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History through Annotated Combat Photos ... Complete Contemporary Texts

The Foundation of Freedom is the Courage of Ordinary People

History  Bert '53  On Line

"I believe we need to read the lessons closely lest we repeat, at inestimable cost, the mistakes for which we paid so dear a price."

General Matthew B. Ridgway on The Korean War (1967)

Leadership failure, haphazard Disarmament, misguided Training objectives, incorrect Intelligence assessments ... all had disastrous consequences in the Korean War. We risk the same mistakes today, as we withdraw from the Middle East.

This site tries to document the bitter lessons of that savage war through complete documentary texts, thousands of annotated combat photos, and discussions of the weapons we fought with.



SOUTH To The Naktong, NORTH To The Yalu

Appleman includes over 800 annotated photographs to give poignant insights into his detailed analysis of the fighting during those desperate months after North Korea's massive onslaught on the South in June, 1950.

From that murderous invasion, through our initial crushing defeats and eventual crushing victories, until China's brilliant ambush in September as our forces drove towards the Yalu, Appleman brings Fighting Divisions, Squads and individual men to life by his accounts of their savage battles and almost-forgotten sacrifices.


Mossman's moving account begins with the vicious fighting upon China's opening ambushes of 8th Army and the Marines and 32nd RCT in the Chosin Reservoir, and takes us through subsequent battles until a fairly stable resistance line could be formed across entire South Korea in July 1951. Over 130 annotated combat photographs help bring the warriors, and their ordeals and sacrifices, to life once again.

The book describes the strategic ebb and flow of the battle lines, from north of Pyongyang and across the Taebaek Mountains to below the South Korean capitol of Seoul, and back north again until both sides ground to near exhaustion. As we study those events it becomes clear that, by summer of 1951, our UN Armies were defeating China and North Korea. We had developed and demonstrated the ability and resolve to meet them man to man, and relentlessly drive them north. Should no other crisis develop, should Russia not join in the fighting, or invade Western Europe, or some other unpredictable disaster occur, the only uncertainty about the outcome was the death and suffering it would involve.

But ... what would be the point? The US and our UN allies had effectively driven the North back across the original borders. Our strategic goals had been accomplished however debatable any actual victory. Further suffering seemed futile.

So, for political and rational considerations, the war became static and Truce Talks began. Mossman ends his account at the beginning of this period.


The Truce Talks took two desperately frustrating and bloody years to finally bring about a simple Cease Fire, which still lasts today.

Hermes' analysis of the specific incidents and battles of those months, seemingly endless at the time, covers the last half of the war. About half of the entire military casualties of the war occurred in this interval, and Hermes uses about 100 historical photos to help give an understanding of the suffering they entailed, while describing the events of the final two years, July 1951-July 1953

A meticulous, yet fascinating, description of the painful closure of one of the most vicious wars in our nation's history.

THE KOREAN WAR 1950-1953

The United States Army Center of Military History (CMH) Divides the Korean war into its significant phases


Field provides this starting point for understanding Our Navy's actions in the Korean War.


Bud Farrell, B29 Gunner, provides insights into air combat operations that faced the MiGs as well as intense and accurate triple A.


Pears and Kirkland's collection of Korean War Reminiscences by fellow Australian veterans.


Pears has combined individual combat accounts with organized descriptions of the basis of the Korean Battle Honors of the Royal Australian Regiment


After-Action Reports ... The way it was. Army analysis of the facts, and their significance, behind bloody small-unit combat.


So you thought the other guy had it easy?

Best check the hazards, struggles and sufferings of those who backed up the fighting front.


Schnabel's outstanding analysis of the initial strategy of our first "Limited War"

USMC: Warfighting Manual

Esprit de Corps

Fire Brigade

US Marines in the Pusan Perimeter



This Documentary brings to life the unnecessary tragedy of the Korean War.

It is a comprehensive Visual History, organizing the War by its strategic combat phases, illustrating the struggles and suffering and valor through over a thousand annotated Combat Photos and Maps.

Using thumbnails, it gives a visual overview, with each thumbnail linked to a page describing the photo's significance, usually including still further visual insights and personal accounts of the particular events it displays.

The effect is compassionate insight into the entire struggle, giving respect and appreciation of the desperate actions and sacrifices of the ordinary people involved, civilian as well as warriors, on all sides.


Primarily to minimize the possibility of escalation into another World War, both Communist and UN forces fought the Korean War largely with surplus World War II weapons. This site outlines the infantry issue weapons for both sides of the conflict.

Each Weapon is linked to a page with photos and specifications. Most of those pages also include annotated photos which show the weapons deployed in combat, and include many personal accounts by combat veterans. In most cases, these pages describe the weapon's relation to other weapons, usually with links to pages of those other weapons showing how they were deployed, their strengths, and their shortcomings.


These honored few Medal of Honor recipients are here identified by name, a photo, and a copy of their citation. This is effected by a complete list page, with each name linked to the specific information for each recipient.

Their commitment to their comrades in arms, their personal determination, their often incredible heroism shine forever through those terse, unemotional official military accounts.

Overall, the United States military was not prepared to fight the vicious infantry war that was Korea. Our political leaders had assumed the existence of nuclear weapons eliminated any effective deployment of ground forces such as was common before 1945. As a result, the quality and resolve of our fighting men varied dramatically, primarily depending on differences in their training and their individual character. Still, as always, there were those special few who are always prepared. And one other fact should never be forgotten: Those whose conduct was distinguished by being awarded the Medal Of Honor also represent their many comrades in arms who sacrificed themselves in obscurity.


A wonderful, organized collection of annotated combat Photos and Personal Histories of Aussie Korean War Veterans

We, and South Korea, were definitely not alone in fighting for their freedom. I've been privileged to use this outstanding historical collection to represent all our other Allies. None will be other than proud to be represented by such fine fighting men.


A good friend, Ron Cashman, 3rd Btn, Royal Australian Regiment, provided this pictorial account of how it was to fight in the Infantry in the Korean War. Wounded three times and decorated for gallantry, Ron's Photo-Documentary of Two Years in the Trenches lets the visitor browse sequentially through the battles, the rest areas, the violence and the boredom and see life and death as it actually was, so long ago.

Not a collection of old photos or tall tales, this site includes many of Ron's accounts of the battles he was in, as he saw them. A compassionate, intelligent human being, Ron's work is invaluable reading for anyone wanting insight into the mind, courage and ordeals of our finest warriors. If you've ever been there, you'll understand it all.


Organized by year, key individuals and battles linked to detailed accounts elsewhere, this is a concise yet informative sequential arrangement of the principal events of the Korean War with links that permit continuous exploration of all related actions.


A tabulation of US Military Personnel who were killed in action in the Korean war, 1950-1957. These casualties are organized by a clickable map of the states, and also alphabetically.

Golden Bond      Souvenir      Nerds At War

Written as fiction, based on fact, two Short Stories of combat I wrote during the War, plus an account of a day with an Air Force AC&W Squadron as a civilian radar tech. (Written in our spoken language of the time, you may wish to skip the short stories.)

Assault From The Sea

End around at Inchon

Before daylight on Sunday, June 25, 1950, Kim Il Sung, the North Korean Premier, hurled eight veteran Infantry divisions South across the 38th parallel.

Led by 120 Soviet T34 medium tanks and extensive mobile artillery they quickly crushed the valiant South Korean defenders, and butchered their way down the peninsula until stopped by United Nations forces at the Pusan Perimeter.

General MacArthur counter-attacked with our Marines at Inchon, far behind North Korean lines, routed them, and our Eighth Army struck back across the parallel almost to the Yalu river and China.

But, in November 1950, China entered the war with a veteran army, already victorious in one of the most decisive battles in history at Huai-Hai, in 1949 during their civil war. Our armies were ambushed and again driven deep back into South Korea.

Many of the United Nations fought at our side, for example the British Commonwealth, France and Turkey. Our Chinese enemy was skillful, brave and resourceful. The cruel murder of countless civilians and POWs will forever dishonor North Korea, but overall both sides fought well and courageously.

The battle-lines raged back and forth, but by mid-1951 settled roughly along the original Korean border, in about the same positions the armies fought over for the next two years until the Cease-Fire.

The extensive photographic, technical and historical documentation offered by this site attempts to cover those events objectively, honestly, and in comprehensive detail.

With respect to my comrades in arms, whose gallantry and sacrifice so long ago helped South Korea to be free today, I offer this Site.

Bert Kortegaard, 2/19/2012

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