Chosin Reservoir - Ray Vallowe Research

Chapter 9 - Secret or Classified Mission?

Author's Background | Prologue | Chapt 1 - Budget War | Chapt 2 - Inchon | Chapt 3 - Capture Seoul
Chapt 4 - Inchon to Pusan | Chapt 5 - Fateful Journey into N Korea | Chapt 6 - Inter-service Rivalry-1
Chapt 7 - Inter-service Rivalry-2 | Chapt 8 - Press Corps | Chapt 9 - Secret/Classified Mission
Chapt 10 - Circumstantial Evidence | Chapt 11 - Mission Change | Chapt 12 - The Tank Withdrawal
MIA/KIA East of Chosin | Postscript | Important Maps | Declassified Documents| Reader Comments


This Phantom Force

"Apparently pressure was put on Gen. MacArthur by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to get closer contact between the X Corps and the Eighth Army. Then they devised a new plan by which they rushed up some troops of the 31st and 32nd Infantry to relieve the 5th on the east side of the Reservoir..." General O. P. Smith. [1]

Concerning the above quotation that General MacArthur was acting under some "pressure" by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the events at issue in this chapter were not only known but also encouraged by the JCS. There was a plan to use X Corps forces to assist Eighth Army through an attack behind the CCF's lines. This new plan of operation was designed to cut the enemy rear lines of supply to their forces crossing the bridge over the Yalu River via Manpo'jin and into North Korea. This new plan, which was also devised to directly aid Eighth Army, was known as Plan Eight.  It had two separate drafts drawn up by Almond's G-3 planning staff, to be activated by X Corps. The main force was to be the 1st Marine Division, by that time operating in their own western zone directly adjacent to Eighth Army's boundary line.  That line separated these two commands in North Korea.

RED FLAG HERE: The big mystery is what happened to the 7th Infantry Division documentation and the information concerning their direct involvement within this new plan? [2] General Smith himself created a continuous forty-seven year controversy--beginning 3 Mar 1952--over the exclusion of those units he himself listed within this new plan.  But he again opposed within a PUC Award. Why is that space missing in military history? That missing space was filled instead by pure speculative opinions over a redundant and consistently repeated version as to what General MacArthur changed in regard to this new plan.

One recurrent version was agreed upon and reported by all past authors.  It was also widely publicized, being over one small change made by MacArthur, that change recorded as only a "minor" one. However, this "minor change" merely indicates an oversight on MacArthur's part. While he approved the new plan, he failed to lower the boundary line which maintained and separated Eighth Army and X Corps commands. Without this change being made, by crossing its original boundary line, X Corps forces then came under the direct command of General Walker's Eighth Army control. This was apparently such an important change in the plan that Almond sent his G-3 to GHQ in Tokyo to confront MacArthur over this huge mistake. This part of the new plan was then on hold pending the minor change by MacArthur.  His "minor" oversight then delayed X Corps' combined major offensive with Eighth Army scheduled for 240800 November. This indicated that General Walker had to launch his own offensive without aid from X Corps, as MacArthur allowed Almond to pick his own date for X Corps' new offensive. Almond set the new time for 270800 November. This same speculative version has been repeated by every author concerning the Changjin Campaign in North Korea.

Note the following examples of various authors' statements:

  • Historian Blair states on page 420, "The Forgotten War" that: "MacArthur made only slight technical changes."
  • Historian Appleman states on page 8, "East of Chosin" that: "MacArthur: Making only one minor change, that moving the boundary between Eighth Army and X Corps further west and south."
  • Historian Schnabel states on page 266, "Policy & Direction" that "On November 24, MacArthur directed plan be carried out with one modification, a shift of the proposed boundary line between X Corps and Eighth Army further west and south in the zone of the 1st Marine Division."
  • Historian Roe states on page 260, "The Dragon Strikes" that "General MacArthur approved X Corps Operation Plan 8, draft 3, with minor changes of boundaries."

No reference whatsoever is made as to the 7th Infantry Division having any new mission within that 1st Marine Division zone. That is indeed very strange since those authors totally ignored General Smith's reference to the 7th Division forces in his interview of 1969, a full ten years prior to their own publications. My own research has uncovered no other version in existence. Being verified by so many published authors, their redundant statements should be true and factual, but are they? To unravel this mystery we must dissect the "new plan" and its two drafts, as well as the reason both drafts were rejected.


The 1st Marine Division were assigned their X Corps border mission under Plan 6 on 11 November.  Their orders sent them upward to Hagaru-ri, which was used as a base of operations and a new CP for General Smith.  The outward spokes (>Y<) from this hub at Hagaru-ri extended westward to establish a blocking position up to the Eighth Army's boundary line at Yudam-ni. The northeastern spoke, now revised (see compromise #2 below) extended from Hagaru-ri between the east shore of the Chosin reservoir and the west shore of the Fusen reservoir. [3] The Marine units assigned to this northeastern mission were required to travel to the town of Changjin, which rubbed the right flank of the Eighth Army's line as well. From that point well above the reservoir, the Marines were to travel due north to the Yalu River, rubbing the right flank(s) of the Eighth Army at Huchangu'gu, and Singalpajin, and rubbing the left flank(s) of the 7th Infantry Division zone. See

Plan 6 per Smith:

"I was told to occupy a blocking position at Yudam-ni with the 7th, and to have the 5th go by the east side of the reservoir and continue on to the Yalu. I told Murray and the 5th to take it easy; that we would fix an objective every day. The only objective the Corps gave me was the Yalu River. I told Litzenberg not to go too fast. He didn't want to go over the pass and down to Yudam-ni because we had this tremendous open flank. But the pressure was being put on me to get going. Finally, I had to tell Litzenberg to go on over and occupy Yudam-ni." [4]

Plan 8--A new mission from Plan 6 and without any 7th Division forces involved

The new Plan 8 was routed through two separate drafts for a coordinated mission to aid Eighth Army before the 24 November date.  The first draft of plan eight had elements from plan six "to occupy a blocking position at Yudam-ni with the 7th, and to have the 5th go by the east side of the reservoir and continue on to the Yalu." Hence the necessary change in plans.  The 5th Marine Regiment was already supplying forces to continue north along the east side of the Changjin Reservoir toward their next big objective to seize the town of Changjin. The 7th Marines were also to provide a blocking force at Yudam-ni. The mission change in Draft One of Plan 8 was that, after seizing the town of Changjin, the X Corps 5th Marine RCT force was to then pivot left toward the Kanggye-Manpo'jin axis which ran westward to the Yalu River at the Yellow Sea along the Chinese border. General Walker's new boundary line was therefore reset and lowered just below Kanggye and Manpo'jin. General Walton Walker's Eighth Army was then only required to continue due north to reach his new boundary line, which had been reset and reduced immediately south of Kanggye. It still, however, required Walker to seize Mup'yong-ni as well. This placed Walker's eastern force adjacent to X Corps and above the 7th Marine Regiment blocking position at Yudam-ni. The Marine force already anchored at Yudam-ni was still required to stay there in a blocking position. There was to be a coordinated and combined attack between Eighth Army and X Corps to commence at 240800 November. Regardless of the end results, what incident or what ingredient was in the mixture that caused this draft one as written to be rejected?

1) The 5th Marines were not going to reach Changjin by 240800 November '50.

2) As listed below, Smith's own words to Benis Frank were that, "We can't make a main effort in two directions. We've got one main effort, which is going up this road by the Chosin Reservoir to the Yalu, and here you are telling us to be prepared for a major attack out to the Northwest."

This prior objection notwithstanding, Draft One required that he once again shift westward, away from his "one main effort," simply reversing the spearhead of his main effort into Kanggye. But first and foremost under Plan 6 or Plan 8, he had to seize the town of Changjin above the reservoir.  Only then could he turn westward. Since Changjin already was well within this X Corps boundary line, no minor changes had to be made to this line before it could be seized.

A minor X Corps internal change in boundary lines under plan 6 placing the 3rd Division protecting the Marine division rear flank between their division as a blocking force at Sach'ang-ni.  MG Smith's listing (Compromise #2) said, "...By that time the 3rd Infantry Division had landed, and I said, 'Why can't they take over that job?' And they did eventually."  See:

RED FLAG: Important point here - The road leading to Sach'ang-ni had to come through the 1st Marine Division's zone (at that time) below Chinhung-ni to Sach'ang-ni. Thus the 3rd Division also had to travel through that lower 7th Division zone and then below the previously assigned Marine zones to protect their disputed (gap) left flank between Eighth Army and the Marine forces. [5] Again we must look and quote from General Smith's interview:

"What I was trying to do was to slow down the advance and stall until I could pull up the 1st Marines....I was unable to complete that until the 27th of November."

What was his problem? He had already been rewarded for his objection over the Fusen reservoir--transferred to Lt. Col. Faith, and then the 3rd Division had taken over his rear guard flank at the gap below Koto-ri. Reality: This also gave the enemy those same number of days to mass their own forces. Right, wrong, or indifferent, CG Almond had one major force working against his X Corps planners. So Draft One had some built-in variables to work out.

Question: Would a force be at Changjin to pivot westward? Answer: They were not anywhere near there on 24 November. Certainly the notoriety and dispute over delaying this Marine mission is no secret by any means. The border missions outlined by General Almond on Map 5, November 11-26, were well known.  All forces were to unite due north at the Yalu River. Likewise, the border missions assigned to the 7th Infantry Division, indeed even more so, verified in the notoriety in American newspapers headlining the 7th Division in achieving their border assignment at Hyesanjin, on 21 November.

The Second Draft

Again, without any 7th Division forces involved, this latter mission of Plan 8, Draft One, changed as of 21 November, as General Almond picked Draft Two (GHQ, G-3, General Wright's preference).  Within this second draft, the push toward Mup'yong-ni was to be made directly west through the Hagaru-ri, Yudam-ni, Mup'yong-ni axis using those 7th Marine forces already in place on 24 November and thereby eliminating any delay in operation and combining a joint offensive of Eighth Army and X Corps.

Draft Two was also controversial, and was objected to by General Smith. As such, Smith did not activate it on 24 November. General Smith objected to this change in his mission. He insisted that since his 5th Marines on the east side were the fresher units of his forces, they should be the leading element of his offensive attack out of Yudam-ni. But they were already aligned for his main effort on the east side of the reservoir, although nowhere near the pivot point at Changjin.

Since the new change simply reversed the axis of direction to the westward below the reservoir by his 7th Marine Regiment blocking force already in place at Yudam-ni, Smith had a new dilemma. The change merely required that his force east of the reservoir be the new blocking force remaining in a stationary position at their present point of advance. [6] However, under Smith's new plan, the 5th Marine Regiment had to be realigned and relocated to be the forward force at Yudam-ni. This, however, was not Almond's new plan.

Here is our replay of Inchon and Seoul. However, unlike the Seoul controversy, there were no 7th Division forces anywhere within this Marine zone. They had their individual boundary line and zone of operation. Still, this was MG Smith's third objection, with an ultimatum attached. The first at Inchon withdrew the 1st Marine Brigade from Pusan, and replaced them with the 32nd Regiment. At Wonsan, a written order was required before he had his men unload their own supplies. Then at Chosin he had a new demand--to exchange his own forces from the east side to the west side. This latter change left his east side wide open from the north, thereby threatening the security of that vital hub at Hagaru-ri. In reality, it involved exchanging both of his own regiments to secure both flanks leading into Hagaru-ri.

The 7th Marines, already in place at Yudam-ni, had the assigned mission to advance through their zone to seize Mupyong-ni (per Draft #2, Plan 8), they having slowly moved into place before the 240800 November combined X Corps-Eighth Army offensive date. However, neither the 7th Marine Regiment nor the 5th Marine Regiment would lead off on that date. As stated above, there remained a new dispute and new objection by General Smith as to their use. The Marine G-3 had moved their own 7th Regiment slowly into a blocking position at Yudam-ni, but then failed to acknowledge or order this particular regiment any operational order to move out towards Mup'yong-ni. [7] General Smith insisted that the 5th Marine Regiment leap-frog or jump over the 7th Marine Regiment and realign to lead off towards Mupyong-ni. [8]

There was no indication what he planned to secure his own open eastern zone, which had been vacated by the relocation of his forces. Nevertheless, the plan was on hold until Smith's new ultimatum conditions were met. This set into motion a reaction by the Army G-3 staff to have an Army force lead off westward from Yudam-ni and seize Mup'yong-ni, instead of the 7th Marine Regiment. Almond then had an obligation to also secure the eastern flank to protect Hagaru-ri.

So it seems that a new battle line had been drawn--mot between American and Chinese forces (friend and foe), but an internal dispute between X Corps G-3 Planning Staff and the 1st Marine Division's G-3 staff.  The dispute was between one division of the Marine Corps OPCON to the Army X Corps. Whatever pressure had been applied to force the Marine advance westward into Yudam-ni, it then seemed that it had been assigned to the wrong regiment of that division. There would to be changes made to the alignment of forces. How could that be arranged?

It is then  high noon at Chosin on 24 November.  It was time for an Army and Marine G-3 show down. The Marine mission and its forces were on hold, reminiscent of the Inchon Landing ultimatum to MacArthur to do it the Marine way or not at all.  X Corps G-3 had a serious dilemma in their planning section. [9] Just as the Inchon Landing repercussions were an Army problem to solve in a short span of time, an exact duplication resurfaced at Chosin. As I stated about the Inchon case, Chosen was a clone copy--a blood-chilling duplication of that past event.

The only known solution was too drastic for X Corps G-3 planners to execute on their own. The 7th Division forces were too far removed from Chosin reservoir to narrow the Marine zone as was done on a short 24 hours notice at Seoul. At Seoul, both divisions occupied the same zone.  That was not the case at Chosin at 240800 November. Then, the entire Marine mission ordered under Plan Eight, Draft Two, was on hold.  "Then they devised a new plan by which they rushed up some troops of the 31st and 32nd Infantry to relieve the 5th on the east side of the Reservoir..."  Here began the origin of a new plan.

Any changes then required MacArthur's direct intervention; thus the requirement on 23 November for a plane flight to GHQ in Tokyo by X Corps, G-3, Colonel Chiles for a face to face meeting with General Douglas MacArthur. It was, indeed, difficult for anyone to reconstruct such a meeting between Colonel Chiles and General MacArthur, but it may have gone something like this:

  • Colonel Chiles informed General MacArthur that Plan 8, Draft 2, originating from Draft #1 had to be changed. [10]
  • It could not work because no forces were at Changjin. That force was stalled over 20 miles south of that objective.
  • To save time, a new offensive into Eighth Army zone had to be launched from a distance below the reassigned Eighth Army boundary line at Kanggye; that line previously extended sometime earlier by MacArthur's approval for Draft #1.
  • General Almond approved Draft #2 on 21 November to activate on 240800 November, that time line to coincide with Walker's attack on the same hour.
  • The 7th Marines were in a blocking position at Yudam-ni.  Already in place, they could lead off from there. However, they had been issued no division orders to do that.
  • Surely MacArthur wanted to know why the plan had to change at that late hour. Draft One being the plan he had sent to the JCS in Washington.  It was that plan that General Ridgway of that body described in his book.

What IS the problem? Why was this change needed? Was there a problem with the ROKs or The United Nations forces? Or was it strictly an Army problem? The answer to all three is, "No." But the problem which had been created made it exclusively an Army problem to solve in a short time.

Here were the options:

Almond had picked and ordered Draft #2. That draft could not work as the wrong regiment had been moved into place, per that divisional commander.  It had to be replaced by his preferred unit.  The offensive was stalled until that change occurred. The solution -- As recorded, MacArthur "made only minor changes", moving the boundary line below Kanggye farther south below Mupyong-ni as required to activate Draft #3. That highlights the only change recorded as the end result of this required face to face meeting with MacArthur. MacArthur apparently neglected to authorize the lowering of the boundary line below Mupyong-ni. However, time also had eroded the coordinated general assault schedule of Eighth Army and X Corps. General Almond could not activate this minor change by 240800 November.  He needed more time. MacArthur allowed Almond to pick his own date for the new offensive. With this minor change approved, Colonel Chiles was in flight back to Korea, as most authors state, as a Draft #3 was approved with the new boundary line. General Almond had the prerogative to set his own new date to activate. It is recorded that he set that date as 270800 November 1950.

While these changes, three days delayed, were listed under Plan Eight, Draft Three, they could not officially be related to that plan number. In reality, Plan Eight had been discarded completely. Hence Smith's reference of a "new plan" replaced by Opn 0 7, 25 November ‘50.  It was "a new plan by which they rushed up some troops of the 31st and 32nd Infantry to relieve the 5th on the east side of the Reservoir..."  This major change required a new order from MacArthur himself.  its changes were much more than "minor ones." They are major, major, major changes. They directly involved and ordered the entire 7th Infantry Division to relocate to the Chosin Reservoir arena. [11]

Problem: How did the Seventh Infantry Division enter into this farce?

How did Draft 3, (O 7 25 Nov.‘50) and the 7th Division enter into the picture? Their involvement was a major, major, major change. Their boundary lines between the 1st Marine Division and the 7th Infantry Division had been completely removed to: "The 7th Division will extend its zone westward, through that zone previously assigned to the Marines." [12]

How does one read this? The 7th Division boundary line to the westward was completely eliminated. Every "zone previously assigned to the Marines" under Plan 6 was reassigned to the 7th Division. As recorded by a X Corps Staff report, "We planned an orderly transfer of all three regiments to Chosin, but Almond ordered his nearest units there as fast as possible." But unanswered is what mission remained for the Marine regiments?

General Almond had intended the westward mission for the Marines. [13] But that was switched to the 7th Division, which returns us back to the Intelligence Summaries of MacLean's Order 25. It states that 1st Marine Division's sole remaining mission to seize Mupyong-ni was also transferred and belonged to the 7th Infantry Division. But the haste of the Chinese intervention interfered with this drama's finale between the two American generals. The late-arriving CCF enemy divisions also had the benefit of those additional three days to relocate more forces as well, while Lt. Colonel Faith was also moving his 1/32 Battalion towards Chosin Reservoir.

Colonel MacLean's 7th Division OPN Order #24 on 250800 November was merely a move order to relocate a portion of his 31st RCT to merge at the railroad station at Pukchong. Part one, (1.b) relating to what the rest of the 7th Division was required to do was recorded as "OMITTED." There was no indication whosoever of what the rest of the division was alerted to do. It was over 50 hours before the next attack (Operational Order 25) order was issued.  Operational Order 24 was issued at 242400 November at 7th Division headquarters at Untaek Korea.  Order 25 was issued on 27 November 1950, the same date to activate the 270800 November 7th Infantry Division attack at Chosin.

But the reason for the removal of Colonel MacLean's records and operational orders at the 7th Division level seems to have been buried beneath a staged smokescreen of controversy immediately following the Chosin Campaign. The powers that be in the Army collected MacLean's operational orders #23, #24.and #25.  Each one of these had several copies sent to others concerned in this deployment of forces. (Order #25 alone had seven individual copies to other units.) These also had to be pulled or buried within the action somewhere. [14] Undoubtedly the original copies with MacLean at Chosin did not survive intact.  The copy I have from the National Archives is very likely one of those many others--actually 31st Infantry, LTC Anderson, MacLean's S-3.

The picture attached is to emphasize the bumper stencils referred to in this chapter. I was with the 31st FA Bn at the time on the main Japanese island of Honshu, Camp Youngham's outside of Sendi Japan before transferred to the 57th FA Bn and moved to the northern island of Hokkaido. (August '50)

I pose the question, "Was this mission on the east side of Chosin truly an official 'Secret Mission?' Or was this simply a sin of omission? Either way, why codify it "Secret?" The enemy damn well knew the 7th Division was there at Chosin.  General Smith and his officers knew it as well. It was no big secret to them. Our trucks were not disguised with any other division stencils on their bumpers. Those men who wore the 7th Division (Hourglass) insignia on their left shoulder were still allowed to wear them. And most of all, if this was a "Secret" mission, why would the Marine Corps own history be allowed to place the three Army battalions at Chosin, 22 years before (1957) the order placing us there would be declassified (1979)?

The Navy maps do not place us there, nor does General Ridgway's map. However, Marine history Map 20 does place Task Force Faith on the east side of Chosin with the implication that the 32nd Infantry Battalion could [may] be coming downward from the north, in "an attempt to rescue Hagaru-ri," and just got trapped on the eastside of that reservoir. That map 20, does not however, indicate that our withdrawn 31st Tank Company was ever located at Hudong-ni, the area of our truck convoy breakup. [15] Were we merely innocent victims of a hoax of some kind? Or was someone really worried about the end result and the fall out of the revelation of MacLean's Phantom Force being relocated to Chosin?

Were we merely used as pawns to save face for another lesser corps? The number of 7th Division men involved was too great to hide. It covered too large a span in ranking officers and non-coms. The tragedy was well-known in Army circles and throughout the 7th Division. The loss to the division was just too great to hide. Nevertheless, that was the end result of our drama at Chosin. The mystery remains: Why were those Army officers to our rear, as well as all others, so silent concerning our tragedy? Only the Marine general's negative remarks kept our memories alive at the time, as did his constant attempt from 1953 to deny the PUC to this group of men from the east side of that reservoir.

Recall General Ridgway's map and his date of publication of that map. He relied on the official Marine historical history. The interservice rivalry, an over abundance of MOH's and press reports, and unreliable political spins had all taken their toll against the neglect to mention the Army forces' direct involvement at Chosin. Yet those lives lost were too big an investment to ignore the problem that doomed this Phantom Force. Regretfully, the problem still exists. Will it be solved and the 7th Division be given its rightfully-earned place in history before all of those missing in action men buried there are accounted for? One can only hope.

Until that day comes, I believe this serious sin of omission will plague and stain our military establishment. What safeguards are in place to review documents that are to be marked secret in the future? I have no quarrel whatsoever with the premise that some situations are so explosive that time must be placed between the actual event and a reasonable time to release that information.  However, 30 years (three decades) is just a little too long in my mind. Had the law not been changed at the time it was, those seeking these very documents would still not be able to obtain them from the National Archives to this very day. One can but speculate what benefit was derived by keeping this secret for all that time. Surely if the interservice rivalry was known at the time, it would have fared better between forces to keep commands separate and independent. At least that is my firm opinion.

The Mystery - Unsolved Pieces

In the beginning, this drama was plagued by lack of teamwork between the services--interservice rivalry--that uglier side of war. The difficulty in all of this lay at the feet of the X Corps Commander, General Almond. By not relieving General Smith of his command (to hell with the controversy that would have resulted), many lives were at stake.

It all revolved around the three days delay, offset by the offensive from 24 November to 27 November. The reason given for that delay was entirely too weak to support its own weight. Most references stating that Almond was given his freedom of choice to assign his date are unsupported by rational documentation. Why did he not issue orders before that date (November 24) to align his 7th Division forces to be in place on that date, given the very benefit of his having those extra three days? To the contrary, he did not reassign Faith's 1st Battalion to Chosin until early morning of 24 November, as Colonel Chiles was returning to Korea with those changes.

It seems evident that General Almond had the advance authorization or either anticipated his new orders to involve the 7th Division in the Chosin arena. He therefore set his plan in motion, narrowing the Marine zone of operations as he had done exactly two months earlier to the day at Seoul. Once again, he involved and burdened the 32nd Infantry, that regiment rejected outright by General Smith at Seoul. (There were ROKs still involved.)  Unfortunately for him and American history itself, the end result was far different at Chosin than at Seoul.

Ridgway --Map here

A New Plan - The Third Draft

The "new" plan, Operation Order 7 (25 November) directly involved the 7th Infantry Division. The one towering deficiency in the earlier two drafts was that each one of them involved crossing the boundary line between Eighth Army and X Corps--that line set by MacArthur.  He set it to justify the two commands' separate but equal existence. Even on the so-called "final" Draft #3, that issue was highlighted by other authors. The X Corps was not authorized to step beyond that line previously established by General MacArthur himself.  A line set by the highest authority, it applied to X Corps and ROK independent divisions as well. As recorded in Ebb & Flow, General Walker issued "only one order on 25 November," lowering his boundary line of responsibility "below Mupyong-ni." [16]

There is no dispute recorded to the contrary.  Instead, it is reinforced by historians Blair, Appleman, Stanton, Mossman, and Roe that the "only" change MacArthur made in the final draft while Almond's G-3 Colonel Jack Chiles was at GHQ in Tokyo, was at that time and that place to extend the boundary line of X Corps into Eighth Army zone of operations. In effect, it bent the then current line (Map 5) at Yudam-ni to the southwestern slope of the Yalu River where it flows into the Yellow Sea, from that prior line to reach the Yalu on any angle from Yudam-ni just below Mupyong-ni. Thus Mupyong-ni and the area north to the Yalu were also that of an original Eighth Army boundary line.  They became the zone for X Corps area of operations. The more important point was that it opened that entire area to the 7th Division as a new left flank zone of operations.

Still, Eighth Army already had their attack fully under way before Colonel Chiles returned to Korea. The discrepancies were these:

  • Almond picked his own attack date--later
  • Almond wanted the 7th Division involved--later
  • MacArthur authorized the X Corps line moved--later

The question is, why later? What was the underlying reason for these major changes--all later--to a plan on the drawing board since November 15? General Walker had delayed his earlier offensive by three days in his Eighth Army zone-not yet changed, so his area still included Mupyong-ni.  The delay was from the 21st to the 24th of November. MacArthur was not pleased with Walker's delay. But he granted Almond an additional three days from the 24th to the 27th, as well.

General MacArthur went on record and was criticized for his "Home by Christmas" speech in advance of this offensive. On November 24, MacArthur announced his "Home by Christmas" offensive, underway as of 240800 November 1950. He stated to the JCS on 9 November:

I believe that with my air power, now unrestricted so far as Korea is concerned except as to hydroelectric installations, I can deny reinforcements coming across the Yalu in sufficient strength to prevent the destruction of those forces now arrayed against me in North Korea.[17]

On the day the U.N. attack began (24 November), General MacArthur gave further evidence of the degree to which this view guided his thinking. In a communiqué that day, he announced:

"The United Nations massive compression envelopment in North Korea against the new Red Armies operating there is now approaching its decisive effort. The isolating component of the pincer, our Air Forces of all types, have for the past three weeks, in a sustained attack of model coordination and effectiveness, successfully interdicted enemy lines of support from the North so that further reinforcement there from has been sharply curtailed and essential supplies markedly limited". [18]

Perhaps even more revealing of MacArthur's state of mind was his special communiqué to the United Nations later the same day in which he said:

"The giant U.N. pincer moved according to schedule today. The air forces, in full strength, completely interdicted the rear areas and an air reconnaissance behind the enemy line, and along the entire length of the Yalu River border, showed little sign of hostile military activity. The left wing of the envelopment advanced against stubborn and failing resistance. The right wing, gallantly supported by naval air and surface action, continued to exploit its commanding position." [19]

Here MacArthur related to the "entire length of the Yalu River border" and the "left wing" and the "right wing" in a joint effort in a "giant U.N. pincer" movement "according to schedule today." That total confusion existed over this offensive was a gross understatement. However, it could not be unraveled at any one division level in X Corps. That will become evident as we move on to detail what happened at Chosin.

The mission previously assigned to the Marines (23 November)

Reason for change of Draft One to Draft Two

"Apprehensive, after further consideration that supply lines of the attack force would become precariously extended in any drive westward from a point as far north as Changjin town, Almond offered the alternative of an attack over the road leading into the Eighth Army zone from Yudam-ni at the western edge of the Changjin Reservoir. The enemy supply routes were to be cut at the village of Mup'yong-ni, fifty-five miles west of Yudam-ni and forty miles north of Huich'on. Almond intended that the 1st Marine Division make the westward effort into Mup'yong-ni and then press an attack northwestward to the Yalu, pinching out in the process the ROK II Corps on the Eighth Army right. MacArthur agreed to the change and instructed Almond to begin the attack as soon as possible". [Mossman p 48,] (note 41, X Corps WD Sum, Nov 50; X Corps Opn Plan 8, 16 Nov 50; Rad, CX69661, CINCFE to CG X Corps, 23 Nov 50.)

Note: Important time line - The bold print date of Mossman footnote (Rad, CX69661, CINCFE to CG X Corps, 23 Nov 50.) [20]

Message to Almond from CINCFE, "MacArthur agreed to the change and instructed Almond to begin the attack as soon as possible". This meant without delay-- one of Almond's standard terms of usage in his own orders to the division commanders. For Almond to delay any order from MacArthur by three days was unthinkable, especially when forces were already in place to lead off westward in consolidation with General Walker's offensive. Almond's Army mission started (Day One) 240800 November, with the 7th Division other forces catching up later.

In the early morning on the 24th, Lt. Colonel Faith was well en route to join his parent regiment--which leaving the Fusen reservoir area--at Samsu.  Since there was no direct route northward through the 7th Division MSR to the Yalu river (directly disputing General Smith's claim to the contrary), Faith had to use the MSR vehicle road southeast between Sudong and Hamhung. Faith's Executive Officer, Major Crosby Miller, was stopped on this road at Hungnam before turning northeast. There, an X Corps liaison officer had missed Don Faith, who was moving well in the lead of his battalion. Major Miller was ordered ASAP to X Corps Headquarters for a change in orders--directed by General Almond and Barr--and issued an about face order. Major Miller was ordered to relocate this 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry to the east side of Chosin. Faith was also sent back after meeting with his regimental commander near Pukchong at the 7th Division Rear CP.

For all intents and purposes, the 7th Division forces were in motion that same date. Almond was in complete alignment with CINCFE. Later that evening, Colonel MacLean received his relocation orders via a phone call from Major General Barr. Colonel MacLean issued an order 242400 November to move his RCT, effective 250800 November, to the railroad station at Pukchong.  The end destination was not specified.

Almond's prior apprehension--a speculative spin at best as Operational Order 25--completely disputed and overrode Almond's apprehension with his new order for one Army unit to "seize Changjin, and advance to the Yalu without delay." What was implied without Order 25 was Almond's change of forces at Sinhu-ni as being the end of the line for MacLean's force--as it proved to be.  His force was to create a blocking mission only and proceed no further north toward Changjin and beyond to the Yalu River. [21] Later history and Operational Order #25 reveals that was not what happened. Instead, Almond's supply lines increased rather than decreased because of this additional force of MacLean's.

What General Almond intended (for Plan 8, 16 Nov 50) in using the 1st Marine Division was difficult to execute within reality from that force to be moved into Yudam-ni to lead off from there.  The 7th Marines were only moved into place due to pressure applied to their commander to move them there.  Their G-3 required that the 5th Marine Regiment, still under orders to advance east of Chosin, be relocated to the lead off position at Yudam-ni. Therein was our core conflict and our created drama at Chosin.

Without MacLean-Faith and 7th Division forces involved, Draft 2 merely revised the end objective to be seized. It just reversed the forces (the 7th Marines) to seize it. These Marines were a force already in place at Yudam-ni, and led off from there. The 5th Marines were then the required blocking force east of Chosin. They were to block any enemy forces from the reverse direction of X Corps offensive in Draft 1, and prevent their seizing those important Headquarters' of X Corps, 1st Marine Division, and the 7th Division now moving into Hagaru-ri.

Yet, Almond, still MacArthur's Chief of Staff -in absentia, reluctantly gave a full three additional days to Walker to start his own campaign. This was strange behavior for MacArthur, and blew the hell out of his past "keen sense of timing." General Walker, could (if luck was with him) move at a rapid pace and be at his new line below Mup'yong-ni before the 27th, thereby negating and totally embarrassing Almond's plans. Yet, Almond's aggressive persona did not allow that to happen, as all units of the 31st RCT and two units of the 32nd Regiment were in motion.

Task Force Faith was in motion before Colonel Chiles returned from Tokyo. Task Force Kingston was in motion towards the "previous marine mission" to seize Singalpajin. Task Force MacLean was active at midnight on the 24th of November. These forces had urgent assignments under an unreported directive from MacArthur to Almond through X Corps G-3, under Opn O 7, 25 Nov 50. (Plan 8, Draft #3)

Almond set the 27th as the opening date. The 7th Division meanwhile was to expand its zone westward, placing forces on the east side of the Changjin Reservoir for an advance through the zone previously assigned to the Marines. The ROK I Corps was to continue to the border from Hapsu and Ch'ongjin while Almond's remaining major units, the U.S. 3rd Division and 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment, secured the Corps' rear area between Wonsan and Hungnam. [22] Note: There was no mention whatsoever of a 1st Marine Division mission. Where did they go? Note as well: Almond's remaining major units were the U.S. 3rd Division and the 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment.

The X Corps commander issued his new orders (Opn O 7, 25 Nov 50.) to attack westward from the Hagaru-ri/Yudam-ni axis to Mupyong-ni on the east side, to advance and seize Changjin, and proceed to the Yalu river on orders. His orders and those issued by X Corps G-3 are the ones of importance here. Therefore let us consider what orders were left for General Smith in the placement of his own forces after 25 Nov 50. To connect to his placement of the 5th Marines, let us connect the remaining part of the opening statement of General Smith from the opening quotation of this chapter:

"Then they devised a new plan by which they rushed up some troops of the 31st and 32nd Infantry to relieve the 5th on the east side of the Reservoir, and then the 5th would be moved over to Yudam-ni; and the 5th and 7th would attack northwest from Yudam-ni to relieve the pressure on 8th Army." [23]

The confusion here is, who was "they" that devised a new plan? Without dispute "they" was X Corps G-3. But did "they" order the 5th Marines to move in front of the 7th Marines at Yudam-ni?  For that answer we must look to the Army history Ebb & Flow, pages 88-91, as recorded by its author Billy C. Mossman.

"North of Hagaru-ri, the 5th and 7th Marines had extended the division's holdings up both sides of the reservoir. The bulk of the 7th Marines, commanded by Col. Homer L. Litzenberg, Jr., held Yudam-ni, fourteen miles to the northwest, and the 5th Marines, under Lt. Col. Raymond L. Murray, had gone ten miles north over a road following the east bank of the reservoir. Orders for the Mup'yong-ni attack had halted the 5th at this point. Considering Colonel Murray's regiment fresher than the 7th, division commander Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith had designated the 5th to open the advance to the west. Murray's forces consequently had begun to shift west to Yudam-ni, the starting point of the attack. The 2nd Battalion was in Yudam-ni, having left the area east of the reservoir upon the arrival of the 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry. The remainder of Murray's regiment remained in place awaiting relief by the balance of Colonel MacLean's combat team."

My comment: If the remainder  of the 5th Marines remained in place, it must be in line with the same order from General Smith as well.

The Advance Toward Mup'yong-ni

"Near the southwest corner of the Changjin Reservoir, roads from the west, north, and southeast met just outside Yudam-ni. Because enemy forces had not defended this rare road junction, the Marine division G2, Col. Bankson T. Holcomb, Jr., believed the 5th Marines would encounter only weak opposition when they started toward Mup'yong-ni. The absence of enemy patrolling and the failure of ground and aerial reconnaissance to reveal any large enemy concentrations nearby supported his judgment. Contradicting it were reports from civilians of sizable enemy concentrations around Yudam-ni, but these reports were considered misinterpretations of North Korean Army remnants moving away from and around the Yudam-ni area."

"General Smith, on the other hand, believed his Marines would meet Chinese in strength west of Yudam-ni, a belief that had prompted his decision to pass the fresher 5th Regiment through the 7th in the opening attack."

"Supporting Smith's judgment of probable resistance, three Chinese captured by the 7th Marines on the 26th asserted that the 58th, 59th, and 60th Divisions of the 20th Army were in the Yudam-ni area and would move south and southeast from Yudam-ni to cut the marines' supply road. This information, however, had no effect on plans for the Mup'yong-ni attack. Neither did incoming reports of strong attacks against the Eighth Army. Smith ordered the 5th Marines to strike first for the village of Yongnim-dong, twenty-seven miles west of Yudam-ni, where the Marines' route of advance joined a road leading southwest along the upper reaches of the Ch'ongch'on River to Huich'on. The 7th Marines, when passed through, were to protect the division supply road between Yudam-ni and Sinhung-ni, a village located in the Toktong Pass midway between Yudam-ni and Hagaru-ri. Smith appointed the 1st Marines, in and below Hagaru-ri, as division reserve. His reconnaissance company, then pulling west flank security duty off the left rear of the division, was to reconnoiter north of Yudam-ni; the 41st Independent Commando, Royal Marines, only recently attached to the division, was to come forward from Hungnam to protect the marines' left flank by reconnoitering southwest of Yudam-ni."

My comment: It seems that the Marine G-3 had totally shut down offensive operations and rescinded their own orders to the 41st Independent Commando Royal Marines, and their own reconnaissance company, rescinding both units' move forward to protect the Marines' left flank. Why would that be? Why would both of these units remain in division reserve at Koto-ri--some ten miles to the rear, unless their mission had already been rescinded? If this was true, then the following Army accounting is irrelevant concerning the 1st Marine Division.

"In planning the advance, Smith had assumed the full relief of the 5th Marines east of the reservoir by noon of the 26th. He apparently expected the entire 7th Division combat team to arrive by that hour, but General Barr had called for the relief of the Marines by a minimum of one infantry battalion, an order satisfied by the arrival of the 1st Battalion, 32rd Infantry. In any event, the remainder of Colonel MacLean's forces did not reach the new zone by noon on the 26th, nor by 0800 on the 27th, the scheduled hour of the Marine advance. The full 5th Marines consequently did not reach Yudam-ni on the 26th, and the plan of attack had to be changed. Since Colonel Murray was with his forces east of the reservoir, Colonel Litzenberg, commanding the 7th Marines, took charge of the opening effort."

[Important point: an "order satisfied" by the arrival of the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry.]

"Forces available to Litzenberg included the bulk of the 7th Marines and the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. The 7th held a perimeter rimming the valley in which Yudam-ni was located. The 1st Battalion and two companies of the 2nd occupied high ground north of town and the terminal heights of two ridges to the south and southeast overlooking the road to Hagaru-ri. The 3rd Battalion held the terminal hills of a ridge to the southwest. Between the latter and an unoccupied ridge to the northwest ran the road to Mup'yong-ni. The 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, was to attack over this road from an assembly at the edge of Yudam-ni."

Significant point; OPN 0 25; Part 1b, "7th Inf Div atks 270800 Nov. seizes Mupyong-ni, adv to Yalu Riv. Destroys en in Z Secures the Pugsan area.". This was the 7th ID's new mission together with that of the 31st RCT--seizing the town of Changjin via the east side of the reservoir.  Hence all orders for the Marines advance originated from General Smith himself and was not supported by documentation or orders by X Corps or General Almond.

Here is our answer to the pressure applied to General Smith. From the preponderance of this evidence, it seems appropriate that the pressure for his move from east of Chosin Reservoir placed that regiment in reserve status. Smith's own orders to move them rapidly to the west side, in my opinion, is now strictly a RED FLAG exclusively for damage control, his objection being that he wanted them as the fresher force to lead off at Yudam-ni. General Smith had totally and utterly confused his own situation.

As stated above, the arrival of Faith's battalion satisfied General Barr's order. Thus the east side of Chosin officially belonged exclusively to the 7th Division, and Smith's two-thirds remainder of the 5th Marine regiment was sparsely displaced within a 24-hour delay. The Army chain of command was united without delay under Colonel MacLean's arrival on the east side. However, total confusion of command reigned at Yudam-ni. They established a joint command there. As Smith stated in his interview, "You could only attack with one regiment at a time." RED FLAG.  But he did not have one regiment to attack.  He only had one battalion from his preferred regiment.  Again, he stated, "The full 5th Marines consequently did not reach Yudam-ni on the 26th, and the plan of attack had to be changed." Here is a major clue to our mystery: "The plan of attack had to be changed."

Another Red Flag: Thus, whatever CCF resistance was claimed was not against that one regiment, but rather against only one battalion. "Murray made...about 2,000 yards, and I halted the attack, because it was manifest that we were up against a massive force out there."  Smith's dispute had been opposed to any movement of his forces unless they were consolidated. He failed to follow his own logic. "I had Murray come back to Yudam-ni--to come back the 2,000 yards...." His attack was halted at Yudam-ni, as if it had never started.

The 1st Marine Division had no adequate 5th RCT in place on 270800 leading westward out from Yudam-ni as ordered by General Smith. The westward offensive was stalled at Yudam-ni sometime after General Almond's visit to that side of the reservoir. That night brought the CCF in force to both sides of Chosin. General Almond was at GHQ in Tokyo the next evening (28th) with General Walker to discuss the changing situation in North Korea, and did not return to Korea until the next day (29th).  In that interlude, Smith had ordered Colonel Litzenberg "to use as much of his regiment as he could to try to clear the road back to Hagaru-ri." Smith had also ordered the creation of Task Force Drysdale. Had General Smith pulled in the reserve 5th Marine Regiment into Hagaru-ri as he should have, he without question or contradiction would have greatly reduced his own casualty listings, both battle and non-battle. He could have, but he did not.

Some supportive facts within this total confusion are outlined in Eric Hammel's book, Chosin. There are those who call his book political.  While Hammel mainly concentrates on the Marines, he seems to avoid the hype of those within the Marine Corps that cover events and color them by elevation to a higher degree than history ever authenticates. The one single event which ties into any order to advance from Yudam-ni towards Mupyong-ni as being an X Corps order is recorded in Hammel's book on pages 211 and 212. [24]

On 29 November, the Assistant Marine Division Operations Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Winecoff, was sent via helicopter to Yudam-ni to survey the situation. Before collecting facts, he filled in the forward officers of Colonel Litzenberg's staff, outlining an astounding proposal to Operational Officer Major Hank Woessner. Corps, he said, had talked Division into sending the 5th and 7th Marines over the mountains to relieve pressure on the 8th Army by mounting an attack into the PLA's inland flank. Strange indeed, since they were supposed to have been acting on that order over the last two days

One tends to remember strange oddities in orders given, more so than normal ones of operations. As to my fixation on OPN O 25, I obtained Appleman's book East of Chosin after I had the archive document, OPN O 25.  I got stuck on Appleman's page 7, where it stated that we would proceed no further north.  That was a strange contradiction to MacLean's order to attack all the way to the Yalu River. Yet Appleman's and all other authors' accounts could not be challenged without it.

Red Flag - Catch 22: Tie in to Eric Hammel's book accounting of LTC Winecoff's visit:

"Corps was not making sense....The suggestion that the Yudam-ni garrison attack overland into the flank of the Chinese destroying 8th Army came after a Corps directive authorizing the 7th Marines to attack southward to clear the MSR as far as Hagaru-ri." [Emphasis on "after" as printed in Hammel's book]

Surely this was an exception to the rule of normal orders--"Corps was not making sense..."

This is supportive of my opinion that General Smith had no official orders from X Corps to seize Mupyong-ni after 25 November, and that a copy of MacLean's OPN O 25 had been sent to the Marine Division SP's for road clearance to Chosin. What could this Catch 22 confusion mean? Again the suggestion as contrary to being ordered by X Corps. But all earlier reported sources from historians and authors excessively and redundantly rely on that order, already in effect authorizing the 1st Marine Division's mission westward at 270800--only a suggestion that appears after the X Corps withdrawal authorization to Hagaru-ri.

General Almond's withdrawal order was issued, according to Marine History, on 292027 November [8:27 P.M. that evening indicating the suggestion came after this time line].  It also placed the 1st Marine Division in total operational charge, not only of their own force but over any and all other forces in the Chosin area. It also ordered that a regiment be withdrawn to Hagaru-ri. At issue is the fact that there was no X Corps order for the disposition of a second regiment. This is understandable if X Corps had never ordered the 5th Marines there in the first place. As with the Army force, the entire force was listed as missing in action as far as X Corps was concerned. The X Corps had no idea where these units in transit were at any given time. Also, since the 5th Marines were in motion between the east side and the west side of the reservoir, they could not know their final destination as well. This is the reality, in spite of written history and various books laden with contradictory reports.

The above paragraph is the reason for my earlier statement that this event must be revisited from Day One to solve this mystery. As with the issuance of the PUC to the Army forces, the mere awarding of that citation corrects and connects the event back to the date of its covered time line. And that is not fifty years later. Either those other CCF forces were there fifty years ago, or they were not. My effort here is to place forces where they belong at the time they were where they were. If that sounds like a Catch 22 too, that is actually what it is--a Catch 22 created by the late reality of the PUC Award.

To clarify this, the Marine history speculates where various other CCF unit were in relation to their own forces at Yudam-ni. What haunts their history as written is where the 81st CCF Division "may have been," after their recorded comment that there was no contact with this force until 13 December. Some 50 years later it is known from CCF documents that the 81st Division engaged the Army force at Sinhu-ni, adding to the 80th Division.  This means that the Marine division over-exaggerated the enemy opposing them when it speculated that one of those divisions was the 81st CCF Division. Given this purely speculative scenario, why couldn't they also be east of Chosin? The facts now change the recorded Marine history. One extra phantom CCF division did not face the Marines at Chosin.  Instead, they faced the smaller force on the east side.

How does that translate in history? Since only one division had been estimated to face the Army force, one additional division raises the CCF percentage from 7,500 to 15,000 men or a 100% increase in enemy forces.  On the Marine side, their enemy forces are now reduced by this like number. As I stated early on, the Marine claim to fame was 120,000 Chinese in twelve divisions facing them alone at Chosin. That consensus is actually reduced to 60,000 in eight divisions if inclusive of the two hitting the Army units east of Chosin (leaving the Marines at Yudam-ni facing two and one half CCF divisions or a total of 18,750 men.)

One can see how facts can change the battles and shift the intensity of them from one side to the other. The PUC Award given to Army veterans of the Chosin fifty years later is recognition of this second CCF division increasing the intensity of the battle east of Chosin. It changed the battle completely, and it highlighted an error expanded for fifty years.  General Smith was wrong in opposing giving the PUC Award to the Army force at Chosin.  Furthermore, one would be completely insensitive to believe that by finally awarding the PUC, the error and neglect to recognize the Army forces role in the Chosin campaign is now completely rectified.

Putting the Chosin Reservoir numbers in perspective via General Smith's accounting:

14 Apr 1953 ELEVENTH ENDORSEMENT on Maj Gen O.P. Smith's letter, ser 9532 of 3 Mar 1952 - (Units covered):

a. Only those units were included which made a direct contribution to the successful breakout of the 1st Marine Division from the Chosin Reservoir Area.

b. The significant operations which insured the successful breakout of the Division occurred between Yudam-ni and Chinhung-ni.

What is so interesting to me is General Smith's vision of a "direct contribution." Here is that earlier Bacon and Eggs definition once again--that the Army force (prior to facts revealed in later enemy documents) taking out an enemy division of some 7,500 + men had absolutely no contribution to the survival of Hagaru. That comment is extremely hard to justify, but he managed to do that for the remainder of his lifetime (1977). Viewed in light of his panic to invest the cost of Task Force Drysdale's "commitment" to that breakout, while denying the PUC Award at the time to 1/B/31 force involved with Drysdale's unit. The excuse that they attached themselves to Drysdale's force, points to his exclusion, and it had more of another underlining cause to it. This last was not a mere oversight, but a deliberate cause on record for denial of one Army unit to be inclusive of that award.  Also of interest is the fact that while this was recorded as an endorsement, it was concentrated on those units to be excluded from the official Army request earlier to add these units. [25]

4. Direct participation of Marine, Army, and other units was as follows: (figures given for each phase are the maximum before the effect of casualties was reflected.)

a. Breakout of the 5th and 7th Regimental Combat Teams from Yudam-ni to Hagaru-ri, Marines and Navy Medical - 8,290 (approx) Army - None

b. Defense of Hagaru-ri pending the arrival of the 5th & 7th Regimental Combat Teams at Hagaru-ri: Marines and Navy Medical - 3,540 (approx) Army (including integrated South Koreans) - 325 (approx) Royal Marine Commandos - 180 (approx)

c. Defense of Hagaru-ri pending the arrival of the 5th & 7th Regimental Combat Teams at Hagaru-ri: Marines and Navy Medical - 3,540 (approx) Army (including integrated South Koreans) - 325 (approx) Royal Marine Commandos - 180 (approx)

d. Defense of Koto-ri pending the arrival of the bulk of the Division there: Marines and Navy Medical - 2,820 (approx) Army (including integrated South Koreans) - 1,885 (approx) Royal Marine Commandos - 0

e. Attack from Koto-ri to Chinhung-ni, including attack of 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, from Chinhung-ni toward Koto-ri: Marines and Navy Medical - 12,880 (approx) Army (including integrated South Koreans) - 2,450 (approx) Royal Marine Commandos - 155 (approx)

A question may justly be posed here (Marines and Navy Medical - 12,880 approx) as to the number of men in the Marine division being over 25,000. Here is a much smaller number. The answer may well be found in the Martin Russ book Breakout, which said, "In the rear were ten thousand combat support troops, including the 1st Marine Air Wing." [26] These men were not at Chosin, plus some were Shore Party personnel in amphibious landing units. These men should likewise be excluded from the 1st Marine Division Award of the PUC, except for some 500 plus men--those flown into Hagaru as replacements. These men later made a connecting link to those on the beach.

Restated from above: (Units covered): "The significant operations which insured the successful breakout of the Division occurred between Yudam-ni and Chinhung-ni." MacLean and Faith's Army forces were not included in this accounting, thus the justification for General Ridgway's [1967] map.

The PUC could no longer be denied due to the new facts coming forth. The Navy Department had supported the defensive position and General Smith's continuous controversy to deny it to Task Force Faith. In reversing their own opposition to Smith's dissension after all these years, the Navy is now merely making a continuous effort at damage control in an attempt to ease into those historical facts omitted.  Honor has now given and rightfully belongs to the Army task force at Chosin.

Purely ethical behavior surely should dictate that the Navy remain in the background rather than now attempt to amend events to read "t he Marines, with the 7th Division." Even with this new scenario and revelation, one must go back over fifty years and reverse and rewind the tape to Day One at Chosin, plugging in this new material. Only then can we retrace our steps at Chosin. Reservoir from 24 November 1950.

I state again that to do justice, this must be revisited from Day One of the involvement of the 7th Division into the mission at Chosin since this area and this new mission belonged to them.


[1] Benis Frank-Smith interview, 1969

[2] Time line of Smith's interview is ten years prior to Opn O 25 being declassified in 1979.

[3] Since the Marines have no amphibious equipment located at Hagaru, to ferry any men across any reservoir body of water.

[4] O. Smith interview, Benis Frank, 1969.

[5] See  Note 1/7 Infantry lower left of map 8.

[6] Two views on this: That the Army force replacing this force will only have a "blocking mission."  However, what is implied is that this was not the reality. Mossman, Ebb & Flow details the removal of all other X Corps boundary lines.

[7] See Montross, Wonsan to the Reservoir. [KWE]

[8] The end result of that delay 270800 November was that only one battalion of the 5th Marines was in place at Yudam-ni.

[9] Remove the 5th Marines from the Pusan perimeter, and relocate to Smith's direct command at Inchon.

[10] Draft #1 canceled because no forces were at Changjin at the time the 5th Marines were to turn left into Kanggye. Draft #2 was then canceled due to scheduled time for combined offensive to proceed.  It did not effect Walker's part of his plan.

[11] X Corps - We planned an orderly transfer of all three regiments, but Almond ordered his nearest units to Chosin as fast as they could get there.

[12] Ebb & Flow, p.48: [fn 42] 42 X Corps WD, Sum, Nov 50; X Corps Opn 0 7, 25 Nov 50.

[13] Ebb & Flow p.48[fn 41] 41 X Corps WD, Sum, Nov 50; X Corps Opn plan 8, 16 Nov 50; Rad, CX 69661, CINCFE to CG X Corps, 23 Nov 50.

[14] Those documents did not get from North Korea into the National Archives by themselves.

[15] A revised map detailed in a later chapter. Navy history does place us --but not their maps--in the Chosin arena, Navy maps 17 & 18 show the 7th Division as a unit withdrawing in center of X Corps on both maps.

[16] Walker issued a single order on the 25th, one that shortened the final objective line of the ROK II Corps to conform with the 27 November attack by General Almond's forces. Otherwise, he intended that the Eighth Army would continue its advance on the 26th as originally conceived. Ebb & Flow 66, [fn14] 14 Eighth Army G1 SS Rpt, 25 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30007 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 25 Nov 50.

[17] South to the Naktong....[fn, 54] [CINCFE 10 DA for JCS, C68572, 9 Nov 50.]]

[18] [fn, 55] South to the Naktong....

[19] South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, page 765

[20] Message precedes Colonel Chiles return to Korea.

[21] See Appleman, East of Chosin, page 7.

[22] Mossman p.48 (footnote 42, X Corps WD Sum. Nov 50; Opn O 7, 25 Nov 50.)

[23] Smith interview by Ben Frank 6/1969

[24] Chosin: Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War ..pages 211-212

[25] Ninth endorsement

[26] Martin Russ, Breakout, P.6.


Author's Background | Prologue | Chapt 1 - Budget War | Chapt 2 - Inchon | Chapt 3 - Capture Seoul
Chapt 4 - Inchon to Pusan | Chapt 5 - Fateful Journey into N Korea | Chapt 6 - Inter-service Rivalry-1
Chapt 7 - Inter-service Rivalry-2 | Chapt 8 - Press Corps | Chapt 9 - Secret/Classified Mission
Chapt 10 - Circumstantial Evidence | Chapt 11 - Mission Change | Chapt 12 - The Tank Withdrawal
MIA/KIA East of Chosin | Postscript | Important Maps | Declassified Documents| Reader Comments

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