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A Critique of Pure Success: Inchon Revisited, Revised, and Contrasted

From: The Journal of Military History
Volume 68, Number 2, April 2004
pp. 505-525 | 10.1353/jmh.2004.0075


The Inchon landing was a strategical masterpiece followed by a ground advance to Seoul so tentative that it largely negated the successful landing. The Inchon-Seoul episode typifies the U.S. style of war fighting in the twentieth century—successful maritime force projection followed by less effective ground campaigning. To illustrate the greater possibilities in the ground advance, the author contrasts the opening days of the Inchon-Seoul operations with those of an analogous German surprise offensive in the Baltic in 1941. The author concludes that the German battle fighting style in mobile war was superior, containing elements of boldness that could be applied to improve U.S. ground warfare today.