PDA

View Full Version : British Troops in Korea



IRONMAN
08-27-2005, 10:20 PM
I was wondering if anyone could explain why Britain sent so few troops to Korea. Obviously, a larger force would have helped. The US sent amny thousands, but Britain sent only a few thousand.

This is the same scenario in other UN actions. While the US sends many thousands of troops, Britain sends a handful. I'm hoping some of the british members of this forum can tell us why britain contributes so little in comparison for international forces. Perhaps they can also explain why they send them at all if they don't publicly support the UN actions that they participate in.

Commando Jordovski
08-27-2005, 10:27 PM
Because its not the their war, its the americans and the USA just brought england into it aswell as australia.

LargeBrew
08-27-2005, 10:51 PM
CJ,Well done that man,we were still getting over a six year war and as Iron mans dad was there with his M1 carbine the govenment felt that the problem was solved.

IRONMAN
08-27-2005, 11:37 PM
Because its not the their war, its the americans and the USA just brought england into it aswell as australia.

How did the US bring Britain into the Korean War? They entered it by choice as a part of a UN Task Force? Surely you don't mean to imply that Britain follows the US around like a puppy?

Commando Jordovski
08-27-2005, 11:40 PM
:lol: good post largebrew.

Though Seriously IRONMAN, creating rooms like this you make yourself and the site look silly, we dont want new people and guests looking at these rooms and leaving thinking this is all a big arguement and proposterous debates just because of you.

1000ydstare
08-28-2005, 01:10 AM
Why is America so big and strong and Britian so small and puny?

We sent smaller numbers to Korea as we had other things to be getting on with thank you,

We send smallers numbers to day because we re a smaller army. nation.

But what we lack in numbers we make up in quality. Hence the Yanks saying "pretty please send one of your BGs up to a sh*thole called Camp Dogwood"

BDL
08-28-2005, 03:38 AM
Because we also had an entire Empire to worry about and were skint (had no money for the non-Brits) because we'd bothered to fight a whole World War (again) instead of sitting on our arses doing sod all for the first three years (again)?

IRONMAN
08-28-2005, 04:17 AM
:lol: good post largebrew.

Though Seriously IRONMAN, creating rooms like this you make yourself and the site look silly, we dont want new people and guests looking at these rooms and leaving thinking this is all a big arguement and proposterous debates just because of you.

Matbe you don't like the question, but that's not an anwer to the qquestions.

IRONMAN
08-28-2005, 04:19 AM
Why is America so big and strong and Britian so small and puny?

We sent smaller numbers to Korea as we had other things to be getting on with thank you,

We send smallers numbers to day because we re a smaller army. nation.

But what we lack in numbers we make up in quality. Hence the Yanks saying "pretty please send one of your BGs up to a sh*thole called Camp Dogwood"

You mean britain has an army of 10,000? Come on. Britain was not involved in any other war at the time. So why did they send a smattering fw to Korea?

IRONMAN
08-28-2005, 04:20 AM
Because we also had an entire Empire to worry about and were skint (had no money for the non-Brits) because we'd bothered to fight a whole World War (again) instead of sitting on our arses doing sod all for the first three years (again)?

Empire? What empire? There is no British empire. Hasn't been for 100 years, almost. So you're saying that because Britain faught WWI they were afraid to fight in Korea?

pdf27
08-28-2005, 04:33 AM
Empire? What empire? There is no British empire. Hasn't been for 100 years, almost. So you're saying that because Britain faught WWI they were afraid to fight in Korea?
Actually, the vast majority of the Empire was dismantled in the years after WW2. India got independence in 1948 for instance, and most of the rest got independence in the 1950s and 1960s.
The real reason we sent so few troops to Korea was that we were busy fighting the Malayan Emergency. This consisted of a large number of Communist Rebels hiding in jungles and launching attacks on the civilian population, with a fair bit of support from China. Rather like Vietnam really, only we won. However, what with that, sorting out the Mau Mau in Kenya, deploying large numbers of troops to Germany to keep the Russians out and an economy that had collapsed once US aid was removed at the end of WW2 we really didn't have many troops to send. IIRC (I don't have the paperwork to hand) we sent something like 15,000 to 20,000 troops all in, including air and naval units. The RN contribution was pretty big, on the basis they couldn't do a lot in Germany or Kenya.

BDL
08-28-2005, 04:33 AM
Empire? What empire? There is no British empire. Hasn't been for 100 years, almost. So you're saying that because Britain faught WWI they were afraid to fight in Korea?

Really? No British Empire for a hundred years you say? The Indians must be gutted that they waited until 1948 to get their indepenance then.

If you must try to make funny remarks, at least make sure you have your facts right first.

IRONMAN
08-28-2005, 05:19 AM
Empire? What empire? There is no British empire. Hasn't been for 100 years, almost. So you're saying that because Britain faught WWI they were afraid to fight in Korea?
Actually, the vast majority of the Empire was dismantled in the years after WW2. India got independence in 1948 for instance, and most of the rest got independence in the 1950s and 1960s.
The real reason we sent so few troops to Korea was that we were busy fighting the Malayan Emergency. This consisted of a large number of Communist Rebels hiding in jungles and launching attacks on the civilian population, with a fair bit of support from China. Rather like Vietnam really, only we won. However, what with that, sorting out the Mau Mau in Kenya, deploying large numbers of troops to Germany to keep the Russians out and an economy that had collapsed once US aid was removed at the end of WW2 we really didn't have many troops to send. IIRC (I don't have the paperwork to hand) we sent something like 15,000 to 20,000 troops all in, including air and naval units. The RN contribution was pretty big, on the basis they couldn't do a lot in Germany or Kenya.


15,000 when the US sent 100 times that much? You have yet to explain why Britain sent a smattering of men to the most important conflict on the planet at the time. Please, do try.

IRONMAN
08-28-2005, 05:20 AM
Empire? What empire? There is no British empire. Hasn't been for 100 years, almost. So you're saying that because Britain faught WWI they were afraid to fight in Korea?

Really? No British Empire for a hundred years you say? The Indians must be gutted that they waited until 1948 to get their indepenance then.

If you must try to make funny remarks, at least make sure you have your facts right first.

No answers eh? Well, it's obvious why.

BDL
08-28-2005, 05:22 AM
No answers eh? Well, it's obvious why.

You've been answered - we sent what we could afford to send, considering at the time we were also sorting out a Communist rebellion in Malaya and insurrection in Kenya, as well as garrisoning Germany and the still widespread British Empire.

FluffyBunnyGB
08-28-2005, 05:47 AM
The Korean War
In June 1950, just five years after the end of the Second World War, war erupted in Korea. United Nations forces, led by the USA, intervened on the side of South Korea, while the (then) USSR and (later) China supported North Korea. Although British forces only made up a small proportion of the troops involved in this conflict, they were involved in heavy fighting. This gallery focuses on the Battle of Imjin River in April 1951.

North and south

Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910, and its inhabitants responded by demanding independence. With Japan's defeat in the Second World War, Korea had been divided into two separate zones of occupation, the north controlled by the USSR and the south by the USA.

The United Nations (UN) attempted to hold elections in Korea in 1948, but the USSR instead established a Communist republic in the north known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Its leader was Kim Il-Sung. In the south, the American zone became the Republic of Korea (ROK) under Rhee Syngman. The dividing line between the two new countries followed the 38th parallel.

At 04:00 on 25 June 1950, North Korea, supported by the USSR, launched an invasion of the south. In response, the UN sent a mainly American force to help South Korea. The USA's president Truman regarded this attack as a challenge to American interests in the Far East; Britain, by contrast, had no direct interest in Korea but became involved through its alliance with the USA.

The opposing forces

The Korean conflict would involve huge numbers of troops on both sides. Figures for North Korean and, later, Chinese forces vary, but in November 1950 it is estimated that some 150,000 North Korean and around 200,000 Chinese forces had been fielded. (By July 1953, combined Chinese and North Korean forces would be estimated at 1,200,000.)

The UN contingent included troops, not only from the USA and Britain, but also from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Colombia, Turkey, the Philippines, France and many others. The USA made the largest contribution of troops and equipment; Britain the second. By Spring 1951, Britain's contribution to the UN forces was 12,000 strong. In 1950, ROK forces numbered between 80,000 and 100,000, increasing, according to some estimates, to 240,000 by Spring 1951. (UN and ROK forces combined would number 932,000 by July 1953.


Source: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/

From a US perspective, it may have been the largest conflict. From the UK perspective, it was one of several.

Why did the US send so few troops to help us in the fight against communism in Malaya?

BDL
08-28-2005, 05:52 AM
Why did the US send so few troops to help us in the fight against communism in Malaya?

Ahhh, you anti-American blatherer, you commie Freedom hater. How dare you suggest that anything other then American foreign policy should have any effect on the rest of the world. I've looked Malaya up (in the Call of Duty instruction book) and there's no mention of it *bang* did it hurt when you shot youself in the foot by mentioning a war that never existed.

Here's a source that proves you are all wrong - www.americanrightwinganti-europeanpropaganda.com

Educate yourself kiddo



Just a prediction there :wink:

FluffyBunnyGB
08-28-2005, 06:07 AM
Ironman

Why don't you visit this page

http://home.earthlink.net/~woll/Bills-Page.htm

This is a US site, so probably not part of the great anti-US propaganda service that Europe has (in your warped World view) so clearly become.

Just in case you can't be bothered, I'll post a bit for you:




Our United Nations Allies who fought at the side of the American and South Korean forces also deserve a vote of thanks for their contribution!
Australia: Two Infantry Battalions; Naval Forces; One Fighter Squadron

Belgium: One Infantry Battalion

Canada: Reinforced Infantry Brigade (Division); Naval Forces; One Squadron of Transport Aircraft

Columbia: One Infantry Battalion; One Naval Frigate

Ethiopia: One Infantry Battalion

France: One Reinforced Infantry Battalion

Great Britain: Two Infantry Brigades (Divisions); One Armored Regiment; Three Artillery and Combat Engineer Regiments; The British Far Eastern Fleet; Two Sunderland Air Squadrons

Greece: One Infantry Battalion; Transport Aircraft

Holland: One Infantry Battalion; Naval Forces

Luxembourg: One Infantry Company

New Zealand: One Artillery Regiment, Six Naval Frigates

Philippines: One Infantry Battalion; One Tank Company

South Africa: One Fighter Squadron

Thailand: One Infantry Battalion; Naval Forces; Air and Naval Transports

Turkey: One Fighting Infantry Brigade

Denmark, India, Italy, Norway, Sweden: Medical Services



I have emboldened the bit at the top. This is why we come and help you when you ask. We actually like the US as a country. We are grateful of your assistance in WW1 & WW2, and thus returned the favour when you needed it.

Unfortunately, there are some individuals in every country who should keep their mouths shut about things they don't understand, like fighting wars.

Do I detect from quotes in another thread that, not only have you never "done your bit", even in the NG (a fine body of troops let me add), you seem to despise those who have?

If your father carried a rifle in the USMC, then I take my hat off to him. Of all the US units I've ever worked alongside, they were the finest by far.

If he is still alive, please pass on my regards. If not, then I shall think of him at the next Remembrance Day parade we have (11th Nov).

If you don't want to interrupt your career, why don't you join the National Guard? Then at least you would be able to enter a discussion on what it's actually like to wear the uniform of your country?

Kind regards, and greetings to Ironman Snr

Fluffy

pdf27
08-28-2005, 06:31 AM
15,000 when the US sent 100 times that much? You have yet to explain why Britain sent a smattering of men to the most important conflict on the planet at the time. Please, do try.
Oops - yet another barefaced lie from Ironman.
The US contributed 302,483 troops to Korea. The UK contributed 14,198 troops. (source wikipedia) That's 20 times as many, not 100 times as many. Since the US had roughly 5 times the population, the UK economy was in an awful state due to the effects of fighting WW2 practically by ourselves for 2 years (we'd spend all our foreign currency reserves, for a start), and we were fighting multiple other wars (Malaya, Kenya, and the Canal Zone, in addition to garrisoning the Empire and Germany) then in relative terms the UK effort demanded more of the country than the US effort.

Firefly
08-28-2005, 06:38 AM
Empire? What empire? There is no British empire. Hasn't been for 100 years, almost. So you're saying that because Britain faught WWI they were afraid to fight in Korea?
Actually, the vast majority of the Empire was dismantled in the years after WW2. India got independence in 1948 for instance, and most of the rest got independence in the 1950s and 1960s.
The real reason we sent so few troops to Korea was that we were busy fighting the Malayan Emergency. This consisted of a large number of Communist Rebels hiding in jungles and launching attacks on the civilian population, with a fair bit of support from China. Rather like Vietnam really, only we won. However, what with that, sorting out the Mau Mau in Kenya, deploying large numbers of troops to Germany to keep the Russians out and an economy that had collapsed once US aid was removed at the end of WW2 we really didn't have many troops to send. IIRC (I don't have the paperwork to hand) we sent something like 15,000 to 20,000 troops all in, including air and naval units. The RN contribution was pretty big, on the basis they couldn't do a lot in Germany or Kenya.


15,000 when the US sent 100 times that much? You have yet to explain why Britain sent a smattering of men to the most important conflict on the planet at the time. Please, do try.

I think you have the full answer. Why did you not include this in the Korean war topic? Its for the Korean war. Can a MOD please Merge them?

FluffyBunnyGB
08-28-2005, 07:58 AM
Chaps, I need a little friendly advice, having come but late to this Forum.

Is Ironman just a fcukwit or what?

Kind regards

Fluffy

Firefly
08-28-2005, 08:04 AM
Chaps, I need a little friendly advice, having come but late to this Forum.

Is Ironman just a fcukwit or what?

Kind regards

Fluffy

That is an insult to fcukwitts everywhere, and I dont mean that as a joke either.

I belive he genuinely thinks that this forum exists for him.

Dani
08-29-2005, 03:32 AM
Topic moved :arrow:

Bladensburg
08-29-2005, 01:12 PM
Perhaps Ironman is unaware that many goods including food and fuel were still rationed in Britain in the early fifties. Quite simly the exchequer could not support more than a division in Korea along with all the other commitments.
Tin Breeches should be reminded that it was unstated US policy to keep the UK in this parsimonias situation to encourage "decolonisation".

Crab_to_be
09-03-2005, 11:00 AM
Moved from Off-Topic.

It could have been mistaken for a useful thread by an innocent visitor to the site, rather than pointless verbal flailing by our resident troll.

Crab.

PzKpfw VI Tiger
09-03-2005, 09:09 PM
Moved from Off-Topic.

It could have been mistaken for a useful thread by an innocent visitor to the site, rather than pointless verbal flailing by our resident troll.

Crab.

Actually, we have a few trolls in residence....... :(

Nickdfresh
07-21-2006, 10:05 AM
I see Ironman was coalition building here...
http://earthhopenetwork.net/bush%20art/bush_debate_poland.jpg

But what about Poland?

Nickdfresh
07-21-2006, 10:16 AM
On topic, Korea became largely an American led War because the U.S. had a number of troops occupying Japan. We thought by sending a number of U.S. troops form Japan to Korea would easily halt the little third world 'cowardly commies'...

The only problem was that the U.S. Army had grown soft on occupation duty in Japan with lax training, and most of their equipment had been in mothballs since WWII, and was outdated. So when Task Force Smith entered Korea, they were roundly swept south by North Korean T-34 tanks and fierce, well trained and supported, motivated infantry. This roundly humiliated the U.S. and is generally considered the worst series of defeats since the initial battles of the Civil War...

This became an embarrassment, so the United States, a country that had let her conventional forces lapse in favor of nuclear weapons learned that atomic bombs were sometimes useless, and the measured response of combat forces was needed, so the U.S. set about to rearm her conventional forces with newer weapons and re-instituted the draft. Largely to "save face," and to show that the U.S. could fight a conventional war during the cold War as well as nuking Soviet troops invading West Germany...

pdf27
07-21-2006, 10:38 AM
You guys nearly gave me a heart attack here - I thought Tinwalt was back for a second!

Nickdfresh
07-21-2006, 10:53 AM
Now I recall Irondouche was the a**hole troll... Sorry, it's been a while since I read his silly stuff on The Chosen...'

Firefly
07-21-2006, 10:55 AM
Now I recall Irondouche was the a**hole troll... Sorry, it's been a while since I read his silly stuff on The Chosen...'


He can post on the new MB as he is not banned?

Quick everyone hide!

Nickdfresh
07-21-2006, 10:58 AM
Uh oh, did you guys lose the troll-IPs too.:D

Dani
07-22-2006, 01:28 AM
No mate, he is banned.

ArmyDude1973
12-07-2006, 10:50 PM
maby i can explain the brits canada and south aferica as well as outher parts of the world are part of the common welth of royelty founded by english sent many people from outher parts of the world to fight witch were brits canada and im sure there was outher there too.thank for haven me here im learning more then i knew thanks again

32Bravo
02-17-2007, 11:35 AM
The UK was entangled in a retreat from Empire at the time of the Korean War. Many of the nations which had fought alongside the British against the Axis forces now demanded independence. Burma, for example. It would have taken a great force to garrison Burma at the end of WWII As it was, the British troops in Burma, having fought a long and protracted war, wanted nothing more than to go home. The Indian troops that had fought alongside them were looking to their own independence. As well as that, maintaining the Empire, as was, was no longer economically viable.

The British contribution to the UN Force in Korea was as a part of the Commonwealth Division (the book The Commonwealth at War, is a good, I forget the name of the author). Though their numbers were few, they were of sound quality, many of them having been recalled to the colours after having been demobilized at the end of WWII. If you are wanting to read an example of the positive contribution made by the British, I would suggest 'The Edge of the Sword' by General Sir Anthony Farrah-Hockley. He was, in 1951, the adjutant of the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, during the defence at The Imjin, 22 – 25 April 1951.

During the late summer of 1951 the newsreels contained extensive footage of a parade held in Korea, showing detachments from all the units belonging to the British Brigade group, formed in a hollow square around senior American officers who were about to confer on some of those present the highest collective award their country could bestow, a Presidential Unit Citation. The essence of the document was contained in the following words:

The 1st battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment, British Army Group 'C'. 170th Independent Mortar Battery, Royal Artillery, attached are cited for exceptionally outstanding performance of duty and extraordinary heroism in action against the armed enemy near Solma-Ri, Korea, on 23rd, 24th and 25th April 1951...The courageous soldiers of the battalion and attached unit were holding the critical route selected by the enemy for one column of general offensive designed to encircle and destroy I Corps …completely surrounded by tremendous numbers, these indomitable, resolute and tenacious soldiers fought back with unsurpassed fortitude and courage…Their heroic stand provided the critically needed time to regroup other I Corps units and block the southern advance of the enemy…Without thought of defeat or surrender, this heroic force demonstrated superb battlefield courage and discipline. Their sustained brilliance in battle, their resoluteness and extraordinary heroism are in keeping with the finest traditions of the renowned military forces of the British Commonwealth, and reflect unsurpassed credit on those courageous soldiers and their homeland!

The battle took its name from the Imjin River, rather than the village of Solma-Ri
Captured the imagination of the worlds press. The American press, notably The
New Yorker, gave the event the widest possible coverage. The Boston Daily Globe of
4th June devoted a whole page to the story, headed, with a very slight inaccuracy:

ONLY 5 OFFICEERS AND 34 MEN LEFT OUT OF A BATTALION OF 622.
A gripping, Factual Account the stand made by Famous British Outfit Which Allowed U.S> Units to Escape from Chinese Trap.

In Paris the editor of Le Figaro wrote that:

‘The courage and obstinacy of these Britons, together with the knowledge of their losses. Is such that here one can speak of them only in hushed tones, with a mixture of admiration and a kind of reverent respect.’

32Bravo
02-17-2007, 12:05 PM
In London The Times (The Thunderer)took a broader view:

The Glosters, for what they have now done and for what went before it, deserve to be singled out for honourable mention, but they did not stand alone. The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, The Royal Ulster Rifles, and other Commonwealth units, each with a past to live up to, shared with the Glosters in this most testing of all hazards on the battlefield – attack by overwhelming numbers of the enemy.

The “Fighting Fifth”, wearing St George and the Dragon, and the “Irish Giants”, with Harp and Crown, have histories that they would exchange with no one. As pride, sobered by mourning for the fallen, observes how well these young men have acquitted themselves in remotest Asia, the parts taken by the regiments may be seen as a whole. The motto of the Royal Ulster Rifles may have the last word –“Quis Separabit?”

For a textbook infantry defensive action - the stand of the Glosters as described by Farah-Hockley in his book - 'The Edge of the Sword' is well worth reading.

If you want to read of how Centurion tanks of the 8th Hussars, covering the withdrawal of other units were swarmed over by Chinese troops, so much so, that if neighbouring callsigns had not turned their machine guns on each other they might well have been overwhelmed - then I would recommend Bryan Perrett’s account in Last Stand!

32Bravo
02-20-2007, 12:43 PM
41 INDEPENDENT COMMANDO OPERATIONS WITH 1ST MAR DIV


THE ADVANCE TO THE SEA

A number of UN formations had disintegrated under the CCF attack. To the West Eighth Army was withdrawing and X Corps commander placed all troops in the Chosin reservoir area under the operational control of 1 Mar Div. 75% casualties had been suffered by three US Army battalions East of the Reservoir in five days of attacks. Only 385 able bodied survivors eventually reached Hagaru across the ice, to be re-equipped and reorganized as a provisional battalion.

In a high level conference at Hagaru X Corps commander authorized Maj Gen Smith to destroy all equipment and fall back with all speed to Hungnam. Gen Smith replied that his Division would fight its way out bringing back all its heavy equipment and that movement would be governed by his ability to evacuate his wounded. As "withdrawal" was not in the USMC vocabulary this operation was to be called "The Advance to the South."

The first task was to concentrate the 5th and 7th RCT's 18 rifle companies and the artillery of the 11th Regiment, back the 14 miles over the from Yudam-ni where they had been under ferocious attack since 27 November. This was accomplished by 4 December and members of 41 Independent Commando who were privileged to go out to the perimeter to meet them will have an abiding memory of the splendid US Marine Corps infantry marching into Hagaru alongside their wounded after fighting for a week in numbing sub zero temperatures driven by the screaming North wind.

Next day 41 Commando made an abortive foray to recover nine 155mm howitzers which had been abandoned when their tractors ran out of diesel. These were later demolished; the largest loss of the Yudam-ni breakout.

Whilst the men of the 5th and 7th Marines recovered in Hagaru, casualty evacuation and re-supply continued apace. By nightfall on 5 December 4312 men, including 25 Royal Marines, had been evacuated by air and 537 reinforcements flown in.

The plan for the move from Hagaru to Koto-ri was for 7th Marines to lead and 5th Marines (Lt Col R L Murray), with 41 Commando attached, to bring up the rear. The operation was to be supported by Navy and Marine aircraft from seven US Navy carriers. The dedication of the pilots of the cranked wing Corsairs who had already flown many close support sorties in the most appalling weather conditions has become legendary.

The advance started at dawn on 6 December. It took 38 hours to move the 10,000 troops and over 1000 vehicles the 10 miles to Koto-ri against fierce attacks from the seven CCF Divisions which were now concentrated against 1st Mar Div.

Before marching out of Hagaru Lt Col Drysdale ordered a unit inspection which impressed the USMC. The Royal Marines' custom of shaving daily despite the freezing weather had been greeted initially with derision but eventually the USMC conceded there was something in such outward signs of self discipline.

En route the Unit dead were recovered to be buried in a mass grave for 117, including US Marines and soldiers, at Koto-ri on 8 December. Here too Lt Ovens' party of 25 was reunited bringing 41 Independent Commando's strength up to 150. (A mistaken report of page 298 of "US Marine Corps Operations in Korea" refers to the 2/7th Marines rescuing 22 Royal Marines during this phase of the withdrawal who had been stranded in CCF dominated territory since the convoy had fought its way through on 29/30 November. This statement cannot be substantiated.)

There was a pause before the advance towards Hungnam could be resumed whilst steel trackway was airdropped to bridge a demolished culvert in the Funchilin Pass. 1st Battalion 1st Marines also fought its way up the pass from the South to seize the key heights dominating the Pass.

41 Commando moved out of Koto-ri in a snowstorm in the afternoon of 8 December with the task of holding the high ground overlooking the MSR during the night to guard against infiltration. Whilst away the faithful 30cwt weapons carrier, the only unit transport besides the DO's jeep, slid off the road and was later demolished. (A tribute to the loyal USMC driver, Cpl D Saunchegrow, was published in the February 1970 Globe and Laurel).

Next morning the Commando returned to relieve 3rd Battalion 1st Marines in the Koto-ri perimeter. The unit set off with the 5th Marines column to march the 23 miles to the Hungnam bridgehead held by two US Army Divisions. At Majon-dong the Commando embussed in trucks to be ferried down to the tented assembly area prepared in Hungnam.

By 11 December the whole of 1 Mar Div was clear. As Maj Gen Smith had promised the Division had come out fighting, bringing its wounded and most of its equipment. In the process it had inflicted a major defeat on the CCF which had sustained an estimated 37,000 casualties from all causes, including the bitter sub zero weather.

41 Commando embarked with 22,000 US Marines in transports assembled off Hungnam and were shipped down to Pusan. From there the Unit was moved West along the coast by LCT to Masan to spend Christmas 1950 with 1 Mar Div.

Sadly the US Marines were deprived of Christmas drink because of political influences back home (the Women's Christian Temperance Union for instance blocked the Milwaukee brewers donation of a million cases of beer to the US Forces in Korea). 41 Commando, however, received a large consignment of "medical supplies" from its friends in the British Embassy in Tokyo which enabled the whole unit to splice the main brace on Christmas Day. Contact had also been made with the British Army base in Pusan (which kindly lent two 30cwt vehicles) and NAAFI stores were obtained with which the Officers Mess threw a cocktail party. The Commando cooks showed they were as good at concocting canapes as they had been with rifles.

41 Commando had suffered 93 casualties and was particularly short of specialists: SBAs, assault engineers, signallers, heavy weapons NCOs etc. It was therefore decided to withdraw the unit to Japan in January 1951 to await reinforcements and to retrain and re-equip. It was with mixed feelings that the Royal Marines of 41 Commando left their USMC comrades who were shortly to go back into the line with the 8th Army, now well South of the 38th Parallel. Lt. Col Drysdale wrote in his report. "This was the first time that the Marines of the two nations had fought side by side since the defence of the Peking Legations in 1900. Let it be said that the admiration of all ranks of 41 Commando for their brothers in arms was and is unbounded. They fought like tigers and their morale and esprit de corps is second to none."

Note: For this action between 27 November and 11 December 1 Mar Div and the attached units were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. The wording of the citation is at Appendix I of Vol III of "US Marine Corps Operations in Korea". 41 Independent Commando was not listed in the original citation but subsequent representations by the Marine Corps resulted in the Commando being included. The award was accepted on behalf of the Corps by our Captain General from the US Ambassador to UK in 1957.

pdf27
02-20-2007, 12:58 PM
Uh-oh, someone mentioned Chosin. Just so long as they don't start talking about "assault rifles"....