STRATEGY: The Bigger Question

As the Communist buildup of battle strength continued—in Korea and beyond Korea—the prospect of a massive Red strike against the U.N. forces became constantly more imminent. Allied intelligence had tracked three Chinese armies—100,-ooo men, more or less—up from South China to Manchuria, and from Manchuria to Korea. The number of enemy troops in Korea had increased to an estimated 600,000. Of these, the number immediately in front of Ridgway's units had dwindled from 150,000 to 115,000—indicating the classic Communist pullback for regrouping before an offensive.

High-flying U.S. reconnaissance planes, equipped with the newest horizon-to-horizon cameras, swept a band of Manchuria...

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