The battle of the Chosin Reservoir, battled in the winter that 1950, was the defining battle of the korean War.

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Complicating the situation, number of thousand army troops, without important support, to be positioned several miles away across the frozen reservoir. Together the strongness of the assaults increased, orders to be issued because that a fighting withdrawal.

The roads and cuts with the such as mountain terrain to be narrow and also hotly contested. Chinese emplacements in hill passes raked heavy an equipment gun fire down upon passing infantry.

As the weather deteriorated, daytime temperatures hovered near zero and also at night plummeted to together low as 35 degrees listed below zero through howling winds that 40+ miles every hour. The mix of weather and also topography produced the worst problems ever encountered by U.S. Combatants.

The frigid weather took a far-ranging toll on the infantry as cases of frosting were practically universal and also blood plasma froze. Weapons malfunctioned and morphine syrettes had actually to it is in defrosted in the mouths of navy Corpsmen.


At this allude there were about 120,000 Chinese troops in the fight and applying maximum press to the flanks that the armed forces retrograde through well-placed interdiction points follow me the southerly path of retreat. Progression was exceptionally difficult.

In a well-known quote, O.P. Smith, Commanding basic of the first Marine division was asked about retreat. His response became an instant standard for the ages, “Retreat Hell! We’re not retreating, we’re simply attacking in a various direction.” 

As the men of the first Marine department and attached army units slowly and treacherously made southward progress, the practically non-stop combat would certainly be for a little pieces of terrain, a hill, a section of road or rebuilding a leg blown by the resourceful enemy.

Up and down the column, outnumbered U.S. Troops were struck each night by screaming Chinese soldiers through bugles piercing the still night in a speak to to attack. Effort after attempt to be made come overwhelm ally troops, however the opponent was beaten earlier time and time again in bloody encounters.


At times they just overran American units, and also the fighting would devolve into a hand-to-hand struggle.

Sadly, the military units on the east side of the reservoir—comprised that the 3rd and facets of the 7th Divisions—ceased to function as a combat unit because of casualties and capture. Only about one thousand soldiers were able to escape and also join up with the Allied pressures on the southwestern next of the reservoir.

As the long column that men and also vehicles ongoing south, U.S. Navy and Marine fighters and also bombers provided vital air cover as the masses that Communist troops to be hit unceasingly. This continued the staying 60 miles till Allied forces reached the harbor of Hungnam. 


The name of pivotal points along the path of the fighting tap the money would become forever connected with the systems involved and their honorable legacy. Places like Hagaru-Ri, Hellfire Valley and the Funchilin happen were a couple of of note.

The price was steep as U.S. Troops had an ext than 10,000 complete casualties, not consisting of the situations of frostbite and also sickness. Estimates of Chinese casualties operation as high together 45,000 killed and wounded. 


As Sunday night arrives, take a quiet minute to remember this men—so numerous that offered unselfishly the last complete measure.

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Cobb Hammond, a longtime financial adviser in Memphis, writes regularly about military history.


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