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American armor flees

"Their glowing cigar butts looked like tracers going past" ... Digger infantryman

The Battle of the Ch'ongch'on

The Enemy

American Armor Flees

11/30/50, American Armor Flees From CCF back through Pyongyang
Mama-san silently watches history being made
"Their glowing cigar butts looked like tracers going past" ... Digger infantryman

Foot Infantry, without armor or air cover, or heavy artillery, completely routed a mechanized army which enjoyed unchallenged air supremacy. Advancing rapidly along roads, without securing the high ground controlling those roads or strongly defending against potential bottlenecks, or firmly securing the transportation and supply routes supporting the advance, or deploying and coordinating heavy artillery support, or preparing strong fall-back defensive positions in our rear ... we were ideal targets for the veteran Chinese forces who had crushed a Nationalist Chinese Army twice our size only the year before in one of the most decisive battles in history.

Using courage and resolution, identifying our key weak points and attacking them in force, always trying to circle behind our forward elements and block our exit routes, the veteran Chinese infantry used tactics developed during years of guerrilla experience to shock and demoralize our unsuspecting army, who had been told they would be victorious by Christmas.

Thus began the longest retreat in our history, which led China to make the same exhilarating mistake we did by pursuing us across the 38th parallel. That changed their moral position from defenders of a desperately wounded ally, to something else ...

Within 6 months, after Chosin and the May Massacre, China would realize it had greatly underestimated our own infantry, once we were resolved to actually fight and our military leadership applied tactics letting us do so effectively. As with our fleeing soldiers China would realize the error of overconfidence, too late.

Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation

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