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Into The Breach At Pusan, New Book By Ken Estes


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Our Ken Estes participed me of the first reviews of his book on the 1st. Marine Provisional Brigade and the fight at Pusan Perimeter. Those reviews look very good.

 

The review in Leatherneck magazine ends in this way:

 

Slight in size and focused in scope for such an intense military study, “Into the Breach at Pusan,”

nonetheless, proves to be a remarkable blend of writing: brief, well-organized, authoritative, and

so admirably direct in presentation that it will be read and understood by any interested reader.

However, for the military-minded reader, Estes’ frankness and clarity of strategic exposition,

along with his shrewdness in evaluating and depicting complex perimeter fighting, as well as

elucidating the human factors of high command in battle decision making, lead us not only

to a whole new appreciation of the Pusan defense, but also catapults “Into the Breach” as a

permanent high-level reference that all military people must read.

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I'll buy it.

 

Politics aside Ken is a good historian.

 

Yeah, I have a hard time fitting those together given the timbre of his exchanges. I was glad to know we have had him on this board but jebus, some of his points of rhetoric.

 

I do hope his book sells. I'll point my Gyrene buddies towards it.

Edited by rmgill
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I'll buy it.

 

Politics aside Ken is a good historian.

 

And writes really well. I found his "Tank on the Beaches" more easy to read than anything from Clancy. Pretty on par with Tom Wolfe.

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I'll buy it. Politics aside Ken is a good historian.
Yeah, I have a hard time fitting those together given the timbre of his exchanges. I was glad to know we have had him on this board but jebus, some of his points of rhetoric. I do hope his book sells. I'll point my Gyrene buddies towards it.

 

I try to stay out of political discussions on this forum (and others too). It always ends up like people screaming at each other. You're never going to convince someone on the internet that your political opinions are more valid than theirs.

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I try to stay out of political discussions on this forum (and others too). It always ends up like people screaming at each other. You're never going to convince someone on the internet that your political opinions are more valid than theirs.

 

I dunno, I have succeeded the past and I've had my own opinions swayed by well formulated points.

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The book is very good, he gave me a copy some time back and it's a page turner, I finished it off in a weekend with children and all, well researched and pulls some punches on USMC myths, I put up a critic on the Tanknet authors thread at King Sargent Military history section.

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Is Tanknet polite company? :huh:

 

As long as they stay away from the internet. My wife has approved of every Tanknetter we have met and that would be about 10 or so (so far) I have met about another 15-20 all interesting and nice people.

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WARNING TO ALL:

 

THIS IS NOT THE FFZ. Topics outside of the FFZ are not to drift off-topic, nor are they places for commentary ala FFZ.

 

ALSO, the decisions and actions of MODERATOR are final and are not up for public debate or referendum in any forum inside Tanknet, by anybody, at any time, or for any reason. MODERATOR is not one person. MODERATOR is usually a number of ten or more Staff members governing Tanknet. MODERATOR decisions are finalized by majority vote.

 

Stay on topic. Discuss the book, as per the thread title.

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  • 9 months later...

The review from Dec 2012 Naval History [Naval Inst Press], written by Col. Dick Camp, concludes:

 

 

The Pusan Perimeter (1954) the first

of the official history’s five volumes,

thus embellished the role of the fire brigade

and was deliberately self-serving,

according to Estes. Yet, even though

he attacks in no uncertain terms the

“rhetorical excesses and exaggerations

[that] have distorted the history of the

Marine brigade at Pusan,” the author

is also careful to point out that “the

brigade’s accomplishments in Korea are

in no way diminished by an accurate

account of its operations.” Estes’ Into

the Breach at Pusan is a well-written

and researched book that persuasively

challenges the lore surrounding the 1st

Provisional Marine Brigade. I expect

it to spark spirited discussion, and Ken

Estes may well be advised to wear a flak

jacket and helmet when the fire brigade’s

conventional defenders come out

of the bushes with “guns” blazing.

 

 

Perhaps this is the effect of my rhetoric, with which Ryan has difficulties?

 

 

Military History, had [Jan, 2013 online]:

Into the Breach at Pusan shows that 1st PMG personnel entered the fray in Korea with a lack of wartime experience. Brig. Gen. Edward A. Craig was the exception that proved the rule. During World War I he had sent a telegram to his father, stating: "I'm entering the Marine Corps." The reply he received read: "Do not join the U.S. Marines under any circumstances. A terrible bunch of drunks and bums. Father." That attitude persisted among senior U.S. Army officers, such as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who in a conversation with Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer called the Marine inferior to the common American soldier.

Author Estes, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and author of Marines Under Armor (2000), follows the 1st PMG from Operation Demon III at Camp Pendleton, Calif., its landing at Pusan and its baptism of fire at Masan to the two Battles of the Naktong Bulge. He contradicts the official Marine Corps history claim that the brigade's arrival saved the Eighth Army from chaos and panic. He points out that units of the Eighth Army were at 50–60 percent troop strength but still managing to secure the Pusan Perimeter, and that the Marine unit, at a more robust 90 percent strength, was one of five fire brigades that carried out counterattacks, while MAG 33 provided air support for all United Nations units as needed.

The author concludes with the claim that during World War II American infantry units initially lacked the basic skills and motivation to engage Japanese infantry in close combat because their commanders expected artillery to do the work, to the point that such doctrine devolved into a dependency. The American soldier clearly faced the same problem when fighting enemy forces in Korea, but the professionalism and flexibility of the 1st PMG changed the rules of the game. Into the Breach at Pusan is an extremely valuable book on the "Forgotten War," with operational lessons worth remembering.

—Thomas Zacharis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry to have been away so long and missed the earlier version of this thread!

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The review from Dec 2012 Naval History [Naval Inst Press], written by Col. Dick Camp, concludes:

 

 

The Pusan Perimeter (1954) the first

of the official history’s five volumes,

thus embellished the role of the fire brigade

and was deliberately self-serving,

according to Estes. Yet, even though

he attacks in no uncertain terms the

“rhetorical excesses and exaggerations

[that] have distorted the history of the

Marine brigade at Pusan,” the author

is also careful to point out that “the

brigade’s accomplishments in Korea are

in no way diminished by an accurate

account of its operations.” Estes’ Into

the Breach at Pusan is a well-written

and researched book that persuasively

challenges the lore surrounding the 1st

Provisional Marine Brigade. I expect

it to spark spirited discussion, and Ken

Estes may well be advised to wear a flak

jacket and helmet when the fire brigade’s

conventional defenders come out

of the bushes with “guns” blazing.

Perhaps this is the effect of my rhetoric, with which Ryan has difficulties?

 

 

Military History, had [Jan, 2013 online]:

Into the Breach at Pusan shows that 1st PMG personnel entered the fray in Korea with a lack of wartime experience. Brig. Gen. Edward A. Craig was the exception that proved the rule. During World War I he had sent a telegram to his father, stating: "I'm entering the Marine Corps." The reply he received read: "Do not join the U.S. Marines under any circumstances. A terrible bunch of drunks and bums. Father." That attitude persisted among senior U.S. Army officers, such as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who in a conversation with Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer called the Marine inferior to the common American soldier.

Author Estes, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and author of Marines Under Armor (2000), follows the 1st PMG from Operation Demon III at Camp Pendleton, Calif., its landing at Pusan and its baptism of fire at Masan to the two Battles of the Naktong Bulge. He contradicts the official Marine Corps history claim that the brigade's arrival saved the Eighth Army from chaos and panic. He points out that units of the Eighth Army were at 50–60 percent troop strength but still managing to secure the Pusan Perimeter, and that the Marine unit, at a more robust 90 percent strength, was one of five fire brigades that carried out counterattacks, while MAG 33 provided air support for all United Nations units as needed.

The author concludes with the claim that during World War II American infantry units initially lacked the basic skills and motivation to engage Japanese infantry in close combat because their commanders expected artillery to do the work, to the point that such doctrine devolved into a dependency. The American soldier clearly faced the same problem when fighting enemy forces in Korea, but the professionalism and flexibility of the 1st PMG changed the rules of the game. Into the Breach at Pusan is an extremely valuable book on the "Forgotten War," with operational lessons worth remembering.

—Thomas Zacharis

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry to have been away so long and missed the earlier version of this thread!

 

Well, welcome "home" Marine. From an ex-doc.

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