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On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The…
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On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War's… (2018 original; edició 2018)

de Hampton Sides (Autor)

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2231694,860 (4.33)10
"A chronicle of the extraordinary feats of heroism by Marines called on to do the impossible during the greatest battle of the Korean War."--Provided by publisher.On October 15, 1950, General Douglas MacArthur convinced President Harry Truman that the Communist forces of Kim Il-sung would be utterly defeated by Thanksgiving. The Chinese, he said with near certainty, would not intervene in the war. As he was speaking, 300,000 Red Chinese soldiers began secretly crossing the Manchurian border. As Americans moved deep into the snowy mountains of North Korea, toward the trap Mao had set along the frozen shores of the Chosin Reservoir, what followed was one of the most harrowing operations in American military history. Sides' account provides a grunt's-eye view of history. -- adapted from jacket… (més)
Membre:klafrance
Títol:On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle
Autors:Hampton Sides (Autor)
Informació:Doubleday (2018), Edition: 1st, 416 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca, Llegit, però no el tinc
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle de Hampton Sides (Author) (2018)

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The passage of seventy years, rigorous and creative research, and, most importantly, brilliant writing of Hampton Sides gives the reader a fascinating look into the events of the winter of 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir, Korea. It is difficult reading this without coming away with a horror and disgust for the senselessness, the cruelty, the criminality in some cases, the stupidity in many cases; yet, with an almost religious regard for the heroic sufferings, courage and fortitude of those who fought there.
  RonWelton | Jul 24, 2021 |
A great telling of a great battle, fought by great men. A fantastic job by side to illuminate the oft forgotten Korean War and the brave men that fought in it. The brutal conditions in which these men were placed and dealt with was communicated to the reader in a well written, readable and addictive prose that Sides is becoming well know for. Highly recommended. ( )
  Schneider | May 21, 2021 |
On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle by Hampton Sides is the history of one of the greatest stories to come out of the Korean War. Sides is an American historian, author, and journalist. He is the author of Americana, Hellhound on His Trail, Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, and other bestselling works of narrative history and literary non-fiction.

The Korean War is America’s forgotten war, and the heroics that took place in the war are often overlooked. Marines, however, do remember the events from the landing at Inchon to the evacuation at Chosin. Perhaps the Marine Corps most celebrated and most iconic leader Colonel Chesty Puller. Puller and the Marines left no man behind as they fought their way out of being surrounded at Chosin. Puller always saw the positive: “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.” Temperatures were well below zero, and the Marines reported 7,338 non-battle casualties from the weather alone. The navy provided close air support and the air force dropped in supplies. If there was a time to see defeat this was it. There would be no defeat at Chosin. The Marines made an orderly withdrawal under heavy fire and against a force that vastly outnumbered them.

Sides tells the story of the forces involved at Chosin. Using the narrative form, he brings to life Marines and members of the other services and countries who fought the battle, I am not usually a fan of the narrative style in nonfiction writing, but here Sides breathes life into those who were there. Army and Marine Corps archives were used to form much of the narrative. Also used were interviews of over fifty who fought at Chosin and the personal papers of many others. On Desperate Ground puts a human voice on the battle and the war. More than just battle plans and casualty counts this book is about the people who were there.

( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Hampton Sides’ account of the First Marine Division’s desperate battle for survival at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea reads like a gripping adventure/mystery novel. Sides carefully documents his accounts and brings the narrative to life by focusing on individuals who played an active role in the fight. He provides a glimpse of the thinking of individuals at the highest echelons (President Truman, Mao Zedong, and Generals Douglas McArthur, Edward Almond, and Oliver Smith) down through the middle ranks to the privates in foxholes engaged in a desperate fight to stay alive.

The sudden attack on the the army and marine corps forces by forces composed of hundreds of thousands of Chinese army regulars could have and should have been avoided. The arrogance and close-minded folly of Generals Douglas McArthur and Edward Almond were responsible for this disastrous ambush. Multiple sources of intelligence revealed the presence of overwhelming elements of the Chinese army in the mountainous areas surrounding the Chosin reservoir. McArthur and Almond ignored that information and committed Army and Marine Corps troops to advance to the Yalu river separating China and North Korea. Their belief was that the troops would encounter little enemy opposition and they wanted a quick resolution of the Korean War: “Home by Christmas” was their goal. They even opposed taking time for obvious preparations such as preparing facilities to receive wounded men.

The narrow, winding, single track road leading through the jagged mountains towards the reservoir and the Yalu on beyond was perfect for an ambush. Steep hills bordered both sides of the road. Halfway to the reservoir was a single bridge that, once crossed, could be destroyed, leaving the troops no avenue for escape. There were narrow, u-shaped chokepoints where troops could be trapped and murdered at the leisure of the Chinese army. And the troops were ordered to undertake this advance in temperatures of -30F with biting winds that created a windchill of -70F.

The survival of the marines is attributable to the heroism of so many individuals any effort to count them would be incomplete. In contrast to McArthur and Almond, Marine Corps general Oliver Smith saw the situation clearly and, despite orders, prepared his troops for opposition. He ordered his engineers to work around the clock to create a small air field that allowed the delivery of supplies and removal of wounded. He established a field hospital to treat the wounded, and he positioned his troops in strong defensive positions at nightfall. The latter allowed the marines to survive the human wave attacks that Mao had employed so successfully in overwhelming Chaing Kai-shek’s troops.

Sides’ focus on the experiences of the individuals caught up in this battle provides a graphic understanding of the heroic struggle for survival of the marines at the Chosin Reservoir. On Desperate Ground provides a riveting narrative you won’t want to put down. ( )
  Tatoosh | Feb 29, 2020 |
Quite an engrossing story, I read it in two days. Sides does an excellent job describing the lead-up to the battle. The battle itself was less interesting, though parts of it were amazing. The wrap-up was too perfunctory.

> When the mortar teams ran low on ammo, a supply drop was called in, using the established code name for 60-millimeter mortar shells: "Tootsie Rolls." A plane came and dropped the requested supplies by parachute, but when the boxes were cut open, the supply crews found no shells inside. Whoever had packed the order, apparently not familiar with the code name, had stuffed the boxes with actual Tootsie Rolls, enough candy for many thousands of men. The mortar teams were infuriated about the mix-up, but everyone else was thrilled. … The Marines found that the confection not only provided quick fuel; it had a practical use, too. The rolls were the perfect size and consistency for plugging bullet-riddled gas tanks, fuel hoses, and radiators. The men would warm the candies in their mouths until they softened, then "precision-mold" them to whatever shape was required. ( )
  breic | Feb 26, 2020 |
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Sun Tzu says that in battle there are nine kinds of situations, nine kinds of "ground."  The final and most distressing type is a situation in which one's army can be saved from destruction only by fighting without delay.  It is a place with no shelter, and no possibility of easy retreat.  If met by the enemy, an army has no alternative but to surrender or fight its way out its predicament.
 
Sun Tzu calls this "desperate ground."
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(Prologue) In the morning rain, they pressed against the metal skins of their boats and peeked over the gunwales for a glimpse of the shores they were about to attack.
On the Yellow Sea  
The amphibious invasion taking place off the jetties and docks of Inchon - an action officially known as Operation Chromite - was among the boldest and most technically complex engagements in modern military annals.
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"A chronicle of the extraordinary feats of heroism by Marines called on to do the impossible during the greatest battle of the Korean War."--Provided by publisher.On October 15, 1950, General Douglas MacArthur convinced President Harry Truman that the Communist forces of Kim Il-sung would be utterly defeated by Thanksgiving. The Chinese, he said with near certainty, would not intervene in the war. As he was speaking, 300,000 Red Chinese soldiers began secretly crossing the Manchurian border. As Americans moved deep into the snowy mountains of North Korea, toward the trap Mao had set along the frozen shores of the Chosin Reservoir, what followed was one of the most harrowing operations in American military history. Sides' account provides a grunt's-eye view of history. -- adapted from jacket

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