Striking Back: Combat in Korea, March-April 1951

By William T. Bowers | Go to book overview

PREFACE

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 had to actually fight the battles paid the price.

This book takes a close look at some of the fighting that occurred over a two-month period in the late winter and early spring during the first year of the war. It is part of a series about the Korean War that focuses 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, both in Korea and elsewhere, influenced what happened on the battlefield.

Most of the material for this book is drawn from interviews conducted by Army historians soon after a combat action occurred,

-ix-

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