JoeC brought up a good question when he asked what unit from the Korean War would be a good choice for the Band of Brothers/Pacific type of HBO mini-series if one was ever to be filmed? Below are the two units I think would be the best for such a series:
- The 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division - The 23rd deployed to Korea in August 1950 and thus missed the chaotic first months of the war that would make for some good television. However, they did reach Korea in time to fight along the Pusan Perimeter, then participate in the offensive north after the Incheon Landing, and then played a key role in the Battle of Kunu-ri and UN retreat south when the Chinese entered war. The regiment as fought in the battle of the Twin Tunnels and the most pivotal battle of the war at Chipyong-ni that turned the tide of the war against the Chinese. The 23rd Infantry went on to fight in other battles in the UN offensive north, but Chipyong-ni was definitely the regiments greatest moment. The 23rd also has interesting characters I think would make for good television. First you have one of my Heroes of the Korean War, Colonel Paul Freeman who is the quintessential cool and competent leader, than you have the totally opposite type of leader with another Hero of the Korean War, the brave and flamboyant French Battalion commander Ralph Monclar. His motley crew of French foreign legionnaires I think would only add to the great television. To further add some interesting characters to the series during the Battle of Kunu-ri in North Korea, the Turkish Brigade along with their stoic leader Tahsin Yazici would also make for great television.
- The 1st Marine Regiment - The opening episode of a series featuring the 1st Marine Regiment could open like Saving Private Ryan with the regiment storming the beaches of Incheon during General Douglas MacArthur’s famous Incheon Landing Operation . I think that would be great television. Following the invasion you then have the Marines fighting in the streets of Seoul to liberate it from the North Koreans. Once the North Koreans begin their retreat the 1st Marine Regiment then was moved to the East coast where they were then tasked to move North into the Chosun Reservoir area where the Chinese launched their surprise attack against the Marines. Both the lead up and then fight out of the Chosun Reservoir would make for some gripping television because it would highlight the incompetence of the senior leaders above the Marines and the bravery the Marines along with the soldiers with them had to show to escape the Chinese ambush at the reservoir. The series could then go on to show the Marines fighting to stop the Chinese Spring Offensive and moving into the battles at the Punchbowl. The commander of the 1st Marine Regiment was the legendary Chesty Puller who would provide plenty of great lines during the series while General Oliver Smith play the heroic and competent commander of the 1st Marine Division. An entire episode of the series could be centered around the story of Ensign Jesse Brown as well. Than you throw in a motley crew of Puerto Ricans and the British 41 Commandos and I think you have the makings of a great series.
Both the units would provide both a Marine Corps and Army viewpoint of the war to include some representation from other United Nations units. The only thing missing from using these two units would be the chaotic first months of the war which probably a unit from the 24th Infantry Division would best represent. Maybe the 1-21st Infantry Regiment? However, I think the 23rd Infantry and 1st Marine Regiments provide a better overview of the war with characters that would translate over to television better.
So does anyone else have units they would recommend to Steven Speilberg and Tom Hanks to make into a HBO mini-series on the Korean War?