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China Recaptures Pyongyang for North Korea

The CCF entered the Korean War with a short, violent probing offensive. Although elements of three CCF Armies ... the 38th, 39th, and 40th ... had infiltrated into position without being discovered, apparently only about 30,000 CCF foot infantry were deployed. These veteran troops, directed by skillful patrol actions and experienced planning, wreaked devastation among our unprepared and disorganized forces. They destroyed the ROK 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments and also inflicted about 800 casualties on our 8th Cavalry Regiment, capturing over half their equipment while smashing us back. When our leaders still failed to realize what was confronting us, China's 2nd Phase Offensive explained more forcefully.

CCF Strikes - 1st Campaign

CCF Recapture Pyongyang, 12/6/50

China's 2nd Phase Offensive

The CCF tactics were strange to us, they being extremely effective by night and by infiltration and highly effective roadblocks. Even their methods of communications, such as the whistles used in small-unit assault above, seemed eerie and helped demoralize many of our troops.

On November 5, the CCF broke off contact to evaluate the results of their attack and the capabilities of their enemies. This was musunderstood by the UN High Command, who fatally underestimated both the strength and the intent of the CCF forces facing them. After re-grouping, Eighth Army again formed on the Chongchon River, and prepared to launch a general assault on November 25, an assault to get our forces "home for Christmas."

On November 27, China attacked once again with what they called the 2nd Phase Campaign. By December 6, when the CCF recaptured Pyongyang, Eighth Army was in full flight south in the longest retreat in United States history, and 1st Marine Division was just finishing a savage fight out of encirclement at the Chosin Reservoir. Thanks to the terrible casualties the CCF took while trying to crush 1stMarDiv, the withdrawal of X Corps from Hungnam was orderly and even permitted saving over 100,000 North Korean citizens who asked for safe haven in South Korea.

Such is war.

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