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Korean War Articles
Mission Command: Chosin Reservoir
Executive Leader Failures
Korean War Part I
Korean War Part II
Chosin Reservoir
Korea: A Study in Unpreparedness
Role of the Forward Observer and Artillery

Mission Command: A Look into The Korean War and The Battle of Chosin Reservoir

By MSG James F. Seifert Jr.

"Mission command is the Army's approach to command and control that empowers subordinate decision making and decentralized execution appropriate to the situation" (Department of the Army [DA], 2019, p. 1-3). Army doctrine publication (ADP) 6-0 states that mission command relies on critical and creative thinking from subordinates that seize the initiative to develop plans and concepts to accomplish the mission (DA, 2019). Additionally, the mission command process requires leaders who understand and assume the appropriate risk levels to operations, not risk-averse or risk-tolerant. The Battle of Chosin Reservoir highlights some positive and negative takeaways of mission command from both the Chinese and American sides. The battle also spotlights where mission command and other components of mission command did not occur, causing blind spots leading to the withdrawal of United Nations (UN) forces from northern Korea. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Battle of Chosin Reservoir and analyze the successes and failures United States (US) Army's approach to mission command principles, the elements of command and control (C2), and the C2 warfighting function.

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Executive Leader Failures During the Korean War

By Jacob B. Dockery

The end of World War II led to a dramatic reduction of American military forces worldwide. While requirements to sustain soldiers in occupied countries existed, the offensive campaigns of World War II had ended, and America wanted its soldiers home. Post-World War II demobilization left the United States with a total of 590,000 soldiers, down from 1.9 million soldiers in 1946 (Longabaugh, 2014). Executive leaders continued to deliver poor strategic decisions in the Far East theater in hopes of preventing another conflict. False confidence in U.S. air superiority and nuclear deterrence led executive leaders to believe South Korea was safe from the North Korean invasion. As a result, force readiness deteriorated rapidly, and the South Korean Army and American forces with Task Force Smith were no match for the initial onslaught of North Korean and Chinese soldiers during the beginning of the Korean War.

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1127 Days of Death – a Korean War Chronology – Part I, 1950

By Anthony J. Sobieski

The Korean War, forever known as the ‘Forgotten War’ by many, lasted a total of 1127 days, from June 25th 1950 through July 27th 1953. A total of 38 months. A little over three years in length, but encompassing four years on a calendar. With a beginning that was unlike any other beginning of a ‘war’ up until then, the term ‘Police Action’ became its moniker for many years, with some in the United States and other countries looking to call it anything other than what it really was. It was just too short a time after the end of World War II, with the sacrifices by many, the devastation of so much, burned into people’s memories all too readily. And during the war, who could have guessed there would be an ending that harkened back to the days of World War I, the war to end all wars. Trench warfare and bunkers, large amounts of artillery, and a set day and time to stop shooting.

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Perceptions of Victory: Differing Views of Success by Nations and Echelons at the Chosin Reservoir

By Mark E. Bennett, Jr.

The Korean War sprung from seeds sown well before the North Korean Peoples' Army surged across the 38th Parallel on 25 June 1950.[1] The roots of the conflict penetrate at least as deep as 1905, when the Japanese Army occupied Korea. Annexed in 1910, the Korean peninsula was considered enemy territory by then allies, China and the United States. In 1943 and 1945, President Roosevelt set the course for Korea to become free and independent following the end of World War II and until it was able to function on its own, China, the Soviet Union, and the United States would serve as joint trustees. Between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union opportunistically declared war on Japan joining the Allied Powers in the Pacific. [2]

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Korean War Outbreak: A Study in Unpreparedness

By Dale S. Marmion

The outbreak of the Korean War is a classic example of an army facing battle totally unprepared. Numerous histories of the Korean War have been written and many historians have discussed the outbreak of the Korean War. A point they nearly all agree upon is that the combined forces south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea were unprepared for what turned out to be a long and extremely grueling war. That is, war, and most certainly not “police action,” as it has sometimes been referred to, raised catastrophic havoc with soldiers on the ground during the initial stages of the action that devastated the Korean Peninsula and Korean people.

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The Role of the Forward Observer and Artillery

By Anthony J. Sobieski

To understand the role and importance that the artillery Forward Observer played during the Korean War, you must first understand a few basic facts and figures about the overall strategy and use of artillery during the war. With its rolling hills and valleys, high-peaked mountains, large irrigated farming areas, brutal winters and boiling summers, Korea presented all the worst for the U.S. to deal with in the United Nations' first effort dealing with the attempted expansion of communism. And, after it was all said and done, even after fifty-plus years of analyzing the conflict, Korea was, is, and will forever be known as 'The Artillery War'. Much has been written over the years about the infantry and Marines who served there, and of the battles they fought. No one is suggesting or attempting to take any credit away from their accomplishments, because when it comes down to it, the foot soldier was the one who re-took and defended what is now the country of the Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as South Korea.

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