Operation Thunderbolt (1951)
It represented the first offensive under the new commanding officer of the 8th US Army, General Matthew Ridgway. It started less than three weeks after the Chinese Third Phase Campaign had forced UN forces south of Seoul.
Thunderbolt was preceded by Operation Wolfhound, a reconnaissance in force by the 27th Infantry Regiment 'Wolfhounds' that began on 15 January 1951. At this time the Chinese forces in the central sector were still in possession of Wonju and a full assault could not be made until this sector was under US control. Thunderbolt itself began on the 25 January, when troops of I and IX Corps advanced from the western sector of the front northwards towards Seoul.
This attack was heavily supported by artillery and air support, in accordance with Ridgway's policy of attrition by superior firepower against a numerically superior foe. By 9th February, the offensive had reached the Han river with the rest of the Chinese defenders retreating to the north of Han River by the end of February.
Impact and aftermath 
X Corps, once again part of the 8th Army, held the central sector and moved forward as Operation Roundup on 5 February. Responding to the UN advances, Chinese forces under Peng Dehuai then counter-attacked as the Fourth Phase Campaign, achieving initial successes at the Battle of Hoengsong.
Chinese forces were later held off at the Battle of Chipyong-ni and the Third Battle of Wonju. The concentration of firepower and reliance on close air support in the face of large numbers of light infantry employed here would later become an influence on US doctrine during Vietnam.
Thunderbolt was followed almost immediately by the second UN counter-offensive, Operation Killer.
See also 
- Chinese Military Science Academy 2000, p. 371.
- Chinese Military Science Academy 2000, p. 372.
- Chinese Military Science Academy 2000, p. 373.
- Appleman 1990, p. 149.
- Ecker 2005, p. 83.
- Chinese Military Science Academy 2000, p. 232.
- Malkasian, Carter (2001). The Korean War. Osprey. pp. 38–40. ISBN 1-84176-282-2.
- Edwards, Paul M. (2006). The Korean War. Greenwood. p. 26. ISBN 0-313-33248-7.
- Appleman, Roy (1990), Ridgway Duels for Korea 18, College Station, TX: Texas A and M University Military History Series, ISBN 0-89096-432-7
- Chae, Han Kook; Chung, Suk Kyun; Yang, Yong Cho (2001), in Yang, Hee Wan; Lim, Won Hyok; Sims, Thomas Lee; Sims, Laura Marie; Kim, Chong Gu; Millett, Allan R., The Korean War, Volume II, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, ISBN 978-0-8032-7795-3
- (Chinese) Chinese Military Science Academy (2000), History of War to Resist America and Aid Korea (抗美援朝战争史), Volume II, Beijing: Chinese Military Science Academy Publishing House, ISBN 7-80137-390-1
- Ecker, Richard E. (2005), Korean Battle Chronology: Unit-by-Unit United States Casualty Figures and Medal of Honor Citations, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, ISBN 0-7864-1980-6
- Millett, Allan R. (2010), The War for Korea, 1950–1951: They Came From the North, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, ISBN 978-0-7006-1709-8
- Mossman, Billy C. (1990), Ebb and Flow: November 1950 – July 1951, United States Army in the Korean War, Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, retrieved 2009-12-25
- Spurr, Russell (1988), Enter the Dragon: China's Undeclared War Against the U.S. in Korea 1950–51, New York, NY: Newmarket Press, ISBN 1-55704-008-7
- Zhang, Shu Guang (1995), Mao's Military Romanticism: China and the Korean War, 1950–1953, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0-7006-0723-4
Further reading 
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