Thursday, June 27, 2019
“Retreat, hell! We’re attacking in a different direction!”
– Major General Oliver P. Smith –
During the exceptionally brutal Korean winter of 1950, the 1st Marine Division and 31st Regimental Combat Team were surrounded by eight Chinese divisions, cut off from all support and reinforcement and facing near-certain annihilation. With casualties mounting, General Smith galvanized his troops to “attack in a different direction” leading them on a 70 mile fighting breakout to the sea. This was The Battle of Chosin and, while you’ll likely never face such a horrific situation, General Smith’s decision offers a lesson to all leaders everywhere.
When options are limited and defeat appears certain, will you make the hard choice to move in an unexpected direction or will you hunker down and hope for the best?