.

[45] (1) Rad, C 51599, CINCUNC to DA, 18 Dec. 51. (2) Rad, JCS 99616, DA (JCS) to CINCFE, 23 Dec. 50.

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MacArthur insisted that these divisions be shipped to Japan for the defense of Japan. "Indeed," he told Washington, "it was my understanding, in which I may have been in error, that the four National Guard divisions called to active duty in September were for ultimate employment here should the necessity arise...." In early January, while the issue of forced evacuation was still in serious doubt, the Joint Chiefs of Staff hinted that, if Eighth Army's line could be stabilized with the forces already in Korea, two partly trained National Guard divisions could be sent to defend Japan. But if evacuation took place, Japan would have to be defended by troops removed from Korea. [46]

After General Collins returned to the United States from his mid-January visit to the Far East, he reviewed again the possibility of furnishing National Guard divisions to MacArthur. The Eighth Army was giving a good account of itself in Korea and was stabilizing its position with the forces already available to it. Under these conditions it seemed appropriate to carry out the half-promise of 9 January to send two partly trained National Guard divisions to Japan. On 23 January, he told General MacArthur that if things in Korea kept going as well as at present and the Chinese could be contained, two divisions might be sent him to increase the security of Japan. [47] A week of continued successes in the field followed, and on 30 January Collins recommended to the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the U.S. 40th and 45th Divisions, both National Guard, be ordered to Japan to bolster the defenses there. There were, at that time, no American divisions in Japan. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed and forwarded the recommendation to the Secretary of Defense at once. MacArthur was informed of this development as soon as it took place. [48] After relatively lengthy consideration which involved weighing the interests of the European theater against those of the Far East, the Secretary of Defense consented to the transfer of the two major units. On 25 February, the Joint Chiefs of Staff notified the U.N. commander that the 40th and 45th Divisions would reach his command sometime in April. He was specifically ordered to leave these divisions in Japan and not to employ them against the enemy in Korea. [49]

Bombing of Rashin

In the early months of the Korean fighting, General MacArthur had been furnished a list of targets in North Korea which the Joint Chiefs of Staff thought suitable for destruction by strategic bombing. Among these key targets was the port city of Rashin. Rashin, lying only nineteen air miles south of the Soviet border on Korea's east coast, housed a major port and extensive rail yards. At the time of its selection as a bombing target, General Ridgway, then on the Department of the Army staff, had noted Rashin's proximity to the Russian

[46] (1) Rad, C 52391, MacArthur (Personal) for JCS, 30 Dec. 50. (2) Rad, JCS 80680, JCS (Personal) for MacArthur, 9 Jan 51.

[47] Rad, DA 1706, DA to CINCFE, 23 Jan. 51.

[48] (1) Rad, DA 82320, Collins (Personal) for MacArthur, 30 Jan. 51. (2) Min., 59th mtg. Army Policy Council, 30 Jan. 51.

[49] Rad, DA 84232, CofS USA to CINCFE, 25 Feb. 51.

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border and had questioned its selection. [50] Nevertheless, Rashin remained on the target list and was bombed effectively on one occasion. Another bombing strike mounted on the port was diverted because of weather conditions. When reports of the Rashin bombing reached the Department of State, officials there expressed concern over the possibility of violations of the Soviet border, and asked that targets close to that border no longer be bombed. [51] The Joint Chiefs of Staff on 8 September 1950 had directed General MacArthur to make no further aerial attacks against Rashin and asked his views on the matter. On 10 September, General MacArthur replied that he concurred in the restriction on Rashin and had ordered suspension of all further attacks against the port. [52]

The matter lay more or less dormant until mid-February 1951 when the Commanding General, Far East Air Forces, General Stratemeyer, appealed to General MacArthur for permission to attack Rashin once more. Stratemeyer pointed out that the enemy continued to receive reinforcements and supplies in spite of his severely crippled transportation system, while Rashin, an important link in the enemy's supply system, remained immune from attack. Aerial reconnaissance of the Rashin area indicated a high level of activity in the city. To disrupt and destroy the North Korean coast transportation and supply system effectively, Rashin would have to be attacked and destroyed. According to Stratemeyer, the month of February offered the best weather for visual attack on Rashin. Thereafter, the weather would progressively deteriorate. Stratemeyer assured MacArthur that his aircraft could attack and demolish the city without violating the international border, and reiterated that he considered it almost mandatory that his forces be allowed to attack. [53]

General MacArthur, in a switch from his previous stand, agreed with his air commander that Rashin should be hit. He felt that the city was the keystone of the enemy's logistic system in the east and was being used at peak activity since the enemy had correctly guessed that Rashin might be immune. Accordingly, he recommended to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 15 February that their restrictions against bombing Rashin be removed. He pointed out that specific targets in the Rashin area-large marshaling yards, extensive storage facilities, and dock areas-were particularly susceptible to visual bombing during February; and he assured them that his bombers could, without question, destroy Rashin without violating the international border. [54]

Before making a decision on the matter, the Joint Chiefs thought they should know more about Rashin and asked MacArthur to send more specific information with regard to the types and degree of military activity in the city as well as the exact location of installations. [55] Mac-

[50] Note, handwritten, signed AMG (Gruenther), 2 Aug. 50, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 22/2.

[51] Memo (Tel Call), Mr. Matthews, State Dept., for OSD, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 103.

[52] (1) Rad, JCS 90943, JCS to CINCFE, 9 Sept. 50. (2) Memo, G-3 DA for CofS USA, 15 Feb. 51, sub: Instructions to the Commander in Chief, FEC, Respecting the Bombing of Rashin, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 159.

[53] Ltr., CG FEAF to CINCFE, 14 Feb. 51, sub: Attack on Rashin, in GHQ, UNC AG 13686.

[54] Rad, CX 55601, CINCFE to JCS, 15 Feb. 51.

[55] Rad, JCS 83773, JCS to CINCFE, 17 Feb. 51.

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Arthur admitted that he could not list the precise nature or quantity of supplies in the Rashin area, but he insisted that great depot accumulations of various types were located there. "Rashin is the last major profitable strategic target in North Korea and has remained virtually untouched," he maintained. If he could destroy this last vital link in the enemy's east coast transportation system the enemy would have suffered a major loss. Conversely, Rashin's immunity from attack remained a major threat to MacArthur's forces. [56]

General Taylor, the Department of the Army G-3, supported MacArthur and told the Chief of Staff that he felt it was operationally essential that MacArthur's request be granted. He admitted that the major risk was that USSR aircraft, maintaining surveillance in the area, might, as a local defense measure, investigate U.N. aircraft involved and set off an air battle. There was also a lesser risk that attacks upon Rashin, even if the border were not violated, might provide a basis for Russian propaganda claims alleging violations of their border. [57] There were other reasons why Washington felt it not advisable to bomb Rashin at this time. The Department of State still objected vigorously to the possibility of border violations or USSR claims of border violations. Too, there was excellent chance that USSR shipping, which used the harbor freely, might be destroyed and cause a serious international incident. Militarily, the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not feel that Rashin was as vital as MacArthur claimed. The railroad leading south from Rashin down the coast was not completed, greatly lessening Rashin's value as a supply point. Furthermore, even though bombing might accomplish the immediate destruction of the particular stores then located in Rashin, the enemy need only transfer his logistic activities a few miles north of the Russian border, to Vladivostok for example, and enjoy the same advantages afforded by Rashin. [58] The Joint Chiefs of Staff therefore turned down MacArthur's appeal for permission to bomb Rashin. [59]

Bombing of Power Installations

In late December, before the Chinese had attacked across the parallel, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had asked for MacArthur's advice on whether to bomb and destroy the power installations on the Korean side of the Yalu and the power dams on the river itself. They were contemplating such destruction only if the Chinese did drive south across the 38th Parallel. MacArthur had informed his superiors that the hydroelectric installations in northeast Korea were inactive. These, of course, had been physically inspected by X Corps units. The power plants in northwest Korea, which his forces had never seized, were an unknown quantity insofar as power output was concerned. But MacArthur felt that none of these installations had any further military significance. Their destruction, if accomplished, would necessarily therefore be a political matter. He pointed out that he had been instructed firmly in the

[56] Rad, C 55830, CINCFE (Personal) for JCS, 18 Feb. 51.

[57] Memo, G-3 (Taylor) for CofS USA, 15 Feb. 51,

[58] MacArthur Hearings, pp. 356, 431, 750, 1063, and 1331.

[59] Ibid., p. 17.

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past to refrain from destroying these installations and that these instructions had been widely publicized as evidence of the United Nations peaceful intent toward countries north of the Yalu. He stated that his medium bombers could certainly destroy these power plants and dams, but reminded his superiors that this change in policy "involves considerations far beyond those of the immediate tactical campaign in Korea." [60] The Joint Chiefs of Staff, understandably, let the matter drop since there were no apparent political advantages to be gained.

But on 26 February, General MacArthur once more brought the bombing of the power installations to the attention of the Joint Chiefs, telling them that General Stratemeyer had urgently requested permission to destroy the entire North Korean power complex, including those plants on the Yalu River. Stratemeyer believed that by so doing he could slow down Communist support of their war effort, undermine the enemy's morale, and cut down any surplus power going to Manchuria. MacArthur suggested that the political considerations which prevented earlier bombings might have changed. He requested instructions as to what he was to do. The Department of the Army G-3 recommended to the Chief of Staff that MacArthur be told to carry on without destroying these power plants since political considerations had certainly not changed to any great degree. On 1 March, the Joint Chiefs advised MacArthur that, in view of his previous statement that the preservation or destruction of the power installations was predominantly a political rather than a military matter, they did not believe he should bomb the power facilities. [61]

The Improved Outlook

By the end of February, limited but very real combat successes had dissipated the last traces of the specter of forced evacuation under Chinese Communist pressure. General MacArthur cheerfully reported that he was ". . . entirely satisfied with the situation at the front, where the enemy has suffered a tactical reverse of measurable proportions. His losses have been among the bloodiest of modern times." Visibly pleased by the northward progress of his forces in the field, the United Nations commander noted, "The enemy is finding it an entirely different problem fighting 350 miles from his base than when he had this 'sanctuary' in his immediate rear, with our air and naval forces practically zeroed out." [62]

The soundness of General Ridgway's tactics was praised by MacArthur.

     Our strategic plan, notwithstanding the enemy's great numerical 

     superiority, is indeed working well, and I have just directed a 

     resumption of the initiative by our forces. All ranks of this 

     international force are covering themselves with distinction and I 

     again wish to especially commend the outstanding teamwork of the 

     three services under the skillful direction of their able field 

     commanders, General Ridgway, Admiral Struble, and General 

     Partridge. [63] 

[61] (1) Rad, CX 56453, CINCFE to DA for JCS, 26 Feb. 51. (2) Memo, G-3 DA for CofS USA, 26 Feb. 51, sub: Bombing of Power Plants in North Korea, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 147/4. (3) Rad, JCS 84577, JCS to CINCFE, 1 Mar. 51.

[62] Rad, C 56709, CINCFE to DA, 1 Mar. 51.

[63] Ibid.

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