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Lost Tigers: The Failure of Unconventional Warfare in the Korean War

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Eighth Army began supporting the Korean partisans of the 8240th Army Unit White Tigers with the intent that the force would support a return to unified Korean governance after an end to the conflict. Yet the limited impact of the unconventional warfare campaign demonstrated the Armys lack of capacity to support partisans, despite the impact of the Office of Strategic Services in Europe and Asia during World War II. Protracted negotiations in the years leading up to the armistice further complicated the Eighth Armys difficulty and negated the contribution of the United Nations Partisan Infantry, Korea. A critical analysis of the campaign using the criteria of end state, mission command, and synchronization provides a lens to understand and learn from the failure of UW in the Korean War. As recent UW campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have not faced an adversary with the capabilities of the Peoples Republic of Korea, the experience of the Korean conflict remains relevant to future UW campaigns against state actors.

Subject Categories:

  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Unconventional Warfare

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