Office Hours with Victor Davis Hanson: Korean War / Matthew Ridgway

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3 thoughts on “Office Hours with Victor Davis Hanson: Korean War / Matthew Ridgway”

  1. While I have no dissent on General Ridgway, I do want to comment on a couple of things:
    Saying that the Marines were “lifted out” is a bit obfuscating. People today will think airplanes took them out of Chosin. They fought their way through 10 Chinese Divisions to the port of Hungnam. On the way, they picked up Army soldiers from units in 1st Cavalry and others that, literally, dissolved when attacked. Marines I spoke with who were there said the soldiers always wanted to know the “bugout route” when they arrived and were unhappy to learn that there wasn’t any. They survived on hard candies that would melt in their mouths. The Chinese they fought were peasants, many unarmed or armed with staves. In one attack, they saw hordes at the bottom of their hill on line and officers on horses with bugles. My friend’s master sergeant told everyone to duck down in their foxholes and let the hordes run over them. Only Marines hurt were the ones who jumped up. After the charge, the unfortunate peasants milled around at the crest of the hill.

  2. General MacArthur refused to accept his own intelligence officers’ reports of Chinese infiltrating over the Yalu.
    When he decided to amphibiously invade Inchon, he turned to Marine majors on his staff; including Robert E. Cushman, later 25th Commandant of the Marine Corps, to plan it. 1st MarDiv lead the way and fought their way towards Seoul but, when they neared it, they were told to halt so an Army Division could enter it first.
    Marines and soldiers also had problems with the Air Force bombing them because they didn’t fly low enough to distinguish. Eventually MGen O.P. Smith contacted the Air Force and informed them that 1stMarDiv Marines had orders to shoot them down if they flew over. Didn’t have that problem with Navy and Marine aviators.

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