The Breakout Of The 1st Marines From The Chosin Reservoir: An American Epic Of Courage – Part 9

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20Part 21Part 22Part 23Part 24Part 25Part 26Part 27Part 28Part 29Part 30

December 8, 1950 – Marines breakout of Koto-ri.

During the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, the First Marine Division suffered 3,349 non-battle casualties, as many men as in a regiment, almost all of them from frostbite.

This is a staggering number — almost 1/5th of the division. And these were well led troops with officers and corpsman constantly looking for signs of frostbite. That’s how dangerous the cold was and on more than one occasion Marines found their sentries had frozen to death. Fighting in weather this cold is extremely difficult to do since the human body doesn’t function well in this kind of cold.

Leathernecks of the 7th Marines take a quick break during the heroic fight from the Chosin Reservoir down to the sea and safety by the First Marine Division in December 1950. (Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr)

[Sources: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam and Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea, 1950 by Martin Russ. Images courtesy of Chosin Reservoir Photos and Leatherneck Magazine.]

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

Leave a Reply