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Firebombing of Korea cities in 1950-53
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Thread: Firebombing of Korea cities in 1950-53

  1. #1
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    Default Firebombing of Korea cities in 1950-53

    What about firebombing of N.Korean cities?
    The intensivity of bombing in Korea was much more then the Germany. That's i found about.
    http://mondediplo.com/2004/12/08korea
    ..........
    Napalm was invented at the end of the second world war. It became a major issue during the Vietnam war, brought to prominence by horrific photos of injured civilians. Yet far more napalm was dropped on Korea and with much more devastating effect, since the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) had many more populous cities and urban industrial installations than North Vietnam. In 2003 I participated in a conference with US veterans of the Korean war. During a discussion about napalm, a survivor who lost an eye in the Changjin (in Japanese, Chosin) Reservoir battle said it was indeed a nasty weapon - but “it fell on the right people”. (Ah yes, the “right people” - a friendly-fire drop on a dozen US soldiers.) He continued: “Men all around me were burned. They lay rolling in the snow. Men I knew, marched and fought with begged me to shoot them . . . It was terrible. Where the napalm had burned the skin to a crisp, it would be peeled back from the face, arms, legs . . . like fried potato chips” (2).

    Soon after that incident, George Barrett of the New York Times had found “a macabre tribute to the totality of modern war” in a village near Anyang, in South Korea: “The inhabitants throughout the village and in the fields were caught and killed and kept the exact postures they held when the napalm struck - a man about to get on his bicycle, 50 boys and girls playing in an orphanage, a housewife strangely unmarked, holding in her hand a page torn from a Sears-Roebuck catalogue crayoned at Mail Order No 3,811,294 for a $2.98 ‘bewitching bed jacket - coral’.” US Secretary of State Dean Acheson wanted censorship authorities notified about this kind of “sensationalised reporting”, so it could be stopped (3).

    One of the first orders to burn towns and villages that I found in the archives was in the far southeast of Korea, during heavy fighting along the Pusan Perimeter in August 1950, when US soldiers were bedevilled by thousands of guerrillas in rear areas. On 6 August a US officer requested “to have the following towns obliterated” by the air force: Chongsong, Chinbo and Kusu-dong. B-29 strategic bombers were also called in for tactical bombing. On 16 August five groups of B-29s hit a rectangular area near the front, with many towns and villages, creating an ocean of fire with hundreds of tons of napalm. Another call went out on the 20 August. On 26 August I found in this same source the single entry: “fired 11 villages” (4). Pilots were told to bomb targets that they could see to avoid hitting civilians, but they frequently bombed major population centres by radar, or dumped huge amounts of napalm on secondary targets when the primary one was unavailable.

    In a major strike on the industrial city of Hungnam on 31 July 1950, 500 tons of ordnance was delivered through clouds by radar; the flames rose 200-300 feet into the air. The air force dropped 625 tons of bombs over North Korea on 12 August, a tonnage that would have required a fleet of 250 B-17s in the second world war. By late August B-29 formations were dropping 800 tons a day on the North (5). Much of it was pure napalm. From June to late October 1950, B-29s unloaded 866,914 gallons of napalm.

    Air force sources delighted in this relatively new weapon, joking about communist protests and misleading the press about their “precision bombing”. They also liked to point out that civilians were warned of the approaching bombers by leaflet, although all pilots knew that these were ineffective (6). This was a mere prelude to the obliteration of most North Korean towns and cities after China entered the war.

    China joins the war

    The Chinese entry caused an immediate escalation of the air campaign. From November 1950, General Douglas MacArthur ordered that a wasteland be created between the fighting front and the Chinese border, destroying from the air every “installation, factory, city, and village” over thousands of square miles of North Korean territory. As a well-informed British attaché to MacArthur’s headquarters observed, except for Najin near the Soviet border and the Yalu dams (both spared so as not to provoke Moscow or Beijing), MacArthur’s orders were “to destroy every means of communication and every installation, and factories and cities and villages. This destruction is to start at the Manchurian border and to progress south.” On 8 November 1950, 79 B-29s dropped 550 tons of incendiaries on Sinuiju, “removing [it] from off the map”. A week later Hoeryong was napalmed “to burn out the place”. By 25 November “a large part of [the] North West area between Yalu River and south to enemy lines is more or less burning”; soon the area would be a “wilderness of scorched earth” (7).

    This happened before the major Sino-Korean offensive that cleared northern Korea of United Nations forces. When that began, the US air force hit Pyongyang with 700 500-pound bombs on 14-15 December; napalm dropped from Mustang fighters, with 175 tons of delayed-fuse demolition bombs, which landed with a thud and then blew up when people were trying to retrieve the dead from the napalm fires.

    I think "burning out the place" sound like the nazy "policy of burning land" during retreat in from the Easter territories in 1943-44 - total duistraction and burning all the villiges and cities.
    Certainly the mass violence had come from the N/Korea also but considering the cruelty of destruction of whole cities with its population by the USAAF i have to say this way of barbaric war has a much common with genocide.

    Cheers.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    I think "burning out the place" sound like the nazy "policy of burning land" during retreat in from the Easter territories in 1943-44 - total duistraction and burning all the villiges and cities.
    Certainly the mass violence had come from the N/Korea also but considering the cruelty of destruction of whole cities with its population by the USAAF i have to say this way of barbaric war has a much common with genocide.
    You've got to remember that Korea was much more of a throwback to WW2 than a part of the modern warfare that we take as our moral frame of reference. In WW2 it was generally accepted that just about anything behind the enemy's lines was a legitimate target and could be destroyed. Thankfully we no longer think that, but at the time it was a commonly held view.

    The burning the place down and use of napalm is simply another holdover from WW2. That war demonstrated that the most efficient and effective way to destroy a town or city was to burn it down, and the best way of starting big enough fires was to use Napalm. Hence, the UN side in Korea simply used existing doctrine and applied it on the large scale that the improved weapons at their disposal allowed.
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    to pdf27:

    You've got to remember that Korea was much more of a throwback to WW2 than a part of the modern warfare that we take as our moral frame of reference. In WW2 it was generally accepted that just about anything behind the enemy's lines was a legitimate target and could be destroyed. Thankfully we no longer think that, but at the time it was a commonly held view.
    I agree in general. The view on the warfare has changed in the world regarding targeting objects behind the enemy line. At least I want to beleive it has changed. At least the countries try to find exuces and officially do not target civilians.

    But! 20 years later in Vietnam we see napalm again. Maybe used in a bit differently but used largly nontheless.

    Secondly, I am personaly sure that if, God forbid, another world war should happened with similar intencity as WW2, the chances are very high that simmilar or even worse things could happen.
    Last edited by Egorka; 02-18-2007 at 05:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    But! 20 years later in Vietnam we see napalm again. Maybe used in a bit differently but used largly nontheless.
    Very differently - at least in theory. It was theoretically used on tactical targets only, i.e. identified enemy military targets. In practice of course you ended up with the situation where "everyone who runs is a VC, everyone who stands still is a well trained VC" to quote the film Full Metal Jacket. Napalm wasn't however used explicitly for the purpose of burning down cities, so there had been at least some improvements.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    The burning the place down and use of napalm is simply another holdover from WW2. That war demonstrated that the most efficient and effective way to destroy a town or city was to burn it down, and the best way of starting big enough fires was to use Napalm.
    Well pdf as we already had discussed it early. This is not only moral question by what means to lead the war , but also and political.
    As you know we hunged the nazy for its "total war without rules" and mass victims of civilians which it inevitable lead. So we won the Evil side right? We much better, we are good guys.
    But when i hear simular logic " the best way of starting big enough fires was to use Napalm (or A-bomb)" agains cities i bagan to understand haw much i was mistaken.
    Sory you know i have nothing personal at you, but you merciless point is bother me.

    Cheers.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Napalm has been used very differently since ww2. Now Korea and ww2 differ only slightly. The effectiveness napalm had in ww2 was not the same an Korea. High altitude napalm bombing missions met with little success. There for the start of its use as a close combat role was much more effective. By the Vietnam war this was its main purpose. That and clearing out sections of Jungle. Easier to fight when you can actually see the enemy. Napalm is still widely used around the world today in many conflicts. Although recently it has started to be phased out. "Navy budget program decreases for FY2002 included $11.1 million related to termination of the NAPALM disposal program."

    On a personal note it is a very awful weapon. However war is altogether. This modern type of fight war nicely is kinda skewed. Think General past 1960 would be utterly confused by the approach. Maybe we can just get high tech computer and fight all our wars online someday.

    And BTW and A-bomb isnt was I would call a good fire starter. The heat is so intense that it just reduces everything to ashes in seconds. Ashes dont burn. Napalm is meant to stick and burn for awhile. I think I would rather get hit by an A-bomb than napalm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen. Sandworm View Post
    Napalm has been used very differently since ww2. Now Korea and ww2 differ only slightly. The effectiveness napalm had in ww2 was not the same an Korea. High altitude napalm bombing missions met with little success. There for the start of its use as a close combat role was much more effective. By the Vietnam war this was its main purpose. That and clearing out sections of Jungle. Easier to fight when you can actually see the enemy. Napalm is still widely used around the world today in many conflicts. Although recently it has started to be phased out. "Navy budget program decreases for FY2002 included $11.1 million related to termination of the NAPALM disposal program."
    Is Napalm not actual already?
    Oh it seems they found the new kind of "rough" wearpon , may be the phosphorous bombs
    Or the newest compact nuclear charge 1-2 kilotonns
    On a personal note it is a very awful weapon. However war is altogether. This modern type of fight war nicely is kinda skewed. Think General past 1960 would be utterly confused by the approach. Maybe we can just get high tech computer and fight all our wars online someday.

    ... I think I would rather get hit by an A-bomb than napalm.
    Personaly you mate could choose any way of suicide , but I don't think millions of womens whith its children would feel a great diffence between NApalm firebombing and Nuclear fungus.
    Don't forget Gen the main the mortal factor of Nuclear wearpon is not the expose but rather the radiation. In Hiroshima only 10-15 000 peoples dead from the explosion and rest 190 000 from the radiation consequences i.e. 95%
    So do you prefer the cruel death from ray-illness during the 1-2 weeks , am i understand you right?

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Personaly you mate could choose any way of suicide , but I don't think millions of womens whith its children would feel a great diffence between NApalm firebombing and Nuclear fungus.
    Don't forget Gen the main the mortal factor of Nuclear wearpon is not the expose but rather the radiation. In Hiroshima only 10-15 000 peoples dead from the explosion and rest 190 000 from the radiation consequences i.e. 95%
    So do you prefer the cruel death from ray-illness during the 1-2 weeks , am i understand you right?
    If I were going to be in the area of one of those bombs. Pretty much the choice of hanging out in the Christian view of hell vs running around the Chernobyl power plant for a couple of days (right after the meltdown). Neither are one's im dying to do.

    And your right radiation is the bitch of a nuclear weapon. The Chernobyl disaster effected far more ppl than Hiroshima. Just didnt get a great big explosion with it. Interesting to note: There have been a total of 2044 nuclear explosions since Aug 6, 1945.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    But when i hear simular logic " the best way of starting big enough fires was to use Napalm (or A-bomb)" agains cities i bagan to understand haw much i was mistaken.
    Sory you know i have nothing personal at you, but you merciless point is bother me.
    There is probably something of a cultural and language disconnect here. In talking about the "best" way of doing something, I am referring to the most economical or effective way of doing something in practice, in a deliberately - and conciously - amoral way. Only when the options are fully understood in all their effects is it possible to make a moral judgement as to which are the least bad. In doing this, I am also trying to shed light on a pretty murky period of human history (WW2) when morality came second to winning - and therefore people were thinking in exactly the same amoral way.

    I do have personal beliefs as to the morality or otherwise of aerial bombardment, but I am conciously suppressing them for the purposes of debate here. Throwing them in would generate a lot of heat and very little light, as well as I suspect upsetting quite a number of people.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

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    War is war and must be fought to win, not to appear as the nice guy. Using napalm and incendiary devices is a great tactic. Firebombing is a good strategic move, and terror bombing works well to shatter civilian morale, in the way the Legion Kondor did at Guernica.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertSpeer View Post
    War is war and must be fought to win, not to appear as the nice guy. Using napalm and incendiary devices is a great tactic. Firebombing is a good strategic move, and terror bombing works well to shatter civilian morale, in the way the Legion Kondor did at Guernica.
    I think this notion of terror bombing as being a successful tactic has been proven to be ill founded. It did not work in Britain, Japan or Germany. It only worked when used on a small scale. Once the initial shock had worn off it only served to bolster the home front.
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    An\' then comes up the regiment an\' pokes the \'eathen out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertSpeer View Post
    War is war and must be fought to win, not to appear as the nice guy. Using napalm and incendiary devices is a great tactic. Firebombing is a good strategic move, and terror bombing works well to shatter civilian morale, in the way the Legion Kondor did at Guernica.
    Like 2nd of foot said, bombing rarely did much more than harden resistance in its powerless victims, at least once it became accepted as part of war.

    Guernica, Rotterdam, Coventry, and others are synonomous with the horror of aerial bombing. Compared with what happened later in WWII when the Allies got their act together and bombed Germany seriously, they weren't major events in terms of casualties but only because of their shock value as early examples of previously unexperienced large scale casualties and large scale modern attacks on civilians.

    Bombing at Guernica did a lot of damage to buildings but the deaths were less than 2,000 and perhaps as low as a few hundred. Nobody knows. Its significance is that it was the first modern and well publicised example of aerial bombing against European targets, ably aided by Picasso and sundry other well-connected literary and arty types appalled by the event, and generally opposed to Franco.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 04-17-2007 at 06:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2nd of foot View Post
    I think this notion of terror bombing as being a successful tactic has been proven to be ill founded. It did not work in Britain, Japan or Germany.
    Or Hanoi.

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    Hanoi was never terror bombed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertSpeer View Post
    Hanoi was never terror bombed.
    You might take a different view if you were under a B-52, which carried a conventional bomb tonnage about four times that of a Lancaster used against Germany, with improved ordance in Vietnam.

    Over 11 days in December 1972 729 B-52's bombed Hanoi and Haiphong. The smallest bomber group was 30 B-52's, the largest 129. The purpose was entirely political, related to peace talks, and had nothing to do with the military prosecution of the war. The targets were nominally military but inevitably involved surrounding civilian areas, given the length of run of B-52 bombs. Another 5,000 tons of ordnance were dropped by fighter-bombers.

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