In this battle between Iron Man and iron and steel armed forces, the volunteer army set a record of annihilating a whole regiment of the US Army, forcing the 1st US Army division to experience the longest retreat in history, and recover the vast eastern area north of the 38th line. As for the battle, Dr. Robert ONeill, a strategist at Oxford University in England, commented that China had leapt from their victory to a world power that could no longer be despised. If the Chinese did not hold a firm grip on the Qing Chang battlefield in November 1950, the course of world history after that would have been different.
The captured polar bear regiment flag is now in the military museum.
U.S. Army division 1 in retreat. Photo by Duncan
The volunteers marched in the snow and ice weather and rushed to the battlefield to intercept the enemy.
Soldiers who jumped out of the trenches after the battle began.
ambush on all sides
November 23, 1950, on the Bank of Changjin lake, North Korea.
The U.S. 1st Marine Division, which is advancing toward the Yalu River, camped in the high mountains to celebrate the traditional Western Thanksgiving. On that day, the soldiers food was very rich, including not only roast turkey, but also French fries, beef pie, salad, fruit, cake, and even a few glasses of wine.
Although American soldiers constantly complain that the weather in North Korea is getting colder and colder, with the promise of commander-in-chief MacArthur, I promise you will be able to have Christmas dinner with your family. The morale seems to be high.
Since the U.S. Marines ventured to land in Incheon in September 1950, the U.S. - led United Nations forces have been on the Korean battlefield with overwhelming momentum. The proud commander of the United Nations forces, MacArthur, has threatened to end the Korean War and drink the Yalu River before Christmas in 1950.
Because he was too conceited, he also made known to the world the Vice strategy, which should have been kept secret: the 10th US army landed in Xingnan, went north from the east line, took the Jiangjie (the temporary location of the Korean government), and then joined up with the 8th group army in the western line to close the peninsula.
If the 10th army of the United States is successful, the 13th corps of the volunteer army, which has secretly entered the DPRK, will be cut off. Fortunately, for MacArthurs east front offensive, Peng Dehuai had some information.
In a telegram to the Central Military Commission on November 4, he pointed out: the strength of our army has not been fully exposed, and the US puppet army may reorganize its counter offensive. If the enemy advances again, he should fight and retreat, let him go deep, and then annihilate him.
Mao Zedong in Beijing called back and called for the 9th Regiment under the command of song Shilun to enter the DPRK. It was fully responsible for the battle on the eastern front. It took the policy of luring the enemy in depth and seeking opportunities to annihilate the enemy in Changjin Lake area.
In order to confuse MacArthur, the main force of the 42nd army of the volunteer army was ordered to give up the position south of Changjin lake on November 7. The press release issued by Xinhua news agency also intentionally greatly reduced the results of the battle. As expected by Peng Dehuai, MacArthur arrogantly believed that the Chinese army was afraid of war and only a symbolic attack, and repeatedly asked the 10th US Army to speed up its advance.
As the vanguard of the 10th army, the 1st division of the army has never suffered defeat even in the face of the most elite Japanese army after the purgatory battle of Guadao and Okinawa since its establishment in 1941. The 25000 men, with a full crew, are one of the strongest fighting forces in the U.S. Army, and can be called the trump card in the trump card.
During the March, although there were intelligence reports that at least two units above the Chinese military level were going to attack the No.1 division of the US Army and cut off the supply routes of the troops, the division commander Oliver Smith was only slightly disturbed. In his eyes, the encirclement and annihilation of the 1st Marine Division was a big joke.
The art of war is as follows: ten are encircled, five attacked, and twice fought. Although Smith did not understand the art of war of China, he estimated that China needed at least 100000 troops to encircle the 1st land division. Under absolute air supremacy, not to mention 100000 troops, even 100000 rabbits, could not escape the low altitude reconnaissance of the US Army.
On November 26, at liutanli position, Smith looked Northwest with a telescope. The shortest straight-line distance from Yalu River was less than 100 kilometers. It seems that we can go home early for Christmas.
However, in the vast snowfield he looked at, there were nearly 150000 people in the 20th, 26th and 27th armies under the jurisdiction of the 9th Corps. Their hunting targets were precisely this elite division.
Song Shilun, commander of the 9th corps, is a fifth Cadet of Huangpu Military Academy. He likes to eat hot pepper, drink strong liquor, and has a hot temper. He dares to fight the founding general in any tough battle.
The army he brought to Korea was the East China Field Army, which once annihilated the 74th division of the Kuomintang army in the battle of Menglianggu, and made Du Yumings army a turtle in a jar in the Huaihai Campaign. After that, he liberated Shanghai and became the sentinel under the neon light praised by the Chinese people.
The 9th Corps was originally working hard in the southeast coastal areas, ready to recover Taiwan at any time. However, the time for encircling and annihilating the US Army has already begun. Soldiers of the 20th and 27th armies have directly left for the border from East China and entered the DPRK on November 5.
Although the logistics department has prepared heavy cotton padded clothes for the 9th Corps in Shenyang, the battlefield is changing rapidly, and the speed of us mechanized forces is faster than everyone expected. In order to catch up with the US Army in ambush in Changjin lake, when the train of the 20th army drove into Shanhaiguan, senior staff officers from the General Staff Headquarters stopped the train and read out the order of the Central Military Commission to enter the DPRK urgently. More than a dozen trains stopped in Shenyang for only a moment, then continued to rush in.
When he passed the border, he Jinnian, then deputy commander of the Northeast military region, stamped his feet in a hurry when he saw the thin cotton padded clothes on the soldiers. He said, youll pass by like this, dont mention fighting. The cold can freeze you to death.. Time is too tight, cadres and soldiers in the Northeast take off their cotton padded trousers and throw them on the bus at the station, but this is just a drop in the bucket.
In addition to the last batch of the 26th army to change into some winter clothes, most of the soldiers of the 9th corps were given cotton padded clothes and cotton trousers, but most of them wore thin cotton padded clothes, big caps that could not resist the wind and cold, and thin rubber soled shoes, and entered the North Korea where the north wind was howling.
In the first week of entering Korea, they encountered the cold current which is not seen in 50 years in North Korea. Those soldiers who have just come from the south, when they see snow for the first time, immediately feel the coldness of minus 20 u2103.
Different from the fact that every soldier in the US Army has a coat and a duck down sleeping bag, each class of the 9th Corps has more than a dozen soldiers and can only get two or three quilts. At night, the soldiers spread the quilts on the snow, and then a dozen people gathered to warm themselves. Liu Boqing, an old volunteer soldier, recalled: how cold is it? You cant believe it. Some soldiers ears are frozen hard. They fall off when they touch it. They dont feel at all!
Xuehan mountain, barren mountain, dead Eagle mountain and Jianshan mountain, the army of the 9 Corps trudged on the mountains with cold names one after another. With almost no supplies and strict camouflage, they created a speed of 10 days continuous March and an average daily march of 30 km. On the 26th, they had gathered quietly under Smiths eyes.
Logs are moving
On November 27, the snow was falling and the temperature dropped to - 30 u2103. At dusk, the volunteers launched a general attack on the US troops in Changjin lake. The surviving US troops recalled that terrible night:
The shrill sound of the bugle suddenly sounded, and all of a sudden, the signal bombs were launched all over the sky, accompanied by the rustling sound coming from all directions (later they learned that it was the sound of the rubber shoes of the volunteers stepping on the snow), countless soldiers in white cloth roared at themselves.
The plain in front of them was originally covered with snow. When the bugle sounded, the soldiers jumped out of their hiding places. Their legs were too cold to bend. They ran like logs moving. American tanks, artillery and machine guns all fired at them. They fell down like logs, and the others came up in rows like logs.
U.S. military historian monteroth later wrote: the Marines tanks, artillery, mortars and machine guns have shown their talents, but the Chinese still come from the source, and the Marine Corps is awed by their spirit of treating death as if they were returning home.
After a bloody nights battle, Smith was shocked to find that 100000 soldiers from the sky had divided the US Army from north to South on a 40 mile long mountain road, forming a situation of partition, encirclement and annihilation.
However, the volunteers are easy to encircle, but difficult to annihilate. The encircled US Army immediately used more than 200 tanks to form a circular defense line in the three encircled areas. Due to the lack of heavy weapons, the volunteers could only use rifles and machine guns to attack the enemys iron barrel array, and the sacrifice they paid was unimaginable.
The night of Changjin lake belongs to the volunteer army and the daytime belongs to the US Army.
During the day, relying on 500 carrier based aircraft on seven aircraft carriers, the U.S. military carried out indiscriminate bombardment on the volunteer forces. At night, the volunteers took advantage of the night to counter attack and recapture the highlands and positions lost during the day. Both sides have lost and recovered, and gained and lost.
Falling into a seesaw battle would have been disadvantageous for the volunteers, who had little supply. Through the capture of US troops, the volunteers also learned a disturbing news that the total strength of the US troops in Changjin Lake reached more than 30000, which was 3 to 4 times more than the previous intelligence.
Although nearly 10000 casualties were lost in one nights battle, song Shilun knew that if the U.S. Army broke out of the siege from the north, it would threaten the Western Front troops of the volunteer army and lead to overall passivity. He gritted his teeth and decided to keep fighting! To accomplish the strategic task at all costs.
It is impossible to annihilate the enemy at one stroke. It is better to fight one by one than to fight together. Who are you going to hit first? Desperate for victory, the volunteers chose the 7th Division of the United States to reinforce the 1st Marine Division on the East Bank of the lake.
On the evening of November 30, the 27th army launched a fierce attack on Xinxing Lane on the East Bank of the lake. Regardless of casualties, it broke through the artillery and tank positions and launched street battles with the US Army.
Without artillery support, the U.S. military is no match for the volunteers. The soldiers did not know when they attacked a barracks command post. It was the 31st regiment of the 7th Division that they destroyed. The regiment was awarded the title of polar bear regiment by the 28th president of the United States, Wilson, because of its outstanding achievements. In this battle, the so-called invincible polar bear regiment was annihilated and its flag was captured. This is the only time that the volunteer army has established a full annihilation regiment level U.S. Army in the Korean battlefield.
On the next day of the regiment extermination, the commander of the 10th US Army, Armand, flew to xiajieyu, the southernmost part of the Lake District, and convened a meeting of senior officers of the 1st division of land operations, including Smith, to convey MacArthurs new order: the US troops on the Eastern front should withdraw all at once. In an interview with American media, Smith left the famous saying: Damn it! Were not retreating! We are attacking in a different direction
In Washington, senior U.S. officials read MacArthurs report in an increasingly heavy atmosphere: the 10th army on the eastern front is retreating to Xingnan area as soon as possible; and the 8th group army on the western front is in an increasingly dangerous situation. Secretary of state Acheson suddenly turned the discussion to the key question: is the military situation where we need to seek a cease-fire?
Iron foot wheel
In the face of the withdrawal of the U.S. Army to the south, the volunteers began a hard war of resistance. The road from liutanli to xiajieyuli became the Shura for the Chinese and American armies to hang and kill.
It took the US military three days to complete the 22 km, killing more than 1500 people. On the most intense day of the battle, the U.S. army retreated only 500 meters a day.
Under such bad conditions, the morale of the US military is extremely low. During the intermission of the battle, a US military reporter asked a marine who was digging broad beans from a frozen can with a bayonet
If God can meet one of your demands, what do you need the most?
The soldier did not look up and replied, give me tomorrow.
In fact, this battle is purgatory for both sides. Many volunteers are extremely hungry, tired and numb by freezing, still dragging their frozen legs to pursue the mechanized U.S. Army.
Xiajieyuli is the site of the U.S. military division headquarters. It is located in the center of the Y shaped road. There is also a temporary airstrip. If it is attacked by the volunteer army, the rear road and supplies of the 1st land division will be completely cut off.
In order to avoid the U.S. Armys flight, the 20th army launched a large-scale attack on xiajieyuli as early as November 28. However, the ring defense works here were extremely solid. After a fierce battle for a night, they only seized the highlands to the east of xiajieyuli.
This highland overlooks any corner of the defensive position in xiajieyuli, so the US army organized a large number of soldiers to counter attack at daybreak.
Guarding this highland is a platoon of the 58th division, and Yang Gensi, the combat hero and company commander of the 20th army, is personally leading the team.
After the end of artillery fire and aerial bombardment, the US military began to charge towards the highlands. Miraculously, on the high ground where life is impossible to exist, a line of trembling and staggering Chinese soldiers stood up. They lifted the grenades that had been pulled out and dropped them down the mountain like raindrops.
All eight American charges were repulsed, and on the Highlands, only Yang Gensi, a platoon leader and a wounded soldier were left. Yanggensi ordered the platoon leader and the wounded to withdraw from the highland with the only heavy machine gun, while he carried the explosive bag. When more than 40 U.S. troops rushed up, Yang Gensi suddenly stood up from the corpse pile, lit the fuse and rushed to the soldiers holding the Marine Corps flag.
Ice sculpture company at shuimen bridge head
However, the total number of volunteers of the U.S. Army was as high as 14000 vehicles. In the Song Dynasty, Shilun had to make the old magic weapon of eight roads Unearthed: Broken Bridge and broken road.
The last hurdle on the U.S. Armys South escape road is the Watergate bridge, which spans 8.8 meters and has cliffs at both ends. There is no detour around it. After the shuimen bridge and further south is the endless plain. At that time, the iron foot of the volunteer army will no longer be able to catch up with the wheels of the US Army.
The U.S. military is well aware of the importance of Watergate bridge, and has sent a tank battalion with 40 tanks in line to guard the bridge.
On December 1, volunteers launched a surprise attack and destroyed the Watergate bridge, but the next day, American engineers completed the repair with a wooden bridge.
On December 4, the volunteers attacked again, blowing up the Watergate bridge for the second time. The U.S. military has built a steel bridge at the root of the remaining bridge.
On the evening of December 6, the 172 regiment of the 58th division organized two platoons of death squads to launch the third bombing of the Watergate bridge. This time, the soldiers broke through the US artillery fire with their flesh and blood, destroying the steel bridge and the base of the root. According to the experience of the civil war, the 1st division of the land war did not run.
However, the US logistics deployed overnight, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in Japan has made 8 M2 steel and wood standard bridges, and air dropped to the water gate bridge thousands of miles away by using 8 C-119 transport planes through giant parachutes. In less than two days, a bridge with a capacity of 50 tons and can pass through the tank is set up again.
On the evening of December 8, the 1st Marine Division, which had lost more than 10000 people, passed through shuimen bridge and fled to Xingnan port in a hurry. Fortunately, the Chinese did not have enough logistic support and communication equipment, otherwise the 1st division would never have escaped from Changjin Lake The 1st Marine Division was just a fluke.
For this reason, the commander of the Zhishu regiment, who was also the commander of the Chaofei regiment, was responsible for the shooting of the commander of the Chaofei regiment. The head of the regiment told him that it was not too late to take a look at the position and then shoot him.
When he came to the position overlooking the shuimen bridge, Huang Chaotian saw the soldiers one by one in the snow pits, their guns all facing the road, and no one retreated. When commander Huang approached the soldiers, they were still and frozen into ice sculptures. Two companies hundreds of soldiers crouched in the ice and snow, but could not wait for the moment to charge the enemy. Seeing this, Mr. Huang burst into tears.
In the thin clothes of song Amao, a soldier of Shanghai nationality, his comrades in arms found a thin note:
I love my family and motherland / love my honor more / I am a glorious volunteer soldier / ice and snow! I will never give in to you / even if it is frozen to death, I will stand proud / stand in my position!
On December 17, Mao Zedong sent a telegram: under extremely difficult conditions, the 9th Corps has completed a huge strategic task in this battle on the eastern front. Due to the cold climate, lack of supplies and fierce fighting, more than 40000 people were reduced. The Central Committee is very nostalgic for this...
In September 1952, the 9th Corps returned from Korea and traveled to the Yalu River. Song Shilun, commander of the regiment, stood in silence for a long time facing the direction of Changjin lake. Then he took off his hat and bowed, unable to hold himself.
The sacrifice of Changjin lake is tragic and meaningful. The battle broke the myth that the US Army was invincible. Time magazine commented that the campaign was the biggest defeat ever for the United States. Newsweek commented: perhaps this is the most painful military defeat in American history since the Pearl Harbor incident.
After the battle, the United Nations army was withdrawn to the south of the 38th parallel. No one in the world thought that such a peasant army could be ignored.
After the war, it was known that this year was the coldest winter on record in North Korea. On the night when soldiers ambushed at shuimen bridge, the temperature was as low as - 54 u2103; after the war, it was also known that the firepower of the two belligerents was extremely different
A US Army division has 432 howitzers and cannons, while a division of our army has only 12 mountain guns; a division of the United States has 1600 radio stations, while our army only has dozens of radio stations; a US Army has 7000 cars, while the 27th army has only 45 cars when it enters the DPRK. The U.S. military is still afraid of the grenades of the volunteers. In fact, the grenades are the only heavy weapons for many volunteers. The cold shrinks the barrel and 70% of the shells fail to fire.
To win a war under such a gap, it is difficult to find similar examples in the world. When summing up the bloody battle in Changjin lake, there is a saying that Qiduo defeated gangduo. What does it mean? Qi of Qiduo is the spirit of Chinese soldiers! The steel of gangduo refers to the steel weapons and equipment of the US Army.