Remembering Johnny Turk in Korea

So we\’re 60 years on from the start of the Korean War. The Glorious Glosters, General MacArthur and all.

And, of course, the Turks:

Red Chinese soldiers attacking a ridge line near Waewon last week were shocked to come face to face with swarthy, fiercely mustachioed Turks howling down upon them with bayonets fixed. In this and other Turkish bayonet charges some 200 Chinese were killed, and soon stories of the Turks were spreading like a tonic along the U.N. line.

The Turkish brigade (5,000 men) is led by Brigadier General Tahsin Yazici, who likes to twit British war correspondents with such remarks as, \”Yes, I remember your General Townshend well. We took him prisoner at Kut-el-Amara [in 1916].\” Last week Yazici\’s smart, tightly disciplined Turks were thrown in to hold the line the R.O.K.s abandoned east of Kaechon. Estimated Turkish casualties at week\’s end: 500. A U.S. doctor said it seemed that a Turk waited until he had at least three wounds before he reported to the medics.

After 48 hours of concentrated action on the shoulder of the Red Chinese wedge the Turks were short of food and ammunition, fighting with knives and fists, hurling stones at endless waves of Chinese attackers. Yet U.S. tanks that went forward to rescue trapped Turkish units found the Turks preparing to attack. Ordered to pull back from positions where they were surrounded by the swarming Chinese, the Turkish commander replied in amazement, \”Withdraw? Why withdraw? We are killing lots of them.\”

In or out of the EU is one thing: damned glad they\’re inside NATO though.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Johnny Turk in Korea”

  1. Agreed.
    Strange the same thought occurred to me particularly in the recent flotilla imbroglio with Israel and the cold shoulder they have/are receiving from the EU that IMO has turned them toward dreams of Mesopotamia.

    Here in OZ,when I was serving, their fighting prowess was already held in some awe, but it was the oft repeated statement that they were the only soldiers from any nation who never cracked or capitulated under Chinese torture that was stressed.

    We had already been recipients of their ferocity at ANZAC

  2. The Turks are in NATO for the moment. It isn’t clear if they will stay and less clear if they would respond in concert to any NATO actions. Their turn toward Islamist is obvious and a trend that was clear when they blocked transit into Iraq.

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