Home > Reviews > Modern > Inch’on 1950, The last great amphibious assault, by Gordon L Rottman, illustrated by Peter Dennis, Osprey Publishing Ltd

Inch’on 1950
The last great amphibious assault

Reviewed by John Prigent


Publisher and Title Campaign 162, Inch’on 1950, The last great amphibious assault, by Gordon L Rottman, illustrated by Peter Dennis, Osprey Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 1-8476-961-4
Media and Contents: 96 pages
Price: US Price: $18.95, UK Price: £13.99, available online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Good coverage of history; supported by tables, photos and artwork;
Recommendation: Recommended


Inch'on 1950The Korean War opened with a surprise attack by North Korea across the 38th Parallel, the border between the two Koreas. Seoul, South Korea’s capital, was only a few miles south of the border and fell in three days. South Korean forces were heavily outnumbered and poorly equipped so were driven steadily south. The UN authorised action, and US and Commonwealth forces were rapidly committed by unfortunately the US Army and Marines had suffered badly from “peace dividend” thinking and were very low in combat strength. The nearest US units, in Japan, had only light tanks and almost no recent training but were rushed to Korea only to be swept away and forced back to a perimeter at Pusan in the southwest.

McArthur, having commanded US forces in much of the Pacific during World War 2, was still in Japan as commander of the South East Asia area and was of course in command of the efforts to save South Korea. Unfortunately some of his subordinate commanders were not exactly up to speed in combat command, and some really stupid operations were considered. McArthur was aware that a Pentagon contingency plan had been completed only a few weeks before the North Korean attack, envisaging a counterattack against just such an invasion by landing amphibious forces at Inch’on, Seoul’s port city. He decided to use it and efforts began to pull the needed units together. This was no easy task, since US Army and Marine divisions needed massive reinforcement to bring them up to combat readiness.

Nevertheless the assault went in at Inch’on on 15 September 1950 and was successful. North Korean forces in the area had been gutted by the continual drain of men sent south to the Pusan fighting, and had never expected the Inch’on attack so were not prepared. After Inch’on had been secured the attack continued toward Seoul with some heavier fighting on the way, but the city was liberated only 14 days after the Inch’on landings.

This book gives a very good view of the campaign, from the initial North Korean attack through the hasty rebuilding of US units to the assault landing, the ensuing battles and the final clearing of Seoul. A good selection of photographs shows the infantry and also the Pershing tanks and the amtracs used, as well as knocked-out North Korean T-34s, the colour plates are very good, and there are maps and birds’-eye-views to let readers see exactly what was going on where and when.

Recommended to all who want to know more about the Korean War than they got from M.A.S.H,

John Prigent

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample