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Into The Breach At Pusan, New Book By Ken Estes

Korean War Marines Ken Estes

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#21 Ken Estes

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 1019 AM

The review from Dec 2012 Naval History [Naval Inst Press], written by Col. Dick Camp, concludes:

 

 

The Pusan Perimeter (1954) the first

of the official history’s five volumes,

thus embellished the role of the fire brigade

and was deliberately self-serving,

according to Estes. Yet, even though

he attacks in no uncertain terms the

“rhetorical excesses and exaggerations

[that] have distorted the history of the

Marine brigade at Pusan,” the author

is also careful to point out that “the

brigade’s accomplishments in Korea are

in no way diminished by an accurate

account of its operations.” Estes’ Into

the Breach at Pusan is a well-written

and researched book that persuasively

challenges the lore surrounding the 1st

Provisional Marine Brigade. I expect

it to spark spirited discussion, and Ken

Estes may well be advised to wear a flak

jacket and helmet when the fire brigade’s

conventional defenders come out

of the bushes with “guns” blazing.

 

 

Perhaps this is the effect of my rhetoric, with which Ryan has difficulties?

 

 

Military History, had [Jan, 2013 online]:

Into the Breach at Pusan shows that 1st PMG personnel entered the fray in Korea with a lack of wartime experience. Brig. Gen. Edward A. Craig was the exception that proved the rule. During World War I he had sent a telegram to his father, stating: "I'm entering the Marine Corps." The reply he received read: "Do not join the U.S. Marines under any circumstances. A terrible bunch of drunks and bums. Father." That attitude persisted among senior U.S. Army officers, such as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who in a conversation with Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer called the Marine inferior to the common American soldier.

Author Estes, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and author of Marines Under Armor (2000), follows the 1st PMG from Operation Demon III at Camp Pendleton, Calif., its landing at Pusan and its baptism of fire at Masan to the two Battles of the Naktong Bulge. He contradicts the official Marine Corps history claim that the brigade's arrival saved the Eighth Army from chaos and panic. He points out that units of the Eighth Army were at 50–60 percent troop strength but still managing to secure the Pusan Perimeter, and that the Marine unit, at a more robust 90 percent strength, was one of five fire brigades that carried out counterattacks, while MAG 33 provided air support for all United Nations units as needed.

The author concludes with the claim that during World War II American infantry units initially lacked the basic skills and motivation to engage Japanese infantry in close combat because their commanders expected artillery to do the work, to the point that such doctrine devolved into a dependency. The American soldier clearly faced the same problem when fighting enemy forces in Korea, but the professionalism and flexibility of the 1st PMG changed the rules of the game. Into the Breach at Pusan is an extremely valuable book on the "Forgotten War," with operational lessons worth remembering.

—Thomas Zacharis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry to have been away so long and missed the earlier version of this thread!



#22 Rick

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 1820 PM

 

The review from Dec 2012 Naval History [Naval Inst Press], written by Col. Dick Camp, concludes:
 


The Pusan Perimeter (1954) the first
of the official history’s five volumes,
thus embellished the role of the fire brigade
and was deliberately self-serving,
according to Estes. Yet, even though
he attacks in no uncertain terms the
“rhetorical excesses and exaggerations
[that] have distorted the history of the
Marine brigade at Pusan,” the author
is also careful to point out that “the
brigade’s accomplishments in Korea are
in no way diminished by an accurate
account of its operations.” Estes’ Into
the Breach at Pusan is a well-written
and researched book that persuasively
challenges the lore surrounding the 1st
Provisional Marine Brigade. I expect
it to spark spirited discussion, and Ken
Estes may well be advised to wear a flak
jacket and helmet when the fire brigade’s
conventional defenders come out
of the bushes with “guns” blazing.

 
Perhaps this is the effect of my rhetoric, with which Ryan has difficulties?
 
 
Military History, had [Jan, 2013 online]:

Into the Breach at Pusan shows that 1st PMG personnel entered the fray in Korea with a lack of wartime experience. Brig. Gen. Edward A. Craig was the exception that proved the rule. During World War I he had sent a telegram to his father, stating: "I'm entering the Marine Corps." The reply he received read: "Do not join the U.S. Marines under any circumstances. A terrible bunch of drunks and bums. Father." That attitude persisted among senior U.S. Army officers, such as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who in a conversation with Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer called the Marine inferior to the common American soldier.
Author Estes, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and author of Marines Under Armor (2000), follows the 1st PMG from Operation Demon III at Camp Pendleton, Calif., its landing at Pusan and its baptism of fire at Masan to the two Battles of the Naktong Bulge. He contradicts the official Marine Corps history claim that the brigade's arrival saved the Eighth Army from chaos and panic. He points out that units of the Eighth Army were at 50–60 percent troop strength but still managing to secure the Pusan Perimeter, and that the Marine unit, at a more robust 90 percent strength, was one of five fire brigades that carried out counterattacks, while MAG 33 provided air support for all United Nations units as needed.
The author concludes with the claim that during World War II American infantry units initially lacked the basic skills and motivation to engage Japanese infantry in close combat because their commanders expected artillery to do the work, to the point that such doctrine devolved into a dependency. The American soldier clearly faced the same problem when fighting enemy forces in Korea, but the professionalism and flexibility of the 1st PMG changed the rules of the game. Into the Breach at Pusan is an extremely valuable book on the "Forgotten War," with operational lessons worth remembering.


—Thomas Zacharis

 
 
 
 
 
Sorry to have been away so long and missed the earlier version of this thread!


Well, welcome "home" Marine. From an ex-doc.




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