Not trying to restart an old thread but...
Recently finished East of Chosin by Roy Appleman, which lays out how Task Force Faith was destroyed, and I highly recommend it. It’s a compelling read that never gets mired in a small battle’s details (while providing plenty of them).
More importantly, it’s a case study of the complete failure of an entire chain-of-command, from Corps down to squad-level (and a case study of how in a severe crisis some leaders step up while others disappear).
The book also makes it clear that TF Faith’s destruction wasn’t inevitable. Tragic.
East of Chosin SPOILER ALERT
Examples of TFF’s leadership failure, from the top, bottom, and middle parts of the chain:
1) The day before the attempted breakout a tank unit that had been so far unmolested by the Chinese was withdrawn from a key spot along the breakout route, since the general who issued the order didn’t see the need to endanger men for a regiment that he already assumed was lost. The next night the breakout attempt ended at that spot, now a strong Chinese fireblock.
2) During breakout afternoon the vehicle column (all the vehicles were carrying wounded) was stopped for several hours by fire from a road fireblock and the prominent hill above it. Groups (at this point not units) spontaneously organized by small unit leaders several times attacked up the hill and cleared it, but those leaders couldn’t get any of the groups to attack back down the hill to clear the road fireblock, or to stay on the hill, and instead all of the groups continued over the hill to escape to the reservoir’s ice (with most of the leaders going with them). Each time the Chinese reoccupied the hill.
If the vehicle column had made it to the fireblock described above in 1) in daylight, it might’ve been possible to destroy the fireblock with air strikes.
3) Early in the breakout attempt, before unit cohesion totally broke down and before the breakout was under the kind of pressure that led the groups described in 2) above to fight their way to the ice, the rear guard company abandoned the vehicle column and took (not fought) to the ice.