Passing the Test: Combat in Korea, April-June 1951

Passing the Test: Combat in Korea, April-June 1951

Passing the Test: Combat in Korea, April-June 1951

Passing the Test: Combat in Korea, April-June 1951

Synopsis

For U.S. and UN soldiers fighting the Korean War, the spring of 1951 was brutal. The troops faced a tough and determined foe under challenging conditions. The Chinese Spring Offensive of 1951 exemplified the hardships of the war, as the UN forces struggled with the Chinese troops over Line Kansas, a phase line north of the 38th parallel, in a conflict that led to the war's final stalemate. Passing the Test: Combat in Korea, April--June 1951 explores the UN responses to the offensive in detail, looking closely at combat from the perspectives of platoons, squads, and the men themselves. Editors William T. Bowers and John T. Greenwood emphasize the tactical operations on the front lines and examine U.S. and UN strategy, as well as the operations of the Communist Chinese and North Korean forces. They employ a variety of sources, including interviews conducted by U.S. Army historians within hours or days of combat, unit journals, and after action reports, to deliver a comprehensive narrative of the offensive and its battles.

Passing the Test highlights the experiences of individual soldiers, providing unique insights into the chaos, perseverance, and heroism of war. The interviews offer a firsthand account that is untainted by nostalgia and later literature, illuminating the events that unfolded on the battlefields of Korea.

Excerpt

Much can be learned about war from studying the thirty-eight months of fighting in Korea, from June 1950 to July 1953. Military operations ranged from rapid advances and withdrawals and amphibious landings and evacuations, all reminiscent of World War II, to static operations interrupted by set-piece battles and vicious raids that recall the battles on the Western Front during World War I. the weather was often as brutal as the fighting: summers hot and humid, winters frigid with icy Siberian winds. the rugged terrain challenged even those who thought they were in good physical condition. Before Korea, U.S. strategic planners, and indeed most people in the United States, believed that such a war would never be fought again, and certainly not in Korea. Consequently, preparations were few, and the individuals who actually had to fight the battles paid the price.

This book, the third in a series on the Korean War, takes a close look at some of the fighting that occurred during the Chinese Communist Spring Offensive from late April to late May–early June 1951. This volume focuses mostly on combat at the lowest levels: battalion, company, platoon, squad, and individual soldiers. Although the spotlight is on tactical operations and frontline fighting, each combat action is placed in its own unique context, so that the reader is aware of the way in which events and decisions in Korea influenced what happened on the battlefield.

Most of the material for this book is drawn from interviews conducted by U.S. Army historians soon after a combat action oc-

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