THE ENDS OF THE “EVER-VICTORIOUS” GENERALS OF THE US
In the Korean War (June 1950-July 1953) the US, which had been boasting of being the “strongest” in the world, suffered a defeat, the first of its kind in its history. During the war the “ever-victorious” generals of the US met ignominious ends.
GENERAL DEAN BECOMES A POW
During the Second World War General Dean, commanding a division, killed and captured 30 000 German troops in Germany and Austria. In the Philippines he repulsed Japanese forces and entered Manila.
Leading the US 24th Division, famous as an “ever-victorious” division, he went to the Korean front ahead of others. To check the southward advance of the Korean People’s Army (armed forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and ensure the deployment of the main force of his division, he dispatched Smith-led task force to the Osan line as an advance party. When the task force was annihilated at the first encounter with the KPA forces, he lamented that it was a “shame for the United States of America,” and said that he would “earn confidence in Taejon by fighting a model battle.” However, the division was encircled and wiped out in Taejon by the adroit combat tactics of the KPA combined units. Without caring about the dignity of a general, Dean fled in the uniform of a private soldier before being captured by a rank-and-file soldier of the KPA.
During the Second World War he used to say that to become a POW was the most ignominious thing for a soldier, and in the Korean war, he found himself becoming a POW.
“GRAVE GENERAL” SMITH
Smith entered the Korean war, leading the 1st Marine Division, which had been called the “flower of the Marine Corps.” During the strategic and temporary retreat by the KPA, he advanced as far as Lake Jangjin in the northern part of the DPRK. The KPA forces encircled and attacked the division, killing its troops en masse. Smith had frozen earth dug by explosion and the corpses as well as his seriously injured soldiers buried there.
His division lost 12 000 troops in the area of the lake. On a vessel carrying the remaining soldiers, the division commander lamented that it had been unprecedented in the 175-year history of the US marines that a commander went his way, leaving so many corpses of his men behind.
It earned him the disgraceful title of “Grave General.”
GENERAL WALKER DIES WHILE FLEEING
Walker had earned fame during the Second World War while advancing to Austria after landing at Normandy.
In the early days of the Korean war he commanded the ground operations of the “UN forces” as the commander of the US 8th Army. He ordered his men: UN soldiers, your hands must not shake even though those who are in front of you are children or the elderly; kill them; by doing so, you will save yourselves from catastrophe and perform your duty as UN soldiers.
On his order, the US soldiers massacred innocent Korean civilians in the areas they occupied temporarily.
Though he clamoured that he would push the frontline to the northern border area of the Korean peninsula before Christmas, the 190 000-strong main force of the 8th Army crumbled. While fleeing with a heavy tank in front, he encountered the KPA’s Second Front units, which had buried land mines and encircled the US forces before attacking them. Eighty US officers, including Walker himself, were killed in the battle.
GENERAL MACARTHUR IS OUSTED
Allied Commander in the Far East, Douglas MacArthur commarded the UN forces from the first day of the Korean war. He enlisted in the Korean front vast amounts of materiel of the US, including the latest weaponry, and elite US forces. Organizing the General Christmas Offensive and other operations and drawing on the experience he had gained during the decades of previous wars, he made desperate efforts to conclude the Korean war in a short period. However, he found himself helpless in front of the counteroffensives offered by the KPA.
Judging that if they continued the war by placing confidence in him, they could be defeated, the US authorities fired him from his post in April 1951, less than one year after they ignited the war. Thus General MacArthur, who had been called a hero of the war in the Pacific, was ousted.
GENERAL RIDGWAY IS RECALLED
After MacArthur was ousted, Matthew Ridgway was appointed to the MacArthur’s post. In the US military circles he had been known as an officer possessed of a strong will and high commanding ability and as an ambitious man who would face death if it was for his career and fame.
He flew to the Korean front in field uniform with two grenades around his neck. He resorted to every means and method to change the tide of the war; he proposed truce negotiations to the DPRK, and at the back organized various military operations, including the summer and autumn offensives. Each time he had to drink a bitter cup: during the period of the Autumn Offensive, the US lost 147 000 troops, 279 tanks and armoured vehicles, 961 planes and other combat equipment. He even had bio-chemical weapons used despite being called “General Pest” and “General Cholera,” but the result was the same.
He was recalled to his country one year after his appointment.
GENERAL CLARK SHEDS TEARS
The US expected a great deal from Mark Clark, who succeeded to Ridgway, because he had received the surrender of the stubborn German forces in Italy and the Italian forces during the Second World War.
Soon after his appointment as commander of the UN forces, he declared that he would “wipe out” the 78 cities in north Korea from the map of the world, and unfolded the Operation Strangulation, aimed at destroying all, burning down all and killing all through carpet bombing. He organized the New Offensive as the last resort, but his dream of demonstrating the strength of the UN forces and win an “honourable truce” was shattered to smithereens. He could not but sign the Korean Armistice Agreement, a document which was as good as an instrument of surrender.
His mother, who received him at an airport, recalled as follows: The dignified mettle and pride were nowhere to be seen, and two streams of tears were trickling down his face.