The Chinese learned what they wanted to know

Monday, November 16th, 2020

This Kind of War by T.R. FehrenbachOn 25 November T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), men of the 1/7 Marines took a prisoner, a subdued, wounded Chinese, who said he was a private soldier:

Under interrogation, this humble POW became a fount of information. Among other things. he described the CCF plan of battle.


Marine field grade officers hardly knew as much of their own battle plans, and the Chinese information was greeted with suspicion or ironic amusement. It was never credited. Unfortunately, it was correct.


Hardheaded and quick-tempered, Sung had driven his men across the terrible mountains from the Yalu in fourteen nights of marching. By any standards, it had been a prodigious feat for the Chinese hordes to clamber across the icy mountains unseen. Unable to bring across his heavy artillery, Sung gambled. He drove the men, with rifles, mortars, and machine guns, on ahead, leaving his big guns behind.


Chinese advanced until they drew fire, then retired. One officer, realizing that the enemy was trying to smell out American positions, ran up and down shouting, “Don’t fire — don’t fire!” But he was too late. Nervous, the men had fired at the slightest sound, and the Chinese learned what they wanted to know.


When darkness fell across the bleak, icy landscape, Task Force Faith began another night of battle. Alone, exposed to the full weight of the Chinese assault pouring against its front, flanks, and rear, after more than one hundred hours of incessant combat Task Force Faith dissolved. Colonel Faith was killed by a hand grenade.


  1. Lu An Li says:

    Colonel Faith’s body was only recently recovered and repatriated. MoH winner given proper burial at Arlington.

  2. David Whitewolf says:

    For daily 70-years-ago-today excerpts from the war diary of a Chosin Few Marine, see:

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