Leadership in the Crucible: The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni

Overview

At the pivotal battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni in February 1951, U.N. forces met and contained large-scale attacks by Chinese forces. Colonel Paul Freeman and the larger-than-life Colonel Ralph Monclar led the American 23rd Infantry Regiment and the French Bataillon de Corée, respectively, in the fierce and dangerous battles that followed the precipitous U.N. retreat down the Korean Peninsula.

In Leadership in the Crucible, Kenneth Hamburger details the actions of the ...

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Overview

At the pivotal battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni in February 1951, U.N. forces met and contained large-scale attacks by Chinese forces. Colonel Paul Freeman and the larger-than-life Colonel Ralph Monclar led the American 23rd Infantry Regiment and the French Bataillon de Corée, respectively, in the fierce and dangerous battles that followed the precipitous U.N. retreat down the Korean Peninsula.

In Leadership in the Crucible, Kenneth Hamburger details the actions of the units in the United Nations counteroffensive following the Chinese intervention, including routine patrols, the harrowing battle of Twin Tunnels, and the pivotal siege of Chipyong-ni. The regiment was cut off from artillery fire support and was resupplied only by parachute drops. Repeatedly attacked by superior Chinese forces during the two nights and final day of fighting, the U.N. units finally welcomed relief by the armored Tank Force Crombez of the 1st Cavalry Division.

From extensive personal interviews and a careful reconstruction of the written record, Hamburger brilliantly analyzes the roles that training, cohesion, morale, logistics, and leadership play in success or failure on the front lines of limited war. He also addresses the vexing problem of when, and at what level, commanders have the right and even the responsibility to question lawful orders they believe are flawed.

In this careful consideration of combat leadership at all levels, Hamburger offers his readers stories of men sustaining themselves and one another to the limits of human endurance. By thoroughly sorting out the chaos, carnage, and courage of the battles, he provides a uniquely detailed description of these two crucial battles and a well-organized discussion of unit cohesion and command that is sure to become a classic in the field of leadership studies.

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Editorial Reviews

James I. Matray
"Kenneth E. Hamburger’s Leadership in the Crucible: The Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni is a most welcome addition to the literature on the Korean War. Much more than just a detailed description of the first engagement in which United Nations forces defeated the Chinese People’s Volunteers, this account provides with clarity and succinctness important insights on the qualities necessary for effective battlefield leadership. Relying on numerous oral histories and interviews with veterans, the author’s superb use of anecdotal information makes this study far more entertaining than most military histories. His discussion of the relationship between the Korean War and France’s commitment in Vietnam covers new ground. Leadership in the Crucible also provides powerful illustrations of the extreme hardships of fighting in freezing weather, the contributions of South Korean forces, General Matthews B. Ridgway’s "lure and kill" strategy, problems related to using U.S. Reserve forces, the necessity to integrate Black soldiers into white units, and the vital role of U.S. air power in the Korean War. Hamburger achieves his ambitious objective of making the reader "feel a tingle of exhilaration and a shudder of the despair of the human elements of combat and even to detect a hint of the stench of the battlefield in the descriptions of the participants."—James I. Matray, Professor of History, New Mexico State University
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kenneth Hamburger is a retired U.S. Army Commander. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, continues to teach courses on the Korean War at the American Military University, and leads staff tours of European battlefields for active duty U.S. Army soldiers.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Preface
Introduction 3
1 The 23rd Infantry Regiment and Col. Paul Freeman 13
2 Baptism by Fire on the Naktong River Line 24
3 Disaster in the North 46
4 The French Battalion and Lt. Col. Ralph Monclar 64
5 Matthew Ridgway and a New War 80
6 Wonju and Patrols to Twin Tunnels 88
7 The Battle of Twin Tunnels 105
8 Prelude to Chipyong-ni 126
9 Isolated and Encircled at Chipyong-ni 151
10 Fighting and Surviving on the Second Day 173
11 Task Force Crombez Runs the Gauntlet 192
12 Aftermath and Reflections 218
Notes 231
Suggestions for Further Reading 247
Index 251
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Great reaading for anyone interested in both war adventure and in "no holds barred" analysis of the leadership factors that lost many american lives and nearly lost this key battle of the Korean War. The author names names the bruised ego

    Although Kenneth Hamburger is not the greatest writer he is quite readable. There are some passagess taht require re-reading to understand all the details. The book is lebaraly illustrated with photographs taken just after the battle.

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