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* This book is a collection of accounts describing the combat action of smallArmy units-squads and platoons, companies and batteries. These are the unitsthat engage in combat, suffer the casualties, and make up the fighting strengthof the battalions, regiments, divisions, corps, and finally, of the field army.Combat is a very personal business to members of such a small unit. Concernedwith the fearful and consuming tasks of fighting and living, these men cannotthink of war in terms of the Big Picture as it is represented on the situationmaps at corps or army headquarters. Members of a squad or platoon know only whatthey can see and hear of combat. They know and understand the earth for whichthey fight, the advantage of holding the high ground, the protection of thetrench or hole. These men can distinguish the sounds of enemy weapons from thoseof their own; they know the satisfying sound of friendly artillery shellspassing overhead and of friendly planes diving at an objective. They know theexcitement of combat, the feeling of exhilaration and of despair, the feeling ofmassed power, and of overwhelming loneliness.

The author has tried to describe combat as individuals have experienced it,or at least as it has appeared from the company command post. In so doing, muchdetail has been included that does not find its way into more barren officialrecords. The details and the little incidents of combat were furnished bysurviving members of the squads and companies including painstaking interviewsand discussions soon after the fighting was over. Conversely, many facts havebeen omitted from the narrative presented here. The accounts tell only part ofthe complete story, intentionally ignoring related actions of cause and effectin order to keep one or two small units in sharper focus. The story of action onHeartbreak Ridge, for example, describes fighting that lasted only one or twohours, whereas the entire battle for that hill went on for several weeks.Sometimes there are obvious gaps because important information was lost with themen who died in the battle. Sometimes e accounts are incomplete because theauthor failed to learn or to recount everything of importance that happened.

The stories that follow have been selected as representative of the importantbattles of the Korean conflict. In chronological sequence, they follow thefighting ginning on the second day of the participation of United States troopsuntil the are settled into a static defense of fortified lines.

Because most of the peninsula is covered with an intricate mass of hills andridges, many of the battles in Korea took place on hilltops. The typical Koreanridge rises from rice paddies and a stream at its base and slants upward atangle of forty-five or more degrees. It takes an hour of steady climbing toreach e top and, once they have reached the path-wide crest, the sweatinginfantrymen see only another ridge ahead, and others beyond it, stretching inrow after row of the purple haze at the horizon. In the wintertime the hills arewindblown and harsh but when summer rains come to Korea and the morning mistdrifts along he ridgelines there is a fresh beauty to the land. The hills becomeverdant and between them the rice paddies, in delicate shades of green, are soneat they look as if someone had combed them by hand and set them out in thesun. Other than the beauty of the landscape, American soldiers find little thatis desirable in Korea. It has always been a poor land, and the shifting combathas reduced many of the villages to heaps of red ashes, many of the people todestitution. In the combat zone only the hills seem unchanged, and even a few ofthem are beaten up and bare from the fighting. This is the setting for thestories that follow.

The preparation of this book has not been a one-man project. Major GeneralOrlando Ward, U.S. Army (now retired), is responsible for the book, havingplanned it and furnished much of the enthusiasm and inspiration necessary to getthe writing done. It is a personal pleasure for the author to share the creditfor the book with nine officers with whom he worked and often shared tents inKorea. These officers, members of historical detachments, were engaged incollecting and preserving accurate historical records of the Korean conflict.From the large number of accounts that they prepared, the author has includedeleven that were either partially or almost wholly prepared by them. To thefollowing officers the author is indebted for this valuable assistance and forthe pleasure of sharing the experiences of Korea: Major Edward C. Williamson,Captain John Mewha, Captain Martin Blumenson, Major B. C. Mossman, Major PierceBriscoe, Major William J. Fox, Lieutenant Bevin R. Alexander, Lieutenant EdgarOenton, and Major Robert H. Fechtman.

The author reserves a special acknowledgment of indebtedness and anexpression of appreciation to Lt. Col. Roy E. Appleman. During both World War IIand the Korean War, the author benefited from Colonel Appleman's familiaritywith military history and from his sturdy judgment.

Except for one, the discussions following most of the action accounts werecompiled by Lt. Colonel Carl D. McFerren of the Office of the Chief of MilitaryHistory, and based upon comments from the Army schools at Fort Benning FortSill, and Fort Knox. At the request of the Chief of Military History, LieutenantNicholas A. Canzona, U.S. Marine Corps, wrote the discussion following "AttackAlong a Ridgeline." The discussions do not necessarily reflect the official viewof the Department of the Army, but are included to stimulate thought and promotediscussion. No attempt has been made to mention everything that is either goodor bad about the conduct of the battles described and, in many cases the obvioushas been intentionally avoided. Neither has there been any attempt to placeblame, since no one can claim that, have done better.

Miss Mary Ann Bacon has been generous in giving skillful editorial guidanceto the author. Mr. Alfred M. Beck accomplished the numerous tasks required toconvert the original publication into the present edition. Mrs. Vivian Brooksprepared all maps illustrating the text, and Mr. Robert Johnstone prepared thetwo pen-and-ink sketches. To them the author is deeply grateful. Finally, theauthor is anxious to thank several hundred men and officers of the United StatesArmy who have been both patient and generous in furnishing the Information uponwhich the accounts are based. Without their cooperation this book could not havebeen written and eventually much of the information presented here would havebeen lost, just as the dust and smoke disappear from the battlefield when thefighting is over.

RUSSELL A. GUGELER Stuttgart, Germany 30 September 1969

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

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