Views: 44669|Replies: 276

The Truth of the Korean War [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-1-13 15:04:45 |Display all floors
Korean War FAQ
Copyright(C) , 1998, All rights reserved.


1. What is the purpose of the Korean War FAQ?
To give an honest and objective view of the Korean war.
Please note: except the last question, all other answers are NOT the author's opinion, but straight summary or quotations from the references listed below. Most references are of western origin, and in each case the author gives explicit references to them. References on political issues are mostly from British. The campaign descriptions are mostly from Chinese sources, which are the only ones which can offer an overall picture of the campaigns---the plan, the strategy, the tactics, the command, the men, the weapons and the order of battles.

Main References:

The Korean War, by Max Hastings (with some information from Chinese side, focus on British military and diplomatic involvement, anti-communist sentiment, quite honest on issues such as POWs)
The Forgotten War, America in Korea, by Clay Blair (battle stories detailed at the battalion level, thoroughly researched, very frank and almost neutral on political issues)
Korea, The War Before Vietnam, Callum A. MacDonald  (geo-politic study based on official documents, many recently declassfied,  honest and scholarly on many political issues)
Korean War Almanac (very selective information, strong anti-communist sentiment)
Korea, The Untold Story Of The War, by Joseph C. Goulden (even more selective information,  dishonest on some key issues, very strong American thinking)
Chinese references
Confucius - Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-1-13 15:18:32 |Display all floors
2.Why did PRC send troops to Korea?
PRC's intervention in Korea was primarily precipitated by its own security concerns. In his telegram to premier  Zhou Enlai on Oct. 13 1950, Chinese leader Mao Zedong summarized the the rationale for sending troops to repel advancing US forces: if PRC did not take the initiative, then US forces would press on China along the Yalu river, China's northeastern defense force would be pinned down, Southern Manchuria's power supply (generated from hydroelectric plants in North Korea) would be controlled by hostile forces, and the situation would resulted in the uprising of domestic and international "reactionary elements".

Furthermore, Chinese leaders had the conviction that US led western forces was trying to strangle the new China by a blockade starting from Korea and ending at Vietnam. Since a contest with US would be inevitable, it was desirable to teach the Americans a lesson as early as possible, besides, it  was far more advantageous to fight US in Korea than in the Taiwan straits or Vietnam.

Contrary to western wisdom, Soviet Union did not mastermind the Chinese participation in the war. Stalin refused to offer much  support to the Chinese. China had to pay for all its weapon purchases from USSR plus interests.

3. What was China's military objective in the Koren war?
China's objective was to keep the hostile American forces away from the Yalu river to ensure a peaceful environment for internal reconstruction. To do so, China must at least set up a buffer zone near the border in the North Korea side, it would be even better if China could drive the US forces out of North Korea or even the Korea Peninsula and stabilize the North Korea regime. Since PRC (founded on 10/1/1849) was merely one year old, it had no interests to prolong the war at the cost of its economical development.
Confucius - Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-1-13 15:19:33 |Display all floors
4. Did PRC warn US/UN before it sent troops?
Yes. PRC made substantial attempt for peaceful resolution of the Korea problem through diplomatic means. Beijing repeatedly warned US not to invade North Korea through radio broadcasts after MacArthur's Inchon landing. On Oct 2 1950, two days after the ROK forces crossed the 38th parallel, Premier Zhou Enlai summoned  Pannikkar, an Indian Ambassador to China, asked him to deliver a message to the US, in which he made clear that if American forces crossed the 38th,  China would intervene. However, Truman regarded this warning as "a bald attempt to blackmail the UN". MacArthur on the other hand assured Truman that if the Chinese intervened, there would be a greatest slaughter.

On Oct. 8, 1950, the day after American troops crossed the 38th, Chairman Mao issued the order for "Chinese People's Volunteer Army" (PVA) to fight American imperialism.

5. Why did PRC send troops under the name of volunteer army?
Although the western forces in Korea were in fact commanded by US generals and ultimately the US president in a crusade to "rollback communism", they were technically a UN "police" force. To avoid officially declaring war on US, Britain, France and other UN members, China sent forces in the name of  People's Volunteer Army (PVA) instead of  PLA (People's Liberation Army).
Confucius - Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-1-13 15:21:28 |Display all floors
6. When  did PVA first enter Korea?
Although the Polibureu made the decision to send PVA to Korea on Oct.8, PRC delayed the invasion due to more debates on whether to act alone without Soviet support. Major PVA forces did not enter Korea until the night of  Oct. 16 1950, when a unit of 42d army of the 13th Army Group crossed Yalu.  On Oct. 18, Chairman Mao issued the final order for four PVA armies and 3 artillery divisions to enter Korea on Oct. 19.

7. What was an army in PLA unit hierarchy?
An army in PLA was like the Corps in American infantry. A PLA army consists of 3 divisions of about 10,000 men each, however,  actual division strength was usually 7000-8500 .

Notice that a PLA division is less than half the authorized strength of a US division. A PLA division has three 3000-men regiments. A US division consisted of three  regiments of infantry, three battalions of 105mm artillery, 1 battalion of 155mm artillery, an anti-aircraft battalion, a tank battalion and other supporting units, totalling 20,000 men.

A PLA army group is like a US Army (such as the Eighth Army), which consisted of several PLA armies. For example, the 13th Army Group consisted of 38th, 39th, 40th, 42d armies.

Today, the basic PLA ground combat unit is an Integrated Group Army, which consists of divisions of armor, mechanized infantry, artillery, aviation, air defense, tactical SSMs and other units, forming a formidable force of 70,000 men.
Confucius - Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-1-13 15:23:43 |Display all floors
10. Who was the PVA commander in Korea?
Marshal Peng Dehuai was assigned to command the PVA on Oct. 8 1950 and he remained at that position until the end of the war.

Many US books, even those published in 1980s, claimed that the PVA commander was Lin Biao, the former commander of the Fourth Field Army to which the 13th Army Group belonged. Such claims showed complete lack of intelligence in the west. Some western source (such as the Korean War Almanac by H. G. Summers, Jr) tried to argue that because Lin Biao was regarded as a traitor in China, "the truth may never be known". The obvious flaw in such argument was that Lin Biao was the man only second to Mao until 1970, if he was the hero in Korea, there would have been huge propaganda for this official heir to Mao, yet everyone in China knew that Peng  (who was out of power since 1959 ) was the man who led PVA to victory. The fact was, Mao asked Lin Biao to command the PVA, but the latter was concerned about the American fire power and refused, with scarce support from his generals, Mao had to summon Peng Dehuai back from Northwest region to ask him to take the job, Peng agreed with Mao's view on the Korean situation and took the task of commanding the PVA.
Confucius - Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-1-13 15:30:18 |Display all floors
Originally posted by HeavenSent at 2009-1-13 15:23
10. Who was the PVA commander in Korea?
Marshal Peng Dehuai was assigned to command the PVA on Oct. 8 1950 and he remained at that position until the end of the war.

Many US books, even those p ...


From my understand Peng Dehuai was a great man, who got what he deserved.  Sarcasm.  Wasn't he tortured and killed during the CR for being a rightist?

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-1-13 15:30:29 |Display all floors
How was the PLA equipment in the Korean war?
PLA was basically a rifle infantry with almost no heavy weapons beyond mortars, their rifles were mostly captured from Japanese and KMT armies in the anti-Japanese war and the civil war, and they lacked ammunition. When the Korean war started, PRC was less than one year old, and it was focusing on reconstruction of a nation which suffered 8 years of Japanese aggression and plundering. China's steel production was a meager 0.6 million tons (in comparison, US figure was 87 million tons). China had almost no industry, it could not make weapons at large quantity, especially heavy weapons and their ammunitions. A PLA army then had less than 10% of the fire power of a US  Corps, it had only 36 artillery pieces of 76mm or larger, while a US Corps had over 300 guns of 105mm or larger, PLA army had no tanks. PLA also lacked transport, a PLA division had only scores of trucks, and its supply had to be carried by porters.

After PLA's first successful campaigns in Korea, PLA bought Soviet weapons enough to equip 20 divisions, thus improved its fire power. At the final stage of the war, PLA was able to mass up a good number of heavy artillery to break an ROK/US defense line by brute force.

9. What were PVA's tactics  and strategies in Korean war?
PVA's tactics were designed to void UN's advantage of air power and artillery.

PVA used night fighting tactics. It would start an attack when night fell,  withdrew and went to cover at dawn, so US airplanes could not harass them. It also used close combat, threw its units into enemy line, so the enemy artillery could not operate. Another PVA tactics was to infiltrate deep into enemy positions, attack their command posts and artillery positions directly from inside.

During the truce talks, PVA invented the bunker war, they would dug very long and deep bunkers in the hills and stock supplies there, when enemy shell the hills, they would withdraw into the bunkers, when the shelling stopped, they came out to fire on the attackers, after the surface positions taken by enemy, they would withdraw back into the bunkers, then PVA artillery would shell the enemy on the surface and they came out the bunkers again to assist the retaking of the hill.

PVA's main strategy at the beginning was the so-called "movement war", the main objective was to divide the enemy into isolated pieces and then use superior strength of force to annihilate the encircled enemy piecemeal before enemy reinforcement could be brought in, to do this, PVA uses frontal attacks and simultaneous penetrations to cut directly into enemy rear, cutoff MSR (main supply route) and withdraw routes, trap enemy units when they tried to redeploy.

To understand PLA strategies, one must study the grand campaigns in which PLA wiped out 8 million KMT troops in 2 years, with small casualty of its own.
Confucius - Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Use magic tools Report

You can't reply post until you log in Log in | register

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.