kay, I’m a pretty good historian and know some of the flow of history, but this one I was not really aware of.
In late 1950, the North Koreans were pushing south, just kicking the stuffing out of their southern counterparts. Then General MacArthur had a bold plan of landing at Inchon. This broke the North Korean rear and sent them streaming up the continent for safety. Attempting a bold follow-up, MacArthur sent his Army and Marine units pushing for the Yalu River, the border with China. As long as the Chinese kept in their own backyard, he’d have the war sown up within the year and the boys home by Christmas.
What he didn’t know (and chose to ignore) were the 300,000 Chinese soldiers infiltrating their way down the peninsula, moving at night and not relying on roads.
And so as the US Armed Forces settled around the Chosin Reservoir for their final push on the Yalu, in the bitter cold of an artic night, that’s when the Chinese launched their massive assault. With trumpets blasting and drums beating, they flooded towards the Marine positions form every point of the compass. Bleak indeed.
On Desperate Ground is a good study of just what happened, from President Truman down to the dogfaces and grunts in their shallow, frozen-earth foxholes. It was grim reading – how men can fight (even survive) in such harsh conditions (and against such odds)) is nothing short of amazing. And to get a breakthrough across several mountain ranges infested by Chinese formations, incredible. This one is worth a read, just so it is not forgotten (as so many sacrifices are). Stunning reading and nothing short of a miracle. Worth the time for every American citizen to read and appreciate.