Talk:Battle of Chosin Reservoir

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Map and Location References in Battle Section[edit]

Okay either the map is wrong or the write up is wrong. 31RCT was on the east side of the reservoir, strung out from Hudong to the north. Yet the section makes several references to them being in sinhung. Other maps reference sinhung in the same place, and in many readings about this battle I have never heard of any 31RCT elements on the west side of the reservoir. The article also contains several conflicting, (indeed physically impossible) statements such as being north of hudong yet south of sinhung. It also says hill 1221 commands the road between those two towns and yet it is clearly north of hudong. I am going to make some changes to clear this up over the next few days as anyone reading this section would probably become quickly confused. Outcast95 (talk) 06:02, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

I doubt there are any "other maps" outside of copies of the US Army official maps currently displayed on this page, but please read footnote e and Appleman page 32 before jumping to conclusions. There are two towns named Sinhung-ni in the Chosin area. One of them is on the east side of the lake north of Hudong, with Hill 1221 standing between them. Another one is on the south-west side of the lake and south of Yudami and north of Hagaru. RCT 31 was holed up in the first town, while the second town played no notable role in battle (which is why I avoided to mention the second town in this article to avoid this confusion in the first place). Unfortunately, the US Army public domain map is not detail enough to make the distinction, and it is the only map avilable that is not under copyright protection. Jim101 (talk) 14:27, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

"Crippling Loses"[edit]

Although Chinese troops managed to surround and outnumber the UN forces, the UN forces broke out of the encirclement while inflicting crippling losses to the Chinese. The evacuation of the X Corps from the port of Hungnam marked the complete withdraw of UN troops from North Korea.

There are two problems here: (1) in what sense were the Chinese losses "crippling"? Those losses were a small drop in China's manpower pool. Unless someone can produce evidence to justify this claim -for example by documenting that Chinese losses effected their subsequent operations in Korea- I'm editing this to reflect a NPOV; (2) this sentence goes to great lengths to avoid saying the obvious - that Chosin Reservoir was a DEFEAT for the US / UN. Lexington50 (talk) 20:51, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

1) 40% of all Chinese forces in Korea were knocked out during the battle and were never replaced. (As indicated in the aftermath section)
2) All of them were elite formations. (As indicated in the background and aftermath section)
3) Chinese sources, including official history have described the battle as a massive failure. (Per footnotes from Chinese books)
4) The success of UN Counteroffensive in the spring of 1951 is directly caused by the huge Chinese losses. (Supported by both Chinese and US sources)
5) US X Corps was ordered to withdraw, not because Chinese defeated them. Legitimately it is a UN victory that only turned into a defeat due to situations outside of this battle. By looking at the Chinese casualties numbers, after the first 3 days of battle, most of the Chinese forces were destroyed or starved/frozen to death even before the UN forces were thinking about a break out. Hardly a defeat for UN forces.
And I should caution you not to confuse Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River with this battle, like most of the US published Korean War history books tend to do. I hope this address your concern. Jim101 (talk) 20:59, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Like so many of the American commercially published 'history books' that Jim101 references and the "official" US Marine Corps published history, most of which do not have a NPOV; they are written to glorify the Marine Corps. For instance, is it not written in at least one of the references that this battle was a "Campaign"? Then why is not on the list of Official US Navy Campaigns? Remember that the US Marine Corps is a part of the Department of the Navy within the US Department of Defense and is not entitled to have a separate list of campaigns. Accuracy is always in question and brighter people than I have written many half and total untruths and called it fact. If it is written and verifiable, it must be fact? Meyerj (talk) 11:38, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Just a little correction for the one who put that article.[edit]

First of all Thank you for writing an article about the Chosen Reservoire Battle (the Forgotten war)...documentation about such war unfortunately are rare. You mention that the UNdeployed to the Chosen were nickname "The chosen Few" actually there are a small conflict on it...The men who died at the chosen were nickname "The Chosen" the very few that survive the battle were nickname the Chosen few. There will be a documentary movie created by a Captain featuring many survivor of the Chosen reservoir airing at the NatGeo this September I believe... I strongly recommand watching it... The title is " THE CHOSEN". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.12.55.129 (talk) 14:49, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Can you provide a source that I can use to correct the mistake? Jim101 (talk) 16:05, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
All the survivors of the of the reservoir, in particular, the 5th and 7th Marines, the 1st Marines lead by Colonel Lewis "Chesty" Puller, who were fighting to hold open their egress route have taken the title of Chosin Few. There are ligitimate branches of the Chosin Few across America and they all wear the symbol and words "Chosin Few". The 1st Marine Division along with elements of the 7th, 8th Army, the climate and Superior American Air Support from the US Navy, Marines and Air Force inflicted severe damage to the PLA's ability to prosecute this battle. The Marines were the spearhead, I know, my father was with the 7th Marines, however, they had help. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 138.162.0.46 (talkcontribs)

Rememberence[edit]

Would it make sense to add a section at the bottom of the article about rememberence/memorials of this battle in the "forgotten war"? A new memorial in Forest Park, St Louis, MO for the battle was dedicated today. I have a great picture of living members of the "The Chosin Few" gathered around the memorial if that is of interest. Apparently I don't have privlidges to upload to wikipeida - but I'd be happy to e-mail to somebody if they are interested.

As long as you have a reliable news source on the event, you are free to add it yourself. Jim101 (talk) 01:57, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Question, are you talking about the Camp Pendleton memorial? Because that is the only memorial I can find that is backed up by notable news sources. Jim101 (talk) 02:06, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I added the information on Camp Pendleton memorial. Jim101 (talk) 02:31, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Legacy[edit]

The US military recently had a large gathering of veterans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the battle (source) —Ed!(talk) 06:20, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Nice summary on the numbers of MOH awarded during the battle. Jim101 (talk) 07:37, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Unit cohesion[edit]

While studying military history for a Wikipedia article on Unit cohesion, I came upon this quote:

  • ... traditional explanations do not adequately answer why the Marines survived as a fighting force and the 31st RCT was defeated in detail. [1]

So what was it that led to the disintegration of the RCT? Was it just the rapid loss of two top commanders, or was there something else? --Uncle Ed (talk) 02:06, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

First of all, Task Force Faith was annihilated as an unit with most of its records/witnesses lost, so there are really no clear answers to this question nor a clear recounts of the actual event (otherwise I would put it there already). By tracing the Task Force Faith breakout effort on December 1, it appears that heavy Chinese fire managed to pin down most of the soldiers, killed a lot of officers in the process, and command and control just broken down from that point. By viewing from the Chinese account of the same engagement, it appears that Chinese thrown 3 whole divisions against Task Force Faith and attack it non-stop from November 27 to December 1, while at the same time completely giving up on 1st Marine Division after the failure of the November 27 attack. Probably the command and control break down PLUS the sheer weight of Chinese number buried the fate of the Task Force. Jim101 (talk) 02:40, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Thomas Ricks says http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=21094 that the reason the Marines were all bunched up on the west side while a pitiful Army group had to be put on the east at the last moment is that OPS refused to divide his own force of Marines. Hcobb (talk) 22:32, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
Spitballing from experience it would look to be the work of three major crises the marines didn't suffer. 31st RCT was outnumbered way worse than the Marines. They not only lost their two main officers, they were cut off from contact to hudong when the Chinese took hill 1221. They then failed to clear the roadblock at hill 1221 in their retreat, making impossible to maintain any unit cohesion in the rugged terrain of Korea. Anyone that got out, walked (or was carried) around hill 1221. Anyone staying with the vehicles was crushed between hill 1221 and the Chinese forces coming up behind. As to the "pitiful" Army group, we can blame preparation for that one. 31 RCT was not given any time to consolidate their forces much less resupply before being shoved out there. They were actually missing much of the RCT. Had they stopped at hill 1221 and had they had their whole RCT, we might be reading an entirely different story. Also the loss in cohesion happened when they were cut off from each other. What happened at the end was obliteration, the total destruction of the RCT as a unit. Outcast95 (talk) 06:02, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Why is it a campaign?[edit]

Jim101, Since you are the current owner of this article, tell me why you have written that this battle of the Chosin Reservoir is also called the Chosin Campaign. Not all military fights are campaigns. The USMC seems to be the only official agency to call it a campaign, yet they have no campaign streamer for it on their colors. Not even their parent organization the Department of the Navy, nor the Department of Defense call it a Campaign. Admittedly some authors have repeated the word from the book of Marine Corps, but repeating a known untruth does not make it correct. Meyerj (talk) 01:12, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

USMC seems to be the only official agency to call it a campaign...this is the problem. Per WP:NPOV and WP:COMMONNAME, USMC viewpoint on this matter must be represented, even if it is somewhat ingenious/fringe. As long as this article's itself is not named as Chosin Campaign, then it is a fair compromise between WP:NPOV and WP:UNDUE. Furthermore, Chinese source also refer to this battle as a "campaign", so USMC naming convention is far from minority. Jim101 (talk) 15:36, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Ok. Meyerj (talk) 18:08, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Thank you to those at the Battle of Chosin[edit]

What most here don't realize is that there were 15,000 US troops, 12,000 suffered minor to severe frostbite, 3,000 died, 6,000 were wounded. It was one of the most brutally fought battles in the history of the US Military due to the bitter cold conditions. The US Forces killed 43,000 chinese, eliminating two entire divisions which were never seen on the field of battle again. They evacuated 98,000 North Korean (unarmed by law) refugee's as the Chinese and North Korean armies pursued the breakout, they slaughtered thousands, of (unarmed by law) civilians in their wake. Over 1 million descendants can be traced back to the 98,000 evacuated into South Korea.

Thank you to those at the Battle of Chosin[edit]

What most here don't realize is that there were 15,000 US troops, 12,000 suffered minor to severe frostbite, 3,000 died, 6,000 were wounded. It was one of the most brutally fought battles in the history of the US Military due to the bitter cold conditions. The US Forces killed 43,000 chinese, eliminating two entire divisions which were never seen on the field of battle again. They evacuated 98,000 North Korean (unarmed by law) refugee's as the Chinese and North Korean armies pursued the breakout, they slaughtered thousands, of (unarmed by law) civilians in their wake. Over 1 million descendants can be traced back to the 98,000 evacuated into South Korea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.201.100.46 (talk) 21:27, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Chinese Pyrrhic victory[edit]

It appears that people still disputing this even after all the professional Chinese and US sources I cited and crossed referenced, so I'll outline my cases more clearly:

1) I cite Professor Xue Yuan of PLA National Defense University in page 59 of his seminar work First Confrontation: Reviews and Reflections on the History of War to Resist America and Aid Korea:

...The 9th Army casualty exceed 40,000 men, including 30,000 frostbite casualties, plus 1,000 men that were frozen to death. After the battle the entire unit was turned into a "huge hospital", and three months were spent on healing the frostbitten soldiers. This is, in our army's history, the worst lesson on frostbite...

2) The official Chinese history (History of War to Resist America and Aid Korea, Volume II by PLA Military Science Academy) stated that 9th Army accounted for 40% of all Chinese combat forces in Korea until March 1951, and between Jan. to Feb. 1951 the UN forces expelled Chinese forces from South Korea partly due to lack of reinforcement on the Chinese side (this connection was explicitly stated by Patrick Roe in his book The Dragon Strike).

3) No Chinese history ever stated that they destroyed 1st Marine Division or the 7th Infantry Division, the main objectives for the battle as stated in page 113 of official Chinese history. The closest I could find to such claim was on page 126 of official Chinese history, which claims of "near annihilation" of 1st Marine Division and 7th Infantry Division. Allan R. Millett, in his book The War for Korea, 1950–1951: They Came From the North stated on page 356 that the word "annihilation" (歼灭) is a buzzword favored by Chinese media.

4) The complete expulsion of UN forces from Chosin was the direct result of Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, not this battle. This fact was confirmed in official US Army history Ebb and Flow: November 1950 – July 1951, United States Army in the Korean War in Chapter VIII.

Unless someone can come up with counter arguments that the Chinese somehow gained benefits directly from the Chosin battle that outweighs the above points, I would argue that technically Chinese did not achieve a "Decisive Tactical Victory", and "Chinese Pyrrhic victory" is technically the most accurate description to the outcome of this battle. Jim101 (talk) 17:18, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

I would completely agree. The long-term impact of this battle on the units involved says a great deal; the Marine division took several months to recover, but the much larger Chinese 9th Army took substantially longer, and the formations did not return to the previous level of battle readiness. The long term effect of this battle is significant to take into account. —Ed!(talk) 18:23, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Forces[edit]

It should be noted that the Chinese 9th Army Group was one of the most experienced force in the entire Chinese Army and unlike what the article states it was at full strength. The actual enemy strength may have been 67,000 at the start of the battle but it grew to over 120,000 during the course of the battle. Most Chinese sources admit that the casualties suffered by the 9th Army were heavy. The numbers quoted are around 40,000. The article further states that the 9th Army took 40% losses. 40,000 out of 67,000 is closer to 70%. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Palermoga (talkcontribs) 16:37, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Aside from the fact that 9th Army was an elite formation (which is stated in the Forces and strategies section), the rest of the analysis is incorrect (unless you can provide sources to counter my below points). The Chinese initially committed six divisions, not ten divisions as you inferred. It only grew to ten divisions after the Chinese 26th Corps arrived in December. Also, the Chinese 26th Corps was never fully committed, since the Chinese 78th and 88th Division never arrived at Chosin because they were too stationed too far way due to the food shortage. Furthermore, Chinese prisoner interrogation by US X Corps confirmed that Chinese forces were suffering hundreds, if not thousands of cold casualties per day between November 10th to 27th. Finally, the article only states that Chinese 9th Army accounted for 40% (12 out of 30 Divisions) of all Chinese forces in Korea and were put out of action by the end of battle...the Chinese 13th Army accounted for the other 60% at Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River. I do concede to the point that ten understrength Chinese divisions could number somewhere between 70,000 to 90,000 (I do hear the number 80,000 get thrown around a lot when broaching the matter with Chinese sources, but so far unable to trace the source of that number), but again due to WP:RS, the number 67,000 is the best scholarly analysis I can come up with given the above constraints. Jim101 (talk) 23:06, 27 November 2013 (UTC)