US Soldier versus Chinese Soldier
...Combat 59, from Osprey Publishing
Title: Korea. US Soldier versus Chinese Soldier
Author: Chris McNab
Number 59 in the Combat series from Osprey looks at the Korean War, and compares the US and Chinese soldiers that took part in the war between 1951 and 1953. An 80-page soft-cover book with all the usual features that we expect in this popular series.
The Introduction sets the scene of the Korean War, stretching from 1951 through to 1953. Roughly, the first half of the war involved largely mobile warfare, whereas the second half stagnated to quite static lines of entrenched opponents. It goes on to compare the two main opponents, the US soldier, a key part of the UN forces in the country, with the Chinese forces who fought against them. The three key factors were training, weapons and tactics, and while these make interesting reading in themselves, the bulk of the book then uses three specific battles to consider how these unfolded. They are the battles of Chipyong-Ni, February 5-15 1951, Triangle Hill, October 14-25 1952 and lastly Pork Chop Hill, July 6-11 1953. These lead into the final sections for Analysis and then the Aftermath. The book is well illustrated with archive photos and some fine artwork by illustrator Adam Hook. There are maps, tactical diagrams, uniform illustrations and a couple of double-page spreads illustrating the fighting described in the text.
The Korean War is often overlooked, and was something of a period of change as much of the equipment and even the tactics employed were the same as used during WW2. New equipment began to be introduced in Korea however, though without resorting to nuclear weapons. The fighting was also constrained by the mountainous terrain in the Korean peninsula. Both sides had plenty of challenges to cope with.
Thanks to Osprey for this review copy.