Chapter Eight

Abstract and conclusions

     This study has looked into several aspects concerning how the United States military in general and the Far East Command in special satisfied the logistical requirements in the first three months of the Korean War. Here I will first give a short summary of the most important findings in each chapter. Second, I will give som conclusive remarks on the overal logistical situatiation in this period, and discuss what caracterised it.


     We have seen that Far East Command in Japan was a strong military force based "occupaing" upon a Japanese civil cociety

Conclusions or concluding remarks

     Did some kind of disorder, break downs and even chaos hamper the logistical systems in the first part of the Korean War? The short answer to that is; not much. The closest one comes to chaos were the lack of control of what kind of weapons, ammunition, spare parts and food were to be found where on ships, in the ports, and at the air bases. The systems for communicating vital cargo information and keeping track of different supplies, and even personnel, were not as good as one might have anticipated with lessons learned from the Second World War. The only other factor really influencing the logistics in a few days each time, was the typhoons. But non of these had a any serious impact. And they did not delay the landing at Inchon though it could have been almost disastrous if the North Koreans would have had time to lay mines in the Flying Fish Channel. The mines were ready at the beach in Inchon ready to be put out, and this channel was the only possible gateway to Inchon. One thing is for sure, the enemy did nothing to stop the logistical systems of the United States and their United Nation allies.

Time? Transportation?

     Of the two logistical pipelines described in this study, the pipeline from Japan to Korea was the most important for the first months of the Korean War. It seams likely that FEC would have been able to stop the North Korean advance and hold the Pusan Perimeter for some months with only the resources they had available in the Western Pacific. But there was at least two essential products that makes this point of view a bit difficult.

     The first was that FEC completely lacked 3,5" rocket launchers and rockets. These were very important instruments in killing one of the best tanks in the world at the time, the Soviet built T-34. Medium or heavy tanks could have done the job of the rockets, but FEC had almost none, and surface transportation from the continental USA took a long time compared to the air transported 3,5" rocket launchers and rockets. Artillery, aircraft and mines might also have stopped the tanks, but to a much higher cost in U.S. personnel and equipment.

     The second product was aviation gasoline. We see that FEC had big reserves, which were almost depleted in September and October 1950. Without aviation gasoline there would have been no air superiority. On the other hand, FEC would probably have used their aircraft more sufficient, making the gasoline last longer, if they had known they could not obtain any more.

     One thing was to stop the North Korean advance and hold the Pusan Perimeter, quite another to free South Korea of North Korean troops. Even if the troops from the North Korean Peoples Army were quite exhausted at the time of the landing in Inchon, it is not likely MacArthur and FEC would have been able to do what they did without additional personnel, weapons and supplies from Zone of Interior. It would at least have taken a much longer time and would have included a more extensive use of Korean troops. And it might even have included Japanese troops in addition to those serving on Japanese minesweepers.

Turning a switch?

     Why did the U.S. military logistics in the first part of the Korean War function as well as it did? I would like to point towards some of the factors:

     Prepared for a different much more "all out" war. Roll up of stocks from World War II Personnel with experience of operations and logistics from World War II. And much bigger war. Huge potential in Japan Huge potential in the USA, though they should not effect civil economy.

Asia versus Europe?

     On 15 October 1950 the most prominent U.S. civilian and military leaders of the Korean War, including President Truman and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, met for a conference at Wake Island in the Pacific. MacArthur stated, according to the written "Substance of Statements" from the conference, "I believe that formal resistance will end throughout North and South Korea by Thanksgiving. There is little resistance left in South Korea -- only about 15,000 men -- and those we do not destroy, the winter will. We now have about 60,000 prisoners in compounds."

     This was followed up wit the Top Secret Operation Plan No. 202, dated 20 October 1950. CINCFE's plan was "(1) Redeploy U.S. Forces to reconstitute the defenses of the Far East Command. (2) Redeploy all available construction forces and materials for the build-up of bases in the Far East Command." The assumptions was that the operations in progress and planned would destroy the remaining North Korea forces, and that the Soviets and the Chinese Communists would not engage in any open military operation in North Korea nor in any open or major covert operations south of the 38th parallel. The Eight Army with about 200,000 soldiers would move from Korea to Japan and reestablish the Army defense of Japan.

     My conclusion is that the first part of the Korean War was not "a limited war, a war for limited objectives carried out by limited means". The Far East Command had or were given all the resources needed to hold the Pusan Perimeter, crush the North Korean People's Army and retake all of Republic of Korea. All the objectives in the SC's to resolutions from 25 and 27 June were met in a little more than three months. Define a limited war? What determines a war? Atomic weapons? (Cut this out?) (Use Hobson's IFS study and refer In his book Huston has says: "This kind of concern in 1950 led to an active response against an attack for communist domination. The response was a limited war, a war for limited objectives carried out by limited means." 102-10 I will show that for the first three months of the Korean War, it was not a limited war. The USA found and used all the resources necessary to win the war they had before them at this time. This did of course change dramatically with the Chinese intervention in the war. "Unlike the total mobilization in World War I and World War II, a limited mobilization supported this effort. It was an effort to sustain the necessary industrial mobilization without disturbing the domestic economy - .." 102-10 Huston believes the Korean War " . in terms of logistics, it was the second greatest so far in this century." 102-10

     A comparison with other wars? Joint Chief of Staff Chairman, General Omar Bradley, already 19 July 1950 approved the increase of the personnel strength in the U.S. forces from the 1,5 million ceiling for fiscal year 1951, to a total of 2,1 million soldiers. (201 327.02) Parallels to the future From my opinion, the Korean War is particularly interesting because it is possible to learn very valuable tings in case of war or crisis, or to a new UN or NATO operation like the ones we have seen in the Gulf or in Bosnia. There is a high probability that many of the same logistical problems will repeat themselves. We will very likely again have very long supply lines from the USA to Europe or to other places in the world. The distance from more central parts of Europe to European periphery, to North Africa or the Middle East, is if not just as long, possible to compare with the distance between Japan and Korea.

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