China’s intervention into the Korean War
completely changed the strategic situation. Prior to China’s involvement, the UN coalition
had all the momentum, and it seemed that they would be able to assert control over the whole
territory of Korea. The final stage of the Korean war was about to begin. If you are
interested in the history of this era, don’t forget to check out our second channel – The
Cold War – the link is in the top right corner. Shoutout to the sponsor of this video – War
Thunder! This Free-to-play online military vehicle combat game is available on PC, PS4
and Xbox, and in cross-play between the platforms with no purchase necessary – just download
and play! War Thunder has an unrivaled arsenal of more than 1200 historically accurate tanks,
planes, helicopters and ships from the 1930s to the 1990s, playable across 80 major battlefields
of World War II and the Cold War. Great graphics, music, sound effects and realistic physics
and damage models fully immerse more than 20 million players worldwide into the massive
battles. Three different modes allows everyone to select the level of realism suitable for
them. The developers are very active and constantly provide free major updates to the game and
add new features, vehicles, and maps! So what are you waiting for? Play War Thunder is FREE
on PS, Playstation 4 and Xbox One! Support our channel and get a premium aircraft, tank
or ship, and a three day account upgrade as a BONUS by pressing the link in the description! Chinese success prompted its leadership to
continue its advance. Mao Zedong was warned about the difficulties in this, especially
regarding logistics and the overstretching of their supply line. Still, Mao ordered to
continue the advance of the army, with an aim to destroy the ROK forces along the 38th
parallel, given that the US units were not interspersed between the ROK formations, and
therefore were unable to support them. The Third Phase Offensive of the Chinese Army
was scheduled to be launched on the 31st of December 1950, in the hopes that the Americans
would be caught off guard due to the holiday. The UN Forces had their own troubles; the
ROK forces now mainly consisted of new recruits due to previous casualties, while the US 8th
Army was suffering from low morale following the losses in the Second Phase Offensive,
and were expecting to be evacuated from Korea. General Ridgway was appointed as the new commander
of the 8th Army. On the evening of December 31st, 1950, the
PVA 13th Army launched a massive attack against the ROK forces along the 38th Parallel. Simultaneously,
the ROK’s 1st infantry division, which was defending on the southern bank of the Imjin
River, was defeated by elements of the PVA 38th and 39th Corps. With the ROK 6th infantry
division also retreating, the UN defenses at the Imjin River and the Hantan River had
completely collapsed, with the PVA advancing 14 km into UN-controlled territory. Actions
at Kapyong and Chuncheon also resulted in a serious defeat for UN forces, and inflicted
severe casualties on ROK infantry divisions 2 and 5.
With the UN defense line collapsing, General Ridgway ordered the evacuation of Seoul on
January 3rd 1951, due to the of the US 8th Army being encircled. Chinese commander Peng
ordered the PVA 13th Army to pursue the retreating UN forces by attacking towards Seoul. Following
the fighting around Seoul on January 4th, the KPA I Corps, the PVA 38th Corps, and the
PVA 50th Corps entered the city. On January 5th, Gimpo and Incheon were also captured.
By January 7th Peng had halted the Third Offensive phase due to overstretching of supply lines
and the exhaustion of the Chinese and North Korean troops. Another successful Chinese
offensive had sunk the morale of the UN troops even further. The leadership was even contemplating
withdrawing from Korea due to the dire situation. But the work of General Ridgway to restore
morale, and the Chinese rejection of a ceasefire proposed by the US, kept such intentions at
bay. Mao instructed Peng to conduct a “last battle”
to decide the fate of Korea, while the UN Commander, General Macarthur, went as far
as to call for a nuclear strike on Chinese forces. But General Ridgway was able to stabilise
the UN forces without such drastic measures along a line with Suwon in the west, Wonju
in the center, and the territory north of Samcheok in the east. General Ridgway was
aware of the logistical difficulties hampering the Chinese, and launched Operation Thunderbolt
in late January 1951. Previous air and ground reconnaissance did
not present conclusive information on the enemy forces and their movement, therefore
on the 25th of January Ridgway ordered a reconnaissance-in-force. Elements of the I and IX Corps started an
advance towards the Han River. Since the advance was supposed to be coordinated in the initial
phase of the operation, the gains were small, and met a background of light resistance by
the Chinese and KPA. On the 30th of January this operation turned into a full-fledged
offensive. Aided by their air superiority, the UN Forces were able to complete their
objective of reaching the Han River and taking back Wonju.
With momentum back on the side of the UN forces, the ROK 11th division engaged in the killing
of communist sympathizers and guerillas, with up to 1500 casualties registered in Geochang,
Sancheong, and Hamyang. In order to regain lost territories and momentum, the Chinese
military leadership ordered the Fourth Phase Offensive with an attack on Hoengsong. The
offensive started with the Chinese 66th Army moving against the ROK 8th infantry division
on February 11th. The ROK were defeated, and then the 66th army’s 197th division marched
south to engage the ROK 3rd division, where they were able to push it Northeast of Hoengsong.
Despite the support of American and Dutch units, the PVA and KPA were able to defeat
the UN Forces in the battle of Hoengsong, while inflicting 12k casualties and numerous
equipment and vehicle losses. The next target of the Chinese forces was
Chipyong-ni, where the Chinese sent the entirety of the 39th Army, and divisions of the 40th
and 42nd armies, totaling 20-25 thousand men. They aimed to encircle and destroy Chipyong-ni,
fighting against 3 infantry divisions of Americans and French, along with other smaller units
totaling 4500 men. After a fierce battle that went on for almost two days, the Americans
and French were able to withstand fierce Chinese attacks from a number of directions with the
aid of the air superiority the UN forces enjoyed. The Chinese withdrew after losing almost 1000
men. This was a huge morale boost to the UN forces, as despite their numerical disadvantage
they were able to halt Chinese progress and put an end to the Fourth Offensive Phase.
Unlike the previous offensives, the Fourth did not succeed.
This UN victory was followed by Operation Killer. This was a full-frontal attack by
the US 8th Army, which led to the occupation of the south side of the Han River and Hoengsong.
On the 14th of March 1951, the 8th army retook Seoul, which was the 4th and final change
of the hands for Seoul during the war. All in all, the UN forces were able to advance
North of the 38th parallel, and stood on the so-called Kansas line.
Aware of the Chinese army’s difficulties, Mao appealed to Stalin for help to address
the air superiority of the UN. Stalin was impressed with the Chinese effort in the war
and decided to help with two air force divisions, three anti-aircraft divisions, and six thousand
trucks. The Chinese were suffering from a shortage of ammunition and supplies, along
with losing 53k men between January and April of 1951.
In April President Truman dismissed General Macarthur as Supreme Commander. There was
a disagreement between the two, since Truman believed that the US forces should not intend
to occupy North Korea given the circumstances and balance of powers, whereas Macarthur aimed
for total victory, for which moving the war into China was the only possible outcome.
This could have led to a direct conflict with the Soviet Union, which the Americans wanted
to avoid. Moreover, Macarthur believed that the US should use a nuclear bomb against the
Chinese, and thought that it was up to him to make this decision, while for obvious reasons
Truman vehemently disagreed. General Ridgway, whose appointment as the 8th Army commander
had brought success, was promoted to supreme commander to replace Macarthur.
With an aim to drive the UN forces out of Korea once and for all, the Chinese launched
the Fifth Phase Offensive with 700k men on April 22nd. Despite the fact that the Chinese
and KPA forced the UN army to fall back following the fierce battles of the Imjin River and
Kapyong, the UN withdrawal to the defensive line North of Seoul was orderly. In the Battle
of Soyang River, again after initial success, the Chinese advance was halted on May 20th.
Chinese casualties were between 102k and 160k men, against up to 16k losses for the UN.
The Fifth offensive was far from reaching its aim – that being the final defeat of the
UN Forces – and instead put them in a vulnerable and weakened position. The UN used this chance
to attack, push the Chinese back beyond the 38th parallel, and solidify their defensive
positions. It was becoming increasingly clear for both
sides that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to gain an all-out victory
in this conflict. From July 1951 to July 1953 there was a stalemate along the 38th parallel.
Both sides were fighting and exchanging artillery fire with each other, but there was no significant
exchange of territories. The armistice talks began in July 1951, but it did not prevent
major battles happening until the signing of the ceasefire.
Finally, on the 27th of July 1953 a ceasefire agreement was signed in Panmunjom between
the United Nations Command on one side, and North Korea and China on the other side, which
decided on cessation of all hostilities, establishment of the 38th parallel as the de facto border
between the two Koreas, and the establishment of the demilitarized zone, usually referred
to as ‘the DMZ’, along the 38th parallel. The South Korean leaders refused to sign the
agreement. Overall the UN forces had suffered up to 200k
losses, against 550k-750k losses suffered by the North Koreans and the Chinese. The
Korean Civil War was the first major conflict after the Second World War which directly
involved Great Powers, but it would not be the last… War Thunder has an unrivaled arsenal of more
than 1200 historically accurate tanks, planes, helicopters and ships from the 1930s to the
1990s, playable across 80 major battlefields of World War II and the Cold War. Support
our channel and get a premium aircraft, tank or ship and a three day account upgrade as
a BONUS by pressing the link in the description! If you like the history of this era, check
out our second channel The Cold War – the link is in the description or in the top right
corner, so make sure you are subscribed to both. We would like to express our gratitude
to our Patreon supporters and channel members, who make the creation of our videos possible.
Now, you can also support us by buying our merchandise via the link in the description.
This is the Kings and Generals channel, and we will catch you on the next one.