Friday, February 22, 2019

Combat Calisthenics

Photo by John T. Ward and James N. Cannon of the Baltimore Sun
If you fought in Korea, you fought on hills.  It was an inescapable aspect of military strategy:  if you occupy the high ground, you have control of the territory below.  But occupying hill tops was easier said than done.  Scaling a slope under fire was itself nightmarish.  Yet holding the summit was also taxing.  Food, ammunition, and other supplies had to be hand-carried to heights not served by roads.  Helicopter technology was in its infancy at the time, especially during the Korean War's initial stages in 1950. The little Bell 47s (think of the M*A*S*H* television series) were few in number and simply lacked the payload capacity to perform any significant cargo transport duties. You shouldered your own burden.  You could gripe if you wanted to, but little sympathy came from your equally belabored brothers-in-arms.

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