The Battle of Chosin Reservoir was a brutal 17-day battle of the Korean War, fought over the roughest terrain under the harshest winter weather conditions of the war. Allied troops were encircled and attacked by enemy forces but were able to break out and inflict crippling losses on the enemy. A cold front from Siberia had descended over the Chosin Reservoir and the temperature plunged to as low as −35 °F. The freezing weather resulted in frostbite casualties, icy roads, and numerous weapon malfunctions. Medical supplies froze, morphine syringes had to be defrosted in a medic's mouth before they could be injected, and frozen blood plasma was useless on the battlefield. Cutting off clothing to deal with a wound risked gangrene and frostbite. Batteries for the vehicles and radios did not function in the freezing weather and quickly ran down. The lubrication in the guns gelled and rendered them useless in battle. Firing pin springs and operating rods froze and jammed. Refer to the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chosin_Reservoir for details on the battle and the heroism and hardships of “The Chosin Few”. Although we won’t get anywhere close to the miserable conditions they experienced during the battle, this match honors their service and sacrifice.
Sanner’s Lake Frozen Chosin Match Report
The day started under gloomy skies as frozen slush began accumulating on the range...but that didn’t stop a dedicated band of shooters from attending the fifth annual Frozen Chosin match at Sanner’s Lake. Quite an assortment of vintage rifles and carbines populated the line in honor of the service and sacrifice of those who endured the hardships of the Korean War, and the precipitation stopped just long enough to get both match relays completed. Just as the guns fell silent the icy rain started falling again…a fitting way to end the match.
The majority of rifles on the line were (appropriately) classic US M1 Carbines followed by an evenly mixed assortment of ’03 Springfields and M1 Garands. The Commonwealth Nations joined the fray with a Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I, and the battled was rounded out with a pair of enemy Mosins along with an obscure SVT-40.
The old warhorses performed well, although there were a few casualties along the way. Most problems were resolved quickly but more serious problems bucked a shooter or two off the line and depot-level maintenance will likely be required for those old girls. Nonetheless, serious scores were put down and after the last shots were fired and the scores were tallied it was Joe Mu and his ’03A3 Springfield taking the top spot with a record-breaking 275-4X score. It was a close battle, though, as James B and his Garand kept the race tight, nabbing second with a strong 271-0X. Jake S and his No. 4 Enfield cemented the victory for the Allies and preserved the honor of the Commonwealth Nations as he grabbed third place with a solid 263-2X. Right below them the battle of the M1 Carbines was raging with John C squeaking out the win by just two points with a 257-4X over Dick C and his 255-1X, and the battle was similarly tight amongst all the other Carbines, a testament to the accuracy and consistency of the rifles (and their trigger operators)! See the match report for all the details.
Thanks to everybody for coming out and helping to maintain the memory of our nearly-forgotten soldiers, the battles they fought, and the firearms they used. Be sure to wipe down your rifle, keep it well-lubed and happy, and be sure to join us at future vintage rifle matches at Sanners.
Style points for the bayonet:
Battle Damage Assessment:
- M1 Carbines are the focus of the match, but any centerfire rifle or carbine used in service during the Korean conflict is acceptable.
- Refer to the Korean War Weapons Wikipedia page for details. If it’s on the list and legal for use at SLSC, bring it!
- Rifle must be configured as it was used in service, i.e. no sporter modifications, aftermarket precision sights, bedded stocks, etc. are allowed.
- Modern replicas (e.g. James River M1 Carbine) or semi-automatic variants (e.g. Auto-Ordnance Thompson, Ohio Ordnance Works BAR) are acceptable.
- No mounted optics or bipods. Shooting mats and slings are acceptable.
- Attire should be appropriate to the weather (period correct preferred!). No custom shooting jackets or specialized gloves.
- Ammo: 30 rounds ammunition plus sighting/backup rounds
- Other: Spotting scope (optional, but helpful), shooting mat (optional)
- Open to the public. Non-members contact match director for gate access.
- The colder the better. Rifle and equipment should be properly cold soaked on the line prior to shooting. Only historically accurate methods may be used to unstick frozen equipment!
- Rifle type and caliber will be listed in match results. The more interesting and unique, the better!
Course of Fire Details
- NRA SR-1 targets at 100 yards.
- Sighting shots: As many as needed in 10 minutes
- Prone slow fire: 10 rounds in 10 minutes
- Prone rapid fire: 10 rounds fired in two 5 round strings, 30 seconds per string. Loading and reloading will be off the clock.
- Standing: 10 rounds in 10 minutes
- Thirty shots total for score
- 100 points possible for each string, 300 points total.
- Shooters ranked by highest combined score.
- Ties broken by X's, then by highest individual string, then by fewest hits of lowest value.
- Each string of 10 shots will be shot on a separate target.
- Point value of the ring for each shot will be totaled (maximum of 100 per target).
- Number of X's will be noted.
- Holes touching a higher value ring are given the higher value.
- Firing fewer than required number of shots will be scored as misses.
- Firing more than the required number of shots and more than 10 hits are on the target, with no cross firing evident, the 10 hits of the lowest value will be recorded for that string.