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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: A Cautionary Tale!
In Response To: Re: A Cautionary Tale! ()

Hi Bennie: Welcome to the club!

Thanks for your compliment.

I remember, you telling that story and I would also like to tell the story of General "Ned" Almond in Korea; since you mentioned the Marines removing your equipment. As you know he was Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur's, Chief of Staff (he was promoted for getting a lot of black troops in the 92nd "Buffalo Division" killed and wounded) and also on Mac Arthur's staff was, guess who?

"I am in charge", General Alexander Haig and General Barry Mc Caffrey were members of his staff.

It was Thanksgiving day, 1950 and the North korean Army was on the run, ( I was in Seattle Washington, preparing to ship out on Dec. 1,1950) and the 1st. Marine Division was advancing steadily along a narrow mountain road in to the 4,000 foot high Chosin Reservoir.
Nobody believed Mac Arthur's declaration that U.S. Troops would be heading home by Christmas.

A few hours after the Marines and the 24th Infantry Division and other units had just finished their turkey dinners which froze between mess kit and mouth, due to the bitter winds seeping down from Siberia that dropped the temperatures below Zero; waves of Communist Chinese Forces (CCF) swept down on the unsuspecting Eighth Army and the X Corps, with the 1st Marine Division as one of its major components.

These were the CCF Armies that Eight Army Intelligence Officers, under the Command of General Charles Willoughby, INSISTED WERE NOT THERE or were present in numbers so small as to be inconsequential.
Mac Arthur and his staff, (Gen. Almond, Haig, Mc Caffrey, etc.) all supported the flawed intelligence, that there were no Chinese Armies (CCF) massing on the Yalu River, preparing to rip the X Corps and Eight Army apart. Does this sound familiar?

General "Ned "Almond, ( X Corps Commander) flew in to discuss how the 1st. Marines could "get out". "He told Smith ( Maj.General Oliver P. Smith, Commander of the First Marine Div.), I suggest that you destroy all your artillery, burn your supplies and let every man go out on foot by himself. I have no doubt that a lot will get through to the south".

"There was a stunned silence."
"Then Smith said very quietly but firmly, General, I don't accept that suggestion at all." (Now this was refusal of an order and insubordination, etc.)

"The 1st Marine Division is going to fight its way out, we're going to take all our equipment (and some of Bennie's) and wounded and as many dead as we can. If we can't get out that way, this division WILL NEVER FIGHT AGAIN". "Almond just said, "alright general, then left and we never saw him again".

The cost of this intelligence failure was 2,657 7th Infantry Killed in Action and 354 wounded. The 1st.Marine Division had 718 killed in action, 192 missing in action and 3,508 wounded in action. The marines also suffered 7,313 losses to frostbite and other ailments.
The Korean War deaths in Combat Units in Korea were, more than 32, 000 killed in action.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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