Weather

Korean Climate

Mean Temp 24.9°C 76.82°F at Taegu

Heavy Overcast

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

Korea Temps - 1950-1953 - Station 143 (Daegu)


Overview

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Johnson, MacArthur and Bradley in Tokyo

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On June 19th, John Foster Dulles, as the personal representative of Secretary Acheson, visited Korea. He had come to Tokyo to discuss a Japanese peace treaty with me, the framework of which I had submitted to Washington. In Korea, he apparently reversed the previous policy enunciated by the State Department, by stating his belief before the Korean legislature that the United States would defend Korea if she were attacked. It made me wonder just what was United States policy in Asia.

Dulles took a brief motor trip from Sŏul to the demarcation line between North and South Korea, and what he saw alarmed him not at all. He noted that the South Korean forces appeared quite ready if any attack should come from north of the border. With his tactical inexperience and possible lack of accurate information, Dulles clearly did not realize the inferiority in both troop strength and materiel of the forces he had seen in comparison with their Communist kinsmen above the 38th Parallel.

[note]

On June 17, 1950 very late in the day he told the South Korean National Assembly that the American people remained "faithful to the cause of human freedom and loyal to those everywhere who honorably support it." A new line had been drawn. Unfortunately, the language was imprecise, and Moscow, Peking, and P'yŏngyang, aware that the speaker's party was out of power in the United States, ignored the warning.[174]

[note]

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John Foster Dulles and Dean Acheson

Now Dulles, Acheson's personal envoy, was saying that it would. The Supreme Commander noted that apparently Dulles had "reversed the
previous policy enunciated by the State Department." [175]

[note]

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Statement by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, July 4,1950

Only one week before the events-on June 19-Mr. Dulles, adviser to the State Department, declared in the above-mentioned "National Assembly" of South Korea that the United States was ready to give all necessary moral and material support to South Korea which was fighting against Communism. These facts speak for themselves and need no comment. . . . The United States Government tries to justify armed intervention against Korea by alleging that it was undertaken on the authorisation of the Security Council. The falsity of such an allegation strikes the eye.

[note]

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Likewise, [showing close control by Moscow] the text of the appeal for peaceful unification issued by the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK to the National Assembly of South Korea on 19 June 1950 was first sent to Moscow for approval.[65]

In other words, that the North Koreans had their own goals, and were not simply “puppets” of Moscow in the Cold War sense of that phrase, does not mean that the Soviet Union did not attempt to control events in North Korea.

The orthodox/revisionist argument on the issue of Soviet control over client states is, at least in this case, a false dichotomy. As will be shown below, the North Korean leadership developed its own plans for the reunification of the country and it is clearly incorrect to suggest that the North Koreans attacked the South in June 1950 because Stalin ordered them to do so.

At the same time, however, revisionists are in error in attempting to make the case for North Korean agency by arguing that Moscow was not integrally involved in decision-making in P'yŏngyang. The Soviet leadership maintained close supervision over events in North Korea, and for political and material reasons, the DPRK could not implement its reunification plan without Soviet support. It was the intersection of Moscow’s and P'yŏngyang’s aims that produced the war in June 1950.

[note]

DPRK reiterates call for "peaceful unification through elections".

[note]

Army Policy

A report forwarded routinely on 19 June 1950, six days before the North Korean assault, provided Washington with strong evidence of an imminent enemy offensive-extensive troop movements along the 38th Parallel; evacuation of all civilians north of the parallel for two kilometers; suspension of civilian freight service from Wŏnsan to Ch'ŏrwŏn and the transportation of military supplies only; concentration of armored units in the border area; and the arrival of large shipments of weapons and ammunition. But no conclusions were drawn from these indications. [04-11]

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On the same day a report from General Willoughby in Tokyo concluded,

"Apparently Soviet advisers believe that now is the opportune time to attempt to subjugate the South Korean Government by political means, especially since the guerrilla campaign in South Korea recently has met with serious reverses." [04-12]

The Department of the Army G-2 protested charges made later that he had failed to interpret properly the information sent to him from the Far East Command. "An analysis of reports received by G-2, DA," General Bolling told General Collins, shows that all reporting agencies were aware of [04-the North Korean] capability to invade the Republic of Korea. There has been much publicity originating from Tokyo and quoting Willoughby that he had informed the Department of the Army that North Korean troops would invade South Korea in June. The statements made by Willoughby are correct in part, but he failed to indicate [04-in the publicity] his conclusions that definitely discount the report referred to. In short, there is no intelligence agency that reported a definite date for the opening of hostilities or stated that an invasion was imminent. In fact, the general tenor of reports indicated that the North Korean regime would continue to employ guerrillas and psychological warfare together with political pressure rather than resort to the overt employment of military forces. [04-13]

American intelligence failed to predict the time, strength, and actual launching of the attack because of reluctance to accept all the reports rendered by Koreans, a distrust of Oriental agents and sources, and a belief that the South Koreans were prone to cry wolf. Situations similar to that in Korea existed in virtually every other land area around the periphery of the USSR. Some appeared to be greater potential danger spots and diverted the focus of interest from Korea. Signs which marked the prelude of the North Korean attack had become accepted as routine communist activity. The increased troop movement and activity in North Korea in the spring of 1950 followed a pattern established by the communists in 1947 when they initiated an annual rotation of completely equipped units from the parallel. The forwarding of reports in a routine manner detracted from the significance of the data in many cases. [04-14]

In Congressional hearings immediately after the North Korean attack, Maj. Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, director of the Office of Military Assistance, was subjected to sharp questioning about the failure of the Department of Defense to anticipate the attack. Telling the Secretary of Defense of this experience, General Lemnitzer stated:

I believe that there are lessons to be learned from this situation which can point the way to better governmental operations and thus avoid costly mistakes in the future.... I recommend that ... a clear-cut interagency standing operating procedure be established now to insure that if (in the opinion of any intelligence agency, particularly CIA) an attack, or other noteworthy event, is impending it is made a matter of special handling, to insure that officials vitally concerned ... are promptly and personally informed thereof in order that appropriate measures may be taken. This will prevent a repetition of the Korean situation and will insure, if there has been vital intelligence data pointing to an imminent attack, that it will not be buried in a series of routine CIA intelligence reports. [04-15]

In the final analysis, the controversy over the intelligence failure in Korea is academic. The United States had no plans to counter an invasion, even had it been forecast to the very day. The only planned reaction was to evacuate U.S. nationals from the country.

[note]

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Current Capabilities of the Northern Korean Regime #172

[note]

Current Capabilities of the Northern Korean Regime, ORE 18-50, 19 June 1950

[note]

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19 June The Caroline Mars (JRM-2) completed the 2,609-mile flight from Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, to San Diego, Calif., with 144 men aboard for the largest passenger lift over the Pacific on record.

[note]


As for operational logistics planning—how to get supplies and equipment, once produced, from the United States to the troops in the theater—the failure of war planners to foresee the possibility of a North Korean invasion of South Korea meant that there was no war plan to form a basis for logistical planners. Presumably, then, there were no logistical plans for operations in Korea, and the literature reflects this presumption.

However, in a letter to the editor of Army, July 1985, Col. Donald McB. Curtis (USA, Ret.) claims that the plans division of G–4, Army General Staff, in the fall of 1948 initiated a series of strategic logistic studies that included one for an invasion of South Korea across the 38th Parallel. According to Curtis, he, as a member of the division’s strategic plans section, prepared a strategic concept that called for “a retreat to and defense of the Pusan perimeter, buildup and breakout, and an amphibious landing at Inch'ŏn to cut enemy supply lines.” The purpose of these strategic logistics studies, Curtis states, was to

“ascertain in advance what unusual logistic requirements could be expected in various potential theaters of operation.”[4]

Although he also states that other sections of the General Staff concurred in his strategic concept, he does not make clear whether special logistical support requirements were ever computed in conjunction with it. (His main concern is to challenge General MacArthur’s parentage of the idea for the Inch'ŏn invasion.)


A revision of the accepted wisdom that there were no logistical plans for the Korean War awaits a testing of Curtis’ claim through thorough archival research.

4 Curtis, Army, July 1985, p. 5 (emphasis in the original).

page 108

Prewar planning for the conduct of logistical operations in Korea, long thought to be a moot point because such planning had never existed,
now must be investigated to resolve Colonel Curtis’ claim of a 1948 strategic logistic study that envisioned war in Korea. This investigation would involve research in G–4 records in RG 319 and records of the Far East Command in RG 338.

[note]

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A United States intelligence agency on 19 June had information pointing to North Korean preparation for an offensive, but it was not used for an estimate of the situation. The American officers did not think an attack was imminent. If one did come, they expected the South Koreans to repel it. [03-7]

The South Koreans themselves did not share this optimism, pointing to the fighter planes, tanks, and superior artillery possessed by the North Koreans, and their numerically superior Army. In June 1950, before and immediately after the North Korean attack, several published articles based on interviews with KMAG officers reflect the opinion held apparently by General Roberts and most of his KMAG advisers that the ROK Army would be able to meet any test the North Korean Army might impose on it. [03-8]

[note]

After Truman had authorized MacArthur to use "any and all" ground forces at his command "subject only to requirements for safety of Japan," GHQ conceived a far more sophisticated - and yet more fantastical - plan to administer a quick and cheap coup de grace to the NKPA. In addition to the two American divisions that would be deployed into the teeth of the onrushing NKPA per the original plan, a third division would land amphibiously behind the NKPA at Sŏul's cramped seaport, Inch'ŏn. This amphibious landing would sever the NKPA line of communications and "trap" it between American "pincers."[1]

Contrary to later descriptions, Inch'ŏn was neither a "brilliant" nor an extraordinary concept. It could be classified as standard Army doctrine for peninsular warfare, wherein an overextended enemy force, lacking air and sea power, becomes ever more vulnerable on its flanks. It was doctrine that in World War II led to Allied landings first at Salerno, then at Anzio during the peninsular campaign in Italy. The Pentagon, which produced war plans for every conceivable contingency, had only recently (June 19, 1950) approved and distributed a plan known as SL17, which assumed a NKPA invasion, a retreat to and defense of a perimeter at Pusan, followed by an amphibious landing at Inch'ŏn. Its author, Donald McB. Curtis, later remembered that in the "week of June 26, 1950," GHQ "urgently requested" fifty copies of SL17, and he asserted that "this is where General MacArthur got his idea for the Inch'ŏn landing. "[2]

The grand plan (Operation Bluehearts) as conceived by Ned Almond and the GHQ staff was as follows. The 24th Infantry Division, based on the southernmost Japanese home island (Kyushu) that was closest to South Korea, would go into battle first. It would land at Pusan about July 2, then proceed immediately toward Suwŏn to block the NKPA drive down the western sector of the peninsula and provide inspiration for the routed ROK Army in that area. The 25th Division would follow immediately and deploy in the center of the peninsula to backstop and inspire the ROK forces in that area. The 1st Cav Division would carry out the amphibious landing at Inch'ŏn about July 20. While the 1st Cav was landing at Inch'ŏn the 24th Division would attack north, closing the pincers.[3]

Donald McB. Curtis,SL17 Inch'ŏn.

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Casualties

Monday June 19, 1950 (Day -6)

Korean_War 0 Casualties

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous
Losses
To Date

Aircraft Losses Today 000

Notes for Monday June 19, 1950

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