Episode 9 — October 31, 2015

Episode 9

America goes to war

The United Nations votes to use force to defend South Korea.  President Truman commits American military forces to South Korea.  The United States Air force in action over South Korea.  General Mac Arthur visits South Korea.  A biography of Harry Truman.

Harry S Truman
Harry S Truman

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Episode 8 — October 24, 2015

Episode 8

The Fall of Seoul

The South Korean Government to defend Seoul.  The premature destruction of the bridges over the Ham River trapping part of the South Korean Army on the North Bank.  The North Koreans captured Seoul.  A biography of Kim Chaek, the deputy leader of North Korea.

Kim Chaek
Kim Chaek

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Two famous actors who fought in the Korean War — October 20, 2015

Two famous actors who fought in the Korean War

James Garner

James Garner served with the American Army for 14 months during the Korean War.  He was wounded twice during the war and was awarded the Purple Heart.  He went on to star in the hit television serial the Maverick and the Rockford Files as well as films such as the Great Escape and Space Cowboys.


Michael Caine

He served in the British Army during the Korean War, one of his first film roles was in A Hill in Korea about a British Army patrol.  He went on to star in films such as Zulu, Get Carter, Educating Rita and Cider House Rules.  He said of an incident during the Korean War when he though he was about to die ‘for the rest of my life, I have lived every bloody moment from the moment I wake up until the time I go to sleep’.


My convention on naming of military units —

My convention on naming of military units

That the podcast is clear to people with varying decrees of knowledge of military term, I have tried to keep the naming of military units simply, which may not please the purist.

If the unit is of the same nationally as the previous unit mentioned or the context making it clear which army I am referring to then I omit the nationally.

As the great majority of units listed are infantry units, I omit the word infantry but if they are of any other kind of type of unit then I refer to them as artillery or tank or engineer or marine etc.

If I did not then a phase such as ‘The 13th and 14th regiments of the 6th Division’ would have to read ‘the 13th North Korean infantry regiment and the 14th North Korean infantry regiment of the 6th North Korean infantry Division’.  You would quick tire of me repeating the words ‘Korean infantry’, 40 times in an episode.

As to the American 5th Regiment it was officially called the 5th Regiment Combat Team as it had its own organic Artillery battalion.   Instead I refer to the 5th Regiment with the support of the 555th Field Artillery Battalion, I do so because at the battle of the bloody glutch in August and at other times the two units were widely separated which had unfortunate results for the artillery battalion and also I do have not to confuse people with yet another military term.

Book Selection — October 18, 2015

Book Selection

Korean War by Max Hastings

Written in the mid eighties, Max Hastings was able to draw upon interviews from veterans of the war including Chinese veterans.  Given that the book covers the whole of the Korean War it can not cover the opening stage of the Korean War in great detail but if you wish to gain a good overview of the Korean War as a whole, then as usual Max Hastings as in his many other books on military history tells the story well.

It is published by Pan books.  The ISBN number is 9780671528232


Episode 7 — October 17, 2015

Episode 7

Invasion part two

The attack of the North Korean Second Corp in central and eastern Korea.  The reaction of the American Government to the North Korean invasion.  The United Nations Security Council meets to discuss the invasion.  A biography of John Chang the South Korean ambassador to the United States.

John Chang
John Chang

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Korean War films — October 11, 2015

Korean War films

The Bridges of Toko-Ri (1954) – My favourite starting William Holden and Grace Kelly.  The film is about Naval pilots who attack an enemy held bridge at Toko-Ri.  Grace Kelly is the wife of one of them.

Pork Chop Hill (1959) – Starting Gregory Peck leading his men in defence of the hill during the battle of that name in 1953.

The Steel Helmet (1951) – Directed by Samuel Fuller, about a group of men who survive a North Korean massacre of American prisoners, as they try to get back to the American lines.

A Hill in Korea (1956) – A British film with Michael Caine in his first film role.  The film is about a British Army patrol during the Korean War.

M.A.S.H. (1970) – Directed by Robert Altman.  It is a dark comedy about an American Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War.  It was later turned into a television series.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Starting Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey.  It is about a group of American troops brainwashed by the Chinese, one of whom becomes a Communist assassin.

Taegukji (2004) meaning Brotherhood of War.  It is a South Korean film about two brothers conscripted into the South Korean Army in 1950 and their fight to survive.

Crevecoeur (1955) – A French film in which many of the roles in the film are played by men of the French battalion that served in the Korean War.

Do you have any favourite Korean War Film, please leave a comment.


Book Selection —

Book Selection

The Korean Volume One by the Korean Institute of Military History is another fine book on the first six months of the war.  It largely follows Roy Appleman’s Book in regard to the battles fought by the American Army but it adds much more details to battles fought by the South Korean Army giving a more balanced approach to contribution given by each army.

The English version is published by the University of Nebraska.  The ISBN is 0-8032-7794-6.

volume 1

Episode 6 — October 10, 2015
Book Selections — October 8, 2015

Book Selections

In the first of a number of book selections made to help those of you who wish to read more about the Korean War.

South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu by Roy Appleman.

This is the best book in dealing with the battles fought by the American Army in Korea between July and November 1950.  Written in the years after the Korean War he was able to speak to many involved in fighting and planning those battle.  It is available free on online.  If wish to buy the book then it is published by the Centre of Military History, United States Army.  The ISBN 0-16-035958-9.