Operation Chromite: Macarthur's Genius Was No Surprise

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“Unlike the Soviet Union, the United States attached little importance to Korea as a strategic area.” -James F. Schnabel INTRODUCTION Early on the morning of 25 June 1950 North Korean’s Kim Il Sung attacked “in great strength across the 38th Parallel.” Though skirmishes, attacks, and reconnaissance actions were commonplace between North and South Korea, President Syngman Rhee’s warning and frenzied request for assistance found General Douglas MacArthur committing American military troops and equipment in defense of South Korea. As North Korea pushed through the capital of South Korea, Seoul, and continued south, General MacArthur began formulating a plan to regain the lost ground. The plan, known as Operation CHROMITE, relied on surprise and an amphibious landing in a difficult location but its success would be a product of General MacArthur’s forethought and genius in the weeks prior to 15 September 1950. Operation CHROMITE succeeded due to General MacArthur’s initiative despite a vague strategic policy, command design, and timely joint organization. BACKGROUND AND THE STRATEGIC SETTING Harry S. Truman’s administration placed a higher priority on stability and resource allocation to the European theater than the Pacific theater following World War II. President Truman focused so heavily on the European theater that he believed the North Korean offensive was a prelude to a Soviet attack on Western Europe. Because of this heavy focus, very few options were available when North Korea attacked south in the summer of 1950. As the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) overran northern airfields, the United States found it increasingly difficult to provide aerial reinforcement in the form of anything other than transport support for the evacuation of American citizens. Additionally, limited U.S. military intelligence on the Korean peninsula negated
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