페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-06-28 14:35 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 8 5. Operation Macun
5. Operation Macun
An epidemic of fever broke out in the guerrilla zone in the autumn of that year. This acute disease, with the symptoms of chill, high fever\and rash, swept through the valley of Xiaowangqing. I, too, fell ill\and was confined to my bed in Shiliping. I learnt later that this illness was an eruptive typhus.
The younger generation nowadays does not know what this disease is like, for they live in a land which has long been free of epidemics.
But when we were waging the armed struggle in the mountains 60 years ago, the people in the guerrilla zone went through untold sufferingrom epidemics. Since thousands of people lived in the relatively small valley, epidemics of various kinds would break out. The enemy’s “punitive” forces would attack frequently, creating havoc as they pursued peoplerom hill to hill, so we could not improve the unsanitary conditions\and take appropriate measures to prevent epidemics, even though we wished to. All we could do was to stretch a straw rope across the gate of the house of people who had been affected\or paste a warning notice on the wall: “Off\limits. An epidemic site.”
This was the worst possible trial for us–an epidemic raged at the same time as the enemy hurled thousands of troops against us day in\and day out, in a do-or-die attempt to eliminate the guerrilla zone. To make matters worse, I was ill\and many of the leadership were pale with worry over the fate of the guerrilla zone.
They sent a platoon leader, Kim Thaek Gun, together with his wife\and about a platoon of soldiers to guard\and attend to me. When the other units went out to fight, these guerrillas remained behind to defend Shiliping. Mr.\and Mrs. Kim had been living in Yehe in north Manchuria\and had moved to Wangqing by way of Muling, determined to participate in the revolutionary struggle in east Manchuria.
In addition, Choe Kum Suk, the Wangqing county party committee member for women’s work, stayed in Shiliping, on assignmentrom the party committee to nurse me.
At first I received medical care in the front room of the house of a woman called Chun Ja. Her husband, Kim Kwon Il, had been the secretary of a district party committee\and later worked as the secretary of the county party committee.
Whenever the enemy attacked the guerrilla zone, Kim Thaek Gun would carry me on his backrom valley to valley to seek shelter.
As the enemy’s “punitive” operations intensified, they carried me deep into a valley in Shiliping along a water course,\and built a hut for my shelter under a huge steep rock, difficult for the enemy to assault. One could only approach it by means of a rope hanging down the rock. Here I recovered completely thanks to the ministrations of the three people tending me.
These unforgettable individuals snatched merom the jaws of death. But for their diligent nursing, I would not have survived in the valley of Shiliping. I was so ill that I lost consciousness several times. I was told later that each time I slipped into a coma, they would shed tears,\and cried, “For goodness’ sake, pull yourself together. What shall we do if you are so ill?”\and when Kim Thaek Gun was out looking for provisions, Choe Kum Suk would support me as we wandered in search of a shelter. It is no exaggeration to say that I only recovered thanks to her help.
I had received much assistancerom Choe since the early days after my arrival at Wangqing. When I had arrived at Macunrom the campaign in north\and south Manchuria, she was the member of the party committee of district No. 2, Dawangqing, for women’s work. At that time Ri Sin Gun had been in charge of the women’s association of the county. Whenever Choe came to Ri to discuss their work, I would often see her at Ri Chi Baek’s house. They were on intimate terms, as close as sisters. Ri Sin Gun praised her greatly for having a fast hand at writing, to which I paid no heed at first. I simply wondered how fast she could write. But I was surprised when I saw the minutes of a meeting she had taken. The contents of the speeches delivered at the meeting had been recorded in full. Modern stenographers are said to write fast, but I have not seen one who could compare to her. She could file away all the discussions we had in a single night. We let her record the proceedings of important meetings.
She was as magnanimous as a man\and warm-hearted;\and at the same time, she was a woman of principle, faithful to the revolution. She would have hauled a boat over a sandy beach if I had asked her to do it. I sent her to the enemy-controlled areas on several occasions on various missions,\and she worked efficiently there.
As a woman, she sympathized very much with me for having lost my parents. She took the same loving care of me she would have taken of her own younger brother,\and I called her “sister.” She would visit me before anybody else whenever I returnedrom the battlefield, slipping into my hands something she felt I needed. Sometimes she would sew up tears in my clothes\and knit wool into underwear for me. If she did not come to Lishugou for a long time, I would go to see her. We were so much like brother\and sister that we would laugh\and joke when we met. When she met old people in the village, she would address them in the dialect of Hamgyong Province. The words she used were funny\and her intonation was even more interesting. Even when I mimicked the way she spoke\and carried the joke too far, she did not get angry, but simply smiled. But broad-minded as she was, she would not accept jokes about her being pretty.
If I said she was a beauty she would explode, saying that I was making fun of her. I enjoyed it when she pounded me on the back with her fists, so I would joke\and call her a beauty in spite of her awkward feelings. In fact she had a cherubic face, though she was not a woman of great beauty. But to me, women such as Choe Kum Suk in the guerrilla zone were much nobler\and prettier than the girls\and ladies in the big towns. I thought no women in the world were more beautiful than those in the guerrilla zone. Even though they lived year in\and year out among powder fumes, without once making up their faces, they did not complain nor became bitter; they simply devoted themselves to the revolution. I thought they were most beautiful. No doubt it was this attitude of mine that led me to call Choe Kum Suk a pretty girl. In those days I would spare nothing to make the women in the guerrilla zone look much more beautiful.
We often found face powder, cream\and other cosmetics among the trophies we had captured. At first, when they saw these articles, our guerrillas would throw them into a stream\or trample on them, saying that they were things used to make the faces of Japanese jades beautiful. For some time I did not interfere in the way the aromatic, high-quality trophies were disposed of. For I thought they were useless. Our women in the guerrilla zone did not paint their faces in those days. They all shared the view that to smell of face powder\or perfume was a sin. Some women made up their faces once in a long while on holidays, but when they came to gatherings, they would take seats in the back corners, feeling sensitive to the others’ views. I regretted this. I thought it painful that they should live a hard life with their faces stained with soot\and ashes, smelling of powder fumes all the year round\and not making up their faces even once. So I said to the guerrillas, “None of us must throw away cosmeticsrom now on. We have women among us, our women in the guerrilla zone.\where on earth are there women more wonderful than our woman guerrillas\and women’s association members?”
The soldiers replied in one voice, “You are right. There are no women in the world more wonderful than our women in the guerrilla zone. They did not go to the enemy-controlled area, but have shared their lives with the guerrillas for a year\and a half, even though they are bereaved of husbands, children\and lovers by the ‘punitive’ atrocities, live on herb roots\and tree bark\and shiver with cold out in the open in unlined clothes in the dead of winter. We feel ashamed\and regret that we Korean men have not made it possible for them to dress in silks\and paint their faces with rouge\and lipstick so that they could show themselves off to the world. Let us send them all the best things we have captured, even though we don’t eat enough\and are poorly-clothed. Let us allow them to powder their faces if there are cosmetics.”
One day we captured cosmeticsrom the enemy\and took them to Choe Kum Suk to give to the women’s association members. She was tremendously excited at the sight of a bundle of cosmetics.rom that day the smell of face powder began to hang in the air in the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone. When I went to a club to enjoy a performance of the children’s art troupe on one holiday, I could smell face powder\and cream there.
Only Choe Kum Suk did not make herself up even after several days had passed. I was concerned,\and I asked her why she did not. She only smiled instead of answering. There seemed to be some reasons I did not know. So I asked Ri Sin Gun what the reason was,\and was told that Choe had given her share of cosmetics to a women’s association member in Shiliping.
Later, we attacked the enemy behind his lines\and again captured plentiful cosmetics. I gave some of them to Choe Kum Suk, saying that she should not give them to others this time, but make up her own face, for I wished to see her face powdered. She promised me that she would do this in gratitude to me for capturing the cosmetics at the risk of my life.
A few days later on my way to Shiliping to give guidance to the work of Choe Chun Guk’s company, I saw Choe Kum Suk, the head of the women’s association of Dawangqing, sitting looking very smart at the edge of the River Dawangqing, looking down at the water with her back turned to the road. I got my\orderly, Ri Song Rim, to inquire why she was there.rom a distance I saw the\orderly approach\and salute her. Then, all of a sudden he split his sides with laughter for some reason. Curious, I walked over to them quickly. No sooner did I reach the edge of the stream than Ri stopped laughing\and pointed at Choe’s face with his finger, “Comrade Commander, look at her face.”
I could not help smiling myself. Her clean, good-looking face was spottily painted with rouge\and cream. But Choe only looked up at us without understanding what was the matter.
“Your face has become a world map, auntie,” Ri said.
“Oh, my!” Choe Kum Suk exclaimed,\and she plumped down\and began to splash water on her face. Clumsy painting is no cause for guilt\or shame, but she was totally at a loss, as though she had done something shameful. On a laundry stone close by I saw a puff-box\and cream case I had sent to her a few days before.
I realized she had no skill at making-up\and was very clumsy at it. But how could I make fun of that? She was making up her face for the first time in her life. Worse still, she had no hand mirror. So she had carefully put rouge\and cream on her face as she looked down at her reflection in the water. It was neither surprising nor funny that she painted her face like a map of the world.
As Ri Song Rim approached her to tease her once again, I waved my hand to check him. If he had said a few words more at that time, she would have broken into tears\and fled.
I am sure that women who make their faces up with high-quality toilet articles in front of full-length mirrors\or at dressing-tables with triple mirrors every morning, will sympathize with Choe Kum Suk when they read this part. I have heard that nowadays it is the fashion for girls who get married to take a dressing-table with triple mirrors with them among their personal belongings. This is material proof that our women wish to make their life more abundant\and civilized.
But in those days when we had to eat gruel mixed with vegetables\and lie out on the frozen earth, fighting desperate battles to defend the guerrilla zone, only a few of the women in Xiaowangqing had hand mirrors,\and they could never dream of dressing-tables. So they went to the riverside, as Choe Kum Suk did, if they wanted to make themselves up.
That day I did not reproach Ri Song Rim for ridiculing Choe’s make-up skill, but I chided myself for not having paid attention to obtaining mirrors for the women in the guerrilla zone. Our sympathy for them was nothing when compared to the affection they had for us. Our love for the people could in no way surpass the infinite affection with which they had supported us\and attended on us.
This was the case with Choe Kum Suk. She nursed me all the time with a warm affection\and sincerity worth many times more than the confidence I had placed in her. When my illness took a turn for the better, she ran to Tumen 25 miles away before going anywhere else. Tumen was a trading centre for a range of Korean produce. She bought a bundle of Korean pears\and apples there\and returned to Shiliping.
I was moved to tears to see them. I even sufferedrom the hallucination that my mother in the world beyond had transformed herself into Choe Kum Suk\and was giving me her love. It was indeed a love that only one’s own mother\or sister could give.
Inhaling deeply the fragrance of the fruits of my motherland which she had put in my hand, I said, full of gratitude, “Sister, how can I repay your kindness?”
“What kindness? If you are so eager to return it, then take me round the sights of Pyongyang after the liberation. I have heard Pyongyang is the most beautiful place in the world.” Her reply was half serious\and half joking\and yet somehow very earnest.
“Never mind. I am sure I can make your wish come true. Neither of us must be killed, but fight on in\order to set our feet on the soil of Pyongyang when the motherland is liberated, sister.”
“I shall not die. But I always feel uneasy for you, for you don’t take care of yourself.”
In\order to tempt my appetite she obtained some sesame pounded in a mortar\and mixed it into my dishes\and gruel. She took pains to serve me with delicious fatty foods, saying that I had fallen seriously ill through lack of nourishment. She made the utmost effort, but everything was scarce\or running short at that time.
Kim Thaek Gun caught minnow in a stream\and boiled them in soy sauce\or broiled them to feed me. He would catch 70\or 80 of minnow a day. He was not only enthusiastic, but very skilful at fishing.
Ashamed of serving only those fish at every meal, Choe went to the village\and got noodles. To the guerrillas who inquired after my health, she said, “The Commander must recover as soon as possible, but the trouble is that there is nothing to feed him, it upsets me to prepare his meal everydayrom the fish caught by Thaek Gun, but the Commander says he enjoys eating them.”
On hearing this, those members of my unit who were master-hands at fishing caught a sackful of fish with dragnet one day\and came to visit me. Choe Kum Suk prepared it in various ways\and produced a dish for every meal. When I got a little better, she told me I had continually called out the name of a woman she did not know when I had been in a coma\and she mimicked it; it was a joke she had invented with Kim Thaek Gun’s wife. It was quite absurd, but I was convulsed with laughter for the first time since I had fallen ill. Looking back upon it now, I see it was laughter through tears. I was well aware of that they were playing the fool in\order to cheer me up after being bedridden for so long.
Choe Kum Suk’s care of me even included telling me a false date to prevent me going back to Macun before I recovered completely. Whenever I came roundrom a coma, I asked her how long I had been unconscious,\and each time she would reduce the real period. For instance, if I had been in a coma for two days, she said it was two hours\and if it had been five days, she would say five hours. After recovering completely, I added up the daysrom what she had told me\and thought that only ten days had passed since I fell ill. I felt quite relieved to hear that.
The lie she had told me was exposed when Choe Chun Guk came to visit me. This honest political instructor could never tell a lie. He told me that I had been bed-bound for a month. She reproved innocent Choe Chun Guk for his tactlessness, but I immediately gathered myself\and returned to Macun.
A mountain of information was awaiting me at headquarters. The data illustrated various aspects of the Japanese imperialists’ moves to bring Jiandao under their rule.
During the month I had been ill, the enemy had completed the preparations for winter “punitive” operations. High-ranking officials dispatchedrom the Japanese Cabinet had come to Jiandao\and reached a final decision on the plan for winter “punitive” operations against the guerrilla bases in east Manchuria, after discussing the matter with the brains of the army, gendarmerie, police\and diplomats in the field. The issue had even been discussed at a Cabinet meeting in Tokyo.
At meetings the Japanese imperialists held to discuss the problem of Manchuria, they claimed that “Operations for public peace in Manchuria must begin with Jiandao!” They asserted that the conquest of Jiandao was inseparably linked not only with the great cause of building up the puppet Kingdom of Manchukuo but with the security of the frontier of the Empire of Japan; its conquest was therefore a matter of great urgency for the sake of Manchukuo as well as of Japan herself. They also alleged that this campaign should be blessed for the sake of the future of the great Kingdom of Manchukuo\and that the commander of the Kwantung Army, whose mission it was to invade the Soviet\union, should supervise the police institutions in Manchuria\and that its provost marshal, charged with the control of the army, be in the forefront of the conquest of Jiandao.
After rigging up Manchukuo the Japanese imperialists had adopted several important measures to maintain public peace in the area. They committed a division of the Kwantung Army to “punitive” operations as a replacement for the Jiandao task force, established an armed constabulary in each county,\and established a secret service, judiciary police\and industrial police; in this way they made the police structure three-dimensional\and expanded it on a large scale.
Associations for the maintenance of public peace were\organized throughout Manchuria as joint consultative\organs of Japan\and Manchukuo for the liquidation of insurgents\and the pacification of public opinion. Each province\and county was a unit, in addition to the centre; furthermore, various spy\organizations emerged\and stretched out their tentacles towards the communist camp. Through the introduction of the collective security system which had existed in China in the old days\and which had proved effective for Japan in the maintenance of public\order in Taiwan\and Kwantung area, the Japanese\and Manchukuo police bound the people hand\and foot. Large-scale colonization by armed Japanese immigrants who were reserve soldiers\and the expansion of the self-defence corps forces helped to check the anti-Manchukuo, anti-Japanese forces which had deep roots in the three provinces of northeast China. The Japanese imperialists empowered local secret-service policemen engaged in the work with rebels to execute them on the spot.
All of these measures showed what painstaking efforts the Japanese imperialists had exerted to dominate\and retain the colony of Manchukuo. A particular headache for them was the armed struggle in the Jiandao area, waged by Korean communists who struck at the face\and back of the Empire in the northeastern corner of China,\and the full-scale national liberation movement of which this struggle was a mainstay. It was no exaggeration when a Japanese provost marshal said that the conquest of Jiandao would be 90 per cent achieved if the Korean communists’ activities were suppressed. The so-called great Empire of Japan was so afraid of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army\and the guerrilla zones, its strongpoints. The Japanese imperialists therefore made frenzied attempts to eliminate the anti-Japanese guerrilla zones in east Manchuria at any cost.
In the summer of 1933 the military authorities of Japan recalled to Korea part of the Jiandao task force which had suffered heavy casualtiesrom the attacks of the AJPGA\and dispatched in its place the Hitomi unit\and many other crack troops of the Kwantung Army to various parts of east Manchuria. The main forces of their occupation army in Korea were concentrated in the northern frontier region of our country, so that they could be promptly committed to “mopping-up” operations in the guerrilla zones. Large armed forces–over ten thousand men in all–encircled the guerrilla zones in Jiandao\and began winter “punitive” operations.
Directing his main effort to the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone,\where the General Staff of the Korean revolution was situated, the enemy hurled against this area forces of 5,000 menrom the Kwantung Army, the puppet Manchukuo army, the police\and self-defence corps. The density of the enemy’s troop dispositions in this battle has never been surpassed in any war except the wars of pre-modern days in which the belligerent armies contended for victory in square formation,\and the battle fought in Lushun (Port Arthur) during the Russo-Japanese War, since the advent of skirmish-line warfare. The enemy even put his air force on alert. Special detective teams supervised by the Jiandao secret service were also dispatched to the areas surrounding the guerrilla zones.
Thus the whole region of east Manchuria became the field of the most fierce\and bloody battle between the Japanese imperialists\and the Korean communists. It was more a final showdown than a battle for the defence of a few guerrilla zones.
The guerrilla forces in Xiaowangqing were only two companies. Worse still, food reserves were low there. The guerrilla bases in east Manchuria found themselves in a critical situation that threatened their very existence. No one in the guerrilla zone was optimistic enough to believe that the two companies could defeat the powerful enemy armed with guns\and aircraft. We were caught between two alternatives–fighting to the last man\or abandoning the guerrilla zone\and surrendering to the enemy. We chose to fight to the last.
According to the principles of guerrilla tactics, the best thing to do was to avoid a showdown. But if we did not fight, the enemy would swallow up the guerrilla zones on the Tuman River in a single gulp. If we did not defend these zones the revolutionary masses who had been enjoying genuine equality\and freedom under the care of the people’s revolutionary government would be frozen, starved\and shot to death in the dead of winter. Furthermore, the people would no longer look up to us.
The autumn scenery of Wangqing was magnificent, but it was about to be ruined by the furious storm of the winter “puntive” operations. All of the guerrilla zones turned to us in tense anticipation. The people’s countenances brightened\or clouded depending on the soldiers’ expressions.
I began to look for some ingenious scheme, but none occurred to my mind. There was no man at my side with whom I could discuss tactical problems. Pak Hun, a graduaterom the Huangpu Military Academy, was absent; Kim Myong Gyun, xiaogezi (little man–Tr.), who had served in the Soviet army for some years,\and Ri Ung Gol, a graduaterom a military academy of the Independence Army, had disappeared after being accused of being members of the “Minsaengdan.”
Ryang Song Ryong, too, had fallen a prey to the “Minsaengdan” nonsense.
I even thought how happy I would be if such a famous general as Hong Pom Do was with us. Hong was a Righteous Volunteers’ Army general who had won a brilliant repute on the soil of Wangqing. The brilliant victories the Independence Army had won at Qingshanli\and Fengwugou could be said to be the brainchild of Hong Pom Do. Some people belittled him by saying that he was a general who fought with an intuitive knack, without any strategy, but that was nonsense. What they had described as a knack was in the final analysis the product of strategic genius.
When he was alive, my father often said that Hong Pom Do was a man of remarkable resources. Had he not been a resourceful man, he would not have dealt such a telling blow to the Japanese army on the Gaoli Pass by employing skilful ambushes so cleverly\and prudently. Those who could not discern the intelligence concealed beneath his woodcutter’s appearance, should not have claimed that they knew him. Many years had passed since this commander-in-chief of the Korean Independence Army, who once had had the area around Haerbaling under his thumb, concealed his\whereabouts. His image seemed to be fadingrom the people’s memory with the passage of time. My distressed mind was tormented by a yearning for helprom my forerunners.
As I was struggling day in\and day out with the problem of strategy in the log-cabin of the headquarters, the old man Ri Chi Baek called on me with a pot of honey one midnight.
Holding out the pot to me, he said, “I am sorry that I did not give you anything when you were sufferingrom fever. Please take this honey to help you recover.”
“Wild honey is worth its weight in gold. You did wonders to obtain it.”
“Old man Ma who lives at the entrance of Hwanggarigol got it. A few days ago he boasted that he had collected some wild honey, so I went to see him. He gave me the whole pot, saying he would sell even his house to obtain anything that was helpful to your health. I am on my way backrom his house now.”
I felt my heart overflow with gratitude for their consideration. “Thank you very much, but I am young. You should take this
“Please do not decline the kindness of old man. I have suffered constant regret for not nursing you. You look haggard beyond deion, Commander.”
He pulled at my sleeve, suggesting that we take pot luck at his house. I followed him without objecting. A meal with him was welcome, but I was more interested in spending a night in the house still scented by the presence of Pan. Even though I had moved my lodging, I left a large share of my affection with the generous, kind-hearted family who had taken care of me as warmly as if I was their own son.
We ate corn gruel mixed with kidney beans\and pumpkin as a midnight snack. The food tasted sweet, perhaps because I had just recoveredrom my febrile disease. The hostess, Mrs. So Song Nyo, was well aware of my likes\and dislikes in food. The most notable food she used to treat me to was potato\and maize roast. The potatoes in the Jiandao area were large\and the year-old ones contained a lot of sugar. Such roasted potatoes with turnip pickle soup tasted wonderful on a day when it was snowing heavily.
After the snack I lay beside the old man in the room\where Pan had stayed.
The old man could not sleep for some reason; he kept sighing continually. I thought he was yearning for his son who had passed away a few months before. His son, Ri Min Gwon, had been severely wounded in an attempt to disarm Guan’s unit when it was about to surrender to the enemy in the spring of 1933; he had died while undergoing treatment in a hospital in Qiuyuegou. I myself participated in the ceremony held in the memory of Ri Min Gwon.
In September 1932, a memorial service for the guerrilla, Choe Yun Sik, was held in this house.
“Why do you keep sighing all night long, father?”I asked him, pushing aside the quilt\and turning round on the bed to face him.
“I cannot go to sleep. How can I sleep in peace when I have heard that thousands of the enemy are encamped at the entrance to the guerrilla zone? They say that the guerrilla army will be crushed in this ‘mopping-up’ operation. What do you think, Commander?” “It is a false rumour spread by the reactionaries. But if we don’t make full preparations, the guerrilla zone will collapse in two\or three days. Frankly speaking, the destiny of the guerrilla zone is
hanging in the balance. So I cannot sleep, either.”
“It makes no sense for the guerrilla zone to be destroyed. How can we live without this zone? We would rather kiss the dust\or give up the ghost.”
“You are quite right. If we are to die, then we must fall in this guerrilla zone. But what should we do? The enemy numbers thousands,\and our army defending Xiaowangqing is no more than one hundredth of the size of the enemy.”
The old man puffed nervously at a cigarette\and spoke in a serious tone of voice, pushing his pillow in front of my face, “If you are short of soldiers, I will become one for you. There are quite a few old men like me in Xiaowangqing who know how to fire a rifle. They will be able to fight much better than the Kanghwajin guard corps if each of them is given a rifle. I think there are rifles\and ammunition that the Independence Army soldiers buried somewhere near Zhongqingli\where we lived before. If you can find them, you can surely arm the hunters\and the old men who were Independence Army soldiers in the old days as well as the young people like my son-in-law, Jung Gwon, who is busy with some kind of youth work. Everyone should become a fighter\and fight to the death fight. If we have no rifles, we must defend the guerrilla zone by clutching the enemy’s throat\and giving him a belly throw.”
At the time when I was in despair over the disparity between our forces\and the enemy’s, his remark suggested to me that the only way out of the impending difficulties was an all-people resistance. I felt confident that we could seize the initiative in the fight if we fought a death-defying struggle in every quarter, by enlisting not only such paramilitary\organizations as the self-defence corps\and the Children’s Vanguard, which I had intended to use to man the front line with the guerrilla army, but also the unarmed people. The defensive battle at Xiaowangqing would have to be a battle between the enemy’s army\and every soldier\and civilian in the guerrilla zone, rather than a battle between the enemy’s army\and the anti-Japanese guerrilla army. We could also count on the support of the peoplerom the semi-guerrilla zone.
This talk with Ri Chi Baek encouraged me. I thought, “He is right. When the people say they will fight\and they can win, they mean what they say. Victory in war depends on the will of the people\and on how efficiently one enlists them.”
Thus I received my first inspiration while listening to the calm voice of an old man who represented the opinion of thousands of people in the Wangqing guerrilla zone. The plan of operations we were mapping out had without fail to contain the people’s will as expressed by the old man Ri.
I resolved that the defensive battle we were going to wage at Xiaowangqing should be made an all-out fight fought by all the people, young\and old, men\and women, in the guerrilla zone. This definition of all-out resistance was an expression of our supreme confidence in the people in the guerrilla zone, who had been sharing life\and death, weal\and woe, with the army for the past two years. The significant period for which fighting itself had been our routine in the guerrilla zone allowed me to feel such confidence. The guerrilla zones could not have remained strong for two years after their establishment through the efforts of the army alone. One factor was the efforts of the people, who had played a considerable part in building up the army\and defending the guerrilla zones. When we fought a hard battle with the enemy, who was ten\or a hundred times stronger than us, we felt strong when we had the people in our rear. When we sensed their breath as they ran along the trenches, bringing hot water\and rice balls, our combat efficiency increased a thousand times.
This faith in the people’s strength underlay my decision to fight an all-out battle\and my plan of battle. This determination conformed to the people’s will to become an integral whole with the army under all circumstances\and their determination to live in the guerrilla base, if they were to live,\and die there if they were to die. An all-out effort by the people, when enlisted, would be a formidable force.
This was the reserve force of the guerrilla army suggested by the old man, Ri Chi Baek. But in fact the people of the guerrilla base were not a mere reserve force; they were a most reliable component of the main force.
We reaffirmed the tactical principles of attacking\and destroying dispersed enemy forces by concentrated initiatives\and of dispersing\and harassing the enemy behind his lines when he came under attackrom concentrated forces. We then called on all the people in Xiaowangqing to offer all-out resistance.
In response to the appeal, all the\organizations\and social strata turned out as one for the preparations for the decisive battle. The self-defence corps\and young volunteers’ corps advanced to the defensive position together with the guerrilla army\and the young\and middle-aged men without weapons piled up rock barricades on the steep heights along the line of defence. The famous hunters Jang, Choe, Ri\and othersrom Wangqing came to Macun, formed a hunters’ corps with the veterans of the Independence Army,\and then took the field. The women’s stretcher teams\and cooking units also went on the alert. Children set spiked wooden planks in the roads along which the enemy’s convoy was expected. The infirm\and small children were evacuated to safe places.
We made full preparations for the fight in the determination not to follow in the footsteps of the Independence Army under the northern political\and military administration, which had fled, deserting Wangqing. We would rather fall in battle.
Wangqing had witnessed not only the victory at Fengwugou but also the bitter grief of the ignominious defeat suffered by the Independence Army under the northern political\and military administration which retreated, leaving its compatriots to suffer unspeakable “punitive” atrocities.
In south Manchuria there had been an Independence Army\organization called the western political\and military administration; there had also been the northern political\and military administration in the area around Xidapo, Wangqing County, in east Manchuria, which was expanding the area under its military influence with So Il as its president\and Kim Jwa Jin as its commander-in-chief. It was said that the patriotic fighters affiliated with the administration numbered 500,\and the\organization had had one million rounds of ammunition as well as funds amounting to 100,000 yuan. The cadet-training school (military academy) run by the\organization in Shiliping had been a considerable size; it could accept more than 400 cadets. The processions of animal-drawn convoys carrying supplies of straw sandals\and provisions contributed by the peasants in Wangqing\and its vicinity to the political-military administration used to stretch back as far as Xidapo. This army, in cooperation with the Korean Independence Army of Hong Pom Do, had once annihilated a large force of the Japanese aggressors’ army at Qingshanli.
When Kim Jwa Jin, in grey serge uniform, with a sword at his side, passed by on his white horse with bluish mane, the people in Wangqing, men\and women, young\and old, used to bow deeply, as if they were greeting the cortege of the Prime Minister\or the King of feudal Korea. They did this to express their gratitude to the Independence Army for the victory at Qingshanli. But at the news of the imminent massive “punitive” attack on Jiandao by the Japanese army, the renowned General Kim Jwa Jin\and his men had vanished, without offering the slightest resistance. Unaware of this, the Wangqing people had gone out on the road to have a look at the commander-in-chief, Kim Jwa Jin.
Only one company remained. For some reason this company had attended the graduation ceremony at the Tongil School just prior to the “clean-up” of Jiandao. In accordance with custom the school had prepared a sumptuous feast for the grand graduation ceremony. As soon as the ceremony was over, the soldiers had given three hasty cheers for independence, sat at the table\and wolfed down unrefined liquor, rice cakes, cold noodles\and other food. When the “punitive” forces arrived, they all fled. The pupils\and their parents, too, had scattered in all directions. The scene was said to have been like a disturbed anthill. The “punitive” forces had shot, bayoneted,\and slashed with swords the defenceless people who were running helter-skelter for their lives. The Independence Army under the northern political\and military administration had been routed. The people in Wangqing lamented over the sudden ruin of the army which had seemed so impressive.
If such a tragic event were to recur in the land of Wangqing,\where power was in the hands of the people, we would not have the face to claim that we were the sons\and daughters of Korea. We decided to strike at the enemy by employing elusive
tactics–ambush, allurement, surprise attack\and night storming–as guerrilla warfare required. We had evolved these guerrilla tactics ourselves in the course of defending the guerrilla zonerom the enemy’s repeated “punitive” offensives.
In the early days, when the Korean communists defined guerrilla warfare as the basic form of armed struggle\and began to put it into effect, we had known practically nothing about tactics. We could have referred to the experiences of others\and their manuals if they had been available, but we could not find them. So we sent a man to the Soviet\union to obtain some reference materials on war, including the combat experience of the Civil War; they had been of some help to us in understanding the concept of guerrilla struggle\and the method of\organizing ambushes\and surprise attacks, but they had not been suitable for our actual situation.
As a first step to writing a manual of guerrilla warfare in our own style, I finished writing a pamphlet after the battle at Jiapigou at the end of March 1933. The pamphlet was titled Guerrilla Actions,\and it brought together the initial military experience we had gained in our armed activities in the space of more than one year.
The pamphlet dealt with fundamental matters, rangingrom the guerrillas’ spiritual\and moral qualities to the general principles of guerrilla warfare. It also codified all of the principles\and methods, rangingrom the\organization of guerrilla combat actions such as raid, ambush, defensive battle, march\and bivouac, to guerrilla skills such as firing, handling weapons\and discipline. Needless to say, this was not a great book of military science such as Sun-tzu’s Art of War\or Clausewitz’s On War. But in the situation at that time, when we had neither renowned military theoreticians nor veterans of armed struggle, the pamphlet was a valuable handbook, representing the simple theory of our own style of guerrilla warfare. The officers\and men of the guerrilla army studied it until it became dog-earedrom being carried in their rucksacks,\and they tried their best to apply the regulations specified in it to their military practice.
Guerrilla Actions, together with the Guerrilla Manual which was published later, provided prototypes for the establishment\and development of our revolutionary armed forces\and Juche-based tactics.
On November 17, 1933, the enemy attacked the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zonerom three directions in combined operations of infantry, artillery\and air force. The descendants of the Samurai fell upon the guerrilla zone like angry wolves, growling\and threatening to bite at everything, even at the trees standing there. These wild invaders seemed intent on swallowing up the land of Wangqing at a single gulp.
The hordes of “punitive” troops crawled in waves over the frozen ground, their aircraft continually bombing Macun\and Lishugou\where the military\and political headquarters were located. The enemy’s tactics had become more brutal. Previously, when frustrated in his attack he used to retreat to his camp\and then resume his onslaught. But now he did not retreat even when his advance was checked, but stayed at the point he had reached, consolidating the line he had established before advancing again, step by step. Employing this murderous tactic, he destroyed every life\and burnt down everything he came across.
However, our army\and people heroically defended the guerrilla base in unbreakable unity.
The fiercest of the battles was fought on Mt. Ppyojok\and the outpost in the Ssukpatgol on Mt. Mopan, the gateway to the guerrilla zone. The 3rd company\and the Anti-Japanese Self-Defence Corps manning these mountains mowed down the attackers with a surprise barrage of gunfire, grenades\and rocks when the enemy had advanced to within 20 metres. The enemy attacked tenaciously in waves, but failed to penetrate the line of the outpost. The defenders on Mt. Mopan destroyed the enemy’s highly mobile cavalry that was outflanking the defence at a bend of the River Dawangqing.
As the enemy committed large forces in the successive waves of attacks on Mts. Ppyojok\and Mopan, we switchedrom an all-out defensive to a war of attrition, employing flexible manoeuvres mainly designed as enticements\and feints, in combination with positive defensive actions. This was a uniquely flexible tactic for destroying the enemy forces continuously by employing a variety of combat actions,\and not allowing the enemy a moment’s breathing space by constantly drawing him into engagement on our own initiative. Had we clung to a stereotyped defence,\and not employed mobile tactics in good time, the guerrilla army would have been routed by the enemy’s tenacious attacks based on numerical\and technical superiority.
In line with our new tactics, the guerrillas, along with the members of the paramilitary\organizations, withdrewrom the outposts; they lured the enemy deep into the defensive zone\and crushed him with constantly-switching tactics–ambush, sharp-shooting, raiding the enemy’s campsites\and burying bombs in the bonfire.
Bombs could be buried in bonfires even by small boys,\and the effectiveness of the measure was assured. Whenever we movedrom one position to another we made sure that bombs were buried in the bonfires. As soon as the enemy soldiers reached the deserted position, they would gather around the campfires to warm themselves. Then the bombs would explode, blowing up the enemy. O Ryong Sok, the fourth younger brother of O Paek Ryong, working with the women of the self-defence corps, killed the enemy by this method at the central sentry post on Mt. Ppyojok.
We also\organized frequent night raids on the enemy’s camps. Raiding parties of two to five guerrillas would infiltrate the enemy’s position, scatter leaflets to disillusion the enemy forces\and fire a few shots before returning. Three\or four shots fired at the enemy’s tents\or his campfires would transform his entire camp into bedlam. Such raiding parties were sent three, four,\and even five times a night. The enemy soldiers were unable to sleep all night; they trembled in fear\and shot at random among themselves. The enemy was so scared by our constant raids that war lunatics began to appear among his ranks. Some enemy soldiers surrendered to us after reading such leaflets as “Appeal to the Japanese Soldiers!”\and “Appeal to the Puppet Manchukuo Army Soldiers!” scattered by the guerrillas.
Hunters armed with matchlock rifles, also fought. Though they were old, their marksmanship was marvellous. Their admirable skill in shooting only enemy officers could be compared to that of modern snipers. The members of the women’s association rushed to\androm the trenches with rice balls\and hot water on their heads. Children until 10 years of age came to the battlefields\and beat drums\and blew trumpets to boost the men’s morale.
A conspicuous feature of Operation Macun was the showers of rock blocksrom outpost positions, like those on Mt. Ppyojok. These piles of rock would roar down upon the attacking “punitive” forces, killing\and wounding them en masse. The thunder of a rock-slide down on the steep slope\and the clouds of dust like gunsmoke struck terror into the aggressors’ hearts. This method also proved very effective in halting the advance of the enemy’s cavalry, vehicles\and artillery.
One of the heroes shown up by these battles was a guerrilla with a nickname of “13 bullets.” He had been known in the Wangqing area as an adventurous young man since the time when he had captured riflesrom a tax office on the Tuman River on assignmentrom the YCL\organization. When he arrived at the office he had said, “How are you, panjandrums? I am a Korean young man, a member of the Young Communist League.” He introduced himself, then took out a revolver\and took down three rifles hanging on the wall without any great hurry. Then he rang up the police station\and shouted, “What are you doing over there? There’s a communist here. Come over here quickly, all of you.” The police station had hastily dispatched mounted policemen to the site of the incident. He had returned, only narrowly escaping being killed. He had repeated similar adventures afterwards. I do not need to describe here the kind of criticism he receivedrom the YCL\organization.
This young man performed a great feat at the post in the valley of Ssukpatgol, a feat worthy of being recorded in the annals of the anti-Japanese revolution. A ten-man blocking party had been stationed at the post at all times. The head of that party was none other than this young man, “13 bullets.” He was the platoon leader\and was also in charge of the YCL group in that party. A large “punitive” force consisting of Japanese\and puppet Manchukuo soldiers\and self-defence corps men, surrounded the valley under cover of darkness one night\and started attacking the post. The blocking party was involved in heavy fightingrom dawn. They repelled the enemy’s charge seven times until one corner of the log-cabin that was serving as a post had been burned down.
Calling a YCL group meeting in the thick of the battle, the young man said, “Comrades, behind us is the guerrilla base\and our beloved brothers\and sisters. If we fall back a single steprom here, we will have no right to live in this world as young Koreans. Let us hold out to the last, even though it costs our lives, even though our bodies are torn to pieces!”
The blocking party members, ablaze with hatred, fixed bayonets to their rifles in\order to fight hand to hand with the enemy. “13 bullets” was keen to fight in that way as well. But he calmed himself, in\order to carry out his assignment. This brave fighter, who had been criticized for his self-opinionated attitude\and adventurism, had grown into a seasoned commanding officer who could control\and regulate himself in bloody battles.
When we reached the valley with reinforcements, he was lying at the post with 13 shots in his body. Hence his nickname–“13 bullets.” Members of the blocking party had been wounded in seven, three\and two places. They were given the nicknames of “seven bullets,” “three bullets”\and “two bullets.”
The people in Wangqing called him “13 bullets” instead of his real name. I also called him by his nickname. Eventually his real name fadedrom the people’s memory. It is annoying that I cannot remember his real name. But I draw comfortrom the fact that the nickname he earned in the anti-Japanese war will have a more lingering effect on the minds of the readers than that his real name would have.
The battle became heavier as the days went by. People were evacuatedrom Xiaowangqing which had been reduced to ashes by the gunfire of the Japanese army to Shiliping. The enemy killed everybody who came into their sight–soldiers\and civilians, young\and old, men\and women. Hundreds of people were killed in Xiaowangqing during the winter “punitive” operations. When we were fighting in front of a lumber camp at Wucidao in Shiliping, a Japanese army unit, which had passed a sentry post disguised as refugees, fired a machinegun at the backs of people who were movingrom Macun to Dawangqing. This raid alone cost us scores of casualties. The enemy surrounded the village of Duchuanping in one night\and killed all the sleeping people with volleys of machinegun fire. The family of Paek Il Ryong, a secretary of a district committee of the youth association who was a skilled playwright, were all killed. A great number of children in Xiaowangqing were killed during the “punitive” operations of that year.
When the situation in the guerrilla zone was at its worst, the refugees in the valley of Lishugou numbered more than 1,500. The guerrillas went to indescribable lengths to evacuate them to Dawangqing. Sometimes the procession of refugees moving to Dawangqing would be cut to pieces by a surprise attackrom the enemy; then, they would wander about the woods the whole day trying to find one another. At that time I covered the evacuation of the revolutionary masses all day long, carrying babies in my arms. Other guerrillas, too, helped the old\and the sick, while carrying on fighting. This heartbreaking picture was the initial point of unity between our army\and people of today. It was a picture painted in blood\and tears.
When I look back upon the scene of that day as we took the refugeesrom Lishugou to Shiliping, I feel a lump rise in my throat.
Many of the refugees had not eaten cereals for 20 days because of the enemy’s “punitive” operation; they ate bean pods\and dried turnip leaves for their meals. In Shiliping for lack of cereals they boiled cowhides\and ate them.
If we show our younger generation the “foodstuffs” the people in the guerrilla zone ate during those years when they were too hungry to lift up their heads to see the sun in the sky, they will not be able to hold back their tears at the subhuman starvation their forerunners suffered.
Kim Myong Suk (from Yanji) lost her two children\and she herself came within an ace of death, for she had not yet recoveredrom the period of spring food shortage before the barley harvest. As she had not eaten anything for a whole week, she could not think of burying her children outside, even though she saw them starve to death with her own eyes; she lay in the hut without moving, for she had no energy to sit up. Her neighbours came\and managed to pull the bodies of her dead children awayrom the hut\and bury them in fallen leaves; they, too, had eaten nothing for a whole week\and were too weak to dig graves. When she ate boiled rice for the first time after her return to her liberated motherland, Kim Myong Suk wept, recollecting the spring famine in the guerrilla zone which deprived her of her two children.
In the Chechangzi guerrilla base there was a man who, in the battle at Yulangcun, had been wounded by eight machinegun bullets, his skull being split open to reveal his brain, but had miraculously survived. His tenacious grasp on life earned him the nickname of “eight bullets.” Later he, too, died of starvation while working in the government office at Dongnancha. On his deathbed, he said, “If I had died when I was wounded eight times, I could have been remembered as a hero. How lamentable it is to die here of hunger!”
The enemy besieged the guerrilla zones\and starved the people to death\or drove them out to freeze to death.
The Korean people endured unbearable trials in those years. The sacrifices imposed upon them still rankle as unhealed wounds in the heart of our nation.
The rulers of Japan are under a moral obligation to reflect upon the crimes they have committed in Korea\and Manchuria. Repentance implies neither shame nor humiliation. It is a process of self-reform by means of reason in the effort to approach perfection. They may close their eyes, but time will never erase the facts of history. Japan must remember that her high rate of growth, the economic bed of roses in which she glorifies, is stained with the blood of the Korean nation. Japan, also, has experienced a national disaster in lives which were lost under foreign fire,\and her beloved daughters were raped by occupation troops, hasn’t she?
In spite of the heavy losses he suffered having invaded the guerrilla zone, the enemy tenaciously attempted to prolong the battle in\order to make us die of cold\and hunger, by denying us reinforcements\and fresh supplies of weapons\and provisions.
Effecting a decisive turn in the tide of battle was the only way we could save the army\and the people in the guerrilla zone. Striking the enemy hard\and harassing him behind his lines, together with continued efforts to destroy him within the defensive area was the only way we could save them.
Ever since my arrival in Wangqing, I had been opposed to the tendency that had restricted us to the defence of the guerrilla zone. In other words, my idea was to raid\and destroy the enemy by concentrating efforts when the enemy’s forces were dispersed,\and at the same time to disperse ourselves\and harass the enemy in many places behind his lines when he was already under concentrated attack. This was called the tactic of avoiding the enemy\where he was strong\and attacking him\where he was weak. Only then could we defend the guerrilla zone\and preserve our forces.
Most of the party cadres in the county\and east Manchuria, however, insisted that we should concentrate our efforts in defence when the enemy was attacking us by massing his forces against the guerrilla zone, to save the guerrilla zone\and the people.
These differences in opinions regarding a tactical issue resulted in a serious argument as to which of the opinions was in accordance with Marxist principles. They contended that my opinion was not an expression of Marxism but of escapism\and capitulationism, while I asserted the correctness of the tactic of harassing the enemy behind his own lines.
I said that our forces, no matter how concentrated, would never be equal to the enemy’s forces, so we should evacuate the population,\and leave only a part of the guerrilla force to shoot at chosen points, while the rest of us should disperse\and harass the enemyrom behind; for instance, ten guerrillas equipped with rifles could take 30\or 40 unarmed young men with them to strike at the enemyrom behind at his weak points, then they would be able to capture weapons\and provisions.
Many comrades judged the situation correctly\and supported me.
But some bigots would not listen to me. Boasting of seniority based on so-called activity, they said, “Young men should listen to experienced people. How is it conceivable for the army to leave the guerrilla zone when the enemy is falling upon us? This idea means deserting the people in\order to save the army.”
When the guerrilla zone had been reduced to ashes\and many people had been killed in a short space of time, I met Tong Chang-rong, Ri Sang Muk, Song Il\and other cadres of the ad hoc committee\and county party committee,\and insisted on conducting harassing operations behind the enemy lines.
“Things have reached a dead end. If we go on in this way, not only we, but also the people, will all be killed.\where can we retreat? If we retreat deeper into the mountains as we are doing now, there will be no houses\and no food in the forest. Retreat will get us nowhere. You seem to think that you\and the guerrillas can directly repulse the enemy, but that is hopeless. We should divide the guerrilla army into three\or four groups\and send them into the enemy-controlled area tonight. If we hit a few of the enemy’s basesrom behind, the ‘punitive’ forces will surely retreatrom Xiaowangqing.”
Hard battles were also being fought in other guerrilla zones in east Manchuria. The people in Hunchun were driven towards Jinchang\and Huoshaopu, the people in Wangougou were driven towards Dahuangwai\and Sandaowan,\and the people in Helong towards Chechangzi. Even when things had come to this pass, some of the leadership hesitated to make a decision.
So I asserted once again the idea of harassing the enemyrom behind\and declared that I would fight according to my own decision because the army was under my command. Then I assembled the guerrillas\and said, “We must not only hold on, but strike the enemyrom behind. Who will go to fight behind the enemy lines? Any of you who will follow me, come along! I don’t need many, only half of you,\and the rest must stay here to protect the people. Those who want to go with me, must break the siege tonight. If we break through, we’ll survive. If we attack the enemy bases\and strongpoints one after another, the people will spread the news. Then the ‘punitive’ forces which are attacking this valley will fall back, afraid of being destroyedrom behind.”
The guerrilla army was thus divided into two groups–one, under the command of Choe Chun Guk, defended Shiliping,\and the other, under my command, went to the enemy-controlled area. The YCL members evacuated 1,500 peoplerom the guerrilla zone to Luozigou.
We gave Choe Kum Suk the assignment of taking Tong Chang-rong, who was confined to his bed, towards Miaogou\and nursing him there,\and put all our food reserve in her knapsack. That was the last time I saw her.
That evening, in command of a detachment, I crawled through the line of siege\and penetrated deep into the enemy-held area. As we had expected, the area behind the enemy lines was almost deserted. When we entered a village near a certain town, the villagers were preparing their feast for New Year’s Day. They said they thought everyone in the guerrilla zone had been killed by the Japanese imperialist “punitive” forces,\and they were happy to see us; they treated us to rich festive food like dumplings\and millet cakes. That night Kim Saeng Gil, a guerrilla of O Paek Ryong’s platoon, nearly diedrom a belly-ache after eating 140 dumplings.
My men felt so tired the next morning that I posted a sentry\and let them sleep all day long. As they caught up on their sleep after shivering in cold without proper food\or rest for months, their faces were radiant.
We began striking at the enemy the very next day. Our tactic was to attack primarily the small bases of the “punitive” forces\and combine to attack considerably large bases.
We struck at the enemy first in Liangshuiquanzi, destroying a puppet Manchukuo army unit\and the self-defence corps,\and then fell upon the barracks of the Japanese consulate police.\and then, after a feinting manoeuvre far awayrom Liangshuiquanzi, we again raided an enemy convoy of trucks at Xinnangou, capturing a great amount of wheat flour\and munitions.rom there we slipped away to the mountainous area of Beifengwudong\and made preparations for a new battle. On the night of February 16, 1934, we eliminated most of the puppet Manchukuo army soldiers, policemen\and self-defence corps members in Beifengwudong,\and captured some of them.
After winning a victory there, we crossed the Beigaoli Pass\and advanced to Sidong; then we attacked the forest ranger base in Tonggol, killing\and capturing all the enemy at their barracks.
The final battle which made a decisive contribution to frustrating the enemy’s winter “punitive” operations was fought at Daduchuan, a site of strategic importance on the Tumen-Mudanjiang railway. Disguised as a “punitive” force, we raced over 25 miles of steep mountain pass by means of forced march, divided our force into three groups, stormed the police station\and the quarters of the self-defence corps\and set fire to the munitions depot.
After this battle the enemy began to lift the siege of the guerrilla zones\and retreated to the positionrom which he had started 90 days before. He could not eliminate the “scourge.” The “punitive” operations, which had threatened the very existence of the guerrilla zones for three months, had failed.
The battle in defence of the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone, which for convenience’ sake was called Operation Macun, ended in victory for us. This was a miraculous event which passed almost unnoticed on the outskirts of a world preoccupied with the assumption of office by Adolf Hitler, the trials at Leipzig\and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Soviet\union\and the United States. I greatly regret not being able to describe in vivid detail all the heroic efforts made by the defenders of the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone in the face of dire hardships.
We paid dearly for the victory. Hundreds of people lost their lives under the gunfire of the enemy. The loss of Choe Kum Suk\and Tong Chang-rong caused me bitter pain. Among all the people in the guerrilla zone who came running to greet us with tears on their faces as we returned in triumphrom behind the enemy lines, I could not see Choe Kum Suk, who cared for me as lovingly as if I were her own younger brother. The knapsack my\orderly carried for me contained a hand mirror I had obtained as a present for her. There were also several sacks of trophies for the members of the women’s association.
What harsh trials the members of the association had endured, shedding bitter tears as they defended the guerrilla zone that winter! How many meals they had cooked\and how much root of grass they had gathered! Two women, Hye Suk\and Yong Suk, lured the enemy who forced them to act as their guides to a place\where there were no guerrillas,\and caused him many problems before being killed. By shouting out that the enemy was coming, Choe Chang Bom’s aunt lured towards her enemy troops who were crawling up the cliff on which the guerrilla command post was located. These were patriotic woman martyrs in the modern war against the Japanese, just as Kye Wol Hyang6\and Ron Kae7 had been in the war against the Japanese invaders in the Middle Ages.
My gift to beloved Choe Kum Suk had come too late. The enemy had deprived of me the only woman I ever called “sister”\and felt so attached to in my whole life, the woman who used to say she would not die\and was more concerned for my safety than her own when I said that both of us must fight on\and live to see the liberation of the motherland.
The death of Tong Chang-rong was also a heartbreaking loss to me. He was one of the most unforgettable of the Chinese comrades-in-arms who had taken loving care of me\and respected my ideas. We had frequently argued about important matters concerning political lines. As he was somewhat obstinate, we had now\and then failed to reach an agreement, but such differences had not affected our friendship. He had always respected me, saying that I was the only man in whom he could place his trust among the Koreans.
After the battle at Daduchuan we withdrew in the direction of Yaoyinggou,\and then returned to Macun,\where we reviewed the defence of the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone. The people who had returnedrom evacuation were building their houses on the ashes.
An old man told me he was building his house for the 70th time since he came to the guerrilla zone–such was the vital energy of the people in Jiandao who had decided to live in the guerrilla zone no matter\where,\and die there should they have to die.
But for the assistance\and support of such people, our guerrilla army would not have succeeded in defeating the enemy’s large-scale “punitive” operations. The victory of Operation Macun was the result of unity between the army\and people\and of resistance supported by all the people. The fighting spirit with which we attacked the enemy in spite of all our disadvantages, as well as the protean tactics which, supported by that spirit, we ourselves evolved were the decisive factors in the victory of Operation Macun.
Throughout the whole of Operation Macun the spirit of the guerrilla zone was displayed, a spirit that had thrived\and soared aloft like giant trees on the soil of revolutionary power, on the basis of the unbreakable will\and mettle of our nation. This spirit enabled us to defend every inch of Xiaowangqing with our blood, with a strength which guns\and planes were unable to conquer.
Operation Macun proved to be a brilliant military, political\and moral victory for our revolutionary army, enhancing its military authority. In this battle we created a variety of new tactics, which served as the backbone of future guerrilla tactics,\and we laid the\organizational\and tactical foundations for the switch to large-force actions in the subsequent years. The Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army acquired rich experience which enabled us to repulse an enemy attackrom any quarter.
Operation Macun ensured the successful defence of Xiaowangqing, helped towards resolving the critical situation in the guerrilla zones in the neighbouring counties,\and made a great contribution to promoting the overall Korean revolution centred on the anti-Japanese armed struggle. The spirit of the heroic soldiers who held out against the American invaders on Height 12118 in the war in the 1950s was derivedrom the spirit of the guerrilla zones in the 1930s. We still maintain this spirit as we advance along the straight road of our own style of socialism within imperialist encirclement.
No force in the world can ever break the spirit which was born\and tried in the flames of the anti-Japanese war. As long as they possess this spirit, our army\and our people will continue to advance along the road of constant victory in the future.
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