Attack at Chosin
The Chinese Second Offensive in Korea
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
280 Pages | 6 x 9 | 9 b&w illus., 7 maps, 2 charts
For members of the U.S. Army’s “Task Force Faith” and the First Marine Division, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir is an epic story of survival, courage, and ingenuity. Their exploits are well known—woven into the storied histories of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Now, for the first time, Attack at Chosin recounts this battle from the Chinese perspective, describing the advance that forced General MacArthur to reorient his strategy, which not only marked a turning point in the Korean War but impacted events in Asia in ways that still resonate today.
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, as the Chinese commanders foretold, determined the fate and length of the Korean War. Author Xiaobing Li describes the fighting that began on November 27, 1950, when 150,000 soldiers from the Chinese Ninth Army Group attacked the First Marines and elements of the 7th Infantry Division in the remote mountains of North Korea. It was a calculated attempt to repel MacArthur’s “home-by-Christmas” offensive and to deter UN forces from further advances toward the Chinese border. The fierce fighting that followed, combined with the bitter cold, made Chosin one of the deadliest battles of the war. By December 17, after suffering more than 40,000 casualties and failing to achieve their campaign objectives to destroy the American divisions, the Ninth Army Group was forced to withdraw. One day later, on December 18, 1950, the remaining survivors were recalled to China.
As the first book to explore the role of command and control, technology, and combat effectiveness from the point of view of the Chinese, and to examine cooperation and friction between Beijing and Pyongyang, Attack at Chosin sheds new light on the ultimate military success of the UN forces during the Korean conflict. Li also provides invaluable insights into Chinese military doctrine, strategy, and tactics that continue to influence foreign policy and American military institutions today.
“It is the most legendary clash of the Korean War, and yet the voluminous literature on the Battle of Chosin Reservoir has proven woefully deficient in describing the Chinese version of the story—until now. In Attack at Chosin, Xiaobing Li offers us the first glimpse of how the Chinese thought and fought, how they organized themselves, and how they survived that insufferable cold in those terrible mountains of North Korea.”—Hampton Sides, author of On Desperate Ground: The Epic Story of Chosin Reservoir—The Greatest Battle of the Korean War
“Writings on Chosin have created history, memory, legend, and lore drawn from American frames of reference. Xiaobing Li corrects this one-sided story by presenting Chinese perspectives in his groundbreaking book, Attack at Chosin. This is a must-read for Korean War historians and for anyone wanting to better understand Chinese warmaking.”
—David J. Ulbrich, coauthor of Ways of War: American Military History from the Colonial Era to the Twenty-First Century
“Attack at Chosin: The Chinese Second Offensive in Korea builds on the work of other historians, and it presents new information about the Korean War. Using Chinese sources, Li provides a glimpse of the Chinese perspective of the campaign and the conflict. Li’s book should have a place in the Korean War historiography.”— U.S. Military History Review