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Into the Breach at Pusan: The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade in the Korean War [Hardcover]

Kenneth W. Estes

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Book Description

May 7 2012 Campaigns and Commanders Series (Book 31)
In the opening campaign of the Korean War, the First Provisional Marine Brigade participated in a massive effort by United States and South Korean forces in 1950 to turn back the North Korean invasion of the Republic of Korea. The brigade’s actions loom large in marine lore. According to most accounts, traditional Marine Corps discipline, training, and fighting spirit saved the day as the marines rescued an unprepared U.S. Eighth Army, which had been pushed back to the “Pusan Perimeter” at the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. Historian and retired marine Kenneth W. Estes undertakes a fresh investigation of the marines’ and Eighth Army’s fight for Pusan. Into the Breach at Pusan corrects discrepancies in earlier works (including the official histories) to offer a detailed account of the campaign and place it in historical context.

Drawing on combat records, command reports, and biographical materials, Estes describes the mobilization, organization, and operations of First Brigade during the first three months of American participation in the Korean War. Focusing on the battalions, companies, and platoons that faced the hardened soldiers of the North Korean army, he brings the reader directly to the battlefield. The story he reveals there, woven with the voices of soldiers and officers, is one of cooperation rather than interservice rivalry. At the same time, he clarifies differences in the organizational cultures of the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps.

Into the Breach at Pusan is scrupulously fair to both the army and the marines. Estes sets the record straight in crediting the Eighth Army with saving itself during the Pusan Perimeter campaign, but he also affirms that the army’s suffering would have been much greater without the crucial, timely performance of the First Provisional Marine Brigade.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (May 7 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806142545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806142548
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g

Product Description

About the Author

Kenneth W. Estes, a marine lieutenant colonel who served from 1969 to 1993, is author of Marines under Armor: The Marines and the Armored Fighting Vehicle, 1916–2000 and coauthor of Tanks on the Beaches: A Marine Tanker in the Pacific War. He has edited the Marine Officer’s Guide since 1985.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent account Aug. 18 2012
By david l. poremba - Published on
Everyone knows (at least those who have been interested in reading about the "police action" in Korea), how the United States Marine Corps saved the day on the peninsula, time after time, saving the United States Army's bacon from certain destruction. At least that is how it is recorded in the history books and the official histories as well. It is well that the research continues and reveals more and more information to present a clearer, more balanced picture of what actually occurred.
This is the case with Into the Breach at Pusan. The author utilizes contemporary source materials, such as combat records, action reports and oral histories from both the Army and Marine Corps in order to present a more accurate account of the campaign for the Pusan Perimeter. He has corrected discrepancies between accounts of the two armed services and has banked the fires of USMC sentiment seen throughout the literature and gives us an objective account of the accomplishments of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade during the first three months of the Korean War.
Instead of the inter-service rivalry that is heard quite frequently, the reader instead gets a sense of the cooperation that had to have gone on in order to survive and secure victory. Without the Marines timely, professional performance, the 8th U.S. Army would have saved itself albeit with greater damage to itself.
This book makes an excellent addition to the literature of the "forgotten conflict."
4.0 out of 5 stars An Important Re-evaluation of the Pusan Perimeter Fighting May 4 2014
By Christian Potholm - Published on
An Important Re-Evaluation of the Pusan Perimeter Fighting, March 30, 2013


Christian Potholm

This review is from: The Pusan perimeter: Korea, 1950 (Hardcover)

"An Important Re-evaluation of the Pusan Perimeter Fighting."

Kenneth Estes, Into the Breach at Pusan: The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade in the Korean War (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012). A most useful and engaging study, finally putting to rest some of the biggest myths and exaggerations of the battle for the Pusan Perimeter. Some of the debunking includes:
(a) the Marine Provisional Brigade was not the only "fire brigade" there were four others, (b) the operational strength of the brigade did not drop below 90%, (c) Marine aviation supported Army and ROK units, not simply the Marines, (d) General Walton Walker was a superb commander and the Eighth Army under his direction saved itself and (e) the Eighth Army achieved manpower parity with the North Korean forces around the perimeter by July 22 and significant numerical superiority by the end of August. The author also skillfully weaves in an account of the Marine counter-attacks at Masan and in the Naktong Bulge and points out that the M-26 Pershing tank developed at the end of World War II was put in service during the beginning of the Marine's deployment and it proved highly useful. This work also contains some excellent, rarely seen photographs. A worthwhile addition to the extensive literature on the Korean War.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 15 2014
By Billy D. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very good book describing the condition of the U.S. Army and it's use in defense of the Pusan perimeter.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A 'Bone' To The Corps Sept. 18 2013
By Rudy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is a detailed and thoroughly researched defense of the U.S. Army at Pusan. Debunks, to a great extent, what had been previously written about the Marines' Pusan contribution. Implies that prior books were mostly propaganda to overcome the facts that President Truman and Generals Marshall and Eisenhower wanted to eliminate the USMC at that time (true). The implication is that the Marines 2 weeks in action at Pusan wasn't really necessary and that the Army units would have won it anyway. Throws a bone to the Corps in terms of their contributions at Inchon, Seoul and the Chosen Reservoir campaign.

Comes off as Army petulance.....about their inability to match the Marine Corps' image.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry. Very dry. March 22 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Its really amazing how someody can take one of the most exciting (in a desparate way) campaigns in the military history of the United States and make it seem dull. Some interesting points, and all the information is there, but a dry presentation that will no doubt lead many to put it back on the shelf half read.

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