The Americans were just beginning to fight

Sunday, September 13th, 2020

By mid-September the NKPA had over run all South Korea except one tiny toehold in the southeast corner, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), but this toehold had given it unexpected trouble:

Its timetable calling for the Communization of all Korea by 15 August had been wrecked. Worse, the Inmun Gun, the People’s Army, had left the bones of its best men scattered along the Naktong River, and the survivors were rapidly bleeding themselves to death against American guns on the broiling hills and in the fetid valleys.

The People’s Army had almost shot its bolt. Less than 30 percent of the old China veterans remained, and these were dirty, tired, hungry, and in rags. Now only frequent summary executions and the threat of death could hold the newly drafted trainees in line.


The Inmun Gun had made its supreme effort, and failed — and the Americans were just beginning to fight.


  1. Harry Jones says:

    “Now only frequent summary executions and the threat of death could hold the newly drafted trainees in line.”

    How does this even work? If they tried it on me, I’d shoot them. Because, you know, I’d just happen to have a gun on me.

  2. Kirk says:

    Silly man… You don’t think they handed out ammo with the weapons, do you? That was only given out just before combat, and there were also all those pesky NKVD-types just behind the lines to help stragglers find their way.

    There’s also that whole issue where the individual has no idea what is really going on in the minds of the men on his left and right. He may actually be a part of the majority that doesn’t want to fight, but he’ll never know because of the mistrust fostered by the system around him. Nobody dares talk about it, so everyone thinks everyone else is a true believer.

    Also, there is the fact that it is possible that most of the men were ideologically committed, and that the ones executed were either innocent of what they were accused of, executed just because some apparatchik got a hard-on for them, or that they were genuinely guilty.

    You try to tease out the things which were going on in the minds of men like that, and it’s mostly a fools game. The Korean War was used by the Chinese to eliminate a lot of captured Nationalist Chinese soldiers that they’d “turned”, and it is impossible to know at this point what the hell was going on in a lot of their minds. Some of the men the Chinese fed into the war had been convicted of war crimes while under Nationalist banners, and were told that the only way forward for them was to die in Korea–Which would have the effect of getting their families forgiveness.

    It’s not quite as simple as it all looks, from our vantage point. If you took your rifle, and shot the political officer? Odds were excellent that your sister back home and grandma were going to get shot, too. Communists are very good at motivating people, you see…

  3. Wang Wei Lin says:


    Chinese motivation idiom: Kill the chicken to scare the monkey. I’ve seen children’s cartoons of this.

  4. Kirk says:

    We’ve probably seen the same ones.

    Between Stockholm Syndrome, the control measures, and everything else, I really doubt that there were any Chinese soldiers that even thought about turning their weapons on the cadres.

    After all, consider what the CCP managed to do in the POW camps on our people. The former Nationalist Chinese soldiers probably went through several years of similar conditions and doctrine.

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