Wednesday, January 24, 2018

December 1950 - Marine 105mm howitzers hold Chinese Communist hordes at bay around Hagaru-ri airstrip as United Nations planes race to evacuate wounded. Guns fire right over airfield into nearby hills as the main body of 1st Marine Division returns from Chosin Reservoir area. Photo by TSgt Royce V. Jobe

I read this book on that fight, and once I started it, I couldn't put it down.  Recommended.


  1. When looking at our guns firing at the enemy, remember that ammunition flies in BOTH directions, and if we are close enough to hit the enemy, the enemy is close enough to hit us.

    Those are a couple of MURPHY'S LAWS of combat.

  2. I read that and like you CW I couldn't put it down.

    Here's another great read: "The last stand of Fox Company" written by Bob Drury. It's a true story of U.S. Marines in North Korea.

    I worked with a guy back in the late 1950s. He never spoke about it but a friend of his told me he was a Corpsman who was with the 1st Marine division in North Korea. His platoon was wiped out and he was wounded. He lay under the bodies of his buddies as the Chinese went around bayonetting the wounded. Ray was 6ft 4in weighed in at 270 lbs., but had the temperament of a teddy bear. He's long gone to his maker now but I'll always remember that gentle, silent guy.

  3. As an arty section chief, I was issued one of those M101A1 howitzers in the mid-80s.
    Mine was manufactured in 1940, and the tubes have a barrel life.
    When they get shot out, it gets turned in and re-barreled. They stamp the new re-barrel date on the top of the breechblock, and strike through the last re-barrel date.
    The one I had was re-barreled in 1943 (after Guadalcanal), in 1952 (after Frozen Chosin) and in 1969 (after Tet).

    It was pretty effing awesome to have a piece of hardware that had seen action in three wars all across the Pacific from malarial jungles to frozen hell.

    Korea has to be experienced to be believed. It looks just like the M*A*S*H* set in Malibu (I've been both places), except in Korea, the hills are about 1000' up, and 1000' down, rather than Malibu's 200' or so each way. And it's farther to the beach.

    But you can nearly always tell which way north is: find the HAWK missile battery on the nearest hilltop, and look which way the missiles are pointing: that'll be north. When I went there in '86 in October, it was 101° at the DMZ. When I left end of December, it was -5°.

    That's also a nice long-exposure pic to catch the projo just leaving the barrel. Hopefully it made some good commies when it landed.

  4. The U.S. Marines battle occurred mainly on the west side of the reservoir and is pretty well known, but not many people are familiar with the Army's Task Force Maclean that battled on the east side. Very horrific.

  5. Jeff Shaara The Frozen Hours is very good. After that I've been reading everything he's done.

  6. Read this first, then read "The Last Stand of Fox Company".