Operation Thunderbolt (1951)



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Operation Thunderbolt (1951)

Coordinates: 37°45′N 126°11′E / 37.750°N 126.183°E / 37.750; 126.183 (Han River)

Operation Thunderbolt
Part of the Korean War
DateJanuary 25 – February 20, 1951
LocationHan River, South Korea
Result United Nations victory
Belligerents

 United Nations

 China
 North Korea
Commanders and leaders
Matthew B. Ridgway
Frank W. Milburn
John B. Coulter
Bryant E. Moore
Peng Dehuai
Lee Kwon Mu
Units involved

Eighth Army

38th Corps
50th Corps
I Corps
Strength
94,147 Unknown
Casualties and losses
US: ~3,500
Total: Unknown
Chinese estimation: 10,000
Heavy
North Korean Offensive
UN Command Counteroffensive
Chinese Intervention
Air operations
Stalemate

Operation Thunderbolt, also known in China as the Defensive Battle of the Han River Southern Bank (Chinese: 汉江南岸防御战; pinyin: Hàn Jiāng Nán Àn Fáng Yù Zhàn), was a US offensive during the Korean War.

It represented the first offensive under the new commanding officer of the 8th US Army, General Matthew Ridgway. It started less than three weeks after the Chinese Third Phase Campaign had forced UN forces south of Seoul.

Operation

Thunderbolt was preceded by Operation Wolfhound, a reconnaissance in force by the 27th Infantry Regiment 'Wolfhounds' that began on 15 January 1951. At this time the Chinese forces in the central sector were still in possession of Wonju and a full assault could not be made until this sector was under US control. Thunderbolt itself began on the 25 January, when troops of I and IX Corps advanced from the western sector of the front northwards towards Seoul.

This attack was heavily supported by artillery and air support, in accordance with Ridgway's policy of attrition by superior firepower against a numerically superior foe. By 9 February, the offensive had reached the Han river with the rest of the Chinese defenders retreating to the north of Han River by the end of February.




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Impact and aftermath

X Corps, once again part of the 8th Army, held the central sector and moved forward as Operation Roundup on 5 February. Responding to the UN advances, Chinese forces under Peng Dehuai then counter-attacked as the Fourth Phase Campaign, achieving initial successes at the Battle of Hoengsong.

Chinese forces were later held off at the Battle of Chipyong-ni and the Third Battle of Wonju. The concentration of firepower and reliance on close air support in the face of large numbers of light infantry employed here would later become an influence on US doctrine during Vietnam.

Thunderbolt was followed almost immediately by the second UN counter-offensive, Operation Killer.

See also

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The original article may be a bit shortened or modified. Some links may have been modified. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.

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