Leavenworth Paper 13: Counterattack on the Naktong, 1950

1st Cavalry Division (United States Army)
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About William Glenn Robertson. William Glenn Robertson. William Glenn Robertson received his Ph. D from the University of Virginia in After a ten-year career in academic institutions in Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado, he joined the faculty of the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in , where he worked for thirty years. These new men had not been with the Rangers when they were first activated, had not gone through training with the original Rangers, and were not as thoroughly integrated into the Rangers as those men who had been with them from the beginning.

It is, therefore, not surprising that both the 5th Ranger Battalion's victory at Zerf, which was the costliest successful Ranger operation addressed in this paper, and the 1st and 3d Ranger Battalions' defeat at Cisterna involved Ranger units that had recently suffered heavy losses of seasoned troops. That those losses were incurred in conventional infantry operations is a fact of signal importance and one to which we shall return.

Counterattack on the Naktong, 1950.

No less important than the Rangers' abilities and actions is the fact that none of the five operations were conducted in a tactical vacuum, and the Rangers' ultimate success depended upon the success of others. This was most clear at Djebel el Ank, Cisterna, and Zerf. In each of these operations, the Rangers infiltrated enemy lines in advance and in support of a main attack, and their success depended upon the main attack linking up with them. The main attacks succeeded at Djebel el Ank and Zerf, operations in which the Rangers were successful. The main attack failed at Cisterna, and the Rangers were surrounded and destroyed as a fighting force.

A final factor, popular support, may be crucial when an operation is conducted in a populated area. While the approach of a conventional battlefront may lead local civilians to flee, thus permitting operations to be conducted in a population vacuum, such is unlikely to be the case in an operation conducted deep behind enemy lines or in a low-intensity conflict where front lines do not exist. The action at Cabanatuan, in which Rangers liberated American and Allied prisoners from a Japanese POW compound in a populated area behind enemy lines, was one such case.

Friendly Filipinos conducted reconnaissance, surveillance, and security missions in support of the Rangers; chose the routes to and from the objective; fought the Japanese in the objective area; provided transportation to friendly lines for the sick and wounded; and provided food and water for all. Had the local population been unfriendly toward the Americans, the mission would not have been feasible. Although this Leavenworth Paper is mainly concerned with Ranger combat operations, it also traces the evolution of an elite fighting unit.

Works (22)

Robertson, William Glenn, Counterattack on the Naktong, ( Leavenworth papers; no. 13). Bibliography: p. 1. Naktong River (Korea). Battle of, royribepunur.ml: Leavenworth Paper Counterattack on the Naktong, eBook: Dr. William Glenn Robertson: Kindle Store.

Darby's Ranger Force. Djebel el Ank was one of their earliest battles; they took Porto Empedocle about half-way through their career; and Cisterna was their final battle. A complex theme, part of which was beyond Darby's control and part of which was encouraged by him, runs through the history of his Rangers. Originally intended to conduct amphibious landings and commando-style operations, the Rangers were nonetheless used as conventional infantry when the necessity or convenience of higher headquarters so dictated.

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Darby, deciding to give his lightly armed Rangers the firepower needed to survive in the conventional combat they seemingly could not avoid, virtually transformed them into a light combined arms team. Ironically, it became increasingly likely that, as the Rangers grew to resemble a conventional unit, they would be used as such. With that use came the heavier casualties that, when replaced, diluted the effectiveness of the remaining Rangers and, in turn, weakened the cohesion and effectiveness of Ranger Force.

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Finally, the nature of the battlefield itself has changed. David M. Incident At Sosa-Ri. Lieutenant General Walton H. Other offers may also be available. Samuel Lewis.

While the histories of the 5th and 6th Ranger Battalions are not those of Darby's Rangers, the lessons drawn from their use and misuse are similar. Marshall, sent Colonel Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.

Pusan Perimeter

The Americans selected to participate in the raids were to be drawn from a broad cross section of units and then returned to those same units after the raids, thus ensuring that, when American forces landed in Europe, they would have some combat-experienced men. For example, a commando platoon was equal to the number of men who could fit aboard an assault landing craft ALC ; a commando troop could fit aboard two ALCs; and a battalion-size unit called a commando could be carried by a flotilla.

On 26 May, the day on which Truscott was promoted to brigadier general, he proposed to Marshall that an American unit be organized along commando lines on a provisional basis pending the War Department's completion of a table of organization and equipment TOE.

Authorization from the War Department arrived by cable two days later. This letter became the basis of a subject letter titled "Commando Organization," which was written by Major General James E. The letter both directed and gave guidance for the organization of an American "commando unit for training and demonstration purposes," which was to be "the first step in a program specifically directed by the Chief of Staff for giving actual battle experience to the maximum number of personnel of the American Army.

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After receiving training and exposure to combat, as many men as possible would be returned to their original organizations and their places taken by other men. It differed from other schools in that combat would be part of its curriculum. Chaney's letter also established guidelines to be followed in selecting personnel. Only fully trained soldiers of the best type were to be sought, and officers and NCOs, were to have superior leadership qualities with special emphasis placed upon initiative, sound judgment, and common sense.

All men were to have good stamina, have natural athletic ability, and be without physical defects. No age limit was established, but it was pointed out that British commandos were an average of twenty-five years old. Men joining the new American unit were to be capable of the maximum exertion and endurance expected from a man of that age. Certain military and civilian skills, such as self-defense, marksmanship, scouting, mountaineering, seamanship, small boat handling, and demolition, were especially desirable. Men who were familiar with railway engines, power plants, and radio stations and who knew how to destroy them most effectively on raids were also to be sought.

While in Northern Ireland, the unit would be attached to the Special Services Brigade British for training and tactical control, but the United States 34th Infantry Division would be responsible for its administration and supplies. American equipment would be kept and American tactical doctrine and methods used as much as possible. On the Sunday morning after he found out about the battalion, the general attended church services in Belfast with his aide-de-camp, Artillery Captain William Orlando Darby, and his chief of staff, Major General Edmond H. While they were being driven into the city, Hartle spoke to Leavey about the importance of finding a good officer to put in command of the unit.

Darby was an energetic individual who felt stifled in his assignment as aide-de-camp and had intimated his dissatisfaction to Leavey on more than one occasion. Leavey saw the Belfast conversation as an opportunity to help Darby get transferred to a tactical unit and immediately suggested Darby for the job. When Hartle asked Darby what he thought of Leavey's suggestion, Darby responded affirmatively, and the assignment was thus made.