It is remarkable that the Chinese Army (CCF)
accomplished anything at all against the modern arms, mighty artillery
and overwhelming air superiority of UN forces. For the first year of
the war, the CCF was armed with a baffling array of small arms of
varying degrees of effectiveness. These did include the Russian PPSh
'burp guns', but mostly consisted of US and British arms captured from
the Nationalists, and weapons taken from the Japanese following WWII.
Each Chinese division had only one battalion of pack weapons, no tanks
or towed guns, and for anti-tank weapons relied on satchel charges of
TNT, which in reality were no defense at all
The North Koreans, however, had been extensively prepared over a long
period by the Russians, and were thoroughly equipped with Soviet arms.
In addition to T34/85 tanks and SU76 self-propelled 76mm guns, they had
a formidable array of effective small arms, some of which are shown
above. Even the 7.7mm Japanese rifle shown is more lethal than the
6.5mm Japanese weapons often used by the CCF.
Two weapons possessed by both the CCF and the NK were terrible indeed:
Maxim, usually with its steel shield for protecting the crew, and
mortar. The effective range of the Maxim was over a mile, in the
hands of experts, and the veteran communist armies were certainly
expert. In addition, unlike the US, the communists had smokeless
powder. When firing the Maxim from long distances, they were
undetectable by either sound or puffs of smoke. The first inkling our
troops often had was seeing their comrades spinning and falling, their
bodies and faces savagely torn. The huge 120mm mortar round, with its
great explosive power, similarly came from great range and had great
When falling back, the communists routinely sighted their almost
undetectable Maxims to place grazing fire on the forward slopes we
would occupy, and registered their mortars on the reverse slopes we
would fall back to once our sudden casualties made us aware of our
exposure to the machine guns.
The communists suffered greatly from our superior artillery and air
power, but they knew how to fight as infantry. And they did it very,