Overview

Date & Time

All dates and times are given as local Korean date and time. That means one 24 hour day in this war would actually last about 38 hours. When it was midnight June 25th in Korea it was only 10:00 AM in Washington D.C. and there were 14 more hours left in the day of 25 June as seen from there. When given the precise hour and the longitude of an event I've shown the event in the time zone that is appropriate as seen from Korea. Therefore for example while the presentation of the 82nd Resolution of the United Nations occurred at 2:00 PM June 25th at Lake Success, New York, it simultaneously occurred at 4:00 AM the next day, the 26th, in Korea.

This "extra long day" marvel is more prevalent in the first few days of the war, than later as the urgency of correspondence between Korea and Washington became less and less demanding. Regardless I've maintained the time line separation as on occasion the distinction is necessary.

Weather

Korean Climate

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

Korea Temps - 1950-1953 - Station 108 (Sŏul)

Mean Temp 23.7°C 74.66°F at Sŏul today, there was scattered rain, with a heavy overcast that burned off about noon.


American Caesar

June 25, 1950 0400

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Today, Sunday 25 June 1950, at 0400 local Korean time, the North invaded the South in what was to become the Korean War, or Harry Truman's Korean Police Action, or The Forgotten War. Regardless the name, it had been seen coming, it was inevitable. Either the South would invade the North, in an attempt to unify the country under a democratic form of government, or the North would invade for the purpose of unification under a communist government. The North had the Russian's as their benefactors, and received both military training and equipment, the South on the other hand had the United States and the U.S. didn't want the South invading the North so they provided limited "police" training, and antiquated equipment, totally inadequate for offensive action and of limited value in the defense.

The North Korean People's Army was commanded by General Chai Ung Jun and consisted of several divisions with about 5,000 to 10,000 men in each, and several independent regiments, brigades and constabulary units from 1,000 to 5,000 men. Not counting the few units that were held in reserve, the entire invasion was conducted by between 90,000 to 110,000 men with over 100 Russian T-34 tanks and various Russian aircraft.

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[note]

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June 25 - Early morning - North Korean People's Army under General Chai Ung Jun, invades South Korea with seven assault infantry divisions, a tank brigade and two independent infantry regiments. United Nations Security Council resolution calls for an end of aggression from North Korea.

[note]

June 25, 1950

But first, how did this situation come to be, only five years removed from the second world war? One need go back to the turn of the century when Japan had won its brief war with China to see why Korea was even in play. China after all had controlled Korea for over 200 years, and when Japan got kicked out following WWII, Mao just may have wanted it back.

The cold war, provides yet another clue as to what was happening in the world, at the time. Stalin had Truman jumping hoops all over the world, in the

The world was in flux, and for the most part dancing to Uncle Joe's tune.

For an accounting of the preceding 150 years, please follow this link:

Background on the lead-up to the Korean War.

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June 25, 1950

This particular Sunday the return from wince they came did not happen exactly as expected. In Tokyo when of the SCAP staff learned from Edith Sebald that something was amiss in Korea, he quickly passed the word to General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur, who was quartered at the Dai Ichi Life Insurance building. The General had gotten the word from General Ned [Edward M.] Almond about two hours after the attack began [about 6AM]. FEAF would not learn of it for another three and three quarter hours. It would not be until 11:30 AM that the whole of FEAF was notified of the incursion. In the mean time the General of the Army wanted to be alone with his thoughts. Being so early his wife came in and ask if everything was all right. He told Jean the news, then his dog Blackie came by followed by Arthur his son. The General continued to ponder the situation, which he likened to Sunday morning eleven years previous. Larry Bunker the Generals aid though he had shad ten years from his countenance when latter he saw him.

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Because the enemy had attacked on a Sunday, telephone circuits between Tokyo and Sŏul were closed. As a consequence, most SCAP staff officers were spared a rude awakening. It was a sunny, pleasant morning; the Huffs and several others were lounging beside the embassy swimming pool, enjoying it, when Edith Sebald arrived and mentioned casually that she had just heard about the hostilities on the radio.

Huff questioned her excitedly and rushed to tell MacArthur, but the General already knew had known, in fact, for hours. In the first gray moments of daylight a duty officer had phoned from the Dai Ichi:

"General, we have just received a dispatch from Sŏul, advising that the North Koreans have struck in great strength south across the 38th Parallel at four o'clock this morning."

MacArthur, remembering Manila nearly nine years earlier, felt

"an uncanny feeling of nightmare. . . . It was the same fell note of the war cry that was again ringing in my ears. It couldn't be, I told myself. Not again! I must still be asleep and dreaming. Not again! But then came the crisp, cool voice of my fine chief of staff, General Ned [Edward M.] Almond, `Any orders, General?"'



Barring urgent developments, the Supreme Commander said, he wanted to be left alone with his own reflections. Stepping into his slippers and his frayed robe, he began striding back and forth in his bedroom. Presently Jean stepped in from her room.

"I heard you pacing up and down," she said. "Are you all right?"

He told her the news, and she paled. Later Blackie bounded in, tried to divert his master with coaxing barks, and failing, slunk off. Then Arthur appeared for his morning romp with his father. Jean intercepted him and told him there would be no frolicking today. MacArthur put his arm around his son's shoulders, paused, thrust his hands in the pockets of his robe, and renewed his strides.


His moods in those first hours of the new war were oddly uneven. At the prospect of new challenges, he became euphoric. George Marshall, during a recent stop in Tokyo, had thought that the Supreme Commander had

"aged immeasurably"

since their last meeting, but now Larry Bunker discovered him

"reinvigorated ... like an old fire horse back in harness."

Another aide believed the General had

"peeled ten years from his shoulders,"

and Sebald noted:

"Despite his years, the General seemed impatient for action."

Yet at the same time he appeared. to be trying to convince himself that there would be no need for action.

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June 25, 1950

acfae

Given the desire of the Truman administration to reduce the American military to a broken-token force, and the U.S. Air Forces belief that the next war would be an atomic action effected primarily by them against the U.S.S.R, an untrained, ill equipped and under strength United States military found themselves in a conventional war, 3,000 miles from home within 72 hours of the opening of hostilities.

[note]

June 25, 1950

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One year after the Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) had been lifted, and two months before the invasion, Kim Il Sung met with Stalin in Moscow in April 1950. During those negotiations, the leader of the USSR said that

"due to the changing international situation"

he would agree to the Koreans moving towards unification. In this, what was implied was that the final agreement to this question must be decided together with the PRC; if China did not agree, the decision must be postponed.

Kim had been pleading for approval of an attack plan on the south ever since the formation of North Korea. Exactly why Stalin decided to finally acquiesces to the request can be stated in a single word, China.

Stalin had just just concluded sticking his finger in Truman's eye over Berlin, while at the same time because of the 1947 Truman Doctrine the Greek Communist Party had failed in their attempt to take over the government there. So it was time to do something else, short of all out war.

[note]

So given the Soviet deep involvement in the action taken by Kim, why was the U.S.S.R. Ambassador to the United Nations absent today, and for that mater, why did it take the Foreign Ministry a week for Gromyko to make a formal reply to U.S. intervention.

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The Soviet reaction to the U.S. intervention in Korea in June 1950 and the pattern of subsequent Soviet intervention in the war also indicate that Stalin was surprised and alarmed by the U.S. response and extremely reluctant to confront the United States militarily over Korea.

First, the Foreign Ministry had no reply to an American intervention prepared by June 25. Gromyko sent the first draft of the Soviet statement on the American intervention to Stalin on July 2, a full week after the beginning of the war.

Second, Soviet authorities immediately took steps to avoid engaging the American forces. On June 26, Soviet ships that had sailed from Dairen were ordered “to return to their own defense zone immediately” and throughout the war Soviet naval vessels stayed clear of the war zone.

Third, in an attempt to distance itself from the conflict, the Soviet government refused to approve the fervent requests of Soviet citizens of Korean nationality to join their fellow Koreans in defending their homeland against “the barbarous attack by the American imperialists.”

Finally, when the course of the war turned against the DPRK in the wake of the American landing at Inch'ŏn, the Soviet Union refused to intervene in order to defend its client state.

When Stalin at last sent military forces to Korea he did so only in support of Chinese forces, to whom he was bound by a mutual defense treaty. After first backing down from his promise to Mao to provide air support for Chinese troops crossing the Yalu, Stalin finally sent two air force divisions to defend the Yalu river bridges in November 1950,

[note]

June 25, 1950

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It is clear, therefore, that Stalin’s support of the North Korean plan to reunify the country through a rapid military assault on the South was not given in order to test American resolve. Just the opposite was true; it was only given after Stalin was persuaded that the action would not risk conflict with the United States. The question then remains, why did Stalin take this risk, which was such a sharp departure from his earlier cautious policy in Northeast Asia?

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We see, first of all, that Soviet officials were well aware that conflict was likely to break out at any moment between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea. The Foreign Ministry received a steady stream of reports of South Korean officials’ frequent declarations of their readiness and determination to reunify their country through military force.[82]

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Moscow also received reports of troop movements and fighting along the 38th parallel.[83]

Stalin’s support of Kim’s plan to initiate this war could thus be seen as a preemptive strike, an attempt to make use of a temporary advantage in “the correlation of forces” to resolve an inevitable conflict in a favorable way.

June 1950 was a propitious time for an attack on South Korea because earlier that year the military capability of the DPRK had been significantly enhanced by the return to North Korea of 14,000 Korean communists who had fought with the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese civil war.[84]

The example of the CCP’s victory in its struggle against another unpopular, reactionary regime supported by the United States also strengthened morale among North Korean communists, encouraging them to believe that they would be similarly victorious.[85]


However, the factors stated above were not strong enough to overcome Stalin’s fear of directly confronting the United States.

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We know from the example of the Greek civil war, among others, that at this time Stalin was quite willing to allow a foreign communist party to lose its bid for power if he concluded that Soviet interests would be harmed by direct involvement in the conflict.[86]

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Stalin’s decision to support the risky venture in Korea must therefore have been motivated by significant strategic concerns. The documents that will provide conclusive evidence of Stalin’s motives have not yet been declassified, but from information gained from recently published memoirs, it appears that Stalin’s insecurity about his relations with Mao Zedong and about Soviet relations with the PRC led him to approve Kim Il Sung’s reunification plan.

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As is well known, since the mid 1920s Stalin’s policies toward the Chinese Communist Party had done more to hinder CCP victory than to aid it. In June 1949 Stalin admitted as much to the CCP delegation in Moscow.[87] That Mao achieved victory on his own, combined with the size and importance of China, gave him a much stronger position vis-à-vis Moscow than that of any European communist leader.

Speaking to Liu’s delegation in Moscow in 1949, Stalin spoke of

“the fact that the Soviet people and the peoples of Europe should learn from your experience. . . . Owing to the arrogance of the leaders of the revolutionary movement in Western Europe, the social democratic movement in the West began to fall behind in its development following the death of Marx and Engels. The center of the revolution moved from West to East, and now it is moving to China and East Asia. . . . It is possible that in comprehending general problems of Marxist theory, we, the Soviet people, are somewhat stronger than you. However, with regard to the application of Marxist principles in practice, we can learn from the great amounts of experience you possess.”[88]



Stalin even went so far as to state that the CCP should not subordinate itself to the CPSU and should not join the Cominform, but instead should form an alliance of East Asian communist parties.[89]

According to the memoir of Mao’s interpreter, Stalin told Liu Shaoqi that

“he hoped to see the Chinese and the Soviets divide their spheres of responsibilities within the international communist movement. . . . As the Chinese had greater influence upon colonial and semi-colonial countries in the East, it would be easier for China to help promote Eastern revolution than for the Soviet Union.”[90]


These statements should not be taken at face value, of course, but they do indicate that in 1949-50 Stalin was involved in a delicate power game with Mao. As Stalin’s representative in China, I.V. Kovalev, put it,

“at the end of 1948, when the prospects of a military victory of the CPC [Communist Party of China] finally became clear, both leaders in all likelihood understood completely that they would have to meet in order to work out a mutual agreement regarding their relations. From this moment on there began a process of mutually active shifting and probing of each other’s positions on key questions.”[91]

Stalin’s humiliation of Mao upon the latter’s arrival in Moscow in December 1949, leaving him in isolation and refusing to see him for the first month of his visit,[92] also testifies to this power play. This was classic “strong man” posturing toward a potential rival; its purpose was to leave no doubt as to who was in charge.


Stalin’s relationship with Mao affected his decision regarding Korea because if Stalin were to refuse to support Kim Il Sung’s perfectly reasonable goal of reunifying his country, which was comparable to what Mao had just accomplished in China, then Stalin would again be open to the charge of hindering the cause of revolution in the East. His position as the leader of the communist camp would be weakened while the authority and prestige of Mao, to whom Kim would obviously turn and who had a blood debt to support the Korean communists, would rise.

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More important than the above concern, however, was apparently Stalin’s fear that the PRC would not long ally itself with the Soviet Union. A Russian scholar who has seen the relevant documents has recounted to me that Stalin calculated that even though the United States might not defend the ROK, once it lost South Korea it would not then allow itself to suffer the additional loss of Taiwan. The United States would move in to protect Chiang Kai-shek, thereby preventing a rapprochement between the US and the PRC. Mao would thus be forced to continue to turn to the Soviet Union for economic and military aid. We can test this explanation of Stalin’s motives only after the 1950 documents have been declassified, but from what is now known, it appears quite plausible. Stalin knew the Soviet Union could never match American terms for aid; Soviet negotiations with the PRC over the agreements signed in February 1950 had been as much a matter of haggling over every penny as had been the negotiations with the DPRK,[93] and the pact ultimately concluded was on terms economically unfavorable to the PRC.[94] Stalin knew that Mao had both political and economic reasons for turning away from an alliance with the Soviet Union, and preventing the huge communist state in East Asia from becoming independent of Moscow would have been a sufficiently strong motive for the Soviet leader to risk approving military action in Korea.


In conclusion, although many questions about Soviet policy toward Korea from 1945-1950 remain unanswered, the evidence now available indicates that the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950 was not the result of Soviet determination to expand the territory under its control, and it was certainly not the opening salvo in a broader Soviet attack on the American sphere of influence. From 1945 to early 1950, Moscow’s aim was not to gain control over the Korean peninsula. Instead, the Soviet Union sought to protect its strategic and economic interests through the traditional Tsarist approach of maintaining a balance of power in Korea. However, in the context of the postwar Soviet-American involvement on the peninsula, such a balance could only be maintained by prolonging the division of the country, retaining effective control over the northern half.

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The North Korean attempt to reunify the country through a military campaign clearly represented a sharp departure from the basic Soviet policy toward Korea. The initiative for this departure came from P'yŏngyang, not Moscow. In the spring of 1950 Stalin approved Kim’s reunification plan and provided the necessary military support, but only after repeated appeals from Kim and only after having been persuaded that the United States would not intervene in the conflict. Conclusive evidence of Stalin’s reasons for finally supporting the North Korean reunification plan has not yet been released, but it appears that Stalin’s motive may well have been to tie the Chinese communists more firmly to the USSR, to prevent a rapprochement between the PRC and the United States. If this interpretation is correct, it means that it was Soviet weakness that drove Stalin to support the attack on South Korea, not the unrestrained expansionism imagined by the authors of NSC-68.

[note]

Army Policy

June 25, 1950

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The approximate strength of the General Reserve on 25 June 1950 stood at 140,000. One month later only about 90,000 men and officers remained. Of this number, 15,000 were employed in essential operations at posts, camps, and stations in the United States. Not only had the General Reserve lost 50 percent of its units, but also levies for replacements and specialists had reduced most remaining units to cadre strength. Only the 82nd Airborne Division, the 3rd Cavalry, and certain antiaircraft artillery units retained immediate combat potential. Yet General MacArthur's calls on the General Reserve continued unabated.

His requirements exceeded the 50,000 men already sent and he had asked for 32,000 more by 25 July. The strength levels of the Reserve kept dropping steadily.

By 6 August the total infantry strength in the Reserve had fallen to 40,000. [07-12]

[note]

Ebb and Flow

June 25, 1950

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The North Korean invasion of the republic on 25 June 1950 and the inability of South Korean forces to check it prompted an abrupt reversal of the American position. Behind the change was a belief that the invasion was not simply an extension of a local jurisdictional dispute but a break in the wider cold war. Viewing the attack in this light, President Harry S. Truman and his principal advisers concluded that it had to be contested on grounds that inaction would invite further armed aggression, and possibly a third world war.

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The immediate American response was to label the invasion as a threat to world peace before the United Nations. This step was not taken primarily to produce troop and materiel support, although such support was forthcoming. The ease and speed with which the North Korean invasion force was driving south made clear that there was not enough time to assemble a broadly based U.N. force.

Only the United States could commit troops in any numbers immediately, these from occupation forces in Japan. Nor were North Korean authorities, who anticipated a quick victory, expected to submit to U.N. political pressure. Rather, the United States sought the moral support of the United Nations and the authority to identify resistance to the North Korean venture with U.N. purposes.

Resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council on 25 [Res-82] and 27 [Res-83] June 1950, worded almost exactly as American representatives offered them, gave the sanction and support desired.

[note]

Federation of American Scientists

June 25, 1950

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THE North Korean People's Army (NKPA) invasion of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on 25 June 1950 found the US armed forces in a deplorable condition with little conventional capability.

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The newly established United States Air Force had spent most of its limited budget on strategic nuclear systems, neglecting the tactical air forces.

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The Far East Air Force (FEAF), based in Japan, and its Fifth Air Force had conducted few joint exercises to practice air-ground coordination with the Eighth US Army in Korea (EUSAK).

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Within a month the NKPA drove the United Nations (UN) forces to a small perimeter around the port of Pusan. Despite the unprepared condition of the tactical air forces, air power prevented disaster and complete defeat of the UN forces during the initial NKPA invasion. Lt Gen Walton H. Walker, the commander of EUSAK at the start of the war, stated,

"If it had not been for the air support we received from the Fifth Air Force, we should not have been able to stay in Korea."3

While the USAF was a major factor in helping to ensure the independence of South Korea, there were numerous errors committed by the US forces, including the Air Force, that resulted in ineffective application of air power.

[note]

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June 25, 1950

Vandenberg would remember that most of the discussion at the Sunday [6/25/50 EST] meeting was speculation about whether the Soviet Union or China might take a hand in the fighting. There was no argument or discussion about the difficulties that were going to be involved if the poorly prepared American armed forces were ordered into combat. However, one thing was certain: Vandenberg knew and frequently told listeners that the US Air Force was on trial in Korea. Based on his wartime experience as a foremost tactical air commander, Vandenberg had an interesting view of the unitary nature of air power. He had hoped to rid the Air Force of the arbitrary separation of combat units into "tactical" and "strategic" forces. In Korea, strategic B-29 bombers were going to deliver the heaviest blows against the Communist invaders.

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At the outbreak of the war, General Headquarters (GHQ),

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US Far East Command (FEC), in Tokyo had no combat mission relevant to the Republic of Korea.

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The Far East Air Forces (FEAF) was geared for air defense provided by the Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces. FEAF had, however, managed to retain the Twentieth Air Force with one B-29 wing on Guam.

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This unit was the 19th Wing, and it was the only strategic wing not assigned to Strategic Air Command. In an expedited movement, the 19th Group's air echelon immediately moved to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, from which location an Army staff group in GHQ undertook to direct its employment in support of friendly ground forces in Korea.

The effort to manage the B-29's from GHQ as somewhat successful. For an initial strike, aircraft were loaded with fragmentation bombs and directed to hit Red aircraft at Wŏnsan. The strike was diverted to attack Han River bridges at Sŏul, where the frags were virtually useless. In the days that followed, the B-29 crews were ordered to search out and bomb enemy tanks. Another mission was ordered out to destroy bridges at coordinates on a supposed east coast rail line. This task was difficult since the rail line, though shown on a map consulted, had never been built. [note]

Forgotten Regiments of the Korean War

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After North Korea invaded the South on June 25, 1950, the U.S. Army committed its first divisions to battle by battalion. Their mission was to delay the enemy advance. The battalions usually fought alone, often without much artillery, heavy mortar or air support. troops of the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) easily flanked each American unit out of position within hours of contact.

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Far East Command (FEC)

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Far East Air Force

CINCPAC

CINCPACFLT

CINCFE

SCAP

CINCAFFE

CINCUNC

NAVFE

FEAF

JAPLOGCOM

SEVENTH FLEET

EIGHTH ARMY

FIFTH AIR FORCE

TF-90 PhibFE

TF-93 NavFor Philippines

TF-94 NavFor Marinas

TF-96 NavFor Japan

BOMBER COMMAND

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One man was in command in the Pacific, wearing four different hats, that was General of the Army Douglas Arthur MacArthur.

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  1. CINCFE - Commander in Chief Far East
  2. SCAP - Supreme Commander Allied Powers
  3. CINCAFFE - Commander in Chief Army Forces Far East
  4. CINCUNC - Commander in Chief United Nations Command

Army

Command Commanding Officer
Eighth Army Korean_War Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker
1st Cavalry Division Korean_War Gay, Hobart R.(Happy, Hap) MajGen
7th Infantry Division Korean_War Barr, David x. MajGen
24th Infantry Division Korean_War Dean, William Frishe(Bill) MajGen
25th Infantry Division Korean_War Kern, Joseph S. MajGen
Japan Logistical Command JAPLOGCOM

Air Force

Command Commanding Officer
FEAF - Far East Air Force Korean_War Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer
Fifth Air Force Korean_War Maj. Gen. Earle E. Partridge
Thirteenth Air Force Korean_War Maj. Gen. Howard M. Turner
Twentieth Air Force Korean_War Maj. Gen. Alvan C. Kincaid
Bomber Command Korean_War Established July 8, 1950

Navy

  1. CINCPAC - Commander in Chief Pacific
  2. CINCPACFLT - Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet
  3. NAVFE - Navy Far East
  4. Seventh Fleet Korean_War
  5. TF 90 - PhibFE - Amphibious Force Far East
  6. TF 93 - NavFor Philippines
  7. TF 94 - NavFor Marianas
  8. TF 96 - NavFor Japan

[note]

Task Force 90 (TF90) - Amphibious Force, Far East

Commanded by Rear Admiral James. Henry Doyle, USN had 5 vessels under his command, (see details).

Task Force 93 (TF93)

Task Force 94 (TF94)

Task Force 96 (TF96) - Naval Force, Japan.

Commanded by Vice Admiral Charles Turner Joy, USN had 6 Task Groups (TG) under his command, (see details).

[note]

CIA and Pictures

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[note]

The Flag of the United Nations

"The official flag of the United Nations, now flying with national banners over the U.N. armed forces in action to restore the peace in Korea, is shown in this photograph. The background color of the flag is the light blue associated with the U.N. since its early days, while the official United Nations seal in its center is in white." (Quoted from the original caption) Photograph is datelined New York, 1950.

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An aircraft maintenance crew of the U.S. Air Forces 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing in Korea, installation on one of the jet fighter planes.
United States Information Agency.

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Citations

Mohr, Gordon D. [1stLt SS KMAG]

South then North

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June 25, 1950

On 25 June the South Korean Navy consisted of a patrol craft (PC701) recently purchased in the United States from surplus vessels, 3 other similar patrol craft at Hawaii en route to Korea, 1 LST, 15 former U.S. mine sweepers, 10 former Japanese mine layers, and various other small craft. [02-31]

[02-31] Karig, et al., Battle Report, The War in Korea p. 68.

In June 1950 the ROK Army supply of artillery and mortar ammunition on hand was small and would be exhausted by a few days of combat. An estimated 15 percent of the weapons and 35 percent of the vehicles in the ROK Army were unserviceable. The six months' supply of spare parts originally provided by the United States was exhausted. [02-32]

[02-32] Rpt, USMAG to ROK, 1 Jan-15 Jun 50, sec. VI, pp. 18-22.

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The state of training of the ROK Army is reflected in the Chief of KMAG's report that a majority of the units of the South Korean Army had completed small unit training at company level and were engaged in battalion training. In summary, the North Korean Army in June 1950 was clearly superior to the South Korean in several respects:

In number of divisional artillery pieces, the North Koreans exceeded the South Korean on an average of three to one. [02-33]

[02-33] The maximum range off the Soviet artillery used by the NKPA Army in June 1950 was as follows:
122-mm. howitzer, 12,904 yards;
76-mm. SP gun, 12,400 yards;
76-mm. divisional gun, 14,545 yards.

The average North Korean division had
48 122-mm. howitzers,
76-mm. SP and non-SP guns;

the ROK division had 15 105-mm. howitzers M3.

The North Koreans had a small tactical air force, the South Koreans had none. In the North Korean assault formations there were 89,000 combat troops as against approximately 65,000 in the South Korean divisions. Also, North Korea had an additional 18,600 trained troops in its Border Constabulary and 23,000 partially trained troops in three reserve divisions. In comparison, South Korea had about 45,000 national police, but they were not trained or armed for tactical use. The small coast guard or navy of each side just about canceled each other and were relatively unimportant.

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The superiority of the North Korean Army over the South Korean in these several respects was not generally recognized, however, by United States military authorities before the invasion. In fact, there was the general feeling, apparently shared by Brig. Gen. William L. Roberts, Chief of KMAG, on the eve of invasion that if attacked from North Korea the ROK Army would have no trouble in repelling the invaders.

[note]

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Of the various factors contributing to the quick defeat of the ROK Army, perhaps the most decisive was the shock of fighting tanks for the first time. [The absence of air cover did not help either.] The North Koreans had never used tanks in any of the numerous border incidents, although they had possessed them since late 1949. It was on 25 June, therefore, that the ROK soldier had his first experience with tanks. The ROK soldier not only lacked experience with tanks, he also lacked weapons that were effective against the T34 except his own handmade demolition charge used in close attack. [03-65]

[03-65] On Friday, 30 June, the sixth day of the invasion, the first antitank mines arrived in Korea. Eight hundred of them were flown in from Japan. Crawford, Notes on Korea.

[note]

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The only responsibility that CINCFE had for Korea, was the save evacuation of American nationals, and embassy personnel should such an event materialize..

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Almost a year earlier, on 21 July 1949, an operational plan had been distributed by the Far East Command to accomplish such an evacuation by sea and by air.

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NAVFE was to provide the ships and naval escort protection for the water lift; the Far East Air Forces was to provide the planes for the airlift and give fighter cover to both the water and air evacuation upon orders from the Commander in Chief, Far East. [04-11]

[04-11] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. II, pp. 11-12.

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By midnight, 25 June, General Wright in Tokyo had alerted every agency concerned to be ready to put the evacuation plan into effect upon the request of Ambassador Muccio. [04-12]

[04-12] Ltr, Gen Wright to author, 12 Feb 54.

About 2200, 25 June, Ambassador Muccio authorized the evacuation of the women and children by any means without delay, and an hour later he ordered all American women and children and others who wished to leave to assemble at Camp Sobinggo, the American housing compound in Sŏul, for transportation to Inch'ŏn. [04-13]

[04-12] Ltr, Gen Wright to author, 12 Feb 54.

[note]

At the beginning of the Korean War, United States Army ground combat units comprised 10 divisions, the European Constabulary (equivalent to 1 division), and 9 separate regimental combat teams. [05-1]

[05-1] Memo from troop Control Br, DA, May 51, OCMH files.

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The Army's authorized strength was 630,000; its actual strength was 592,000. Of the combat units, four divisions-the 7th, 24th, and 25th Infantry Divisions and the 1st Cavalry Division (infantry)-were in Japan on occupation duty.

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Also in the Pacific were the 5th Regimental Combat Team in the Hawaiian Islands and the 29th Regiment on Okinawa. The divisions, with the exception of the one in Europe, were under-strength, having only two instead of the normal three battalions in an infantry regiment, and they had corresponding shortages in the other combat arms. The artillery battalions, for instance, were reduced in personnel and weapons, and had only two of the normal three firing batteries. There was one exception in the organizations in Japan.

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The 24th Regiment, 25th Division, had a normal complement of three battalions, and the 159th Field Artillery Battalion, its support artillery, had its normal complement of three firing batteries.

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The four divisions, widely scattered throughout the islands of Japan, were under the direct control of Eighth Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker.

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The 7th Division, with headquarters near Sendai on Honshu, occupied the northernmost island at Hokkaido and the northern third of Honshu.

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The 1st Cavalry Division held the populous central area of the Kanto Plain in Honshu, with headquarters at Camp Drake near Tokyo.

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The 25th Division was in the southern third of Honshu with headquarters at Osaka.

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The 24th Division occupied Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan, with headquarters at Kokura, across the Tsushima (Korea) Strait from Korea. These divisions averaged about 70 percent of full war strength, three of them numbering between 12,000 and 13,000 men and one slightly more than 15,000. [05-2]

[05-2] EUSAK WD, Prologue, 25 Jun-12 Jul 50, pp. ii, vi. The aggregate strength of the four divisions in Japan as of 30 June 1950 was as follows: 24th Infantry Division, 12,197; 25th Infantry Division,15,018; 1st Cavalry Division, 12,340; 7th Infantry Division, 12,907.
Other troops in Japan included 5,290 of the 40th Antiaircraft Artillery, and 25,119 others, for a total of 82,871.

They did not have their full wartime allowances of 57-mm. [M18 recoilless rifle (57mm)] and 75-mm. [M-20 Recoilless Rifle (75mm)] recoilless rifles and 4.2-inch mortars [M-2 4.2 inch Mortar & M-30 4.2 inch Mortar ]. The divisional tank units then currently organized had the M24 light tank. Nearly all American military equipment and transport in the Far East had seen World War II use and was worn.

June 25, 1950

In June 1950, slightly more than one-third of the United States naval operating forces were in the Pacific under the command of Admiral Arthur W. Radford. Only about one-fifth of this was in Far Eastern waters.

Vice Adm. Charles Turner Joy commanded U.S. Naval Forces, Far East. The naval strength of the Far East Command when the Korean War started comprised

1 cruiser, the USS Juneau (CLAA-119);

4 destroyers, the USS Mansfield (DD-728), USS De Haven (DD-727), USS Collett (DD-730), and USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729);

and a number of amphibious and cargo-type vessels.

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Not under MacArthur's command, but also in the Far East at this time, was the Seventh Fleet commanded by Vice Adm. Arthur D. Struble. It comprised

1 aircraft carrier, the USS Valley Forge (CV-45);

1 heavy cruiser, the USS Rochester (CA-124);

8 destroyers, a naval oiler, and 3 submarines.

Part of the Seventh Fleet was at Okinawa; the remainder was in the Philippines. [05-3]

[05-3] Memo, Navy Dept for OCMH, Jun 51.

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The Fleet Marine Force was mostly in the United States. The 1st Marine Division was at Camp Pendleton, Calif.; the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C. One battalion of the 2nd Marine Division was in the Mediterranean with fleet units.

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At the beginning of hostilities in Korea, the U.S. Air Force consisted of forty-eight groups. The largest aggregation of USAF strength outside continental United States was the Far East Air Forces (FEAF), commanded by General Stratemeyer. On 25 June, there were 9 groups with about 350 combat-ready planes in FEAF. Of the 18 fighter squadrons, only [5-4], those based on Kyushu in southern Japan, were within effective range of the combat zone in Korea. There were a light bomb wing and a troop carrier wing in Japan. The only medium bomb wing (B-29's) in the Far East was on Guam.

[05-4] Memo, Off Secy Air Force for OCMH, Jun 50. Other fighter squadrons were located as follows: 7 in the industrial area of central and northern Honshu, 4 on Okinawa, and 3 in the Philippines.

At the end of May 1950, FEAF controlled a total of 1,172 aircraft, including those in storage and being salvaged, of the following types: 73 B-26's; 27 B-29's; 47 F-51's; 504 F-80's; 42 F-82's; 179 transports of all types; 48 reconnaissance planes; and 252 miscellaneous aircraft. The Far East Air Forces, with an authorized personnel strength of 39,975 officers and men, had 33,625 assigned to it. [05-5]

[05-5] U.S. Air Force Operations in the Korean Conflict 25 Jun-1 Nov 50,
USAF Hist Study 71, 1 Jul 52, pp. 2-4.

Commanding the United States armed forces in the Far East on 25 June 1950 was General MacArthur. He held three command assignments and wore three hats:

(1) as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) he acted as agent for the thirteen nations of the Far Eastern Commission sitting in Washington directing the occupation of Japan;

(2) as Commander in Chief, Far East (CINCFE), he commanded all U.S. military forces-Army, Air, and Navy-in the western Pacific of the Far East Command; and

(3) as Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces, Far East, CINCAFFE he commanded the U.S. Army in the Far East.

[note]

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June 25, 1950

On the first day of the invasion, President Syngman Rhee, Ambassador Muccio, and KMAG notified United States authorities of the need for an immediate flow of military supplies into Korea for the ROK Army. [05-20] General MacArthur with Washington's approval, ordered Eighth Army to ship to Pusan at once 105,000 rounds of 105-mm. howitzer, 265,000 rounds of 81-mm. mortar, 89,000 rounds of 60-mm. mortar, and 2,480,000 rounds of .30-caliber ball ammunition.

[05-20] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in Korean War, ch. IV, p. 5.

[note]

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Darrigo was the same officer who had escaped from Kaesŏng at dawn, 25 June, when the North Koreans began their attack across the 38th Parallel. One who saw this courageous 30-year-old soldier when he arrived at Yŏnil [on 8/11] said he looked to be fifty. [18-17]

[18-17] Interv, author with Capt. Darrigo, 5 Aug 53; Darrigo, Korean Experiences, 1950, MS, copy in OCMH; New York Times, August 13, 1950, dispatch by W. H. Lawrence 12 August from Yŏnil Airfield: Newsweek, August 21, 1950, pp. 16-18, article by Harold Lavine in Korea.

[note]

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June 25, 1950
On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, touching off the Korean War. American wartime mobilization agencies, including the recently formed National Security Resources Board (NSRB), were dormant.

President Truman attempted to use the NSRB as the nation's military mobilization agency. The president quadrupled the defense budget to $50 billion, and the NSRB placed controls on prices, wages and raw materials.

Inflation soared and shortages in food, consumer goods and housing appeared.[3]

[3] Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954, 1998; Kaufman, The Korean War: Challenges in Crisis, Credibility, and Command, 1997; Pierpaoli, "Truman's Other War: The Battle for the American Homefront, 1950-1953," Magazine of History, Spring 2000; Vawter, Industrial Mobilization: The Relevant History, 2002.

[note]

The Forgotten War

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June 25, 1950

All that day, Sunday, [3-6/25 ] Washington planners and policymakers huddled in urgent conferences. These early discussions were influenced to no small degree by the Roberts-Muccio view that the ROK Army was the best army in Asia and could handle the NKPA. That belief was reinforced that day by a memo from Bradley to the JCS. During his recent trip to Tokyo he had spent nearly an hour on June 20 in conference with Lynn Roberts, who was in Tokyo on his way home to retirement. In this private soldier-to-soldier talk, Roberts had assured Bradley the ROK Army could "meet any test the North Koreans imposed on it." Bradley memoed the JCS for planning purposes:

"After my talk with General Roberts, I am of the opinion that South Korea will not fall in the present attack unless the Russians actively participate in the action.[3-12]

[3-12] A generals life

The confidence in the ROKs was reinforced by an urgent cable from John Muccio. Owing to the departure of Roberts (not yet replaced) and KMAG Chief of Staff W. H. Sterling Wright (in Tokyo, also preparing to go home), Muccio had assumed the role of military adviser to the ROK Army.

"Ammunition is critically needed," he wrote, "to meet situation. . . ."

He had simultaneously asked MacArthur to ship him a ten-day supply immediately and begged Acheson to "back up" his request. Not to do so would be "catastrophic," he went on, concluding on this upbeat note:

"I am confident that if adequately supplied, ROK security forces will fight bravely and with distinction.[3-13]

[note]

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June 25, 1950

Confidence in the ROK Army was further reinforced that day by MacArthur's G2, Charles Willoughby. It was contained in the first telecon between Collins and Ridgway in the Pentagon and Willoughby in Tokyo. When Collins and Ridgway queried Willoughby about the situation in South Korea, Willoughby conceded that it was a major NKPA invasion aimed at conquering South Korea but that the ROK Army was withdrawing with "orderliness," the morale of the South Koreans was "good," and the Rhee government was "standing firm." Nonetheless, Willoughby "said," GHQ was proceeding with a prearranged contingency plan to evacuate American personnel (women and children first) by ship from Sŏul's seaport, Inch'ŏn, with appropriate air and naval protection.[3-14]

This first telecon contained a historically fascinating sidelight. Without consulting Truman, that day both GHQ, Tokyo, and the Pentagon decided independently to respond affirmatively to Muccio's request for a ten-day supply of ammo for the ROK Army. When he received the request, MacArthur ordered his chief of staff, Ned Almond, to load two ships immediately. In the telecon Collins asked Willoughby if he was correct in assuming Tokyo was meeting Muccio's request. Willoughby replied: "We are meeting emergency request for ammunition." The two ships would be escorted by air and naval vessels. Thus the Pentagon and GHQ, Tokyo, had made the decision to project American military power into South Korea without presidential authorization.[3-15]

[note]

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June 25, 1950

The misplaced confidence in the ROK Army was even further reinforced later that day in a heroically optimistic cable from Muccio. He reported that while the "hard fighting ROK ground forces" had been surprised and "knocked off balance," they had "made a gallant comeback by midnight and seem to have stabilized situation." He went on to say:

"I can give assurances that Korean GIs have given extremely good account of themselves, and I am confident they will not be found wanting in the tests to come. But it is obviously essential that we give them not only adequate but sustained aid."[3-16]

All these misleading reports about the ROK Army caused the Pentagon initially to reach unrealistic conclusions on what might be needed to "save" South Korea. "Outside" ground forces would not be required; American air and sea power, backing the ROK Army, would be sufficient.

[note]

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June 25, 1950

Misled by Roberts and Muccio, MacArthur and his GHQ continued to take a casual view of the situation in South Korea. On the first day of the alert Acheson's special representative John Foster Dulles, who was in Tokyo working on the Japanese peace treaty and who had recently visited South Korea, called on MacArthur to express his concern. Curiously MacArthur told Dulles the exact opposite of what his G2, Willoughby, had told the Pentagon: that the NKPA attack was "not an all-out effort" to subjugate South Korea. He went on to assure Dulles confidently that the ROK Army "would gain victory." In a memo describing this encounter and his ensuing experience in Tokyo, Dulles wrote that two full days elapsed before GHQ realized the NKPA attack was "serious."[3-22]

[When did MacArthur first go to Korea?] June 28th

[note]

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Each and every one of us that served in Korea or Vietnam served under the total command of a Soviet General! Here are the names of the soviets and the dates they served as "Under-Secretary of the Security Council of the United Nations," thus the highest military commander of all United Nations fighting forces anywhere in the world, INCLUDING ALL MILITARY FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES. These names and information was obtained from the United Nations yearbooks up through 1983. Later yearbooks were not available. (All listed below are Soviet Generals holding the office of "Under-Secretary for Security and Political Affairs"):

1946-1949 Arkady Alexandrovitch Sobolev
1949-1953 Constantine E. Zinchenko
1953-1954 Dragoslov Protich
1958-1959 Antoly Dobrinin
1960-1962 George Petrovich Arkadev
1962-1963 Eugeny D. Kiselev
1963-1964 Vladimir Paulovitch Suslov
1965-1967 Alexel Efemovitch Nesternko
1968-1973 Leonid N. Kutakov
1973-1978 Arkadv N. Shevchenko
1978-1980 Mikhail D. Sytenko
1981-1983 Vlacheslav A. Ustinov
1988- Vasiliy Safronchuk

"The post for 'Political and Security Affairs' traditionally has been held by a SOVIET NATIONAL is Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General." [New York Times, May 22, 1963]

The Soviet Lt. General Alexandre Vasiliev, the Soviet Representative on the United Nations (Mini) Military Staff Committee from 1947 to January 1950, is the same General Vasiliev who took "a leave of absence from his United Nations job" and was PLACED BY THE SOVIET UNION AND RED CHINA IN COMMAND OF ALL CHINESE COMMUNIST TROOP MOVEMENTS ACROSS THE 38TH PARALLEL.

During the Korean "Police Action", Lt. General Vasiliev received all his military information and troop movements of all United Nations forces in Korea directly from his superior, Soviet General Constantine E. Zinchenko (see above, 1949-1953), who served as Under-Secretary of the Security Council of the United Nations in New York. ALL battle plans had to be APPROVED by him AHEAD OF TIME.

[note]

U.S. Air Force

 

 

biography

SUNDAY

25 June 1950.

Nagoya. Fine except showers. Hot. Skeet shooting in morning; five rounds for 116 out of 125. Made 1.00 on Howe.[2-Probably Col John D. Howe, 5AF deputy for operational engineering, later deputy chief of staff for services. ] Returned to learn of invasion of South Korea by North Korean Army. First news from Tucker about as follows: 1130 - trouble started (OSI [Office of Special Investigations] info) about 0400 local time.[3-Col Edwin L. Tucker had been 5AF assistant chief of staff since February 1948. In June 1950, he became 5AF acting vice commander and later became deputy vice commander for the 5AF Rear Echelon. FEAF Headquarters first learned of the invasion at 0945, when the OSI head in Seoul radioed the news. Although the North Koreans poured across the 38th Parallel in strength at 0400, it took the OSI and other agencies in Seoul almost five hours to verify that a full-scale invasion was taking place] By 0600, attacks had spread from west to east along 38th Parallel. Ongju under attack, Kaesong taken(?). Tanks used. Twenty boats employed to turn ends.[4-Only two to three miles south of the border, Kaesong fell quickly. “Ongju” probably refers to the Ongjin peninsula on the west coast. The North Korean “end-around” by a collection of junks and small boats took place near Samch’o k on the east coast.] 374th [Troop Carrier Wing] and 8th [Fighter-Bomber Wing] were alerted to implement FAF [Fifth Air Force] Ops Plan #4.[5-This operations plan detailed the procedures and equipment to be used for the evacuation of U.S. civilians and military personnel from Korea. (5AF Operations Plan No. 4, Mar 1, 1950, Change No. 1, Mar 23, 1950.) Additionally, 5AF was directed to increase its surveillance of the Tsushima Strait. (FEAF Opns Hist, 25 Jun- 31 Oct 50, Vol. I, p 19.) ] Reported this to Crabb[6-Brig Gen Jarred V. Crabb’s assigned job was FEAF deputy chief of staff for operations, a position he had held since June 1949, but at this time he was also acting as Vice Commander, FEAF. Crabb also served with 5AF in World War II. ] and told him of my intentions to remain in Nagoya, etc. Talked to Ted T[imberlake].

Returned from golf with Kay and Katy[7-Kay was Partridge’s daughter and Katy, his wife] to find call from Timberlake. Talked to him 1750.

Situation at Kimp’o reported through radio from tower to our ADCC [Air Defense Control Center].[8-An air defense control center was an air operations installation which, using radar and other early warning devices and facilities, provided aircraft control and warning, and also contributed and directed the active air defense in a given air defense sector.] Field surveyed by 2 Yaks about 1100. Attacked three times by single pairs of Yaks. We (MATS) [Military Air Transport Service] had a C–54 on ground with damaged aileron and it was destroyed by enemy action. Two other aircraft (one C–54 with aileron for one on ground and one B–17 with a special passenger) enroute to Kimp’o were recalled.[9-Located several miles west-northwest of Seoul, Kimp’o was the city’s main airport. The planes were identified as Yak–9s. The destroyed C–54 (from the 1503d Air Transport Wing) had been on a regular run to Seoul for the U.S. Embassy and KMAG. The plane had been damaged the day before when a Korean laborer drove a forklift into an aileron. Several of the venerable B–17s were still being used for VIP transport and search-rescue service. ]

War officially declared by North Koreans 1100. Conference at my house about 1900. Timberlake, Lt. Col. White (FEAF A-2), Simpson, Thompson, and Sheehan.[10-Lt Col John M. White, Jr.; probably Lt Col O’Wighton D. Simpson, 5AF deputy for intelligence; probably Lt Col Clyde A. Thompson, 5AF assistant deputy for operations. Sheehan has not been identified, but may have been one of Partridge’s aides. ] Reviewed situation.

We agreed FAF ready - must await instructions.

White expressed view that U.S. would abandon South Korea to Reds. I disagree. This line of action is unthinkable and I await with interest the policy of the U.S. JCS.

Arranged 1000 conference at FEAF for FEAF, FAF, FEAMCOM [Far East Air Materiel Command] and MATS.

News came later that General Stratemeyer will arrive Tokyo on 27th.

 

[note]

 

Enroute back to Tokyo after two weeks’ temporary duty in Washington, D. C. and landed at Hickam [AFB in Honolulu] when the news reached me that North Korea had declared war on South Korea as of 1100 hours that day.

Actually, North Korean forces had crossed the 38th Parallel as early as 0400 hours, 25 June, to take not only South Korea but the rest of the world by surprise.

Field intelligence had broken down somewhere and FEC had no forewarned knowledge of the massing of the estimated 200,000 troops nor their intent to cross the Parallel. Upon receipt of news of the civil war, I changed my plans to return direct to Tokyo via Wake instead of Okinawa.

[note]

 

FOR SEVERAL months before the beginning of armed hostilities in Korea the possibility that internal conflict on that troubled peninsula might develop into full-scale war was appreciated by American occupation forces in the Far East. Outbreak of war at the 38th parallel between the Governments of North and South Korea was preceded by five years of internal discord and ill will, combined with international indecision and disagreement. The explosive status of Korea was not new, for control of the peninsula had long troubled the history of the Orient. Korea had traditionally been a state subject to China, a relationship ended in 1894 by the Sino-Japanese war; after a short period of sovereignty, complicated by Russo-Japanese rivalries, Korea came increasingly under the influence of Japan, so that by 1910 she lost her independence in a formal Japanese annexation. After the Japanese had subjugated the peninsula and incorporated it into the economic system of the Empire, Korean refugee nationalists continued to hope for regained statehood.

At the Cairo conference, in November 1943, Korean independence was established as one of the war objectives of the Allies, and the 38th parallel was subsequently established as a temporary line of demarcation between United States and Russian zones of occupation in Korea, a line supposedly useful only to the administration of the Japanese surrender. After World War II ended, representatives of China, Russia, Great Britain, and the United States, meeting in Moscow, again agreed that a Korean democracy be set up and that the United States and Soviet commands in Korea form a joint commission to govern the occupied territory. With increased Russian intransigence, however, further agreements could not be reached, and the peninsula remained divided at the 38th parallel.

Elections were held in South Korea during May 1948 under the supervision of a United Nations commission, and in August 1948 the Soviets sponsored an election in North Korea. Though in December 1948 the U. N. General Assembly declared President Syngman Rhee's government of South Korea to be the only lawful Korean government, the Russians established in the north a Korean Peoples' Republic under Premier Kim Il Sung, a Russian-indoctrinated Communist who had assumed the name of a famous Korean guerrilla leader. By June 1949 most American troops were withdrawn from South Korea; Russia made a great show of withdrawing from North Korean affairs. Two governments thus existed in Korea, each aspiring to unite all of the peninsula under its own authority. [note]

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June 25, 1950
Headquarters received notification of the Korean incident and alerted all flights. Instructions were issued to arm each SB-17with one hundred (100) rounds of 50 caliber ammunition. All flights were immediately placed on a seven (7) day week, twenty-four (24) hour day.


A SB-17 from flight "C" located at Haneda Air Base, because of an evacuation from Misawa, was diverted to Johnson AB. The Fifth Air Force training Field Order testing the aerial defenses of Okinawa was still in progress with a Flight "D", SB-17 accomplishing a reconnaissance to Okinawa and return.

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June 25

The Korean incident couldn't have happened at a more opportune time, what with the entire 3rd Bomb Wing, 339th Fighter Squadron (AW), and the 68th Fighter Squadron (AW), staged at Itazuke Air Base and Ashiya Air Base.

[note]

June 25, 1950

June 25: North Korea invaded South Korea. Simultaneously, North Korean troops made an amphibious landing at Kangnung on the east coast just south of the 38th parallel. North Korean fighter aircraft attacked airfields at Kimp'o and Sŏul, the South Korean capital, destroying one USAF C-54 on the ground at Kimp'o.

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John J. Muccio, US ambassador to South Korea, relayed to President Harry S. Truman a South Korean request for US air assistance and ammunition. The UN Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire and withdrawal of the North Korean Army to north of the 38th parallel. The resolution asked all UN members to support the withdrawal of the NKA and to render no assistance to North Korea.

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Maj. Gen. Earle E. Partridge, who was commander, 5th Air Force, but serving as acting commander of Far East Air Forces (FEAF), ordered wing commanders to prepare for air evacuation of US citizens from South Korea. He increased aerial surveillance of Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan. The 20th Air Force placed two squadrons of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing (FIW) on air defense alert in Japan. [note]

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KPAFAC Yak-9 1 x C-54 destroyed 7 out of 16 ROKAF trainers destroyed

[note]

June 25

In a teleconference between Washington and Tokyo that evening, General MacArthur received his instructions. The JCS ordered him to send any ammunition and equipment to Korea which he believed necessary to prevent the loss of the key Sŏul-Kimp'o-Inch'ŏn area. He was to give such supply movements air and naval cover, and take such additional action as proved necessary to safeguard the evacuation of noncombatants from Korea. To augment naval cover, the JCS ordered the U. S. Seventh Fleet to Sasebo Harbor where it was to report to Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy, Commander of Navy Forces, Far East (COMNAVFE). The JCS warned MacArthur that further high level decisions might be expected as the situation developed. [note]

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Had hostilities held off, FEAF strength doubtless would have been reduced still further. During the preparation of Fiscal Year 1950 overseas deployment programs, General MacArthur had protested that the Air Force units assigned to him were so inadequate in number as to reduce his capabilities to defend Japan and his command area beyond the point of a calculated risk-almost, indeed, to the point of a "gambler's risk."

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Concerned by reports that the 19th Bombardment Wing and the 31st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron were to be redeployed to the United States, MacArthur on 13 May protested that the economy programs did not consider the explosive situation in the Far East, and that loss of the medium bombers would reduce his already limited offensive power.

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After negotiations, MacArthur agreed to the proposal of Lt. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, Commanding General of SAC, that the 31st Reconnaissance Squadron be returned to SAC for refitting and extended training, while LeMay would maintain six RB-29's in FEAF on sixty day rotational duty. At the beginning of Korean hostilities, General Stratemeyer also considered his troop basis totally inadequate for anything other than a limited air defense of Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines.

The aircraft complement of FEAF's tactical units bespoke its primarily defensive mission: on 31 May FEAF possessed 1,172 aircraft (including those in storage and a few in salvage or recommended for salvage), of which

To accomplish its defensive mission, FEAF's largest complement was of the F-80C, a versatile jet fighter, of which it held 423. FEAF units had received this type of plane during 1949 and 1950, and by June 1950 only the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Group (which had converted to F-80A's and F-80B's during 1948) was not completely equipped with the new F-80C's.

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Conversion from propeller-driven F-51's to jet aircraft had posed problems inherent in the jet program. For example, FEAF was short in fuel servicing units for jet aircraft: in April 1950 General Stratemeyer had predicted that any dispersal of air units to fields not equipped with base servicing facilities would further dissipate his

"already overtaxed servicing equipment to a point of relative combat ineffectiveness."**

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By far the greatest problem of the jet aircraft, however, had to do with wing-brackets for attaching auxiliary fuel tanks and ordnance and with the design of the existing auxiliary wing tanks. Though General Partridge believed it imperative that the F-80C's range be extended with wing tanks larger than the standard 165-gallon tanks, so much difficulty had been experienced with S-2 bomb racks on the F-80's that, in April 1950, some 38 of these fighters assigned to the Fifth Air Force were incapable of carrying either wing-tip tanks or bombs. When the Korean war began, these problems of wing racks and tanks had not been solved.

** FEAF was short A-2 auxiliary power ground units required for starting jet engines; A-13A oxygen masks were not completely stocked until early June; a supply of P-1 helmets for jet pilots (some flew with football helmets) required Stratemeyer's personal intervention with the USAF Air Materiel Command.

Use of jet fighters in Japan, moreover, complicated a virtually static air base situation, for they required a landing strip longer and of greater load capacity than did propeller-driven aircraft. Since FEAF's tenure of Japanese bases would probably be limited to the duration of the occupation, expenditure of USAF funds for installations which would be eventually abandoned could be justified only with great difficulty.

MacArthur, moreover, had ruled that no resources from the Japanese economy would be used for military construction not involving the occupation of Japan, and accordingly had disapproved FEAF's request for Japanese funds to develop fields for jet fighters. In order to take advantage of the longer runways at Yokota, the 35th Fighter-Interceptor Wing had traded bases with the 3rd Bombardment Wing (L) during April 1950, but in July 1950 FEAF possessed in all Japan only four airfields with runways 7,000 feet long which could meet the operational requirements for jet fighters loaded with maximum fuel and armaments.

On Okinawa, postwar airfield development programs had been stunted by typhoons; a large part of developmental funds had necessarily been devoted to replacement of essential facilities destroyed there by the ravages of storm. While medium bomber airstrips were available, housing, storage, and repair facilities were at a minimum.

[note]

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Despite the secrecy of CCF Korean troop movements across the Yalu, the U. S. Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) in Sŏul had received some hints of the amalgamation of Chinese trained units into the NKPA order of battle. On 25 May 1950 it knew that the NKPA had six regular divisions located between the 38th and 39th parallels, and it suspected that seven other divisions were being formed from constabulary and recruits near the Manchurian border, an area from which little intelligence could be obtained.

June 25, 1950

On 25 June the Far East Command (FEC) estimated that the NKPA comprised six divisions and five brigades, with an accepted strength of 82,821, plus internal security forces of 43,286. Contrary to the representations of the U. S. press, military estimates of the North Korean order of battle were realistic and well-calculated. If anything was underestimated, it was the state of training and combat efficiency of the NKPA, and its equipment with Russian armor.

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Estimates of North Korean Intentions USAF0

[How can you say "yet" about something that has not even happened yet?]

By the spring of 1950 the NKPA had reached a size which would permit an attack. On 8 December 1949 the KMAG in Sŏul, which had been keeping the U. S. Department of Army advised of the situation, reported that no immediate invasion seemed imminent but that with the completion of the Chinese Communist campaign in China additional troops world be channeled into North Korea to increase the threat to the ROK. Climatic conditions most favorable to military operations, however, would pass with December 1949 before the CCF could be released in China.

The next most favorable period would come in April-May 1950. On 5 January the KMAG repeated that the North Korean government had set March-April 1950 as the time to invade South Korea, and on 10 March it gave warning of a report that the invasion would take place in June 1950. Ambassador Muccio predicted in May 1950 that the ROK world be increasingly threatened by the transfer of men released from the successful Chinese Communist forces. Yet the FEC G-2 in April 1950

"believed that there will be no civil war in Korea this spring or summer . . . The most probable course of North Korean action this spring and summer is the continuation of its efforts to overthrow the South Korean Government by the creation of chaotic conditions in the republic through guerrilla activities and psychological warfare."

Mr. Donald Nichols, (Capt. and Maj.) commander of the Office of Strategic Intelligence District No. 8 in Korea, [or was it Office of Special Investigations ] had collected and forwarded to the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) valuable information gained through close relationships with Korean political, military, and police officials. It was the Nichols' reports which largely formed the basis for estimates made by KMAG, the embassy, and FEAF.

While unable to predict an exact date for the beginning of trouble, FEAF intelligence recognized on 1 June 1950 that the North Korean regime had the military power to undertake a war against the ROK at any time it selected. "South Korea," predicted FEAF,

"will fall before a North Korean invasion, which will be initiated whenever Soviet strategy so dictates, rather than upon the occurrence of a legitimate casus belli . . . The precise timing of such an invasion depends largely on the progression of events in South and Southeast, Asia."

U. S. military and air intelligence in the Far East thus correctly assessed the build-up of North Korean forces, but they were understandably unable to predict an exact date for the beginning of a Korean war.

BULL SHIT

[note]

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Prior to the Korean hostilities the FEAF reconnaissance mission had been to complete the Asiatic-Pacific portion of the USAF post-hostilities mapping program. This mission was apportioned to the following units:

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(1) the 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, a SAC unit with RB-29's stationed at Kadena and charged with multiplex photo mapping of the Ryukyus and Bonins;

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(2) the 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (RF-80), assigned to the Fifth Air Force and based at Yokota, with a mission of beach, cultural, airfield, and intelligence photography of the Japanese home islands;

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(3) the 6204th Photo Mapping Flight, a table-of-distribution organization possessing two RB-17's and four RC-45's, assigned to the Thirteenth Air Force and based at Clark Air Force Base, where it was completing aerial photography of the Philippines;

(4) the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron, based at Yokota with detachments at Kadena and Clark. The 548th was assigned directly to FEAF, with operational control vested in the Director of Reconnaissance, Deputy for Operations. Its mission was to furnish quantitative photographic processing, lithographic reproduction, photographic interpretation, and a theater depository for photographic film.

The 31st and 6204th had no authorization for personnel or equipment to process the aerial photography which they accomplished. The reconnaissance units, badly understrength and with old equipment, were therefore a "series of dangling and disconnected minorities," and, for want of a common parent organization, FEAF had to perform the normal wing functions of formulating policy, drawing up specifications, and controlling the supply of specialized equipment. Overnight, the occupational reconnaissance establishment had to be converted to that required for war. No other type of FEAF aviation was less well prepared for the sudden transition.

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The paucity of reconnaissance was also USAF-wide, for concurrent with the economy drive during the spring of 1949, all tactical reconnaissance units except the equivalent of one group (two squadrons in the Zone of Interior and one in FEAF) had been inactivated.

Highly skilled personnel of inactivated units had either returned to civilian status or had been scattered throughout the Air Force into whatever duties were available to them.

Several months prior to the Korean hostilities Col. Jacob W. Dixon, commander of the 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron had perceived the danger of reconnaissance "being caught with its pants down" and recommended that the old RF-80A's of his squadron be replaced with a long-range twin-jet aircraft such as the RF-88. Colonel Dixon felt that severe curtailment of reconnaissance had been a false economy; as a summary of lessons learned from Korea he wrote:

Since one of the most critical times in reconnaissance requirements is that period at the very outbreak of hostilities, I feel that our military effort was weakened greatly by trying to save money on reconnaissance between wars and then not having the equipment available in the using organizations when the demand was the most critical.

[note]

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The defensive mission of the Far East Command, General MacArthur had informed General Stratemeyer shortly after the latter assumed command of the FEAF, was to be considered of primary importance, and the deployment of FEAF tactical units had been geared to such a mission.

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The largest of FEAF subordinates was the Fifth Air Force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Earle E. Partridge, whose tactical units were based for the defense of Japan on the following fields:

Itazuke Air Base, Kyushu

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8th Fighter-Bomber Wing

8th Fighter-Bomber Group (F-80)
35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
68th Fighter AW Squadron (F-82)

Johnson Air Base, Honshu

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3rd Bombardment Wing (L)

3rd Bombardment Group (B-26)
8th Bombardment Squadron
13th Bombardment Squadron

Nagoya Air Base, Honshu

347th Fighter AW Wing*
347th Fighter AW Group*

*the 347th Fighter AW Wing and 347th Fighter AW [All Weather] Group were inactivated on 24 June 1950 and were not reactivated during the Korean Campaign.

Tachikawa Air Base, Honshu

374th troop Carrier Wing
374th troop Carrier Group (C-54)

22nd troop Carrier Squadron

6th troop Carrier Squadron

Yokota Air Base, Honshu

35th Fighter-Interceptor Wing

35th Fighter-Interceptor Group (F-80)
39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
40th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
41st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron

339th Fighter AW Squadron (F-82)

8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo Jet (RF-80)

Misawa Air Base, Honshu

49th Fighter-Bomber Wing

49th Fighter-Bomber Group (F-80)
7th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron



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The Twentieth Air Force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Alvan C. Kincaid and after 31 July by Maj. Gen. Ralph F. Stearley, controlled units based for the air defense of Okinawa and the Marianas:

Naha Air Base, Okinawa

51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing

51st Fighter-Interceptor Group (F-80)
16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
25th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
26th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron

4th All-Weather Fighter Squadron (F-82) (Attached)

Kadena Air Base, Okinawa

31st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, VLR (RB-29) (Attached) (Deactivated 1949)

31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Photographic

Anderson Air Force Base, Guam

19th Bombardment Wing (M)

19th Bombardment Group (B-29)
28th Bombardment Squadron
30th Bombardment Squadron
93rd Bombardment Squadron


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The Thirteenth Air Force was responsible for air defense and command of U. S. installations in the Philippines; commanded by Maj. Gen. Howard M. Turner, its units were as follows:

Clark Air Force Base, Luzon

18th Fighter-Bomber Wing

18th Fighter-Bomber Group (F-80)
12th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
44th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron

21st troop Carrier Squadron (C-54) (Attached)
6204th Photo Mapping Flight (RB-17) (T/D)

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Flights of the 2nd and 3rd Air Rescue squadrons, attached to FEAF by the Military Air transport Service (MATS), were located at various bases where they could best perform emergency rescue services with their SB-17's.

The 512th and 514th Weather Reconnaissance Squadrons (2143rd Air Weather Wing) were located at Yokota and Anderson.

The 31st Photo Reconnaissance squadron was a U. S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) organization, attached to FEAF for operations.

The British Commonwealth air component in the FEC was the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 77 Fighter Squadron, which was flying F-51's from Iwakuni Air Base, Honshu. This unit was available to General MacArthur as the Supreme Commander, Allied Powers (SCAP), and it necessarily maintained liaison with FEAF, although it was neither attached nor assigned to the American air command.

June 25, 1950

Altogether, on 25 June 1950 FEAF controlled the largest USAF aggregation located outside the continental United States.

USAF budget limitations had nevertheless made inroads into FEAF unit strength.

The 90th Bombardment Squadron (L) had been inactivated on 1 October 1949 by USAF direction, leaving only two light bombardment squadrons in the command.

The 314th Air Division at Johnson and the 315th Air Division at Itazuke had been discontinued for economy reasons effective 1 March 1950; loss of these two units would be felt when the Fifth Air Force needed an organization to serve as its advance echelon headquarters, first at Itazuke and then in Korea.

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[note]

FEAF, whose authorized personnel strength was 39,975 officers and men, had assigned 33,625 - a little under the Air Force peacetime requirement of 90 percent manning. At the same time most FEAF units, and all Fifth Air Force units, held their peacetime Table of Organization and Equipment (T/O & E) allotment of aircraft. The appearance, however, of a satisfactory T/O & E status was deceptive, for there were shortages of particular categories of personnel and deficiencies in training which, compounded by materiel difficulties and shortages, would lower operational efficiency in combat.

The light bombardment group, for example, was short of navigators, bombardiers, and gunners, so that its combat crews could not conduct sustained operations efficiently. Armament sections were understaffed throughout the Fifth Air Force. Because of the shortage of ground officers, especially for intelligence, their duties had to be performed by flying officers on a part time basis.

USAF budget ceilings, moreover, had cut into the training program: cross-country flights in Japan had been curtailed prior to the Korean war, an most of the navigational flights had been accomplished between two well-known conditions for which the were ill prepared.

To save fuel, they had to gain altitude, where they usually found themselves navigating by dead reckoning above an undercast in search of some pinpoint target below the clouds;

once below the clouds, moreover, a jet flight could not always orbit for reassembly because of heavy fuel consumption at low altitudes, so that wingmen were often separated from their flight commander.

Some of these wingmen, inexperienced in navigation, got lost on their way home.

The 49th Fighter-Bomber Group believed that two hours each month of dead reckoning navigation practice would have prepared its pilots for the hazardous flying conditions over Korea. Rocket training of FEAF fighter pilots was limited by the USAF policy that stocks of 5-inch high velocity aerial rockets (HVAR) were not to be depleted without special permission. Though some practice had been permitted with 2.25-inch sub-caliber aerial rockets, pilots once in combat found the trajectory of the HVAR to be entirely different from that of the smaller ones. Since few FEAF pilots had ever fired a 5-inch HVAR, they had to get their rocket training in combat.

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With FEAF's mission primarily defensive, unit tactical training had rightly been preoccupied with interception missions and exercises. All Eighth Army requests for joint training had been met, but maneuvers had been neither realistic nor extensive. Much of this training was in the nature of a demonstration by Air Force units, in which "canned" problems had been worked out over ranges well-known to air and ground participants. More extended maneuvers, giving some challenge to close support control, were curtailed by a lack of available maneuver areas in populous Japan.

June 25, 1950

In a teleconference between Washington and Tokyo that evening, General MacArthur received his instructions. The JCS ordered him to send any ammunition and equipment to Korea which he believed necessary to prevent the loss of the key Sŏul-Kimp'o-Inch'ŏn area. He was to give such supply movements air and naval cover, and take such additional action as proved necessary to safeguard the evacuation of noncombatants from Korea. To augment naval cover, the JCS ordered the U. S. Seventh Fleet to Sasebo Harbor where it was to report to Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy, Commander of Navy Forces, Far East (COMNAVFE). The JCS warned MacArthur that further high level decisions might be expected as the situation developed.

[note]

June 25, 1950

THE AIR WAR in Korea was principally a tactical air war. At first the USAF and FEAF had no choice but to stress air-ground cooperation in order to prevent the hard-pressed U. N. ground forces, committed to action piecemeal, from being driven into the sea by well trained and numerically superior North Korean armies; that the air war remained primarily tactical was dictated by political considerations designed to isolate the fighting in Korea. Although it was well recognized that the North Korean armies had been trained by other Communist nations and were being actively supplied with war materiel from Chinese and Russian sources, political decisions prevented air action north of the Yalu.

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As General O'Donnell expressed it:

"The U. N. decision to restrict our operations to areas south of the Yalu had obviously given the enemy an inordinate advantage which will be almost impossible to overcome. We are fighting distinctly `under wraps.' "

While temporary emergencies and political expedients vitiated the essential requirement that strategic air warfare must be a total and sustained effort, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) medium bomber groups detached to FEAF nevertheless managed well planned attacks against such strategic targets as were located in North Korea.

The expeditious manner in which the medium bomber groups moved across the Pacific was due largely to the fact that SAC units were directed and controlled by one major command. The consequences of diverting these highly specialized strategic units to tactical missions within the theater merely proved the wisdom of the normal concept that SAC should receive its directives - and targets - from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

[note]

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Strategic Air Operations

June 25, 1950

Precision bombardment by medium bombers in Korea required precise selection of targets to avoid waste of flying effort. During the period 1946-49 FEAF Intelligence had prepared some 900 target folders within its area of interest, a region loosely defined as within 1,000 miles of Tokyo.

This mass of information had been exploited by the FEAF Target Section for the preparation of the standard dossier system desired by the USAF, but with Siberia apparently the most important area at the time, the section had concentrated on strategic targets there. Consequently, Korea was not covered by dossiers as of 25 June.


The old target folder system, however, had coverage for 159 targets in South Korea and 53 in North Korea, and although the data was not in the newest USAF format, FEAF furnished target sheets to its own units, to GHQ, the Navy, and the British, none of whom had target information at the outset of the war.

[note]


Through the evening of 25 June the Korean situation did not appear to be critical enough to warrant the evacuation of American nationals.#23

[note]

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On 25 June 1950 the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) totaled about 100,000 troops and was composed of eight infantry divisions, three border constabulary brigades, and an armored brigade.#62 The NKPA infantry divisions and the armored brigade were freely provided with the Soviet military equipment which they required for a "blitz" assault. In the spring of 1951 Andrei Y. Vyshinsky would frankly admit to the United Nations that Russia had "sold" this offensive military equipment to the NKPA.#63


First Six Days 19

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The North Korean Air Force (NKAF) was formed under Russian tutelage and was equipped with Soviet-built aircraft. With headquarters at P'yŏngyang, the NKAF comprised an air division, which was subdivided into a fighter regiment, a ground-attack regiment, and a training regiment. On the day the war began the North Koreans apparently possessed 62 IL-10 aircraft, 70 Yak-3 and Yak-7B fighters, 22 Yak-16 transports (similar to a USAF C-45), and 8 PO-2 trainer aircraft. Most of the 132 combat planes were based at the two airfields near P'yŏngyang and at the airfield at Yŏnp'o, on the eastern coast of Korea below Hungnam. The North Koreans also made some use of the airfield at Wŏnsan, and they were building advanced strips near the 38th parallel at Sinmak, P'yŏnggang, Kŭmch'ŏn, and KAnsŏng.

132 total aircraft.

There were two air fields near P'yŏngyang and another at Yŏnp'o and Wŏnsan on the east coast. They were building new facilities at Sinmak, P'yŏnggang, Kŭmch'ŏn, and KAnsŏng.

[note]

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The next morning, Lie received a dispatch from Dr. Liu Yu-wan, chairman of UNCOK, which confirmed the aggression and suggested that it be brought before the Security Council. That afternoon at Lake Success the Security Council adopted a draft resolution submitted by the United States. The vote was 9 to 0, with Russia absent and Yugoslavia abstaining. This resolution noted

"with grave concern the armed attack upon the Republic of Korea by forces from North Korea"

and determined that this action constituted a breach of the peace. It called for the "immediate cessation of hostilities" and directed the authorities of North Korea "to withdraw forthwith their armed forces to the 38th parallel." It requested

"all Members to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution and to refrain from giving assistance to the North Korean authorities.#72

[note]


FEAF ORGANIZATION

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25 JUNE 1950
*Administrative support for FEAF HQ



56 U.S. Air Force in Korea
Plans, Preparations 57

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[note]

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June 25, 1950

Altogether, on 25 June 1950, General Stratemeyer controlled 30 USAF squadrons, or the equivalent of nine of USAF's total of 48 combat wings. This was the largest aggregation of USAF units outside the continental limits of the United States, but budgetary limitations, taken in context with the Far East Command's defensive mission, had caused significant reductions in FEAF strength.

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Earlier in fiscal year 1950, FEAF had lost a squadron of light bombers and the 314th and 315th Air Divisions, the latter being small headquarters organizations which had provided an intermediate control of the air-defense effort in Japan. At this time General MacArthur had protested that the Air Force units assigned to the Far East were so inadequate in number as to reduce his capabilities to defend the command area beyond the point of a calculated risk-almost, indeed, to the point of a "gambler's risk.#68

All but a few of the squadrons which FEAF owned or controlled were organized in basic Air Force wings. According to concept, a combat wing was a nearly self-sufficient entity in which one wing commander directed the combat effort, supporting elements, base services, and medical services necessary for the performance of his mission. The resultant combat wing was a large and complex organization, but, in theory, it possessed mobility. Tables of organization and equipment contained provisions whereby supporting personnel and equipment might be detached to accompany and support a separate combat squadron. When a whole wing was transferred, the combat-wing plan visualized that a temporary station or airbase group would be organized to replace it at the old installation. Because of the pressure for personnel savings arising from pre-1950 economy programs, however, most of FEAF's combat wings had been compelled to assume an area-command status that was inconsistent with their combat mobility.

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Following the inactivation of the two air division headquarters in Japan, the air-defense functions previously exercised by these units had been subdivided into three parts and delegated to the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing (Northern Air Defense Area), the 35th Fighter-Interceptor Wing (Central Air Defense Area), and the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing (Southern Air Defense Area).

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The 19th Bombardment Wing had become responsible for managing all USAF activities in the Marianas.#69

[note]

June 25, 1950

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Recognizing the limited value of battalion-level training, General Partridge worked earnestly to secure closer joint operations with the Eighth Army. Following the failure of communications in a joint theater-command post exercise early in April 1950, Partridge specifically recommended that a joint operations center be established, with regularly assigned Army, Navy, and Air Force representatives. Unfortunately, this proposal was not approved by the Far East Command.#83

He will cry about this for the next year.

The air units in FEAF lacked much that they needed for peak effectiveness, but all of them were able to operate on the day that the war began.

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Such was not true of the engineer aviation units assigned to FEAF, and this construction capability was a significant weakness to offensive planning.

Assigned to FEAF were two engineer aviation group headquarters and service companies, five engineer aviation battalions, and one engineer aviation maintenance company. Headquarters and Service Company, 930th Engineer Aviation Group, was assigned to the Fifth Air Force. With station at Nagoya, this group directed construction done by civilian contractors in Japan.

Assigned to the Twentieth Air Force was the Headquarters and Service Company, 931st Engineer Aviation Group, the 802nd, 808th, 811th, 822nd, and 839th Engineer Aviation Battalions, and the 919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company. All of these units except the 811th Battalion (which was stationed on Guam) were engaged in construction work on Okinawa.#84

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This truck is being loaded with a mixed crushed rock compound used in runway construction.

62 U.S. Air Force in Korea

All aviation engineer troops were "Special Category Army Personnel with Air Force" (SCARWAF) troops. They were recruited, trained, and assigned to units by the Department of Army, but they were charged against Air Force strength. All of these aviation engineer units were in sad shape.

Theater-work assignments had not developed battalion skills. Serving on Guam-where a normal tour of duty was twelve months-the 811th Battalion was "totally untrained.#

In the scheduled construction projects on Okinawa, the prime duty of the 822nd Battalion had been to operate a rock quarry. Most engineer equipment was war-weary from World War II, and, for some more obsolete items, spare parts were no longer stocked.

Engineer aviation skill specialties had been marked by inadequate training and improper balances of supervisory and operating personnel.

[note]

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June 25, 1940
In recognition of the global air-transport responsibilities assigned at its creation in 1948, the Military Air Transport Service was charged to provide an Air Weather Service and an Airways and Air Communications Service (AACS) which would girdle the globe.

At the outset of the Korean war Air Weather Service and Airways and Air Communications Service units were under FEAF's control for the performance of their assigned functions in the Far East. As the war progressed, both functions were increasingly vital to the accomplishment of the United Nations Command's mission.


When the war began in June 1950, the 2143rd Air Weather Wing was responsible for weather services in the Pacific theaters of operations. From his headquarters in Tokyo Colonel Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., commander of the 2143rd Wing, commanded three ground weather squadrons-


the 20th Weather Squadron in Japan,
the 15th Weather Squadron serving the Philippines, Okinawa, and Guam, and the 31st Weather Squadron in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands.


He also commanded two weather reconnaissance squadrons-
the 512th at Yokota in Japan and
the 514th on Guam.


In addition to the meteorological reports obtained by its own units, the 2143rd Wing received weather data from stations of the Japanese national weather service and from the Ryukyuan weather service. The wing also monitored the international meteorological broadcasts emanating from Russian weather stations, which would continue during the Korean war. The wing received no weather reports from Communist China, for even before the beginning of the war the Red Chinese government had ceased to share its weather with the remainder of the world. #123

#123 Hist. Air Weather Service, July-Dec. 1950, chap. 8; Tokyo Weather Central, Korean Weather Throughout the Year, Nov. 1951, pp. 1-6.

[note]

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June 25, 1950
Like the other members of the Military Air Transport Service family, the Airways and Air Communications Service (AACS) was a global command which provided airways-communications facilities, navigational aids, and flight services for the Air Force. As a secondary mission, the AACS provided communications for the Air Weather Service.

For the performance of their mission, AACS organizations operated control towers, direction finders, radio ranges, ground-controlled approach (GCA) and instrument-landing systems, radio and radar beacons, air-to-ground and point-to-point radio, message centers, crypto centers, and military air-traffic control (MATCon) centers. Like the air-route traffic-control center, which was its civilian counterpart in the United States, the MATCon established routes and altitudes for all aircraft flying over a given control area, kept record of the flights of such aircraft, and generally ensured against air collisions in the control area.

When the Communist invaders struck in June 1950, Colonel Charles B. Overacker's 1808th AACS Wing, which had its headquarters in Tokyo's Meiji building, was responsible for airways and air-communications services in the Far East and Pacific. Under the 1808th Wing were the 1809th AACS Group at Nagoya, the 1810th Group at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, and the 1811th Group at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.

Each of these groups was divided into squadrons, which were subdivided into detachments at various airfields. In June 1950 the undermanned 1809th AACS Group was operating ten control towers, three direction-finder stations, and two MATCon centers at Tokyo and Fukuoka in Japan.

The only navigational aid in Korea was a low-power homing beacon at Kimp'o Airfield. The system was capable of handling slow-flying conventional aircraft in the moderate number of flights usual during the occupation, but FEAF was beginning to be concerned about the system's inadequacy for controlling jet air traffic. At the beginning of hostilities air traffic suddenly tripled at Tokyo and quintupled in the Fukuoka area, and new AACS facilities were immediately required for the additional airfields occupied in Japan and in Korea.

Because of economy considerations, USAF had not permitted the 1808th Wing to establish a mobile AACS squadron in 1948, an organization which would have provided a most efficient means for handling the suddenly increased demands of the Korean air war. #132



#132 Hist. Airways and Air Communications Service (AACS), July-Dec. 1950, pp. 5-7, 100; FEAF Rpt., II, 103.

[note]

U.S. Marine Corps

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While headquarters was fighting in the halls of Congress to save the Marine Corps and the 5th Marines was moving from northern China to Guam to California, the Far East remained a boiling cauldron filled with trouble. Buoyed by the Communist victory in China, other Soviet client forces in the Far East, notably those in Indochina and North Korea, decided to test the waters. Both eventually pulled the United States back into armed conflicts in the Far East during the upcoming years.


The Korean Peninsula, long under Japanese hegemony, was temporarily divided at the 38th Parallel, which bisected that land after Japan's surrender in 1945. The semi industrialized northern sector was under the repressive thumb of Communist dictator Kim Il Sung, while the agricultural south was controlled by octogenarian president Syngman Rhee. The postwar plan was to eventually hold elections to unify Korea, but relations between the north and south were so contentious that it was unlikely fair elections could be held anytime soon. Instead, both leaders solidified their internal control while consistently rattling their sabers at each other.

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Kim Il Sung, with significant support from Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin and China's Mao Tse-tung, quickly built the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) into a well equipped regional power. In the south, however, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army was little more than a lightly armed counter guerrilla constabulary because South Korea was still under the American defense umbrella. Unfortunately, the American occupation army in Japan was a hollow force — ill trained, poorly equipped, and utterly unprepared to fight a major land war in Asia.


Ironically, the U.S. Marine Corps had no combat units in the Far East by the summer of 1950. The Corps, in fact, had shrunk to only two weak one regiment divisions and a pair of similarly truncated air wings. Harkening back to the days of the famous 4th Marine Brigade in World War I, the ground units were the 5th and 6th Marines respectively. There was one division and one wing on each coast of the United States, with no Marine units permanently stationed overseas. The Fleet Marine Force (FMF) was actually hard pressed to furnish one war strength battalion landing team for the Mediterranean. Such was the state of affairs when Joseph Stalin secretly gave Kim Il Sung the green light to reunify Korea by force.



Eight NKPA divisions burst across the border into South Korea on 25 June 1950 without warning or provocation while the free world watched in horror. The United Nations quickly condemned this action and asked its member nations for military forces to stop North Korea's naked aggression.


[note]

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June 25, 1950

Halfway around the glove, another force leavened by combat veterans was also on the move. On June 25, the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) stormed across the border into South Korea with nine infantry divisions supported by three-tank regiments. Many of the 100,000 invaders had fought with the Soviet army against Hitler or with Mao Tse-tung in the Chinese Civil War.

They were well armed and well trained. Their opponent, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army, was much less ready for battle.

The United States had equipped the sixty-fie thousand ROK troops with lighter weapons, in part, to prevent the southern President, Syngman Rhee, for carrying out his desire to unify the peninsula by force. They had 105mm howitzers, 81mm and 60mm mortars, bazookas, light antitank guns, scout cars, and machine guns, but no tanks, fighter planes, or heavy artillery pieces.

The greater weight of the KNPA told immediately.

[note]

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June 25, 1950

On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops poured across the 38th Parallel in strength and war had returned. President Truman announced that the nation was not at war, but ships, planes and men were in motion, and in the gathering of “a fire brigade,” a token force of Marines was sent to the front to aid American Army forces. The United Nations buzzed briefly before taking action; Puller recognized all the signs. He immediately asked for a modification of his orders and said urgently to Headquarters:

“Attention is invited to the fact that I served as an officer in Haiti and Nicaragua, and in the Pacific Theater for eight years prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This experience will prove of value in an assignment to combat duty in Korea.”

This was not enough, and he went to the cable office and at his own expense sent appeals to the Commandant, the Assistant Commandant, and the commander of the First Marine Division, begging for assignment to Korea. The cables cost him nineteen dollars.

In the days of waiting he saw that the South Korean battalion commander who was an early victim of the Communist attack had been tragically prophetic; the North Koreans were still cutting their way at will through large forces of South Koreans and brushing aside with almost the same ease the first American forces to be thrown against them. It appeared that the Communists were rolling toward complete victory.

[note]

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DPRK's North Korean Peoples Army (NKPA)

June 25, 1950

More than half of the troops in the original North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) were veterans of the victorious Chinese Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War. Weapons and equipment, all the way from T–34 tanks to Tokarev pistols, had been made available by the Soviet Union; and Soviet instructors prepared the invading army for its surprise attack of 25 June on the Republic of Korea.[2]

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There could have been little doubt as to the outcome. Although the ROK army included eight divisions and a regiment, estimated at some 98,000 men in all, it could not compare with the NKPA establishment of about equal numbers. The difference lay in the purposes for which the two forces had been organized during the joint Soviet-American occupation of Korea after World War II. While Red Army officers created the NKPA as an instrument of aggression, American instructors trained the ROK troops for frontier defense and internal security.

They had neither tanks nor combat aircraft, and their heaviest artillery consisted of a few battalions of 105mm M-3 howitzers. It was scarcely more than a lightly armed constabulary which crumpled at the first shock of NKPA columns led by Soviet-made tanks and supported by Soviet-made bombing planes. The four ROK divisions deployed along the frontier were routed, and Sŏul fell to the invaders on the third day. [note]

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June 25, 1950
United Nations intervention in Korea, following the Communist aggression of 25 June 1950, found the United States forces in the Far East inadequate both in numbers and training. Initially, indeed, the United States was hard-pressed to maintain a foothold on the Korean peninsula. A bitter struggle of several months ensued before the North Korean invasion was contained, then crushed.

The subsequent Chinese Communist invasion won some swift preliminary successes, but it was also contained early in 1951.


The role of the Marine Corps as a whole in Korea has been widely publicized. Not so well known, however, is the essential part played by the Marine Corps Reserve in such operations as the Inch'ŏn amphibious assault, the capture of Sŏul, and the breakout from the Chosin Reservoir


"Mobilization of the Marine Corps Reserve in the Korean conflict, 1950-1951" is a concise narrative of the major events surrounding not only the call-up of reserve units and individuals but also the policies affecting service. This publication is intended to provide staff officers with a ready source of reliable information on a reserve mobilization that was well executed. Marine commanders will find some of the material herein useful for training and profitable for professional and recreational reading. A final purpose of this pamphlet is to, provide a source for answers to many questions received from the general public about mobilization of the reserve for Korea,

Experience is an excellent instructor, and many lessons have been learned from the conflict, but there is no precept more valuable to the Marine Corps than the one prescribing the vital importance of a large, readily available and high quality reserve. The significance of the reserve contribution to Marine achievements in Korea may be measured by citing just a few facts:

At the time of the Inch'ŏn-Sŏul operations, 15 September to 7 October 1950, there were more Marines in the Far East than there had been in the total Fleet Marine Force two and a half months earlier, and 20 percent of these were reservists only six to eight weeks removed from their civilian pursuits;

[note]

U.S. Navy

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June 25, 1950

ROK Navy former or patrol craft USS Ensign Whitehead (PC-823) Now ROK Navy PC-701 Bak Du San , sank an armed North Korean steamer with 600 troops, 18 miles off Pusan. This was first naval surface action of war.

On the night of 25/26 June 1950, on the South Korean eastern coast, she patrolled against infiltrators from the north. About twenty miles from the key port of Busan its crew sighted an unidentified ship. The PC-701 challenged by flashing light and, receiving no response, turned its searchlight on the intruder. The light revealed a 1,000 ton freighter with an estimated six hundred to one thousand soldiers crowded on her decks. Heavy machine guns were mounted aft on the freighter with which the crew quickly opened fire. The gunfire struck the PC-701's bridge killing the helmsman and seriously wounding the officer of the deck. She returned fire and in the running gun duel. According to the veterans of PC-701, to increase the accuracy and penetration, PC-701 approached near 400 meter to the freighter. The sailors had to come out with their M1 Garands to prevent North Korean soldiers swimming toward PC-701. The freighter was sunk between Busan and Tsushima Island. This very first ROKN’s victorious battle is known as Battle of Korea Strait.

Except for the fortuitous position of the PC-701 and the fighting qualities of the craft's crew, the North Korean soldiers might have successfully landed at the vital Busan. The poor state of combat readiness at the port could easily have led to its loss. In such an event, not even the small Allied toehold on the peninsula would have remained to support the U.S. counteroffensive in Korea. This single naval action may well have prevented the fall of South Korea.

[note]

Korean_War

June 25, 1950

USS Valley Forge (CV-45) deployed to the Far East, departing the west coast on 1 May 1950. While anchored in Hong Kong harbor on 25 June, the warship received electrifying news that North Korean forces had begun streaming across the 38th parallel into South Korea.

Departing Hong Kong the next day, the carrier steamed south to Subic Bay, where she provisioned, fueled, and set her course for Korea.

[note]

26, 27, 28

Korean_War

June 25, 1950

The invasion of South Korea found Admiral Doyle's Amphibious Group busy with its training duties. On the morning of the 25th Task Force 90 got underway from Yokosuka, with elements of the 35th Regimental Combat Team embarked, to conduct landing exercises outside Tokyo Bay. Although operations were carried out on the 26th and 28th, in accordance with the training order, the attention of both teachers and pupils was progressively distracted by reports of happenings in Korea. During the second landing observers from the Far East Air Forces were ordered back to their stations; on completion of the exercise the ships returned at once to Yokosuka to debark the troops.

[note]

Korean_War

June 25, 1950

The outbreak of war in Korea caught U.S. military services in the midst of a transition. The establishment of the Department of Defense in 1947 and its reorganization in 1949 required readjustments within the services to which none had become completely acclimated. Successive decreases in the military budget and the prospect of more to come had reduced the size of all services, and a reorganization of operating forces to keep within prescribed limits was in process.

New weapons and equipment had not been completely integrated, and tactical doctrine and new operating techniques for their most effective employment were still being developed. This was particularly apparent in Naval Aviation, where the introduction of jet aircraft had created a composite force in which like units were equipped with either jet or propeller-driven aircraft having wide differences in performance characteristics, maintenance and support requirements, and tactical application.

Combat requirements in Korea were quite different from those of the island-hopping campaign of World War II. Only the landings at Inch'ŏn, two and a half months after the shooting began, followed the familiar pattern. The UN’s intention to confine the battle area to the peninsula resulted in a limitation of air operations in support of troops. This was a normal enough mission for carrier air, but the need to sustain it for extended periods over an extremely large landmass made quite a difference.

Carrier forces also flew deep support missions; attacked enemy supply lines; roamed over enemy territory looking for targets of opportunity; bombed enemy bridges; interdicted highways and railroads; attacked refineries, railroad yards and hydroelectric plants; and escorted land-based bombers on special missions. All were carried out effectively, but were new experiences for units trained to interdict enemy sea-lines of communication and ward off attack by enemy naval forces.

The see-saw action on the ground as the battle line shifted and as action flared up and quieted again required great flexibility of force and demanded the ability to carry out a variety of missions, but after the first six months of the war, the overall air campaign developed into a monotonous, although serious, routine. It was a battle described by Commander Task Force 77 in January 1952 as "a day-to-day routine where stamina replaces glamour and persistence is pitted against oriental perseverance."

Compared to World War II, Korea was a small war. At no time were more than four large carriers in action at the same time. Yet in the three years of war, Navy and Marine aircraft flew 276,000 combat sorties, dropped 177,000 tons of bombs and expended 272,000 rockets. This was within 7,000 sorties of their World War II totals in all theaters and bettered the bomb tonnage by 74,000 tons, and the number of rockets by 60,000. In terms of national air effort, the action sorties flown by Navy and Marine Corps aircraft rose from less than 10 percent in World War II to better than 30 percent in Korea.

There was another and perhaps greater difference between the two wars. Support of forces in Korea required major attention from the planners and of units assigned to logistic supply, but action in Korea was only a part of the total activity of the period. Outside the combat area fleet forces continued their training operations on the same scale as before, and fleet units were continuously maintained on peaceful missions in the eastern Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. Research and development, although accelerated, did not shift to emphasize projects having direct application to the war effort but continued on longer range programs directed toward progressively modernizing fleet forces and their equipment with more effective weapons. New facilities for test and evaluation were opened. Advances in guided missiles reached new highs indicating their early operational status, and ships to employ them were being readied. Firings of research missiles like Lark, Loon and Viking from shore installations and from ships provided both useful data and experience. Terrier, Talos, Sparrow, Sidewinder, and Regulus passed successive stages of development.

Research in high-speed flight, assisted by flights of specially designed aircraft, provided data leading to new advances in aircraft performance. The carrier modernization program continued and was revised to incorporate the steam catapult and the angled deck, together representing the most significant advance in aircraft carrier operating capability since World War II. In a period when Naval Aviation was called upon to demonstrate its continuing usefulness in war and its particular versatility in adapting to new combat requirements, it also moved forward toward new horizons.

[note]

Despite optimistic statements issuing from the upper levels, the readiness of the United States for war in the summer of 1950 was very doubtful. For the war with which the country found itself confronted, this was the more the case. The Army had a total of ten combat divisions, scattered around the world

  1. 7th ID Pacific Korean_War

  2. 3rd ID PacificKorean_War

  3. 45th ID PacificKorean_War

  4. 40th ID PacificKorean_War

  5. 1st ID EuropeKorean_War

  6. constabulary in Germany was equal to another division

  7. 2nd ID JapanKorean_War

  8. 24th ID JapanKorean_War

  9. 25th ID JapanKorean_War

  10. 1st Cav. Div. JapanKorean_War

all but one under strength. The Marines had two,

  1. 1st Marine Div Korean_War
  2. 2nd Marine Div Korean_War

both undermanned. The Navy was in the process of being cut down and even the Air Force, despite public and congressional favor, had been forced to narrow its focus and channel its capabilities.

The interaction of budget ceiling and strategic plan had led to emphasis on long-range bombardment and the European theater, an emphasis reflected in the deployment of American strength. The ground forces were divided between the continent of Europe, the continental United States, and occupation duty in Japan. The Navy's larger half was in the Atlantic. The weight of the Strategic Air Command and of other Air Force units lay at home and in the forward European bases. On the assumption that the first and most important Communist objective was Western Europe, it may be said that this deployment proved itself. No war came there. But for the war that did come this posture was more than a little awkward.

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American forces in the Orient in 1950 were organized into the presumably unified command of General MacArthur, Commander in Chief Far East Command, who was also, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, responsible for the occupation of Japan. Occupation responsibilities bulked large at Headquarters, but in addition to these duties General MacArthur was charged with the defense of Japan, Okinawa, the Marianas, and the Philippines. To enable him to carry out these missions, forces of all three services had been assigned CinCFE.

Korean_War Korean_War Korean_War Korean_War

Not with standing the European orientation of strategy, the needs of the Japanese occupation had brought a large proportion of American ground strength to the Far East. On paper, Army Forces Far East was not unimpressive: its four divisions--the 7th, 24th, and 25th Infantry Divisions, and the dismounted 1st Cavalry Division--organized as the United States Eighth Army, were commanded by Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker, USA, who had commanded Patton's XX Corps in France. But all of Walker's divisions were understrength, with only two battalions to a regiment, and were undertrained and underequipped as well. No Army theater headquarters had been established, but the functions of such an organization were carried out by CincFE's staff.

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The Far East Air Forces, the air component of General MacArthur's command, were commanded by Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer, USAF. In June 1950 FEAF contained five fighter and two bomber wings, a transport wing, and miscellaneous support units making up a total of some 1,200 aircraft. The principal mission of the Far East Air Forces, the air defense of Japan, Okinawa, Guam, and the Philippines, was reflected in the order of battle: of the 553 aircraft in organized units, 365 were F-80C jet fighters [Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star]. These aircraft, which had recently replaced the piston-engined F-51 Mustang [North American], had, as befitted their intended purpose, comparatively high performance. But their combat radius without external fuel tanks was limited to100 miles; with external fuel no bombs could be carried, and their operation required sizable modern airstrips. The efficiency of General Stratemeyer's command suffered from certain deficiencies of material, its engineering support was inadequate, and training had been restricted by budget cuts.

Joint training by the Army and Air Force in Japan had been minimal, in part owing to the defensive nature of their missions, in part to the emphasis in all American military planning on strategic rather than tactical air operations. The Air Force, it should be said, had indeed proposed some exercises at the division level which would involve a working out of the mechanics of air support, and had suggested the creation of a Joint Operations Center. But occupation duties and the lack of suitable maneuver areas had adversely affected ground force readiness, and the Army, not wishing to sacrifice its program of small-unit training, had declined the offer. The result was that such joint exercises as were held were small in scale, and formal and cut and dried in nature.

[note]

Korean_War

Despite these limitations, the main strength of the Far East Command lay on the ground and in the air. Only a little over a third of the Navy's active strength was in the Pacific, only a fifth of that was in the Far East,

1/3 of 600 ship navy = 200 ships in the Pacific

20% of 200 ships = 40 ships in the far east

- and the naval component under Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy was very small. But although Naval Forces Far East was largely a housekeeping command, ComNavFE did control, in Task Force 96, a small amount of fighting strength, and in Task Force 90 the nucleus of an amphibious force.


The combat units of Task Force 96, Naval Forces Japan, were fast and able ships, but none mounted anything larger than a 5-inch gun. USS Juneau (CLAA-119), Captain Jesse C. Sowell, flagship of Rear Admiral John M. Higgins' Support Group, was a younger sister and namesake of the light antiaircraft cruiser sunk by a Japanese submarine in 1942 while retiring after the Battle of Guadalcanal. With a designed displacement of 6,000 tons, she had a speed of better than 33 knots and mounted a main battery of 16 5-inch dual purpose guns. The four ships of Captain Halle C. Allan's Destroyer Division 91--USS Mansfield (DD-728), USS De Haven (DD-727), USS Collett (DD-730), and USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729)--were 2,200-ton, 35-knot ships of the Sumner class, completed in 1944 and mounting six 5-inch guns each.

table 2.--NAVAL FORCES IN JAPANESE WATERS, 25 JUNE 1950

TASK FORCE 90. Amphibious Force, Far East. Rear Admiral James. Henry Doyle, USN
USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), Flagship 1 Amphibious Command Ship
USS Cavalier (APA-37) 1 Amphibious transport
USS Union (AKA-106) 1 Amphibious Cargo Ship
USS LST 611 1 Landing Ship Tank
USS Arikara (ATF-98) 1 Fleet Tug
TASK FORCE 96. Naval Force, Japan. Vice Admiral Charles Turner Joy, USN
Task Group 96.5. Support Group. Rear Admiral John M. Higgins, USN
Task Unit 96.5.1. Flagship Element. Captain Jesse C. Sowell, USN
USS Juneau (CL-119), Flagship 1 Light Cruiser
Task Unit 96.5.2. Destroyer Element. Captain Halle C. Allan, Jr., USN
Destroyer Division 91:
USS Mansfield (DD-728) (Flagship),
USS De Haven (DD-727),
USS Collett (DD-730),
USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729)
4 Destroyers
Task Unit 96.5.3. British Commonwealth Support Element. Comdr. I. H. McDonald, RAN.
HMAS Shoalhaven 1 PF.
Task Unit 96.5.6. Submarine Element. Lt. Comdr. Lloyd. V. Young, USN
USS Remora (SS-487)[1] 1 Submarine
Task Group 96.6. Minesweeping Group. Lt. Comdr. Darcy. V. Shouldice, USN
Mine Squadron 3:
Mine Division 31:
USS Redhead (AMS-34),
USS Mockingbird (AMS-27),
USS Osprey (AMS-28),
USS Partridge (AMS-31),
USS Chatterer (AMS-40),
USS Kite (AMS-22)
6 Coastal Marine Sweepers.
Mine Division 32:
USS Pledge (AM-277) (Flagship),
USS Incredible (AM-249),
USS Mainstay (AM-261),
USS Pirate (AM-275)
4 Minesweepers.

1 On loan from Seventh Fleet.
2 In reduced commission.
3 In reserve.


In addition to this small fighting force, ComNavFE controlled a variety of auxiliary ships. The most important of these were those of Amphibious Group 1, Rear Admiral James. Henry Doyle, USN: the command ship USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), the attack transport USS Cavalier (APA-37) and the attack cargo ship USS Union (AKA-106), USS LST 611, and the fleet tug USS Arikara (ATF-98). This group, which held the tactical designation of Task Force 90 in the Naval Forces Far East organization, had recently arrived in Japan to conduct a program of amphibious training with units of the Eighth Army.

A third category of force at Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy's disposal consisted of the units of Mine Squadron 3, which were engaged in check-sweeping World War II minefields. Minron 3 contained six 136-foot, wooden-hulled, diesel-engined craft, and four 184-foot, twin-screw Admirable class AM's; but three of the latter were in caretaker status and the fourth, USS Pledge (AM-277), in reduced commission. Finally, ComNavFE controlled a number of Japanese-manned ships belonging to the Shipping Control Administration, Japan--SCAJAP--which were employed in logistic support of the occupation and in repatriation of former Japanese prisoners of war from the continent of Asia.

The activities of Admiral Joy's headquarters, like those of the forces it controlled, had been limited to the peaceful routine of an occupation force. The staff totaled only 28 officers and 160 enlisted men. There were four officers in the operations section, five in plans, four in communications. Since the activities of naval aviation in the Western Pacific were centralized at Guam, the NavFE staff had no air or aerology departments. Although two officers qualified in mine warfare were authorized, none was aboard. Like everyone else in the armed services, Commander Naval Forces Far East had based his plans on the assumption of a major conflict with the Soviets which would be centered elsewhere. The operation plans in effect in June of 1950 were concerned with such matters as passive defense, security under air attack, and the evacuation of American citizens in emergency.

Naval base facilities in Japan were minimal. There was no logistic command, no representative of Service Forces Pacific Fleet to plan, coordinate, or procure. At Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, there was a minor ship repair facility which could perform routine upkeep, but which lacked specialized shops for torpedoes or for electronics repair; a supply section adequate to the support of the roughly 5,000 naval personnel and dependents in Japan and Japanese waters; an ordnance facility with some 3,000 tons of ammunition; and a naval hospital whose capacity had recently been reduced to 100 beds. At Sasebo in western Kyushu, where the Imperial Japanese Navy had formerly maintained a major base, there was an excellent harbor with extensive dry-docking facilities. But other equipment was at a minimum, and the on-board complement was only 5 officers and 100 enlisted men. And neither Yokosuka nor Sasebo was well supplied with the material for underwater harbor defense.

Korean_War

The single naval air base in Japan was the Naval Air Facility, Yokosuka, which supported two or three flying boats loaned by the Seventh Fleet for search and rescue missions. NAF Yokosuka had been but recently commissioned, rehabilitation of the buildings was still underway, only about five percent of the area of the former Japanese seaplane base was Navy-controlled, and Eighth Army was using the landing strip as a park for vehicles. As for land-based naval aviation, its total strength in Japan consisted of one target tow plane for antiaircraft gunnery training.

[note]

Korean_War

Fortunately, however, Task Force 90 and Task Force 96 were not the only naval units in Asiatic waters. Based in the Philippines, 1,700 miles to the southward, and under the command of Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, there lay the Seventh Fleet, the principal embodiment of American naval power in the Western Pacific. Yet while rejoicing in the title of fleet, Struble's command, in Second World War terms, amounted to little more than a few small task units. There was a carrier "group" with its screen, a submarine group, the two patrol plane squadrons of Fleet Air Wing 1, an evacuation group concerned with the safety of American citizens in emergency, and a variety of minor supporting units. The logistic group, which contained a small station reefer, a destroyer tender, and an oiler on shuttle service, constituted the total mobile fleet support in the Western Pacific, and was hard pressed to supply even the small Seventh Fleet.

table 3.--SEVENTH FLEET, 25 JUNE 1950

SEVENTH FLEET VICE ADMIRAL Arthur D. Struble, USN
Task Group 70.6. Fleet Air Wing 1 Captain Edward K. Grant, USN
VP 28 9 Consolidated P4Y-2 Privateer
VP 47 9 Martin PBM-5 Mariner
Task Group 70.7. Service Group. Captain James R. Topper, USN
Piedmont (AD-17) (Flagship) 1 Destroyer Tender.
Navasota (AO-106) 1 Oiler.
Karin (AF-33) 1 Store Ship.
Mataco (ATF-86) 1 Fleet Tug.
Task Group 70.9. Submarine Group. Comdr. Francis W. Scanland
Segundo (SS-398) (Flagship),
Catfish (SS-339),
Cabezon (SS-334)[1]
Remora (SS-487)[2]
Florikan (SS-ASR-9) [3]
1 Salvage Ship
TASK FORCE 77. STRIKING FORCE. VICE ADMIRAL Arthur. D. Struble, USN
Task Group 77.1. Support Group. Captain Edward L. Woodyard, USN.
Rochester (CA-124)
(Fleet Flagship)
1 Heavy Cruiser.
Task Group 77.2. Screening Group. Captain Charles W. Parker, USN
Destroyer Division 31 [ less Keyes and Hollister plus Radford and Fletcher]:
Shelton (DD-790),
Eversole (DD-789),
Radford (DD-446),
Fletcher (DD-445)
4 Destroyers
Destroyer Division 32:
Maddox (DD-731),
Samuel L. Moore (DD-747),
Brush (DD-745),
Taussig (DD-746)
4 Destroyer
Task Group 77.4. Carrier Group. Rear Admiral John. M. Hoskins.
Valley Forge (CV-45) (Flagship) 1 Carrier

1 Relieved by USS Pickerel (SS-524),11 July.
2 On loan to Naval Forces Japan.
3 Relieved by USS Greenlet (ASR-10), 30 June.

[note]

Korean_War

June 25, 1950

The Fleet's principal base of operations was on the island of Luzon, where the Navy, following the war, had developed new facilities at Subic Bay and an airfield at Sangley Point. Peacetime operations of the Seventh Fleet were under the control of Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, Admiral Arthur E. Radford, but standing orders provided that, when operating in Japanese waters or in the event of an emergency, control would pass to Commander Naval Forces Far East. There were, however, certain problems implicit in this arrangement: Admiral Radford's area of responsibility included potential trouble spots outside the limits of the Far East Command; lacking an aviation section on his staff, the control of a carrier striking force and of patrol squadrons would present problems for ComNavFE; Admiral Struble was senior to Admiral Joy.

Although early postwar policy had called for the maintenance of two aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific, the reductions in defense appropriations had made this impossible: for some time prior to January 1950 no carrier had operated west of Pearl; current procedure called for the rotation of single units on six-month tours of duty. In these circumstances Admiral Struble's Seventh Fleet Striking Force, Task Force 77, was made up of a carrier "group" containing one carrier, a support "group" containing one cruiser, and a screening group of eight destroyers. The duty carrier in the summer of 1950 was USS Valley Forge (CV-45), an improved postwar version of the Essex class, completed in 1946, with a standard displacement of 27,100 tons, a length of 876 feet, and a speed of 33 knots.

Flagship of Rear Admiral John M. Hoskins, Commander Carrier Division 3, Valley Forge had reported in to the Western Pacific in May, at which time her predecessor, USS Boxer (CV-21), had been returned to the west coast for navy yard availability.

June 25, 1950

The 25th of June found USS Valley Forge (CV-45), with the destroyers USS Fletcher (DDE-445) and USS Radford (DDE-446), in the South China Sea, one day out of Hong Kong en route to the Philippines. Admiral Struble was in Washington; Admiral Hoskins, upon whom command of the Seventh Fleet had devolved, was at Subic Bay; the carrier's commanding officer, Captain Lester K. Rice, was acting as ComCarDiv-3.

The air group of Valley Forge, Carrier Air Group 5, Commander Harvey P. Lanham, was the first in the Navy to attempt the sustained shipboard operation of jet aircraft. Its complement of 86 planes was made up of two jet fighter squadrons with 30 Grumman F9F-2 Panthers; two piston- engined fighter squadrons equipped with the World War II Vought F4U-4B Corsair; and a piston-engined attack squadron of 14 Douglas AD-4 Skyraiders. Over and above these five squadrons the group contained 14 aircraft, principally ADs, which were specially equipped and modified--"configurated" in current Navy jargon--for photographic, night, and radar missions. The fighter squadrons had enjoyed considerable jet experience prior to receiving their Panthers and moving aboard ship; the group as a whole had conducted extensive training in close support of troops with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.

The submarine force under the operational control of Commander Seventh Fleet, administratively organized as Task Unit 70.9, consisted of four fleet submarines and a submarine rescue vessel; its principal activity had been in antisubmarine warfare training exercises with units of the Fleet and of Naval Forces Far East. One of the four boats, USS Remora (SS-487), was at Yokosuka on loan to ComNavFE; USS Cabezon (SS-334) was at sea en route from the Philippines to Hong Kong; USS Segundo (SS-398), with Commander Francis W. Scanland, the task unit commander, was at Sangley Point in the Philippines; USS Catfish (SS-339) was at Subic Bay.

The submarine rescue ship USS Florikan (ASR-9) was at Guam, where she was about to be relieved by USS Greenlet (ASR-10). No submarine tender was stationed in the Western Pacific, but limited quantities of spare parts and torpedo warheads were available from the destroyer tender USS Piedmont (AD-17) at Subic Bay.

Patrol plane activity in the Western Pacific, another Seventh Fleet monopoly, was centralized at Guam under control of Commander Fleet Air Wing 1, Captain Etheridge Grant, who served also as Commander Task Unit 70.6 and Commander Fleet Air Guam. For long-range search and reconnaissance in the theater Captain Grant had at his disposal two squadrons of patrol aircraft. Patrol Squadron 28, a heavy landplane squadron with nine PB4Y-2 Privateers, the single-tailed Navy modification of the Liberator, was based at Agana, Guam. At Sangley Point, Luzon, Patrol Squadron 47 operated nine Martin PBM-5 Mariner flying boats. In addition to these two squadrons and their supporting organizations, Fleet Air Wing 1 had a small seaplane tender, USS Suisun (AVP-53), which on 25 June was moored in Tanapag Harbor, Saipan.

For Captain Grant the impending crisis would not prove wholly unfamiliar, for the outbreak of war in December 1941 had found him commanding a seaplane tender USS William B. Preston (AVD-7) in the Philippines. But his situation on 25 June was a somewhat scrambled one, for a second Mariner squadron, VP 46, was moving into the area as relief for VP 47, and the take-over process had already begun. Homeward bound, their tour in distant parts completed, the PBM's of VP 47 were widely dispersed. Two were at Yokosuka on temporary duty with Commander Naval Forces Far East, two were at Sangley Point, two were in the air and on their way, and three had already reached Pearl Harbor.

Such then was America's Western Pacific naval strength in June of 1950. Combat units assigned to ComNavFE and Commander Seventh Fleet totaled one carrier, two cruisers, three destroyer divisions, two patrol squadrons, and a handful of submarines. Not only was this a limited force with which to support a war on the Asiatic mainland: its southward deployment, with the principal base facilities at Guam and Luzon, made it ill-prepared for a campaign in Korea.

Yet if forces, bases, and plans alike seemed inadequate to the challenge of Communist aggression, there were certain mitigating factors. To employ force, whether for police action or for war, on the far side of an ocean, is to conduct an exercise in maritime power for which fighting strength, bases, and shipping are essential. Unplanned for though the emergency was, a sufficient concentration was still possible. The occupation forces in Japan contained a large fraction--four of ten Army divisions--of American ground strength. FEAF's air strength was by no means inconsiderable. Naval forces in the Far East could be reinforced, from the west coast in the first instance, in time from elsewhere. Limited though the fleet bases were in the narrow sense, in the larger context the base was Japan, and the metropolis of Asia offered many advantages in the form of airfields, staging areas, industrial strength, and skilled labor. Additionally, and by no means least, there existed and was available a sizable Japanese merchant marine, which could help to provide the carrying capacity without which control of the seas is meaningless, and which could be employed to project the armies and their supplies to the far shore.

The war in Korea, moreover, was in a sense a suburban war, and one must go back to 1898 to find in the American experience a parallel to this proximity of base and combat areas. The distances between Key West and Cuba and between Sasebo and Pusan are much the same. It could be argued, perhaps, that Admiral Joy's situation presented certain parallels to that of Admiral Cervera, but there was at least one notable difference: in 1950, despite the withdrawal of the entire occupation force, the populace of Japan proved reliable; in 1898, despite the presence of a Spanish army, the populace of Cuba did not. Doubtless to the Communists Korea seemed the most promising spot for aggression. In many ways it was also the area where the United States could best extemporize a reply.

[note]

June 25, 1950

With all ships on the western and southern coasts, no strength was immediately available to oppose the east coast landings. Nevertheless the ROK units at once put to sea, and on the evening of the 25th there took place the most important surface engagement of the war. Northeast of Pusan PC 701, Commander Nam Choi Yong, ROKN, encountered a 1,000 ton armed steamer with some 600 troops embarked, and sank it after a running fight. Since

In Tokyo the 25th of June found the headquarters of Naval Forces Far East settled down for a normal peacetime weekend. Then the telephone rang, and when the Lieutenant Colonel of Marines who was Staff Duty Officer that day picked up the receiver he found himself talking to the Military Attaché at Sŏul. This conversation put an end to holiday routine. Within minutes the headquarters had shifted to a state of readiness, and overnight it became clear that war, at least of a sort, was at hand. The unexpected nature of the Korean involvement and the speed with which the crisis broke meant that most NavFE planning, like that of other military headquarters, had to be thrown out the porthole. But it was at least possible to salvage so much of it as was concerned with the evacuation of American citizens. On the 25th, as American civilians and their dependents were ordered out of the Sŏul area by Ambassador Muccio, ComNavFE instructed Admiral Higgins to send USS Mansfield (DD-728) and USS De Haven (DD-727) to cover the exodus from the port of Inch'ŏn.

Pusan, the only major port of entry available for the movement of supplies and reinforcements to South Korea, was at the time almost wholly defenseless, the drowning of the 600 in the Battle of Korea Straight was an event of profound strategic importance.

[note]

June 25, 1950

After getting the civilians out the next step was to get some ammunition in, under the accelerated MDA Program ordered by President Truman on the 25th. During the days of their imperial greatness the Japanese had talked of constructing a tunnel under the Korean Strait, but this grandiloquent scheme never reached the stage of action and the road to Korea remained, as in the days of Hideyoshi, a sea road.

[note]

Korean_War

Part 3 . Fighting Ships

June 25, 1950

Like all conflicts, that in Korea had its strange and unpredictable characteristics. One of these was the fact that, so far as control of the seas was concerned, the war started with the exploitation phase. It was never necessary to fight the convoys through. But of this no one could at first be sure, and with men and supplies in very large quantity committed to the ocean highways, and with the extent of opposition doubtful, insurance was necessary. To maintain sea control, should new enemy forces choose to dispute it, further combatant strength was needed .

Yet almost all the fighting ships west of the continental United States had already been committed. Statistically speaking, the division of the Pacific Fleet in June between ships operating in home waters and those to the westward was roughly an even one. One hundred and twenty-five naval vessels of all types were based on the west coast while another 128 were scattered between Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, the trust territories, and the Western Pacific. But the statistics are deceptive, including as they do auxiliaries, small craft, and local forces, and the distribution of major combatant types was very different. Of 86 active units, three-quarters were based on the west coast of the United States.

Of the three large aircraft carriers in the Pacific Fleet , one was with Task Force 77 and two were in the San Diego area, where the Fleet's two escort carriers also based. The Fleet contained no active battleship . Two cruisers were already at work in Far Eastern waters and the remaining four were on the west coast. Of a total of 57 destroyer types and 30 submarines, 12 and 6 respectively were operating outside of continental waters, 12 and 4 were operating under ComNavFE . Quite clearly any naval reinforcement had to come a long way.

[note]

Korean_WarKorean_War

Naval Logistics

June 25 1950

The westward movement of so large an increment of naval strength posed urgent problems of logistic support. The naval population of the Western Pacific, which on 25 June approached 11,000, was to more than triple in the space of five weeks. To plan and organize in one month's time for the support of such a force 6,000 miles from home is no mean problem, the more so when, in addition to food and clothing, these individuals are busily consuming fuel, ammunition, equipment, and spare parts at an accelerated rate.

Overseas stocks of the countless items needed to support a modern fighting force were limited. At Pearl Harbor a supply officer could find everything, or almost everything, but to the westward the situation was spotty. At Yokosuka, by good fortune, there were fairly sizable supplies of general materials and nucleus stocks of technical spares. But Guam, which had supported very large naval forces during the war against Japan, had nothing: the island's mission of fleet support had been cancelled in 1947 . At Subic Bay in the Philippines there were small quantities of various items, but Subic, originally planned as a major fleet base, had been reduced to partial maintenance status in January. All this had been done in the name of economy; it had been rationalized by the stated intention of providing mobile support for any forces west of Pearl Harbor; such support was now called for with a vengeance.

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The concept of mobile support for the fighting ships of the U.S. Navy has a long history. In its origins it dates back to the War with Tripoli when the frigate USS John Adams, with reduced armament, was assigned to shuttle service between the Chesapeake and the Mediterranean carrying drafts of men and shipments of supplies for Commodore Preble’s squadron. But provision of the spare spars and cordage, the peas and salt meat, which the Adams brought out, was simplicity itself compared to the problem of supporting a modern navy. Long before the electronic age the progress of technology had threatened to restrict the radius of fleet action, in the first instance in the fundamental question of fuel.

The fuel problem and the other logistic complications which came with mechanization first faced the United States in connection with the Civil War blockade of Gulf coast ports. They arose again following the War with Spain, as the immense distances of the Pacific came to be realized, and were emphasized over the years by increasing possibilities of trouble with Japan. As early as 1904 Civil Engineer Andrew C. Cunningham had put forward the idea of a floating base; efforts at mobile support of naval forces in Europe had been made during the First World War; and by the middle twenties the concept of the mobile base had become the accepted one for support of the fleet at sea. Following Pearl Harbor performance caught up with precept, and in the later stages of the Pacific War great fleets of tenders, repair ships, and floating dry-docks moved westward from atoll to atoll in attendance on the striking forces.

The concept of mobile support had abundantly proved itself as both economically sound and strategically effective. But its wartime embodiment, the vast collection of men and material which made up Service Squadron 10, was no more. The total roster of Service Force ships assigned to the Western Pacific on 25 June consisted of

one destroyer tender,

one reefer,

a fleet oiler on shuttle duty for the Seventh Fleet,

a fleet tug, and

an LST on loan to Task Force 90 for training purposes.

There had been no prior planning for a minor war, or indeed for anything short of full mobilization. In the sphere of fleet logistics, as elsewhere, the response to the North Korean invasion was to be an exercise in extemporization.

Responsibility for the logistic support of the Pacific Fleet and of other Pacific naval activities lay with the Service Force Pacific Fleet, commanded by Rear Admiral Francis C. Denebrink, whose headquarters were at Pearl Harbor. Like everyone else the Service Force had felt the impact of the fiscal year just ending. Not only in the Western Pacific had mobile support been reduced to a bare minimum: the only hospital ship and the only fleet stores issue ship in the Pacific Fleet had been decommissioned, and the lone dock landing ship in Admiral Denebrink’s command had escaped this fate only as a result of the requirements of Operation Greenhouse, the atomic test series then pending at Eniwetok.

[note]

The Korean Theater

Although the conduct of war is always, in large measure, an exercise in applied geography, in Korea this was more than usually the case. On land, at sea, and in the air, the movements of forces and the employment of weapons were greatly affected by the nature of the arena.

The Korean peninsula, divided by the fortunes of international politics, itself divides the Yellow Sea from the Sea of Japan. S-shaped, and with its long axis oriented generally north and south, the country lies between the parallels of 34° and 43° North, and spans the latitude between Los Angeles and central Oregon, or between North Carolina and the southern New Hampshire border. Although Korean territory extends for almost 600 miles from north to south, the distance between eastern and western coasts nowhere exceeds 200 miles, and in places is little more than half that distance. One consequence of this geographical configuration is of striking military importance: with a total area of some 83,000 square miles, or of 85,000 if all the islands are included, only a small strip along the northern border is more than 100 miles from the sea.

But although Korea is surrounded by sea, its situation to leeward of the greatest of continents has given it a climate of extremes. While summer in the north is temperate the mountain winter is extremely bitter: even on the seacoast the mean January temperature at the Russian border is but 15 Fahrenheit. In southern Korea, by contrast, the climate is warm enough to permit the growing of cotton; summer temperatures reach the nineties, and the rains of June and July produce an exhausting combination of heat and humidity; at the peninsula's southwestern tip winters are frost-free and the August mean is 80°. Summer is also the season of typhoons, which form in the Marianas and move northwestward toward the East China Sea.

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Typically, they recurve in time to pass over southern Japan or through the Straits of Tsushima, with only their fringes affecting southeastern Korea; sometimes, however, they recurve late and cross the peninsula; always their approach brings problems for the navigator and the strategist.

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For five years prior to the outbreak of war the 38th parallel had divided Korea into roughly equal parts. But the division was an illogical one, resulting in such oddities as the isolation of the Ongjin peninsula in the west, and the separation of the city of Haeju from its port facilities; still more important was its separation of the populous and agricultural south from the complementary industrial economy of the north. Yet the parallel was not the country’s sole internal barrier, for long before geographers drew lines on maps, nature had divided this peninsula and subdivided it again.

Much of Korea is mountainous. In all the peninsula there are no true flatlands or plains. Like Italy with its Alps, Korea is protected from the continental land mass to the north by high mountains which fill the triangular area above the mouth of the Yalu River, and extend beyond the border to the Manchurian plain. Much of this triangle lies above 3,000 feet; peaks of over 6,000 feet are not uncommon; only along the coast does the altitude drop below 1,500 feet. The Yalu and Tumen Rivers, which separate Korea from Manchuria and from the Russian Maritime Provinces, have their origins in the Pai Shan range, which towers above 9,000 feet and is capped by perpetual snow.

Only three significant routes of access to the peninsula penetrate this formidable terrain. Of these the most important is the western corridor, along the lower reaches of the Yalu, through which the Japanese advanced in 1905 against the Russians and through which Communist Chinese forces would move against the United Nations. But there is also a gap in the mountains in central North Korea, formed by the valleys of the Tongno and Ch'ongch'on Rivers, while in the extreme northeastern corner of the country narrow valleys and a coastal strip lead down from eastern Manchuria and the Vladivostok region.

From the northern mountain mass a rocky cordillera runs southward, paralleling the eastern coast; along this shore, except in the embrasure at the head of the Korean Gulf between the seaport cities of Wŏnsan and Hungnam, the mountains descend steeply to the sea. North of Wŏnsan the coast is somewhat indented, with a number of harbors and towns; to the southward it is almost unbroken and the Korean divide, running within ten miles of the Sea of Japan, hems in a narrow and isolated ribbon of land where population is sparse, towns are small, and ports are few. Behind the coastal range the mountain spine recurves to the southwest, diminishes for a time in altitude, and then rises again in the south central region to form an isolated massif with peaks of five and six thousand feet. From the axial range, throughout the length of the peninsula, razor-backed spurs run off to west and southwest, compartmenting the country.

These mountain spurs and isolated masses divide the populous western part of Korea into a series of river basins, draining into the Yellow Sea and the Korean Strait, which in earlier times formed the principal geographic and economic units of the country. Although not navigable by ocean-going ships, these rivers remain of considerable internal importance: the principal Korean ports lie at their mouths, and the capitals of North and South Korea only a short way upstream. Five of these rivers, two north and three south of the 38th parallel, deserve the attention of the student of the Korean War.

The Ch'ongch'on River, northernmost of the strategically important west coast streams, is blocked to ocean shipping by drying mud banks which extend far offshore. But the central rail and road route to the north runs down its valley; the town of Sinanju, near the river’s mouth, is important as the junction of the western and central routes from Manchuria; and the bridges across the river are vulnerable to air attack.

Sixty miles to the southward the Taedong River, scene of the massacre of the crew of the General Sherman, empties into the Yellow Sea. Near its mouth lies Chinnamp'o, a city of some 90,000, seaport of the important northern mining and industrial region. Fifteen miles upstream the city of Kyŏmip'o contains Korea’s largest iron and steel works; 30 miles to the northeastward lies the North Korean capital of P'yŏngyang. Once the ancient capital of the country, P'yŏngyang contains the tombs of long-dead monarchs, including that of Kija, legendary inventor of the topknot. In the Sino-Japanese War it was the scene of considerable fighting; early in the century it became the last abode of the deposed emperor. Under the Japanese it developed into a considerable manufacturing city, with industry based on the neighboring coal mines, and in due course, as the largest city in the north, became the capital of the People’s Republic. Like the bridges over the Ch'ongch'on at Sinanju, those which cross the Taedong at P'yŏngyang are of strategic significance.

Most important of Korea's rivers is the Han, whose basin extends 150 miles from north to south and half that distance from east to west. With its principal tributaries, the Imjin and the Pukhan, the Han drains a major portion of the country on both sides of the 38th parallel. Rising only a few miles from the east coast, these streams wind through the central mountains before joining to pass the capital of Sŏul and empty into the Yellow Sea near the principal west coast port of Inch'ŏn. For some 60 miles above its estuary the lower Han runs in a more or less east-west line, cutting the western lowlands and forming a potentially important and defensible military position.

South of the Han basin and west of the coastal range the country is drained by two important rivers. Some 90 miles below Inch'ŏn the Kum descends from the central massif to empty into the Yellow Sea; at its mouth lies Kunsan, a principal shipping center for the agricultural regions of southwestern Korea. In the southeastern corner of the peninsula, between the coastal range and the central highlands, the Naktong River flows southward for 100 miles or so, then east, then south again to empty into the Korean Strait. Near the mouth of the Naktong is the excellent harbor of Pusan, second city of the country and port of ingress from Japan. To the north the Naktong basin is divided from that of the Han by mountains more than 3,000 feet high; on the west it is separated from the Kum by the southern massif. Between these mountain masses the divide between the Naktong basin and those of the Han and Kum diminishes in altitude; through this gap runs the main line of Korean communications, linking Japan and Pusan with the areas of heaviest population and agricultural production and with the capital at Sŏul.

The geography of Korea, in sum, is dominated by three main features: a north blocked by high mountains; an east coast strip isolated by the mountain spine; and a broken piedmont to the west and south divided into a series of river basins. Upon this pattern industrial man, in the person of the Japanese, imposed his own geography. But although railroads, like faith, can sometimes move mountains, in Korea this movement was only a partial one. A traffic pattern could be developed which would unite the river basins, but the linking of eastern and western provinces remained incomplete. The mountain framework, broken, jumbled, and forbidding, continued to dominate the life of the country and to impose a north-south orientation which made division at the 38th parallel the more painful.

The first Korean railroad, built early in the century by the Japanese, linked the port of Pusan with the capital at Sŏul. Although its construction required 99 bridges and 22 tunnels, it was completed by the time of the Russo-Japanese War. During that war its northward extension, from Sŏul to Sinuiju on the Yalu River, was rushed to completion for strategic purposes. But a decade elapsed before the coasts were linked by a line through the mountain gaps between Sŏul and Wŏnsan, and still longer until the construction of the east coast railroad, leading south from Siberia, began the transformation of fishing villages into industrial towns.

By 1950 the main structure of rail and road communications had assumed an X-shaped pattern, with the crossing at Sŏul. From Manchuria in the northwest a line of double track spanned the Yalu at Sinuiju and ran southeast to Sinanju. There it was joined by a line which crossed the border below the Suiho reservoir, and by one coming from the upper reaches of the Yalu by way of the Tongno-Ch'ongch'on gap. From Sinanju, where these lines merged, the double track ran south to P'yŏngyang, Sŏul, and beyond. On the far side of the mountain masses, widely separated from this west coast network, another rail line came south from the Vladivostok complex. One coastal spur extended from the lower Tumen River to Najin near the Russian border; farther inland, the main line ran south to Ch'ŏngjin, along the shore to the new manufacturing cities of Hŭngnam and Wŏnsan, and on through the mountains to Sŏul. On the east coast south of Wŏnsan the track extended as far as Yangyang, just above the 38th parallel, but from Yangyang to P'ohang, 65 miles above Pusan, movement depended on road and sea.

The routes from the north thus converged at the Korean capital. Below this hub the railroad lines spread out again through South Korea. Two ran southeastward to the Pusan area, one leading directly from the valley of the Han into that of the Naktong, while the main line, now double-tracked, passed westward through Taejŏn in the Kum basin. From the latter, branches extended to the southwestern ports of Kunsan, Mokp'o, and Yŏsu, but there was no south coast line, and rail traffic between Pusan and the southwestern ports had to be detoured northward around the central mountain massif.

To this extent the mountains remained unconquered. The lack of lateral communication remained the dominant feature of the transportation nets, road and rail alike. Of intercostal rail links there were but two, one running north and south between Sŏul and Wŏnsan, and one east and west, connecting the Wŏnsan-Hungnam region to Sinanju and P'yŏngyang. The Korean transport system thus rested upon three focal points, the Wŏnsan area on the east coast, the P'yŏngyang-Sinanju complex on the west, and Sŏul. This situation sufficiently explains the strategic importance of these regions, for while the Korean road net was much more extensive than that of the railroad, and permitted access to most of the mountain regions, the roads were generally poor, unimproved, and unsuited to heavy mechanized equipment, and the anatomy of the highway system followed that of the rail lines.

Four prong Attack

Korean_War

See Four prong Attack

Inevitably the scheme of maneuver adopted by the North Korean army for the conquest of this corrugated country was governed by the orientation of transport routes. The war had begun with a four-pronged invasion. The principal attack, delivered by the North Korean 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions and the 105th Armored Brigade, and with two more divisions in reserve, was aimed south toward Sŏul along the valley line from Wŏnsan.

Korean_WarOne

To the west the North Korean 6th Division overran the isolated Ongjin peninsula, and then joined with the 1st Division to move southeast, along the main line from P'yŏngyang, through Kaesŏng to the capital.

Korean_WarTwo

NKPA 3rd and 4th Divisions attacked Munsan-ni and P'och'on, also converging on the capital.

Korean_WarThree

In the central mountains the NKPA 2nd and the newly organized 7th Divisions attacked southward to Ch'unch'ŏn, terminus of a branch rail line from Sŏul, after which the NKPA 2nd Division moved southwesterly down the railroad toward the capital while the 7th marched southward over mountain roads toward Wŏnju and the eastern of the two rail lines to Pusan.

Korean_WarFour

On the east coast beyond the divide, in a theater all its own, the North Korean 5th Division advanced southward along the shore road, leapfrogging ahead with small-scale amphibious operations.

Four prongs became three as the mass of the invading troops converged upon the capital’s transportation nexus. In this second phase the 5th Division continued its independent operations east of the mountain spine, while in the central mountains the 7th Division, supported by constabulary troops, threaded its way southward through Wŏnju in the direction of Andong.

[note]


0000 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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0100 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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0200 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
11:00 AM
06/24/50
12:00 PM
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5:00 PM
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0300 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
12:00 PM
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0400 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
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June 25, 1950 0400

The invasion began in the west, on the Ongjin Peninsula.

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Scattered but heavy rains fell along the 38th Parallel in the pre-dawn darkness of Sunday, 25 June 1950. Farther south, at Sŏul, the day dawned overcast but with only light occasional showers. The summer monsoon season had just begun. Rain-heavy rain-might be expected to sweep over the variously tinted green of the rice paddies and the barren gray-brown mountain slopes of South Korea during the coming weeks.

Korean_War

Along the dark, rain-soaked Parallel, North Korean artillery and mortars broke the early morning stillness. It was about 0400. The precise moment of opening enemy fire varied perhaps as much as an hour at different points across the width of the peninsula, but everywhere it signaled a coordinated attack from coast to coast. The sequence of attack seemed to progress from west to east, with the earliest attack striking the Ongjin Peninsula at approximately 0400. [03-9] (Map 1)

Korean_War

The blow fell unexpectedly on the South Koreans. Many of the officers and some men, as well as many of the KMAG advisers, were in Sŏul and other towns on weekend passes. [03-10]

The four NKPA divisions were attacking four ROK battalions. And even though four divisions and one regiment were stationed near the border, only one regiment of each division and one battalion of the separate regiment were actually in the defensive positions at the Parallel. The remainder of these organizations were in reserve positions ten to thirty miles below the Parallel. Accordingly, the onslaught of the North Korea People's Army struck a surprised garrison in thinly held defensive positions.

[note]

Korean_War

June 25, 1950

The North Korean attack against the Ongjin Peninsula on the west coast, northwest of Sŏul, began about 0400 with a heavy artillery and mortar barrage and small arms fire delivered by the 14th Regiment of the NKPA 6th Division and the BC 3rd Brigade. The ground attack came half an hour later across the Parallel without armored support.

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It struck the positions held by a battalion of the ROK 17th Regiment commanded by Col. Paik In Yup. [03-14] [note]

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June 25, 1950 0400

At 4 a.m. a tremendous artillery barrage hits the 1st Division of the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) on the western end and other ROKA outposts along the 38th Parallel that divides North and South Korea. The invasion of South Korea by the North Korean Peoples' Army (NKPA) has begun. The artillery bombardment is quickly followed by ground attacks by the NKPA's 1st and 6th Infantry Divisions against the ROKA 1st Division.

Korean_War Korean_War

The main effort by the NKPA comes later on the Uijŏngbu Corridor, a pathway to Sŏul, against the ROK 7th Division. The NKPA's 3rd and 4th Divisions and 105th Armored Brigade, supported by about 100 fighter planes, makes the assault.

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-- The ROK 17th Infantry Regiment is forced to withdraw from the Ongjin Peninsula, as the NKPA follows with furious attacks all along the 38th Parallel.

-- North Korean forces reach the outer defenses of Sŏul.

-- North Korean radio in P'yŏngyang called the attack a "defensive action" against invading South Korean troops. Russian news outlets follow with stories in the same vein.

-- When the news reaches the United States, most Americans had never heard of Korea, much less know where it is. Throughout the Japanese 35-year occupation Korea, which ended with Japan's defeat in 1945, was called Chosin, and most maps used Japanese names for cities.

But more than 36,000 Americans would die there between June 25, 1950, and July 27, 1953.

Division of the north and south was adopted after being recommended by the Russians, so they could accept surrender of Japanese forces north of the 38th Parallel and Americans would do the same below the line.

American troops are stationed in Korea after World War II, but the last unit was pulled out in 1948. Only a military assistance group headquarters remained. South Koreans were left to create their own armed forces, largely using equipment left behind by U.S. forces.

January 12 1950

In 1950,(1/12/50) Secretary of State Dean Acheson omitted Korea from the list of critical international zones in which American forces could possibly be expected to fight. Congress did authorize $11 million in military aid to South Korea that year, but it didn't reach Sŏul until after the attack.

Meanwhile, Russians, who invaded North Korea and whipped Japanese forces, have been arming and training North Korean armed forces. So when they attacked, their Army outnumbered the ROK by 135,000 to 98,000. They also had many tanks, artillery and aircraft. South Korea had mostly rifles and light artillery. The North also had 16 warships and the South nothing bigger that an PC.

Russians and North Korean communists believed they would reach the southern tip of the peninsula in a very short time. However, the undermanned and under-armed ROK forces manage to delay the NKPA long enough for the United States and other countries to enter the war. [note]

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Korea hangs like a lumpy phallus [symbolic representation of the penis ] between, the sprawling thighs of Manchuria and the Sea of Japan. Roughly the size of England and Scotland, it was, in 1950, the home of about twenty million people, most of whom lived in the south. The peninsula has sometimes been called "the Hermit Kingdom," and most visitors have been only too happy to leave it alone.

Sebald had crossed it six times in the 1930s. He had thought then that it was "a nation of sad people - oppressed, unhappy, poor, silent, and sullen," and he hadn't changed his mind since.

A Korean proverb for the country runs: "Over the mountains, mountains." The hills in fact seem interminable. They are also dun-colored, granitic, steep, and speckled here and there with boulders, scrub oaks, and stunted firs. In the valleys, streams meander past rice paddies, walled cities, and pagodas fingering drab skies from terraced slopes. The landscape is colorless.

There are almost no flowers. The hillsides are gouged with thousands of dells and gorges, many deep enough to conceal battalions of troops. It is ideal terrain for guerrilla fighting.[1]

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June 25, 1950 0400

That first In Min Gun blitz was, however, a conventional offensive.

Under the tactical command of Senior Colonel Lee Hak Ku, gunners manning the howitzer batteries studied the bursts of their exploding shells and corrected their ranges. Then, as Lee lowered his upraised arm in an abrupt gesture of command, wedges of growling, low slung Soviet T-34 tanks lurched across the Parallel.

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Stormoviks IL-10

Overhead, Yaks and Stormoviks winged toward Sŏul, a few minutes away. Like the Chinese, the North Koreans still used trumpets to herald charges, and with their first notes PA infantrymen lunged across the border toward their first objectives.

Despite the weather the summer monsoon had just begun, and a heavy rain was falling. PA General Chai Ung Jun put ninety thousand 90,000 men into South Korea without any traffic jams. Already junks and sampans were landing amphibious PA troops behind ROK lines to the south. As MacArthur later put it, North Korea had "struck like a cobra." [2] [note]

0430 Korean Time

June 25, 1950

The North Korean attack against the Ongjin Peninsula on the west coast, northwest of Sŏul, began about 0400 with a heavy artillery and mortar barrage and small arms fire delivered by the 14th Regiment of the NKPA 6th Division and the BC 3rd Brigade. The ground attack came half an hour later across the Parallel without armored support. It struck the positions held by a battalion of the ROK 17th Regiment commanded by Col. Paik In Yup. [03-14] [note]

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Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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0500 Korean Time

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June 25, 1950 0500

On the east coast across the high Taebaek Range from Inje, the last major concentration of North Korean troops awaited the attack hour. There the NKPA 5th Division, the 766th Independent Unit, and some guerrilla units were poised to cross the Parallel.

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On the south side of the border the 10th Regiment of the ROK 8th Division held defensive positions. But not quite, the division was scattered all over South Korea.

The ROK division headquarters was at Kangnung, some fifteen miles down the coast; the division's second regiment, the 21st, was stationed at Samch'ŏk, about twenty-five miles farther south. Only a small part of the 21st Regiment actually was at Samch'ŏk on 25 June, however, as two of its battalions were engaged in anti-guerrilla action southward in the Taebaek Mountains. [03-35]

The division's 3rd regiment the 16th was assigned to the ROK 2nd Division at Taejŏn at this time.

[03-35] Interv, Sawyer with Col George D. Kessler, 24 Feb 54; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 96 (NKPA 5th Div), p. 39; KMAG G-2 Unit Hist, 25 Jun 50.

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June 25, 1950 0500

About0500 Sunday morning, 25 June, Koreans awakened Maj. George D. Kessler, KMAG adviser to the ROK 10th Regiment, at Samch'ŏk and told him a heavy North Korean attack was in progress at the 38th Parallel. Within a few minutes word came that enemy troops were landing at two points along the coast nearby, above and below Samch'ŏk.

Korean_War

The commander of the 10th Regiment and Major Kessler got into a jeep and drove up the coast. From a hilltop they saw junks and sampans lying offshore and what looked like a battalion of troops milling about on the coastal road.

They drove back south, and below Samch'ŏk they saw much the same scene.

By the time the two officers returned to Samch'ŏk enemy craft were circling offshore there.

ROK soldiers brought up their antitank guns and opened fire on the craft. Kessler saw two boats sink. A landing at Samch'ŏk itself did not take place.

These landings in the Samch'ŏk area were by guerrillas in the approximate strength of 400 above and 600 below the town. Their mission was to spread inland into the mountainous eastern part of Korea. [03-36]

[03-36] Interv, Sawyer with Kessler 24 Feb 54; 24th Div G-3 Jnl, 25 Jun 50; DA Wkly Intel Rpt, Nr 72, 7 Jul 50, p. 18.

Meanwhile, two battalions of the 766th Independent Unit had landed near Kangnung. Correlating their action with this landing, the NKPA 5th Division and remaining elements of the 766th Independent Unit crossed the Parallel with the 766th Independent Unit leading the attack southward down the coastal road. [03-37]

[03-37] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of NKPA Aggression), pp. 46-50; Ibid., Issue 96 (NKPA 5th Div), p. 39; 24th Div G-3 Jnl, 25 Jun 50; DA Wkly Intel Rpt, Nr 72, 7 Jul 50, p. 18; KMAG G-2 Unit Hist, 25 Jun 50. According to North Korean Col. Lee Hak Ku, the 17th Motorcycle Regiment also moved to Kangnung but the terrain prevented its employment in the attack. See ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 9 (NKPA Forces), pp. 158-74, Nr 1468.

[note]

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0500

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June 25, 1950 0500

Capt. Joseph R. Darrigo, assistant adviser to the ROK 12th Regiment, 1st Division, was the only American officer on the 38th Parallel the morning of 25 June.

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Songak-San

He occupied quarters in a house at the northeast edge of Kaesŏng, just below Son'gak-san [Son'gak Mountain). At daybreak, approximately 0500, Captain Darrigo awoke to the sound of artillery fire. Soon shell fragments and small arms fire were hitting his house. He jumped from bed, pulled on a pair of trousers, and, with shoes and shirt in hand, ran to the stairs where he was met by his Korean houseboy running up to awaken him. The two ran out of the house, jumped into Darrigo's jeep, and drove south into Kaesŏng. They encountered no troops, but the volume of fire indicated an enemy attack.

Darrigo decided to continue south on the Munsan-ni Road to the Imjin River.

At the circle in the center of Kaesŏng small arms fire fell near Darrigo's jeep. Looking off to the west, Darrigo saw a startling sight-half a mile away, at the railroad station which was in plain view, North Korean soldiers were unloading from a train of perhaps fifteen cars. Some of these soldiers were already advancing toward the center of town. Darrigo estimated there were from two to three battalions, perhaps a regiment, of enemy troops on the train.

The North Koreans obviously had re-laid during the night previously pulled up track on their side of the Parallel and had now brought this force in behind the ROK's north of Kaesŏng while their artillery barrage and other infantry attacked frontally from Songak-san.

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The 13th and 15th Regiments of the NKPA 6th Division delivered the attack on Kaesŏng.

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Most of the ROK 12th Regiment troops at Kaesŏng and Yŏnan were killed or captured.

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Only two companies of the regiment escaped and reported to the division headquarters the next day. Kaesŏng was entirely in enemy hands by 0930.

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Darrigo, meanwhile, sped south out of Kaesŏng, reached the Imjin River safely, and crossed over to Munsan-ni.[3-20] [note]

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At about three-thirty on Sunday morning Darrigo was jarred awake by the crash of close artillery fire. He sat bolt upright and listened intently. At first he believed it to be the South Koreans firing their 105mm snub-nosed "infantry cannons" at NKPA positions. But as the noise increased in fury, he realized it was not South but North Korean artillery. Moreover, it was not the usual sporadic harassing border fire. It was heavy, continuous, and alarming.

Was this it? Darrigo asked himself. Invasion?

He pulled on his trousers and ran outside to get a better look. He could see the muzzle flashes reflected on low-lying dark clouds, which presaged the onset of the rainy season. The guns were close and seemingly firing without letup. Then he heard a tattoo of small arms fire, the unmistakable advance of infantry. Bullets whined all around him and thudded into the stone house.

Darrigo grabbed his shirt and shoes and jumped into his jeep, his Korean houseboy on his heels. Still shirtless and shoeless, he drove the jeep down twisting, dusty roads, south toward downtown Kaesŏng. In the middle of town at a traffic circle he stopped suddenly, mouth agape. Pulling into the railroad station was a fifteen car North Korean train, jammed with infantry - some hanging on the sides. Sometime during the evening the NKPA had re-laid the railroad tracks!

The train - and the large numbers of NKPA soldiers - was proof to Darrigo that this was no "rice raid" or minor border incident. It was obviously a meticulously planned, highly professional military attack, the real thing. And like Pearl Harbor, he thought, it had come on a Sunday morning without warning. The NKPA movement by train into Kaesŏng had cannily outflanked Darrigo's thinly deployed 12th Regiment. The outfit did not stand a chance, and there was no way Darrigo could get back to its CP to offer his advice. [note]

Korean_War

News of the invasion reached Sŏul within an hour, before 0500. American officers there were alerted by 0630 and began to arrive half an hour later at their duty posts. Belief that the attack was nothing more than a border raid soon faded. [note]

0511 Sunrise

[note]

Korean_War Korean_War

June 25, 1950 0511

The young (thirty-year-old) commander of the ROK 1st Division, Colonel Paik Sun Yup, was able and dedicated. Unfortunately he and his KMAG adviser, Darrigo's immediate boss, Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd H. Rockwell, were in Sŏul for the weekend. However, Paik's headquarters quickly found and alerted Paik, and he in turn found and roused Rockwell. Shortly after dawn both men joined Darrigo at the 1st ROK Division headquarters.[2-78] [note]

0515 Korean Time

Korean_War Korean_War

June 25, 1950 0511

Back in Sŏul, Colonel Rockwell awakened shortly after daylight [sunrise 0511] that Sunday morning to the sound of pounding on the door of his home in the American compound where he was spending the weekend. Colonel Paik and a few of his staff officers were outside. They told Rockwell of the attack at the Parallel. Paik phoned his headquarters and ordered the 11th Regiment and other units to move immediately to Munsan-ni - Korangp'o-ri and occupy prearranged defensive positions. Colonel Rockwell and Colonel Paik then drove directly to Munsan-ni. The 11th Regiment moved rapidly and in good order from Suisak and took position on the left of the 13th Regiment, both thereby protecting the approaches to the Imjin bridge. There they engaged in bitter fighting, the 13th Regiment particularly distinguishing itself. [03-21]

[03-21] Ltr, Rockwell to author, 21 May 54; Interv, author with Darrigo, 5 Aug 53; Ltr, Hamilton to author, 21 Aug 53; Gen Paik, MS review comments, 11 Jul 58.

Upon making a reconnaissance of the situation at Munsan-ni, Colonel Rockwell and Colonel Paik agreed they should blow the bridge over the Imjin River according to prearranged plans and Paik gave the order to destroy it after the 12th Regiment had withdrawn across it. A large body of the enemy so closely followed the regiment in its withdrawal, however, that this order was not executed and the bridge fell intact to the enemy. [03-22]

[03-22] Ltr, Rockwell to author, 21 May 54; Ltr, Hamilton to author, 21 Aug 53; Gen Paik, MS review comments, 1 Jul 58.

The NKPA 1st Division and supporting tanks of the NKPA 105th Armored Brigade made the attack in the Munsan-ni-Korangp'o-ri area. At first some ROK soldiers of the ROK 13th Regiment engaged in suicide tactics, hurling themselves and the high explosives they carried under the tanks. Others approached the tanks with satchel or pole charges. Still others mounted tanks and tried desperately to open the hatches with hooks to drop grenades inside. These men volunteered for this duty. They destroyed a few tanks but most of them were killed, and volunteers for this duty soon became scarce. [03-23]

[03-23] Ltr, Rockwell to author, 21 May 54; Interv, author with Hausman, 12 Jan 52. Colonel Paik some days after the action gave Hausman an account of the Imjin River battle. Paik estimated that about ninety ROK soldiers gave their lives in attacks on enemy tanks.

The ROK 1st Division held its positions at Korangp'o-ri for nearly three days and then, outflanked and threatened with being cut off by the enemy divisions in the Uijŏngbu Corridor, it withdrew toward the Han River. [note]

0530 Korean Time

Korean_War

June 25, 0530

The main North Korean attack, meanwhile, had come down the Uijŏngbu Corridor (Hiway 3 & 23) timed to coincide with the general attacks elsewhere. It got under way about 0530 on 25 June and was delivered by the NKPA 4th and 3rd Infantry Divisions and tanks of the 105th Armored Brigade. [03-25]

[03-25] DA Intel Rev, Mar 51, Nr ·78, p. 34; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of NKPA Aggression), pt. II, Opn Ord Nr 1, 4th Inf Div, 22 Jun 50; Ibid., Issue 3 (Enemy Documents), p. 65; G-2 Periodic Rpt, 30 Jun 50, Reserve CP (NKPA); The Conflict in Korea, p.
28.

This attack developed along two roads which converged at Uijŏngbu [about 10 miles due north of Sŏul] and from there led into Sŏul. The NKPA 4th Division drove straight south toward Tongduch'ŏn-ni from the 38th Parallel near Yonch'ŏn.

The NKPA 3rd Division came down the Kŭmhwa - Uijŏngbu - Sŏul road, often called the P'och'on Road, which angled into Uijŏngbu from the northeast. The NKPA 107th Tank Regiment of the NKPA 105th Armored Brigade with about forty T34 tanks supported the 4th Division; the 109th Tank Regiment with another forty tanks supported the 3rd Division on the P'och'on Road. [03-26]

[03-26] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 4 (Enemy Forces), p. 37; Ibid., Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of NKPA Aggression), p. 45; Opn Plan, NKPA 4th Inf Div. Opn Ord Nr I. 221400 Jun 50; Ibid., Issue 94 (NKPA 4th Div), Ibid., Issue 96 (NKPA 3rd Div).

Korean_War

[03-Caption] ENEMY APPROACH ROUTES through Uijŏngbu Corridor.

Korean_War

June 25, 1950 0530

The 1st Regiment of the ROK 7th Division, disposed along the Parallel, received the initial blows of the NKPA 3rd and 4th Divisions. In the early fighting it lost very heavily to enemy tanks and self-propelled guns. Behind it at P'och'on on the eastern road was the 9th Regiment; behind it at Tongduch'ŏn-ni on the western road was the 3rd Regiment. [note]

June 25, 1950 0530

Korean_War

The North Korean soldiers - a full infantry regiment - detrained and almost immediately spotted Darrigo. They opened fire with Russian made rifles, carbines, and pistols. With bullets whistling all around the open jeep, Darrigo sped out of Kaesŏng, southbound. Like a Paul Revere, he drove through the night to spread the alarm.

Korean_War

Thirty minutes later he reached headquarters of the ROK 1st Division, located in a heavily fenced compound just south of the Imjin River near Munsan. Unable to raise the sleeping headquarters guards, Darrigo doggedly and noisily rammed the jeep against the heavy wooden gate until he got a response. [note]

0600 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
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6:00 AM

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June 25, 0600

Long fearful of aggression from the north, the Republic of Korea had built field fortifications along the 38th parallel, but the lightly armed South Korean soldiers proved no match for the Communists. By 0600 hours columns of North Korean infantry, spearheaded by Soviet-built T-34 tanks, drove through the ROK lines toward Kaesŏng in the west and the ROK 6th Infantry Division at Ch'unch'ŏn in central Korea.

Korean_War

On the east coast, south of Kangnung, a motley but effective collection of small boats and junks set Red troops ashore. To U.S. Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) field advisers serving with the ROK forces, the Communist assault looked real enough from its outset, but many times before this Red Korean raiding parties had crossed the border. Accustomed to such Communist terror tactics. American observers hesitated to report all-out aggression until they were sure of their facts. [note]

0600

Korean_War Korean_War

June 25, 0600

The first message from the vicinity of the Parallel received by the American Advisory Group in Sŏul came by radio about 0600 from five advisers with the ROK 17th Regiment on the Ongjin Peninsula. They reported the regiment was under heavy attack and about to be overrun. [03-15] [note]

25, 26, 27

June 25, 0600

Korean_War

When Paik began issuing orders, his three regiments were disposed as follows.

The 12th was at the parallel near Kaesŏng, outflanked by the train borne NKPA soldiers and apparently overrun.

The 13th was about fifteen miles east of Kaesŏng [near Korangp'o-ri] and

the 11th was in reserve near Sŏul.

[The 11th Regiment moved rapidly and in good order from Suisak and took position on the left of the 13th Regiment]

Paik ordered the 11th to move rapidly forward to positions behind the Imjin River. For the next two days the 11th and 13th ROK regiments would fight valiantly at the Imjin in a vain attempt to hold back nearly two full NKPA divisions, whose attack was led by a battalion of T-34 Russian tanks.[2-79]

Korean_War

This NKPA attack was powerful and determined, but the main attack came as expected, in the Uijŏngbu Corridor. Two full NKPA divisions, each spearheaded by forty T34 tanks and other mechanized vehicles and supported by 120mm howitzers, hit the ROK 7th Division. The ROKs reeled, recovered, then mounted a surprisingly stout defense.

Korean_War

As planned, Sŏul ordered the 2nd Division to move rapidly forward from Taejŏn to reinforce this critical corridor. But the 2nd could not get there in time. The 7th was forced to give way. It fell back on Uijŏngbu, thereby exposing the right flank of Paik's 1st Division, which was holding along the Imjin River, and forcing Paik to fall back toward Sŏul. [not for two days, I hope]

Korean_War

Farther east, in the hills of mid-Korea, elements of two other NKPA divisions simultaneously struck the ROK 6th Division. As with Paik's 1st, only two regiments were on the line; but as it happened, he had not issued any weekend passes, and these regiments were at full strength. Besides that, the ROK 6th Division had unusually good artillery units. Its forward elements, some fighting from concrete pillboxes, held, giving the commanders time to rush the reserve regiment forward from Wŏnju, forty miles south. The division inflicted harsh casualties on the NKPA regiments and might have held longer, but the collapse of the ROK 7th Division at Uijŏngbu exposed its distant left flank, also forcing it to withdraw.

There were two other subsidiary D day NKPA attacks on the extreme flanks.

Korean_War

West of Paik's 1st Division, on the Ongjin peninsula, which juts into the Yellow Sea, a strong NKPA force attacked the lone 17th ROK Regiment, commanded by Paik's younger brother. One ROK battalion was overrun and decimated, but the other two evacuated as planned (the ROKs correctly did not consider the peninsula defensible) on three LST's.

Korean_War

On the opposite side of Korea, on the mountainous east coast bordering the Sea of Japan, the NKPA simultaneously hit the widely dispersed and under strength ROK 8th Division, both frontally and by multiple amphibious assaults on its coastal flanks. Caught in a well executed land-sea envelopment, the division was powerless to mount an effective defense, and was soon forced to withdraw.

Korean_War

During these well planned and well executed quadruple assaults the NKPA Air Force was out in full force, about 100 planes. Some of the bombers attacked Sŏul and its airport, Kimp'o, causing panic among the civilians. Some of the fighters bombed and strafed ROK Army forces. But the NKPA Air Force's contribution to the battle was slight. Contrary to the predictions of Roberts and Muccio, the ROK soldiers did not panic; they all but ignored the planes. Of far greater menace and effectiveness were the Russian T34 tanks. The NKPA made a mockery of Roberts's judgment that Korea was "not good tank country." The T34s rolled southward, easily and relentlessly, creating terror and panic among most ROK units. But not all. About ninety of Paik's 1st Division troopers died valiantly in suicidal attempts to destroy the tanks with satchel charges and other makeshift explosive devices. [note]

June 25, 0600

Korean_War

8th ID

Within two hours other attacks were in progress along the line to the east coast, where amphibious forces were to attack Samch'ŏk later in the day. Any idea that this might be no more than another harassing border raid was soon dispelled when the North Korean forces laid down artillery barrages, brought up tanks, and attacked by air. [note]

0630 Korean Time

June 25, 0630

Korean_War

News of the invasion reached Sŏul within an hour, before 0500. American officers there were alerted by 0630 and began to arrive half an hour later at their duty posts. Belief that the attack was nothing more than a border raid soon faded. [note]

0700 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
4:00 PM
06/24/50
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06/24/50
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7:00 AM

June 25, 1950 0700

Korean_War

It was early morning Sunday, June 25, 1950, when the telephone rang in my bedroom at the American Embassy in Tokyo. It rang with the note of urgency that can sound only in the hush of a darkened room. It was the duty officer at headquarters. "General," he said, "we have just received a dispatch from Sŏul, advising that the North Koreans have struck in great strength south across the 38th Parallel at four o'clock this morning." Thousands of Red Korean troops had poured over the border, overwhelming the South Korean advance posts, and were moving southward with a speed and power that was sweeping aside all opposition.
I had an uncanny feeling of nightmare. It had been nine years before, on a Sunday morning, at the same hour, that a telephone call with the same note of urgency had awakened me in the penthouse atop the Manila Hotel. It was the same fell note of the war cry that was again ringing in my ears. It couldn't be, I told myself. Not again! I must still be asleep and dreaming. Not again! But then came the crisp, cool voice of my fine chief of staff, General Ned Almond, "Any orders, General?"
How, I asked myself, could the United States have allowed such a deplorable situation to develop? I thought back to those days, only a short time before, when our country had been militarily more powerful than any nation on earth. General Marshall, then Army chief of staff, had reported to the Secretary of War in 1945: "Never was the strength of American democracy as evident nor has it ever been so clearly within our power to give definite guidance for our course into the future of the human race." But in the short space of five years this power had been frittered away in a bankruptcy of positive and courageous leadership toward any long-range objectives. Again I asked myself, "What is United States policy in Asia?" And the appalling thought came, "The United States has no definite 'policy in Asia." [note]

0800 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
5:00 PM
06/24/50
6:00 PM
06/24/50
11:00 PM
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8:00 AM

June 25, 1950 0800

By 0800, it was obvious that many North Korean troops were involved at many separate points. The use of armor and the major orientation on the approaches to Sŏul were ominous. ROK defenders at Ch'unch'ŏn in central Korea threw back the first attacks; but on the east coast, near Kangnung, an enemy amphibious landing was unopposed.

[note]

0830 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 0830

Korean_War

At0830 a ROK officer at the front sent a radio message to the Minister of Defense in Sŏul saying that the North Koreans in the vicinity of the Parallel were delivering a heavy artillery fire and a general attack, that they already had seized the contested points, and that he must have immediate reinforcements-that all ROK units were engaged. [03-27] The strong armored columns made steady gains on both roads, and people in Uijŏngbu, twenty miles north of Sŏul, could hear the artillery fire of the two converging columns before the day ended. At midmorning reports came in to Sŏul that Kimp'o Airfield was under air attack. A short time later, two enemy Russian-built YAK fighter planes appeared over the city and strafed its main street. In the afternoon, enemy planes again appeared over Kimp'o and Sŏul. [03-28]

Korean_War

Eastward across the peninsula, Ch'unch'ŏn, like Kaesŏng, lay almost on the Parallel. Ch'unch'ŏn was an important road center on the Pukhan River and the gateway to the best communication and transport net leading south through the mountains in the central part of Korea. The attacks thus far described had been carried out by elements of the NKPA I Corps.

Korean_War

From Ch'unch'ŏn east ward the NKPA II Corps, with headquarters at Hwach'ŏn north of Ch'unch'ŏn, controlled the attack formations. The NKPA 2nd Division at Hwach'ŏn moved down to the border, replacing a Border Constabulary unit, and the NKPA 7th Division did likewise some miles farther eastward at Inje. The plan of attack was for the 2nd Division to capture Ch'unch'ŏn by the afternoon of the first day; the 7th Division was to drive directly for Hongch'ŏn, some miles below the Parallel. [03-29]

Korean_War

The 7th Regiment of the ROK 6th Division guarded Ch'unch'ŏn, a beautiful town spread out below Peacock Mountain atop which stood a well-known shrine, Nocheon-ri, Sutasa, with red lacquered pillars. An other regiment was disposed eastward guarding the approaches to Hoengsŏng. The third regiment, in reserve, was with division headquarters at Wŏnju, forty-five miles south of the Parallel.

The two assault regiments of the NKPA 2nd Division attacked Ch'unch'ŏn early Sunday morning; the NKPA 6th Regiment advanced along the river road, while the NKPA 4th Regiment climbed over the mountains north of the city. From the outset, the ROK artillery was very effective and the enemy 6th Regiment met fierce resistance. Before the day ended, the NKPA 2nd Division's reserve regiment, the 17th, joined in the attack. [03-30]

Korean_War Korean_War

Lt. Col. Thomas D. McPhail, adviser to the ROK 6th Division, proceeded to Ch'unch'ŏn from Wŏnju in the morning after he received word that the North Koreans had crossed the Parallel.

[note]

0900 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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6:00 PM
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city of Kaesŏng
fell to North Koreans at 0900

June 25, 1950 0900

By 0900 hours, however, the South Korean town of Kaesŏng had fallen, and this victory, coupled with the landings south of Kangnung, made it starkly evident that this was no mere raid. The Reds were bent upon an armed subjugation of the Republic of Korea. #12

[note]

June 25, 1950 0900

Korean_War

The North Korean attack against the Ongjin Peninsula on the west coast, northwest of Sŏul, began about 0400 with a heavy artillery and mortar barrage and small arms fire delivered by the NKPA 14th Regiment of the NKPA 6th Division and the BC 3rd Brigade. The ground attack came half an hour later across the Parallel without armored support. It struck the positions held by a battalion of the ROK 17th Regiment commanded by Col. Paik In Yup. [14]

Korean_War


The first message from the vicinity of the Parallel received by the American Advisory Group in Sŏul came by radio about 0600 from five advisers with the ROK 17th Regiment on the Ongjin Peninsula. They reported the regiment was under heavy attack and about to be overrun. [15]

Before 0900 another message came from them requesting air evacuation. Two KMAG aviators, Maj. Lloyd Swink and Lt. Frank Brown, volunteered to fly their L-5 planes from Sŏul. They succeeded in bringing the five Americans out in a single trip. [03-16]

The Ongjin Peninsula, cut off by water from the rest of South Korea, never had been considered defensible in case of a North Korean attack. Before the day ended, plans previously made were executed to evacuate the ROK 17th Regiment. What was left, 2 battalions.

[note]

KPAAF

Korean_War

hours -- KPA commences "First (Sŏul) Phase"


KPAFAC starts war with 239 aircraft, of which 129 are Yaks and 43 are Il-10s;
the remainder are Po-2, Yak-11, Yak-16, or Yak-18 types.
KPAFAC Attacks -- Yak-9P and Yak-9U committed to combat.
USAF SB-17 and RB-29 committed to combat
0900 -- US Embassy determines that all-out offensive had begun.

[note]

0925 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 0925

Korean_War

The first official word of the North Korean attack across the border into South Korea reached Tokyo in an information copy of an emergency telegram dispatched from Sŏul at 0925, 25 June, by the military attaché at the American Embassy there to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, Department of the Army, in Washington. [04-1] About the same time the Far East Air Forces in Tokyo began receiving radio messages from Kimp'o Airfield near Sŏul stating that fighting was taking place along the 38th Parallel on a scale that seemed to indicate more than the usual border incidents. Not so surprising, it was Nichols's terse report from Sŏul on the morning of June 25, 1950, that gave MacArthur's headquarters its first official notification of the North Korean invasion. Northwest Airlines, with Air Force support, operated Kimp'o Airfield at this time.

[note]

7:00 PM Washington Time

June 25, 1950 0900 - 0700 Washington Time

Korean_War

About the time the military attaché in Sŏul sent the first message to the Department of the Army, representatives of press associations in Korea began sending news bulletins to their offices in the United States. It was about Seven o'clock Saturday night, 24 June, Washington time, when the first reports reached that city of the North Korean attacks that had begun five hours earlier.

[note]

0930 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 0930

Korean_War

At the same time as the Fifth Air Force was readying its air evacuation task force, events were marching in Korea. At the American embassy in Sŏul Ambassador John J. Muccio learned of the invasion at 0930 hours. At once he went to KMAG headquarters, where he learned that a full-scale Communist attack seemed to be in progress. #19 At about this time, however, the ROK defenses appeared to begin to hold, and during the remainder of the day Communist gains were limited to a tank thrust down to Uijŏngbu and to three more landings on the east coast of Korea. Just before noon, however, weather began to clear over Sŏul, and the North Korean Air Force entered combat.

[note]

June 25, 1950 0930

Korean_War

By0930 Sunday morning, 25 June, the ROK Army high command at Sŏul had decided the North Koreans were engaged in a general offensive and not a repetition of many earlier "rice raids." [03-40]

[note]

June 25, 1950 0930

Korean_War

Most of the ROK 12th Regiment troops at Kaesŏng and Yŏnan were killed or captured. Only two companies of the regiment escaped and reported to the division headquarters the next day. Kaesŏng was entirely in enemy hands by 0930. Darrigo, meanwhile, sped south out of Kaesŏng, reached the Imjin River safely, and crossed over to Munsan-ni. [03-20]

[note]

0945 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 0945

Korean_War

First report of the North Korean aggression reached the Meiji building at 0945 hours. From Sŏul Chief Warrant Officer [Capt.] Donald Nichols, commander of District 8, Office of Special Investigation (OSI), telephoned the news to the FEAF operations duty officer.#13 Although the report was promptly flashed to all FEAF units,

[note]

June 25, 1950 0945

Korean_War Korean_War Korean_War

Back in Tokyo, FEAF headquarters first learned of the hostilities at 0945 hours, Japanese time, by a message from the OSI office in Sŏul; by 1130 hours all key staff officers had been notified. General Partridge at the moment was acting commander of FEAF, while General Stratemeyer was en route back from the United States, but pending higher level decisions he had to stand by until CINCFE issued an order to cover the situation.

[note]

1000 Korean Time

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7:00 PM
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June 25, 1950 1000

KMAG Starts To Leave Korea

Korean_War

On Sunday, 25 June, while Colonel Wright, KMAG Chief of Staff, was in Church in Tokyo (he had gone to Japan to see his wife, the night before, board a ship bound for the United States, and expected to follow her in a few days), a messenger found him and whispered in his ear,

"You had better get back to Korea."

Colonel Wright left Church at once and telephoned Colonel Greenwood in Sŏul. Colonel Wright arrived at Sŏul at 0400, Monday, after flying to Kimp'o Airfield from Japan. [04-16]

[note]

1030 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 1000

Korean_War Korean_War

Brig. Gen. Jared V. Crabb, Deputy Chief of Staff for Far East Air Forces, telephoned Brig. Gen. Edwin K. Wright, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, Far East Command, about 1030 and the two compared information.

[note]

Korean_War

GHQ learned of the attack six and one-half hours after the first North Korean troops crossed into South Korea. The telegram bearing the news from the Office of the Military Attaché in Sŏul reported:


Fighting with great intensity started at 0400, 25 June on the Ongjin
Peninsula, moving eastwardly taking six major points; city of Kaesŏng
fell to North Koreans at 0900, ten tanks slightly north of Ch'unch'ŏn,
landing twenty boats approximately one regiment strength on east
coast reported cutting coastal road south of Kangnung; Comment: No
evidence of panic among South Korean troops.

[note]

1100 Korean Time

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June 25, 1950 1100

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After the North Korean attack was well under way, the P'yŏngyang radio broadcast at1100 an announcement that the North Korean Government had declared war against South Korea as a result of an invasion by South Korean puppet forces ordered by "the bandit traitor Syngman Rhee." [03-11] The broadcast said the North Korea People's Army had struck back in self-defense and had begun a "righteous invasion." Syngman Rhee, it stated, would be arrested and executed. [03-12]

[note]

2100 East Coast Time

June 25, 1950 1100 2100 East Coast

Early on the evening[2100] of Saturday, 24 June 1950,press news flashes informed Washington that the North Korean People's Army had crossed the 38th parallel in an invasion of the Republic of Korea.

Korean_War

PRESIDENT Harry Truman was in Missouri, and in the first hours Washington policy makers hoped that the South Koreans could withstand the invasion. When the situation worsened,

Truman flew back to Washington for a Sunday-evening dinner meeting with the secretaries of state and defense and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Korean_War

For some time Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, chief of staff USAF, had feared that an outbreak of war was going to come somewhere in the world. He also knew that after the postwar demobilization, the US Air Force was, in his words, "a shoe string air force."

[note]

War Is Declared by North Koreans; Fighting on Border

By THE UNITED PRESS

Sŏul, Korea, Sunday, June 25 — The Russian-sponsored North Korean Communists invaded the American-supported Republic of South Korea today and their radio followed it up by broadcasting a declaration of war.

[see entire article]

1120 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 1120

Korean_War Korean_War


At about 9:20 P.M. [3-June 24th] Acheson telephoned Truman, who was in Independence, Missouri, to say that while the reports were still fragmentary, the news from South Korea appeared to be "serious." He suggested that as a first step the United States should summon the United Nations Security Council into emergency session the following day, Sunday, and press for a condemnation of North Korea, together with a demand for a ceasefire and an NKPA withdrawal to the 38th Parallel. Truman approved this suggestion, and later that night Acheson set the machinery in motion at the Department of State.[3-2]

[3-Why do they make a point out of who's idea it was, if Stalin had said no, there would not have been any invasion. Period.]


The news came as a shock. Believing that communism was a worldwide monolith controlled by Moscow, Washington assumed that North Korea would not invade South Korea except on the specific orders of Joseph Stalin. Up to this point in the cold war Stalin had not resorted to overt military hostilities to achieve the apparent Kremlin aim of communizing the world. What did this resort to force portend? All-out war? If so, why begin in South Korea? Was the invasion merely a military feint designed to draw the West's military forces into the maw of Asian mainland? Would the real Soviet move come in Western Europe? The Middle East?[3-3]

[Note]

2126 East Coast Time

June 25, 1950 1126 - 2126 East Coast Time

Early on the evening of Saturday, 24 June 1950,* press news flashes first informed Washington that the Communists had broken the peace in Korea.

At 2126 (9:26 PM) [2126+1400=3526-2400=1126] hours the State Department received the first official word from Sŏul. A telegram from Ambassador Muccio stated that the North Koreans had apparently launched an all-out attack against the Republic of Korea. The State Department promptly relayed this information to the Defense Department, to President Harry S. Truman at Independence, Missouri, and to United Nations Secretary General Trygve Lie at his residence in Forest Hills, Long Island.#71

The report from Korea sounded like a major violation of the United Nations charter's ban on military aggression to Secretary General Trygve Lie, and he informed the State Department that he was prepared to bring the Security Council together to consider the matter. Before making a formal recommendation to the Security Council, however, Lie preferred to obtain a report from the United Nations Commission on Korea.


*There is a time difference of fourteen hours between Korea and Washington. For example, 0400 hours, Sunday, in Korea is the same time as 1400 hours, Saturday, in Washington. The times and dates used are those of the place where the events described occurred.

Korean_War



At 2126 (9:26 PM) [2126+1400=3526-2400=1126] hours the State Department received the first official word from Sŏul. A telegram from Ambassador Muccio stated that the North Koreans had apparently launched an all-out attack against the Republic of Korea. The State Department promptly relayed this information to the Defense Department, to President Harry S. Truman at Independence, Missouri, and to United Nations Secretary General Trygve Lie at his residence in Forest Hills, Long Island.#71



The report from Korea sounded like a major violation of the United Nations charter's ban on military aggression to Secretary General trygve Lie, and he informed the State Department that he was prepared to bring the Security Council together to consider the matter. Before making a formal recommendation to the Security Council, however, Lie preferred to obtain a report from the United Nations Commission on Korea.

[note]

June 25, 1950 1126 - 2126 June 24th East Coast Time

Soon afterward, Ambassador Muccio sent his first radio message from Sŏul to the State Department, which received it at 9:26 p.m., 24 June. This would correspond to 11:26 a.m., 25 June, in Korea. Ambassador Muccio said in part,

"It would appear from the nature of the attack and the manner in which it was launched that it constitutes an all-out offensive against the Republic of Korea." [04-3]

[note]

June 25, 1950 1126 - 2126 June 24th East Coast Time

Korean_War

As evening came, press rumors of a Korean crisis drifted into the State Department, and then, at twenty-six minutes past nine, [Saturday June 24th] a dispatch reporting the invasion was received from Ambassador John J. Muccio in Sŏul. Around the town the telephones began to ring. Echelon by rising echelon the officers of the Department of State were summoned. Before midnight came the Secretary of State had reached the President by telephone, and the Secretary General of the United Nations had been notified of the emergency.

[note]

1130 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 1130

As the Sunday which was 25 June 1950 began there was little to mark it different from any other first day of the week. Over most of Japan the weather was fine, except that it was becoming hot and there were scattered showers. The summer monsoon was beginning. Weather predictions called for continued good weather on Monday and most of Tuesday, but thereafter a southwardly drifting polar front promised to bring low clouds and rain down through nearby Korea and across the narrow sea to Japan. The weather prediction did not seem particularly important to the duty officers in the Meiji building as they managed the routine of the morning at FEAF headquarters. Business was generally quiet in Tokyo. General Stratemeyer was not in Japan.

After conferences in Washington, on the morning [7AM] of 25 June he was some-where in flight between San Francisco and Hawaii. Before returning to Tokyo, he meant to pay a command visit to the Twentieth Air Force on Okinawa.

With Stratemeyer absent, General Partridge was acting commander of FEAF He had been spending a part of his time in Tokyo, but on the morning of 25 June he was with his family in Nagoya. 1o

Although the report was promptly flashed to all FEAF units, General Partridge was not in his quarters in Nagoya and did not get the news from Korea until 1130 hours. General Partridge at once acknowledged the gravity of the situation, but he knew that the Far East Command had only one minor mission concerning Korea. At the outbreak of a war or general domestic disorder, and then only at the request of the American ambassador, the Far East Command was required to provide for the safety of American nationals in Korea.

[note]

June 25, 1950 1130

Korean_War

General Partridge was not in his quarters in Nagoya Japan and did not get the news from Korea until 1130 hours.

June 25, 1950 1130

Korean_War

General Partridge at once acknowledged the gravity of the situation, but he knew that the Far East Command had only one minor mission concerning Korea. At the outbreak of a war or general domestic disorder, and then only at the request of the American ambassador, the Far East Command was required to provide for the safety of American nationals in Korea. #14

For the accomplishment of the air-evacuation mission General MacArthur had charged FEAF to furnish such air-transport aircraft as might be needed to move Americans out of Korea. He had also charged FEAF to be ready to attack hostile ground and surface targets in support of the evacuation, but not before he issued specific instructions so to do. The Fifth Air Force had issued its operation plan on 1 March 1950.

Korean_War Korean_War

Since Itazuke Air Base was closest to Korea, General Partridge had designated the commander of the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing as air-task force commander. Assisted by other combat wings as needful. the 8th Wing commander was directed to provide fighter cover for air and water evacuations. and he was given operational control over the transport planes which the 374th troop Carrier Wing would send to him from Tachikawa.

Korean_War

Other wing commanders had stipulated duties: the 3rd Bombardment Wing, for example, was to stage six B-26's to Ashiya Air Base (near Itazuke) where they would fly reconnaissance and cover missions over the water areas off Korea. #15

Shortly after 1130 hours General Partridge ordered all Fifth Air Force wing commanders to complete the deployments required to implement the air evacuation plan, but he cautioned all of them that flights to Korea would await further orders.#16

During the afternoon and early evening of 25 June Col. John M. ("Jack") Price, commander of the 8th Wing, marshaled his own F-80 and F-82 fighters, 10 B-26's, 12 C-54's, and 3 C-47's.

Korean_War

By a fortunate circumstance, the 8th Bombardment Squadron (Light) had come to Ashiya for a FEAF air-defense readiness test on 24 June, and its B-26's were in place when the alert sounded.

[note]

June 25, 1950 1130

Korean_War

Back in Tokyo, FEAF headquarters first learned of the hostilities at 0945 hours, Japanese time, by a message from the OSI office in Sŏul; by 1130 hours all key staff officers had been notified. General Partridge at the moment was acting commander of FEAF, while General Stratemeyer was en route back from the United States, but pending higher level decisions he had to stand by until CINCFE issued an order to cover the situation.

[note]

June 25, 1950 1150

Korean_War

Just before noon however, weather began to clear over Sŏul, and the North Korean Air Force entered combat.

[note]

1200 Korean Time

Centralth> East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
9:00 PM
06/24/50
10:00 PM
06/25/50
3:00 AM
06/25/50
1212:00 PM

June 25, 1950 1200

A message ninety minutes later gave confirmation. General MacArthur immediately informed Washington, and, within a few hours, sent the first comprehensive situation report on the Korean fighting. [04-16]

As the news from Korea worsened later that first day, General MacArthur warned Washington officials,

"Enemy effort serious in strength and strategic intent and is undisguised act of war subject to United Nations censure."

But he hardly realized how strong it was. His situation report showed only three North Korean divisions along the entire border. [04-17]

[note]

Korean_War

June 25, 1950 1200
That noon a correspondent about to catch a plane for home asked him about the significance of the Korean developments, explaining that he would remain in Japan if there was any likelihood of a widening conflict. General MacArthur told him it was merely "a border incident," that he "shouldn't be concerned over such a trifle." He took the same line with Dulles.. The ROKs would hold, the General predicted; a few LSTs landing craft could bring out any Americans who wanted to leave under an umbrella of fighter planes, and that would be the end of it.

Dulles was 'unconvinced. Later in the day he called again, and was dismayed to find that MacArthur was still confident. The General said that he had heard he might become responsible for Korea, but it was his impression that his duties would be administrative. At all events, he saw no cause for alarm./p>

Dulles was unconvinced. Always the super hawk, he wired Acheson:

"Believe that if it appears the South Koreans cannot contain or repulse the attack, United States forces should be used even though this risks Russian counter moves. To sit by while Korea is overrun by unprovoked armed attack would start a world war."

How a big war could be prevented by waging a small one was not mentioned. It didn't have to be; since Munich the proposition had been accepted as an article of faith by American diplomats in both parties. Later, in the debates over Vietnam, it would be incorporated in the domino theory.[9]

[note]

June 25, 1950 1200

Korean_War

A message ninety minutes later gave confirmation. General MacArthur immediately informed Washington and, within a few hours, sent the first comprehensive situation report on the Korean fighting. [04-16]

As the news from Korea worsened later that first day, General MacArthur warned Washington officials, "Enemy effort serious in strength and strategic intent and is undisguised act of war subject to United Nations censure." But he hardly realized how strong it was. His situation report showed only three North Korean divisions along the entire border. [04-17]

Korean_War

American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur for replenishment.

Korean_War

The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright, to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]

Korean_War

Before the day was out, [6/25] General MacArthur ordered General Walker to load the USNS Sergeant George D. Keathley (T-APC-117), then in Yokohama Harbor, with 105,000 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition and 265,000 rounds of 81-mm. mortar, 89,000 rounds of 60-mm. mortar, and 2,480,000 rounds of .30-caliber carbine ammunition. He wanted the Keathley to reach Pusan no later than 1 July. He directed FEAF and COMNAVFE to protect the Keathley en route and during cargo discharge. In his information report to the Department of the Army, MacArthur said that he intended

"to supply ROK all needed supplies as long as they show ability to use same." [04-19]

These actions MacArthur took independently. He received no authority from the JCS to supply the ROK until the following day, at 1330, 26 June. {this appears to be incorrect}

[[note]

June 25, 1950 1200

Korean_War

During the day North Korean Yaks strafed Kimp'o and the Sŏul Municipal Airfield, MATS C-54 which was grounded for repairs. The North Koreans evidently meant to exploit their air superiority. Reporting the first day's activities, Ambassador Muccio informed the State Department and General MacArthur that the

"future course of hostilities may depend largely on whether the United States will or will not give adequate air assistance."

[note]

June 25, 1950 1200

Korean_War

Announcement on radio by North Koreans of their invasion of South Korea made at 1200 [K].

[note]

1205 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 1205

Korean_War

Shortly after noon on the 25th, word came in that Ambassador Muccio had decided to evacuate women and children dependents of American personnel from Korea. Mr. John Foster Dulles, special adviser to Secretary of State Acheson, then visiting Tokyo on a mission regarding the Japanese peace treaty, cabled his superior that United States forces should be used to assist the South Koreans even at the risk of Russian countermoves. To sit by while Korea was overrun by an unprovoked attack would start a disastrous chain of events leading, most probably, to another world war.

[note]

1235 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 1235

Korean_War

Shortly after noon, at 1235, Premier Kim Il Sung, of North Korea, claimed in a radio broadcast that South Korea had rejected every North Korean proposal for peaceful unification, had attacked North Korea that morning in the area of Haeju above the Ongjin Peninsula, and would have to take the consequences of the North Korean counterattacks. [03-13]

[note]

1300 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
10:00 PM
06/24/50
11:00 PM
06/25/50
4:00 AM
06/25/50
11:00 PM

1000 PM 24 June Central Time

June 25, 1950 1300 - 1000 PM June 24th

ON Saturday, June 24, 1950, I was in Independence, Mo. It was a little after 10 in the evening, and we were sitting in the library of our home when the telephone rang. it was the Secretary of State calling from his home in Maryland.. "Mr. President." said Dean Acheson,

"I have very serious news. The North Koreans have invaded South Korea."

My first reaction was that I must get back to the Capital. Acheson explained, however, that details were not yet available and that he thought I need not rush back until he called me again with further information. In the meantime, he suggested that we should ask the United Nations Security Council to hold 2 meeting at once and declare that an act of aggression had been committed against the Republic of Korea. I agreed.

2355 24 June East Coast Time

June 25, 1950 1300 - 1000 PM June 24th

Before midnight came the Secretary of State had reached the President by telephone, and the Secretary General of the United Nations had been notified of the emergency.

[note]

1400 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/24/50
11:00 PM
06/25/50
12:00 PM
06/25/50
5:00 AM
06/25/50
2:00 PM

1430 Korean Time

June 25, 1950 1430

Korean_War

Acting in accordance with plans previously prepared, it began moving reserves to the north of Sŏul for a counterattack in the vital Uijŏngbu Corridor. The ROK 2nd Division at Taejŏn was the first of the divisions distant from the Parallel to move toward the battle front. The first train with division headquarters and elements of the 5th Regiment left Taejŏn for Sŏul at 1430, 25 June, accompanied by their American advisers.

Korean_War

By dark, parts of the 5th Division were on their way north from Kwangju in southwest Korea.

Korean_War

The 22nd Regiment, the 3rd Engineer Battalion, and the 57-mm. antitank company of the ROK 3rd Division also started north from Taegu that night.

Korean_War

During the 25th, Capt. James W. Hausman, KMAG adviser with General Chae, ROK Army Chief of Staff, had accompanied the latter on two trips from Sŏul to the Uijŏngbu area. General Chae, popularly known as the "fat boy," weighed 245 pounds, and was about 5 feet 6 inches tall.

Korean_War Korean_War

General Chae's plan, it developed, was to launch a counterattack in the Uijŏngbu Corridor the next morning with the 7th Division attacking on the left along the Tongduch'ŏn-ni road out of Uijŏngbu, and with the 2nd Division on the right on the P'och'on road. In preparing for this, General Chae arranged to move the elements of the 7th Division defending the P'och'on road west to the Tongduch'ŏn-ni road, concentrating that division there, and turn over to the 2nd Division the P'och'on road sector. But the 2nd Division would only begin to arrive in the Uijŏngbu area during the night. It would be impossible to assemble and transport the main body of the division from Taejŏn, ninety miles below Sŏul, to the front above Uijŏngbu and deploy it there by the next morning.

Korean_War

Brig. Gen. Lee Hyung Koon, commander of the 2nd Division, objected to Chae's plan. It meant that he would have to attack piecemeal with small elements of his division. He wanted to defer the counterattack until he could get all, or the major part, of his division forward. Captain Hausman agreed with his view. But General Chae overruled these objections and ordered the attack for the morning of 26 June.

Korean_War

The Capital Division at Sŏul was not included in the counterattack plan because it was not considered tactical and had no artillery. It had served chiefly as a "spit and polish" organization, with its cavalry regiment acting as a "palace guard."

[note]

1448 Moon rise

Korean_War

Sunrise/Sunset 0511 1953
Moonrise/Moonset 1448 0107
Moon Phase 78% 10 days

(Notes)

1500 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
12:00 AM
06/25/50
1:00 AM
06/25/50
6:00 AM
06/25/50
3:00 PM

June 25, 1950 1500

Korean_War Korean_War

During the afternoon of 25 June ROK President Syngman Rhee's importunate telephone calls kept Ambassador Muccio occupied. President Rhee believed that the ROK ground troops would offer effective opposition, but he was greatly worried about the Reds' superiority in tanks and aircraft.

Korean_War

Unable to contact General MacArthur, Rhee telephoned an urgent plea to Muccio. Give us ten F-51 aircraft, with bombs and "bazookas" (rockets), he begged. Deliver them before dawn on 26 June to Korean pilots who will be waiting at Taegu. Unless these planes are received, Rhee warned, it will be very difficult to meet the northern attack. Rhee also asked for heavier artillery which could disable or destroy Communist tanks, specifically 75-mm. antitank guns, 105-mm. howitzers, and 155-mm. howitzers.#21

Ambassador Muccio relayed these requests to Tokyo and reported to the U.S. Secretary of State that Rhee was most concerned about his lack of air capabilities.

"As Department doubtless aware," Muccio cabled, "Rhee and other Korean officials will look to United States for air assistance above all else. Future course of hostilities may depend largely on whether United States will or will not give adequate air assistance." #22

[note]

June 25, 1950 1500

Korean_War Korean_War

Thereafter throughout the day the two men (Ambassador Muccio and ROK President Syngman Rhee's) were in constant communication with each other on the direct line they maintained between their offices. Most of the messages to Tokyo during 25 June came to the U.S. Air Force from Kimp'o Airfield, and there was a constant stream of them. By 1500 in the afternoon both Crabb and Wright were convinced that the North Koreans were engaged in a full-scale invasion of South Korea. [04-2]

[note]

1600 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
1:00 AM
06/25/50
2:00 AM
06/25/50
7:00 AM
06/25/50
4:00 PM

1700 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
2:00 AM
06/25/50
3:00 AM
06/25/50
8:00 AM
06/25/50
5:00 PM

2 AM 25 June Washington DC time 2AM Washington

June 25, 1950 1700 2AM Washington

Korean_War Korean_War; Korean_War

Sunday in Washington was a day of frenzied activity. Two hours after midnight Secretary Acheson again telephoned the President, the decision to seek action of the Security Council was made,

[note]

0300 New York

June 25, 1950 1700 3AM Washington

Korean_War Korean_War

But at 1700 hours the Yaks returned. Two. of them strafed Kimp'o, hitting the control tower, a gasoline dump, and an American Military Air transport Service (MATS) C-54 which was grounded with a damaged wing. Four other Yaks strafed the Sŏul Airfield and damaged seven out of ten trainer airplanes which the ROK Air Force had there.

At approximately 1900 hours six other North Korean fighters again strafed Kimp'o. This time they completely destroyed the hapless MATS transport.#20

[note]

American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Syngman Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur, for replenishment. The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]

[note]

June 25, 1950 1700

Korean_War Korean_War

U.S. fighter planes of 8th Fighter Group fired on by small North Korean convoy at 37°50'N-129°40'E. off coast of South Korea at approximately 1700 [K].

[note]

1800 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
3:00 AM
06/25/50
4:00 AM
06/25/50
9:00 AM
06/25/50
6:00 PM

June 25, 1950 1853

Korean_War

Before sundown on the day of invasion (1853k) it appeared that NKPA leaders had not erred in allowing a timetable of 10 days for overrunning the Republic of Korea. The question now was whether the conflict could be confined to that Asiatic peninsula. Communist aggressions were no novelty, to be sure, either in Asia or Europe. But in the past there had always been some show of peaceable intentions, however hypocritical, or some shadow of legality. This was the first time that a Soviet puppet nation had been permitted to go as far as open warfare.

Matters had come to a showdown, and it could only be interpreted as a challenge issued by Communism to the free nations of the world (UN).

[note]

1900 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
4:00 AM
06/25/50
5:00 AM
06/25/50
10:00 AM
06/25/50
7:00 PM

June 25, 1950 1900

Korean_War Korean_War

At approximately 1900 hours six other North Korean fighters again strafed Kimp'o,. This time they completely destroyed the hapless MATS transport.#20

[note]

1953 Sunset

2000 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
5:00 AM
06/25/50
6:00 AM
06/25/50
11:00 AM
06/25/50
8:00 PM

2100 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
6:00 AM
06/25/50
7:00 AM
06/25/50
12:00 PM
06/25/50
9:00 PM

June 25, 1950 2100

Korean_War Korean_War

At 2100 hours Colonel Price telephoned Fifth Air Force operations that he was prepared to execute the evacuation operations plan beginning at 0330 hours on 26 June, a time which would permit the first C-54 to arrive at Sŏul's Kimp'o Airfield before dawn. #17

That same evening General Partridge, who had elected to remain at Nagoya while his air force implemented the evacuation plan, held a conference of his key staff members. All of them agreed that the Fifth Air Force was ready for such instructions as it might receive. The talk then drifted around to American policy toward Korea, what it was likely to be. One staff officer suggested that the United States might abandon South Korea to the Reds. General Partridge disagreed completely. Such a line of action, he said, was "unthinkable." He believed that new policies on Korea would be forthcoming from Washington. #18

[note]

June 25, 1950 2100

Korean_War

Late on Sunday, the American Ambassador to Korea, John Muccio, asked that they be brought out. I (MacArthur) acted immediately. Within minutes, flights of transport planes were rising off runways in Japan and ships at sea were swinging about and heading full draft toward Korean ports. When enemy aircraft began to threaten, I sent in our warplanes from Japan. The operation was successfully concluded without the loss of a single man, woman, or child.

[note]

2200 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
7:00 AM
06/25/50
8:00 AM
06/25/50
1:00 PM
06/25/50
10:00 PM

0800 Washington DC

June 25, 1950 2200 - 0800 Washington

Korean_War

Acheson called the President again the next morning, a Sunday, apprising him of the dangerous nature of the developing crisis. The President decided to leave for Washington without delay, and he asked the Secretary of State to meet with the service secretaries and the Joint Chiefs of Staff immediately to work out a plan for his consideration. [04-20]

[04-20] Truman, Memoirs, II, 331-43, gives a general background of Presidential action and considerations in the first few days of Korean fighting. (2) See also Acheson, Present at the Creation, pp. 402-13.

[note]

June 25, 1950 2200 - 0800 Washington

Korean_War Korean_War

Meanwhile, officials of the Departments of State and Defense had met in impromptu session on Sunday morning. Department of State representatives outlined a plan for supporting the ROK with munitions and equipment and with U. S. naval and air forces. [04-21]

[04-21]

(1) U. N. Doc. S/PV/473, 25, Jun. 50, Statement to the Security Council by the Deputy Representative of the U. S. to the U. N. (Gross)

(2) U. N. Doc S/1501

(3) Rpt to Senate Committee on Armed Services and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Record of Actions Taken by JCS Relative to the U. N. Operation in Korea From 25 June 1950 to 11 April 1951, 30 April 1951 (hereafter cited as JCS Rpt on Korea), pp. 5-6.

[note]

June 25, 1950 2200 - 0800 Washington

Korean_War Def Def

Throughout the morning the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Army, and the military chiefs were in conference at the Pentagon.

[note]

June 25, 1950 2200 - 0800 Washington

Korean_War

About 2200, 25 June, Ambassador Muccio authorized the evacuation of the women and children by any means without delay, and an hour later [2300] he ordered all American women and children and others who wished to leave to assemble at Camp Sobinggo, the American housing compound in Sŏul, for transportation to Inch'ŏn. [04-13]

[note]

0800 Washington DC

June 25, 1950 2200 - 0800 Washington

Korean_War

Flying back to Washington the next morning, [6/24/1950 0900 - 6/24/1950 2200 Korea] Truman ordered an immediate conference of his diplomatic and military advisers around the large mahogany dining table at Blair House, 1651 Pennsylvania Avenue, diagonally across the street from the White House. By the time they convened, there were more messages from Muccio, all of them discouraging. Among other things, a strong PA tank column was driving toward Sŏul, and Kimp'o airport, apparently advancing at will. "South Korean arms," Acheson concluded, summing up the situation, were "clearly outclassed."

[note]

June 25, 1950 2200 - 0800 Washington

Korean_War

About 2200, 25 June, Ambassador Muccio authorized the evacuation of the women and children by any means without delay, and an hour later he ordered all American women and children and others who wished to leave to assemble at Camp Sobinggo, the American housing compound in Sŏul, for transportation to Inch'ŏn. [04-13]

[note]

2300 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
8:00 AM
06/25/50
9:00 AM
06/25/50
2:00 PM
06/25/50
11:00 PM

June 25, 1950 2300 - 0900 Washington

Korean_War

A few minutes before midnight, however, Ambassador Muccio informed MacArthur that he had decided to evacuate dependent women and children from the vicinity of Sŏul and Inch'ŏn. He felt compelled to do this because of the Red tank concentration at Uijŏngbu, actually only 17 miles north of Sŏul. Several merchant freighters were in the harbor at Inch'ŏn, and Muccio proposed to load as many as needed with evacuees and get them started for Fukuoka port in Japan, beginning as early as possible on the morning of 26 June.#24

[note]

June 25, 1950 2300 - 0900 Washington

Korean_War

Elements of the [ROK] 7th Division which had stopped the NKPA 3rd Division at P'och'on withdrew from there about midnight of 25 June.

[note]

June 25, 1950 2300 - 0900 Washington

Korean_War

Almost a year earlier, on 21 July 1949, an operational plan had been distributed by the Far East Command to accomplish such an evacuation by sea and by air.

Korean_War

NAVFE was to provide the ships and naval escort protection for the water lift; the Far East Air Forces was to provide the planes for the airlift and give fighter cover to both the water and air evacuation upon orders from the Commander in Chief, Far East. [04-11]

[note]

2400 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
06/25/50
9:00 AM
06/25/50
10:00 AM
06/25/50
3:00 PM
06/25/50
12:00 PM


Casualties

Sunday June 25, 1950 (Day 001)

Korean_War 000 Casualties

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 0 0 0 0 0 0
Losses 0 0 0 0 0 0
To Date 0 0 0 0 0 0

Aircraft Losses Today 001

Notes for Sunday June 25, 1950 - Day 001

19500625 0000 0ac0