Korean War (House Rules)

House Rules for Bethpage, Long Island, NY Gamer’s group

  • Repeated Reorganization Operations – Although the rules clearly state that a unit that undertakes a Reorganization operation does NOT become fatigued (see Section 10 on page 19), it was clearly not the intent of the designer to allow repeated Reorganization operations on the same unit (i.e. Break-down, Build-up, Break-down, etc.). House rule states that each unit can only be involved in ONE Reorganization operation per Action Phase.
    Normally, once the Chinese intervene, the UN player runs out of units more quickly than the Chinese player does, leaving the Chinese player free to maneuver unmolested at the end of the turn. The intent of this rule is to prevent the UN player from artificially delaying the commitment of his units until after the Chinese player runs out of non-fatigued units.
  • FEC Enhancement Restrictions – If a Far Eastern Command (FEC) American unit is completely surrounded by enemy Zones of Control, it may not receive the FEC Enhancement referenced in Section 13.3 on page 24. The unit may be enhanced during the first subsequent FEC Enhancement phase in which it is not completely surrounded. It’s seems unlikely that upgraded equipment and personnel would have been able to get through to totally surrounded units.
  • Chinese Initiative Period Restrictions – North Korean units in South Korea are NOT considered automatically in supply during the Chinese Initiative period (see Section 19.3 on page 38 of the rules). They must be able to trace a supply line of any length, uninterrupted by enemy units or zones of control, back to a CCF Placement hex (see “Placement of CCF Reinforcements” on page 37 of the rules, and the Terrain Chart on the map for more info on Chinese Placement hexes). This restriction applies only to NKPA units south of the 38th Parallel. The intent of this rule is to prevent NKPA units, left behind near or below the 38th parallel, from benefitting from a Chinese supply network that they clearly would not have had access to, particularly when surrounded by UN zones of control.


  1. After reading “This Kind of War” by T.R. Fehrenbach, I would like to offer my opinions on the “House Rules”

    FEC Enhancement Restrictions: Strongly Disagree – Reason, one of the main points T.R. Fehrenbach made in his book was the fact that U.S. Army forces became better fighters not because the received improved equipment, such as weapons and tanks which were mostly World War II vintage anyway, but because once the typical U.S. Army soldier realized he was not going to retreat and be able to leave the Korean Peninsula to the North Koreans, but had to stay and fight or die, the U.S. Army became tougher. Plus units will fight harder once they realize its fight or die or if there are surrounded, i.e. the 101st Airborne at Bastogne. Fehernbach made and excellent point by stating, the American Army always has to get its teeth kicked in before it fights back, he stated 1st Bull Run and Kasserine Pass as examples.

    Repeated Reorganization Operations: Slightly Disagree – Reason, once again Fehrenbach makes the case that the Chinese Army had no Air Force, no modern communications or no mechanized forces, the Chinese where unable to fully exploit their earlier success in November 1950. Once again even though the U.N. Forces were completely outnumbered, the Chinese were unable to bring or coordinate their forces to bring about crushing blow. Example some U.S. units were devastated while others only miles away were basically left unscathed. Fehrenbach, states that modern communications, such as radios and field phones helped preserve the U.N. Forces until they could regroup and form a firm defensive line and that the U.N. Forces were more flexible.

    Chinese Initiative Period Restrictions: Strongly Agree – Reason, it makes sense and could not find any historical evidence of North Korean units going on the offensive in these isolated areas. I am not saying it never happed, I am only saying I found no evidence of this fact.

  2. Brad, I think your argument for disagreeing with the FEC Enhancement Restrictions is valid, but I still have a real problem with allowing repeated Reorg operations. Although it makes sense within the context you describe, I can’t imagine the designer intended for the Reorg operation to be a stalling tactic, simulating the superior UN communications capability.

    Also think of the logistics involved in re-purposing three independently operating regiments into a coherent division (and, particularly, vice-versa). I recall, during my time in the military, conducting training operations at various levels (company, battalion, etc). The reason such training was even necessary is because moving from, let’s say, battalion-level combat operations to division-level is not as simple as flipping a switch. You’ll notice that the rules allow both US and ROK regiments to Build Up into divisions, but only US units may Break Down into component regiments. Among other considerations, breaking a division down into independently operating regiments or brigades would require competent leadership at multiple levels, And the designer probably didn’t feel that the 1950 ROK military was capable of such a reorganization under combat conditions.

    So, I could be persuaded to allow TWO Reorg operations per division (one Break Down, one Build Up) because changes in the tactical situation may legitimately warrant such activity. And note that, if you have 8 to 10 US divisions on the map, allowing two Reorg operations each does provide the US with a significant “stall” capability (although I still don’t think Reorgs should be used for that purpose).

    Thanks for your feedback. It made me think about things in ways that I had not considered before. I’ll have to read “This Kind of War” as well.


  3. Please read, it was one of the most, if not the most eye opening book I have ever read on any subject. Fehrenbach does something during this narrative that as a reader I have never experienced before. He puts you in the mind-set of the Pre-Korean War Army. We in the twenty-first century have the ability to take a backward glance and be a Monday morning quarterback, but after reading, “This Kind of War”, I was able to grasp the mindset of the average solider who was dumped into the fray in June and July 1950 and what happened to the U.S. Army to create such an environment for disaster. I would love to hear from you read the book, keep in touch and enjoy!


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