Write a double spaced, 10-12 page argumentative essay on
Despite the United States’ economic, technological and military advantages, why did it have an uneven record of victory since 1941? What are the implications of your answer for today’s military professionals?
*The essay will include documentation in the form of endnotes or footnotes (but not in-text citations)
* + 2 pages Outline and 1 page Annotated Bibliography
A: 100-90% Written work demonstrates mastery of the continuum of competition, conflict, and war by analyzing the historical context of large scale combat operations through battles, campaigns, operational variables, mission variables, key leader decisions, or tenets of key theorists. Furthermore, the written work reaches conclusions that transcend the block material. Essay is concise, adheres to the style guide, exhibits appropriate tone, and has no spelling or grammar errors. The writer uses appropriate and sufficient historical evidence with correct documentation. Thesis is clear and unambiguous.
Please need A+ in this essay, and please NO PLAGIARISM, and need the citation to be clear and I will provide you the document that have the references
I want an argumentative history essay consisting of (12 pages) to answer the question (Despite the United States’ economic, technological and military advantages, why did it have an uneven record of victory since 1941? What are the implications of your answer for today’s military professionals) as follow
1. one-page introduction and the thesis
2. the desert storm is an example of the USA’s success in the war( 3 pages). the answer for this part should talk about the reason for success because of economic, technological, and military advantages,
3. Vietnam as an example of failing and relate the reason of the failure even though the USA had the economic, technological, and military advantages, ( 3pages)
4. Afghanistan as an example of failing and relate the reason for the failure even though the USA had the economic, technological, and military advantages, ( 3pages)
5. the last two pages should talk about the second part of the question title (What are the implications of your answer for today’s military professionals?) as part of the conclusion
6. I will attach the readings that you should use as Bibliography ( send me an e-mail if the uploaded reading not open. it is in pdf form )
7. Use the footnote annotation with Turabian citation
Art of Command
The Eighth Army Fights Back
Author: Dr. Thomas G. Bradbeer
“It is not often in wartime that a single battlefield commander can make a decisive difference. But in Korea, Ridgway would prove to be the exception. His brilliant, driving, uncompromising leadership would turn the tide of battle like no other general’s in our military history.”
General of the Army Omar N. Bradley[endnoteRef:1] [1: Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair, A General’s Life, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 608.]
On the night of 31 December 1950, the Chinese XIII Army Group of the Fourth Field Army, composed of 19 divisions, totaling more than 170,000 men, attacked United Nations forces in their defensive positions along the Imjin River near the 38th Parallel. Its mission: capture Seoul. This same group drove the Eighth Army out of North Korea in early December. Within hours, Chinese Communist Forces (CCF)[endnoteRef:2] penetrated the front lines of numerous units throughout the Eighth Army on a twenty-mile front.[endnoteRef:3] [2: Russell Spurr, Enter the Dragon: China’s Undeclared War against the U.S. in Korea, 1950-1951, (New York: Newmarket Press, 1988), xx. The Chinese identified their army as the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and that portion that operated within Korea as the Chinese Volunteer Force (CPV).] [3: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 38. The Chinese 3rd Phase Offensive is also identified by historians as The Chinese New Year’s Offensive.]
Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgway, commander of the Eighth Army, was at his advance command post (ACP) in Seoul when the Chinese attack began. He met previously with all three of his American corps commanders, and all but one of his division commanders. He learned about the coming Chinese offensive and concluded that “our forces were simply not mentally and spiritually ready for the sort of [offensive] action I planned. There was too much of a looking-over-your-shoulder attitude” indicative of a defeated Army.[endnoteRef:4] He directed his subordinate commanders to conduct reconnaissance to locate and determine the intent of the CCF units. During his assessment of the fighting capacity of these organizations, the competence of their leaders, and the terrain, Ridgway confirmed what he suspected, he took command of a shattered Eighth Army, with only three of the seven assigned U.S. divisions in the front line. All three divisions suffered heavy casualties in the first two weeks of December when the Eighth Army retreated under intense CCF pressure.[endnoteRef:5] He concluded that the “intelligence situation [within Eighth Army] was deplorable.”[endnoteRef:6] In one of his first briefings on the enemy situation, the Eighth Army G-2 depicted the location of the CCF “by a large red “goose egg” with “174,000” scrawled on its center. The true figure was closer to 300,000.”[endnoteRef:7] The G-2 also lacked detailed information about the types of CCF units that opposed Eighth Army, their locations, and their capabilities. [4: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 86.] [5: Robert C. Alberts, “Profile of a Soldier: Matthew B. Ridgway,” American Heritage, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, February 1976, 77.] [6: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 569.] [7: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 569.]
Having studied the terrain in front of the United Nations forces, Ridgway concluded that the CCF’s main effort would strike in the west, with the primary objective of capturing Seoul. To prevent the capture of Seoul, he directed Major General Frank W. Milburn, commander of (US) I Corps, and MG John Coulter, commander (US) IX Corps, to establish their main line of resistance along the Imjin River and prepare to fall back, on his orders, to defensive positions north of Seoul. To prevent CCF artillery from ranging as far south as Seoul and the Han River bridges, Ridgway ordered that the defensive perimeter extend from the outskirts of Seoul northwards to Uijongbu.[endnoteRef:8] [8: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 576.]
The Chinese Third Phase Offensive, 31 December 1950-7 January 1951. Courtesy: United States Military Academy, West Point
Unlike their previous offensive operations, the CCF began the third phase Chinese offensive with a massive artillery barrage. Following closely behind the barrage were tens of thousands of infantrymen blowing bugles and horns. The Chinese bypassed the US 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions defending the western corridor and focused on the boundary between the Republic of Korea (ROK) 1st and 6th Infantry Divisions, which served as a boundary between the US I and IX Corps.[endnoteRef:9] The Chinese quickly overwhelmed the ROK 1st Division that initiated a chaotic retreat, with devastating second order effects on the U.N. defensive positions. In the process, the US 9th Field Artillery Battalion, supporting the ROK 1st Division, lost four of its 155 mm howitzers and prime movers.[endnoteRef:10] The ROK 6th Division held its ground for several hours before the panic caused by the 1st Division’s destruction spread and all three regiments abandoned their positions, fleeing to the rear. This enabled the CCF to penetrate between the US 19th and 21st Infantry Regiments of MG John H. Church’s 24th Infantry Division. [9: The US 7th Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, and 1st Marine Division were refitting in Pusan after their evacuation from Hungnam in December; the 1st Cavalry Division was in blocking positions behind the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions; and the 2d Infantry Division was supporting ROK forces in the Wonju area.] [10: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 51.]
To the immediate right of the US IX Corps, two of the three regiments within the ROK 2d Infantry Division abandoned their positions, but the 17th regiment fought valiantly until it suffered more than 50% casualties, losing six of its 12 infantry companies and twenty-one artillery pieces.[endnoteRef:11] The CCF, supported by the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) II and V Corps, overran the ROK II Corps and its four divisions defending the sector near the key terrain of Hongchon, just north of Wonju. Fortunately, Ridgway previously ordered the US 2d Infantry Division, under the command of MG Robert B. McClure, to move into defensive positions behind the ROK II Corps prior to the CCF attack. Its lead battalions arrived in the Hongchon area as the ROK units hastily withdrew. [11: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 49-51.]
Analyzing the terrain and disposition of his forces in the days before the CCF attack, and piecing together initial fragmentary reports from his units, Ridgway concluded that the collapse of the ROK 2d Division posed a major threat to the Eighth Army’s defensive line. The CCF was set to trap and encircle both US I and IX Corps. To prevent this from happening, Ridgway directed his staff to prepare orders for the Eighth Army to withdrawal as far south as Line D below Suwon. He directed that all units maintain contact with the CCF and position its withdrawing forces so they could conduct “punishing local counterattacks, inflicting maximum casualties on the advancing CCF.”[endnoteRef:12] [12: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 594.]
Ridgway left his ACP and moved to the battlefront to assess the situation in the ROK II Corps area. He did not get very far when he came upon remnants of the ROK 6th Division, in full retreat. Ridgway used his jeep to block their retreat and then stood in the road. Unable to speak Korean, and with no interpreter present, it was of little use. He had better luck stopping six trucks carrying American Soldiers from the 24th Infantry Division. With the help of a squad of MPs, he held them in place while he contacted their division commander, MG Church. Ridgway ordered Church to get the men back to their units, but it was evident to Ridgway that Church and his subordinate commanders, having escaped CCF encirclement at the Chongchon River in December, focused more on withdrawing out of harm’s way than fighting.
To plug the gap caused by the ROK 6th Division’s hasty retreat, Ridgway ordered the IX Corps commander, MG Coulter, to commit his reserve, the 27th Commonwealth Brigade, commanded by BG Basil A. Coad. This was the Commonwealth brigade’s first engagement of the war.[endnoteRef:13] With the Australian battalion in the lead, the brigade moved as fast as it could north towards Uijongbu. At the same time, the British 29th Brigade, under the command of BG Tom Brodie, served as the I Corps reserve. MG Milburn ordered Brodie to move his brigade forward and occupy the positions abandoned by the ROK 1st Division and cover the withdrawal of the US 25th Infantry Division. Of all U.N. forces on 1 January, the British brigade had the toughest task; attack north into the heart of the main Chinese XIII Army Group assault. As the 27th and 29th Brigades moved forward, the two US corps received orders to withdraw to their secondary defense line ten miles north of Seoul.[endnoteRef:14] Both the 29th and 27th Brigades fought well, avoided encirclement and enabled all ROK and US forces to withdraw to their new defensive positions.[endnoteRef:15] [13: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 52.] [14: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 52.] [15: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 52-53.]
Fortunately for Ridgway and the Eighth Army, the CCF stopped their advance to consolidate gains on 2 January, just south of the Imjin River. This pause allowed the Eighth Army to withdraw in an orderly fashion. After consulting with his two corps commanders that afternoon, Ridgway directed his staff to issue orders for all U.N. forces to evacuate Seoul and withdraw south of the Han River.
In discussions with our two U.S Corps Commanders, with the ROK Army Chief of Staff and with the Chief of KMAG, it became clear that a combination of enemy frontal attack and deep envelopment around our wide-open east flank, where the ROK had fled in panic, could soon place the entire army in jeopardy. I had not found sufficient basis for confidence in the ability of the troops to hold their positions, even if they were ordered to. Consequently, I asked our ambassador, on January 3, to notify President Rhee that Seoul would be once more evacuated and that withdrawal from our forward positions would begin at once.[endnoteRef:16] [16: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 95.]
Realizing that conducting a river crossing is one of the most complex operations to undertake during combat operations, Ridgway directed that the 1st Cavalry Assistant Division Commander, BG Charles D. Palmer, take charge of the crossing of the Han River, with full authority to do whatever required to ensure a successful crossing. Palmer spent the first six months of the war serving as the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery commander. Ridgway knew him from his excellent reputation as an artillery expert, and more importantly that he was “well regarded throughout the Army for his even temper, strict discipline, and ability to get things done without drama or fuss.”[endnoteRef:17] Ridgway’s confidence in Palmer was justified when the entire Eighth Army crossed the Han River with few complications over the next three days.[endnoteRef:18] [17: Stephen R. Taafe, MacArthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence KS; University Press of Kansas, 2016), 161.] [18: James F. Schnabel, “Ridgway in Korea,” Military Review, XLIV, No. 3 (March 1964): 11.]
The CCF resumed their offensive on 3 January as the Eighth Army continued what Ridgway assumed was a fighting withdrawal south of the Han. When he learned on the morning of 4 January that the British 29th Brigade had at least one battalion and several companies cut-off and surrounded, he ordered a relief operation to assist in their breakout southwards. By the time Ridgway understood the perilous situation of the British brigade, it was already too late. BG Brodie appreciated the US planning efforts to assist in a breakout, but realized the most practical course of action was to direct his subordinate units to breakout independently. Informed that the 29th Brigade suffered more than 300 casualties in their breakout effort, Ridgway was incensed. He believed “it was a disgrace to American arms to allow any other U.N. troops to be used as withdrawal rear-guard force in the face of the enemy” and directed shortly thereafter to all of his American commanders that from then on only US troops would be used to conduct rear guard operations.[endnoteRef:19] [19: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 74.]
The Chinese XIII Army spent 5-7 January moving southwards to the Han River, occupying Seoul and sending two divisions across the Han to occupy key terrain as a screening force to maintain contact with Eighth Army units as they withdrew. On 5 January, Ridgway ordered Operational Plan 20 into effect. This directed all Eighth Army units to withdraw to Line D (the Pyongtaek Line) forty miles south of Seoul and the Han River. By 7 January, all units closed on their new defensive positions.
RIDGWAY’S ASSESSMENT OF EIGHTH ARMY’S PERFORMANCE
Ridgway was not satisfied with the performance of the Eighth Army during the CCF offensive. It was clear to him that within the first twelve hours of the attack his units did not stand and fight. His disappointment in the performance of the two US corps, as well as the ROK corps, was evident in the letter he sent to his corps commanders on 7 January.
Reports so far reaching me indicate your forces withdrew to [Line D] without evidence of having inflicted any substantial losses on enemy and without material delay. In fact, some major units are reported as having broken contact. I desire prompt confirming reports and if substantially correct, the reason for non-compliance with my directives. From here on, the enemy has but two alternatives: (A) a time-consuming coordinated advance offering us minimum opportunities for inflicting punishment, but at least giving us much time, or; (B) an uncoordinated rapid follow-up, perhaps even a pursuit. The former permits accomplishment of part of our mission and the latter, unlimited opportunity for accomplishing all of it. I shall expect utmost exploitation of every opportunity in accordance with my basic directive.[endnoteRef:20] [20: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 91.]
Fortunately for Ridgway, the CCF ended their 3d phase offensive on 7 January and did not pursue the Eighth Army as it withdrew.[endnoteRef:21] The lack of pursuit was a godsend to Ridgway. It provided him the opportunity to take charge of his new command and correct the many deficiencies he identified during his battlefield circulation.[endnoteRef:22] [21: Only after the war would the three major reasons for this lack of pursuit be revealed. First, the CCF was exhausted, having conducted three offensive operations in three months and had suffered enormous casualties as a result. Second, the CCF could not provide the required supplies to continue offensive operations. Third, and most importantly, the lines of supply, already stretched to their limit, would become even more vulnerable to UN airpower the farther south the CCF advanced. ] [22: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 83-85.]
In command less than a week, Ridgway identified numerous problems needing immediate correction if he was to set the conditions for the Eighth Army to go on the offensive against the CCF. To transform the Eighth Army from a defeated organization into a cohesive and competent combat unit, capable of defeating the CCF, he believed he must first restore the fighting spirit and esprit de corps of the Eighth Army. Simply put, he believed that the Army must “have pride in itself, to feel confidence in its leadership, and have faith in its mission.”[endnoteRef:23] Ridgway concluded the lack of fighting spirit and low morale were symptoms of a much more critical problem; ineffective leaders at the division and corps level. The defeatist attitude he observed during the withdrawal through Seoul and beyond the Han River, convinced him that most of his subordinate commands required fresh leadership, especially at the division level. He attributed the lack of aggressiveness of his commanders to the six months of hard fighting and reverses the Eighth Army suffered in November and December 1950. On 8 January, Ridgway dispatched a personal letter to the Army Chief of Staff, General Lawton J. Collins, informing him of his initial assessment. [23: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 85. See also Matthew B. Ridgway, Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956), 204-206.]
During daylight of the first day following the hostile attack [1 January] my instructions were not complied with. That night I repeated them in person and during the daylight period both Corps, at my insistence, made an effort, but in my opinion, an inadequate one. Again and again, I personally instructed both Corps commanders to conduct their withdrawal as to leave strong forces so positioned as to permit powerful counterattacks with armored and infantry teams during each daylight period, withdrawing these forces about dark as necessary. These orders, too, failed of execution. Our infantry has largely lost the capabilities of their honored forefathers in American Military annals. They no longer think of operating on foot away from their transportation and heavy equipment. Let’s pour on the heat in our training and, above all, let’s be ruthless with our general officers if they fail to measure up.[endnoteRef:24] [24: Matthew B. Ridgway, Letter to General Lawton J. Collins, CS, 8 Jan 1951, Folder A-C, Box 17, Ridgway Papers, U.S. Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA. ]
This is Ridgway’s warning order to the chief of staff that he would replace most, if not all, corps and division commanders as soon as feasible. Intent on achieving his end-state of rebuilding the Eighth Army into an effective fighting force, Ridgway knew he must start at the top. To minimize controversy over his “housecleaning,” Ridgway made the recommendation to the Army chief of staff for a new policy that effectively rotated those corps and division commanders who completed six months of continuous duty in Korea back to the states. He also changed out commanders over a period of weeks and recommended that most, but not all, be given positive efficiency reports and promotion if deserved.[endnoteRef:25] [25: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War, (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 581. There is ample evidence that this announced “rotation policy” was successful in sending the message to both the media and civilians back in the U.S. that the officers in question were not being relieved but were being “replaced” after experiencing long, hard months of combat. Time Magazine reported in its March 5, 1951 edition that six corps and division level commanders had been replaced after providing great service in Korea. “Nearly all of the old command teams are back in the U.S. for jobs of first importance: applying battle experience gained in Korea to the training of the expanding Army at home.” Although this was partially true, these assignments were terminal for all but one of the individuals concerned.]
During his first week in command, Ridgway met with all three of his corps commanders; MG Frank W. Milburn (I Corps), MG John B. Coulter (IX Corps) and MG Edward M. Almond (X Corps), and began “housecleaning.” Ridgway replaced MG John Coulter and his lackluster chief of staff, Colonel Andrew Tycheson. Collins appointed Coulter to command IX Corps in August 1950, based on his combat experience, service in East Asia, and positive relationship with MacArthur and Almond.[endnoteRef:26] Ridgway wasn’t impressed with Coulter’s leadership abilities during the withdrawal to the Han, but he believed that Coulter was more useful to the Eighth Army by coordinating future operations with the ROK forces. Ridgway directed Coulter promoted to three stars and made him his deputy commander, serving as Eighth Army’s liaison to the ROK Army and President Rhee, who Coulter knew well from his postwar occupation tour in South Korea.[endnoteRef:27] [26: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 80.] [27: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 153. ]
Ridgway found both Milburn and Almond wanting, but decided to keep both men on the job. Milburn was an old and devoted friend of Ridgway and Almond was still MacArthur’s close confidant and chief of staff. Ridgway understood that Almond’s close relationship with MacArthur made it unwise to relieve the 10 Corps commander this early in his command tour. Yet this close relationship did not prevent Ridgway from asserting his authority as a commander. In their first meeting, Ridgway, in a fiery counseling session, notified Almond that he would no longer be operating independently of Eighth Army, and he would take all orders from him.[endnoteRef:28] Almond had a good reputation as being ‘a fighting general’ and Ridgway respected that quality in his subordinates. It was a competency that he demanded of all of his leaders. [28: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 572-573.]
Under his proposed rotation policy, Ridgway planned to replace four of the seven division commanders in sequence of when they arrived in Korea: MG Church (24th ID) arrived first in Korea, followed by MG Kean (25th ID), MG Gay (1st CAV), and MG Barr (7th ID). General Almond upset this planned schedule by insisting that Barr was incompetent. Almond held Barr personally responsible for the destruction of Task Force Faith in early December and recommended that Ridgway relieve him first, despite the fact that Barr was only in Korea four months. Ridgway agreed to revise the order to replace Barr first and Kean last.
Ridgway was not the only senior leader dissatisfied with the performance of the senior commanders. As the X Corps commander, Almond relieved MG Robert McClure (2d Infantry Division) on 13 January after an investigation of the division’s unauthorized retreat from Wonju on the last day of the CCF offensive. The withdrawal was poorly planned and executed during a snowstorm, and though Almond wanted to relieve McClure for his poor decision-making immediately, he took several days to conduct an investigation, knowing he would have to explain his actions to Ridgway. Though McClure made a good first impression with Ridgway, Ridgway supported Almond’s decision, believing the corps commander should have a voice in who his subordinate commanders were if they were to become an effective fighting team.[endnoteRef:29] To replace McClure, Ridgway agreed with Almond’s (and MacArthur’s) recommendation to place MG Clark “Nick” Ruffner, the X Corps chief of staff, in command of the 2d Infantry Division. Ruffner was the division’s third commander in less than five weeks. Ruffner possessed strong critical thinking skills, calmness under pressure, and keen use of tact. By assuming command of a division involved in more than its share of combat, subsequent defeats, and poor leadership over the last four months, his abilities as an organizational leader would be fully tested in the coming weeks.[endnoteRef:30] [29: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 167-168.] [30: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 167-169.]
Visiting each division command post in turn, Ridgway informed the commander of his new ‘rotation policy.’ For several it came as a tough blow no matter how tactfully Ridgway attempted to deliver the message. Arriving at the 24th Infantry Division headquarters, he met with the sickly fifty-eight-year-old MG John Church, who he planned to replace with the aggressive Major General Blackshear M. Bryan, now serving in the Caribbean Command. Visiting the 1st Cavalry Division Command Post, Ridgway reaffirmed his decision to relieve MG Gay and replace him with the tough-minded 1st Cavalry Division’s division artillery commander, Major General Charles D. Palmer, who performed superbly as the overall commander of the Eighth Army’s Han River crossing operation. Ridgway visited the 7th Infantry Division last and informed MG Barr that Major General Claude B. Ferenbaugh, would be the new commander.[endnoteRef:31] Of the six Army division commanders serving in Korea in January 1951, the only commander who remained in command throughout Ridgway’s time as the Eighth Army commander was MG Robert H. Soule, commander of the 3d Infantry Division. [31: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 160.]
Soule commanded an airborne infantry regiment and served as the chief of staff of the 11th Airborne Division in the Philippines in 1944-1945. Following the end of the war, he served as a military attaché in China from 1947 to 1950. Ridgway did not know Soule well, but Almond spoke highly of Soule’s “sound judgment, determination, energy and professionalism.”[endnoteRef:32] In Ridgway’s estimation, since Soule and his division arrived in Korea only eight weeks ago, and saw little fighting compared to the other six U.S. divisions, he deserved a chance to prove his abilities as a combat commander. [32: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 127.]
To command the 24th Infantry Division, Ridgway selected BG Blackshear ‘Babe’ Bryan. Ridgway and Bryan served together in the Athletic Department at West Point in the early 1920’s, and most recently Bryan served as Ridgway’s chief of staff while he was in command of the Caribbean Command. Unlike most of his peers, Bryan did not see combat in World War II, having served as a policy planner in Washington. Ridgway, however, felt that Bryan had the skills and leadership ability required to transform the 24th Infantry Division into a combat effective organization in a short amount of time.[endnoteRef:33] [33: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 160.]
Of the seven American division commanders, the one man who impressed Ridgway the most was the commander of the 1st Marine Division (MARDIV), Major General Oliver P. Smith. His leadership abilities and decision making during the Chosin Reservoir fighting in early December, not only saved his division from destruction, but by disobeying MG Almond’s orders to attack to the Yalu as fast as possible, he saved Almond’s X Corps from even heavier casualties than it sustained.[endnoteRef:34] Smith, a graduate of the University of California, Berkley, spent the First World War serving in the Marine garrison on Guam and did not see combat in the Second World War until the intense fighting on Cape Gloucester, Peliliu, and Okinawa. Having many pre and post-war assignments involving Marine and Army professional military schools, Smith was considered an intellectual. He was lean, tall, white-haired, and proved to be tough in combat and a leader who demonstrated common sense, a quick mind and moral courage. This is why the USMC Commandant selected Smith to take command of the 1st MARDIV in June 1950. [34: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 430. ]
Shortly after the 1st MARDIV closed in Korea, Smith ran afoul of his new commander, MG Almond, while attempting to share his expertise on amphibious operations during the planning for Operation Chromite-the Inchon landings. Though Almond had no experience of amphibious operations, he ignored Smith’s recommendations and did everything in his power to prevent the Marines from influencing the Army plan for the operation. The relationship deteriorated further during the subsequent landings at Inchon, the Battle for Seoul, and the near disaster in and around the Chosin Reservoir in December.
When Smith met Ridgway for the first time during the last week of December 1950, the two generals were equally impressed with one another. Ridgway later recorded that “Smith was top flight, a splendid commander. He was very calm and had extreme consideration for his troops. If it hadn’t been for his moral courage and doing some of the things he did, which were not in full accord with the instructions he received [from MG Almond] he’d lost a great part of that division.”[endnoteRef:35] Smith learned in their initial meeting that Ridgway had no plans for withdrawing the Eighth Army from Korea and instructed the 1st MARDIV staff to throw away their maps and plans for leaving the peninsula. Furthermore, Ridgway stated that as soon as it was practicable, they would launch limited counterattacks prior to conducting full-scale offensive operations. To the Marine commanders, Ridgway “brought a new fresh attitude, new fresh breath of life to the whole Eighth Army.”[endnoteRef:36] [35: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 579.] [36: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 579.]
FIND THEM! FIX THEM! FIGHT THEM! FINISH THEM!
After addressing the senior leadership problem within the Eighth Army, Ridgway directed that during the week of 8-15 January, both I and IX Corps conduct battalion size reconnaissance in force operations north of Line D to determine the CCF defensive positions. Ridgway intended that these small-scale offensive maneuvers instill a renewed fighting spirit in his Soldiers. He repeatedly stressed the seemingly forgotten Army infantry slogan to his commanders to: “Find them! Fix them! Fight them! Finish them!”[endnoteRef:37] Unfortunately, Ridgway’s assessment after the week of reconnaissance operations was not positive. Too many leaders and Soldiers were still looking over their shoulders, in what was termed ‘bug-out fever,’ anticipating a final Chinese offensive driving them to Pusan and eventual evacuation to Japan. This prompted Ridgway to write a personal letter to General Wade H. Haislip on the Army staff: [37: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 89.]
My one over-riding problem, dominating all others, is to achieve the spiritual awakening of the latent capabilities of this command. If God permits me to do that, we shall achieve more, far more, than our people think possible-and perhaps inflict a bloody defeat on the Chinese which even China will long remember, wanton as she is in the sacrifice of lives.[endnoteRef:38] [38: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 143.]
At the operational level, when they learned that MacArthur’s staff in Japan were working on plans to evacuate Eighth Army from the peninsula, it reinforced this “bug out fever.” The issue of whether or not Ridgway’s command would stay or leave had still not been resolved by 14 January.
It was only after the Chief of Staff of the Army, General J. Lawton Collins, accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, flew to Japan to meet with MacArthur on 15 January that the issue came to a head. Collins informed MacArthur that President Truman wanted to delay any evacuation of Korea for as long as possible, without putting the Eighth Army at risk. Further clarification occurred when Collins and Vandenberg flew to Korea to meet with Ridgway and personally assessed the situation. Collins learned that the CCF made no move to push south of the Han River and upon counterattack they withdrew. Chinese prisoners confirmed that the CCF suffered from severe strain in their ability to resupply their armies due to U.S. and U.N. airpower. All of this was good news to Collins.[endnoteRef:39] [39: J. Lawton Collins, War in Peacetime: The History and Lessons of Korea, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969), 254.]
Ridgway reiterated his plans to replace several of his corps and division commanders after his attempts to improve their performance failed. He no longer felt that his encouragement and admonishments to these commanders produced the ‘offensive spirit’ he knew they required. Ridgway informed Collins that he wanted MG Bryant E. Moore to replace MG Coulter and he would use Coulter as his deputy commander. Collins approved both recommendations.[endnoteRef:40] [40: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 230-237. ]
Believing the CCF were massing between Osan and Suwon, Ridgway wrote that “the most lucrative opportunity for destruction of enemy forces since [the] enemy attack began” would enable the Eighth Army to begin offensive operations and prove to every Soldier in his command that the days of ‘running away’ were over. On 14 January, he ordered MG Milburn, I Corps commander, to conduct a “strong armored attack” to “inflict maximum destruction on the enemy” and then “withdraw to present positions, leaving covering forces to maintain contact.”[endnoteRef:41] MG Coulter’s IX Corps, on I Corps right, provided flank security. It was at this time that Ridgway established his forward command post alongside Milburn’s Corps CP to “ignite the spark of initiative” that he found lacking in Milburn. In private he counseled Milburn that this attack “offers you an opportunity to be a brilliant instead of just a good corps commander.”[endnoteRef:42] [41: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 633-634.] [42: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 634.]
MG Milburn assigned the mission to MG Kean’s 25th Infantry Division with orders to attack the Suwon-Osan area. Kean selected the 27th Infantry Regiment (Wolfhounds) to serve as the main effort. Milburn tasked MG Soule’s 3d Infantry Division to send a smaller force to interdict the Suwon-Kumnyangjang portion of Route 20, as well as the ROK 1st Division to send several battalions to interdict Route 17 just south of Kumnyangjang.[endnoteRef:43] [43: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 237.]
The attack began on the morning of 15 January with the 27th Infantry Regiment in the lead. The very capable Colonel John H. (Mike) Michaelis commanded the Wolfhounds. Michaelis served in the 101st Airborne Division throughout World War II. During the Normandy campaign he assumed command of the 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment when the commander became incapacitated. Michaelis remained in command until severely wounded during Operation Market Garden in September 1944. He left the hospital early when the Battle of the Bulge began in mid-December and became the division chief of staff under MG Maxwell D. Taylor. After the war, he served in the Pentagon, where Army Chief of Staff Dwight D. Eisenhower rated him as one of the Army’s top four lieutenant colonels “of Extraordinary Ability.”[endnoteRef:44] [44: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 145.]
Michaelis served on the Eighth Army staff in Japan when the Korean War began. General Walker, aware of Michaelis’ exceptional combat record in the 101st, selected him to take command of the 27th Infantry Regiment just before it shipped out to Korea. Michaelis weeded out the weak leaders in his first days of command and put his battalions through a rigorous training program in the first few days in country. This effort paid great dividends, as his regiment halted the advancing North Korean forces at Masan during the first week of August 1950. “His charisma, aggressiveness, and willingness [to lead from the front]” as well as his effective use of fires in every operation, earned him high praise from Walker and more importantly, his men.[endnoteRef:45] As a paratrooper in XVIII Airborne Corps under Ridgway, the Eighth Army commander trusted and respected Michaelis’ leadership ability. Michaelis proved one of Eighth Army’s best regimental commanders during the Korean War. He received two battlefield promotions from Ridgway within six months, first to colonel and then to brigadier general.[endnoteRef:46] Supporting the Wolfhound’s three infantry battalions were two infantry battalions from the 3d Infantry Division, two ROK infantry battalions, three U.S. armor battalions, and three U.S. artillery battalions, in total around 6,000 men, 150 tanks and 54 artillery pieces.[endnoteRef:47] [45: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 41-42.] [46: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 693 and 706.] [47: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 237.]
The day before the attack, Ridgway met with Michaelis and talked briefly with the regimental commander. “Michaelis, what are tanks for?” he asked. “To kill, sir.” “Take your tanks to Suwon” Ridgway said. “Fine sir,” Michaelis answered. “It’s easy to get them there, getting them back is going to be more difficult because they [the Chinese] always cut the road behind you.” “Who said anything about coming back?” Ridgway answered. “If you can stay up there twenty-four hours, I’ll send the division up. If the division can stay up there twenty-four hours, I’ll send the corps up.”[endnoteRef:48] [48: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 502. ]
Michaelis units made good progress and captured Osan and the village of Kumnyangjang before encountering stiffening CCF resistance before dark. The following morning, the 27th advanced on the city of Suwon, but before they could seize their objective the CCF attacked the flanks of the U.S. units, cutting the road network behind the 27th. Ridgway and Milburn realized that the CCF were assembling in major strength at both Suwon and Kumnyangjang. Not wanting Michaelis’ cut off and trapped in Suwon, Ridgway directed Milburn to issue orders for the Wolfhounds to break off the attack and form a defensive line just south of Osan. The seven infantry battalions formed an east-west line with the armor and artillery battalions behind them. Ridgway hoped to lure the CCF to attack this position and slaughter them with overwhelming artillery fires and airpower, but the Chinese did not pursue. In the two- day operation, the CCF suffered 1,380 casualties, the majority from U.N. air strikes. Michaelis’ task force suffered three killed and seven wounded.[endnoteRef:49] [49: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 238.]
Operation Wolfhound failed to achieve its primary purpose of inflicting massive casualties on the CCF, but Ridgway achieved his secondary purpose of providing an opportunity to restore the fighting spirit amongst the Eighth Army. Four regiments from two different divisions attacked and engaged enemy forces, and for the first time in six weeks, the Eighth Army advanced northwards, conducting a successful combined arms operation without being overrun or defeated. Operation Wolfhound also demonstrated that allied forces could employ tanks in the Korean terrain. Just as important, for the third time since early December, the CCF refused to pursue withdrawing units. More importantly, Wolfhound provided a strong psychological morale boost to a major portion of Ridgway’s command.[endnoteRef:50] [50: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 634-637.]
During Operation Wolfhound, Collins and Vandenberg toured units across the Eighth Army, to include the British and Turkish brigades, talking to Soldiers; from general officers to privates. Everywhere they went, the two senior leaders observed well fed, well equipped, motivated professional Soldiers, who shared jokes with the senior leaders about so-called ‘CCF invincibility.’
This was not the “tired” and “embittered” Army with low morale that MacArthur described to them.[endnoteRef:51] On 17 January, Collins sent a message to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Omar N. Bradley. From Bradley’s perspective, the message “would mark a turning point in our views of the Korean War.”[endnoteRef:52] [51: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 644-647.] [52: Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair, A General’s Life, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 622.]
Eighth Army in good shape and improving daily under Ridgway’s leadership. Morale very satisfactory considering conditions . . . No signs of disaffection or collapse . . . On the whole Eighth Army now in position and prepared to punish severely any mass attack.[endnoteRef:53] [53: J. Lawton Collins, War in Peacetime: The History and Lessons of Korea, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969), 253-254.]
When Collins and Vandenberg returned to Washington, the Army chief of staff sent a memo to the Secretary of Defense, George C. Marshall, providing a succinct assessment of Ridgway’s command. “There is no cause for alarm over the present state of morale and fighting efficiency of the Eighth Army and ROK forces.”[endnoteRef:54] When Collins and Vandenberg briefed President Truman, his cabinet, and the National Security Council on 19 January, the president breathed a sigh of relief. From that day forward the president and most senior political and military leaders in Washington “looked beyond MacArthur to Ridgway for reliable military assessments and guidance” on what was taking place on the battlefield in Korea. The debates and rumors of a potential evacuation from the Korean peninsula ended that day.[endnoteRef:55] [54: Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair, A General’s Life, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 623.] [55: Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair, A General’s Life, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 623.]
“WHY WE ARE HERE? AND WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?”
Transitioning to command is never easy, but for MG Clark ‘Nick’ Ruffner it was even more difficult. He was the third commanding general for the 2d Infantry Division in little more than a month, which indicated a dysfunctional leadership climate. Upon arrival, Ruffner found plenty of dissension and very little teamwork amongst his staff and senior leaders. The division, still recovering from the multiple defeats it suffered at the hands of the CCF in November and December, also incorporated hundreds of newly arrived replacements while still consolidating its defensive positions on Line D. With little time to plan after receiving the order to occupy Wonju, Ruffner directed a course of action, coaching his staff through the orders process before briefing his subordinate commanders.[endnoteRef:56] [56: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987),647-648.]
Ruffner’s 2d Infantry Division units entered Wonju, found the enemy not completely withdrawn, and an intense engagement occurred. Ridgway and his pilot, informed by Almond’s X Corps staff that the enemy left the city, requested permission to land at the airfield. The task force commander denied permission due to intense fighting taking place around the airfield, so Ridgway observed the fighting from the air. Wonju was captured after a “classic fixed-bayonets, hand-grenade assault” against the North Korean positions.[endnoteRef:57] The advance continued north, capturing the village of Hoengsong where the U.S. force encountered a brigade sized element of NKPA. After an intense fire-fight, the enemy abandoned the village, leaving their dead and wounded behind. [57: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 647-648.]
It would take several months for MG Ruffner to correct all of the deficiencies within his division, but he earned Ridgway’s praise for providing strong and steady leadership to a unit where it was absent before the new commander’s arrival. To reinforce his efforts of further motivating his Soldiers and restoring the fighting spirit across the Eighth Army, Ridgway issued one of his most famous communiques of his entire career. It is known as the “Why We Are Here? And What Are We Fighting For?” statement and issued to all members of his command on 21 January. After clearly answering the first question, Ridgway shared his perspective to answer the second question. In part, he stated:
. . . This has long since ceased to be a fight for freedom for our Korean Allies alone and for their national survival. It has become, and it continues to be, a fight for our own freedom, for our own survival, in an honorable, independent national existence. The sacrifices we have made, and those we shall yet support, are not offered vicariously for others, but in our own direct defense.
In the final analysis, the issue now joined right here in Korea is whether Communism or individual freedom shall prevail; whether the flight of fear-driven people we have witnessed here shall be checked, or shall at some future time, however distant, engulf our own loved ones in all its misery and despair.
These are the things for which we fight. Never have members of any military command had a greater challenge than we, or a finer opportunity to show ourselves and our people at their best-and thus to do honor to the profession of arms, and to those brave men who bred us.[endnoteRef:58] [58: Matthew B. Ridgway, Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956), 207-208.]
Ridgway’s message did much to inform his Soldiers on what they were fighting and dying for in Korea. As noted, Korean War historian Clay Blair recorded, “Compared with the purple bombast from MacArthur and the melodramatic and absurd “stand or die” rhetoric from Johnnie Walker, [Ridgway’s declaration] was a masterpiece.”[endnoteRef:59] [59: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 650.]
OPERATION THUNDERBOLT AND OPERATION ROUNDUP
With the success of Operation Wolfhound, Ridgway believed that his units regained enough fighting spirit and skill required to conduct large-scale offensive operations. He directed on 23 January that both I and IX Corps execute a two corps attack within forty-eight hours. He did have one major concern with the operation. Informed through several intelligence channels that the Russians reinforced the CCF Air Force with squadrons of the latest Soviet fighter-bombers and MIG-15 jet fighters (possibly flown by well-trained Russian pilots), Ridgway knew the risk he assumed. He issued orders warning of possible air attacks and directed all units, to include those in the rear areas, to incorporate dispersion and camouflage measures, as well as ensure procedures were in place to warn of any enemy air attacks. Reflecting on his days as a paratrooper, Ridgway warned his commanders of the possibility of a CCF airborne operation on units in the division and corps rear areas.[endnoteRef:60] [60: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 651-653.]
The plan for Operation Thunderbolt was two corps attack northwards, with both corps abreast, advancing approximately twenty miles into CCF controlled territory. I Corps advances to the south bank of the Han River to Yongdungpo, recapturing Inchon and Kimpo Airfield. To I Corps’ right, IX Corps advances to the Han River, seizes the rail and road center at Yangpyong, which the CCF uses to move troops into the Wonju sector. Per Ridgway’s directive, the two corps “inflict maximum casualties” on the CCF. No UN forces cross the Han River. Ridgway also directed the attack starts with a gradual commitment of force, with one division from each corps supported by ROK units in the lead. If the CCF did not counterattack, the remainder of the two corps advance. The attack was a slow methodical advance, tightly controlled by the use of phase lines. No enemy units were bypassed. Designated units protect the division and corps rear areas from expected NKPA guerrilla activity.[endnoteRef:61] [61: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 654.]
To verify that he was not sending his units into a trap, Ridgway conducted a personal reconnaissance by air. His pilot was General Earl Partridge, commander of the Fifth Air Force, whose units support the Eighth Army attack. They flew twenty miles into CCF controlled territory with neither Ridgway nor Partridge seeing any conclusive evidence of enemy in the area. Ridgway was convinced that with their expertise at camouflage, the CCF units were hidden in the forested areas and small villages scattered throughout the area.
His mind at ease, Ridgway ordered the attack. On the morning of 25 January, both I and IX Corps advanced, with close air support, naval gunfire support, and a massive amount of artillery. By the following morning, units from MG Bill Kean’s 25th Infantry Division captured the city of Suwon after intense fighting. Both I and IX Corps continued to advance against stiffening Chinese resistance.
On the second day of the assault, Ridgway visited X Corps headquarters to conduct a scheduled change of command ceremony. MG Claude Ferenbaugh took command of 7th Infantry Division, replacing MG Barr, and BG Blackshear Bryan assumed command of the 24th Infantry Division from MG Church.[endnoteRef:62] [62: Upon return to the U.S., MG David G. Barr took command of the Armor Center at Fort Knox and MG John H. Church took command of the Infantry Center at Fort Benning.]
On 28 January, Ridgway directed MG Coulter to reinforce the 1st Cavalry Division with the 24th Infantry Division. He directed that MG Milburn reinforce the 25th Infantry Division with the 3d Infantry Division. With I Corps advancing in five columns to designated phase lines, the Turkish brigade moved forward on the right flank of I Corps. The Turkish brigade earned high praise from their American allies for their attack east of Suwon against Hill 156. Fixing bayonets, the Turks assaulted the CCF positions just after midnight, advancing up the 400-yard slope in freezing cold and icy conditions. They encountered nearly a regiment of infantry, engaged in drawn-out hand-to-hand combat and by daylight captured the hill, leaving nearly 500 Chinese dead scattered across the hilltop.[endnoteRef:63] [63: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 161-163.]
When Ridgway heard of the Turkish “bayonet charge” on Hill 156 it was exactly the short-term win he needed to demonstrate the vast improvement in fighting spirit throughout the Eighth Army. He directed all Soldiers to fix bayonets for the remainder of Operation Thunderbolt and henceforth during future offensive operation.[endnoteRef:64] [64: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 656-657.]
The command greatly needed something to symbolize the birth of a new spirit. Restoration of the bayonet, and a dramatization of that action, was at one with the simple message given to the troops: “The job is to kill Chinese.” Once men could be persuaded that those in other units were deliberately seeking the hand-to-hand contest with the enemy, they would begin to feel themselves equal to the overall task. There can be no question about the efficacy of this magic in the particular situation. IT WORKED![endnoteRef:65] [65: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 657.]
By 30 January, Operation Thunderbolt transitioned into a full-scale attack as Ridgway envisioned, with four U.S. divisions, two ROK regiments, and the Turkish brigade advancing northwards. He assumed risk by leaving only the British brigade (in I Corps) and the Commonwealth brigade (in IX Corps) in reserve. To maintain the initiative, Ridgway devised Operation Roundup and alerted MG Almond, whose X Corps advanced northwards in the center, along with the ROK III Corps, to attack from Wonju to Hongchon on 5 February, with the intent of conducting a double envelopment of the North Korean II and V Corps, both units which were regrouping east of Route 29.[endnoteRef:66] [66: J. Lawton Collins, War in Peacetime: The History and Lessons of Korea, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969), 257-258. See also Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 246. ]
The following day, MG Bryant Moore assumed command of IX Corps. Moore commanded the 8th Infantry Division while it was attached to Ridgway’s XVIII Airborne Corps in 1944-1945 during the advance into Germany. Ridgway admired Moore’s leadership skills, even though their leadership styles were almost complete opposites. Where Ridgway was forceful and directive, Moore was calm and mild-mannered. Just before the outbreak of the Korean War, Ridgway asked Moore if he would serve as one of his corps commanders if the situation ever warranted it. Moore responded with a hearty “I’d thoroughly enjoy it.”[endnoteRef:67] [67: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 154.]
The 24th Infantry Division attacked on the right flank of the 1st Cavalry Division, above Inchon and Yoju where the Han River curved sharply southeast, and met major resistance on 1 February. Ridgway and Moore observed several of MG Bryan’s battalions achieve what Ridgway considered “the true measure of tactical success―key terrain, a vital mountain pass―seized with heavy losses inflicted and only light losses sustained.”[endnoteRef:68] Ridgway attributed the 24th’s success to excellent organizational leadership, from the division commander down to the battalion commanders selection of terrain for advancing into the enemy positions, coordinating fires from supporting air and artillery, and being at the critical time and place on the battlefield. With a rare smile in front of his subordinates, Ridgway informed both Moore and Bryan that each of these elements provided examples of what right looks like when attacking an entrenched enemy.[endnoteRef:69] [68: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 663.] [69: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 664.]
THE BATTLE OF TWIN TUNNELS
Pushed out of their defensive positions, Eighth Army intelligence determined that the CCF were shifting their forces from the western sector to the central sector, enabling them to mass their forces at a rail and road network near Chipyong, the “gateway” to the central front. Ridgway ordered Almond to probe Chipyong to determine the enemy disposition there. Almond selected the 2d Infantry Division’s Colonel Paul Freeman, commander of the 23d Regimental Combat Team (RCT), to carry out this mission.
Freeman spent most of World War II as a plans officer and did not get the chance to command Soldiers in combat. Just before the Korean War began, he assumed command of the 23d Infantry Regiment. He was known for his intellect, a dry sense of humor, and was considered a charismatic leader by his commanders and those who worked with him. His two shortcomings were his tendency to be self-centered and at times, overly pessimistic.[endnoteRef:70] [70: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 41-42.]
Freeman sent a sixty-man patrol across the Han River by vehicle. Upon arriving at the village of Sichon there were two end-to-end railway tunnels identified by U.S. commanders as Twin Tunnels. The men left their vehicles and moved towards Chipyong, where they were ambushed by a regiment of CCF as darkness fell. The patrol suffered heavy casualties and radioed back to regimental headquarters they were surrounded on Hill 453 and about to be overrun. Freeman ordered F Company, 2-23 Infantry, to rescue the ambushed patrol. The company commander, Captain Stanley Tyrrell, moved his unit as quickly as they could to aid the trapped Soldiers. Using overwhelming firepower, Tyrrell’s company forced the CCF units to abandon the hill, rescuing the survivors. Of the sixty men starting the patrol, thirteen were killed in action, another five missing and presumed dead, thirty wounded, and only twelve unscathed. The patrol confirmed the CCF occupied Chipyong and were massing there forces there.[endnoteRef:71] [71: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 520-530. ]
Once notified of this, Ridgway ordered Almond’s X Corps to move his forces towards Twin Tunnels to prevent the CCF from counterattacking southwards down the Han River valley. Being closest to the area, Colonel Freeman’s regiment had the mission. Freeman moved with two of his battalions, 3-12 Infantry and the attached French battalion supported by five tanks, several track mounted Twin-40 and Quad 50 anti-aircraft guns, and the 37th Field Artillery Battalion in support, with his 2-23 Infantry in reserve on the Yoju-Wonju road. Freeman’s regiment reached Twin Tunnels mid-afternoon and prepared defensive positions before dark.
The 2d Infantry Division’s Assistant Division Commander (ADC), BG George Stewart, accompanied Freeman’s forces to Twin Tunnels. MG Almond arrived by helicopter and was not happy with Freeman or Stewart for not moving further north to a village three miles north of Twin Tunnels before establishing their defense. He ordered Stewart to personally conduct a reconnaissance of the village before dark. Though he knew the order was foolhardy, Stewart believed that Almond might relieve him if he did not carry out his commander’s order, so he ‘borrowed’ a tank and drove northwards. Upon arriving in the village, he could not see any signs of the CCF so he ordered the crew to fire both their machine gun and main gun over the roofs of the houses so as not to inflict any civilian casualties and see if the CCF might show themselves.[endnoteRef:72] [72: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 665.]
Freeman became incensed when he heard the weapons fire, believing that the CCF were now aware of the American presence at Twin Tunnels. Eight hours later, in the early morning hours of 1 February, Freeman’s concerns proved correct when the CCF’s 125th Division attacked his perimeter in force. The Chinese encountered a horrific barrage of fire and suffered heavy casualties before retreating. They attacked again a few hours later, attempting to overrun Hill 453, defended by the French battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Monclar. A veteran of both World Wars, he was wounded seven times and decorated ten times for his actions in combat in the First World War. He voluntarily took a demotion to lieutenant colonel to command the only French unit sent to fight in the Korean War.[endnoteRef:73] [73: Kenneth E. Hamburger, Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni, (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 68-70.]
The French defeated every Chinese attack, inflicting and sustaining heavy casualties in the process. Just when it looked like the French would lose the hilltop, which Freeman identified as the key terrain within his defense, the French Soldiers counter-attacked with fixed bayonets and forced the Chinese to retreat, leaving behind their dead and wounded.
The CCF continued to attack throughout the day, taking advantage of the bad weather which negated any close air support to Freeman’s regiment. It took BG Stewart several minutes to convince his division commander, MG Ruffner, over the radio, that Freeman’s regiment required reinforcements if they were to stave off any future CCF attacks. Additionally, the 23d Infantry Regiment was running short of ammunition. Ruffner ordered two battalions to move to Freeman’s assistance and a third to reinforce Freeman’s 2-23d Infantry at Twin Tunnels.[endnoteRef:74] [74: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 666.]
By late afternoon, the situation was desperate. Wave after wave of Chinese Soldiers attacked Freeman’s battalions. The French were in danger of being pushed off Hill 453 and one of the two American battalion’s suffered heavy casualties. As a last-ditch effort, Freeman developed plans for an inner perimeter where the 23d would make their “last stand.”[endnoteRef:75] The ADC, BG Stewart, believed Freeman’s regiment would not last another twenty minutes without reinforcements. Almost miraculously, the sun broke through the overcast. Within minutes, four Marine aircraft appeared above the American positions, strafing and bombing the attacking CCF formations massing for another assault. Over the next hour more than twenty-five flights of four Marine aircraft pounded the Chinese until they broke and ran from the 23d’s defensive positions. With the Marine aircraft pursuing the retreating Chinese units, Freeman gave the order to counterattack. Combining his artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, and tanks, the Americans destroyed the remnants of the fleeing Chinese. Freeman notified MG Ruffner that night that the CCF 125th Infantry Division “could be eliminated as an effective unit.”[endnoteRef:76] The Chinese left 1,200 dead and 2,400 wounded on the battlefield. Freeman’s regiment suffered 225 casualties, most in the French battalion and 3-23 Infantry.[endnoteRef:77] [75: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 667.] [76: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 667.] [77: Kenneth E. Hamburger, Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni, (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 122. See also Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 667.]
The battle of Twin Tunnels was over. It started as a probing attack and resulted in a major victory for the Eighth Army. For the first time, an American unit repulsed a major CCF attack and destroyed the attacking enemy division in the process. The fighting however, had just begun for the 23d RCT. Now dangerously short of all classes of supplies and twenty miles north of the U.N. lines, it was too dangerous to send ground convoys back to retrieve the required supplies. With the bad weather preventing aerial resupply, MG Ruffner solved the problem by directing his logisticians to move the regimental supply base at Yoju forward to support the 23d, and also ordered the 9th Infantry Regiment secure the forward logistics base and the roads leading to the 23d.[endnoteRef:78] [78: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 270-272.]
As Ridgway and his staff suspected, the CCF commander, General Peng Dehuai, planned to launch his own offensive to counter the advancing Eighth Army towards the Han River. With his 125th Division decisively engaged by the 23d RCT at Twin Tunnels, and the Second Infantry Division’s seizure of Chipyong-ni while his forces were still assembling in the Hongchon area, Peng made the decision to initiate the Chinese 4th Phase Offensive a week earlier than planned. This was the prelude to the battle of Chipyong-ni, which both Ridgway and Peng understood as part of a bigger struggle for the control of Wonju and the critical transportation network leading southwards through the central corridor of Korea.[endnoteRef:79] [79: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 519. ]
After a planning meeting with Ridgway and his corps commander, MG Almond, MG Ruffner assigned Colonel Freeman and the 23d RCT its new mission, once resupplied. “Dominate the road center of Chipyong-ni and occupy the high ground in the vicinity so as to protect the right flank of the IX Corps and establish a western anchor of an X Corps line of departure for the offensive.”[endnoteRef:80] In its simplest form, the 23d was to seize Chipyong-ni and transition to the defense to serve as flank protection for IX Corps attack until receiving further orders. [80: Kenneth E. Hamburger, Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni, (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 125.]
On 3 February 1951, the 23d moved out of their positions at Twin Tunnels and advanced northwards until they entered Chipyong-ni. By road, the village was four miles north of Twin Tunnels. Freeman stressed caution to his subordinate commanders, expecting to be attacked by well camouflaged CCF units while his flank units moved along the high ground on either side of the road where his main effort was advancing. By late afternoon the 23d RCT closed on Chipyong-ni.
As Freeman’s units established their defensive perimeter, the rest of the Eighth Army continued its advance northwards. In the far western sector, MG Milburn’s I Corps attacked towards the Han River and heavily engaged the CCF Fiftieth Army. To I Corps’ right flank, MG Moore’s IX Corps fought the CCF Thirty-Eighth Army in mountainous terrain north of Ichon and Yoju. The Eighth Army G2 identified seven other CCF armies in Korea, but could not confirm their specific locations. He further believed that the CCF Forty-second Army was advancing towards the central corridor and Chipyong-ni. Ridgway was concerned that these ‘missing’ armies might be massing for a major Chinese counter-offensive against Almond’s X Corps.
Shortly after the 23d RCT arrived in Chipyong-ni, it seemed like the entire Eighth Army chain of command descended on Freeman’s headquarters. Almond and Ruffner were the first to arrive at the command post, followed by Ridgway and the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Earl D. Johnson. Ridgway awarded Colonel Freeman the Distinguished Service Cross and informed his audience that the French battalion commander, Monclar was a “magnificent Soldier.”[endnoteRef:81] [81: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 667-668.]
After the departure of the senior leaders, Freeman directed his units occupy the largest ring of low hills they could effectively man while keeping a small reserve. When he established defensive positions, the perimeter was in somewhat of an oval shape, measuring about a mile and a half from east to west and a mile from north to south. The position was just large enough to enable all of his units to locate inside of it as well as a drop zone for aerial resupply and a short airfield.[endnoteRef:82] [82: Kenneth E. Hamburger, Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni, (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 127-128.]
THE BATTLE OF CHIPYONG-NI
As the men of the 23d RCT continued to work on their defensive positions, it became more apparent that they were going to stay in this location far longer than they expected. For the next ten days they continued to dig and fortify their positions in the freezing temperatures while Colonel Freeman sent out patrols to ascertain future enemy intentions. Fire support officers planned mortar and artillery fire-plans so they would not need to adjust fire once the Chinese attacked. The attached engineers constructed bunkers with overhead cover and assisted the infantry in establishing barbed wire obstacle belts across the most likely avenues of approach into the perimeter.
Infantry platoons established and dug-in outpost lines a hundred yards in front of the forward fighting positions. When dusk came, the infantry laid out trip flares and booby traps detonated by wires trailing back to the main line of defense. Barrels of fougasse (French for land mine) were buried forward of the front lines. A mixture of napalm and gasoline in a fifty-five-gallon drum and fused by a small charge of C4, the fougasse was buried at an angle towards an approach to a position and could be electronically detonated, spreading a sheet of flame more than ten yards wide and forty yards long.[endnoteRef:83] Signalmen also buried three redundant sets of wire from the forward positions to each company and battalion headquarters. MG Ruffner and his G4 ensured the logisticians provided Freeman’s regiment two weeks’ worth of ammunition ensuring the shortages that occurred during the fighting at Twin Tunnels was not repeated.[endnoteRef:84] [83: Kenneth E. Hamburger, Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni, (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 34-35.] [84: Kenneth E. Hamburger, Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni, (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 133.]
As the days passed, Colonel Freeman became very concerned that his regiment was in an extremely vulnerable position. First, his unit was out of range of most of the divisional artillery and twelve miles from friendly forces. His only physical link to the outside world was the small airstrip that he built within the perimeter. Each day aircraft flew in, bringing more and more Class V and barrier material to his position. So much ammunition was delivered that he was convinced his men would not be able to carry it all when they advanced northwards in pursuit of the CCF.
While Colonel Freeman prepared for the impending CCF attack on Chipyong-ni, MG Almond developed a plan, code-named Operation Roundup, which enabled both his X Corps and the ROK III Corps to conduct a double envelopment of the CCF units believed massing in and around Hongchon.[endnoteRef:85] To support the ROK 8th Division, Almond formed Support Force 21, consisting of 1-38th Infantry Battalion, the 15th Field Artillery Battalion (FAB) with 105 mm howitzers, and a battery of 155 mm towed howitzers, as well an anti-aircraft battery. He placed them under the command of the ROK 8th Division commander. Support Force 21 was commanded by the 15th FAB commander, Lieutenant Colonel John W. Keith, Jr., The ROK leadership had little time to plan and prepare for the attack or to coordinate with their supporting American forces. As he did during the Chosin Reservoir battle in December, Almond once again split his forces, scattering the four battalions of the 38th Infantry Regiment over four separate locations where they could not provide support to one another along the Hongchon-Wonju road.[endnoteRef:86] [85: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 249-250.] [86: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 268-272.]
Early on 11 February, the Eighth Army G2 informed Ridgway that there was substantial intelligence confirming that the Chinese were moving units towards Wonju. Ridgway notified his subordinate commanders to assume a defensive posture in preparation for a major CCF counterattack. Almond and his staff received the order, but delayed passing it on to the subordinate units within X Corps and the ROK divisions attached to X Corps. When it was finally issued, it was too late as the ROK divisions already initiated their assault.[endnoteRef:87] Many of the senior leaders within the 2d Infantry Division, especially the ADC, BG George Stewart, complained to Almond that they did not have sufficient time for the American and South Korean staffs to coordinate their attack plan. They argued the plan entailed too much risk.[endnoteRef:88] [87: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 550. ] [88: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 543.]
The ROK 5th and 8th Divisions advanced into what quickly became a disastrous meeting engagement with four CCF divisions, who quickly surrounded the ROK regiments and overran them. It was eerily reminiscent of what the CCF did to several ROK and U.S. divisions the previous November and December within Eighth Army and X Corps. The ROK 8th Division suffered more than 9,800 casualties, losing all its equipment, fourteen 105 mm, and 75 mm howitzers. Less than 3,200 men escaped the encirclement. The CCF units advanced rapidly through what was left of the 8th ROK Division and threatened to encircle Support Force 21.
The commander of Support Force 21, Lieutenant Colonel Keith, Jr., realizing the immense danger, radioed his division artillery commander, BG Loyal M. Haynes, for permission to withdraw three miles to positions his battalion previously occupied.[endnoteRef:89] Haynes would not give authorization without getting approval from the division commander, MG Ruffner, who then requested permission from the corps commander for the artillery to pull back to more defensible positions. By the time Almond gave permission two hours later, it was too late. Knowing Ridgway’s directive to protect artillery at all cost, Almond ordered Keith to conduct a fighting withdrawal to Hoengsong where the Dutch battalion was preparing its perimeter defense.[endnoteRef:90] After a series of CCF ambushes, which disabled the vehicles towing the artillery, and with 1-38th Infantry suffering heavy casualties while protecting the artillery batteries, Keith made the decision to abandon the howitzers and their trucks north of Hoengsong.[endnoteRef:91] The CCF captured nineteen howitzers (fourteen 105 mm and five 155 mm) and more than 120 trucks, carrying hundreds of wounded Soldiers.[endnoteRef:92] Keith, wounded twice during the withdrawal, was listed as missing in action when Support Force 21 closed the next day at Hoengsong.[endnoteRef:93] [89: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 267-269.] [90: The Dutch Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Marinus P.A. den Ouden fought valiantly to hold their positions at Hoengsong which enabled 1-38 and 2-38 Infantry battalions to withdraw southwards to Wonju. Den Ouden and four of his staff officers were killed in action defending their command post. The Dutch Battalion was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation by General Ridgway after the battle of Wonju.] [91: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 689-690.] [92: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 689-690.] [93: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 278.]
Within a matter of hours, the ROK 3d and 5th Divisions fell back from the massive frontal assaults that struck them, with the CCF inflicting nearly 1,200 casualties on each division.[endnoteRef:94] The route of the three ROK divisions endangered all U.N. positions in and around Wonju, including Chipyong-ni, ten miles to the northwest. Over the next forty-eight hours, the 2d Infantry Division suffered heavy losses to each of its infantry regiments as well as its supporting artillery battalions. Several American commanders believed the losses a direct result of Almond’s overbearing leadership style where his subordinates feared him and were afraid to make their own decisions without his approval. The complicated and overly aggressive plan of attack not approved by the Eighth Army commander also contributed to the failure.[endnoteRef:95] [94: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 279.] [95: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 667.]
When word reached Freeman that three ROK divisions to his left was destroyed at Hoegson and that X Corps consolidated its units around the Wonju area, he became more concerned that his regiment was encircled. He learned that in less than six hours the ROK 8th Division was destroyed, and both the ROK 3d and 5th Divisions were combat ineffective. The only unit standing in the way of the CCF was the 23d RCT and with Almond now directing retrograde operations for all X Corps but his, a huge gap was created in Freeman’s right flank.
Freeman met with both his division and corps commanders, MG Ruffner and MG Almond, and requested permission to withdraw the 23d RCT to Yoju. Both Ruffner and Almond agreed, but Ridgway disapproved the request. “Ridgway was determined to hold Chipyong-ni, the hinge between IX Corps and X Corps, even if he had to send all of Eighth Army reserves and part of IX Corps into the battle to do so.”[endnoteRef:96] Almond notified Freeman that Ridgway disapproved his request and he should ready for the CCF assault at any moment. Ridgway promised Freeman that if the 23d RCT stayed and fought, he would make sure a relief force would get through to them. Ridgway ordered Colonel Marcel Crombez’s 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and BG Tom Brodie’s 29th British Brigade to prepare to move to the relief of the 23d RCT through Yoju. He also directed that MG O. P. Smith’s 1st Marine Division prepare to move to the Hoengsong-Chipyong-ni area and attached them to the IX Corps.[endnoteRef:97] [96: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 257-258.] [97: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 263.]
After daylight, 13 February, Freeman sent out patrols nearly a mile in each direction. These patrols reported heavy enemy activity in the north, east, and west. Air reconnaissance confirmed large groups of Chinese moving towards the 23d RCT from the north and east. Artillery and 40 air sorties attacked these formations throughout the day, but as darkness came on the Chinese moved into assembly areas and prepared for a night attack. In the early evening, a resigned but determined Freeman held a commander’s conference and notified his commander’s that they were surrounded so “We’ll stay here and fight it out.”[endnoteRef:98] The good news was that help was on the way in the form of the 5th Cavalry and the 29th British Brigade.[endnoteRef:99] [98: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 697.] [99: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 697.]
After signaling their intentions with a chorus of bugles and drums, the CCF initiated a five division assault (estimated to be about 35,000 to 40,000 men) against Freeman’s 23d RCT at 2230. Firing a combined mortar and artillery barrage from three directions, the CCF pummeled the perimeter and the center of Freeman’s position. Simultaneously, CCF infantry stormed the outer defenses and sustained heavy casualties from the antipersonnel mines, booby-traps, and fougasse mines. Freeman’s Soldiers held their fire until the Chinese got into the barbed wire obstacles in front of them. Calling down a storm of artillery and mortar fire of their own, along with crew served weapons fire, quad-50s from the anti-aircraft battery, and tanks, the first assault wave of Chinese virtually disappeared.[endnoteRef:100] The CCF continued to attack throughout the night, but repulsed from all sides they withdrew just before dawn. [100: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 263-264.]
During the fighting, Colonel Freeman was wounded by a mortar fragment in his left leg and treated by his regimental surgeon. Under normal circumstances, they would evacuate him, but with his unit involved in heavy combat, Freeman would not even consider it. Once the surgeon finished bandaging the wound, Freeman immediately went back to conducting battlefield circulation of the forward positions, but now with a noticeable limp. When General Almond heard that Freeman was wounded, he ordered his X Corps G3, Colonel John H. Chiles, flown into the 23d’s perimeter and assume command. Once again, per his command style, Almond failed to use the chain of command. MG Ruffner learned of the directed change of command several hours later from a very incensed COL Freeman, who argued that his wounds were not severe enough for him to give up command, especially in the middle of a battle.
Relieving the wounded Freeman gave General Almond a chance to replace the commander who he considered a disloyal follower. Freeman verbally disagreed with Almond on many tactical and operational issues since the battle of Seoul the previous September, but his reputation of being one of Ridgway’s best regimental commanders in the Eighth Army prevented Almond from relieving Freeman.
The Battle of Chipyong-ni, 13 -15 February 1951
Map courtesy of United States Military Academy, West Point
When notified of his evacuation out of the perimeter on the orders of the corps commander, Freeman refused to give up command while his unit was under attack. He argued his position with his division commander, MG Ruffner, who failing to convince Freeman to obey a direct order from the corps commander, turned the issue over to his ADC, BG Stewart. Ruffner and Stewart understood that once Almond made a decision, there was no changing his mind. Stewart warned the regimental commander that by disobeying Almond’s order to give up command he faced far more serious consequences once the fighting was over.[endnoteRef:101] [101: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 566.]
Freeman refused to relinquish command or to be evacuated. The Corps Commander [Almond] insisted that his order be obeyed. Nothing that Ruffner said changed Freeman’s refusal to leave his regiment. Ruffner turned the matter over to me. I had a long talk with Freeman by radio. Paul said he was being relieved from command while his regiment was in combat, and that was the worst disgrace an officer could suffer; he said he was not going to come out. I finally convinced him that no one questioned his performance and that he would undoubtedly be decorated and promoted. He finally agreed to be evacuated.[endnoteRef:102] [102: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 699-700.]
Ten hours after Freeman was wounded, Colonel Chiles flew into the 23d’s perimeter while Chinese mortar fire bracketed the airstrip. Freeman was not there to meet his replacement and with mortar fire getting closer to his aircraft, the pilot did not wait for the wounded regimental commander and took off. When Freeman met Chiles, he told him to “find a shelter and stay out of my way until my departure.”[endnoteRef:103] Freeman continued to command his regiment through numerous and intense CCF attacks for the next thirty-six hours with Chiles ‘officially’ taking command at midday on 15 February, the third day of the fighting for Chipyong-ni. When he actually took command, the new regimental commander relied on the wise counsel of the 23d’s executive officer, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Meszar, who understood the culture and climate of the 23d, and just as important, the battalion and company command teams and how they operated.[endnoteRef:104] [103: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 566.] [104: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 566.
By dawn of 15 February, the 23d RCT was in desperate straits, with the CCF attacking all points of the perimeter simultaneously. What saved Freeman’s regiment that day was close air support. Up until that day, the 23d RCT received few close air support sorties because the majority were diverted to support the intense fighting at Wonju. Now, more than 130 Far East Air Force (FEAF), Marine and Navy fighters and fighter-bombers, massed over Chipyong-ni with devastating effects. The aerial assault forced the CCF to break off their attacks, allowing a second airlift of thirty C-119s to parachute more ammunition into the perimeter.[endnoteRef:105] Freeman later stated that the close air support and aerial resupply gave his men “the means―and heart―to fight with renewed vigor.”[endnoteRef:106] [105: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 704-705.] [106: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 705.]
Believing that Task Force Crombez would break through in a matter of hours, Freeman consented to evacuation shortly after 1100, 15 February, and flew to a MASH unit at Chungju where General Ridgway met him. There, Ridgway consoled Freeman on leaving the 23d, but congratulated him on his exceptional performance at Chipyong-ni and awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross.[endnoteRef:107] [107: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 699-700.]
In what proved later a very controversial action, Colonel Marcel Crombez, the commander of 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, received a warning order by the IX Corps commander, MG Bryant Moore, on the morning of 14 February to form a task force and prepare to advance to Chipyong-ni and relieve the 23d RCT. That evening he received the order from his division commander, MG Charles Palmer, to initiate the relief operation. Crombez was known for his “rigid, tempestuous style of command”[endnoteRef:108] and according to several senior leaders within the 1st Cavalry Division, and some of his own Soldiers, he “sought glory too intensely, wanted a star too badly, and did not seem adequately committed to them.”[endnoteRef:109] [108: Allan R. Millett, The War for Korea, 1950-1951: They Came from the North, ((Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2010), 285.] [109: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 568.]
Task Force Crombez consisted of twenty-three Patton tanks, three infantry battalions, two field artillery battalions and a combat engineer company. During the night, the task force made it to Yoju, ten miles south of Freeman’s surrounded unit. The relief force had to stop twice while the engineers repaired two blown bridges, one across the Han River and the other less than eight miles from Chipyong-ni.[endnoteRef:110] [110: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 291.]
Crombez made the fateful decision to conduct an armored assault, reducing the size of his force to just the twenty-three tanks and several squads of engineers. He directed 160 men of Company L, 5th Cavalry, to ride on the top of the tanks with orders to dismount and protect the tanks during any halt, remounting when the advance continued. The order not only violated Army doctrine, but appalled both the infantry battalion and company commanders who protested the order. The casualties, they argued, would be horrific as they would be exposed to Chinese fire from both sides of the attack route as well as the high ground. If the main gun was traversed it would sweep the infantrymen from the top of the tank and they would be left behind. Several platoon leaders refused to order their men to climb on the tanks, but Crombez ignored their protests. The infantry battalion commander heatedly argued with Crombez and then stated that if he had to order his men to ride on the tanks than he would ride on an exposed turret too.[endnoteRef:111] [111: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 571.]
Task Force Crombez charged through several CCF roadblocks and ambushes. In the process there were more than one hundred infantrymen killed or wounded, with most of the wounded left behind risking capture by the Chinese, including the infantry battalion commander. With guns blazing in all directions, the armored task force arrived at the Chipyong-ni perimeter at 1645, just in time to support 2-23 Infantry’s counterattack against another Chinese breech in the perimeter. The American defenders paused to cheer the arrival of the relief force and the CCF retreated from the battlefield. Several surviving infantry officers of the task force attempted to have Colonel Crombez court-martialed for his lack of judgment and poor decision making, but their efforts were in vain as the chain of command believed he accomplished his mission and saved the 23d RCT.[endnoteRef:112] [112: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 567-575. See also Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 295-300.]
The Battle for Chipyong-ni ended. The 23d RCT and its attached French battalion, sustained 404 casualties, but CCF casualties were more than 4,946 with 2,000 dead in and around the perimeter.[endnoteRef:113] Another 876 Chinese Soldiers were killed by Task Force Crombez enroute to Chipyong-ni.[endnoteRef:114] The 23d RCT remained at Chipyong-ni for an additional two days before relief by the 1st Cavalry Division. Their role in the fighting over for now, but twenty air miles to the southeast Wonju was under attack and surrounded by CCF and NKPA units. [113: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 299-300. See also Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 107. See also Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 287.] [114: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 284.]
At the conclusion of the battle of Chipyong-ni, Ridgway knew that the Eighth Army “had reached a turning point that it had substantially regained the confidence lost during the distressing withdrawals of December and early January.”[endnoteRef:115] He firmly believed that the stalwart defense by the 23d RCT at Chipyong-ni, inflicting severe losses on four CCF divisions from three different Chinese armies, symbolized the transformation of his Army towards achieving his endstate. The valiant efforts of Task Force Crombez to relieve the 23d RCT, demonstrated the offensive spirit he tried to instill in every Soldier under his command. These two events convinced him that the Eighth Army was ready to continue offensive operations until the CCF had to withdraw from South Korea.[endnoteRef:116] Royal Air Force Air Vice-Marshal C. A. Bouchier, attached to MacArthur’s staff in Tokyo, after visiting the British and Commonwealth brigades in Korea, supported Ridgway’s assessment when he wrote “The myth of the magical millions of Chinese in Korea was exploded. In the last United Nations offensive, the Americans learned how easily it is to kill the Chinese, and their morale greatly increased thereby.”[endnoteRef:117] [115: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 300.] [116: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 300.] [117: Max Hastings, The Korean War, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), 196.]
THE THIRD BATTLE OF WONJU
Just prior to the fighting at Chipyong-ni, MG Almond directed the remainder of his X Corps units to withdraw back to Wonju under intense pressure from the CCF. A total of eleven infantry battalions established defensive positions in and around the town. Seven of the battalions were from the 3d and 7th Infantry Divisions and the 173d Airborne RCT, plus three from the ROK 3d Division and the attached Dutch Battalion; in total about 8,000 men. Supporting the infantry were five field artillery battalions consisting of 130 howitzers, of which thirty were 155 mm. The 2d Division’s 72d Tank Battalion, in reserve at Wonju, added more than fifty 76 mm guns. [endnoteRef:118] [118: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 553.
See also Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 693.]
Almond put BG George Stewart, the 2d Infantry Division ADC, in command of all forces at Wonju, to include the artillery, led by the division artillery commander, BG Loyal Haines. Almond’s order’s, which violated Ridgway’s guidance, was to hold their positions at all costs. Though he placed Stewart in command, Almond, always directive in nature and rarely using the proper chain of command, told Stewart where to position his units; which unit to place in reserve; and where to locate the artillery to inflict the most punishment on the advancing CCF.[endnoteRef:119] [119: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 694.]
As an infantryman, Stewart spent most of World War II as the chief of transportation for Allied forces in Africa, then Italy and finally in the South Pacific. He performed exceptionally well at every task assigned and was considered too vital to serve within the infantry branch. Therefore, he never got a chance to command a battalion or regiment in combat. In 1950, Stewart was still doing logistics duties, this time on the Eighth Army staff. He did a superb job planning and leading the logistics operations of the Inchon landings. He became the assistant division commander of the 2d Infantry Division almost by accident. With the ADC in the hospital, Stewart accidentally ran into MG McClure, who just took command of the division, and asked him to fill the position. McClure agreed on a temporary basis, but fortunately for Stewart it became permanent. When Almond relieved McClure for poor performance in mid-January, Stewart was guilty by association in Almond’s eyes. Aside from Almond, within X Corps, Stewart had a stellar reputation as an organizational leader and was considered the most competent and professional senior leader within the 2d Infantry Division.[endnoteRef:120] [120: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 553.]
Stewart was not an artilleryman, but he served a tour at the Field Artillery School and developed a great appreciation on the use and effects of both the 105 mm and 155 mm howitzers. He met with BG Haines and directed him to formulate the data necessary to enable the artillery units to fire promptly at specific areas around Wonju when called up. From this, he produced and issued overlays to all units which identified specific target areas with call-signs for target areas and numbers to speed up the call for fire process.[endnoteRef:121] [121: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 553-556.]
The CCF began their attacks against Wonju in full daylight while still in march formation on 14 February. As they crossed the Som River valley northwest of Wonju, the CCF presented the most lucrative targets any of the experienced American forward observers and fire support officers ever encountered, to include those who fought in the European theater in World War II. In massed formations as large as regimental size, the CCF literally ran into “the most concentrated, well directed artillery barrage of the war to date.”[endnoteRef:122] The slaughter continued for more than six hours and still the Chinese attempted to break-through the defensive positions of the X Corps units. The artillery batteries fired so fast their barrels began to overheat. Brigadier General Haynes complained to his ADC about the high rate of fire. Stewart ordered the artillery battalions to keep firing until they ran out of ammunition and or the gun barrels melted. Before either of these options took place, at around 1200, the CCF halted their attacks with the survivors retreating pell-mell northwards, pursued by close air support which picked up where the artillery had left off.[endnoteRef:123] The firing stopped with more than 5,000 Chinese Soldiers killed and an estimated 15,000 wounded. Four CCF divisions were destroyed. Unfortunately, Stewart and the artillerymen who produced what proved to be a decisive victory, in what became known as the “Wonju Shoot,” never received the credit they deserved.[endnoteRef:124] [122: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 694-695.] [123: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 695.] [124: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 695-696.]
When Almond ordered Stewart and the commander of the 187th RCT to his X Corps command post shortly after the artillery shoot ended, he awarded the regimental commander a Silver Star for his role in the defense of Wonju. Stewart did not receive an award for his critical role in the fight. Instead, rather derisively, Almond ordered Stewart to return to his division headquarters.[endnoteRef:125] [125: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 552.]
In a meeting with MG Almond at his command post on the same day as the “Wonju Shoot” Ridgway, furious with his corps commander, demanded an explanation for the 11,800 casualties X Corps sustained over a forty-eight hour period (11-13 February), as well as the loss of 34 artillery pieces.[endnoteRef:126] One witness stated “it was the worst ass-chewing he had ever heard.”[endnoteRef:127] Ridgway left the command post stating “This will never happen again.” Though many believed the casualties directly linked to Almond’s poorly planned attack which violated Ridgway’s ‘halt’ order, the official investigation Ridgway initiated blamed the high casualty rate and the loss of artillery on the destruction of the 3d and 5th ROK Divisions and subsequently 1,900 American casualties in the 2d and 7th Infantry Divisions, on the ROK commanders. Though the official report later absolved Almond of any wrong-doing, Ridgway continued to blame Almond. He recorded that the second phase of Operation Roundup was an example “of how Almond was apt to undertake a very risky operation that might jeopardize his command.”[endnoteRef:128] Ridgway clearly understood that with his plan of attack, Almond failed to demonstrate his ability as the commander to understand the operational environment he was operating in. Ridgway concluded that this was the major reason for the heavy casualty rate within the two ROK and two American divisions.[endnoteRef:129] [126: The casualty breakdown consisted of 9,800 ROKs, 1,900 Americans, and 100 Dutch.] [127: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 552.] [128: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 695-696.] [129: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 279-280.]
Leaders within X Corps were surprised that Ridgway did not relieve Almond the day of the ‘Wonju Shoot.’ Ridgway knew (just as all of Almond’s subordinate commanders did) that this was the second time in two months that X Corps suffered massive casualties due to the poor judgment and decision making of General Almond. Some concluded that it was Almond’s personal relationship with General MacArthur that made him ‘unrelievable.’ Others argued that the less than stellar performance of the other corps commanders, forced Ridgway to keep his one ‘overly aggressive’ corps commander in command.[endnoteRef:130] [130: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 552.]
Ridgway was very concerned about the high equipment losses within X Corps and the ROK Corps, and suspected the root cause was weak or faulty leadership. He notified Almond in writing that “While there is nothing sacrosanct about a piece of artillery, compared to the loss of the lives of men, I don’t expect to hear again of such loss as reported to me this morning of five 155 Howitzers of Battery A, 503d. It is prima facie indication of faulty leadership of serious import in some echelon.”[endnoteRef:131] After instructing his inspector general to conduct an investigation on the circumstances which led to the loss of artillery and other major equipment during the battle of Hoengsong, Ridgway notified his corps and subordinate commanders that “the loss or abandonment to enemy of arms and equipment in usable condition is a grave offense against every member of this command. I shall hereafter deal severely with commanders found responsible and shall expect you to do the same.”[endnoteRef:132] [131: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 279.] [132: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 281.]
The accountability of major weapon systems was just one of many issues that Ridgway focused on while stressing to his commanders the necessity to keep the CCF off balance with well-planned offensive operations. Knowing that his Army consisted of units from sixteen different nations, Ridgway understood that he had to unify his command under a common purpose. He believed that purpose was also a shared belief: to prevent communist nation’s use of force from destroying democratic states and replacing their democratically elected government with a communist system. Furthermore, the multinational units within Eighth Army shared similar military cultures, with many of these countries having fought side by side as members of several alliances during World War II. [endnoteRef:133] [133: The sixteen nations were: United States, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, France, Greece, Turkey, Belgium, Luxemburg, Thailand, Columbia, the Philippines, and Ethiopia.]
To strengthen the bonds between the countries and units that formed his Army, Ridgway dedicated both time and effort to developing positive relationships with each organization. He routinely met and visited the commanders and their men of the U.N. units. He assigned some of his best field grade leaders to serve as liaison officers to each allied unit and stressed that they keep him informed of any issues that arose or problems that required his attention. Just prior to launching Operation Wolfhound, several of these same liaison officers informed Ridgway that the U.N. units were complaining about the rations they received through American supply channels. For example, The French and Dutch Soldiers did not like American white bread, the Dutch wanted milk, and the French wanted wine with their rations. The Filipinos wanted Philippine rice, the Thais wanted Siamese rice, and the Turks wanted sweet potatoes, lima beans, and corn; but were issued spinach instead. The Greeks wanted olive oil from their homeland instead of the olive oil produced in the United States.[endnoteRef:134] To better improve relationships and trust with his multinational units, Ridgway directed his Eighth Army G-4 to work with each nation’s supply system and MacArthur’s G-4 to solve the problem. Within a few short weeks, the logisticians ensured that the dietary needs of each member nation within Eighth Army were met. When Ridgway next visited the French, Greek and Turkish contingents, he saw that the problem was solved. As a result, morale in each of these units greatly improved. He directed that every unit, both American and U.N., have fresh meat seven days out of ten and receive two hot meals a day.[endnoteRef:135] [134: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 221.] [135: Author unknown, “The Airborne Grenadier,” Time, 5 March 1951, 26-29. ]
A lesson Ridgway learned from the Eighth Army’s withdrawal during the Chinese Third Offensive in early January, was to ensure that American commanders use their attached allied units to the best of their capabilities. The British and Dutch forces were renowned for putting up resolute defense so that strength is capitalized upon, but not at the cost of directing them to engage in rear-guard operations where they might be cut-off and destroyed. The Turks and the Greeks prided themselves on hand-to-hand combat, so use it in the offense instead of defense. Furthermore, Ridgway directed that every commander ensure his Soldiers received the proper cold-weather clothing, at least two hot meals a day, small potbelly stoves and warming tents, as well as writing paper to keep their families informed of their situation.[endnoteRef:136] Ridgway directed his G-1 to work with the Eighth Army liaison officers assigned to the U.N. units and ensure that the non-U.S. units received equal coverage and publicity from the journalists and media teams. Lastly, he directed that he personally present awards for valor, regardless of nationality, during and after each operation. [136: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 716.]
By the evening of 18 February, Ridgway’s staff confirmed the CCF’s withdraw. Ridgway called for an urgent meeting with his Eighth Army staff, as well as his liaison officers serving as his “his eyes and ears” to the U.S. and U.N. units that made up the Eighth Army. Ridgway surprised his staff when he announced his next offensive operation: Operation Killer and directed the launch within the next sixty hours.
OPERATION KILLER: 20 February-6 March 1951
Courtesy: Center of Military History, U.S. Army
The recently rested 25,000-man 1st Marine Division, commanded by MG O. P. Smith and assigned to MG Bryant Moore’s IX Corps, served as the main effort, while Almond’s X Corps units served as the supporting effort. The purpose for Operation Killer was restoring Eighth Army’s line east from Yangpyong to Hoengsong. More importantly, the infliction of maximum damage on the enemy with minimum to ourselves, the maintaining of all major units intact, and a careful avoidance of being sucked into an enemy trap by ruse or a result of our own aggressiveness. We were to pursue only to the point where we could provide powerful support or at least manage a timely disengagement and local withdrawal.[endnoteRef:137] [137: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 106.]
Ridgway learned many lessons about the Chinese way of war at Chipyong-ni and Wonju. It was now clear to him what the strengths of the CCF were, but more importantly, what their weaknesses were.[endnoteRef:138] Ridgway laid out his course of action to his staff. The Marines would attack northeast from Wonju with the remaining IX Corps units―BG Coad’s Commonwealth Brigade, MG Palmer’s 1st Cavalry Division, and MG Bryan’s 24th Infantry Division, attacking line abreast north from Yonju and Chipyong-ni. To the east of the 1st Marine Division, X Corps reorganized ROK 3d and 5th Divisions along with MG Ruffner’s 2d Infantry Division and MG Ferenbaugh’s 7th Division, would attack line abreast, north toward Pangnim. The 187th Airborne RCT served as the Eighth Army reserve and prepared for a possible airborne operation in support of Operation Killer. In the west, MG Milburn’s I Corps, consisting of the ROK 1st, U.S. 3d and 25th Infantry Divisions, held on Line Boston at the Han River. The corps conducted a feint by having several battalions cross the Han River. This set the stage for the actual river crossing that Ridgway planned in a subsequent operation after Killer.[endnoteRef:139] In sum, Ridgway’s plan called for eight infantry divisions (five American and three ROK) from IX and X Corps, totaling more than 100,000 men. The eight divisions were supported by twenty-two artillery battalions (nearly 400 howitzers), five tank battalions, the entire FEAF and for the first time, the 1st Marine Air Wing.[endnoteRef:140] [138: David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, (New York: Hyperion, 2007), 583. See also Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 108-111. ] [139: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 716.] [140: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 716.]
The staff recognized that this was the most complex operation they planned and executed so far in the war. Subsequently, the plan generated a lengthy debate over its merits. The staff identified three major issues. The first and second involved logistics and sustainment. After the fighting at Wonju there was an unseasonable warming spell which brought torrents of rain instead of snow, making trafficability across the front extremely difficult. The melting snow from the mountains and hills caused the Han River to exceed its banks. The flooding washed away the pontoon bridges at several sites over the Han. The primitive road system in all three regions where the Eighth Army operated was buried in a foot or more of mud, forcing Ridgway’s engineers to rebuild the drainage system or in many places build new roads. Another issue was a shortage of ammunition, especially artillery. The recent intense fighting at Chipyong-ni and Wonju depleted the Eighth Army Class V reserves in both Korea and Japan. The third issue was the growing threat of the CCF Air Force. So far it had not conducted any major attacks on U.N. ground forces but the Eighth Army staff knew that to stage and prepare an offensive operation on the scale that Ridgway proposed would require the massing of troops and vehicles which might convince the Chinese leadership that the targets presented were too lucrative to not risk the opportunity of inflicting a major blow against the U.N. forces before their offensive began.[endnoteRef:141] [141: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 717.]
In the end, the staff supported Ridgway’s plan because one factor trumped all of the issues identified―the requirement to maintain the “offensive spirit” of the Army. The Army regained its confidence and the initiative. To pause now would put both in jeopardy and allow the CCF to escape, affording them the opportunity to replace both their enormous personnel and material losses.
On 19 February, Ridgway met with his corps and division commanders and their operations officers and outlined his plan. The next day he flew to Wonju to meet with and brief the Operation Killer plan to General MacArthur at MG Almond’s X Corps command post. After approving Ridgway’s plan without making any changes, MacArthur strode from the CP and conducted a press conference proclaiming, “I have just ordered a resumption of the offensive.”[endnoteRef:142] Ridgway later wrote that this statement took him totally by surprise, and even worse, dismayed him. MacArthur and his staff had no part in the conception or planning for Operation Killer, and therefore neither MacArthur nor his staff could have issued any orders concerning future offensive operations in Korea. More concerning was the fact that MacArthur just told the world, to include the CCF and NKPA, that the Eighth Army was launching another offensive operation very soon. In fact, as MacArthur knew, Operation Killer was to commence the next day.[endnoteRef:143] Worse still, MacArthur, for the second time in eight days, publicly criticized the Truman administration and its decision not to attack Chinese air and logistics bases in Manchuria. MacArthur raised the issue about whether or not he had the authority to order the Eighth Army to cross the 38th Parallel in future operations. It was a direct violation of President Truman’s December directive to clear such statements in advance before speaking to the media.[endnoteRef:144] [142: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 109.] [143: Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 108-109.] [144: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 719-720.]
EIGHTH ARMY LAUNCHES OPERATION KILLER
Operation Killer began on 21 February, and plagued from the start by poor weather conditions that made trafficability, both by vehicle and foot, nearly impossible. Rivers became even bigger obstacles due to flooding, delaying The Second and Seventh Infantry Divisions for more than two days while attempting to cross the Chechon River. The 1st Marine Division met little opposition until it reached the outskirts of Hoengsong and it became apparent that the CCF planned to fight to retain what was little more than a town of ruins. Both the 1st Cavalry Division, commanded by MG Palmer, and the 24th Infantry Division, commanded by MG Bryan, were bogged down amidst the rain and mud as well. One of the few standing bridges across the Han River was at Yoju. When it washed away, it took more than four days to replace it with a pontoon bridge due to the severe weather.
On the third day of the belabored attack, the IX Corps commander, MG Bryant Moore, toured the frontlines by air. When his pilot attempted to land at the airfield at Yoju, the helicopter hit a cable crossing the Han River and crashed in shallow water. Moore and his pilot were pulled from the wreckage and rushed to the 24th Infantry Division’s artillery CP. There they received dry uniforms and hot coffee. A few minutes later while sitting in a chair Moore suffered a heart attack and died.[endnoteRef:145] Moore commanded IX Corps for only 24 days. [145: J. Lawton Collins, War in Peacetime: The History and Lessons of Korea, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969), 262. See also Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 308-309.]
When Ridgway received the shocking news he contacted MacArthur, who approved his recommendation that MG Joseph M. Swing, serving as the commandant of the Army War College, come to Korea as Moore’s replacement. MacArthur forwarded the request to the Army chief of staff, General Collins. In the interim, Ridgway selected MG Oliver P. Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division, to take command of IX Corps. It was only the third time in the Army’s military history that a Marine officer was in command of a major Army unit.[endnoteRef:146] Ridgway counseled both the IX Corps staff and the division commanders within the corps, to fully cooperate with Smith.[endnoteRef:147] Ridgway firmly believed that the interim command arrangement “offered an excellent opportunity to bring the Army and Marine Corps closer together.”[endnoteRef:148] [146: The first was Major General John A. Lejeune who commanded the 2d Infantry Division in the First World War. The second was Major General Roy S. Geiger who commanded the Tenth Army during the last week of the battle for Okinawa in World War Two.] [147: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 308-309.] [148: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 308-309.]
General Collins turned down MacArthur and Ridgway’s request for MG Swing. When notified of the decision, Ridgway requested MG William M. Hoge, then commanding U.S. Forces in Italy, replace Moore. Hoge earned a stellar reputation as a combat commander in World War II, commanding the 9th Armored Division as a brigadier general during the Battle of the Bulge and later during the division’s capture of the Ludendorff Bridge across the Rhine River at Remagen. At the war’s end, Hoge was a major general and commanding the 4th Armored Division in Patton’s Third Army. During the Normandy campaign, Hoge displayed the traits and characteristics that Ridgway demanded in his subordinate commanders, intelligence, coolness under fire, tenacity, and aggressiveness. From Ridgway’s perspective “Hoge was a man in whom I had absolute implicit confidence. In his personal courage, in his professional competence, and in his stability of character.”[endnoteRef:149] [149: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 727-728.]
Operation Killer labored on for the remainder of February through the first week of March until both the IX and X Corps’ reached Line Arizona. In the fourteen-day operation, the CCF suffered some significant losses, with IX Corps alone reporting that it inflicted more than 10,000 killed, wounded, and captured on the Chinese forces it engaged.[endnoteRef:150] To Ridgway and his senior leaders, Operation Killer only partially accomplished its primary objective of destroying all enemy forces below Line Arizona. The disinclination of the CCF to stand and fight, other than the occasionally delaying action such as at Hoengsong and the inclimate weather and its effects on the terrain, prevented the Eighth Army from achieving the operation’s primary objective. [150: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 310.]
The better news for Ridgway was the Army chief of staff approved his request for MG Hoge to take command of IX Corps. Hoge arrived in Korea on 5 March and took command of IX Corps that same day. Hoge was a great admirer of Ridgway, but more importantly, would prove an exceptional follower who would argue with his boss when he believed the orders given were impractical or he developed a better, more effective alternative course of action or solution to a problem. Within four weeks of taking command, Ridgway recommended Hoge for promotion, praising him as an “aggressive, determined and experienced officer who fulfilled his responsibilities in a superior manner.”[endnoteRef:151] [151: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 178.]
As Operation Killer wound down, Ridgway directed his staff to prepare for a subsequent operation with the main effort again in the center sector. One major difference was all major units in Eighth Army would participate in what Ridgway called Operation Ripper. Ripper had two major objectives. The first was to destroy CCF units as well as their logistics capabilities, preventing the enemy from conducting a counteroffensive. Secondarily, the Eighth Army would outflank Seoul from the east and secure Line Idaho, but avoid a direct assault into the city. Ridgway was convinced that if his Army could achieve these two objectives, the CCF would be forced to withdraw from the entire area.[endnoteRef:152] [152: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 311.]
The launch date for the operation was not set to enable the logistician’s ability to build up five days’ worth of supplies and pre-positioned them as far forward as feasible. On the recommendation of his staff, Ridgway prepared to cancel the operation if they determined that the CCF were about to attack.[endnoteRef:153] When his staff confirmed continuing enemy withdrawal across the peninsula and the logistics buildup progressing faster than anticipated, Ridgway moved the start of Ripper forward from 10 March to 6 March. Only after all three of his corps artillery commanders informed him on 5 March the buildup of artillery ammunition did not meet their requirements of firing sixty-five rounds per howitzer per day, did he authorize a twenty-four-hour delay to allow the logisticians additional time to transport the additional artillery ammunition from the port of Inchon to the artillery battalions in their forward positions.[endnoteRef:154] [153: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 311.] [154: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 301-302.]
Operation Ripper began at 0545 on 7 March with a massive artillery barrage initiated by MG Sladen Bradley’s 25th Infantry Division artillery and its reinforcing artillery battalions. Bradley assumed command of the division just two weeks previously. He spent World War II as the chief of staff and as a regimental commander in the Thirty-second Infantry Division in the Southwest Pacific and deployed to Korea as the 2d Infantry Division’s assistant division commander. When Ridgway relieved MG William Kean on 25 February, he transferred Bradley to take command of the 25th Division. Ridgway recognized that Kean was probably the best of the original six Army division commanders serving in Korea, but after nearly five months of intense combat he believed he should replace Kean and that Bradley earned the chance to command a division. Bradley fit the mold of the division commander Ridgway wanted-he was hardworking, aggressive and courageous. Just as important, he always seemed to be at the scene where the hottest combat was taking place and where the hard decisions had to be made.[endnoteRef:155] [155: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 162.]
In the first twenty minutes 148 artillery pieces under the command of Brigadier General Bittman Barth, the 25th ID’s Division artillery commander, fired 5,000 rounds at known and suspected CCF positions on the north bank of the Han River as two regiments from the 25th Division, the 27th and 35th Infantry Regiments, began to cross the 700-foot-wide Han River with the intent of heading east of Seoul. The 1st ROK Division followed and headed to the west side of Seoul as part of Ridgway’s plan for envelopment. Ridgway observed the assault crossing with MG Bradley and his new ADC, the recently promoted Brigadier General Mike Michalis, from the 25th Division’s forward command post near the river. At 0615 the artillery shifted fires forward of the bridgehead.
OPERATION RIPPER: 6-31 March 1951
Courtesy: United States Military Academy, West Point Military History, U.S. Army
Achieving complete surprise, the six battalions made the crossing with very light casualties. Seizing the high ground on the far side of the Han, the lead elements of the 25th Division captured 317 Chinese Soldiers, the largest capture of enemy Soldiers at one time in the war so far. During their interrogation, the Chinese Soldiers stated that they did not expect the Americans to cross the Han and were overwhelmed by the intense 30-minute artillery barrage. More importantly, BG Barth, who observed the interrogation, informed his division and corps commander that the prisoners were “thoroughly beaten and demoralized.”[endnoteRef:156] This information quickly spread throughout the 25th ID and the Eighth Army, raising morale amongst the U.N. units even higher than it already was. [156: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 740-741.]
With six corps’ on line, made up of eleven divisions, which numbered more than 150,000 men, the Eighth Army attacked across a fifty-mile front. Well supported by corps and division artillery, the eleven divisions advanced ‘almost shoulder to shoulder’ allowing no enemy units to be bypassed. By 10 March Seoul was outflanked. Four days later, the 1st Marine Division captured Hongchon as all along the Eighth Army front, the CCF and NKPA withdrew. On 15 March, the ROK 1st Division sent a patrol into Seoul and found it deserted, which enabled ROK forces to occupy the devastated city. For the fourth and final time in the war the city changed hands.
Ridgway was pleased when he heard the news that the ROKs retook their capitol city, but more importantly, the accomplishments of his Army during Operation Ripper. He specifically credited both the I and IX Corps commanders, MG Milburn and MG Hoge, as well as two division commanders, the 25th ID’s MG Bradley and the 1st Marine Division’s MG Smith for their resolute leadership during the conduct of a very complex operation. He would later write “I consider the surprise crossing of the Han River by I Corps . . . in the face of numerically superior stronger Chinese Communist forces during Operation Ripper, was the most successful single action fought by troops under my command during either World War II in Europe or in Korea.”[endnoteRef:157] [157: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 751.]
In his final assessment of the two offensive operations (Killer-Ripper), Ridgway concluded that the Eighth Army advanced seventy air miles and cleared all of South Korea of CCF and NKPA forces. That said, he judged the three operations merely a “qualified success” since in his estimation they had not killed or captured enough Chinese and North Koreans and too many units escaped northwards out of the reach of his army.[endnoteRef:158] [158: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 775.]
OPERATION RUGGED AND DAUNTLESS
By 26 March it was obvious that the CCF and NKPA had no intention of engaging in battle with the advancing Eighth Army. By the end of the month Ridgway, having achieved an almost complete situational understanding of the operational environment, amended his initial directives and instructed his three corps to halt at Lines Benton and Cairo just below the 38th parallel. In the last three weeks, the Eighth Army captured a substantial amount of terrain from the CCF, advancing nearly thirty miles northward and recaptured the South Korean capital. Enemy casualties estimated in the tens of thousands, with nearly 5,000 Chinese and North Korean Soldiers captured. That said, Ridgway realized that the Eighth Army’s ability to interdict the enemy’s ability to resupply its forces was far less than anticipated.[endnoteRef:159] [159: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 334. See also Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 775.]
Ridgway halted his forces south of the 38th Parallel awaiting approval from Washington. General MacArthur pressed the Army chief of staff and the president for permission to attack across the 38th parallel. Truman however, wanted to use Ridgway’s success to convince the Chinese and North Koreans they could not win a military victory. He planned to make a public statement to Chinese that the United Nations was willing to negotiate to end the fighting. MacArthur expressed his distaste for this course of action and in a letter to Republican Congressman Joseph W. Martin, stated that “the conventional pattern of meeting force with maximum counter-force” was the best approach and that there was “no substitute for victory.”[endnoteRef:160] [160: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 345.]
When President Truman decided not to make a public announcement offering the Chinese the opportunity to negotiate, Ridgway expected to receive orders from the Pentagon and MacArthur to continue his offensive operations northwards. Gathering his corps and division commanders at his advance headquarters at Yoju on 27 March, Ridgway outlined his plan for the advance across the 38th parallel, and to get their perspectives on the operation. His intent was to launch the main effort toward the rail and road complex centered between Pyongyang in the north and Chorwon and Kumhwa in the south, an area designated by journalists as the ‘Iron Triangle.’ This area was twenty to thirty miles north of the parallel. Of critical importance were the roads and railheads between the port of Wonsan in the northeast and Seoul in the southwest.
Ridgway further planned to occupy terrain that enabled future onward movement, but would also allow for good defensive lines against an expected Chinese offensive as the weather improved. These positions were identified as the Kansas Line and followed the southern bank of the Imjin River from west to east to the Hwachon Reservoir to the Yangyang area on the east coast of Korea. The I and IX Corps seized terrain along the bank of the Imjin and the western edge of the reservoir while X Corps occupied the reservoir shoreline eastwards to Route 24 in the Soyang River valley and tied-in with the ROK III and I Corps who secured the area between Route 24 and Yangyang on the coast.[endnoteRef:161] Operation Dauntless was a follow-on limited attack towards the Iron Triangle by both I and IX Corps to seize the high ground around it. If the CCF counter-attacked, the two corps would fall back to phase line Kansas. [161: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 349.]
Operation Rugged was scheduled to launch on 5 April, but fearing the CCF buildup in North Korea which his intelligence informed him had reached 274,000 Chinese (approximately twenty-seven 10,000 man divisions) and another 198,000 NKPA, Ridgway ordered the start date to move forward by forty-eight hours.[endnoteRef:162] MG Hoge’s IX Corps, with the newly attached Commonwealth Brigade and MG Milburn’s IX Corps, with the attached Turkish brigade, advanced to contact with their objective the high ground along phase line Kansas. Prior to the operation, Generals Hoge and Milburn and their staffs, met with the Australian and Turkish commanders and their staffs to establish initial working relationships and clarify any issues with the forthcoming operation. The benefits of these coordination efforts contributed to the success that both I and IX Corps units achieved in reaching phase line Kansas by 9 April. MG Almond’s X Corps and the ROK III Corps did not arrive at Kansas until 20 April due to the mountainous terrain and greater enemy resistance. Strangely enough, with Ridgway’s approval, MG Almond chose the week of 2-9 April to take leave and visit his family in Tokyo. MG ‘Nick’ Ruffner, commander of 2d Infantry Division, took command of X Corps and his ADC, BG George Stewart took command of the division. [162: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 776.]
During Operation Dauntless, the 29th British and 27th Commonwealth Brigades, along with the French, Dutch, Greek, and Turkish battalions, were involved in some of the heaviest fighting in the month of April as they completed the twenty mile advance to lines Utah and Wyoming.[endnoteRef:163] Once situated on the high ground, all Eighth Army units were to halt and prepare defensive positions for the soon launched CCF offensive.[endnoteRef:164] On 22 April, the CCF launched their 5th Phase Spring Offensive with the main effort aimed at recapturing Seoul as a May Day present to Mao Zedong.[endnoteRef:165] [163: The most famous of these battles involved the 29th British Brigade’s fight on the Imjin River from 22-25 April in which the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment (Glosters), earned lasting recognition for their ‘last stand’ defense on Hill 235 which became known as ‘Gloster Hill.’ See Brian Drohan, Imjin River 1951: Last Stand of the “Glorious Glosters.’ (Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2018).] [164: Clay Blair, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, (New York: Times Books, 1987), 775.] [165: Billy C. Mossman, Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951, (Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990), 379.]
The Eighth Army G-2 notified Ridgway on 6 April that the CCF had moved the XIX Army Group, with three new armies into North Korea and that several more armies were staging along the Manchurian border. Less than a week later on 11 April, while Ridgway conducted a tour of his units along Line Kansas with Secretary of the Army Frank Pace, Jr., he was notified that General MacArthur was relieved of command by President Truman and that he was to replace MacArthur immediately as the commander-in-chief, U.S. Far East Command and commander-in-chief, United Nations Command.[endnoteRef:166] [166: For a detailed analysis of how and why President Truman relieved MacArthur of command, see Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair, A General’s Life, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 627-637. See also J. Lawton Collins, War in Peacetime: The History and Lessons of Korea, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969), 269-293; Stanley Weintraub, MacArthur’s War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero, (New York: The Free Press, 2000), 325-342; and Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967), 141-159. ]
In his fifteen weeks in command, Ridgway, through his exceptional leadership, character, and powerful presence, transformed a beaten and demoralized Army into a well led, combat hardened, and effective fighting force that in just a few weeks reclaimed the initiative and over the next three months defeated every CCF army and NKPA it faced. Though both the CCF and NKPA got pushed out of South Korea by the time he was selected to replace MacArthur, Ridgway was the first to admit that the Eighth Army had not inflicted the level of casualties on the enemy he wanted to force them to the negotiations table from a position of weakness.[endnoteRef:167] [167: Stephen R. Taafe, Macarthur’s Korean War General’s, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 180-181.]
Just as important, Ridgway built a ‘team of teams’ across nearly every organization within Eighth Army to stabilize a chaotic situation and rebuild confidence in the chain-of-command. Confirming his initial assessment that the Eighth Army suffered from a lack of competent and inspiring leaders at the corps and division level, Ridgway replaced most of the tired and dejected senior commanders with energetic and aggressive offensive minded organizational leaders. Without leaders like Major Generals’ O. P. Smith, Bryant Moore, William M. Hoge, BG George Stewart, Colonel’s Mike Michaelis, and Paul Freeman the Eighth Army would never have transformed into the effective combat force it was in such a short amount of time.
Demanding excellence from his command teams, Ridgway set the conditions for the Eighth Army to develop into a proud and effective fighting force with unshakeable morale. Ridgway is one of the few operational and strategic leaders at the time who realized that killing tens of thousands of Chinese and North Korean Soldiers demonstrated the lethality of U.S. firepower and the strength of the American Soldier. By doing this, he achieved his endstate in less than four months.
The turning point of Ridgway’s efforts to rebuild the fighting spirit in the Eighth Army occurred at the battle of Chipyong-ni in mid-February 1951. When all of his subordinate commanders, from corps to battalion, wanted to withdraw the soon to be surrounded 23d RCT at Chipyong-ni, Ridgway insisted that the 23d RCT remain in place and fight. He promised his leaders that he would support them with the entire Eighth Army and air force, if need be. Under the stalwart leadership of Colonel Paul Freeman, the 23d RCT won a critical battle that convinced both allies and enemies that the Eighth Army was a much different organization than it was just four weeks previously. This battle proved to be a major turning point of the war.[endnoteRef:168] Summing up the Eighth Army’s accomplishment under Ridgway’s command, one of the U.S. Army’s Korean War historians stated: [168: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 579-580.]
Ridgway succeeded in establishing a line across the breadth of Korea, and each month that passed saw it forged more firmly. He insisted on unit contact with adjacent units and an end to gaps between units, a policy that required them to be mutually supporting. He dealt harshly with commanders who ignored this principle . . . As morale in the army increased with each small success, what became possible with Eighth Army mounted steadily, until by April 1951, it was able to face and defeat the Chinese 5th Phase Offensive. By the end of May 1951, Eighth Army had won another major battle and had counter-attacked successfully, with the enemy demoralized and suffering very heavy casualties in personnel and material.[endnoteRef:169] [169: Roy E. Appleman, Ridgway Duels for Korea, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990), 580. ]
It is only fitting that the last word on the Eighth Army’s performance in the winter of 1951 come from the CCF commander, Marshal Peng Dehuai, who commanded all Chinese units in Korea from October 1950 through July 1953. From January to April 1951, Peng was convinced that the Chinese could win the war if they could accomplish two objectives; inflict massive casualties on the Eighth Army and destroy the American’s will to fight. They accomplished neither of those objectives. “[Ridgway] identified our logistical weaknesses, and employing air and artillery attacks in limited counteroffensives devastated the ranks of the people’s volunteers. By avoiding the grandiloquent rhetoric and strategy of MacArthur, Ridgway destroyed our offensive power and prevented us from winning the war.”[endnoteRef:170] [170: Michael Schaller, Douglas MacArthur: The Far Eastern General (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 228.
Alberts, Robert C. “Profile of a Soldier: Matthew B. Ridgway,” American Heritage, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, February 1976.
Appleman, Roy E. Ridgway Duels for Korea. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990.
Barron, Leo. High Tide in the Korean War: How an Outnumbered American Regiment Defeated the Chinese at the Battle of Chipyong-ni. Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 2015.
Blair, Clay. The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953. New York: Times Books, 1987.
Bradley, Omar N. and Clay Blair. A General’s Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983.
Cleaver, Thomas McKelvey. The Frozen Chosen: The 1st Marine Division and the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2016.
Coleman, J.D. Wonju: The Gettysburg of the Korean War. Washington D.C.: Brassey’s Inc., 2000.
Collins, J. Lawton. War in Peacetime: The History and Lessons of Korea. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969.
Drohan, Brian. Imjin River 1951: Last Stand of the “Glorious Glosters.’ Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2018.
Grey, Jeffrey. The Commonwealth Armies and the Korean War. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1988.
Halberstam, David. The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. New York: Hyperion, 2007.
Hanson, Victor Davis. The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost-From Ancient Greece to Iraq. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013.
Haruki, Wada. The Korean War: The International History. Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
Hastings, Max. The Korean War. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.
Hamburger, Kenneth E. Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2003.
James, D. Clayton and Anne Sharp Wells. Refighting the Last War: Command and Crises in Korea, 1950-1953. New York: The Free Press, 1993.
Li, Xiaobing and Allan R. Millett and Bin Yu. Mao’s Generals Remember Korea. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas, 2001.
Millett, Allan R. The War for Korea, 1950-1951: They Came from the North. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2010.
Mossman, Billy C. Ebb and Flow: November 1950-July 1951. Washington D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1990.
Munroe, Clark C. The Second United States Infantry Division in Korea, 1950-1951. Tokyo: Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., ND.
Rees, David. Korea: The Limited War. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1964/
Ridgway, Matthew B. The Korean War. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967.
________. Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956.
Roe, Patrick C. The Dragon Strikes: China and the Korean War- June-December 1950. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 2000.
Schaller, Michael. Douglas MacArthur: The Far Eastern General. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Schnabel, James F. “Ridgway In Korea,” Military Review, XLIV, No. 3 (March 1964): 11.
Spurr, Russell. Enter the Dragon: China’s Undeclared War against the U.S. in Korea, 1950-1951. New York: Newmarket Press, 1988.
Taafe, Stephen R. Macarthur’s Korean War General’s. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016.
Truman, Harry S. Memoirs, Volume II. Doubleday, 1956.
Truman, Margaret. Harry S. Truman. William Morrow, 1973.
Weintraub, Stanley. MacArthur’s War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero. New York: The Free Press, 2000.
L400 CSE October 2021
Created by and for CGSC. Not to be further reproduced. Do not alter article without the express written permission of the author.
: Transition to Command
“Fighting spirit is not something that can be described or spelled out to you. An experienced commander can feel it through all his senses, in the posture, the manner, the talk, the very gestures of the men on the fighting front.” -LTG Matthew B. Ridgway
The art of command comprises the creative and skillful exercise of authority through timely decision making and leadership. -ADP 6-0
: Art of Command
Lesson Concepts Linkages
Operating in a…
Dynamic, Uncertain, Rapidly Changing Operational Environment (Complexity)
Enables continuous activities including the Operations Process…
Transition to Command
Korea 1950 Ridgway
Developing Leadership Capacity
Vietnam 1965 Moore
Arab-Israeli War 1973
Leading in Multinational Operations
Burma 1942-45 Slim
Europe 1944 Cota
Korea 1950 MacArthur
Sustaining an Ethically Aligned Organization in War
Morally Courageous Followers
The L400 Art of Command block examines the human dimension of warfighting from a commander’s perspective and focuses on the requisite cognitive, socio-cultural and ethical considerations leaders must consider to be more effective commanders. Commanders provide purpose, direction, and motivation through the Elements of Command while continuously managing Complexity operating in dynamic, uncertain, and rapidly changing Operational Environments (OE).
Commanders enable various activities (nonlinear) including the operations process to inform their Understanding and Assessment of complex problems in order to apply their Judgement, making decisions and managing risks. Commanders must be aware of and account for variables that may affect their decision making and create and foster an organizational climate and culture that enables the Mission Command to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.
25 July 2006 (Map)
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“I set the conditions for the success of my subordinates. I am the enabler and driver, not the doer.”
“I am responsible and accountable for everything that happens or fails to happen.”
What mental shift is required of a field grade taking command?
Expectations of Commanders
Adapted from Leadership in Organizations,
Sixth Edition, Chapter 7, 205.
Gary Yukl, 2006
Skill Level Required
Leading through others increased use of the art of command.
Elements of command:
Roles in the Operations Process
FM 6-0, Mission Command, September 2011 (Note: Older doctrinal reference)
Judgment…the ability to make a sound and reasonable decision based on an evaluation of evidence
Commanders make decisions using judgment acquired from experience, training, study, imagination and critical and creative thinking. Experience contributes to judgment by providing a basis for rapidly identifying practical courses of action and dismissing impractical ones.
Commanders apply their judgment to:
– Identify, accept, and mitigate risk
– Delegate authority
– Prioritize resources
– Use of the staff
ADP 6-0, para 2-30 and 2-32
31 July 2019
How a Commander Solves Problems and Improves the Organization
Assess the Organization
Ensure a Supportive Climate
Create a Culture of Learning
Identify Developmental Needs
Align Learning Opportunities
Engage in Meaning Making
Continually Assess Learning
Explain the commander’s role in developing others; setting the climate, identifying the need and ensuring an effective program is in place for their unit.
2. Explain the role of experience in developmental learning; (experience is tied to meaning making) and
3. Explain the process of meaning making.
: Developing Leadership Capacity
The relationship between cause and effect can only be perceived in retrospect
The realm of
No relationship between cause and effect at the systems level
The realm of
The relationship between cause is obvious to all
The realm of
The relationship between cause and effect requires analysis or some other form of investigation and / or the application of expert knowledge
The realm of
A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making
Clear relationship between “cause and effect “ but not everyone can see it
Multiple right answers
This approach is not easy and often requires experts
Clear “cause and effect “linkages
Assess the facts, categorize them, base response on established practices
Leaders must immediately stop the bleeding
Act to establish order
Sense where stability is present and where absent
Respond by working to transfer to a more workable domain
At least one right answer exists, but right answers cannot be ferreted out
We understand why things are happening but only in retrospect
* From “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making,” Nov 07 HBR
Beware the CLIFF!
Causality vs. Correlation
Causality = The relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is the consequence of the first.
Correlation = A complementary relationship when an event is likely to have an impact on a second event, it is not causal, but it looks similar.
Cause and Effect
Although establishing cause and effect is sometimes difficult, it is crucial to effective assessment. Sometimes, establishing causality between actions and their effects can be relatively straightforward, such as in observing a bomb destroy a bridge. In other instances, especially regarding changes in human behavior, attitudes, and perception, establishing links between cause and effect proves difficult. Commanders and staffs must guard against drawing erroneous conclusions in these instances.
Use Caution When Establishing Cause and Effect
Note: Para 5-25, ADRP 5-0 (Old reference used because
this important point is not described in the new ADP 5-0 (2019)
A system exists when there is a number of components that exist together and interact within a closed boundary that separates it from the external environment, utilizes inputs from the environment and then produces outputs, or feedback, to the environment for some different purpose. (Dettmer, 2011)
“In simplest terms, systems thinking is a way of seeing and talking about reality that helps us better understand and work with systems to influence the quality of our lives” (Kim, 1999) by understanding the whole and not only the individual components that are inside the boundary of a system.
Kim, Daniel (1999). Introduction to Systems Thinking. Obtained from https://thesystemsthinker.com/introduction-to-systems-thinking/, 15 Aug 2021.
Dettmer, William H. (2011). Systems Thinking and the Cynefin Framework: A Strategic Approach to Managing Complex Systems. Goal Systems International.
What is systems thinking?
What is a system?
How does cause and effect relate to Commander’s Visualization?
Should a commander consider correlation as more important than cause and effect?
Complete Commander’s Visualization
“Commander’s visualization [is] the mental process of developing situational understanding, determining a desired end state, and envisioning an operational approach by which the force will achieve that end state.”
ADP 6-0, Para. 2-68, 31 July 2019
: Commander’s Visualization
Photo of MG Norman D. Cota, Cota Collection, Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.
Situational Understanding Challenges:
Timeliness and accuracy of information
Status of operational and mission variables
Commander’s location on the battlefield
Collaboration of (or lack of) between commanders
Level of critical thinking and creative thinking
Complexity of the environment
Experience (or lack thereof) of the commander
Judgment of the commander and its influence on decision-making
Competence of commanders and staff members
Command climate – functional relationships
The commanders ability to envision an endstate
Shared vision between senior and subordinate commanders
Identify, mitigate and accept risk
Alignment of organizational systems, processes, and behaviors
A process to move from current to the desired future stage…
The Judgment “So What?”
Choice Points: “Internal” Adjustment Decisions
Do I have situational awareness?
Do I have the necessary experience?
Have I questioned anomalies in my pattern recognition?
What are my cognitive biases and paradigms?
Do I understand the operational (PMESII-PT) and mission (METT-TC) variables?
Have I questioned my use of assumptions?
Do I understand cause & effect relationships? (faulty assumptions)
Do I know what I don’t know? (missing assumptions: known unknowns vs. unknown unknowns)
Leaders must question their thinking
Leading In Multi-National Operations
L421: Complexity – Review
1. Explain the challenges of determining cause and effect relationships in modern warfare (correlation vs. causation)
2. Explain sense making in complexity; and
3. Explain how decision making frameworks assist commanders.
Cynefid frame work
The Cultural “Onion”
Cultures and Organizations, Hofstede & Hofstede, Figure 1-2, p. 7
The visible part of Culture…
While the practices are visible to an outsider…
the true cultural meaning remains invisible and lies in how they those practices are interpreted by insiders.
Words, gestures, pictures, clothes
(Cars, Uniforms, etc.)
People…real or imaginary
(family members, athletes, Superman.)
Essential in a culture…
greetings, ways of showing respect, religious ceremonies
Both conscious and unconscious…
cannot be observed
Explain types of culture (national, regional, religious, ethnic, generational, gender, social, and organizational), visible vs. not visible (values)
Symbols are superficial—easily copied and adopted. Provide IPOD example of Morocco terrorist in 2004 Madrid train bombing.
Heroes provide characteristics that are highly priced in a society and are modeled.
Rituals are collective activities such as greetings and religion.
What can you influence in the cultural “onion”? Practices can be easily influenced through compliance-focused methods but 2d/3d order effects can be unexpected if cultural implications of the practices are not understood (denying Korans for example). The challenge people outside a societal culture have is with interpreting the meaning of visible practices.
Hofstede’s Six Dimensions of Culture
Power Distance Index (higher indicates greater dependence on authority)
Individualism Index (higher indicates greater personal reliance and individual initiative)
Masculinity Index (higher indicates clarity of gender roles…empathy)
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (higher indicates intolerance of ambiguity)
Long-Term Orientation (higher indicates focus on future goals…failure is the result of lack of effort)
Indulgence vs. Restraint
(higher indicates greater feelings of control over personal happiness… internal locus of control)
Hofstede’s Dimensions vs. Military Culture
*Chapter 1 of TO-TR-HFM-120, by Brian McKee, Angela R. Febbraro, and Sharon L. Riedel
The results demonstrate that a supranational culture exists in the military.
This supranational military culture is more collectivistic, more hierarchical, and less salary-driven than the average civilian working culture.
The consequence is that military personnel of different origins can often function and get along without too many problems.
There is one other powerful tool coalition leaders have that we discussed in our change lesson. It is the lesson William Bratton used when he reshaped the culture of the NYPD: You gain commitment and implement change by first embracing existing shared values/underlying assumptions within the culture (you work within the existing culture to change the culture).
Display during discussion of Hofstede’s Dimensions of National and Military Culture. This is also from the Reading A (RTO-TR-HFM-120, chapter 1, page 1-6 through 1-9).
According to McKee, Febbraro and Riedel in their NATO study (Reading A, RTO-TR-HFM-120, chapter 1), militaries the world over share some common elements, beliefs and ideas; however, this should not imply that all military cultures are the same, a notion that may have influenced the lack of preparations for multinational operations in the past. Remember, military cultures also derive from the purpose or tasks for which a society raises its military.
Three Levels of Uniqueness in Mental Programming
(patterns of thinking, feeling, & acting)
Inherited (fear, anger,
Specific to group
Learned (much acquired in
learned (think MBTI)
Cultures and Organizations, Hofstede & Hofstede, Figure 1-1, p. 4
“We know that identifying values in other cultures is extremely difficult. Hofstede provides a planning tool with his five dimensions. Another viable option, base on our knowledge of power and influence, is the use of personal relationships.”
Given what we have discussed all year about personal power, how viable or accurate is this paradigm?
Our patterns of thinking feeling, and acting—our behavior—are acquired through birth and through external experiences, the majority of which are learned at an early age. Hofstede breaks these into three major categories—personality, culture, and human nature.
Personality: Unique personal set of mental programs based on traits partly inherited within the individual’s unique set of genes and partly learned.
Influence: When a leader attempts to apply commitment-focused influence, he typically focuses on the character attributes and behavioral traits of followers—their personality. From a Myers-Briggs perspective, this means appealing to the way they think, feel, sense, and intuit.
The most obvious is language. If a leader works through an interpreter for example, the ability to make a personal connection with the other party is greatly reduced.
Another danger is falling victim to egocentric behavior. We often overestimate our abilities to judge others and confuse collegial behavior with meaningful progress in relationship building. Establishing trust in a relationship requires understanding the motives, interests, and values that others hold dear, not simply being on good speaking terms.
Culture: Collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others.
Influence: Culture is manifested through visible practices and underlying core values. Core values are learned at a very early age while practices are acquired later in life. From an influencing perspective, values are extremely difficult to change while practices, especially those that are more superficial, are not as stable and can be influenced.
Pitfalls: We tend to view culture in isolation. Hofstede’s pyramid teaches us that culture is a web of core values that interlace with human nature and personality. All three work in unison to shape our mental programming and drive our behavior and actions.
Human Nature: What all human beings have in common; the universal level of one’s software inherited within one’s genes (such as fear, anger, love, joy, sadness, and shame).
Influence: Hofstede’s perspective on human nature is based on Maslow’s motivation theory, which says all people share basic common needs for survival, love, and belonging at the lowest levels of his hierarchy. This is an area ripe for compliance-focused influence, especially the techniques of pressure and exchange to gain short-term changes in behavior.
Pitfall: Often times we confuse culture with human nature. Because many fundamental beliefs transcend all societies—love of family for example—we mistakenly assume we share the same value system.
Is it common for nations to have different political goals within a multi-national force today?
Can we overcome political differences and still influence the forces within a multi-national force by appealing to a shared value (purpose) of destroying evil in the world?
Should we attempt to instill US Army values among a multi-national force?
Open-ended questions to add relevance and currency between the case and modern times.
Syllabus and Book of Readings
Contains Advance Sheets and Readings
L400: Art of Command
Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC)
Advanced Operations Course (AOC)
CGSC AY 2021–2022
DEPARTMENT OF COMMAND AND LEADERSHIP
US ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS 66027-2301
This publication contains copyrighted material and may not be reproduced without permission.
US ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE
US Army Command and General Staff School
Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) Advanced Operations Course (AOC)
L400: Art of Command
L400: Art of Command
Block Advance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………………………………………L400BAS-1
L411: Transition to Command
L411RA: Ridgway Takes Command……………………………………………………………………………………L411RA-13
L411RB: ADP 6-0 Mission Command, Chapter 2 Excerpt……………………………………………………..L411RB-26
L411RC: ADP 5-0 The Operations Process, Chapter 5 Excerpt………………………………………………L411RC-39
L412: Developing Leadership Capacity
L412RA: A Framework for Leadership Development……………………………………………………………..L412RA-52
L412RB: 2018 CASL Survey Results………………………………………………………………L412RB-59
L412RC: Adaptive Leadership Harold G. “Hal” Moore…………………………………………………………..L412RC-67
L412ORA Review Reading: The Learning Organization Primer…………………………………………….L412ORA-76
L421RA: Systems Thinking and the Cynefin Framework………………………………………………………L421RA-91
L421RB: Strategic Surprise or Fundamental Flaw?……………………………………………………………….L421RB-119
L421RC: An Autocracy at War…………………………………………………………………………………………..L421RC-131
L421RD: Leadership and System Thinking………………………………………………………………………….L421RC-151
L422: Leading Multi-National Operations
L422RA: Slim in Burma…………………………………………………………………………………………………….L422RA-160
L422RB: TO-TR-HFM 120 Chapter 1…………………………………………………………………………………L422RB-170
L422RC: TO-TR-HFM 120 Chapter 3…………………………………………………………………………………L422RC-180
L422RD: Dimensionalizing Cultures……………………………………………………………………………………L422RD-203
L422ORA: Higher Command in War………………………………………………………………………………..L422ORA-220
L431: Commanders Visualization
L431RA: ADP 6-0 Chapter 2 Exerpt……………………………………………………………………………………L431RA-238
L431RB: MG Cota and the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest………………………………………………………..L431RB-251
L431RC: Zero Defects……………………………………………………………………………………………………….L431RC-265
L431RRA: ADP 6-0 Chapter 2 Exerpt……………………………………………………………………………….L431RRA-275
L432: Decision Making
L432RA: Defeat from Victory………………………………………………………………………………………….L432RA-285
L432RB: What Were You Thinking?……………………………………………………………………………….L432RB-309
L432RC: ADP 6-0 Chapter 2 Exerpt…………………………………………………………………………………L432RC-315
L432ORA: General MacArthur Biography………………………………………………………………………..L432ORA-317
L432ORB: Various Biographies……………………………………………………………………………………….L432ORB-323
L441: Sustaining an Ethically Aligned Organization in War
L441RA: The Fall of the Warrior King………………………………………………………………………………..L441RA-336
L441RB: Peers Report……………………………………………………………………………………………………….L441RB-351
L441RC: ADP 6-22 Chapter 2 Extract…………………………………………………………………………………L441RC-362
L441RD: The Darker Side of the Force……………………………………………………………………………….L441RD-364
L441RE: What Makes People do Bad Things……………………………………………………………………….L441RE-371
L442: Morally Courageous Followers
L442RA: Moral Courage and Intelligent Disobedience………………………………………………………….L442RA-378
L442RB: Rethinking Followership……………………………………………………………………………………..L442RB-385
L442RC: Darker Shades of Blue…………………………………………………………………………………………L442RC-386
L442RD: ADP 6-22 Chapter 2 Extract…………………………………………………………………………………L441RC-407
Note on page numbering methodology: In addition to the regular numeric sequencing of all pages
throughout this book found after the dash, all pages have alpha character content identifiers preceding the
R—Reading, preceded by alpha sequence letter within a given lesson
RR—Review reading, preceded by alpha sequence letter within a given lesson
OR—Optional reading, preceded by alpha sequence letter within a given lesson
AP—Appendix, preceded by alpha sequence letter within a given lesson
CS—Case study, preceded by alpha sequence letter within a given lesson
****The same readings are in both the student section of Blackboard and this document. Because of this duality, most
readings in this book do not have graphics, maps, footnotes, or endnotes to make it easier to read on cellphones and
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Block Advance Sheet and Readings
US ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE
US Army Command and Staff School
Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) AOC
L400: Art of Command
L400 Block Advance Sheet
Art of Command
The L400: Art of Command block, within the Advance Operations Course (AOC), examines
organizational leadership from a commander’ perspective. Effective field grade leaders understand how
commanders exercise the elements of command, view problems, make decisions, and manage risk (unifying
themes of the block) in complex environments so you, staff officer and/or subordinate commander, can
provide viable recommendations to accomplish the mission.
The Art of Command focuses on the human dimension of warfighting—the cognitive, social, cultural,
and ethical factors field grade leaders must understand to be more effective in exercising command.
Commanders face ambiguous, complex problems in dynamic, uncertain environments. These factors
challenge the commander’s ability to gain situational understanding and make sound decisions. These factors
also challenge commanders to provide purpose, direction, and motivation to subordinates, while ensuring the
organization has a healthy, ethically aligned culture. L400 analyzes these challenges and examines strategies
(approaches) commanders can use to overcome them.
Like L100: Developing Organizations and Leaders, the Art of Command lessons use historical case
studies to illustrate the challenges organizational-level commanders face. You examine commanders in large-
scale combat operations from World War II to contemporary conflicts. In all cases, leaders faced uncertainty,
complexity, physical and psychological stress, and ethical ambiguity. How leaders responded to those
situations is instructive for today’s field grade leaders and commanders.
By design, the eight lessons (16 hours) are concurrent and integrated with AOC modules 1-4. We expect
you to incorporate and apply the ideas, concepts, and theories from the leadership lessons into other AOC
classes and exercises. Additionally, the L400: Art of Command block contributes to three long-term
outcomes: improving critical thinking, improving as a lifelong learner, and learning from experience through
meaning making. You conclude L400 with a better appreciation of organizational leadership, a fuller
understanding of the commander’s perspective, and are better prepared to self-reflect on your strengths and
weaknesses as an organizational leader.
Note: The slide above illustrates the logic of the Art of Command unifying themes:
Go to Table of Contents
L411: Transition to Command (2 hours). This lesson examines the mental transition required to assume
command and how commanders exercise the art of command through the Elements of Command. This
transition requires leaders to acknowledge, understand, and manage greater expectations in exercising
authority and accepting responsibility for their organization as a commander.
L412: Developing Leadership Capacity (2 hours). This lesson examines the third pillar of leadership
development: how commanders accomplish leadership development in the operational domain. The lesson
focuses on the commander’s development of organizational leadership capacity while also addressing the
individual leader’s development. The goal of leadership capacity within the organization is to enhance
combat power through setting conditions and enabling the meaning making cycle for subordinates.
L421: Complexity (2 hours). This lesson examines the challenges of command within the complexities of
war. Commanders must determine cause and effect relationships between people, events, and outcomes in
dynamic, uncertain and rapidly changing operational environments (OE) while assessing changes in the
environment. Based upon their understanding, commanders develop problem solving approaches to address
unexpected or changing conditions of the OE to enable mission success.
L422: Leading Multinational Operations (2 hours). This lesson examines the challenges and complexities
of command within a multinational context. The most effective commanders not only understand the
dynamics within large military organizations (climate, culture, ethics, etc.) but also the social, emotional and
cultural implications when working with multinational partners in order to leverage available capabilities to
accomplish the mission.
L431: Commander’s Visualization (2 hours). This lesson examines how commanders drive the operations
process to achieve situational understanding through continuous assessment to inform their visualization of
operations in time and space so they can describe their approach and manage risk to achieve the endstate.
L432: Decision Making (2 hours). This lesson examines the dynamics of decision making within the
context of modern warfare. Commanders must understand and account for the variables (internal/external)
that may influence and affect their judgment and decision making while managing risk and enabling mission
L441: Sustaining an Ethically Aligned Organization in War (2 hours). This lesson examines the
importance of why commanders must constantly assess their ethical climate and culture to ensure ethical
alignment of the organization while conducting operations and to prevent unethical conduct in war.
L442: Morally Courageous Followers (2 hours). This lesson examines the concepts of moral courage and
followership within the context of a commander establishing standards and maintaining a healthy
organizational command climate and culture that fosters and enables moral courage while holding people
accountable for their actions.
2. LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Prerequisite learning objective- TLO-CC-1: Analyze the commander’s role in leading battalion and
larger units in modern warfare.
Action: Incorporate effective communication skills.
Condition: Given adequate time in an academic course, a requirement to communicate using the Universal
Intellectual Standards, and access to graduate level resources.
Standard: Communication includes –
1. Write effectively
2. Speak effectively
3. Listen effectively
a. Listens, reads, and watches intently.
b. Recognizes significant content, emotion, and urgency in others.
c. Uses verbal and nonverbal means to reinforce with the speaker that you are paying attention.
d. Reflects on new information before expressing views.
Learning Domain: Cognitive Level of Learning: Synthesis
Action: Analyze the commander’s role in leading battalion and larger units in modern warfare.
Condition: As a field grade leader at the organizational level (commander’s perspective) operating within
complex, ambiguous, and unstructured environments applying the art of command and the principles of
Mission Command, using doctrinal references, readings, case studies, class discussions, and block
Standard: Analysis includes−
1. Explain the transition to command at brigade and larger units.
a. Explain the mental transitions a commander must make when taking command.
b. Explain how a commander solves problems and improves the organization; and
c. Explain how a commander uses the elements of command.
2. Explain the leadership development process in the operational domain.
a. Explain the commander’s role in developing others.
b. Explain the role of experience in developmental learning; and
c. Explain the process of meaning making.
3. Explain how the challenges of determining cause and effect influence situational understanding and
a. Explain the challenges of determining cause and effect relationships in modern warfare.
b. Explain sense making in complexity.
c. Explain how decision-making frameworks assist commanders.
4. Explain how a commander successfully commands in multi-national operations.
a. Explain the significance of shared values in multi-national operations.
b. Explain the significance of cross-cultural awareness and understanding in the operations process
c. Explain the role of the transformational and transcultural leader in commanding multinational
5. Explain how a commander achieves “commander’s visualization” during the conduct of major
a. Explain the relationship between situational understanding and commander’s visualization.
b. Explain the challenges of achieving situational understanding as part of the commander’s
c. Explain the linkage between understanding, decision-making, and risk.
6. Analyze the influences on a commander’s decision-making.
a. Analyze how psychological traps affect decision-making.
b. Analyze the impact of experience on decision-making; and
c. Analyze how judgment affects decision-making and risk management.
7. Analyze the commander’s role in leading ethical organizations.
a. Analyze the commander’s obligation to sustain an ethically disciplined command climate.
b. Analyze the factors that contribute to an unethical command climate.
c. Analyze the consequences of unethical behavior within an organization
8. Analyze how an organizational leader applies followership to improve the organization.
a. Analyze the responsibilities of effective followers.
b. Analyze how power (position and personal) affects the demonstration of moral courage.
c. Analyze how commanders create a climate for subordinates to demonstrate moral courage.
Learning Domain: Cognitive Level of Learning: Analysis
PLO Attributes Supported: 1 Strategic Thinking and Communication
a. Independently research and critically evaluate information.
b. Comprehend context of the situation
c. Create meaning from information and data.
d. Creatively design or revise concepts and ideas.
e. Communicate concepts with clarity and precision in written, graphical, and oral forms.
f. Compose complete and well-supported arguments.
g. Apply critical and creative thinking
PLO Attributes Supported: 2 The Profession of Arms
a. Apply ethics, norms, and laws of the profession.
b. Apply knowledge and commitment to strengthen warfighting.
c. Apply interpersonal skills, leadership, and followership.
d. Meet organizational-level challenges.
e. Demonstrate commitment to develop further expertise in the art and science of war as life-long learners.
f. Demonstrate commitment to study beyond their own service’s competencies.
3. MODULE ASSESSMENT PLAN: Your instructor assesses you on the learning objectives of each
lesson. You demonstrate the achievement of the TLO associated with the leadership lessons through your
written communication in the L400 Essay exam and your contribution to group learning in the classroom.
Your instructor assesses your performance using the standards defined in CGSC Bulletin No. 903, dated 12
February 2021 and CGSS Policy Memorandum No. 10 dated 20 November 2019.
Contribution to group learning (40%): Contribution in AOC builds upon the behaviors and skills you
developed in L100. Contribution to group learning is an important part of learning and is different from
participation. Participation is simply sharing and taking part in, while contribution is thoughtful, relevant,
concise, and helps the group construct and advance knowledge. Your ability to present your point of view
in a clear and logical manner and evaluate, defend, or adjust it based on comments and insights from others is
an essential skill for commanders and other organizational-level leaders. As a rule, the quality of your
contribution effort weighs more than the volume or frequency of your responses.
Instructors assess your individual contribution to group learning along four broad categories:
Preparation before class, Participation in class activities, Contribution to class, and Contribution to
group learning (refer to Appendix A for specific criteria for each category). The criteria for this assessment
is behavioral based; you must exhibit the behaviors in class to achieve excellence in the category. As part of
this assessment, you conduct a self-assessment using the contribution to group learning rubric.
Approximately half way through the leadership lessons in AOC, you turn in this self-assessment to your
instructor and your instructor returns the form later, providing feedback on how well you contribute to
learning. This form also serves as a tool to facilitate discussion about your contribution to learning in order to
help you achieve the learning objectives.
Essay exam (60%): The essay exam is an analytical essay consisting of 10-12 pages (2500-3000 words),
in which you assess the application of L400 concepts by various commanders from a historical case study.
You must discuss a minimum of four of the eight concepts discussed in the L400 curriculum. Non-MOS
Option: Eligible students who receive written approval from the Dean of Academics complete a 5-6 page
(1300-1500 words) analytical essay on two directed concepts of the eight concepts discussed in the L400
curriculum. Individuals disqualified from earning the Masters of Operational Studies (MOS) by
receiving a TRI “C” grade” in any course complete the longer version of the essay. The exam and case
study are available in your first AOC leadership lesson (L411) on the date indicated on the class schedule.
This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the concepts associated with TLOs 9 and 10. You
submit your exam through Blackboard on the date specified on the class schedule.
Assessment Instrument Method
Assessment Instrument/Method Essay Exam Contribution to Group Learning
Incorporate effective communication skills. X X
Analyze the commander’s role in leading
battalion and larger units in modern warfare.
Explain the transition to command at brigade
and larger units
Explain the leadership development process
in the operational domain
Explain how the challenges of determining
cause and effect influence situational
understanding and decision-making
Explain how a commander successfully
commands in multi-national operations
Explain how a commander achieves
“commander’s visualization” during the
conduct of major operations
Analyze the influences on a commander’s
Analyze the commander’s role in leading
Analyze how an organizational leader
applies followership to improve the
ISSUE MATERIAL: None. All material available on Blackboard
ADDITIONAL COURSE REQUIREMENTS: None.
Name: Date: Staff Group #:
Contribution to Group Learning
This form provides an opportunity for you to assess your contributions to your staff group learning
environment. The behaviors associated with contribution to group learning correspond to the critical
thinking skills and behaviors required for success as an organizational level leader in developing ethical
organizations that achieve results. You should consider the characterization of your contributions across
all lessons when completing this assessment, not a single instance or just one class. As part of your self-
assessment, consider your individual preparation for class, your participation in class, and how this
participation contributed to the learning of others. Using the following criteria, assess how well you
contributed to the learning environment:
Preparation before Class
I prepared for discussion by reading the assigned materiel
I completed the associated case study worksheet and note taking assistant for the lesson
Participation in Class Activities
My comments demonstrated an understanding of the readings, case study, and advance sheet
I contributed comments that demonstrated thought and reflection
I provided evidence or support for my positions drawing valid conclusions and using sound logic and reasoning
I demonstrated breadth and depth of understanding and analysis of the subject matter by my comments
I did not dominate the discussion and my comments encouraged others’ involvement
Contribution in Class
My comments responded to or built logically on those of others (Emotional Intelligence-Social Awareness)
I helped the group build a reasonable line of thought; synthesizing readings and personal experience in class
dialogue (Emotional Intelligence-Social Awareness and Relationship Management)
My comments and questions demonstrated an understanding and synthesis of the major ideas of the class
My comments and questions demonstrated an understanding of the organizational perspective
Contribution to Group Learning
My comments and questions made others consider their existing mental models and assumptions
(Emotional Intelligence-Social Awareness)
My questions and comments reveal an ability to reflect on my own mental models and assumptions
I respectfully challenged others’ ideas, perspectives, and beliefs, promoting dialogue and a positive
classroom environment which contributed to group learning (Emotional Intelligence-Self-Management,
My comments and questions considered the ideas, beliefs, and viewpoints of other students (Emotional
Intelligence-Social Awareness, Relationship Management)
I facilitated discussions in the group with comments and questions while ensuring all other students had an
equal voice (Emotional Intelligence-Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship
“A” Consistently met or exceeded the above criteria
“B” Occasionally met the above criteria
“C” Rarely met the above criteria
“U” Often failed to meet the above criteria
After reviewing the criteria above, I assess my overall performance at this grade:
Assess what three students contributed most to your learning during the leadership lessons.
(DO NOT WRITE BELOW THIS LINE)
Instructor Assessment: _____________
Instructor Comments and Feedback:
The Art of Command
US ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE
US Army Command and General Staff School
Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) Advanced Operations Course (AOC)
L400: The Art of Command/Module I: Deployment Operations
Advance Sheet for L411
Transition to Command
L411 introduces the leadership lessons in the Advanced Operations Course (AOC) by examining the art
of command and how command is distinctly different from other responsibilities an officer faces. Army
policy asserts “commanders are responsible for all their unit does or fails to do.” What does this really
mean and what are the implications? What accounts for the unique challenges of command and how do
leaders address these challenges? L411 addresses these questions while examining three aspects of
command; developing an understanding of the mental shift required of a leader assuming command, how
commanders solve problems to accomplish the mission and improve the organization, and how
commanders apply judgment when assessing an organization. As you consider these areas, you also
examine the differing roles of a commander and staff officer. While both officers accomplish the mission
and improve the organization, the expectations of commanders are greater. These greater expectations
distinguish the responsibilities of command from those of a staff officer and create the proverbial
‘burden’ of command.
The case study for this lesson is about a leader taking command of an organization in crisis while
conducting large-scale combat operations during the Korean War. Specifically, we analyze the actions of
LTG Matthew B. Ridgway upon assuming command of Eighth Army in December 1950. This case is an
opportunity to examine what it means to exercise the art of command. Ridgway provides an example of a
leader successfully commanding a large organization during large-scale ground combat operations while
contending with the complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty of a dynamic operating environment.
As a result of this lesson, you achieve a solid understanding of the mental transition an organizational
leader makes when assuming command, how the elements of command support applying the art of
command, and how a commander uses judgment to solve problems and assess an organization.
2. LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Prerequisite learning objective- TLO-CC-1: Analyze organizational concepts used to lead in
This lesson supports TLO-AOC-10: Analyze the commander’s role in leading battalion and larger
units in modern warfare, as listed in the L400 …
Top of Form
This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of the leadership concepts associated with the learning objectives of this course, specifically TLO-AOC-10: Analyze the commander’s role in leading battalion and larger units in modern warfare. . Your answer must be no less than 10 and no more than 12 pages (2500-3000 words), double-spaced, use 12-point Arial Font, and standard 1 inch margins.
Distinguished /Exceptional (100 – 97)
Superior /Outstanding to Excellent (96.9 – 90)
Meets Standards / Very Good to Satisfactory (89.9 – 80)
Does not meet Standard/ Marginal (79.9 – 70)
Unsatisfactory (69.9 – 0)
Understanding of the Art of Command Applies four L400 concepts to answer the question.
Points Range:53.35 (53.35%) – 55 (55.00%)
Expert analysis using four L400 concepts. Demonstrates expert (deep and nuanced) understanding of selected concepts. Applies the learning objective standards associated with the selected concepts.
Points Range:49.5 (49.50%) – 52.8 (52.80%)
Advanced analysis using four L400 concepts. Demonstrates advanced (thorough) understanding of selected concepts. Applies the learning objective standards associated with the selected concepts.
Points Range:44 (44.00%) – 48.95 (48.95%)
Basic analysis using four L400 concepts. Demonstrates basic understanding of the main ideas of the selected concepts. Applies the learning objective standards associated with the selected concepts with few omissions.
Points Range:38.5 (38.50%) – 43.45 (43.45%)
Limited analysis of the case using four L400 concepts or analysis includes fewer than four concepts. Misapplies or omits some main ideas from the selected concepts. Applies the learning objective standards associated with the selected concepts with many omissions.
Points Range:0 (0.00%) – 37.95 (37.95%)
Poor analysis of the case using fewer than four L400 concepts. Misapplies or omits most or all of the main ideas from the selected concepts. Applies few or no learning objective standards associated with the selected concepts.
Uses specific examples to support Analysis.
Points Range:24.25 (24.25%) – 25 (25.00%)
Provides multiple compelling and thorough examples from the case for each of the four selected concepts and standards. Answer is comprehensive and demonstrates extensive depth and breadth.
Points Range:22.5 (22.50%) – 24 (24.00%)
Provides multiple credible examples from the case for some of the four selected concepts and standards. Answer is complete and demonstrates substantial depth and breadth.
Points Range:20 (20.00%) – 22.25 (22.25%)
Provides one or more plausible examples from the case for each of the four selected concepts and standards. Answer is complete and demonstrates adequate depth and breadth.
Points Range:17.5 (17.50%) – 19.75 (19.75%)
Does not provide at least one example for each of the four selected concepts or provides examples that are not plausible evidence of the selected concept. Answer is shallow and/or lacks breadth.
Points Range:0 (0.00%) – 17.25 (17.25%)
Provides few or no examples, or irrelevant examples, for the selected concepts. Answer is incomplete and has no depth.
Critical Thinking/Logic (Compose complete and well supported arguments)
Points Range:9.7 (9.70%) – 10 (10.00%)
Analysis shows how the selected examples demonstrate and support the selected concepts using exceptional logic and reasoning
Points Range:9 (9.00%) – 9.6 (9.60%)
Analysis shows how the selected examples demonstrate and support the selected concepts using sound logic and reasoning with a few minor flaws.
Points Range:8 (8.00%) – 8.9 (8.90%)
Analysis shows how the selected examples demonstrate the selected concepts using mostly sound logic and reasoning with some flaws.
Points Range:7 (7.00%) – 7.9 (7.90%)
Analysis shows how only some of the selected examples demonstrate the selected concepts due to major flaws in logic and reasoning.
Points Range:0 (0.00%) – 6.9 (6.90%)
Analysis Fails to show how the selected examples demonstrate the selected concepts due to serious flaws in, or absence of, logic and reasoning.
Composition (Includes Organization and Correctness)
Points Range:4.85 (4.85%) – 5 (5.00%)
Introduction, main body, and conclusion effective and clearly delineated. Writing is nearly free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Paper is properly formatted. Sources are properly cited in the correct format.
Points Range:4.5 (4.50%) – 4.8 (4.80%)
Introduction, main body, and conclusion mostly effective and clearly delineated. Writing is mostly free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Paper is properly formatted. Sources are properly cited in the correct format with few errors.
Points Range:4 (4.00%) – 4.45 (4.45%)
Introduction, main body, and conclusion effective and present. Writing is generally free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Paper has minor formatting errors. Sources are properly cited with some formatting errors.
Points Range:3.5 (3.50%) – 3.95 (3.95%)
Introduction, main body, and conclusion muddled or ineffective. Writing has spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors that detract from understanding. Paper has major formatting errors. Sources are properly cited with major formatting errors.
Points Range:0 (0.00%) – 3.45 (3.45%)
Introduction, main body, or conclusion missing. Writing has excessive spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors that inhibit understanding. Paper has major formatting errors. Sources are improperly cited or uncited.
Points Range:4.85 (4.85%) – 5 (5.00%)
An effortless, and inviting, read. Prose (Language) is simple, clear, and concise. Word use is precise and appropriate. Tone is appropriate for academic writing.
Points Range:4.5 (4.50%) – 4.8 (4.80%)
Easy to read. Prose (Language) is simple and clear. Word use is appropriate. Tone is appropriate for academic writing with few deviations.
Points Range:4 (4.00%) – 4.45 (4.45%)
Prose (Langauge) is straightforward and understandable with some awkwardness. Word use is generally appropriate with some lack of precision. Tone is appropriate for academic writing with occasional deviations
Points Range:3.5 (3.50%) – 3.95 (3.95%)
Requires multiple readings to understand. Prose (Language) is difficult to understand. Word use is frequently inappropriate and lacks precision. Tone is inappropriate for academic writing.
Points Range:0 (0.00%) – 3.45 (3.45%)
Prose (Language) is difficult to understand even after multiple readings. Word use is confusing. Tone is unprofessional or offensive.
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