MARCH OF THE IRON CAVALRY: Marine Tanks in Korea (October 1952)
By Lynn Montross
THERE IS NO DOUBT AS TO WHEN MARINE TANKS first saw action in Korea. They had a part in the very first fight of the 1st Marine Brigade in the Pusan Perimeter, and Marine tanks have been poking their 90mm noses into trouble ever since that August morning in 1950.
From the beginning, Company A of the 1st Tank Battalion let no moss grow under its treads. Activated at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton on 7 July 1950, the outfit consisted largely of men trained with the M4A3 medium tank and the 105mm howitzer. Most of the gunners and loaders had never fired a 90mm gun from an M-26 tank until that day, when Capt Gearl M. English held a brief weapons familiarization session at the Pendleton tank range. Four days later Co A embarked from San Diego with the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade commanded by BrigGen Edward A Craig. And on 7 August, a month after activation, the men were firing 90mm shells down the throats of the enemy in a tense sector of the Pusan Perimeter.
Already the men of Co A had learned a lesson that all good tankmen must absorb sooner or later. They learned that while an M-26 may resemble a mechanical rhinoceros, it can be as sensitive on occasion as a platinum watch. This (ruth was impressed upon Co A during its second day at sea when 14 of the 17 new tanks were badly damaged by salt water flooding the forward part of the ship's well deck. Maintenance men put in tremendously long hours throughout the voyage on repairs, and they had all but one of the machines ready for combat when the brigade landed at Pusan.
On 7 August, the first day of action for the Marines, the tank company had three men wounded by enemy artillery fire while moving up to jump-off positions in the Chindong-ni area. Here the brigade and Army 5th HCT were placed by Eighth Army under operational control of the 25th Infantry Division for a counterattack along the Masan-Chinju-Hadong axis to slop the North Korean invaders driving toward the vital port of Pusan.
The Marine tank company was in the thick of it from the beginning. On 8 August the 2d platoon supported the advancing Marine infantry with 90mm fire. Meanwhile the 1st platoon was given the mission of recovering 4.2 mortars left behind by an army unit compelled to withdraw under heavy NK automatic fire. Two tanks succeeded in bringing back three mortars and most of their ammunition without any casualties.
Within a few days Co A learned lessons in maintenance such as are taught only in the school of combat experience. Tank No. 33 developed acute carburetor trouble dining the forward movement, and No. 12 showed its perversity by breaking four fan belts in rapid succession These machines were soon restored to mechanical health, but No. 13 had to be disarmed and later destroyed after crashing through a single-span concrete bridge. Then No. 11 threw a track while crossing the stream bed, making it necessary for the column to stop for four hours and complete a by-pass.
These were samples of the things that could happen to a tank and downgrade it from a cruising fortress into a stationary target. But the men of Co A made such rapid progress that they handled their machines expertly on the fifth day of the advance, which brought their hottest fight of the entire operation.
The 5th Marines had driven almost within sight of Chinju. the brigade objective, when the 1st Bn was counterattacked near Sachon. Concealed NK troops were spotted before the Marine infantry entered a defile covered by machine guns on both sides of the road. Even so, the enemy had the advantage of prepared positions on the high ground as the M-26s of the 3d platoon shouldered into the fight. Rice paddies made it impossible to maneuver off the road, but the tanks blazed away with machine guns and 90mm rifles. Lucrative targets of opportunity were provided by two enemy groups, numbering about 100 men each, attempting to reach the hills on both flanks. Marine tanks and infantry killed or wounded an estimated 125, and the remnants took a hard pounding from Marine artillery and air strikes.
The tanks of the 3d platoon were under fire from three sides, and No. 33 cut down seven fanatical North Koreans who came within 25 yards. Not a single machine was disabled by the enemy, however, and only one developed mechanical trouble during a four-hour action. Afterwards the M-26s doubled as field ambulances by evacuating seriously wounded infantrymen taken into the escape hatches.
That night, with the final objective within grasp. CG 25th Inf Div ordered the withdrawal of the Marines as well as the Army troops advancing on Chinju by a parallel route. Enemy pressure on the Naktong Bulge threatened the central front, and Eighth Army directed that the brigade be sent to this critical area under operational control of CG 24th Inf Div.
AT THIS PERIOD, with the war only seven weeks old, the Red invaders had used their material superiority to push U. N. forces into a comer of southeast Korea. Eighth Army had perforce adopted a strategy of trading space for time until reinforcements could land. But the Pusan Perimeter must be held at the risk of losing vital supply routes and ports, for the enemy was trying desperately to break through while he retained the advantage in weight.
In this situation the Marines found a mission as "firemen" - an air-ground team that could be shifted from one endangered sector to another as a mobile reserve. Eighth Army was launching counterattacks to prevent an enemy build-up, and on 17 August the brigade jumped off in combination with Army infantry against the Communists who had driven across the Naktong river. The struggle for Obong-ni ridge raged for a day and night, but the Marines finally evicted the enemy. Their capture of this key terrain feature led to a North Korean rout on the 18th, with Marine air and artillery pounding the fugitives.
As yet the tankmen of Co A had not encountered any of the enemy's Russian-built T-34 tanks. The first meeting with the "caviar cans" took place at sunset on the 17th. when four of them ventured around a road skirting Obong-ni ridge. The 3d platoon had been alerted in time for its tanks to surprise the first NK machine at a range of 100 yards. No. 34, in the lead, set it on fire with three rounds of armor-piercing, scoring fatal hits. In a few more seconds the fourth T-34 heat a retreat after the second and third bad been destroyed by a combination of tank, 75mm recoilless, and 35-inch rocket fire. No damage resulted to Marine armor from the near misses of an estimated 15 rounds of NK antitank fire.
THE BRIGADE'S ANTITANK COMPANY, commanded by 1stLt A. S. Bailey, treated the enemy tanks to 29 rounds of 75mm recoilless. This year-old unit, whose functions were not too well understood by many Marines at the time, was to make itself better known in Korea. Packing a terrific wallop with its recoilless rifles, rocket launchers, and .50 cal. machine guns, the antitank company even had its own platoon of M-26s at a later date to assist in killing enemy tanks.*
This first Marine tank battle, if such it could be called, gave our tankmen a low opinion of North Korean tactics which subsequent encounters only confirmed. liven granting that the enemy was handicapped by lack of air power, he failed too often to use his armor in co-ordination with infantry for mutual protection. And after keeping his tanks idle for days, hidden from air observation, he was too likely to swing to the opposite extreme and sacrifice several machines in an overbold attempt to surprise Marine infantry.
In spite of such lapses, NK armor was much more effective in the next operation, when nine T-34s were expended in a frantic attempt to stop the Marines at all costs. The brigade, which had been in assembly areas since being relieved near Obong-ni on 19 August, was attached to the 2d Inf Div for a new counterattack on 3 September. The scene was the familiar Obong-ni area, now in possession of North Koreans mounting; their long expected all-out offensive to smash through the UN perimeter to vital supply ports.
THE MARINE ADVANCE of the first day rolled back an enemy determined to keep up his momentum. Nevertheless, the two assault battalions gained ground against a heavy concentration of NK artillery, mortar, automatic, and AT fire. The tanks of Co A, working as usual in close coordination with the infantry, were credited with destroying four T-34s during the day. Again the enemy sent his machines into action without proper infantry support, and Co A tanks finished them off easily in onesided gunnery duels.
The attack continued next day to the second objective over ground littered with NK slain and wrecked equipment, including two more T-34s knocked out by Co A tanks. Not until the afternoon of 5 September, as the Marines advanced an additional 2,500 to 3,000 yards, did the T-34s finally succeed in bringing off a surprise. Rounding a bend in the road, three of them came up unseen on Marine tanks firing in support of the infantry. Two M-26s were disabled by the first enemy bursts, though the crews managed to escape. Other Co A tanks were unable to fire in return, being blocked by the disabled machines in the narrow road. But all three T-34s were speedily destroyed by 3.5-inch rockets of the 1st Bn and antitank company thus ending the last Marine tank action of the Pusan Perimeter. That afternoon the brigade was ordered by Eighth Army to proceed to Pusan, after relief by 2d Inf Div elements, and prepare for embarkation.
A new chapter of Marine tank operations opened on the eve of the Inchon-Seoul amphibious assault, when Co A was absorbed into its parent organization, the 1st Tank Bn commanded by LtCol Harry T. Milne. The other letter companies had sailed from San Diego on 18 August, landing at Kobe on 1 September to begin plans and preparations for the Inchon landing on the 15th. This speeded-up schedule did not allow much time for training, and few gunners and drivers were experienced in driving or firing the M-26, having been instructed only with the M4A3. Some of the reservists, however, had only the most basic knowledge even of the latter machine. Thus the recent combat experience of Co A was an asset to the entire battalion on D-day, when MajGen Oliver P. Smith's 1st Mar Div hit the beaches as the assault force of X Corps.
A platoon of Co A tanks landed on Wolmi-do in the morning, and the other two platoons went ashore on Red Beach in Inchon late that afternoon. No enemy armor was encountered, but the M-26s did good work in infantry fire support and mopping up operations.
With the seaport secured, Marine tank officers had keen anticipations of the prospects for battle during the advance of the two assault regiments from Inchon to Kimpo airfield and Seoul. Here the terrain was comparatively level for Korea, and it might be supposed that enemy tanks would put up a stiff fight to defend the chief Communist airfield and communications center.
The first kill was credited to Marine air on the 16th, however, when the Corsairs made scrap out of six T-34s spotted in the zone of the 1st Marines. Marine tanks did not have their turn until the next day, when they helped to teach the enemy a lesson in one of his favorite tactics. Units of the 5th Marines had been ambushed several times in the Pusan Perimeter, and they took grim pleasure in setting a trap for enemy tanks observed at dawn as they sallied forth in defense of Kimpo. Three platoons of infantry were posted in concealment on high ground overlooking the road; the rocket launchers and 75s took positions farther back, and the tanks of Co A remained in the rear to open proceedings with 90mm fire.
This time the enemy showed more tactical sense by sending about 200 infantry to protect the six T-34s. But all were doomed when the first rounds of the Marine tanks gave the signal for bazookas, 75s, and machine guns to pour in their fire. The result was sheer annihilation. Within a few minutes the NK tanks and infantry were wiped out of existence, and the spectacle of destruction greeted Gen Douglas MacArthur on his first trip of shore inspection.
Only light resistance awaited the rest of the way to the airfield, which was secured late that afternoon. While other units of the tank battalion were attached to the 5th Marines, Co B accompanied the 1st Marines on a parallel route toward Yongdungpo, an industrial suburb of Seoul. And these untried tankmen came through a baptism of fire on D-plus-2 that would have tested veterans.
The infantry of George Co was mounted on the tanks to spearhead the regimental advance along the main Inchon-Seoul highway. Enemy automatic and small-arms fire stopped the column repeatedly, compelling the riflemen to dismount and deploy on both sides for a combined lank and infantry assault. Five attacks of this sort had to be launched, with the guns of the tanks supplying the only available supporting fires of the final three-hour battle.
It was a rugged assignment for tankmen who refueled from the pump of an amtrack. though enemy fire made the crews take to cover several times. Rut Co B gave a good account of itself, destroying the only enemy tank encountered that day as well as several antitank guns and machine gun emplacements.
The tanks resumed the attack along with the infantry at dawn and advanced for eight hours, destroying an AT gun, an artillery piece, and an unestimated number of infantry. Co B was relieved late that afternoon by Co C, which was alerted to prepare for a large-scale enemy tank attack in the morning. This effort did not materialize. and the new tankmen were held up in their advance by the most extensive mine field encountered so far by Marines in Korea. After the lead tank was disabled by an explosion, the other machines fired in support of the infantry as engineers cleared the road.
When the threatened NK tank attack took place on the morning of the 20th. Co C was delayed by a machine miring down in a roadside rice paddy. Meanwhile the enemy met a hot reception from the bazookas of the infantry, and three of the T-34s escaped after the other two were destroyed.
The advance on Seoul went into high near on the morning of the 20th with the crossing of the river Han in the sector of the 5th Marines. This operation was facilitated by the armored amphibian vehicles of the division. After the assault troops crossed in LVTs, their ammunition and supplies followed in DUKWs. Two platoons of Co A tanks were ferried over to support the infantry, which secured a foothold by 1500 and dug in for the night.
Up to this time the enemy had been conducting delaying actions, but during the next four days he put up a last-ditch fight as the two Marine assault regiments converged on the approaches to Seoul. The tanks of Co A took part across the Han in the assault of the 5th Marines from the northwest. In this rugged area the enemy literally had to be blasted out of strong hill positions, and the 90mm rifles were needed to supplement the howitzers of the 11th Marines.
On a typical day, the 22d, it was estimated that Co A tanks destroyed 16 AT guns, several machine guns, and about 200 enemy. Four continuous hours of firing caused one Marine lank crew to pass out from heat and fumes, and the M-26 had to be towed out of position by another machine.
After the crossing of the Han by the 1st Marines on the 24th, the enemy attempted next morning to ambush two platoons of Co 15 tanks accompanied by a section of flame tanks. Hut the Marines were not caught napping, and the flame tank fired short bursts which sent the attackers scurrying into the machine gun fire of the M-26s. A first group of about 15 North Koreans surrendered, and 116 comrades soon came in with uplifted hands. In addition, an estimated 150 were killed.
It may have seemed to the men of the 1st Tank Bn that they had already tackled nearly every sort of tactical chore, but a new experience awaited in the street fighting of the battle for Seoul. Tank support was needed continually by the two infantry regiments driving through an oriental city which had a pre-war population of a million and a half. The battle actually consisted of a hundred bitter little battles at the barricades defended by a concealed enemy. First, the Marine tanks and infantry fired in protection of the engineers probing for antitank mines: then the 90mm guns cut the barricade down to size: and the tanks and infantry moved forward with artillery and air support to take the position. There followed a brief lull for evacuating the wounded, and once more the weary Lealherneeks went into action against the roadblock a few hundred yards down the street.
On 26 September, at the height of the street fighting, contact was made about 25 miles south of the city by an Army unit of X Corps with elements of the Eighth Army which had launched a coordinated offensive on the 16th. This meant that all the NK forces in South Korea were threatened with destruction, and the enemy began a disorganized retreat to the northward.
WHILT THE 1ST AND 5TH MARINES took up defensive positions outside Seoul after securing the city, the 7th Marines drove northward toward Uijongbu on the 30th with a mission of blocking the main road leading to Pyongyang, the NK capital. This infantry regiment, which had landed a week after D-day, was supported by Co D tanks. The enemy had heavily mined the area, and no engineers were available to clear the way for tanks as the infantry prepared to assault Hill 171 near Suyu-ri. Armored support was needed so urgently, however, that three Co D tanks were given the mission of advancing. Plans were made for the lead tank to detect mines as best it could and crack or detonate them with bow machine-gun fire if possible. The next two machines were to follow in track, and the little column crept forward safely while four mines were being detonated. Then the third tank failed by inches to track the others, and two blown road wheels resulted. The first two tanks completed a perilous advance of 1,000 yards and knocked out an AT gun while killing an estimated 50 enemy.
This was not a typical operation, of course, and Co D worked out an effective system of giving fire protection to engineers who rode the point tanks and dismounted to remove mines. The tanks were often the targets of smallarms fire which the enemy had learned to aim at antenna bases, periscopes, and vision cupolas. Sometimes, too, hidden foes let a tank go past, then fired on the rear of the turret. Fortunately for the tankmen, North Korean marksmanship was poor, and AT mines remained the weapon most to be respected. Remarkably few casualties were incurred by Co D, and two of them resulted from a freakish bullet penetrating the bore of a 105mm gun when the breech block was open and wounding men of a 'dozer tank.
Enemy tanks made only one noteworthy appearance during the drive to Uijongbu. As a preliminary the Marine armored column ran into heavy NK mortar fire which scored three hits on the lead tank. The .50 cal machine gun mount and radio antenna base were destroyed and the hull set on fire. But the crew extinguished the flames after backing 200 yards to a less exposed spot, and within an hour the machine was in action again. The column continued to move ahead through mortar shells supplemented by the fire of four camouflaged enemy tanks. Luckily an air strike had been called to work over the mortars, and the Corsairs swooped down just in time to destroy the first of the T-34s. Two others were killed by the fire of Marine tanks at a range of 300-400 yards, and the fourth enemy machine waddled away to safety.
Uijongbu fell to the 7th Marines on 3 October, and four days later the 1st Mar Div was relieved by Eighth Army elements. During the three weeks of the InchonSeoul operation the 1st Tank Bn had inflicted hundreds of casualties at a cost of one man killed and 48 wounded. The tankmen had destroyed every T-34 venturing within range of their guns - sometimes with only one 90mm round - but not a single Marine tank had been put out of action permanently by enemy tank fire. And even the Marine tanks disabled by mines had not been damaged beyond repair.
On 25 October, when the 1st Mar Div began an unopposed landing at Wonsan, the North Korean remnants were taking the count. The end of the war seemed in sight as the Marines and three other X Corps divisions moved northward toward the Yalu. Then the Communists of Red China came to the rescue early in November, and the 7th Marines tangled with the 124th CCF Division on the advance from Hamhung to Hagaru.
IN THE ENSUING FOUR-DAY BATTLE the Chinese took such a heating that the crippled division was pulled back into reserve afterwards. Enemy attacks of 3 November were supported by two tanks, one of them escaping after the other was knocked out by the 75s and bazookas. During the next day's advance the infantry surprised five more CCF tanks, four of which were destroyed by air strikes combined with 75mm recoilless and 3.5-inch rocket fire.
These experiences appear to have been taken very seriously by the Chinese generals, for they never again attempted to use tanks against the Marines in the Chosin Reservoir fights. On the other hand, Gen Smith showed his confidence in Marine armor by giving the engineers the mission of making the Hamhung-Hagaru main supply route fit for tanks as soon as possible. Meanwhile the components of the 1st Tank Bn were distributed over an area 112 miles in length, supporting infantry battalions carrying out a variety of blocking and patrolling missions.
Not until 18 November did the first tanks of the battalion test the winding stretch of mountain road from Chinhung-ni to Hagaru. A provisional platoon of M4A3 dozers made the first trip, since it was feared that the heavier M-26s might have trouble. But the engineers had strengthened the MSR sufficiently, and it remained only to await LSTs for water transport of the tank companies completing their detached duties in the Wonsan, Majonni, and other areas to the south.
Only a few M-26s had reached Hagaru when the great CCF counterstroke cut off the 5th and 7th Marines near Yudam-ni on the night of 27 November. The route from Hagaru to Yudam-ni was glazed with ice, and that afternoon four M-4 tanks slid off the road. Three of them managed to cover the four miles back to Hagaru, but the other was lost that night to the enemy.
After the M-4 tanks ran into difficulty, a lone tank of D Co was sent to Yudam-ni. It was believed that the heavier M-26 might be better suited to icy going, and this proved to be true when No. D-23 arrived without incident. The crew returned in the last truck convoy to Hagaru to lead other tanks the next day. But the enemy set up roadblocks a few hours later, and D-23 was left stranded at Yudam-ni.
Tank and infantry patrols attempted without success on the 28th to clear the MSR of enemy roadblocks to the south as well as north of Hagaru. Meanwhile the Co B tanks at Chinhung-ni and Co D tanks at Majon-dong were ordered to move up to Hagaru as reinforcements. A few miles past Koto-ri the first group was stopped by strongly defended enemy roadblocks and compelled to return. Men and supplies were so urgently needed at Hagaru, however, that a truck convoy with tanks and infantry set out from Koto-ri on the 29th. Known as Task Force Drysdale, after LtCol D. B. Drysdale of a British Marine company, the column was made up of this continuent, a company each of Marine and Army infantry, and several hundred service troops. The tanks were in the front and rear when the convoy was stopped near the halfway point to Hagaru by the mortar and automatic fire of an estimated three CCF battalions.
The enemy attacked not only the head but also the middle of the column, setting several trucks on fire. As darkness approached to curtail Marine air support, a message from 1st Mar Div headquarters at Hagaru emphasized once more the need for supplies and reinforcements. The head of the column fought its way through with heavy casualties, therefore, as the Marine infantry company and most of the British Marines advanced with the tanks. By this time the trucks and service troops in the middle of the column had been cut off, front and rear, and most of the survivors were forced to surrender at dawn after running out of ammunition. The tanks and trucks in the rear were able to make their way back to Koto-ri.
The two platoons of tanks at Hagaru had been hardpressed by the first Chinese attacks. All the sub-zero night of 28-29 November the enemy came on in overwhelming numbers, trying to break through a perimeter manned only by three companies of combat troops plus every clerk, cook, and truck driver capable of pulling a trigger. The Marine tanks set fire to several shacks harboring CCF troops, and large enemy groups recklessly gathered about the flames for warmth. They became the targets for 90mm and 105mm fire, and 652 CCF dead were counted within 200 yards of the tanks.
In the morning three tanks were sent on the perilous mission of determining the location of enemy roadblocks south of Hagaru. The Chinese swarmed to the attack with satchel charges as well as AT rifle grenades. One of the grenades lobbed into an open hatch and glanced from the cupola padding to the tank commander's shoulder before dropping harmlessly. Fate was in a benevolent mood that day, for a sachel charge placed on another tank also failed to do any damage. And after firing on the enemy for half an hour, the three machines turned on the frozen ground and got hack safely to the defense perimeter.
THE NEED FOR reinforcements at Hagaru had justified the risks of Task Force Drysdale. hut the result made it plain that even large detachments ran the danger of being overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers. It was decided, therefore, that the 5th and 7th Marines were to come out of Yudam-ni in full force, so that the reunited division could fight its way from Hagaru to the seacoast.
The presence of the empty tank at Yudam-ni was reported to CO, 7th Marines, who requested that a crew be sent by helicopter. This assignment went to a Co C crew, and No, D-23 led the column when it moved out on 2 December.
Armored warfare was necessarily limited to small operations in mountain terrain, but perhaps never has a lone tank played such an important part. D-23 carried out firing missions for the point company during the first day's advance and assisted in evacuation of wounded. That night the machine was employed defensively and credited with knocking out two enemy machine guns and an AT gun.
Two CCF roadblocks were destroyed by D-23 next morning before the engine died. The crew changed batteries under enemy fire, then disposed of a third roadblock. When the tank ran low on fuel, two crew members got out on foot and recovered 15 gallons of gas from abandoned vehicles. D-23 "bellied" while attacking a fourth roadblock, and the crew worked all night to free it. By noon the men were so exhausted from fumes, hunger, and lack of sleep that the loader had to be relieved by an infantryman. But three more roadblocks were knocked out before the saga of D-23 came to an end. with the crew reporting "no further incident'1 after leading the column into Hagaru.
ON 6 DECEMBER, as the 1st Mar Div moved out from Hagaru toward Koto-ri, tanks supported the point company of the 7th Marines. Tanks were also the last elements of the division to leave Hagaru with the 5th Marines. The 90mm guns were kept busy with firing missions in cooperation with the infantry, and the tank machine guns aided in several firefights.
Maintenance problems, it is hardly necessary to add. were of critical importance as the column departed Kotori on frozen roads in bitterly cold weather. When a crew got in and out of a tank several times, the men's breathing caused a film of ice to form on the interior. Frost dimmed the periscopes and vapor resulted in frozen fuel pumps and fuel cut-off valves. These were only a few of the difficulties overcome by maintenance men often working with bare hands under enemy fire. Yet only one tank was lost all the way to Koto-ri - a machine that burned after a leaking radiator led to an overheated engine.
The consequences would have been disastrous, of course, if a tank had broken down and blocked the road for vehicles filled with wounded. As a precaution, the tanks and heavy vehicles were grouped in the column so that power would be available to work a cripple off the road. This measure paid off near Chinhung-ni when the brakes locked on the ninth tank from the rear. It was pushed into the ditch by the two following tanks, but the first one also developed a brake lock just as the Chinese attacked the last machine of all. A savage firefight began after the tankmen scrambled out to form a defensive line. During this action the drivers managed to save the two leading tanks after releasing the locked brake. But the remaining seven had to be left behind for destruction by friendly air strikes.
Later that day another tank was pushed off a cliff, due to mechanical failure. But the 1st Tank Bn had the satisfaction that not a single machine had been destroyed by enemy action during the entire Chosin Reservoir operation.
ONLY A UNIT HISTORY could take the story of Marine armor from the reservoir through operations Killer and Ripper, the CCF counteroffensives, and the other fights of 1951 and 1952. Most of these later chapters would be repetitive, of course, since the 1st Tank Bn came up against few problems that had not been encountered during the first five months in Korea.
In all American military history previous to 1950. tankmen had never contended with such fierce extremes of temperature in such a short period - from the 105degree heat of the Pusan Perimeter in August to the 30below-xero cold of the Chosin Reservoir in November! Climate and terrain, in fact, gave the 1st Tank Bn a good deal more trouble than the enemy.
As for combat, the results demonstrated the superiority of the M-26 over the "caviar can." This outcome owed as much to Marine training and tactics us mechanical excellence of American tanks. Even after allowances are made for the enemy having less armor and lacking air power, never once did a Marine tank lose to a T-34 in equal combat. And never once did enemy AT guns or mines put one of our machines permanently out of business during the first five months of Marine operations in Korea.
It took North Korean weather to accomplish what North Korean tanks were unable to do, and the only serious Marine losses came from ice rather than fire.
In cooperation with the Historical Branch, G-3, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, the GAZETTE herewhith presents another in a series of official accounts dealing with Marine operations in Korea. Prepared by writers and researchers of the Historical Branch, these articles are based on available records and reports from units in Korea. Also to be treated in this series:
Marine Artillery in Korea
1st Medical Bn in Korea
Publication is scheduled for consecutive monthly issues.
Admittedly it is too soon to write a definitive history of Marine fighting in Korea. Not only are enemy sources lacking, but even Marine and Army records are still incomplete. Articles of the length to be used in the GAZETTE, moreover, do not allow space for more than an outline of operations which will ultimately be given the detailed treatment of a monograph.
But timeliness is also an end to be sought, and these preliminary narratives are based on Marine and Army reports received up to this time. These articles arc presented in the hope that GAZETTE readers will feel free to add to the incomplete record. This is an invitation, therefore, for you to supplement the existing record. Send your comments and criticisms, as well as any other information you can make available, to the Historical Branch, G-3, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, Washington 25, D. C.
*"75s Up," by 1stLt Earl R. Delong, published in the GAZETTE of August 1952, gives an interesting and instructive description of this comparatively new Marine unit.