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Stop ĎEm At The 38th Parallel:

The Soviet Intervention In Korea

 

By Chris Oakley

Part 2

 

 

1951(January-May)

January 10th--The main Communist front near Inchon begins to collapse in the face of continued heavy resistance by US and ROK units.

 

January 12th--US and NATO ground forces enter Leipzig amid heavy shelling from East German artillery and Soviet armor.

 

January 13th--The commander-in-chief of the Soviet navyís Pacific branch issues a sobering report to the Kremlin on the state of efforts to repair the damage inflicted by the December 28th U.S. air strikes on Vladivostok. The report states that at least a third of the cityís port facilities are still out of commission as a result of the bombing raid are likely to remain so for at least 2-3 more weeks.

Stalin is extremely displeased by this pessimistic conclusion and orders that the repairs be completed in less than ten days. When the Pacific C-in-C tries to explain that this will not be possible, the Soviet dictator has him court-martialed and shot for treason.

 

January 15th--US and ROK divisions breach the center of the Soviet-North Korean lines outside Inchon, cutting those lines in two and allowing US armored columns to overrun the Communist pocket northeast of the provisional South Korean capital.

 

January 16th--The Soviet air force bombs NATO positions in and around Leipzig in an attempt to dislodge US and NATO troops from the city.

 

January 18th--Soviet and North Korean troops pull back from their positions near Inchon in an attempt to regroup.

 

January 19th--US jets bomb Soviet airfields near Leipzig to neutralize the Communist air threat to NATO ground forces occupying the city. That same day, the UN military effort in Korea is dealt a major blow when General Douglas MacArthur is injured in a plane crash en route back to Inchon after an inspection tour of UN front-line positions north of the ROK provisional capital.

 

January 20th--General Matthew B. Ridgeway, a veteran of the Allied liberation campaign in Europe during World War and General MacArthurís top airborne infantry strategist, is named acting commander-in-chief of the UN forces in Korea.

 

January 22nd--US and ROK warplanes bomb retreating Communist ground forces north of Inchon.

 

January 23rd--NATO ground troops begin advancing northward from Leipzig in a maneuver aimed at isolating several Warsaw Pact divisions stationed along the East German-Polish border. Soviet units move to cut off the advance.

 

January 26th--A US Air Force B-36 drops a 15-kiloton nuclear bomb on Warsaw, effectively taking out not only the entire senior leadership of the Polish Communist Party but also most of the Polish military high command.

 

January 28th--A new provisional Polish government establishes temporary headquarters in Krakow.

 

January 30th--US warplanes destroy an NKPA munitions dump at the town of Haeju.

 

February 2nd--Communist ground forces dig in west of the South Korean town of Cholwon after US and ROK infantry units cut off their main avenues of retreat.

 

February 3rd--UN ground troops attack the Communist pocket west of Cholwon.

 

February 5th--50 Polish political dissidents are arrested and shot in Krakow after attempting to organize a demonstration to protest the failure of Polandís provisional government to hold the Soviet Union accountable for the nuclear destruction of Warsaw. An additional 20 dissidents are sentenced to lengthy prison terms after being convicted in rigged show trials.

 

February 7th--The last remaining Communist forces west of Cholwon surrender to UN troops.

 

February 10th--Thousands of Soviet laborers, some of them inmates from Stalinís Siberian labor camps, are brought to Vladivostok in an effort to expedite the last stage of the repair project at the cityís maritime complex. Despite the Soviet governmentís best efforts, at least fifteen percent of Vladivostokís commercial and naval port facilities are still unusuable as a result of the U.S. air strike on the city the previous December, and there are grave fears among the Soviet military high command that U.S. forces may soon make another air strike on Vladivostok.

But in reality, the United States will not make another major air attack on the city until late April of 1951; most U.S. air combat resources in the Far East are being directed towards supporting UN ground operations in Korea. Indeed, some of the carriers which took part in the December bombing of Vladivostok have since been reassigned to defensive patrols off the Korean coast.

 

February 12th--U.S. and allied warships bombard Wonsan, sinking the North Korean navyís flagship along with two Soviet warships and a Chinese freighter.

 

February 13th--Joseph Stalin is hospitalized after suffering a stroke. This event touches off a power struggle among the ranks of the Kremlin elite that will seriously complicate Communist bloc war plans both in Korea and in East Germany.

 

February 16th--UN armored and infantry divisions capture the North Korean town of Pyonggang in a lightning thrust across the DMZ.

 

February 17th--The NKPA begins a counterattack to retake Pyonggang.


February 21st--CIA operatives inside the Soviet Union report that Joseph Stalinís medical condition has taken a major turn for the worse; the report also mentions the mysterious disappearance of one of Stalinís senior deputies, Georgi Malenkov.

 

February 22nd--NATO advance units in East Germany close to within twenty miles of Berlin.

 

February 25th--NKPA troops reluctantly break off their offensive to recapture Pyonggang; although several advance battalions had managed to penetrate the UNís outer defensive perimeter around the city, supply troubles and constant U.S. air strikes served to prevent the North Koreans from further capitalizing on these penetrations.

 

February 28th--Kim Il Sung is wounded in an assassination attempt; official North Korean news agencies claim Kim was targeted by Western spies, but a covert CIA investigation suggests the attempt may actually have been the work of rogue elements within his own army. Just hours after the attack, Kim makes a radio broadcast threatening to "burn Inchon to ashes" in revenge.

 

March 3rd--NATO troops enter Berlin amid heavy Soviet and East German resistance; German anti-Communist partisans assist NATO forces with hit-and-run assaults on Communist defense positions in the eastern part of the city.

 

March 4th--The Soviet state news agency TASS reports the death of Georgi Malenkov in what it calls "a tragic plane accident". After the fall of Russiaís Communist regime, it will be revealed that Malenkov was in fact killed in an armed clash between pro-Stalin and anti-Stalin factions of the NKVD.

 

March 6th--NATO ground forces reach the heart of Berlin. That same day, the Soviet ambassador to East Germany is killed trying to escape the city.

 

March 9th--A Soviet defector identifying himself as a confidant to the late Georgi Malenkov enters the US embassy in Stockholm, Sweden and requests political asylum; when questioned by embassy officials, the defector-- later code-named "Storm Drain" by the CIA --indicates he has information on the strange circumstances under which Malenkov disappeared just prior to his death.

 

March 10th--In a desperate attempt to prevent NATO forces from penetrating any further into Communist-held territory in eastern Europe, the Soviets explode a 30-kiloton nuclear warhead over Berlin, killing thousands of NATO soldiers and German civilians. While in the short term the nuclear strike on the German capital is highly successful in disrupting Western strategy in Europe, in the long run it will backfire badly on the Soviets as anger over the attack provokes NATO forces to fight harder than ever to push the Communists off European soil.

 

March 14th--CIA director Allen Dulles meets with President Harry S. Truman to debrief him on the information provided by "Storm Drain" to the US embassy in Stockholm. According to Dulles, the Soviet defector has told CIA investigators that Georgi Malenkov was attempting to broker a truce between the NKVDís pro-Stalin and anti-Stalin sides just before he disappeared; Dulles goes on to report "Storm Drain" has implied Malenkovís death may have been the result of an assassination plot by extremists in the pro-Stalin faction who were convinced he was betraying them by trying to negotiate a deal with the anti-Stalin forces.

 

March 15th--Douglas MacArthur is medically cleared to resume active duty with the UN forces in Korea.

 

March 16th--French left-wingers and moderates stage a protest rally in downtown Paris calling for Franceís withdrawal from NATO. The rallyís keynote speaker declares that if the French government remains part of NATOís ranks much longer, there is every chance Paris could suffer the same fate as Berlin.

 

March 17th--In response to the previous dayís anti-NATO march, French NATO supporters stage a counter-protest in Paris.

 

March 19th--General Douglas MacArthur formally resumes command of UN forces in Korea.

 

March 22nd--TASS issues a bulletin announcing the death of Joseph Stalin. Mikhail Suslov, a hardliner and member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, is named Stalinís successor as head of state and general secretary of the CPSU.

 

March 26th--General MacArthurís top air strategist begins making plans for another major U.S. air strike on Vladivostok; on that same day Joseph Stalin is cremated and his ashes scattered near his former childhood home in the Georgian town of Gori.

 

April 3rd--Three additional Red Army divisions are deployed to East Germany to shore up the Communist battle lines in Europe as the war with NATO intensifies.

 

April 6th--US Air Force B-29s destroy a hydroelectric plant in the vicinity of the North Korean coastal town of Yongampo. The raid also destroys a number of factories in the area, dealing a serious blow to North Koreaís war production.

 

April 10th--In the first sinking of an enemy submarine by British warships since 1945, two Royal Navy destroyers depth-charge and sink a Soviet sub off the coast of Norway.

 

April 13th--The French National Assembly begins debate on a bill which, if passed, would terminate Franceís membership in NATO.

 

April 17th--The Soviet defector known as "Storm Drain" by the CIA is smuggled out of Sweden to a safe house in Britain; from there, he will subsequently be flown to the United States to begin a new life under an assumed identity.

 

April 19th--Communist ground forces in Europe begin a three-pronged offensive to retake Leipzig from NATO forces.

 

April 22nd--Following the plans drafted by General MacArthurís air staff, a U.S. warplane bombs Vladivostok in an atomic strike that wipes the city from the face of the earth.

 

April 23rd--NATO forces in Germany mount a ferocious counter-offensive against Communist troops trying to retake Leipzig.

 

April 25th--The French National Assembly narrowly rejects the proposal to withdraw France from NATO. The decision is greeted with angry protests by the French left; at one point Paris riot squads are placed on alert after French communists disrupt a right wing anti-Soviet rally in the heart of the city and get in a scuffle with some of the right wing demonstrators.

 

May 1st--The Chinese government stages a "patriotic rally" in Beijing to boost morale among its civilian population and to encourage the PLAís soldiers on the Korean front to keep up the fight against the UN forces in Korea. Conspicuously absent from the proceedings is General Lin Bao, Mao Zedongís top military advisor; Ďserious illnessí is given as the official explanation for his absence. Unofficially, Western intelligence analysts are starting to pick up vague hints that all may not be well between Mao and his chief army commander.

 

May 6th--The Soviet defense ministry sends a top secret report to premier Mikhail Suslov warning that the casualty rate being sustained by Red Army forces in Korea and Germany is starting to exceed the Red Army reservesí capacity to reinforce Soviet troop strength in those theaters. This comes as alarming news to Suslov and his inner circle.

 

To Be Continued...

 

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