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14. How about the third PVA campaign?|
After the defeat in the second PVA campaign, UN forces regrouped between the 37th and 38th parallel. Mao decided to cross the 38th parallel to break the UN defense line, if everything went well, PVA would capture the area around Seoul.
By this time, North Korea People's Army (NKPA) had regrouped and had a few combat ready divisions, and they could be put to use. Peng Dehuai, following Mao's guidelines, ordered 6 PLA armies and 3 NK divisions to crack the UN defense line at 38th. On Dec.31 1950, PVA and NKPA forces of 300,000 men launched attacks along a 200km front line, shattered the UN line within a short time. In a week, UN forces retreated to 37th parallel. Concerned about possible UN amphibious assault from rear and PVA logistic difficulties, Peng Dehuai ordered to stop pursuit, and end the campaign on Jan. 8, 1951.
In this campaign, PVA destroyed 19,000 UN troops, with 6334 captures, of which 366 were American. Seoul, capital of South Korea was captured.
15. How did PVA perform in the 4th campaign?
After the third campaign, due to stretch of supply line, the main PVA forces were taking rest around 38th parallel, leaving a group of the forces defend the line further south. Feeling the logistic difficulties of the PVA, on Jan 25 of 1951, UN forces launched an attack using 16 divisions, plus 3 brigades and 1 airborne regiment, a total of 230,000 ground force. The UN strategy was using an attrition warfare to "kill the communists" with its superior firepower. At this moment, PVA had not fully recovered from the exhaustion from the previous three campaigns and its battle casualties had not been filled in. In view of this, PVA decided to fight a delaying retreat on the west (where US troops concentrated), lure the UN forces north on the east (where ROK concentrated) and seek to counter attack using forces deployed at the center. The western group consisted of PVA 50th army, 38th army and NKPA 1st divions; the center group consisted of PVA 39th army, 40th army, 42d army, 66th army; the eastern group was NPKA 2d, 3d and 5th divisions.
The first phase of the campaign was from Jan.25 to Feb. 16.
On the west, US 25th Division, 3d Division, 1st calvary Division, 24th Division, British 27th Brigade, 29th Brigade, Turkish Brigade, ROK 1st Division, ROK 8th Division attacked the PVA and NKPA positions. After fierce fighting, the second line of defense of the PVA 50th army and NKPA 1st division was broken, main forces of these two forces retreated to north of Han river, leaving a small force to defend the bridgehead, the 38th army stayed south of Han, to ensure a counter attack at the center section later.
On the east, US 2d Division, 7th Division, 187th Airborne RCT and 5 ROK divisions pushed north. PVA 125th Division of 42d army and NKPA 5th Division carried out a fighting withdraw, luring ROK 8th and 5th Division further north. On Feb. 11, 124th Division of 42d army counter attacked, 117th Division of 39th army spearheaded and cutoff the withdraw route for the ROK forces. On Feb.12, PVA destroyed 3 regiments of ROK 8th Division, destroyed part of US 2d Division and part of ROK 3d and 5th Division, plus 4 artillery battalions. Total UN casualty was 12,000, with 7800 captured. Due to severe losses of X Corps, Ridgway ordered to investigate gen. Almond and threatened to court-martial some of the commanders.
Although PVA succeeded in its defensive actions on the west and counter attack on the eastern front, it failed to check the overall UN offensive. In view of this, Peng Dehuai ordered his forces to begin defensive maneuver starting from Feb. 17 in order to gain two months time, waiting for the second batch of PVA forces, the 3rd Army Group and 19th Army Group to arrive at the 38th parallel.
On Feburary 9, US 1st calvary, 1st Marine Division and two other divisions renewed its attack on PVA center section, after aligning the front on west and east, it initiated another round of all out offensive against PVA, on March 15, UN captured Seoul perimeter. On March 31, PVA and NKPA forces withdrew back to 38th parallel. The fight continued to April 21, by this time, PVA 3d, 19th and 9th Army Groups reached north of the 38 parallel, these fresh troops consisted of 10 armies, about 240,000 men. At the time, UN had about 231,000 non-ROK and 120,000 ROK force at the front line, however, Ridgway felt that it was too risky to mount a major assault, UN forces halted their attacks. PVA 13th army group rotated back to China.
In the 87 days of the 4th campaign, PVA and NKPA destroyed 78,000 UN troops, with 8984 captures, of which 1214 were Americans. PVA and NKPA also suffered substantial casualty, totaled 42,000, however, it gained time for the second batch of PVA forces to arrive and deploy. UN forces advanced 100 km (60 miles) in this campaign.