‘Em At The 38th Parallel:
The Soviet Intervention In Korea
By Chris Oakley
May 8th--The People’s Daily Worker, China’s official government newspaper, publishes an editorial implicitly criticizing the way PLA commander-in-chief General Lin Bao has been conducting the operations of the People’s Liberation Army since China entered the Korean War. The wording of the editorial leads some Western intelligence analysts-- particularly in the United States --to suspect that Chinese ruler Mao Zedong may be preparing to fire the general or possibly even have him executed. It also further fuels rumors of a rift between Mao and Lin.
May 10th--In retaliation for the April 22nd U.S. nuclear strike on Vladivostok, a Soviet warplane drops a 25-kiloton nuclear bomb on the U.S. airbase at Atsugi, Japan. The entire base is wiped out in the blast along with much of the nearby city; this attack will deal a serious blow to U.N. air operations against Communist forces in Korea.
May 12th--South Korean commandos raid the North Korean coastal village of Munchon.
May 13th--Mao Zedong gives the PLA general staff his blessing to start preparations for an invasion of Taiwan.
May 15th--U.S. carrier planes bomb an NKPA munitions convoy near the town of Yangdok.
May 16th--The People’s Daily Worker publishes a story saying that General Lin Bao is taking an "indefinite" leave of absence from his post as PLA commander-in-chief for health reasons. The CIA’s Far East bureau, however, suspects that this is merely a cover story and that General Bao was in fact either cashiered or executed at Mao Zedong’s behest.
May 18th--For the second time since the Korean conflict escalated into World War III, the French National Assembly begins debating proposals to withdraw France from NATO.
May 21st--The PLA general staff presents Mao Zedong with their preliminary draft of a battle plan for invading and occupying Taiwan. Code-named "Strategic Operation A-13", the plan calls for 200,000 troops to land on Taiwan’s western coast and thrust towards Taipei in a four-pronged offensive; it will undergo dozens of revisions in the coming months.
May 22nd--NATO warplanes raid Communist forward positions east of Leipzig in an attempt to halt the Soviet offensive in Germany once and for all.
May 23rd--The People’s Daily Worker publishes a brief obituary for General Lin Bao reporting the PLA commander-in-chief’s death from what the official story says is a "brain hemorrhage". The CIA, however, suspects the general was actually executed at the behest of Mao Zedong.
May 25th--The Soviet air force launches a counterstrike on NATO defensive positions in and around Leipzig in retaliation for the
May 22nd NATO bombing raids on Communist ground forces.
May 29th--A Soviet military convoy delivering weapons and other vital supplies to the Communist forces near Leipzig is ambushed by elements of the British SAS.
June 1st--NATO warplanes bomb two key Communist airfields in western Czechoslovakia.
June 2nd--Suspicions that Lin Bao’s death was an execution are heightened when an envelope containing a pair of black and white photographs showing the former PLA commander-in-chief apparently bound to a wooden post are smuggled out of China by circuitous routes to the CIA’s Tokyo station.
June 4th--Soviet and East German ground forces make one final assault on the NATO front lines at Leipzig in hopes of retaking the city from the Western powers.
June 5th--Two Soviet submarines are sunk in the North Atlantic after being intercepted trying to attack a convoy transporting troops and equipment to U.S. and NATO forces in Germany.
June 7th--Czech secret police arrest five anti-war protesters in Brno.
June 10th--U.S. carrier plans bomb and strafe an NKPA munitions train near the China-North Korea border, destroying thousands of tons of Chinese-made weapons and ammunition that was being sent to the North Koreans to aid their war effort against the UN.
June 13th--Hungarian Communist ruler Istvan Dobi is critically wounded in an assassination attempt in Budapest; the would-be assassin commits suicide just minutes later, denying Hungarian security forces the opportunity to question him. Dobi, formerly a staunch supporter of the Soviet-led war against NATO, had of late begun to privately question whether the USSR and its allies could win the conflict.
June 14th--Wisconsin U.S. representative and passionate anti-Communist crusader Joseph McCarthy delivers a speech before the Hilton Head, South Carolina chamber of commerce in which he asserts that at least 250 people working at the State Department or the Pentagon are Communist spies.
June 15th--Deciding that the time has come to take the war right to China’s own backyard and hoping to derail Chinese plans for invading Taiwan, President Truman gives General MacArthur’s top air commanders the green light for an atomic strike on the vital industrial city of Shenyang.
June 17th--Shenyang is destroyed in a pre-dawn nuclear attack by Japan-based U.S. Air Force B-29s.
June 20th--The FBI, at the behest of agency director J. Edgar Hoover, begins an investigation into Joseph McCarthy’s charges of Communist infiltration in the State Department.
June 22nd--The Communist battlefront near Leipzig breaks up as NATO armored divisions penetrate one of the weaker segments of the center of the battle lines.
June 23rd--Two Chinese air force fighter squadron commanders whose units were assigned to defend the Shenyang region are cashiered for their failure to prevent the US nuclear strike which destroyed the city of Shenyang six days earlier.
June 27th--Now fully recovered from the wounds he suffered in the attempt on his life two weeks earlier, Hungarian head of state Istvan Dobi orders a full-scale investigation into the possibility that the gunman who tried to kill him in the failed assassination attempt may not have been acting alone.
June 28th--Three PLA infantry divisions that had previously been stationed in Szechuan province are transferred to Hainan Island in anticipation of being deployed as part of the first wave of Special Operation A-13. However, these divisions will never see actual combat and will eventually be disbanded to reconstitute PLA units wiped out in Korea.
June 30th--The CIA station chief in Stockholm sends a report to his superiors that he’s been presented with what he describes as "credible evidence" the Soviets are making preparations to mount a full-scale invasion of Norway.
July 2nd--NATO forces in East Germany begin a three-column push on Dresden.
July 3rd--On the recommendation of his national security advisors President Truman authorizes the deployment of the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division to Norway to aid Norwegian, Dutch, and British troops in repelling any Soviet attempts at an amphibious landing on the Norwegian coast.
July 6th--NATO ground forces in East Germany advance to within 35 miles of Dresden.
July 7th--For the second time, the French National Assembly rejects the proposed bill to withdraw France from NATO, albeit by a narrower margin than it was defeated the first time.
July 9th--The Soviets mount a two-pronged attack against NATO forces pushing toward Dresden in hopes of keeping the historic German city out of NATO hands.
July 11th--NATO tactical fighter jets bomb Soviet and East German defensive positions near Dresden, knocking out at least a third of those positions and opening a gap in the Communist lines that NATO ground forces can exploit when they resume their thrust on the historic city.
July 13th--NATO ground forces reach the outskirts of Dresden.
July 14th--NATO troops enter Dresden amid bitter Soviet and East German resistance.
July 15th--Soviet ground forces launch a stunning counterattack against the NATO battlefront at Dresden.
July 17th--NATO troops begin evacuating Dresden in the face of relentless Soviet infantry and armor attacks.
July 20th--The last NATO forces in Dresden pull out of the city.
July 22nd--U.S. carrier jets bomb Chinese troop concentrations on Hainan Island.
July 23rd--The investigation into the attempt on Istvan Dobi’s life is abruptly closed on Dobi’s direct orders. Although the Hungarian prime minister is reluctant to say why, there is speculation that the investigators had uncovered evidence the would-be assassin had ties to Soviet intelligence and Moscow was threatening to take over Hungary if Dobi’s security forces made any effort to arrest the other conspirators in the plot.
July 26th--Two Red Army generals are relieved of their commands after criticizing their colleagues’ handling of the battle for Dresden.
July 28th--UN armored units break through North Korean defenses south of Yangdok.
July 30th--Japan’s Emperor Hirohito is diagnosed with early symptoms of radiation poisoning.
July 31st--UN forces advance to within 10 miles of Yangdok.
August 4th--UN ground troops enter Yangdok amid strong NKPA and Chinese resistance.
August 6th--The NKPA launch a two-pronged counterattack against UN forces at Yangdok; the counterattack is driven off with high casualties on both sides.
August 9th--The last pockets of Communist resistance in Yangdok are overrun by UN troops.
August 11th--B-29s destroy a suspected tank factory in the town of Chongpyong.
August 12th--In a tearful radio address to his fellow countrymen, Emperor Hirohito announces that he will be abdicating his throne in two days’ time because of "growing physical incapacity". Many press correspondents in Tokyo soon deduce that this phrase is a veiled reference to his radiation sickness.
August 14th--Two Chinese air force commanders die under strange circumstances while en route to the Korean battlefront for an inspection tour of Communist airbases on the northern side of the 38th parallel.
August 17th--Soviet bombers raid the South Korean seacoast town of Kunsan, killing 30% of the town’s population and sinking two ROK naval vessels.
August 20th--The East German government receives alarming news from the Soviet military attaché to East Germany: at least one-third of the Red Army units which were deployed to defend Dresden against NATO’s unsuccessful attempt to capture the historic city are badly understaffed as a result of the high casualties sustained by both sides during their struggle for control of the city. Things aren’t much better on the NATO side, however, as one-quarter of the NATO ground units which took part in the battle for Dresden are also undermanned.
August 22nd--With one month to go before Special Operation A-13 is scheduled to begin, Mao Zedong’s chief naval advisor abruptly resigns his commission after his recommendations for landing craft deployment and disposition of naval support for the first wave of the Taiwan invasion are rejected by Mao.
August 24th--U.S. carrier planes bomb an NKPA munitions storage complex near the village of Sakchu.
August 27th--U.S. and allied ground troops stage an amphibious assault east of the village of Kilchu.
August 28th--The NKPA launches a counterattack against the U.S. beachhead east of Kilchu; the Communist assault is repulsed with massive casualties on both sides.
August 30th--Two detachments of U.S. Marines are deployed to the Kilchu beachhead to shore up the UN battlefront there.
September 1st--U.S. troops capture the village of Odaejin.
September 4th--U.S. and allied ground forces reach the outskirts of Kilchu proper.
September 5th--U.S. and allied troops enter Kilchu amid strong Communist resistance.
September 6th--Three NKPA battalions are sent to the Kilchu area to retake the town from UN forces.
September 8th--UN warplanes bomb NKPA defensive positions outside Kilchu as UN ground forces repulse a Communist attempt to breach their right flank.
September 11th--The NKPA orders its remaining men in the Kilchu area to pull back from their positions outside the town to await reinforcements. However, said reinforcements will be rather slow coming given the critical need for manpower in other sectors of the North Korean front.
September 13th--President Truman gives a radio address to the American public in which he announces that it will be necessary to expand the military draft in order to keep U.S. force on the Korean Peninsula and in western Europe adequately supplied with combat troops.
September 14th--North Korean warplanes bomb UN troop positions near Odaejin as the NKPA and their Chinese allies prepare for an attempt to recapture the town from U.S. troops.
September 16th--Two Soviet submarines are sighted off New York Harbor lying in wait to ambush supply ships bound for Europe to deliver troops and equipment to NATO forces in Germany. Within minutes of the sighting, US Atlantic Fleet anti-sub aircraft are dispatched to eliminate the intruders; in a brief but ferocious skirmish both submarines are sunk, one of them going down with all hands.
September 18th--The NKPA and the PLA begin their long-awaited effort to retake Odaejin from UN forces. The combined Chinese-North Korean assault hits the UN perimeter along three fronts, surprising U.S. and allied commanders who had been expecting a single-front attack.
September 22nd--Mao Zedong orders Special Operation A-13 to be "temporarily postponed in view of the urgent manpower needs of our comrades on the Korean front" and promises he will allow the PLA to go forward with it sometime in 1952. In reality, however, the "postponement" is in effect a cancellation of A-13 and there will be no further discussion of the now-scrapped invasion plan.
September 23rd--North Korean advance troops reach the outskirts of Odaejin but are driven back by U.N. artillery fire.
September 25th--PLA suicide squads try to break the U.N. lines around Odaejin with a series of human wave assaults; however, these assaults accomplish little other than to incur massive casualties among the Chinese Communist forces and weaken the PLA battle lines outside the city.
September 26th--Soviet dictator Mikhail Suslov orders Red Army troops dispatched to the Odaejin battlefront in support of the joint Chinese-North Korean drive to recapture the town from U.N. troops.
September 28th--Red Army infantry and tank units hit the U.N. eastern flank at Odaejin; U.N. forces launch an immediate and costly counterattack.
September 29th--A Red Army battalion commander on the Odaejin front is relieved of his post and recalled to Moscow in disgrace after disregarding orders from the Suslov regime not to retreat in the face of relentless attacks by U.N. ground forces.
October 1st--Five Russian teenaged boys are executed for treason after refusing to comply with the Soviet government’s compulsory military draft. The five are members of a modest but dedicated dissident movement called "the New Awakening" that considers the conflict with the West to be morally wrong and believes it can only end in disaster for the Soviet Union.
October 2nd--The CIA regional director of operations for eastern Europe cables a top secret report to agency chief Walter Bedell Smith indicating morale among the Red Army’s enlisted personnel is on the decline in the wake of the massive Soviet casualties incurred in the battle for Dresden and the failure of Communist ground forces in Korea to retake Odaejin.
October 4th--Emperor Hirohito dies of radiation poisoning.
To Be Continued