The enemy was confused by the slashing American movements

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War) how, after turning things around, the American forces, well supplied with vehicles, with many good roads in that part of Korea, were advancing faster than the enemy could flee:

General Walker’s orders for the pursuit and exploitation had instructed the divisions to forget about their flanks, to press ahead against a beaten enemy, and this tactic was paying off.

[...]

But the enemy was also confused by the slashing American movements. During the evening a North Korean truck tried to pull into the town. It was loaded with crates, and seemed to carry about twenty soldiers.

An outpost of the 38th along the road fired a single bazooka round at the truck as it approached. Then the men of the outpost cowered in the ditches as the truck disappeared with a horrendous explosion, raining fire and fragments over a wide area. The crates had been filled with ammunition.

Concerned by the terrific detonation, Peploe came out to see what had happened. Viewing the reeking crater in the road, he could find no remnants of either the truck or the men who had been upon it.

Comments

  1. Kirk says:

    When the American Army is on it’s “A” game, it is very, very good.

    When it isn’t? It is very, very bad. There isn’t a lot of middle ground when you look at the history of it all. It’s a lot like West Point officers, in my experience–Either they’re the best you’re ever going to work for and around, or they’re the worst. There is no middle ground, with Academy-graduate ring-knockers.

  2. Wang Wei Lin says:

    It is my experience that most groups will develop into high performance teams if left alone. Add in management and all bets are off.

  3. Kirk says:

    Depends a lot on the group, where you recruit it from, and what sort of pressure it is under.

    When you get down to it, it’s all about the human material. Recruit a bunch of self-interested dummies, and you’re going to have problems with them ever performing up to standard, let alone ever reaching a state of excellence.

    The management issue is also highly variable… You look at the guys who were involved in the SOE during WWII, and you note that the Brit aristos who were doing all that were actually pretty good. Which doesn’t explain the rest of the British Army’s leadership performance in that conflict, but… Yeah.

  4. Albion says:

    Kirk,

    I am told that early in his office as PM, Churchill said he would sack just about every British WW2 general. He also acknowledged there was no one better to replace them, so the generals stayed.

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