Battle of Chosin Reservoir

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Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Part of the Korean War
Men advancing through the snow with a Tank
A column of the US 1st Marine Division moves through Chinese lines during its breakout from the Chosin Reservoir
Date27 November – 13 December 1950
Chosin Reservoir, in present day Changjin County, South Hamgyong Province, North Korea
Result See Aftermath section
Chinese forces recover northeastern North Korea; UN forces withdraw.

 United Nations (UNC)

 North Korea
Commanders and leaders
United Nations Douglas MacArthur
United States Edward Almond
United States Oliver P. Smith
China Peng Dehuai
China Song Shilun
Units involved
see Battle of Chosin Reservoir order of battle See Battle of Chosin Reservoir order of battle
Nominal: 103,520[1]:37
Committed: ~30,000[1]:24
Nominal: 150,000[2]
Committed: ~120,000[3]
Casualties and losses
US sources:
1,029 killed
4,894 missing
4,582 wounded
7,338 non-battle casualties[1]:345–7[a]
15 tank losses[1]:348
17,843 total
Chinese estimation:
Chinese sources:
19,202 battle casualties
28,954 non-battle casualties
48,156 total[4]
Unofficial estimations: ~60,000[5][b]
UN estimation:
29,800 battle casualties
20,000+ non-battle casualties[1]:352

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir (17 November – 13 December 1950) was an important battle during the Korean War.

The United Nations Command, led by the United States, occupied North Korea, which had attacked South Korea.

China entered the war after several warnings to the United Nations. It attacked United Nations Command and forced its retreat.

The result was a stalemate, with an armistice dividing Korea at the 38th parallel.

Background[change | change source]

North Korea invaded South Korea across the 38th parallel and occupied most of South Korea. The South Korean Army retreated to Busan.

The United Nations Command intervened, landed at Incheon, and captured Seoul, The United Nations occupied North Korea and approached the border with China, the Yalu River.

Chinese forces infiltrated into North Korea and hid there. Mao Zedong decided to attack the United Nations during the Second Phase Offensive.

Terrain[change | change source]

The Korean Peninsula has a mountain range, the Taebaek Mountains, in its middle that divides the east from the west. The Chosin Reservoir was a man-made lake in hilly terrain in the northeast of the peninsula. A road connects the reservoir to the southeast to the port city of Hungnam.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Appleman, Roy (1990). Escaping the Trap: The US Army X Corps in Northeast Korea, 1950. Military History Series. Texas A&M University. ISBN 9780890963951.
  2. Xue & Li Part One 2000.
  3. 叶 2007, p. 259.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Xue & Li Part Four 2000.
  5. Roe, Patrick C. (2000). The Dragon Strikes: China and the Korean War, June–December 1950. Novato, California: Presidio Press. p. 394. ISBN 9780891417033.
  1. The 1st Marine Division reported 604 killed, 114 dead of wounds, 192 missing, 3,485 wounded and 7,338 non-battle casualties. However, US X Corps disputed the number by only recording 393 killed, 2,152 wounded and 76 missing for the 1st Marine Division. This number is calculated by inserting the 1st Marine Division's casualty data into the X Corps' total casualty report. See Appleman 1990, pp. 345–347 and Montross & Canzona 1992, pp. 381–382.
  2. This number is the total number of replacements requested by the 9th Army to reconstitute itself, which includes units that were not involved the fighting. See Roe 2000, p. 394.