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Thread: The British stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951

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    Contributing Member blurrededge's Avatar
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    The British stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951

    On this Remembrance Sunday, I feel the need to recommend a book by Andrew Salmon "To The Last Round" The tale of the Battle of the Imjin River and the last stand of the Glorious Glosters on Hill 235, heavily outnumbered against Chinese human wave attacks.
    With North Korea once again in the News it's worth remembering the previous sacrifices made by many young men in a war largely ignored or just forgotten unfortunately, by many people, at least in Britain it seems. Indeed, many people nowadays have no idea the Britishicon fought in Korea.
    I'm pretty well read on the events of WW2 and felt I had good grasp on the historical events of British post war conflicts also, however after reading this book I was ashamed how little I knew.

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    Really Senior Member 30Three's Avatar
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    I read up on the Korean conflict a couple of years ago. It is definitely worth the read. I knew nothing of it really until then. Certainly no picnic!

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    Thank you for this suggestion.
    I read quite a lot about Korea in the past 10+ years, and I really like that conflict for a number of reasons.
    If you like suggestions too, than I would strongly recommend Clay Blair’s “The Forgotten War”.
    It is an incredibly detailed account of the first 12-13 months of the war, with information on almost every officer up to company level.
    Over 1200 pages, it is no easy thing, but the information really is worth the offort.
    I started with that, which gave me a very good introduction into the topic, then I went over to every possible other kind of book. Personal accounts, war diaries, Navy, Air Force...
    Another grat read is “Such Men As These”, by David Sears. Talks about the Navy pilots during the entire war.
    Really great!
    Last edited by Ovidio; 11-12-2017 at 07:00 PM.
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3^ rgt. Alpini

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    Really Senior Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    There would be some many more.
    The whole Marine odissey along the Chosin Reservoir, i.e., but, a little known fact is the disaster that struck the Army in the same region, just on the opposite shores of the reservoir.
    “East Of Chosin”, by Roy Appleman, is another great read.
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3^ rgt. Alpini

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    An incredible battle by all accounts. One of our Parachute Regiment officers, General Sir Anthony Heritage Farrar-Hockley GBE, KCB, DSO & Bar, MC.

    He fought in the Korean War, with the Glosters as adjutant.
    He provided inspiring leadership during the Battle of the Imjin River and fight for Hill 235.
    "A" Company had undergone lengthy attack, taken severe officer casualties and was struggling. Farrar-Hockley volunteered to reinforce the company and his presence had an immediate effect.
    The company were able to retrench and hold on for some time. Nevertheless, they became surrounded, ran out of ammunition, and after hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets were ordered to withdraw. Farrar-Hockley organised an orderly withdrawal but as one of the last to leave the position he was captured.
    The Glosters became known as the Glorious Glosters and he was awarded the DSO although he was a captain and the DSO was usually reserved for more senior ranks.

    His citation stated:

    Throughout this desperate engagement on which the ability of the Battalion to hold its position entirely depended, Captain Farrar-Hockley was an inspiration to the defenders. His outstanding gallantry, fighting spirit and great powers of leadership heartened his men and welded them into an indomitable team. His conduct could not have been surpassed.

    Nice man, obsessed with action. Nearly got taken out by the IRA when they hid an IED in his hoepipe in the garden, but he found it first!!

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    Last edited by Gil Boyd; 11-13-2017 at 12:44 PM.
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Really Senior Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    Dang, I had to order it at the end......and a few others too...
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3^ rgt. Alpini

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    As with some other 'famous last stands', some questions arise as to why things were allowed to get to the point where it was the only thing left to do. Brigadier Brodie, using Britishicon understatement, appears not to have made it sufficiently clear to his [U.S.] superior that the Glosters' position was becoming untenable and left him with the impression that they did not immediately require further support.

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    Communication skills are important. You Brits have that habit of understating that can be a bit confusing to other people. I would really love to see such a situation with one of our high commanders of WWII as counterpart. And I say that with the utmost respect for the Italianicon soldier, who normally fought aganst better led and equipped foes.

    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3^ rgt. Alpini

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    I came upon the book by chance, nosing through the shelves in the Military section at Waterstones, only went in because the missus wanted to get something. Glad I did though as the book actually made quite an impact on me, doesn't happen often that. Brave men in an impossible situation, what stuff they were made of! WW2 Veterans many of them, to then also suffer as POWs, for those that made it that far. A good read from beginning to end. It would make one hell of a film if done well but it would have to be a few hours long to do it justice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ovidio View Post
    There would be some many more.
    The whole Marine odissey along the Chosin Reservoir, i.e., but, a little known fact is the disaster that struck the Army in the same region, just on the opposite shores of the reservoir.
    “East Of Chosin”, by Roy Appleman, is another great read.
    My wife's grandfather was a forward artillery observer in that Army unit. His unit was overran and scattered. He fought his way back arriving with 23 other GIs who had found each other over the four day trek. They had to fight back and Grandpa Bob took Grenage fragments to the right side of his body and face. Patched up he continued on. At one point his M1icon Carbine would not run, he blames it on the cold weather but acknowledges it also received shrapnel damage when he got his. He picked up a Garand and finished with it. Once back he was sent to Japanicon for medical treatment and his war was over. He rarely talks about the war. This has been pieced together over years. He does talk about his service from 1945 to the start of the war though. Hats off to those men.
    Last edited by P246; 11-15-2017 at 12:10 PM.

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