With the background to Korea’s involvement in the Korean War coming to light today, I think it’s a good time to link to the English website of the Vietnam Veterans of Korea — definitely a MUST READ. Tons of stuff in Korean over at War Story of ROK Forces in Vietnam 1965-1973. Korean Veterans of the Vietnam War (English) has some info on Korea’s participation in the war, including some interviews with Korean vets. The homepage of the decidedly anti-communist Vietnamese National Party ran an essay on Korean troops in Vietnam after the Hankyoreh’s Ku Su-jeong reported on Korean atrocities during the conflict in 1999. While hardly approving of some of the tactics employed, the Vietnamese site does point out that Koreans were the second-best combat troops in Vietnam behind the Australians and that the brutality was at least effective:
The massacre reported in the Hankyere might be the same incident that many Vietnamese heard in 1966. The rumor ran that in an operation, the Korean troops encountered strong fire from the communist unit in a village. The Korean unit encircled the village, sealed off all possible escape routes. They used megaphones to warn civilians to get out of their village in a given time or get killed when the Koreans came in.
After the deadline, the Koreans launched a fierce attack and seized the objective in a short time. In their search throughout the village, the Koreans shot to kill every single moving creature they met. According to the rumor, more than 300 peasants – old and young women and men, children – were massacred, plus several scores of enemy troops that mingled with the villagers.
News of the massacre quickly spread far and wide, and from then on, communist units dared not use villagers as their human shields against the Korean force. Some Koreans said that both sides in Korea had been doing the same during the Korean War.
The savage tactic proved effective, as security was maintained considerably in the Korean Force’s TAORs (Tactical Area of Responsibility). Even thieves were scared off from the area. But no Vietnamese anti-Communist ever thinks of such inhuman tactic.