Leadership in the Crucible
The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni
Military History - Korean War
6.125 x 9.25, 272 pp.
21 b&w photos., 4 maps.
Pub Date: 04/07/2003
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
  cloth
Price:        $32.95

978-1-58544-232-4
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2004 Distinguished Writing Award Finalist, presented by the Army Historical Foundation

Leadership in the Crucible

The Korean War Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni

By Kenneth E. Hamburger

At the pivotal battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni in February 1951, U.N. forces met and contained large-scale attacks by Chinese forces. Colonel Paul Freeman and the larger-than-life Colonel Ralph Monclar led the American 23rd Infantry Regiment and the French Bataillon de Corée, respectively, in the fierce and dangerous battles that followed the precipitous U.N. retreat down the Korean Peninsula.

In Leadership in the Crucible, Kenneth Hamburger details the actions of the units in the United Nations counteroffensive following the Chinese intervention, including routine patrols, the harrowing battle of Twin Tunnels, and the pivotal siege of Chipyong-ni. The regiment was cut off from artillery fire support and was resupplied only by parachute drops. Repeatedly attacked by superior Chinese forces during the two nights and final day of fighting, the U.N. units finally welcomed relief by the armored Tank Force Crombez of the 1st Cavalry Division.

From extensive personal interviews and a careful reconstruction of the written record, Hamburger brilliantly analyzes the roles that training, cohesion, morale, logistics, and leadership play in success or failure on the front lines of limited war. He also addresses the vexing problem of when, and at what level, commanders have the right and even the responsibility to question lawful orders they believe are flawed.

In this careful consideration of combat leadership at all levels, Hamburger offers his readers stories of men sustaining themselves and one another to the limits of human endurance. By thoroughly sorting out the chaos, carnage, and courage of the battles, he provides a uniquely detailed description of these two crucial battles and a well-organized discussion of unit cohesion and command that is sure to become a classic in the field of leadership studies.

Kenneth Hamburger is a retired U.S. Army Commander. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, continues to teach courses on the Korean War at the American Military University, and leads staff tours of European battlefields for active duty U.S. Army soldiers.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Kenneth E. Hamburger’s Leadership in the Crucible: The Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni is a most welcome addition to the literature on the Korean War. Much more than just a detailed description of the first engagement in which United Nations forces defeated the Chinese People’s Volunteers, this account provides with clarity and succinctness important insights on the qualities necessary for effective battlefield leadership. Relying on numerous oral histories and interviews with veterans, the author’s superb use of anecdotal information makes this study far more entertaining than most military histories. His discussion of the relationship between the Korean War and France’s commitment in Vietnam covers new ground. Leadership in the Crucible also provides powerful illustrations of the extreme hardships of fighting in freezing weather, the contributions of South Korean forces, General Matthews B. Ridgway’s “lure and kill” strategy, problems related to using U.S. Reserve forces, the necessity to integrate Black soldiers into white units, and the vital role of U.S. air power in the Korean War. Hamburger achieves his ambitious objective of making the reader “feel a tingle of exhilaration and a shudder of the despair of the human elements of combat and even to detect a hint of the stench of the battlefield in the descriptions of the participants.”--James I. Matray, Professor of History, New Mexico State University

“Kenneth E. Hamburger’s Leadership in the Crucible: The Battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-ni is a most welcome addition to the literature on the Korean War. Much more than just a detailed description of the first engagement in which United Nations forces defeated the Chinese People’s Volunteers, this account provides with clarity and succinctness important insights on the qualities necessary for effective battlefield leadership. Relying on numerous oral histories and interviews with veterans, the author’s superb use of anecdotal information makes this study far more entertaining than most military histories. His discussion of the relationship between the Korean War and France’s commitment in Vietnam covers new ground. Leadership in the Crucible also provides powerful illustrations of the extreme hardships of fighting in freezing weather, the contributions of South Korean forces, General Matthews B. Ridgway’s “lure and kill” strategy, problems related to using U.S. Reserve forces, the necessity to integrate Black soldiers into white units, and the vital role of U.S. air power in the Korean War. Hamburger achieves his ambitious objective of making the reader “feel a tingle of exhilaration and a shudder of the despair of the human elements of combat and even to detect a hint of the stench of the battlefield in the descriptions of the participants.” --James I. Matray, Professor of History, New Mexico State University

“His coverage of fighting in cold winter weather with all its problems is superb. I highly recommend this book.” --Journal of Military History

“This book achieves that aim, but it will also be of interest to those outside of the profession of arms with interests in the Korean War, the history of the U.S. Army, and the “topic of men and conflict” (p. 249).” --Military History of the West

“This exceptionally readable text by a retired soldier and former instructor at the U.S. Military Academy provides an account of the U.S. Army’s 23rd Infantry Regiment and the French Army’s Battaillon de Coree during the Korean War battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni, as well as their relief by Task Force Crombez of the U.S. Army’s 5th Cavalry Regiment. . . . Dr. Hamburger’s account of the battles is masterful. Resolving many controversies, the author provides what will surely be the definitive narrative of these actions. The importance of this contribution cannot be understated, as the Korean War following 1950 is seriously lacking in formal study. . . . Dr. Hamburger’s history is meticulous in detail without resorting to drudgery, and provides an invaluable glance into the nightmare world of the stalemate battles of 1951-1953. It is a laudable history, and one that belongs in the library of any true student of that conflict.” --Reviews

“. . . an informative, exhilarating, true story resulting from good research and writing.” --Virginia Quarterly Review

“. . . Excellent maps and numerous illustrations create a visual dimension to the work and enhance the elegantly written text. . . well fulfills the author’s purpose to ‘inform, educate, and inspire others in the profession of arms.’ The book serves as a primer of military leadership and portrays a detailed Korean War campaign analysis. It makes a significant contribution to the understanding of combat leadership and of the human element in warfare. What could be better?” --Military Heritage

“The book serves as a primer of military leadership and portrays a detailed Korean War campaign analysis. It makes a significant contribution to the understanding of combat leadership and of the human element in warfare.” --Military Heritage

“. . . masterful and thought-provoking. . . Leadership in the Crucible serves as a primer of military leadership and provides a detailed Korean War campaign analysis. It makes a significant contribution to the understanding of combat leadership and of the human element in warfare.” --The Journal of America’s Military Past

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