The Imjin and Kapyong Battles, Korea, 1951

The Imjin and Kapyong Battles, Korea, 1951

Paul MacKenzie
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/12/2013
ISBN: 978-0-253-00916-6
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The sacrifice of the "Glorious Glosters" in defense of the Imjin River line and the hilltop fights of Australian and Canadian battalions in the Kapyong Valley have achieved greater renown in those nations than any other military action since World War II. This book is the first to compare in depth what happened and why. Using official and unofficial source material ranging from personal interviews to war diaries, this study seeks to disentangle the mythology surrounding both battles and explain why events unfolded as they did. Based on thorough familiarity with all available sources, many not previously utilized, it sheds new light on fighting "the forgotten war."

Author Bio

S. P. MacKenzie is Caroline McKissick Dial Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and author of The Second World War in Europe; Bader’s War; The Battle of Britain on Screen; British War Films, 1939-1945; The Colditz Myth; Revolutionary Armies in the Modern Era; The Home Guard; and Politics and Military Morale.


“Including material from war diaries to personal interviews, this study seeks to disentangle the mythology surrounding these forgotten battles and explain why events unfolded as they did.”

“In Korea, on the night of 22nd April 1951, communist forces unleashed what remains, to this day, their greatest offensive since Zhukov’s storm on Berlin. In the desperate fighting that followed, the key flanks of free world forces were held by one British and one Commonwealth brigade. The former took on a Chinese army; the latter, a Chinese division. Six decades later, an American historian has dismantled the barriers between Australian, British, Canadian, and New Zealand accounts of those whirlwind days to compose the only comparative analysis of the tragedy on the Imjin and the stand at Kapyong. While not neglecting grand strategy, S. P. MacKenzie is at his best at ground zero: his pages capture, for veterans and their descendants, vivid glimpses of the close-range, midnight combat against China's 'human wave' in full flood. I write with admiration for MacKenzie’s research and in agreement with his conclusions.”
 — Andrew Salmon, author of Scorched Earth, Black Snow: Britain and Australia in the Korean War, 1950

“MacKenzie offers a fresh, exhaustively researched and clear-eyed account of a pair of complex battles and of the warring national historiographies to which they gave rise. A thorough tactical analysis is matched by a careful reading of the subsequent accounts and a fair-minded and judicious apportioning of praise and responsibility for the successes and failures in a critical period of the Korean War.”
 — Jeffrey Grey, Australian Defence Force Academy

“MacKenzie has crafted an excellent history of Imjin and Kapyong that future scholars working in memory studies, Korean War-era military history, and coalition warfare can draw on for important insights. ”
 — H-War

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration
1. Imjin: The First Day
2. Imjin: The Second Day
3. Imjin: The Third Day
4. Imjin: The Final Day
5. Kapyong: The First Day
6. Kapyong: The Second Day
7. Kapyong: The Third Day
8. Kapyong: The Final Day
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