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Brave men from a bygone age....,
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This review is from: To The Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951 (Kindle Edition)
To the last round
This book is a great read about the last stand of the Glorious Gloucester's in the Korean War. At the same time the book also gives you a brief but detailed insight into the turbulent history of both North & South Korea and the Korean conflict itself.
More than anything however the book portrays the last stand of the Gloucester regiment as each company was cut off, isolated and overrun by hordes of Chinese soldiers. The ensuing tales of bravery during the subsequent combat and later during captivity is the stuff of legends and has long passed into British military folklore. At the same time the book pays tribute to the other British units (and a Belgium regiment) that were also present. It also pays suitable homage to the valiant performance of the attacking Chinese troops.
The book is very descriptive giving full vivid accounts of the ferocious combat that took place. These accounts seem to be from a bygone age with their massed infantry attacks. The ensuing individual tales of bravery, survival, captivity and the overall descriptive value of the book make it compelling reading. The tales during captivity and the 'closure' of the stories are also captivating.
Other reflections? Well a bit too scathing of American performance at times. On occasions this might be correct but at other times I think it was unwarranted. I think this is a habit we quite often lapse into in the UK.
Another glorious defeat maybe? I do question the sensibility of holding isolated hilltop positions in company units against hordes of attacking troops. In my view there are three reasons that make such a deployment in this instance rather rash:
1. Being issued with a bolt action personal weapon with your unit weapon in general being a 30 round magazine fed machine highlights a lack of obvious firepower against large scale enemy infantry attacks.
2. The positions were not mutually supportive due to distance and terrain. Therefore they were vulnerable to being isolated and being destroyed.
3. Resupply is always going to be an issue in such instances.
I am of the opinion the deployment was fatally flawed from the onset. Especially knowing that you were facing an enemy that were being counted in their tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands. Far to little firepower if you ask me, even if you do have effective artillery support.
However, this is a great read about brave men battling against extreme odds and it is really well written. If you want a great story couple with carnage and destruction...this is the book for you!