Chosin Battle

A successful operation by the US 1st marine division of retreating from the Chosin Reservoir by breaking through the blockade of the Communist Chinese army.

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  • Date:
    1950.11.27~ 12.11

    Chosin Reservoir, Jangjin-gun Hamkyungnam-do area

    Engaged Forces:
    US 1st Marine Division vs. Communist Chinese 9th Corps 20th, 26th, 27th Army

    A successful operation by the US 1st marine division of retreating from the Chosin Reservoir by breaking through the blockade of the Communist Chinese army.

  • Chosin Reservoir Battle was a special kind of retreat operation by the US 1st marine division. They were marching up to the northern side of the Chosin Reservoir to relocate into the western front, and 9 divisions of the Communist Chinese 9th corps made a blockade to block them from advancing, ant the 1st marine division broke through and retreated to the shore at the same time for the next 2 weeks. In this battle, the US 1st division face several difficulties such as the cold and harsh mountains, but eventually cut their way through the Communist Chinese siege and retreated back to Heungnam through Hamheung successfully.
    The Communist Chinese started to appear on the northern mountain ranges of the Korean peninsula at early November. The UN forces tried to connected the divided march of the 8th corps and 10th corps and ordered the 1st marine division of the 10th corps to connect with our troops in the western front. 10th corps commander major general Almond ordered to start their attack at November 27th when the Christmas Offensive started, to connect with the 8th corps. However, they faced with strong resistance of the Communist Chinese which recently started their 2nd offensive.
    Communist Chinese 9th Corps commander Song Si-ryun successfully blocked the attack of the US 1st marine division at the Chosin Reservoir area, and realized that the Korean army and US army are divided. Also he realized that the UN force yet didn’t realize the Communist Chinese army started participating in the war in a large scale.

    The 9th corps was certain that they would win the battle if they could attack the moving enemies, and ordered 4 divisions of the 27th army to make a blockade on the northern side of the Chosin Reservoir. Also they ordered 4 divisions of the 20th army to detour and surround the US troops from the southern side. The attack of the Communist Chinese started from the night of November 27th, but the US forces overwhelmed the Communist Chinese forces with stronger willpower and firepower. Also, the Communist Chinese lacked preparation for the cold.
    After the fierce battle, the 5th and 7th marine regiment started retreating to the division headquarters on December 1st at 8o’clock. These troops spent a lot of time repaired bridges blown up by the Communist Chinese or establishing detour routes, and were surprised attacked from every direction, but could eventually retreat to division headquarters by December 4th in the morning. However this was only the first procedure in the retreating operation.
    The Communist Chinese put in 5 more divisions after failing in attacking 2 US marine regiments with 4 divisions. Also, they tried to destroy every bridge in the way of the US troops retreating. At that time, division commander Smith told the troops that ‘this is not retreating, but attacking another direction’ and ordered the retreat operation. Eventually, the US marine division and 1 regiment of the 7th division successfully broke through the ‘path of death’ and concluded the retreat operation.

  • The marine division eventually arrived at the rally point between Heungnam and Hamheung at December 11th, and had 718 casualties, 3,504 injured and 192 missing. However the Communist Chinese 9th corps had 2,500 casualties and 12,500 injured and had to recover for 4 months, and couldn’t participate in major operations until the 1951 February offensive. As a result, the Communist Chinese lacked troops in the 3rd offensive started at 1950 December, and the UN forces took back leadership in future battles.

  • B-C-B-M-1


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