by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
This is a review by Randy L Harvey of Imjin River 1951 – Last Stand of the ‘Glorious Glosters’ by author Brian Drohan and illustrator Steve Noon and series editor Marcus Cowper.
Body of the Text
** After China’s November 1950 intervention in the Korean War and the subsequent battle of the Chosin Reservoir, UN forces faced a new onslaught on the spring of 1951 with over 350,000 veteran troops attacking along the Imjin River. The US 3rd Infantry Division took the brunt of the attack along with the attached British 29th Infantry Brigade which included the Gloucestershire Regiment (the ‘Glosters’). The heroic defence of the American and British forces would pass into legend, most notably the doomed effort of the Glosters, as they sought to buy time for the rest of the UN forces to regroup and organize an effective defence of Seoul, the South Korean capital city. Featuring fill colour commissioned artwork, maps and first-hand accounts, this is the compelling story of one of the most epic clashes of the Korean War. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications has released Imjin River 1951 – Last Stand of the ‘Glorious Glosters’ as Number 328 in their Campaign series. It is a soft cover book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, color illustrations with accompanying black and white illustrations, detailed captions and more. It has a 2018 copyright and a publication date of Oct. 18, 2018. The ISBN is 978-1-4728-2692-3. Detailing the command, strategies, tactics and battle experiences of the opposing forces throughout the battle the book details several actions between the Chinese and United Nations militaries facing each other in Korea in 1951.
- Origins of the Campaign
- Outbreak of the Korean War
- UN Resurgence and Chinese Intervention
- Ridgway’s Offensives
- Opposing Commanders
- Chinese Commanders
- UN Commanders
- Opposing Forces
- Chinese Forces
- UN Forces
- Orders of Battle
- Opposing Plans
- Chinese Plans
- UN Plans
- The Battle of the Imjin River
- Day 1: Sunday, 22 April
- Day 2: Monday, 23 April
- Day 3: Tuesday, 24 April
- Day 4: Wednesday, 25 April
- The Battle of Kap’yong, 23-25 April
- The Chinese Offensive Stalls
- The Battlefield Today
- Further reading
Author Brian Drohan covers the conflict at the Imjin River in Korea between the Chinese and UN forces in 1951. Brian Drohan gives a step-by-step narration of the fighting, with the accompanying maps, helps place the reader at the battles and makes it easy for the reader to understand what took place and why. As well as providing information on the combat actions Brian Drohan details organization of the military units, weapons and equipment used by both sides as well as the fighting techniques of the combatants and their successes and failures. Along with his own words Brian Drohan has also provided several quotes and first-hand accounts from key individuals providing specific details and pertinent information in regards to the fighting. Also provided are details of battlefield conditions and weather, conditions during the fighting and how it affected the soldiers and the outcome of the fighting, and other such details which provides a feeling of what the men were putting up with during the fighting to help the reader understand what took place from the overall picture down to the most minute details. The battles are all discussed from prior to the fighting, to the actions taken during the fighting and the actions and end results after the fighting had ceased. The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the fighting at the Imjin River in Korea between the Chinese and UN forces in 1951 to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.
A total of 51 black and white photographs and 14 color photographs are included in this volume. The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. I would say that the photographs that were chosen for this book were for the most part lesser known photographs as opposed to photographs that are featured in many other titles that deal with the same subject matter. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light. This is typical for the discussed periods of history and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. Author Brian Drohan stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The photographs cover all areas discussion in the text by including photographs of key individuals, Chinese and UN troops, small arms, armor, aircraft, artillery, terrain, battle locations and other such specific subjects. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to anyone interested in the Korean War, the “Glorious Glosters”, Chinese, and UN forces as well as the uniforms, weapons and warfare of the period due to the details they contain.
Some of the various small arms, aircraft and armor shown and discussed are:
- British Lee-Enfield .303 rifle
- British Sten 9×19mm submachine gun
- US M1 .30 Carbine
- US M1 Garand .30 rifle
- US M24 Chaffee light tank
- US Fairchild C-119 “Flying Boxcar” transport aircraft
- British Vickers water-cooled .303 medium machinegun
- Chinese Type 50 7.62mm submachine gun
- British Centurion main battle tank
- US M3 “Grease Gun” .45-caliber submachine gun
- US Browning .30 caliber light machinegun
- US Lockheed F-80 “Shooting Star” jet fighter
- British No. 36 Mills bomb fragmentation hand grenade
- British Universal “Bren Gun” Carrier light armored tracked vehicle
- Soviet RPG-43 high explosive anti-tank hand grenade
- British Ordnance QF 25-pounder field gun/howitzer
There are 3 color illustrations and with 3 accompanying black and white illustrations by illustrator Steve Noon. Each of the color illustrations are accompanied by a black and white copy of the same illustration that describes the scene and points out and describes key areas of interest. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
‘Crossing The Imjin’ – The Chinese 187th Division Assaults Gloster Crossing, 11.30pm, 22 April 1950
- A two-page action scene depicting the Chinese attack on the Gloster positions at the crossing on the Imjin River as seen from the Chinese point-of-view.
‘The Defence of Gloster Hill’ – A Company, 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire regiment on Hill 235, Approximately 6.00am. 25 April 1951
- A two-page action scene depicting the Chinese attacking the Gloster positions on Hill 235, as seen from the Gloster’s point-of-view. This illustration is also shown on the front over of the book.
‘Hosing Off’ – Ambush on Route 1, Approximately 2.00pm, 25 April 1951
- A two-page action scene depicting Chinese troops with anti-tank weapons attacking two British Centurion tanks in rice paddies in valley on Route 11. One of the tank crews are using their coaxial machinegun to shoot at Chinese soldiers that have climbed onto another Centurion tank that has become stuck in a ditch.
The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown. The captions go into very specific detail as to the specific individuals shown, types of clothing worn, weapons, equipment carried and used, dates and locations and other such pertinent information. I was very impressed by Brian Drohan’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail.
There are 6 color maps included in this volume and they are of:
- Korea. June 1950
- Chinese Spring Offensive, Attack Plans in the western Theatre
- Initial Chinese Attacks on 29th Brigade Positions, 22-23 April
- 29th Brigade Defence of route 11, 24 April
- The battle of Kap’yong, 23-25 April
- Eight Army Advances, May-June 1951
3 Dimensional Birds Eye View
There are 3, 3-dimensional ‘bird’s-eye-view’ maps included in this volume and they are of:
- 29th Brigade’s Eastern Defences, 23 April 1951
- 29th Brigade consolidates and reorganizes along Route 11: approximately 5.00am to 8.00pm, 23 April 1951.
- The Assault on the Glosters
- The Chinese assault on the Glosters’ positions: 10.30pm, 22 April to approximately 10.00am, 24 April 1951.
- The Retreat on Route 11
- The withdrawal of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and Royal Ulster Rifles along Route 11, 9.00am to 2.00pm, 24 April 1951
There are 13 individual profiles included in this volume and they provide information about:
- Chinese Commanders
- Peng Dehuai
- Yang Dezhi
- Fu Chongbi
- Xu Xin
- UN Commanders
- Lieutenant General James A. Van Fleet
- Lieutenant General Frank Milburn
- Major General Robert Soule
- Brigadier Tom Brodie
- Lieutenant-Colonel Kingsley Foster
- Lieutenant-Colonel James ‘Fred’ Carne
- Major Gerald Rickford
- Major Henry Huth
- Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Crahay
There are 3 notes included in this volume and they are:
- Artist’s Note
- Imperial War Museum Collections
There is 1 informational chart included in this volume:
- Key to military symbols and unit identification
Brian Drohan is a Major in the US Army. He has served as a strategic planner with Eighth Army in South Korea, taught history at the US Military Academy - West Point, worked at the US Embassy to Sri Lanka, and led an armored platoon with the 1st Infantry Division during the Iraq War. He holds a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is author of the book Brutality in an Age of Human Rights: Activism and Counterinsurgency at the End of the British Empire.
Steve Noon was born in Kent, UK, and attended art college in Cornwall. He's had a life-long passion for illustration, and since 1985 has worked as a professional artist. He has provided award-winning illustrations for the publishers Dorling Kindersley, where his interest in historical illustration began. Steve has illustrated over 30 books for Osprey.
As with the other Osprey Publishing titles I was impressed with this book. This is a very nice reference book that contains a well written informative text, many subject specific photographs and illustrations, well detailed captions and more, all detailing fighting at the Imjin River in Korea between the Chinese and UN forces in 1951. As with the other Osprey Publishing titles, I would have no hesitation to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library.
Osprey Publishing also offers Imjin River 1951 – Last Stand of the ‘Glorious Glosters’ as:
eBook (ePub) ISBN: 978-1-4728-2691-6
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4728-2690-9
Osprey Publishing’s, Imjin River 1951 – Last Stand of the ‘Glorious Glosters’ is also available as a Kindle version through Amazon.
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase. Thank you.