By The Readable
Nov. 9, 2023 10:30PM GMT+9 Updated Nov. 10, 2023 10:20AM GMT+9
Editor's note: A book co-authored by overseas maritime security experts on the role of the coalition navies in the Korean War will be published. Jihoon Yu, a naval commander of the Republic of Korea who is currently working as a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, participated in the writing as a Korean expert.
This book explores the contribution of smaller navies to the Korean War and extracts lessons for contemporary and future coalition naval operations. The premise of this volume is that a study of coalition naval operations during the Korean War can provide substantial insight into the operational and strategic problems, benefits, and opportunities of contemporary and future combined coalition naval operations. This is the first volume that collectively examines the role of smaller navies during the Korean War and provides added benefit in its intent to contextualize the case studies for the contemporary and future naval environment.
Despite the Korean Peninsula being one of the world’s most enduring security problems, the Korean War remains remarkably understudied. Significant literature does exist on the political, diplomatic, and broader strategic impact of the Korean War, yet substantial gaps exist concerning the operational and strategic lessons to be gleaned from the war itself. Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of naval operations.
Despite the Korean War being predominantly a land and air war, navies played a vital role in the execution of combat. During the initial phases of the war, the US Navy and Marine Corps successfully conducted two vital amphibious operations that initially halted the North Korean advance and the then forced their retreat from South Korea. In the ensuing years of the war, United Nation’s navies continued to be vital, including their role in the strategic withdrawal from Hungnam, the execution of numerous interdiction campaigns, the carrying out of minesweeping missions, the conducting of shore bombardments, as well as their participation in tactical and strategic naval air strikes.
The naval war was not solely a US operation. In reality, smaller navies including the Republic of Korea Navy, the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, and several other forces played an important part in supporting the US and carrying out independent and combined naval operations. The Korean War is one of the few examples that academics and war practitioners have with which to examine the realities of coalition naval operations in near-peer warfighting scenarios. Herein lies the value of revisiting this topic. In today’s contemporary East Asian strategic environment, coalition naval operations have increasing relevancy. The overstretched US Navy now looks to allies and security partners both to contribute to maintaining good order at sea and operationalizing a more proactive deterrence strategy.
This volume, written by leading scholars provides a topical and country-specific analysis of coalition operations during the Korean War. It seeks to answer the following overarching questions:
- What role did each coalition navy play during the Korean War?
- What factors explains the success and failure of combined coalition naval operations during the Korean War?
- How did operating within a coalition impact the internal development and relative position of participating navies following the end of the Korean War?
- What lessons for contemporary combined coalitions operations can be drawn from the Korean War?
The volume’s initial two chapters contextualizes the remainder of the volume. The first provides a general assessment of how smaller navies have historically contributed to large naval operations. The second examines how naval command and control was handled during the Korean War. Case studies of specific country contributions to coalition naval operations include the Republic of Korea Navy, the US Navy, the Royal British Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Danish Navy. From these chapters the conclusion and introduction highlights commonalities and differences and extracts lessons for contemporary coalition naval operations. By examining this topic through the lens of the Korean War, this volume provides a unique and timely take on what is an increasingly vital part of contemporary operations.
By examining the Korean War and seeking to extract lessons for the contemporary Asian security environment, this book sits across the fields of history, navies and sea power and East Asian security. Also, as it includes case studies from a number of countries, it has large market potential in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. It is intended that this volume will be of interest to academia and could be used in courses that examine East Asian history, naval power, allied operations, and contemporary Asian security. The volume will also be of use in military academies and defense universities in a wide number of countries.
About the author
Jihoon Yu is a commander of the ROK Navy, currently working as a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. As a submarine officer, he served as an operation and executive officer for 209-class diesel submarines. He was a member of the ROK Navy’s task force on the CVX light aircraft carrier project and KSS-III class submarine acquisition project. He was also a professor of military strategy at the ROK Naval Academy. His areas of expertise include the ROK-US alliance, Inter-Korean relations, the ROK-Europe relations, maritime security, and naval strategy. He is the main author of the ROK Navy’s “Navy Vision 2045.” He contributed to many major outlets, including the Diplomat, the National Interest, Real Clear Defense, USNI Proceedings and NK News. He received a BA in International Relations from the ROK Naval Academy, an MA in National Security Affairs from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and the PhD in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.