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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

November 28th, 1950 - The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir

Conflict: Korean War

Combatants: Americans/South Koreans vs. Chinese/North Koreans

Location: North Korea

Outcome: Chinese/North Korean victory

Cut off and encircled during the UN withdrawal in November 1950, 25,000 American and Republic of Korea (ROK) soldiers and Marines found themselves trapped by 120,000 Chinese around the Chosin Reservoir. After over two weeks of grueling battle, the American and ROK troops managed to break through the encirclement while inflicting heavy casualties. While the American and South Koreans lost 6,000 men killed, the Chinese suffered 25,000 KIA and half as many wounded.

A column of troops and armor of the 1st Marine Division move through communist Chinese lines during their successful breakout from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea by Corporal Peter McDonald, USM

Points of Interest:

  • When Major General Oliver Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division, ordered the withdrawal he insisted his Marines were not retreating but "attacking in another direction."

  • The Marines spent thirteen days in a fighting retreat before linking up with the 3rd Division.

Oliver P. Smith, USMC by an unknown photographer

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