It's crazy to think that China and the US directly duked it out and that Russia and the US never actually directly fought each other.
The US and USSR did directly fight each other in the air. Though it wasnt disclosed until after the fall of the USSR, US F-86 sabres did in fact fight Soviet pilots, piloting Mig-15's in the air over Korea.
..and those border wars are such an interesting topic! yet no documentaries exist sadly. I recall one of the biggest battles were fought over a crappy little island or peninsula like 2 km long and half kilometer wide with not even grass on it. (cant recall the name of the island, but it was the name of the conflict too) The most fascinating part was when the soviet commander's (?) tank was disabled and there was a mad battle to capture the tank, like a victory flag... in the end the chinese took the tank and it still sits in a museum somewhere
Thanks! You guys are faster than wikipedia :)
谢谢! 你们比维基百科快多了 :)
America chose to lose to the Chinese. We have North Korea now.
Edit:I’m sort of shocked that people disagree. It was obviously a massive and pathetic failure of a war. We allowed China to win the war when we were way stronger. MacArthur was right, which is obvious in hindsight. Do you people think surrendering to the Chinese at the DMZ was a good outcome?How is that not an utter failure? Now North Korea is a huge problem. Meanwhile China didn’t even have nukes. So pathetic to lose that war against the Chinese.
I agree if they stopped at 38th China would have stayed out.
But don’t you think if the US wanted to they could have sacrificed more/spent more to take all of Korea? Considering the power imbalance.
I don't think so. The power imbalance was extreme at the beginning and the delivery of Soviet weaponry was delayed, but by late 1952 and certainly by early to mid-1953 it was pretty clear that the PVA was beginning to achieve near-parity with UN forces at least in terms of land-based firepower (e.g. artillery, tanks, etc.) while the logistical issues that plagued the PVA at the beginning were gradually being sorted in mid-1951 and were far less of an issue (but still one nonetheless) by the time the war ended. Air cover was also increased as the number of planes in the PLAAF (and the pilots trained to fly the MiGs) gradually grew, in which air cover was no longer just provided to around the Yalu.
Even if the Soviets did not eventually get involved, as the war dragged on the initial disadvantages the PVA had would slowly become less of a factor. Yes the US could have sacrificed and spent more, and so could China. It was viewed by China as an existential threat if the war was lost, and honestly they did not need to convince the average person in China into believing that. Mao had openly stated the intent to stay at war indefinitely, and that it was up to the current US president, if not then the future US presidents, to decide when the war should end.
For how long would the war last for the US to finally defeat the PVA? I don't know, because I am of the opinion that if the US did not defeat the PVA decisively before 1956 or so, then the balance would have shifted enough such that the PVA could have started to slowly push south again. Only instead of light infantry leading the charge, it would probably be led by a spearhead of brand-new T-54s and under the air cover of MiG-17s. It is more probable that the US would have proposed a ceasefire before this scenario ever got to materialize.
I’m not sure how it will work itself out. Yes no doubt USSR was bigger threat. But we let our obsession with the USSR blind us to the geopolitical gains we could have achieved in Korea. I think there was a window of opportunity to take the north without WW3. You’re saying China was next target after USSR? My understanding is that the US was so focused on USSR that they supported China. Every Chinese leader since, has been overly paranoid about the US wanting to overthrow them when actually the US supported China in huge ways.
But I agree with much of what you said. I guess a stalemate was inevitable.
By China being the next target, I am referring to that there would no longer be a geopolitical purpose of the PRC to the West after the USSR dissolved. Of course the next target would be the PRC itself, as the temporary alliance was forged out of necessity rather than anything else, and both would go back to being adversaries once the common threat is removed. I would not be surprised if the US and other Western nations decided to forge a similar alliance with Russia to counter China. You can argue they already tried before, but Putin is very familiar with CW geopolitics so he isn't as easily fooled, probably.
Anyway we are probably going to start disagreeing with each other very strongly soon, so it's better to just end it here.
I agree that the US should have tried to counter China, it just turns out that the US never stopped building them up and supporting them, eventually believing that China’s rise was good for the US. Finally that is coming to an end largely thanks to trump. I think the Russia/western alliance is inevitable. Russia gdp smaller than Italy, stands no chance against its neighbor, and yet they have huge problems with the China.
What ideas do you predict we will start disagreeing strong on? We can end it if you want but if you don’t mind telling me what those are. I’m very curious.
Captain hindsight to save the day.
When you say "we" allowed China to win. Were you one of our under-trained, under-equipped American soldiers sent over from Japan? Were you in a frozen foxhole strangling battle-hardened, fanatical Korean and Chinese soldiers who had been fighting the Japanese most of their lives and were now armed with Soviet weapons? Were you in one of the USMC battalions that suffered massive casualties?
Were you going to storm the by-then heavily fortified mountain passes that the Chinese had built up during UN negotiations?
Always keyboard warriors going hard.
McArthur was right? Listen, McArthur was not just wrong, he was negligent. His army was not prepared for that war and got good American killed in the beginning. His negligence near the Yalu provoked the Chinese into joining the war and got Americans killed. Next, he wanted to nuke our way out of that clusterfuck, which he caused, which would have been a massive propaganda victory for the soviets and set a horrific precedent.
McArthur was the most overrated commander in WW2. He excelled as a media personality, political player and most of all as governor of Japan, where he did a fantastic job, but his military career was pretty lackluster.
It's easy to take a hard line when you weren't there. We had just fought world wars on 3 different continents. Americans didn't want to send their sons to die in Korea anymore. Life is not a video game.
History is cool right? Especially when we have pictures, videos and other things to look at.
It’s profound. Especially living history. 15 years ago I would sit Melancholy, thinking how the men that stormed Omaha or survived Auschwitz, Or huddled in the tractor Factory at Stalingrad. My last grandparent died at 91 last year. Those memories of the day Pearl Harbor was attacked or victory in Europe day, or sending off her future husband At the train station as he boarded to head to basic training are all gone
I think about this all the time. I was fortunate enough to interview my Great-Uncle while he was still alive. I will tell the next generation his stories of being deployed to Holland, how he met his future wife there after crashing his bicycle and she came to help him up. How the closest he ever came to being killed was when American planes mistook him and his men for Germans on the road. I think about all the countless other experience he didn’t share, and how now they are all gone, forever. How that war and the men who fought will someday be as distant as those relegated solely to textbooks and footnotes. Makes me sad.
Maybe gone, but not forgotten. The memories of them exist with you.
But they are echoes. Like reading a scr1ipt
MacArthur got a big head and took his expeditionary force too close to the Yalu river.
The situation would be way easier today if he had just stopped a couple hundred miles short of the Yalu. With Pyongyang and most of the large ports on the east and west coast, the remaining strip of land would not be habitable for garrisoning an army. The no mans land could have served as a political and military buffer until diplomacy with a more established China could be secured.
While I agree with your assessment, I believe MacArthur was the wrong general from a different war and time period. But to your point, I don’t think there was going to be anyway to keep the Chinese out of the war. Mao didn’t want a US supported and US leaning country on the border. NK is basically a client state of China, that serves as buffer between the US and them.
I understand but I was talking in terms of the type of military actions that’s acceptable. The Cold War was in full swing and I don’t think he fully understood the difference from Korea and WW2. And this was years before the split between Russia and China. Nuking China would inevitably lead to a nuclear exchange.
Didnt he want to use nukes in that war?
Yes he wanted to nuke China that's why his command got revoked.
But to your point, I don’t think there was going to be anyway to keep the Chinese out of the war
There was. The original warnings were to not cross the 38th but the Coalition did it anyway. Then they started bombing the Chinese side of the Yalu while advancing further north of Pyongyang. Mao and the PLA generals at the time knew it was going to be a complete bloodbath and were very reluctant to enter the war, and would have preferred to not have to fight at all if the Americans at least stopped at the DPRK capital. But nahhhh there would only be the greatest slaughter if the Chinese dared to step in our way, and Mao declared American planes, ships, and tanks to just different forms of paper tigers. And he got proved right in the end, and MacArthur got what he deserved (i.e. fired) after he kept wanting to use nukes against Chinese which spat in his face.
Right, but it was still deemed as an unacceptable escalation in a conflict that already was unpopular among the military and political circles.
If it continued on countless people would be dead with probably little to gain. Even if we beat China, the Soviet Union would mop up the remnants of the US military, especially with Europe still balls deep in reconstruction.
It was a no win scenario. I do think MacArthur had a massive ego and hero complex and let that get the best of him in this war.
If the Soviet Army had entered into Korea in the first place, it would have possibly saved millions of lives as MacArthur would probably reevaluate the situation just by the presence of the Soviet soldiers being there.
Don't worry, his back up plan was "We can just nuke 'em!"
That's literally the backup plan for all nuclear powers today.
His actual plan was to drop a shitton of dirty bombs along the Yalu, making it impassable.
Also he wanted to put radioactive cobalt boulders on the border as well
MacArthur wasnt some God amongst men, he had faults and flaws and it showed many times. Both in World war 2 (American retreat and surrender in Philippines in 1942 is good example, MacArthur's plan of action was directly to blame for it) and in Korea too
When you fight as many wars as he did, there will be bad moments. However, the guy absolutely was a phenomenal tactician. I actually read his book Reminiscences, where you can get a bit of the mindset that went in to some of his low points. His high points were pretty high. Taking from Wikipedia on the Battle of Inchon:
Most military scholars consider the battle one of the most decisive military operations in modern warfare. Spencer C. Tucker, the American military historian, described the Inchon landings as "a brilliant success, almost flawlessly executed," which remained "the only unambiguously successful, large-scale US combat operation" for the next 40 years. Commentators have described the Inchon operation as MacArthur's "greatest success" and "an example of brilliant generalship and military genius."
Some people in this comments section need to read The Coldest Winter and realize how much MacArthur fucked up in Korea.
You'll expect them to read and understand, but the problem is that they have so far accepted a General Douglas McArthur as the greatest Commander ever that using evidence and facts cannot convince them.
Thanks fr the recommendation, I'll try and read it
Tanks often keep they turrets pointed backwards when in transit so the barrels don't accidentally hit anything. This photo is also almost assuredly recreated after the fact. Doesn't make it less true though.
I wonder what it was like being a prisoner If war in China.
The Chinese treat prisoners relatively well. Still, expect massive starvation and lack of medical care.
In fact 21 US POWs chose to stay in China. Most of them returned to the USA eventually, however one of them stayed in China, survived the cultural revolution and generally lived an ok life. He visited the USA twice but never moved back. He died in 2004 in Shandong and was buried there. James Veneris, from Pennsylvania.
Yeah. I've read a lot of that here on Reddit. Canadians did a rather great job in that aspect.
If you care to read about the Korean conflict you will find that most of the troops were veterans of the Chinese civil war with very high morale.
Which is why they managed to defeat the US and allies despite having no planes, tanks and artillery.
That is completely false. Even cursory research would reveal that the PLA deployed significant artillery and later, tank and airpower strength in their intervention effort.
9 artillery divisions, 5 tank regiments, and 12 air force divisions hardly sounds like "no planes, tanks, or artillery".
Here I was thinking it was overwhelming manpower and initial overconfidence on part of the Americans that lead to several disasters on top of UN unpreparedness for the conflict overseas while China fought at their border.
Not really. Despite the media and public misconceptions the historian now agree that the Chinese tactics was infiltration and night attacks and not crude human waves.
A severe defeat for the USA whichever way you look at it.
I’ve heard the horror stories of how the Japanese treated POW’s in WWII.
As a result of how barbaric the Japanese were towards prisoners, the allies often met that brutality with brutality of their own. In Africa and Europe there was at least a small amount of chivalry between opposing forces
A BBC documentary about "the forgotten war" interviewed UK soldiers who had been captured by the Chinese.
They reported that provisions were meager but comparatively good against what the Chinese own soldiers had.
Also, they did not report physical or mental ill treatment, but they were subject to re-education lectures where talks about the wrong-headedness of capitalism and western civilization.
They said that the tone was rather like that of a teacher trying to tutor a slow child.
The UK soldiers were released and got back home to Britain, where their neighbors (who were unaware that there was a war in Korea) asked them whether they'd been on holiday.
一部关于“被遗忘的战争”的 BBC 纪录片采访了被中国俘虏的英国士兵。
Not usual for crewed weapons to surrender without mechanical damage to the vehicle. That's not a trait of the US Army but of people in general - you don't want to be the guy in the tank that gave up first. I wonder if they were just doing maintenance at the time (gun over back deck, tow cable hanging off the rear).
Is that an M103 in the foreground and an M46 Patton in the background?
They seem to be all M46s
Possibly - the cannon is what made me really think M103 and the turret seems to be shaped like it instead of the Patton. Maybe it’s an M47
M103 heavy tanks weren't in Service until after the Korean War. M47s weren't deployed to Korea as the first production run went to equip combat units in Europe. Judging by the gun mantlet, turret, and the rear exhaust they all appear to be M46 Pattons.
The M103 was only in use by the marines and not by the time the korean war was over
No, the M103 was never used in combat.
Anyone know what happened to these guys?
They got captured by Chinese infantry. .
What’s the last war we won since WW2?
The last one? The 2003-2011 Iraq war
We lost in Iraq - and Afghanistan for that matter. What was accomplished?
So curious if there any back story on this, why is the Tank’s gun pointed directly back? I know usually they would do that and have a brace lifted to support the gun barrel for transport, did they catch the tanks in transport ?
Either that, or they have been attacked from behind in some sort of ambush.
It does look like there's a block underneath the barrel so that supports the transport argument
Its also a symbol for surrender. For example the US dropped leaflets over Iraqi tank units telling them to turn their turrets backwards and park in formation to surrender.So they did the same.