Korean War Order of Battle: United States, United Nations, and Communist Ground, Naval, and Air Forces, 1950-1953

Korean War Order of Battle: United States, United Nations, and Communist Ground, Naval, and Air Forces, 1950-1953

Korean War Order of Battle: United States, United Nations, and Communist Ground, Naval, and Air Forces, 1950-1953

Korean War Order of Battle: United States, United Nations, and Communist Ground, Naval, and Air Forces, 1950-1953

Synopsis

Using historical files kept by each of the armed services and nations involved in the Korean War, Rottman provides information on unit backgrounds, organization, manning, periods of service, insignia, weapons, casualties, and major commands including the Western, North Korean, Communist Chinese, and USSR forces.

Excerpt

When the Korean War began, 25 June 1950, United States armed forces were in a sad state of preparedness. In the following months, all services expanded quickly and sent units to fight in Korea, in the waters around Korea, or from bases in Japan or Okinawa. Over the next three years ground and air units, as well as Navy ships, rotated being replaced by other units or ships. Thus, during the course of the war hundreds of Army, Air Force, Marine units, and scores of ships served in the Korean Theater of Operations alongside South Korean and United Nations forces.

When the war ended, the Korean War quickly became “The Forgotten War.” There were many reasons why it was put out of mind. Simplistically: too little publicity, the people did not understand why we were fighting, and it ended without a clear-cut victory. In addition, times were hard for the home front, and when those who fought the war came home, they came home individually, to a country more obsessed with making a living than being concerned about a far-off “police action.” After an initial period of adjustment, most veterans returned to civilian life, relegating Korea to the “bad dream that is best forgotten” category. Another factor was one Cold War incident after another quickly moved any focus the American public had away from Korea and to other areas of a dangerous world. Because of the lack of public interest, the Korean War faded from view except for the veterans who fought the war, plus a small number of historians and historical researchers.

During the war each armed service and nation kept track of its own units or ships, with this information going into each service’s historical files awaiting someone to compile it into a coherent order of battle. No one took this task on until Gordon L. Rottman, a dedicated researcher of the U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle, decided to compile an order of battle for the Korean War covering all of the armed services of each participating nation.

Korean War Order of Battle is the result. It was a daunting task, given the lack of centralized information, but, for history, it is a work that fills a void that is likely not to have been filled otherwise. Mr. Rottman is to be commended.

Ed Evanhoe

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