The rash and the brave die early in a war

Monday, July 27th, 2020

The heart of the ROK Army, with the loss of its best men north of the Han, had broken, T. R. Fehrenbach (in This Kind of War) explains:

It had little equipment remaining from the Seoul debacle, and the troops who had been in the south were poorly armed, with old Jap matèriel. The staff had fallen into controversy, with more than one high officer shouting “Communists!” at his colleagues.

[...]

It was the Communist tanks, the ever-present, ever-leading T-34’s, which could not be stopped and could not be destroyed, that wrecked every plan and every hope of the ROK commanders. Lee Bum Suk had sound notions for fighting tanks — but now he could no longer find any ROK soldiers with the heart to try them. The rash and the brave die early in a war.

Lee’s successor, Chung Il Kwon, dropped the whole problem in the Americans’ laps. They were here now; their advisers had talked endlessly about the insignificance and vulnerability of Soviet tanks — now let the men from Mikuk, the Beautiful Land, fight the Communist tanks.

[...]

Each [American] soldier carried either an M-1 rifle or a carbine, with less than 100 rounds of ammunition. The company had three light machine guns, with four boxes of ammunition for each gun. Each platoon had only one Browning Automatic rifle, with a total of 200 rounds per weapon.

The Weapons Platoon dug in only three 60mm mortars. It also had 75mm recoilless rifles, but these it could have left behind, for the powers that be had issued no ammunition for them.

Nor were there any hand grenades.

When the Americans encountered North Koreans with tanks, they didn’t perform much better than their South Korean allies:

“Commence firing! Commence firing!” Collins shouted. Two other men, who were veterans of World War II, took up the shout.

The Americans on the hill could see the advancing Koreans plainly now, but almost no one fired. Collins turned to the two riflemen in his own hole.

“Come on! You got an M-1 — get firing! Come on!” He jabbed one of them sharply.

But most of the men stood slack-jawed, staring at the advancing Koreans, as if unwilling to believe that these men were really trying to kill them. For many minutes, only the squad and platoon leaders did any shooting, and more than half of the men never got off a round.

[...]

More than a dozen tanks converged bumper to bumper on the road, a beautiful target, and on the hill SFC Collins cursed because he had no ammo for the 75’s.

He called for fire from the battalion’s 4.2 — mortars — but a tank cannon shell burst near the single mortar observer, not harming him, but shocking him into speechlessness. No one else knew how to direct the mortars, and in the confusion the tubes stood idle.

[...]

The men left their field packs behind, and most of them forgot their spare ammunition. A few even left rifles in the rush.

[...]

Sergeant Collins, disgusted that so many of his men hadn’t fired on the enemy, went among his survivors, asking them why they hadn’t fired. A dozen of them said their rifles wouldn’t work. Checking, Collins found the rifles were jammed with dirt, or incorrectly assembled after cleaning.

Many of the men did not know how to put a rifle together. It wasn’t Collins’ fault, since he had joined the company only one day before.

[...]

The wounded who had made it could walk, but the shell-shocked mortar observer wandered around aimlessly if not helped. Men took turns helping him along.

The rain stopped, and the day became steamy, humid, and miserable. The men sweated. They had thrown away their canteens, and now they were forced to drink like animals from the muddy ditches and stinking rice paddies, fertilized with human feces.

That Korean term for America, Mikuk, can also be written as Miguk, which some have suggested as the origin of the term gook:

The word was used by U.S. Marines in the early 20th century; the earliest written example is dated 1920.

Folk etymology suggests that during the Korean War, young Korean children would point at U.S. soldiers and shout in Korean Miguk (“America”). Soldiers heard the word as “me gook”, as if the children were defining themselves as “gooks”. The soldiers proceeded to use that term to refer to the Koreans. The word guk itself simply means “country”. This explanation ignores the fact that there are many examples of the word’s use that pre-date the Korean War.

I was shocked to read Rhodesians calling black Communist guerrillas gooks (in A Handful of Hard Men).

Comments

  1. Adar says:

    “American troops when encountering tanks threw away their weapons during maneuvers in Tennessee during WW2 and fled. And those were AMERICAN tanks.” — Matt Ridgway.

    Ridgway the only WW2 senior emerging from Korea with his reputation intact.

  2. Kirk says:

    Flip side to all this…? The opening phases of a war also tend to eliminate the stupid and unfit, as well.

    Also, the unlucky.

    Whole thing is a bit of a mixed bag, really. Some good, some bad, and a lot of really mixed results/impact. Think of war as being evolution sped up, eliminating the unfit. Which, I am afraid, often means killing off the brave and enthusiastic. What you wind up with are the pragmatic and effective survivors that aren’t dumb enough to try taking on tanks with no AT weapons, but who manage to survive and carry on resistance. In the long run, these guys are going to be more effective, and do a better job.

    The heroes are awfully prone to dying glorious deaths. Once they’ve done that, they’re useless. You’re better off with guys who have sense and a bit of fear, TBH. They’ll still be there to pull triggers for you after the glory hounds have expended themselves.

    And, of course, there’s the paperwork: Pragmatic types don’t generate much, while the “heroes” require a ton of documentation for their posthumous awards.

    Your best bet for winning wars are the kinds of considered professionals that made up the 291st Engineer Battalion during the Battle of the Bulge. Not for them the glory, but when it was over, they’d worn down and run out the lead elements under Peiper to a degree that probably did more damage to the German effort than anyone else on the battlefield. One Bazooka team and some AT mines kept Peiper’s scouts from finding a way through at a critical time, and caused an overnight delay that crippled the tempo of the operation.

    All in a day’s (or, night’s…) work, for those guys. Who had, I might point out, not been allocated for combat work–The battalion was under Corps control, running sawmills to produce lumber for winter quarters.

    It is unfortunate that we had few of this sort of soldier under arms in Korea; if we had, the whole thing would have played out far differently than when the force was manned by striplings and a tiny proportion of older men.

  3. Paul from Canada says:

    Pretty much every war seems to start with disaster as those promoted for the wrong things in peacetime fail, and the usung and passed over, but competent step into the breach. The trick is hoping you have enough of them, and enough time……..

  4. Kirk says:

    The best way to fight a war…? Don’t fight the damn thing at all. War is the natural habitat of disaster, and no matter how good you think you are at it, or how well-prepared? There’s always something that’s going to bite you in the ass. Hard.

    It’s notable that the Germans, who are perhaps better at war than anyone else in the modern era, never seem to do very well out of it. This might be a learning point for the rest of us, but I fear that the Putins and the Xis of the world never seem to catch on to that set of facts.

    I don’t disagree with those that say that the best way to prevent war is to prepare for it, but the sad fact is that everyone who has set out to conquer and try to prosper using military means has generally done very badly out of it. There’s something to be learned from the failures of all these Hitler and Napoleon types, and I think that lesson is “Don’t start shit you can’t finish…”.

    The track record kinda speaks for itself, ya know…?

  5. Unicephalon40D says:

    Kirk…

    The Putins and Xis? ????

    Nobody, and I mean nobody, is saber-rattling harder than those Neocon faggots who now call themselves “China Hawks.” This is the same bunch of war-agitating Neocons as ever, only now with a different angle.

    There is only one sane course of action that “The Putins and Xis” can take: They have to build up their militaries, they have to appear resolute, they have to assert their sovereignty, and they have to respond to belligerence with belligerence. They’re stuck in a defect/defect equilibrium, at least until war breaks out, or until the domestic situation in the USA changes.

  6. RLVC says:

    International finance has been nursing China since 1946.

    America (“America”) packed up and shipped off nearly the entirety of its manufacturing to that country, and was a few tens of thousands of votes away from the final nail in the coffin: TPP.

    TPP… remember that? Where were your “sabre-rattling”, “China hawk”, “neocons” then?

    For the first two years of Trump’s presidency, you were told that Russia was the existential threat. Only in April of 2019 had the man clawed enough power to arrest the Huawei scion. That was a big shock: shock in the growing real authority of Trump.

    April 2019 was not so long ago, chronologically, and yet so many people have such short memories.

  7. Unicephalon40D says:

    Nobody serious ever believed that Russia was an existential threat.

    The Putins and the Xis are pragmatic. They behave as we would expect rational, self-interested actors to behave.

    The US has become a lunatic asylum. One minute raving about Russia, the next minute frothing at the mouth about China, all the while half of its population rages against the other half.

  8. RLVC says:

    The Ukraine was never an “existential” threat, and yet Biden along with the other middle managers of the neoliberal establishment spent a few years there getting very rich. Billions off the books, presumably.

    Gaddafi was never an “existential” threat, and yet his gold went… somewhere.

    And so on.

    Obviously, the people who are “raving” about Russia are not the same people who are “frothing” about China.

    Russia and the Ukraine are very special places, you know. They occupy a unique place in the minds of certain folks.

    Just who installed the present Chinese state, anyway?

    I’m sure they have no continuing influence.

    That would be crazy.

  9. Sam J. says:

    “…The Putins and Xis? ????

    Nobody, and I mean nobody, is saber-rattling harder than those Neocon faggots who now call themselves “China Hawks.” This is the same bunch of war-agitating Neocons as ever, only now with a different angle…”

    The Jews are willing to fight down to the last American.

    RLVC says:,”International finance has been nursing China since 1946.

    America (“America”) packed up and shipped off nearly the entirety of its manufacturing to that country, and was a few tens of thousands of votes away from the final nail in the coffin…”

    Here fixed it for you.

    “Jews (“not-America”) packed up and shipped off nearly the entirety of its manufacturing to that country”

    I think the Jews really believed they were going to pick the US dry then move right into China and run them into the ground after 50 years or so like they did us.

    Now wild speculation. I believe the Chinese sweet talked them something fierce and helped them to believe this fairy-tale all the time wrenching every last bit of tech they could get out of the carcass of American businesses that the Jews bought with FED money and moved there. I have speculated that the vast amount of cities built in the middle of no where with no residents was actually for the Jews. They paid for them. They have to have been built for something. At some point I think the Jews realized they had been double crossed by the Chinese. The Chinese are well aware how the Jews have picked the US dry and they have no intention of going down that path.

    The Jews always doubling down hatched corona to punish the Chinese. It’s been said by at least five different high level centers that study viruses that corona was an engineered virus and who else would benefit? Maybe the Chinese made a mistake but then how did it pop up and infect the leadership of Iran and then to top it off the Jews say,”oh by the way we just happened to be working on the exact same type virus and we can have a vaccine right away”. Please. I expect one of their greedy idiots couldn’t help himself, saw an opportunity to profit off the vaccines and let it slip that they could have a vaccine for corona.

    So what now? Their false flag gun grab where they went around shooting children failed spectacularly. The corona is a bust. Antifa, their stupid tranny whites and Nigger loot squad is not going to take over anything and has even supercharged Americans love for guns. They are fucked. Maybe we can actually get rid of them forever this time.

    Expect more corona maybe even a super virulent other virus. That won’t work because people are primed and it can be stopped. Nukes??? I noticed the news is ginning up a story about Russian lost backpack nukes but these were lost long ago and the tritium has long run out of these and they MUST have it to make them work. If they set them off people will know this. Just how long before people in the military or the intelligence agencies decide that the Jews are just too damn psychopathic to live and start killing off the ones making the plans????

    Whatever happens it will probably happen in the very near future. I expect the whole business will be over one way or another within five to ten years. Either the Jews take over the US and start mass killing like they did in Russia or they will lose power and possibly be kicked out forever.

    I expect there’s no way they can successfully take over the country. Sure there’s plenty of idiots that will do their bidding but there’s just not enough. There’s a vast amount of troops, police, etc. that will just fade away and start fighting for the resistance. Not to mention the amount of guns and ammo in this country is staggering. There’s more people with hunting licenses in just the State of Pennsylvania than there are soldiers in the whole US army and the US army is mostly support. The actual front lines are vastly Whiter than the support and they are not reliable for the Jews. I don’t care how many APC’s the government has they can’t actually control anything with them. You have to get out of them to patrol and even with that they can be cooked with simple napalm anyone can make with gasoline. No they are fucked good.

  10. RLVC says:

    Sam,

    The CCP is awarding its top movie awards to Chinese-language movies written, directed, and produced by Chinese state monopoly organizations — these movies unambiguously depict a world ruled by the UN, a world with no sovereign Chinese state, a world without, even, CCP symbolism.

    Someone has to ask:

    Just what is going on here?

  11. Gavin Longmuir says:

    RLVC: “Someone has to ask: Just what is going on here?”

    I will give you a guess — just a guess. China’s state-sponsored ‘movies without a China’ are analogous to “American” movies where Superman renounces his US citizenship. Everyone is going after the international audience, and is avoiding certain things which could turn off part of the potential audience. And we have to face facts — those Chinese Communists are better capitalists than we are.

    China provided the money to make the recent movie “Midway”, about the US naval victory there. Today’s American studio executives don’t care about America’s history, apparently. Chinese executives know that Chinese audiences like movies in which the Japanese occupiers of China get their butts kicked — even if it was the Americans who did it.

    If you look at some of the recent Chinese movies and telenovelas, it is clear that Chinese movie-making technology is advancing rapidly. Their studio facilities are rapidly becoming world leaders. And we know China is capable of executing long-range (even multi-generational) plans. Yesterday, the Chinese made bamboo mats; today, they make the iPhones we use; tomorrow, they will make the movies we watch. Once we get to that stage, the CCP symbolism may reappear in Chinese movies.

    Just speculation on my part, of course.

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