Korea - A Warning from History!
J Richard Blacklock & Adrian White
The Korean War (1950-1953) could be said to be the first modern war. a war with limited objectives. It was
fought under the auspices of the United Nations but led by the USA. It was a war that should not have happened but due to a
series of misconceptions. misunderstandings and political opportunity it became one of the bloodiest wars of the late twentieth
century with casualties of well over I million. Many people have rarely heard of it and few (in the West) give it due regard
today. It was a war involving or fought by all the major powers of the time from the West and East. It is this lack of
understanding of the Communist Nonh Korea and that of recent events that could provide the impetus for war that the world may
regret, yet again.
When the Second World War ended Korea was partitioned at the 38'" Parallel with Russia controlling the North
and supporting a puppet communist state. and the South controlled by the USA who supported the anti-communist state in word
but little deed. When Russia and the USA pulled out of Korea in 1949 political opportunity and mutual hate between the
governments of the North and the South resulted in the Communist invasion of the South on 25 June 1950.
The South Korean army was surprised and quickly over-run by the fast moving North Korean armoured columns with the Soviet
supplied T34-85 in the vanguard. Seoul the South Korean capital fell within days. The attack came as a surprise to every
government in the west. However the USA quickly presented a resolution to UN Security Council that sanctioned an armed
response to eject the North Korean invaders from South Korean lands. However, with no US formations on the ground and the
Southern army in retreat, little could stop the North Army overwhelming the majority of the country. US reinforcements from
nearby Japan managed to hold the line around Pusan. the last remaining port not in the North's hands. Despite waves of suicidal
attacks the US troops managed to stabilise the situation. The North's supply route was over extended. men were exhausted and
equipment in need of desperate maintenance.
The next phase of the war was of genius planning from the legendary General Macarthur. the de facto governor of Japan since
the end of the Pacific War - a successful amphibious landing led by the US Marine Corps and supported by Commonwealth
Forces on the port of Inch on. well to the rear of the un-suspecting Northern army. Seoul was quickly re-captured in the name of
the UN. despite the American !lag being briefly raised over the Capitol building before replacement by the UN Flag; the northern
army was closely pursed up to the 38th parallel. It is now that the remit of the initial UN resolution was completed. Macarthur,
though was not satisfied, un-happy total victory of the enemy had not been completed. UN forces now crossed over the border to pursue the enemy, capturing the Northern capital of Pyongyang and rapidly pushing to the banks of the Yalu River and the Chinese border ignoring the over extended supply route and the encroaching winter of 1950-51.
The next phase of the war, despite warnings from the recently installed Communist Government of China, completely surprised
UN forces of which the majority were US. Hundreds of thousands of men from the Chinese "volunteer army" attacked and
overran much of the UN forces. It was the first time a US army was put to flight since the Civil War. Notable actions by the
USMC division, supported by a small number of Royal Marines, meant they managed to withdraw in good order despite
appalling casualties. Eventually the fighting stabilised around the 38'" parallel and the original border between the North and
South. This line remained give or take a few bloody fought over miles until the armistice signed at Panmunjom on 27 Jul~ t953.
This game is loosely based on the heroic yet doomed defence action of the British I" battalion of the Gloucester regiment at Irnjin in late April 1951. The scenario sees two battalions of UN forces (British and Turkish) with a small ROK contingent in the centre holding a ridgeline South of the Imjin River Located to the North of Seoul. In the UN rear. a forward airfield held by US and ROK forces is the centre for suppon elements.
UN reinforcements consist of a battle group consisting of
Canadian Infantry, New Zealand Anillery and British tanks. in addition a USMC and ROK infantry supported by tanks form
another battle group. Communist forces represent an under strcngth infantry division consisting of two Chinese and one North
Korean Regiments supported by a small armoured force. Substantial UN air forces include Royal Navy fighter-bombers, USMC
attack aircraft and a variety of USAF types featuring many jet types. Ancillary aircraft depict
FAC's. helicopters and transports.
Ranged against these are the ubiquitous communist MIG's and Yak's. A communist infantry assault on the ridgeline in a dawn attack is supported by a subsequent armoured thrust into the UN flank by North Korean forces that broke through collapsing ROK defences. UN forces must hold the ridgeline and airfield until relieved. The Communist objective is to dominate the ridge and secure as much land as possible beyond the ridge.
Rapid Fire is the rule set used. slightly modified to accommodate the large numbers of infantry and aircraft.
Flags: The Square
Chinese Infantry Outpost Wargaming Service (OWS)
Nonh Korean Infantry (Russian actually used) Revell. Esci, SHQ
Cavalry (Russian actually used) Kelly's Heroes, Britannia
Cromwell (captured British) Britannia
Guns and Large Monars skir, Milicast, Raventhorpe. SHQ. Skytrex
Softskins SHQ. Britannia. Fort. PST
Mig 15/Ji 2 Master
Yak 9 Eastern Express
PO 2 KP
Infantry OWS, Revell, MLR. SHQ, Airfix
M14 (Converted M16) Matchbox
Carriers Raventhorpe, Skytrex
M3 SC Esci
Humber SC Cromwell
Softskins Trux, MMS, Matchbox, Frontline, Airfix
Sea Fury PM
Sea Fire Ventura
US, ROK, Turkish Forces
Infantry (Various US actually used) Revell, Esci. SHQ. Airfix. OWS. Platoon 20
M32 ARV Milicast
M4 (Converted to include flame projector) Fujimi
M26 Milicast, Frontline
M35 (Converted M10) Cromwell
M3 Hasegawa, Frontline
M 1 Howitzer Skytrex
Softskins MMS, PST. Hasegawa, Fujimi, Esci, Matchbox, Milicast
Bell47D (Converted) Italeri
F2H . Airfix
F86 PM, Academy
The baseboards and ridge were constructed from 40mm thick polystyrene insulating panels, available in S'x4' sheets and cut to
shape with a saw. The stream was dug out and the raised road was made from polystyrene ceiling tiles, along with the banks to
the paddy fields.. All were covered, along with the ridge, with plaster-impregnated bandage (Mod-Roc).. The streambed was
sealed with PV A glue and covered with fine sand/gravel.. The rest of the table was covered with textured paint, except for those
areas covered with grass matting.. The whole table was painted using colours mixed at the local DIY store, trying to match as
closely as possible Humbrol Dark Earth (29) Sand (93) and Games Workshop's Bleached Bone.
Slit trenches in the top of the ridge can be covered by trees and lichen if not required, Trees are by the German company
HEKI.. The military buildings on the table are from the Vietnam Range by FRONTLINE W ARGAMING, the native Korean structure,
and the two freestanding entrenchments, are by SHELLHOLE SCEN1CS.
All the equipment is provided by Richard, and the terrain is by Adrian Deal Wargames Society meet every Tuesday from 7-llpm at the Milldale Community Centre, Milldale Close, off Mill Rd, Deal. Further detail can be obtained by speaking to members around the table, or phoning Adrian (Chairperson) on 01304 372326.
The Korean War: Max Hastings
Tank Warfare in Korea: Steven J.. Zaloga, George Balin- Concord
Tank War Korea: Simon Dunstan - AAP
M26 / M46 Pershing Tank Steven J, ZalogB, Tony Brian, Jim Laurier - Osprey
Skyraider in action Jim Sullivan - Squadron/Signal publications
Armor in Korea + Air War in Korea Jim Mesko - Squadron/Signal publications
Battle for Korea Robert J Dvorchak
War in Korea 1950-1953 DMGiangreco
The War in Korea 1950-53 Thomas, Chappell and Abbott - Osprey
Battleground Korea, The British in Korea Charles Whiting
Rapid Fire! Colin Rumford, Richard Marsh
Copyright J Richard Blacklock & Adrian White 3M July 2003
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