East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950

East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950

East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950

East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950

Excerpt

The men of the United States Army who fell on the east side of Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir in the winter of 1950 have no white-marble markers at their final resting places as do thousands of others memorialzed in Arlington National Cemetery, in other national cemeteries, and in other lands. They have no markers of any kind--only the fragile link of memory that endures from generation to generation in the recollection of their countrymen who know our nation's history. To preserve this link of memory, there must be recorded a history of the events.

This book tells the neglected story of American soldiers from the US Army's 7th Infantry Division who fought on the east side of Chosin Resetvoir in the Korean War. It concerns an Army force of about 3,000 men, of near-regimental size, hastily assembled to protect the east flank of the 1st Marine Division at Chosin. They fought a battle that lasted four days and five nights in late November and early December, 1950. The place was a 10-mile stretch of frozen, snow-covered dirt road on the east side of Hosin Reservoir, the adjacent bleak hills and ridges that rose precipitously from the water's edge, and the frozen marshy inlet valleys that drained westward from the eastern mountains through these ridges to the reservoir.

Chosin Reservoir fills an irregular trough of the Changjin River valley at an elevation Of 3,870 feet in the mountainous plateau south of Manta- Ira. The weather in winter is Siberian, with night temperatures that reach -35° F. In winter darkness comes early to this land, in late November and early December at about 4:30 P.M. Daybreak comes late, at 7:30 to 8:00 A.M.

The Army's battle story at Chosin contains as many "ifs" as Killing's poem. Its hallmarks were misery, soul-crushing cold, privation, exhaustion . . .

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