Weather

Korean Climate

Mean Temp 20.6°C 69.08°F at Taegu [note]

Rainy, windy weather [note]

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

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


Overview

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Since July [29 June] the 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (redesignated as the 91st Squadron on 16 November) had provided FEAF Bomber Command with target and bomb-damage assessment photography. But as the 31st Squadron sought to operate along the Yalu its obsolete RB-29's proved an easy mark for MIG interceptors. [note]

-- ROK Capitol Sŏul falls, bridges across Han river destroyed. Most of ROK army's best, with their equipment, trapped on northern side

-- U.S. Air Force B-29 Superfortresses fly 123 missions dropping 500-pound bombs on North Korean soldiers on Kimp'o Airfield 17 miles northwest of Sŏul.

-- President Truman authorizes sending American troops to South Korea to "ensure communications and guard the port of Pusan." He also orders a sea blockade of Korea and authorizes air strikes against North Korea.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman held a press conference, where the phrase "police action" was first used to describe the Korean War. One reporter prefaced a question with the statement, "Mr. President, everybody is asking in this country, are we or are we not at war?" to which Truman replied, "We are not at war." Another reporter, not identified in the record, followed up a few minutes later with the question, "Mr. President, would it be correct, against your explanation, to call this a police action under the United Nations?", and Truman responded, "Yes. That is exactly what it amounts to." One observer would not later that "Truman was constrained to answer that way", in that he had not asked the U.S. Congress to declare war and "did not want to validate the charge that he had circumvented the Constitution".

-- Eighteen B-26 Invader light bombers hit Heijo Airfield at P'yŏngyang, North Korean capital. Flyers claim 29 enemy aircraft damaged on the ground and a YAK fighter shot down.

-- British and Australian governments place their naval forces around Japan under the leadership of the U.S. Far East Command. Australia also commits an air force squadron based in Japan to FECom.

-- Nationalist China (Taiwan) offers to put 33,000 soldiers under U.S. command in Korea. The offer is politely declined to keep Red China from entering the war.

The same day Communist China says it "will fight to the end" to free Taiwan from American aggressors. [note]

ROK Capitol Sŏul falls, bridges across Han river destroyed. Most of ROK army's best, with their equipment, trapped on northern side [note]

MacArthur had agreed with Washington's decision to decline Chiang's offer of three KMT divisions. Stilwell had warned him that the Chinese Nationalist army was

"led largely by mere jobholders and sustained only by its numbers, American support, and a cadre of leaders committed to a dogged defense of [the] old China."

If the General needed raw manpower, he had plenty of eager South Korean volunteers. The prospect. of transporting thirty-three thousand men from Formosa was a logistical nightmare, the commander in chief concluded, so he advised the Pentagon that "the Chinese Nationalist contingent would be an albatross around our neck." At the same time, he couldn't ignore the generalissimo - the "Gimo," as he was known to old China hands. Truman had charged him with the defense of Chiang's island ("You are to repel any attack upon Formosa and the Pescadores") and MacArthur felt it "necessary," in his words, "to visit the island in order to determine its military capabilities for defense." Moreover, Washington wanted him to go. In its response to the KMT aide-mémoire of June 29, the U.S. had advised Taipei that no final decision could be reached on the offer of the three divisions until the General could spare the time to consult with KMT authorities. [note]

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L-5 "Sentinel" (Stinson)

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Sikorsky H-5


Activities at Flight "D" this date are as follows, two L-5s and one H-5 were dispatched to the Fukuoka area to search for a pilot who was reported to have bailed out in that area. Seven hours (7:00) were logged on this search with negative results.

At 1213/K ADCC called and stated that a pilot had bailed out twenty (20) miles north of Fukuoka.

At 1236/K ADCC informed the Flight that the bailout was false.

At 1350 Flight "D" intercepted a message from a C-54 that one engine out and required assistance. A SB-17was diverted to the C-54, which landed safely.

At 1825/K ADCC alerted Flight "D" on a C-47needing assistance. Again a SB-17 was diverted to the distressed aircraft which landed safely at Itazuke Air Base at 1920/K. Three (3) false alerts.

Then at 2205/K the base was blacked out as unidentified aircraft were reported in this area. Alert was over at 2300/K with no enemy action forthcoming. SB-17 time this date was twenty one hours and forty minutes (21:40).

Meanwhile activities at headquarters centered around dispatching a SB-17 and crew to augment Flight "D's" mission. Additional radar specialists were requested from FEAMCOM to aid at Ashiya AB in maintaining equipment. It is imperative that radar sets be fully operational due to nature of missions such as weather reconnaissance, surveillance and orbits. The two (2) C-47s again returned to Ashiya with a full load of equipment and personnel. [note]

The Soviets replied to the note of the 27th as follows:


1. In accordance with facts verified by the Soviet Government, the events taking place in Korea were provoked by an attack by forces of the South Korean authorities on border regions of North Korea. Therefore the responsibility for these events rests upon the South Korean authorities and upon those who stand behind their back.
2. As is known, the Soviet Government withdrew its troops from Korea earlier than the Government of the United States and thereby confirmed its traditional principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of other states. And now as well the Soviet Government adheres to the principle of the impermissibility of interference of foreign powers in the internal affairs of Korea.
3. It is not true that the Soviet Government refused to participate in meetings of the Security Council. In spite of its full willingness, the Soviet Government has not been able to take part in the meetings of the Security Council inasmuch as, because of the position of the Government of the United States, China, a permanent member of the Security Council, has not been admitted to the Council, which has made it impossible for the Security Council to take decisions having legal force. [note]

President Truman sought no congressional declaration of war but committed American forces as a response to the U.N. resolution under his authority as commander in chief of the armed forces and under his general powers to conduct the foreign relations of the United States.[01-8]

Partly out of these conditions of entry, the president avoided the word war in references to operations in Korea in favor of police action. He also used the euphemism to dramatize the limited scope of UNC operations. As formally resolved by the United Nations Security Council , the purpose was "to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area.[01-9]

As explained on 29 June by U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, American actions taken in response to the U.N. resolutions of 25 and 27 June were "solely for the purpose of restoring the Republic of Korea to its status prior to the invasion from the North."[01-10]

In line with this limitation, President Truman intended to avoid heavy commitments of American resources in Korea and to take no steps that would prompt the Soviet Union or the People's Republic of China, the newly risen Communist state on the mainland, to enter the conflict. [note]

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Far East Air Forces (FEAF) was initially organized for air defense, not tactical air support. However, on 29 June 1950 Fifth Air Force's 3rd Bombardment Group sent 18 B-26 Invader light bombers against Heijo Airfield near the North Korean capital of P'yŏngyang: 25 enemy aircraft were destroyed on the ground. [note]

MacArthur went to the front, [trip #1] saw disintegration of ROK army, committed 13,000 U.S. troops of 24th Division, but were outnumbered 20 to 1, many surrendered or captured [note]

MacArthur goes to Korea

Left at 0600

Got there at 1115

Visited for 8 hours - drove up to Sŏul and back

Left a 1915

Got home at 2115

MiGs

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"Great Britain announced that her Far Eastern Fleet would join the fight in Korea, including the carrier HMS Triumph (R16) with forty planes, three cruisers, seven destroyers, and eight frigates manned by 6,000 men. New Zealand, Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, The Philippines, and India also offered assistance to the Republic of Korea." [note]

"President Truman authorized air operations against targets located in North Korea. Subsequently, the 3rd Bombardment Group flew the first air mission north of the 38th Parallel against Heijo Airfield near P'yŏngyang. Staff Sergeant Nyle S. Mickley, a B26 gunner, became the first gunner to shoot down an enemy aircraft, a Yak3 fighter serving as the sole defender of the airfield." [note]

"President Truman ordered a naval blockade of the Korean coast. Meanwhile, the USS Juneau (CLAA-119), fired on enemy shore targets in the first US Naval engagement of the Korean War." [note]

"The North Korean People’s Army seized Sŏul as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur flew to Korea to confer with ROK President Syngman Rhee. Meanwhile, US B29 Super fortresses of the 20th Air Force bombed Kimp'o Airfield, now in Communist hands." [note]

"While defending Suwŏn Airfield, Air Force Lieutenant Orrin R. Fox, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, scored two Yak9 kills and Lieutenants Richard J. Burns, 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, and Harry T. Sandlin, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, each shot down a Yak fighter. These were the first aerial victories made by F51 Mustang pilots in the Korean War. Interestingly, General MacArthur witnessed the air battle while conferring with Syngman Rhee." [note]

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THE PRESIDENT.

[I.] I have an announcement to make.
We have appointed an economic survey mission to go to the Philippines as soon as it can make the arrangements.
It is headed by the Honorable Daniel W. Bell, president of the American Security and trust Co. of Washington and former Under Secretary of the treasury; and by Gen. Richard J. Marshall, president of the Virginia Military Institute.


And as soon as the appointment of the mission is completed, why they will leave for the Philippines as promptly as possible.


This mission was appointed at the request of the Philippine President. He made that request of me when he was here on his visit.


And we have had some difficulty in finding the people to head the mission, and in ironing out some differences between the various departments of the Government. Everything has been ironed out now, and that mission will go to work.


That’s all the announcements I have to make.

25+ questions and answered followed. [note]

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The morning of June 29th was rainy and overcast as I climbed into the Bataan. The news from Korea seemed even more disastrous than it had the day before. The capital city of Sŏul was under heavy attack, and the South Korean government had moved to temporary headquarters at Taejŏn. Here I was with fifty years of service behind me, over half of which had been on foreign soil—a record for American Army officers—now facing another desperate campaign. And once again it looked like a forlorn hope. Once again I was being thrust into the breach against al-most insuperable odds. Once again it was Bataan—and Corregidor—and New Guinea. I confess that for a fleeting moment my heart failed me. But as the plane rose above the murk of the overcast, I pulled out my old corncob pipe and, as its smoke curled up, I was myself again. Someone said, "Haven't seen you smoke that pipe, General, for years!"

"I don't dare smoke it back there in Tokyo," I explained. "They'd think I was nothing but a farmer. The Peers Club would surely blackball me."

The gloom of the day and the even gloomier news dispatches were lightened when I received a message relayed to the plane that the British Asiatic Fleet had been placed under my command. I had long been associated with British fighting units and had the greatest admiration for them. Their professional excellence, their splendid martial bearing, and their unfailing courtesy had long since endeared them to me. I knew that come what may I could count on them to see me through.

The Bataan landed at Suwŏn, 20 miles south of Sŏul, through clouds of oily smoke from some bombed and strafed transports, which had just been attacked and destroyed. I commandeered a jeep and headed north toward The Han River under constant air bombardment, through dreadful backwash of a defeated and dispersed army. South Korean forces were in complete and disorganized flight. We reached the banks of the Han just in time to be caught up in the last rearguard action to defend its bridges.

378 * REMINISCENCES

Sŏul was already in enemy hands. Only a mile away, I could see the towers of smoke rising from the ruins of this fourteenth-century city. I pushed forward toward a hill a little way ahead. It was a tragic scene. Across the Han, Sŏul burned and smoked in its agony of destruction. There was the constant crump of Red mortar fire as the enemy swooped down toward the bridges. Below me, and streaming by both sides of the hill, were the retreating, panting columns of disorganized troops, the drab color of their weaving lines interspersed here and there with the bright red crosses of ambulances filled with broken, groaning men. The sky was resonant with shrieking missiles of death, and everywhere were the stench and utter desolation of a stricken battlefield. Clogging all the roads in a writhing, dust-shrouded mass of humanity were the refugees. But among them there was no hysteria, no whimpering. Here were the progeny of a proud and sturdy race that for centuries had accepted disaster imperturbably. As they pain-fully plodded south, carrying all their worldly belongings on their backs, and leading their terror-stricken but wide-eyed, uncrying children, I watched for an hour the pitiful evidence of the disaster I had inherited. In that brief interval on the blood-soaked hill, I formulated my plans. They were desperate plans indeed, but I could see no other way except to accept a defeat which would include not only Korea, but all of continental Asia.

The scene along the Han was enough to convince me that the defensive potential of South Korea had already been exhausted. There was nothing to stop the Communists from rushing their tank columns straight down the few good roads from Sŏul to Pusan at the end of the peninsula. All Korea would then be theirs. Even with air and naval sup-port, the South Koreans could not stop the enemy's head-long rush south. Only the immediate commitment of ground troops could possibly do so. The answer I had come to seek was there. I would throw my occupation soldiers into this breach. Completely outnumbered, I would rely upon strategic maneuver to overcome the great odds against me. It would be desperate, but it was my only chance.

Frustration in Korea * 379

And what of Japan? Japan was where my primary responsibility lay. Only a few hours before, my most recent directive from Washington had reiterated that no action I took to protect South Korea should prejudice the protection of Japan. Could I denude this great bastion of troops with-out inviting Soviet entry from the north? Could I improvise native forces in Japan sufficient to deter any abortive seizure of that country by an enemy if I took elements of the pitifully thin American forces there and committed them in Korea? Could I salvage the time necessary to bring my forces to Pusan? Could I find the transportation to carry the troops to Korea, the munitions and supplies to sustain them in combat, the minimum equipment to create and organize a Japanese protective force? Could I rally, reorganize, and re-inspire the defeated Korean army? Could I, if all this were accomplished and the enemy's tenuous sup-ply lines extended to dangerous limits, cut these lines, then envelop and destroy his main forces with only a handful of troops available? I would be outnumbered almost three to one. But in these reflections the genesis of the Inch'ŏn operation began to take shape — a counter-stroke that could in itself wrest victory from defeat. I immediately wired Washington:

The South Korean forces are in confusion. Organized and equipped as a light force for maintenance of interior order, they were unprepared for attack by armor and air. Conversely they are incapable of gaining the initiative over such a force as that embodied in the North Korean Army. The South Koreans had made no preparation for defense in depth, for echelons of supply or for a supply system. No plans had been made, or if made were not executed, for the destruction of supplies or materials in the event of a retrograde movement. As a result they have either lost or abandoned their supplies and heavier equipment and have absolutely no system of inter-communication. In most cases the individual soldier in his flight to the south has retained his rifle or carbine. They are gradually being gathered up by an advanced group of my officers I sent over for the purpose. Without artillery, mortars and anti-tank guns, they can only hope to retard the enemy through the fullest utilization of natural obstacles and under the guidance of leader-ship of high quality. The civilian populace is tranquil, orderly and prosperous according to their scale of living. They have retained a high degree of national spirit and firm belief in the Americans. The roads leading south from Sŏul are crowded with refugees refusing to accept the Communist rule.

It is essential that the enemy advance be held or its impetus will threaten the over-running of all of Korea. The South Korean Army is incapable of counteraction and there is a grave danger of a further breakthrough. If the enemy advances continue much further, it will threaten the Republic.

The only assurance for holding the present line and the ability to regain later the lost ground is through the introduction of United States ground combat forces into the Korean battle area. To continue to utilize the forces of our air and navy without an effective ground element can not be decisive. Unless provision is made for the full utilization of the Army-Navy-Air team in this shattered area, our mission will at best be needlessly costly in life, money and prestige. At worst, it might be doomed.

[note]

 

Citations

Bailey, Joseph V. [2ndLt SS USAF]

South then North

On the morning of 29 June, General Yu Jai Hyung with about 1,200 men of the ROK 7th Division and four machine guns, all that was left of his division, defended the bridge sites from the south bank of the river.

Colonel Paik brought the ROK 1st Division, now down to about 5,000 men, across the Han on 29 June in the vicinity of Kimp'o Airfield, twelve air miles northwest of Sŏul. He had to leave his artillery behind but his men brought out their small arms and most of their crew-served weapons. [03-67] [note]

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[note]

The North Korean attack surprised official Washington. Maj. Gen. L. L. Lemnitzer in a memorandum to the Secretary of Defense on 29 June gave what is undoubtedly an accurate statement of the climate of opinion prevailing in Washington in informed circles at the time of the attack. He said it had been known for many months that the North Korean forces possessed the capability of attacking South Korea; that similar capabilities existed in practically every other country bordering the USSR; but that he knew of no intelligence agency that had centered attention on Korea as a point of imminent attack. [04-4]

The surprise in Washington on Sunday, 25 June 1950, according to some observers, resembled that of another, earlier Sunday-Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. [note]

During the period 26-29 June sea and air carriers evacuated a total of 2,001 persons from Korea to Japan. Of this number, 1,527 were U.S. nationals-718 of them traveled by air, 809 by water.

The largest single group of evacuees was aboard the M⁄S Reinholt Norwegian merchant ship . [note]

In the east and south of Korea, meanwhile, some fifty-six KMAG advisers by 29 June had made their way to Pusan where they put themselves under the command of Lt. Col. Rollins S. Emmerich, KMAG adviser to the ROK 3rd Division. [04-17]. [04-17] [note]

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Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 29 June had sent a communication to all member nations asking what type of assistance they would give South Korea in response to the Security Council resolution of 27 June. Three members-the Soviet Union, Poland, and Czechoslovakia-declared the resolution illegal. Most of the others promised moral or material support. Material support took the form chiefly of supplies, foodstuffs, or services that were most readily available to the particular countries. [note]

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On 29 June, the Australian Ambassador called on Secretary of State Dean Acheson and said that his country would make available for use in Korea a destroyer and a frigate based in Japan, and that a squadron of short-range Mustang fighter planes (77th Squadron Royal Australian Air Force) also based in Japan would be available. [04-42]

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Canada, New Zealand, and the Netherlands said they were dispatching naval units.

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Only Nationalist China offered ground troops-three divisions totaling 33,000 men, together with twenty transport planes and some naval escort. General MacArthur eventually turned down this offer on 1 August because the Nationalist Chinese troops were considered to be untrained and had no artillery or motor transport. [note]

Memorandum of Conversation

June 29, 1950

Subject: Military Support for Southern Korea

Participants: Ambassador Makin, Australian Embassy Mr. Moody, Australian Embassy Secretary Acheson Mr. Satterthwaite, BNA

Copies to: Embassy, Canberra Embassy, Wellington

The Australian Ambassador called at his request to say that the Australian Government had decided to send to Korea the destroyer Bataan and the frigate Shoalhaven. These vessels were now in a base in Southern Japan. In addition, the Australians had a squadron of F-51's (Mustangs) in Japan which they would be glad to make available if required. He had been instructed to notify the Department that these Mustangs were not suitable for operations on Korea based in Japan and that they could not be used until suitable airstrips were available in Korea.

The Secretary expressed the Department's pleasure for the prompt assistance Australia is furnishing in support of the UN resolution and promised to let him know as soon as we found out from the military whether they could use the F-51's.

EUR:BNA:LSatterthwaite:srm [note]

In the two or three days following the North Korean crossing of the Parallel, air units moved hurriedly from bases in Japan distant from Korea to those nearest the peninsula. Most of the fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons moved to Itazuke and Ashiya Air Bases, which had the most favorable positions with respect to the Korean battle area. Bombers also moved closer to the combat zone; twenty B-29's of the 19th Bombardment Group, Twentieth Air Force, had moved from Guam to Kadena Airfield on Okinawa by 29 June. [05-6] [note]

the next day [cruiser USS Juneau (CLAA-119)] shelled the Kangnung-Samch'ŏk area where North Korean amphibious landings had occurred. [05-9] American naval forces from this date forward took an active part in supporting American and ROK forces in coastal areas and in carrying out interdiction and bombardment missions in enemy rear areas. Naval firepower was particularly effective along the east coastal corridor. [note]

While United States air and naval forces were delivering their first blows of the war, the South Koreans were trying to reassemble their scattered forces and reorganize them along the south bank of the Han River. (See Map 1).

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On the 29th, when General MacArthur and his party visited the Han River, it seemed to them that elements of only the ROK 1st and 7th Divisions there might be effective within the limits of the equipment they had salvaged. Parts of the 5th Division were in the Yŏngdŭngp'o area opposite Sŏul, and, farther west, elements of the Capital Division still held Inch'ŏn. Remnants of the 2nd Division were eastward in the vicinity of the confluence of the Han and Pukhan Rivers; the 6th Division was retreating south of Ch'unch'ŏn in the center of the peninsula toward Wŏnju; and, on the east coast, the 8th Division had started to withdraw inland and south. The 23rd Regiment of the ROK 3rd Division had moved from Pusan through Taegu to Ulchin on the east coast, sixty-five miles above P'ohang-dong, to block an anticipated enemy approach down the coastal road. [05-14] [note]

[elements of the enemy's 6th Division started crossing the Han River west of the city in the vicinity of Kimp'o Airfield and ] occupied the air field on the 29th. [05-15] (Map 1)

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After capturing Sŏul the North Korean 3rd and 4th Divisions spent a day or two searching the city for South Korean soldiers, police, and "national traitors," most of whom they shot at once. The North Koreans at once organized "People's Committees" from South Korean Communists to assume control of the local population. They also took steps to evacuate a large part of the population. Within a week after occupying Sŏul, the victors began to mobilize the city's young men for service in the North Korean Army. [05-16]

The N.K. 3rd Division, the first into Sŏul, was also the first to carry the attack to the south side of the Han River opposite the city. It spent only one day in preparation. North Korean artillery fire which had fallen on the south side of the Han sporadically on 28 and 29 June developed in intensity the night of the 29th. [note]

US Air Force

 

0600 hours departed with General MacArthur (with Generals Willoughby, Almond, Wright and Whitney)[47-Maj Gen Courtney Whitney, MacArthur's military sec] aboard the Bataan from Haneda for Suwon Air Field, South Korea. Told CINCFE that in order for me to support him full-out must have authority to attack the enemy (his aircraft and airdromes) in North Korea. Permission granted at once and we now cross the 38th Parallel! Wired Partridge re the authority.[48-The President initially forbade air attacks on North Korean targets. It had been thought that vigorous action by ROK forces, supported by U.S. aircraft, would drive the invaders back across the 38th Parallel.] (With CINCFE's authority to cross the 38th and as a result of my wire to Partridge, General Timberlake got off a B-26 strike north of the 38th the afternoon of 29 June.)[49-This first strike north of the 38th Parallel, an 18-plane effort, hit the main military airfield at P'yŏngyang. One enemy plane was reported shot down and 25 others were claimed destroyed on the ground. (Futrell, p 98.)] Spent the day interviewing Lt. Colonel McGinn, Brigadier General Kim Chung Yul, General Church and other officers in KMAG, and, in general being "briefed"ť on the actual situation.[50-Lt Col John McGinn was a member of General Church’s ADCOM staff and had been quite active in organizing the base at the Suwon airfield. Brig Gen Kim Chung Yul was ROKAF chief of staff.] Our liaison officer, on CINCFE's advanced headquarters - commanded by Brigadier General Church - is a Lt. Colonel McGinn who is doing an outstanding job with the margin of equipment. His needs were many and varied - including 24 shovels with which to dig foxholes around the air strip! Also talked at length with General Kim who commands the South Korean Air Force. Promised him his supply requirements to keep his F-51s going. Timing on my escorting fighters for the Bataan excellent; CINCFE impressed. A Yak attempted to intercept Bataan, but was driven off by our escort. Returned to Tokyo and landed Haneda 2205 hours. Came straight to the office where I briefed General Partridge who is now functioning as my vice commander. Left the office after midnight.

[note]

June 29: North Korean forces captured Kap'yŏng and massed on the north shore of the Han River. Heavy fighting raged in the Kimp'o area. North Korean aircraft bombed and strafed Suwŏn airfield, destroying a C-54 on the ground. The 21st troop Carrier Squadron (TCS) moved from Clark AB in the Philippines to Tachikawa AB.

MacArthur directed Stratemeyer to concentrate air attacks on the Han River bridges and North Korean troops massing north of the river. B-26s attacked the bridges, and 5th Air Force F-80s patrolled the Han River area. F-82s from the 68th FAWS, using jettisonable fuel tanks, attacked with napalm for the first time in the war. Pilots of the 35th and 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons (FBS) shot down five North Korean airplanes that were attacking Suwŏn airfield. Eight B-29s of the 19th BG attacked enemy-held Kimp'o airfield and the Sŏul railroad station, reportedly killing a large number of enemy troops. As the medium bombers turned toward Kadena, enemy aircraft attacked the formation, enabling B-29 gunners to shoot down, for the first time in the war, one of the opponent's airplanes.

MacArthur authorized FEAF attacks on airfields in North Korea. In the first USAF attack on North Korea, 18 B-26s of the 3rd BG attacked Heijo airfield near P'yŏngyang, the North Korean capital, claiming up to 25 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground. The 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS) began photographic reconnaissance of North Korean airfields. Using RB-29 aircraft, the 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS) (Photographic) also started operations over Korea from Yokota AB, Japan. [note]

USAF B26 Invaders carried out the first USAF bombing mission of the Korean War on 29 June 1950 when they bombed an airfield outside of P'yŏngyang. Invaders were credited with the destruction of 38,500 vehicles, 406 locomotives, 3,700 railway trucks, and seven enemy aircraft on the ground. [note] [note]

The 49th Fighter-Bomber Group had also been divided by squadron maneuvers, with the 9th Squadron at Komaki and the 8th Squadron at Yokota; pilots and minimum ground crews of the 9th flew to Itazuke on 27 June, while minimum echelons of the 8th Squadron reached this base on 29 June.

The 8th Fighter-Bomber Group, unique in that it began fighting from its permanent base, [Itazuke on Kyushu] nevertheless felt the pinch of peacetime manning. [note]


Supplied with information from a North Korean plot who defected to the ROK on 28 April 1950, American intelligence, which had tended to underrate the North Korean Air Force, was brought up to date. This information, when correlated with that obtained from a Major Pak Kyung Ok, shot down near Suwŏn at the outbreak of hostilities, furnished the following North Korean air order of battle, which (with some allowance for variations in plane designations) may be taken as accurate for 29 June:

Location Type Number
Yŏnp'o Yak-7B 10
Yŏnp'o Yak-11 12
Yŏnp'o IL-10 18
Sinmak Yak-7B 10
Sinmak IL-10 2
P'yŏngyang IL-10 8
P'yŏngyang Yak-7B 20
P'yŏngyang Yak-11 2
P'yŏngyang IL-10 40

In addition to these 122 combat type aircraft, the NKAF had some 30 other planes, including trainers and possibly a few old Japanese types. All of the combat types were obsolete Russian models, some of which must have been formally transferred to the NKAF immediately before hostilities: two IL-10 aircraft captured at Sŏul, for example, had log books with Russian entries as late as 27 June, and then Korean entries. Some North Korean pilots appear to have had previous combat experience, probably in the Japanese air force, but many of them were young volunteers with limited flying experience. The NKAF appears to have had a total of 15 Soviet advisors, headed by a full colonel with headquarters at P'yŏngyang.

The NKAF possessed good facilities, originally constructed by the Japanese, well north of the 38th parallel, and it was developing some new fields near the 38th parallel in the immediate pre-hostilities period. Airfields with paved runways, repair shops, and refueling facilities were at

P'yŏngyang, Sinuiju, Wŏnsan, Yŏnp'o, and Ch'ŏngjin, and new airfields were being readied at Sinmak and Pyonggang.

P'yŏngyang also had a repair depot, which in 1945 had been the largest in Korea, and there were sub-depots at Yŏnp'o and Hoeryong. Another elaborate depot at Wŏnsan had been razed by the materiel-hungry Soviets in 1945-1946, obviously before they cast a new policy for Korea, but the remaining depots were more than adequate. Although the aircraft in North Korean hands on 29 June had no great range-only the IL-10 (with a combat radius of some 200 nautical miles) could approach the southern tip of Korea - had the U. N. not intervened in Korea, the NKAF would have possessed a substantial margin of air superiority over the ROK air force. [note]

The small scale of enemy air activity appears to have been due to U. N. destruction of their aircraft, rather than to any lack of aggressiveness on the part of Communist pilots. On 29 June the 3rd Bombardment Group sent the first U.S. aircraft north of the 38th parallel on a bombing mission to P'yŏngyang airfield, where 18 B-26's covered hangar lines, ramp areas, and revetments with their bombs, claiming 25 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground; a B-26 gunner destroyed another Yak in the air. [note]

DURING THE first few days of the Korean conflict FEAF was merely "fighting fire" without any overall plan of action, and, operating from an establishment designed for air defense, it was able to place only a small part of its strength over Korea.

For example, FEAF could count as available for missions to Korea on 29 June no more than 22 B-26's, 12 B-29's, 70 F-80's, and 15 F-82's. With American combat troops going into Korea, FEAF had to effect redeployment of its units to the bases where they could bring their maximum strength to bear. Additional aircraft, air units, personnel, and materiel had to be obtained from the United States. Arrival of the U.S. Seventh Fleet and attached British aircraft carriers required some attempt at operational coordination of all air effort over Korea, a matter which was complicated by FEAF's status in the FEC structure of command.

Even so, none of the 85 "fighters" that were available, showed themselves on July 5th at Onsan]

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[note]

Interdiction in Korea however began with a sporadic designation of targets. On 29 June General MacArthur directed FEAF to destroy the Han River bridges at Sŏul, unexpectedly left intact in the initial rout of ROK troops [note]

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Tetrahedron's don't work too well on a horse/man drawn cart. They didn't figure this out until after Vietnam.

[note]

By 29 June the Twentieth Air Force's 19th Bombardment Group had moved 20 B-29 's from Guam to Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa. [note]

By 29 June the Twentieth Air Force's 19th Bombardment Group had moved 20 B-29 's from Guam to Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa.

The 19th Bombardment Group at the beginning of hostilities had just completed an exhausting operational readiness test which had fatigued the combat crews and left the aircraft in need of maintenance. [note]

For the first several days of hostilities, Itazuke was the center of the Fifth Air Force's tactical operations; wanting to take active command, General Partridge took an advance echelon of Fifth Air Force headquarters to that base on 29 June.

Even this most advanced base was none too close to the target areas in Korea. From Ashiya and Itazuke, the F-80C 's could provide only about 15 to 20 minutes of close support along the battle line of early July, each plane carrying six .50-caliber machine guns and two rockets. When weather was bad, moreover, the jets were and pressed to get back to Kyushu, and weather predictions for Korea continued to be somewhat uncertain. If the Fifth Air Force was to give adequate support in Korea, it was evident that it would either have to extend its jet fighter range or use bases in South Korea. When the war started the prospect for neither was encouraging.

Efforts to extend the range of F-80C's had already been made: Lt. Robert Eckman and other officers of the 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (49th Group) had increased the fuel capacity of the F-80C by adding two cells to the standard wing tanks. The 9th Squadron, after about 150 sorties over Korea with the big tanks, reported that they "aren't quite so acrobatic," but that "the general attitude of the entire 9th Squadron toward the F-80 is one of confidence and pride." [note]

On 29 June General MacArthur flew to Suwŏn, held conferences with Muccio and President Rhee, and then drove up the Sŏul road to the vicinity of the Han. He found that the Korean army and coastal forces were in confusion, had not seriously fought, and lacked leadership. Organized and equipped as a light force for maintaining interior order, the Korean army had been unprepared for attack by armor and air. South Korean military strength, now estimated at not more than 25,000 effective's, was scarcely enough to defeat the North Korean force, but every effort was being made to hold a line at the Han River, the natural defense barrier essential to the protection of the only airhead remaining in central Korea, Suwŏn. Back in Tokyo, however, FEC staff members had started considering another east-west defense line north of Taegu in the event that the North Koreans penetrated ROK defenses along the Han.

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Late in the afternoon of 29 June, Washington time, President Truman decided upon more positive action in Korea, and the JCS authorized MacArthur to extend his air operations into North Korea against airfields, tank farms, troop columns, and other targets judged essential in the clearing of North Korean forces from the area south of 38°. These air operations, however, were to keep well clear of Manchurian and USSR borders, and if forces actively opposed such attacks the U.S. planes should defend themselves without taking aggressive action until Washington could be advised. MacArthur was also authorized to use Army combat and service forces needed to insure the retention of the port and air base in the Pusan-Chinhae area on the southeastern coast of Korea. The JCS noted that this decision was made with full realization of risks, and they cautioned that it did not constitute a decision to engage in a war with the USSR if the latter's forces actively intervened in Korea. [note]

Beginning on 29 June, moreover, BUZZARD Special was required to fly a, zig-zag track over the Korean battle area, spotting tactical target information as well as transmitting a weather summary back to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Itazuke. [note]

Next day, North Korean planes bombed and strafed a C-54 as it was unloading supplies. Suwŏn, which the U.N. forces hoped to utilize as an advanced airhead, was becoming an embattled zone, and thus far the performance of the North Korean pilots was proving somewhat better than had been expected. One Yak pilot, whose plane was hit and smoking, completed his run over Suwŏn to destroy the U.S. aircraft he had selected as a target. [note]

By 29 June all superfluous persons were out of Korea. At this time a total of 851 individuals had been flown out of the war zone, a figure comparing favorably with the 905 who had been removed from Korea by water transportation.#35

Not a single refugee was injured during the mass air exodus from Korea. This record of safety was attributable in no small part to the impenetrable fighter cover which the 8th Wing kept aloft over Kimp'o and Suwŏn while the vulnerable transports landed and loaded passengers.

Throughout 27 June the North Korean Air Force amply demonstrated that it wanted to destroy the helpless transports. [note]

At the National Security Council meeting on 29 June Secretary Acheson was willing that American air operations should extend into North Korea but he requested that precautions be taken to ensure that air operations did not go beyond the boundaries of Korea. [note]

Another category of politico-military restrictions had its origin in an unstated but very real policy which sought to maintain "humanitarian" standards in the United Nations' war effort. In 1949, during the course of a congressional investigation of the United States national defense program, certain critics of airpower had made a case for the moral wrong of massed air bombardment. "War itself is immoral," General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had declared in rebuttal. But he had pledged that "we Americans will seek to achieve maximum effectiveness against the enemy's armed forces, with a minimum harm to the nonparticipating civilian populace.#14

On 29 June 1950, when the National Security Council discussed air operations in North Korea, President Truman stated that he wanted to be sure that the bombardment of North Korea was "not indiscriminate.#15 [note]


"The Far East Air Forces in Japan," Stratemeyer told General Vandenberg on 29 June,

"are operating on instructions which require that we continue to be prepared to insure the air defense of the Japanese home islands against hostile air attack. "93

The headquarters of the three fighter wings in Japan were so inextricably a part of the air-defense structure that they would have to remain where they were, but some part of their tactical units could be released for the Korean war. Assuming that Soviet Russia would not openly intervene in Korea, General Stratemeyer's operational planners told him that the air-defense forces at Misawa, Johnson, and Itazuke could be reduced to minimums of one F-80 squadron, plus a flight of F-82 fighters.#94

General Stratemeyer was apprehensive about denuding the defenses of the Kanto Plains of central Japan, where so many vital American installations were concentrated, but he approved this allocation of defensive units, with the proviso that another squadron of F-80's and more F-82's would be returned to Johnson Air Base as soon as possible.#95

Looking farther afield in the first days of the war, General Partridge recommended that the fighter wings on Okinawa and the Philippines should be deployed to Japan. At such an early date GHQ would permit the movement of only one fighter squadron, this from the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing in the Philippines.#96 [note]

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In Washington on 29 June, however, the Australian ambassador made the RAAF No. 77 Squadron (with 26 Mustangs) available to FEAF, and thus cleared the way for the desired deployment of the 3rd Bombardment Group to Iwakuni.#98

The 35th Fighter-Interceptor Group (less its 41st Squadron, which went to Johnson for air defense) moved from Yokota to Ashiya without delay. The all-weather fighter squadrons were shifted according to plan. The 339th Squadron moved from Yokota to Misawa and Johnson, the 68th Squadron remained at Itazuke, and on 8 July the pilots of the 4th Squadron returned to Naha Air Base on Okinawa.#99 [note]

One North Korean pilot, shot down over Anyang on 29 June, confirmed this estimate of Communist war-plan assumptions. "Soviet advisors have ordered us to bomb South Korea," said this North Korean pilot, "because they know for sure the South Koreans have very few planes and only small ones."#83 [note]

On the dismal afternoon of 29 June, as he stood on a hill overlooking the Han River and watched the backwash of defeated ROK soldiers streaming southward, General MacArthur is said to have recognized the strategy which would be followed if South Korea was to be saved from Red conquest. The onrushing North Korean army had to be halted. Then other friendly forces would land from the sea behind the North Korean lines. The North Korean army would be caught between the hammer of an attack from the south and the anvil of the amphibious beach-head. It would be rolled up and destroyed. One of General MacArthur's staff officers so recorded the thoughts which passed through the august theater commander's mind. #1 [note]

KPA "First Phase" terminates

USAF F-51D committed to combat

[note]

USAF B-29 1 x Yak-9 1 x La-7 damaged

Norris USAF F-80C 1 x Yak-9

Marsh USAF F-80C 1 x Il-10

Fox USAF F-51D 2 x Il-10

Burns USAF F-51D 1 x Yak-9

Sandlin USAF F-51D 1 x Yak-9

USAF B-26 1 x Yak-9 25 x KPAFAC aircraft destroyed on the ground

DPRK Yak-9 1 x C-54 destroyed on ground

[note]

US Marine Corps

On 29 June President Truman authorized General MacArthur to send certain supporting United States ground force units to Korea. An American naval blockade of the entire Korean coast was ordered, and Japan-based Air Force planes were given authority to bomb specific military targets north of the 38th Parallel. These decisions were upheld by the wholehearted approval of nearly all Americans, according to contemporary newspapers. [note]

Korean_War

On the 28th General Cates had his first conference with Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations. He noted on his calendar the next day: “Recommended to CNO and SecNav that FMF be employed.” [note]

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, Far East (CinCFE), concluded on 29 June, during his first flying visit to the front,

“that air and naval action alone could not be decisive, and that nothing short of the intervention of U.S. ground forces could give any assurance of stopping the Communists and of later regaining the lost ground.”[4]

Unfortunately, he had only the four understrength divisions of the Eighth U.S. Army at his disposal in the Far East. During the two World Wars the United States had been able to raise and train armies while allies held the line. But no such respite was forthcoming in Korea, and the first U.S. ground forces at the front consisted of a small task force flown from Japan—an incomplete battalion reinforced by a battery of artillery. [note]

US Navy

USS Juneau (CLAA 119) took shore targets under fire in vicinity of Samch'ŏk, Korea; first significant naval gunfire support mission of Korean War.

Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) patrol off Sasebo area formed. [note]

Korean_War

With the transfer of Seventh Fleet forces to his operational control, Admiral Joy acquired all immediately available American naval strength. Considering the unpredictable responsibilities of his situation this was little enough, and a most helpful addition soon came in the form of British Commonwealth units commanded by Rear Admiral Sir William G. Andrewes, KBE, CB, DSO, RN, Flag Officer Second in Command, Far Eastern Station. On 29 June, following the vote of the Security Council for military assistance to the Republic of Korea, the British Admiralty placed Royal Navy units in Japanese waters at the disposition of ComNavFE; [note]

No less difficult than the problems of concentration and control of forces were those of their support. The shore activities of Naval Forces Japan had been centralized at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, with the secondary base at Sasebo in what approximated caretaker status. But although the workload at Yokosuka was at once increased, as activation of reserve minesweepers and frigates was begun, war in Korea soon reversed the roles of the two bases. Sasebo is more than 500 miles closer to Pusan, a fact of obvious importance and one emphasized by the original orders from the Chief of Naval Operations to the Seventh Fleet. At Sasebo an immediate expansion was undertaken, and effort made to provide more personnel; the lack of antisubmarine defenses brought urgent action to provide at least a token patrol off the entrance, and this was accomplished on the 29th.[note]

Korean_War

On 29 June, as his Seventh Fleet Striking Force was approaching Buckner Bay, Admiral Struble flew into Tokyo from Washington. By presidential proclamation and NavFE operation order the mission of the Seventh Fleet was the neutralization of Formosa, but the rapid deterioration of the situation in Korea raised pressing questions concerning its employment there. [note]

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USS Helena (CA-75)

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USS Toledo (CA-133)

The two heavy Baltimore-class cruisers of Cruiser Division 3, moored in Long Beach when the Korean War broke out, had arrived only two weeks before from an eight-month cruise in the Western Pacific. These ships, USS Helena (CA-75) and USS Toledo (CA-133), completed in 1945 , had a standard displacement of 13,600 tons, a speed of 33 knots, a main battery of nine 8-inch guns and a secondary battery of twelve dual-purpose 5-inch. Alas, the delights of civilization were to be but briefly tasted, and the expected period of rest, recreation, and upkeep was to be brutally cut short. On 29 June the division commander, Rear Admiral Charles C. Hartman, received orders to prepare to head back west again with a departure date a week away. All leaves were at once cancelled by telegram, emergency repairs were hastened, and supplies quickly loaded aboard.

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USS Boxer (CV-21)

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USS Philippine Sea (CV-47)

At San Diego there were two Essex-class aircraft carriers: USS Boxer (CV-21), Captain Cameron Briggs, back from her tour in the Western Pacific, was waiting to enter a navy yard for repairs; USS Philippine Sea (CV-47), Captain Willard K. Goodney , had just arrived from the Atlantic Fleet and was preparing for an October departure for the Far East as relief for Valley Forge. The air group designated for this deployment, Carrier Air Group11, Commander Raymond W. Vogel, was similar in composition to Air Group 5, being composed of two F9F jet fighter squadrons, two squadrons of F4Us , one of ADs , and a mixed bag of specially configured Corsairs and Skyraiders . Its training, however, was considerably less advanced than that of the Valley Forge group. The jet squadrons had been handicapped by shortage of aircraft and the pilot situation was highly unstable: many of the younger officers had received orders for separation on 30 June, and many of their replacements were not yet up to fleet standards. Difficult as the situation was, it would have been much worse had the North Koreans appreciated the strategic importance of accounting periods and delayed their attack until the end of the fiscal year. As it was, emergency action by the Bureau of Naval Personnel made it possible to avoid forced separations from the service and to minimize dislocation.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea all plans and schedules were scrapped. Loading for the Western Pacific was put on a high speed basis, considerable gear was transferred from Boxer to her sister carrier, and the air group was embarked under emergency orders. [note]

Within two days the views of the operational commanders concerned had been received and integrated and a detailed loading list was on its way by air to the west coast.

Korean_War

USS Mount Katmai (AE-16)

But USS Mount Katmai (AE-16) arrival was weeks away, and in the next few days, as special requests came in from ComNavFE, ammunition was moved forward from Guam by [civilian] cargo ship. [note]

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HMS Belfast (C-35)

The U.S. Navy's first Korean War combat action took place early on 29 June 1950, as the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL-119), flagship of Rear Admiral John M. Higgins, fired her five-inch guns at suspicious shipping and shore targets along the South Korean east coast. During the next month, as UN forces attempted to slow the North Korean army's advance, there were numerous gunnery operations by Juneau, U.S. Navy destroyers and British Royal Navy ships, including HMS Belfast. Playing an important role inshore, especially along the west coast, was the tiny South Korean Navy, whose patrol craft were very active in countering enemy attempts to use the sea to flank the defending Korean and U.S. ground troops. [note]


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While MacArthur was in South Korea, Eisenhower, who was in Washington for a routine physical examination, called at the Pentagon on June 28, Washington time [at 11:00] . He had hoped to confer with Omar Bradley, but by then Bradley's intestinal bug had forced him to bed in his quarters. In lieu of Bradley, Ike met with Collins, Haislip, Ridgway, and their principal assistants.

He was astonished by the complacency and indecisiveness he found, he wrote in his diary. He gave Collins and his assistants a five-star chewing out.

"My whole contention," Ike went on in his diary, "was that an appeal to force cannot, by its nature, be a partial one. This appeal, having been made, for God's sake, get ready! Do everything possible under the law to get us going. Remember in a fight (our side) can never be too strong. I urged action in a dozen different directions . . . even if it finally came to the use of the A-bomb (which God forbid)."[3-39]

Matt Ridgway made notes on Ike's chewing out:

"General Eisenhower dropped in . . . [3-and] stated in most vigorous language and with great emphasis his feelings that we ought at once to begin partial mobilization; perhaps reinforce our European forces by a division or two; publicly increase our security measures throughout the country; at once remove the limitation placed on MacArthur to operate south of the 38th Parallel; even to consider the use of one or two atomic bombs in the Korea area, if suitable targets could be found."[3-40]

Few men knew MacArthur as well as Eisenhower, who had served directly under him twice - in the War Department from 1930 to 1932 and in Manila from 1935 to 1939. In a remarkably prescient and candid aside, Eisenhower warned that MacArthur was ill suited to run the Korean War.

"In commenting upon General MacArthur," Ridgway jotted in his desk journal, "Ike expressed the wish that he would like to see a younger general out there, rather than, as he expressed it, `an untouchable' whose actions you cannot predict, and who will himself decide what information he wants Washington to have and what he will withhold."[3-41]

[note]

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0203 Korean Time

At 0203 on the morning of the 29th, in 37° 25' N, Juneau detected two groups of surface ships by radar. Since the South Korean Navy was reported to have retired south of 37°, fire was opened, one target sunk, and the others dispersed. But the information, unfortunately, was in error: the ROK retirement was still in progress, the sunken target was the South Korean JML 305, and the action gave rise to Korean reports of a Russian cruiser in the Samch'ŏk area.

[note]

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At about 0300 hours on 29 June General Church awakened Colonel McGinn with a request that he arrange a B-29 strike against the Han River bridges at Sŏul and Communist troops massing on the north bank of the river, if possible before dawn. The retreating ROK's had blown the highway bridge but they had left one railway bridge intact. McGinn explained that it would be impossible to divert any B-29's on such short notice and with such inadequate communications, but he nevertheless used the State Department code and radioed a request to CINCFE.#101

At approximately the same hour the Superfortresses were taking off from their base at Kadena, under instructions to destroy the buildings and facilities at Kimp'o Airfield and the main railway station in Sŏul. Had anyone in Tokyo known of General Church's request, the B-29's might have used their demolition bombs against the Han bridges (although the diversion of a medium bomber strike, once briefed and en route to a target, is seldom productive of good results), but

McGinn's message did not reach FEAF until 1255 hours on 29 June.#102 [note]


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At 0400, 29 June, MacArthur was up and preparing for the flight to Suwŏn.

[note]

In the afternoon (Wash DC) the National Security Council met at the White House; inevitably, since the show of force seemed to have accomplished nothing, the discussion turned to the question of whether to commit ground troops. Here, in unexpected form, was the prospect of that war on the mainland of Asia against which all military authorities had warned. For such a war there were no plans, no detailed estimates of the forces required. These, indeed, could only be guessed at, although doubtless it was still possible to postulate a distinction between policing a minor power like North Korea and warring with a more serious opponent. Although the discussion seems to have drifted in the direction of commitment, decision was deferred pending the receipt of further information from General MacArthur, who had flown to Korea for a personal reconnaissance of the battle front. [note]

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0502 Sun up

[note]

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Thursday morning dawned windy, foggy, and rainy. A fine spray, whipped up by the parked Bataan's propellers, hung in the air for a moment and then lashed back across the concrete runway. "The old man should be here any minute," a lieutenant shouted to the newsmen, but the first general to appear was, not the commander in chief, but George E. Stratemeyer, Kenney's successor as MacArthur's air chief. According to Tony Story, the Bataan's pilot, Stratemeyer told him they were grounded; ceiling was zero. Then MacArthur strode up with his jaunty, swinging gait, carrying field glasses and wearing faded, almost white suntans, a leather windbreaker, his crushed cap, and, despite the poor visibility, sunglasses.

He promptly overruled Stratemeyer. The airman protested strenuously. The General said: "But you'd go yourself, wouldn't you?" Stratemeyer answered: "Yes, but I don't count. You're a different matter." The commander in chief turned to Story. He said: "We go." [19] [note]

0610 Korean Time

(About 500 air miles, at 324 mph, and he does not get there until 1115 - 5 hour flight? - He overflew the Souel area)

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At 0600 he arrived at Haneda and, with the assembled group, climbed aboard the Bataan II, his personal C-54 plane. A total of fifteen individuals made the trip, including seven high-ranking officers of General MacArthur's staff. Rain was falling when the Bataan took off from Haneda at 0610.

[note]

Airborne, he lit up his outsize corncob pipe. "I don't smoke this back there in Tokyo," he told one of the newspapermen; "they'd think I was a farmer." The reporter noted that his fingers were quavering, but guessed it was from age, not fear, he was, after all, in his seventy first year. Rising, he thrust his hands in his hip pockets and began pacing the aisle. "He's always this way," a staff officer told a newsman. "He'll walk half the way there before we set down." Stratemeyer had produced some cover, four Mustangs which hovered overhead like alert terriers, bunched together, wing tip to wing tip. They were needed; as the Bataan entered its glide pattern over . Suwŏn, a Yak closed fast and dove toward it. An aide shouted "Mayday!" Everyone but MacArthur ducked. He darted to a window and saw a Mustang peeling off to intercept the North Korean fighter. "We've got him cold," the General said eagerly,. but Story took swift evasive action, depriving him of his ringside seat.[20] [note]

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no time? leave at 0700, but search on security council - later.

5 PM 6/28 Washington

These preliminary offers were encouraging proof of allied support, and on 29 June President Truman told the National Security Council that he wanted to see as many members of the United Nations as possible take part in the Korea action. The Secretary of Defense showed greater reserve, feeling that military necessity might weigh more heavily than political considerations in the decisions to accept or turn down forces offered by member nations. Although Secretary Johnson told the Joint Chiefs that they should lean toward accepting forces offered, he qualified this statement by adding, "to the maximum extent practicable from the military point of view." [07-3]

Since at this early date only vague outlines of the unified command had appeared, forces were being offered to and accepted by the United States, not the United Nations. Meanwhile, the machinery for processing offers of assistance, in the very likely event a unified command was established, came under study by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were convinced that military effectiveness, not political necessity, should be the main consideration in accepting forces for Korea, and thus sought a controlling voice in passing on military contributions to the unified command. [note]

Early the next morning, June 29, MacArthur, wearing his famous stained World War II campaign hat and carrying his equally famous corncob pipe, flew to Suwŏn with a planeload of staff and some reporters. By this time the gravity of the situation in South Korea had finally begun to sink in at GHQ, and MacArthur was in a hawkish mood.

En route he decided on a course of action that would, for the second time, exceed his authority and directives and considerably intensify the scope and degree of the American commitment to the war. Calling his air chief, General George E. Stratemeyer, into private conference, MacArthur directed him to launch his Far East Air Force (FEAF) across the 38th Parallel to bomb North Korean airfields. Without objection Stratemeyer immediately radioed his headquarters from MacArthur's plane:

"Take out North Korean airfields immediately. No publicity." Perhaps anticipating the incredulity this order might evoke at FEAF headquarters, Stratemeyer added: "MacArthur approves."[3-32]

This impulsive order was not only a brazen overstepping of MacArthur's authority but also foolish. The NKPA Air Force was not a big threat in the Korean War. The big threat was NKPA tanks. What was needed most at that crucial moment was a concentration of American air power at the Han River, where the NKPA armor was massing to cross. MacArthur's order had the effect of gearing almost the whole of Stratemeyer's air power for an attack in the wrong direction.

later

Later that day John Church persuaded MacArthur to rescind the order and concentrate American air power at the Han River. However, the stream of conflicting and changing orders to FEAF had the effect of diluting the air attacks at the Han, and they were deemed to be of limited success.[3-33] [note]

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At 0800 hours that morning nine 19th Group B-29's had walked their 500-pound bombs across Kimp'o. The bombing, done from altitudes as low as 3,000 feet, was excellent. Two Yaks and an unidentified fighter contested the attack, but B-29 gunners shot down one of the Yaks and sent the unidentified plane away trailing smoke. While the larger formation was attacking Kimp'o two other B-29's bombed the main railway station at Sŏul. According to a Central Intelligence Agency report, this attack killed or wounded a large number of North Korean troops.#103 [note]

In his air-intent statement for 29 June General Stratemeyer had announced that the B-26 light bombers would give close support to the ROK ground troops.[note]

On Thursday the 29th the gloom increased. The armies of the Korean Republic were proving weaker than anyone had expected and those of North Korea stronger; the threat of American air and naval action was dearly ineffective. [note]

About 0800 General MacArthur dictated a radiogram to Maj. Gen. Earl E. Partridge, commanding FEAF in Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer's absence. General Stratemeyer wrote it out and handed it to Story to send. It said, "Stratemeyer to Partridge:

Take out North Korean Airfield immediately. No publicity. MacArthur approves." [04-32] [note]

They made a rough landing on the pocked airstrip. Rhee, disheveled and distraught, greeted the General, and John Muccio led them to a nearby schoolhouse, temporary headquarters for the American advisers in the country. Brigadier Church stood by a wall map and explained the deteriorating situation. He had scarcely returned the pointer to its rack when MacArthur slapped his knee, rose, and said:

"Let's go up to the front and have a look."

In a black Dodge, trailed by a procession of jeeps, they drove north toward the Han River, the Han being to Sŏul what the Potomac is to Washington.[21]

In Plain Speaking Merle Miller quotes Acheson as saying,

"General MacArthur flew over the battlefields" that day. Actually SCAP spent eight hazardous hours touring the ROK lines. Eighteen In Min Gun divisions were smashing southward, and he and his entourage were surrounded by chaos. According to Russell Brines, one of the four correspondents , who were there, they

"drove through the swirling, defeated South Korean army and masses of bewildered, pathetic civilian refugees for a firsthand look at the battlefront. . . . Throughout the journey, the convoy constantly risked enemy air action, against which there was no adequate protection. . The Grump of mortars was loud and clear, and the North Koreans could have seriously endangered the party with gunfire from only moderately heavy artillery." [21]

Like Napoleon at Ratisbon, MacArthur "stood,";

["You know we French stormed Ratisbon:
A mile or so away,
On a little mound, Napoleon
Stood on our storming-day;
With neck out-thrust, you fancy how,
Legs wide, arms locked behind,
As if to balance the prone brow,
Oppressive with its mind.]

Willoughby writes,

"on a little mound just off the road, clogged with retreating, panting columns of troops interspersed with ambulances filled with the groaning, broken men, the sky resonant with shrieking missiles of death and everywhere the stench and misery and utter desolation of a stricken battlefield."

Another aide recalls that the General's

"sharp profile" was "silhouetted against the black smoke clouds of Sŏul as his eyes swept the terrain about him, his hands in his rear trouser pockets, and his long stemmed pipe jutting upward as he swung his gaze over the pitiful evidence of the disaster." SCAP himself later wrote: "Sŏul was already in enemy hands. Only a mile away, I could see the towers of smoke rising from the ruins of this fourteenth century city.... It was a tragic scene." [22 sb 23]

[note]

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On the morning of the 29th, pursuant to these instructions, Admiral Hoskins made his presence felt by flying 29 F4Us and ADs up Formosa Strait. [note]


On the fifth day Brigadier John Church, sent to the front by MacArthur, reported that the situation appeared to be hopeless. The President approved warplane missions north of the Parallel, on the condition that bombardiers confine themselves to military targets.

But flight times from Japanese airdromes were too great to make the missions effective. Therefore the White House authorized the transfer of a contingent of U.S. troops men of the 507th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion to Korea. They were told to hold Suwŏn airfield while other American soldiers and sailors secured fields and docks in the vicinity of Pusan, on the southeast tip of the Korean peninsula.

A deadly sequence was forming. Once aircraft are committed,. they must have airstrips. Airstrips need ground crews, and these crews have to be protected by U.S. infantry. The same pattern would emerge later in Vietnam [17][note]

1000 Korean Time

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The weather had now improved sufficiently to permit fighter planes to take off, and at 1000 four of them intercepted and escorted the Bataan to Suwŏn.

That morning North Korean fighter planes had strafed the Suwŏn Airfield and set on fire a C-54 at the end of the runway. This wrecked plane constituted a 20-foot obstacle on an already short runway, but Colonel Story succeeded in setting the Bataan down without mishap. [note]

1100 Korean Time

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Military indications of Chinese plans to invade North Korea were hard to come by. MacArthur on 29 June 1950 had been warned to stay well clear of Manchurian and Soviet borders. This order forced him to rely almost entirely upon outside sources for information on the strength and disposition of the Chinese Communist forces in Manchuria. [note]

1115 Korean Time - MacArthur arrives

Waiting at the airfield were President Syngman Rhee, Mr. Muccio, and General Church. The party got into an old black sedan and drove to General Church's headquarters. In the conversation there Church told MacArthur that that morning not more than 8,000 ROK's could be accounted for; that at that moment, noon, they had 8,000 more; and that by night he expected to have an additional 8,000; therefore at day's end they could count on about 25,000. [04-33]

Korean_War

Korean_War

[04-Caption] GENERAL MACARTHUR, accompanied by Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond, discusses the military situation with Ambassador Muccio at ROK Army Headquarters. [note]

1130 Korean Time

Colonel Story, in the meantime, took off from the Suwŏn Airfield at 1130 and flew to Fukuoka, Japan where he refueled and made ready to return to Suwŏn. During the afternoon North Korean planes bombed the Suwŏn Airfield and a YAK fighter destroyed a recently arrived C-47 plane. [04-34]

General MacArthur insisted on going up to the Han River, opposite Sŏul, to form his own impression of the situation. On the trip to and from the Han, MacArthur saw thousands of refugees and disorganized ROK soldiers moving away from the battle area. He told General Church that in his opinion the situation required the immediate commitment of American ground forces. He said he would request authority from Washington that night for such action. [04-35] [note]

1200 Korean Time

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On the 29th, as USS Juneau (CLAA-119) continued her patrol, Admiral Higgins ordered Swenson, which had now reached Sasebo, to rendezvous with USS Mansfield (DD-728) in the Yellow Sea. During the day USS De Haven (DD-727) joined the flagship, and [note]

At about 0300 hours on 29 June General Church awakened Colonel McGinn with a request that he arrange a B-29 strike against the Han River bridges at Sŏul and Communist troops massing on the north bank of the river, if possible before dawn. The retreating ROK's had blown the highway bridge but they had left one railway bridge intact. McGinn explained that it would be impossible to divert any B-29's on such short notice and with such inadequate communications, but he nevertheless used the State Department code and radioed a request to CINCFE.#101

At approximately the same hour the Superfortresses were taking off from their base at Kadena, under instructions to destroy the buildings and facilities at Kimp'o Airfield and the main railway station in Sŏul. Had anyone in Tokyo known of General Church's request, the B-29's might have used their demolition bombs against the Han bridges (although the diversion of a medium bomber strike, once briefed and en route to a target, is seldom productive of good results), but

Mc-Ginn's message did not reach FEAF until 1255 hours on 29 June.#102 [note]

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As soon as the Han bridge requirement was made known, [1255 hours on 29 June] the Fifth Air Force accordingly sent the light bombers against the objective. These planes tore up the flooring which the Reds were laying on the center bridge of the three parallel Han railway bridges.

During the day the Fifth Air Force was able to fly 22 other sorties in direct support of ROK ground troops. Once again Colonel McGinn handled this direct support with finesse. As he had asked, the 8th Wing sent Lieutenant Moran to Suwŏn early in the morning. Moran landed his F-82, and he and his radar operator went with McGinn to General Church's office where they sketched an overlay of the ADCOM situation map.

Moran took the overlay hack to Itazuke, where, during the remainder of the day. it served to indicate the locations of friendly and hostile ground troops. Since other aircraft were occupied, the F-82 fighters gave most of the close support that was flown.

For the first time in Korea the 68th Squadron attacked with napalm, using jettison-able fuel tanks as fire bombs against hostile ground positions.#104

In deference to the Communist air threat, the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing used its F-80 fighters in a novel employment. Fully loaded with .50-caliber ammunition (but carrying no external bombs or rockets), the F-80's flew to the Han and established patrol orbits at 10,000 feet. They remained on these stations for fifteen to twenty minutes, and if enemy aircraft appeared they engaged them. If not, the F-80's swooped over Sŏul and made one or two passes against hostile road traffic before returning to Itazuke.

During the day Red pilots made (or attempted to make) six strafing and bombing attacks against Suwŏn Airfield, one of which was mounted by six Yaks.

Most of these attacks were thwarted by the jet fighter patrols, and during the morning Lieutenants William T. Norris and Roy W. Marsh shot down an LA-7 and an IL-10, each pilot scoring one victory.

But at another hour no friendly fighters were overhead, and a Communist bombing strike hit and completely destroyed a C-54 transport. #105

Korean_War

Sgt. Glenn Roush and Capt. Gail Farnham, Tactical Air Control Party, transmit information to fighters overhead. [note]

As an experienced air commander General Stratemeyer knew quite well that the first task of tactical airpower is to destroy the enemy air force and attain friendly air superiority, but his orders had not permitted him to deal effectively with the North Korean Air Force. Now the enemy air threat was getting out of hand, and on the afternoon of 29 June General MacArthur wanted to fly to Suwŏn to get a first-hand view of the ground fighting. Recognizing the risk involved, the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing scheduled a heavy screen of F-80's for the Bataan (MacArthur's C-54) and pressed into escorting service a flight of F-51 Mustangs which it was preparing to turn over to ROK pilots.

It was well that the Mustangs had come, for while MacArthur was in conference at the Suwŏn schoolhouse four Yaks approached undetected through scattered clouds and attempted to attack Suwŏn Airfield. All the conferees went outside to watch the air fight. The Yaks appeared slightly more maneuverable, but the Mustangs were faster. As a result, Lt. Orrin R. Fox (80th Squadron) scored two kills and Richard J. Burns (35th Squadron) and Harry T. Sandlin (80th Squadron) each shot down a Yak. #I06

General MacArthur was forcibly impressed with the importance of establishing a general air superiority in Korea. "North Korea air, operating from nearby bases," he subsequently informed the Joint Chiefs, "has been savage in its attacks in the Suwŏn area.#107

General Stratemeyer, who was a member of the MacArthur party, added another cogent argument:

constant aerial cover was exhausting air effort which might otherwise have served combat purposes.

Stratemeyer also pointed out that in order to get control of the air he would have to be cleared to attack Communist airfields in North Korea. Deeming the emergency grave enough to justify his action, MacArthur verbally authorized Stratemeyer to commence air attacks against enemy airfields north of the 38th parallel.#108

Almost as soon as American planes were permitted to enter North Korea, the 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron began to fly photo cover of all known North Korean airfields.#109 But in the late afternoon of 29 June these hostile airfields were not adequately targeted. [note]

MacArthur and his party, which included his chief of staff, Ned Almond, remained on the ground in South Korea for about eight hours. The day commenced with a briefing in Church's ADCOM headquarters, which was attended by Rhee, Muccio, Chae, and others. Rhee summed up the situation well:

"We're in a hell of a fix."

After lunch MacArthur decided that he wanted to see the Han River battlefield with his own eyes. Accordingly, the party piled into "broken-down cars" and proceeded northward on the Sŏul highway, against a tide of thousands of fleeing refugees and ROK soldiers. Observing the ROK soldiers closely, MacArthur pronounced a harsh judgment on the ROK Army:

"I haven't seen a single wounded man yet."[3-34]

When the motorcade neared the south bank of the Han River, MacArthur got out and climbed a hill for a better view. Beyond the river he could see dense smoke arising from Sŏul, now occupied by the NKPA. While enemy mortar shells fell close, MacArthur later wrote, he reached two momentous conclusions: American ground forces must be committed immediately to save South Korea, and an amphibious envelopment at Inch'ŏn, or some such site on Korea's west coast, would ultimately be needed to defeat the NKPA. That evening he told both John Church and a news correspondent, Marguerite Higgins of the New York Herald tribune, that he would recommend to President Truman that American ground forces be immediately dispatched to South Korea.[3-35]

Recent meticulous scholarship by military historians D. Clayton James and Ronald H. Spector has shown that MacArthur, acting impulsively, made a number of judgmental and tactical errors in World War II which needlessly expended hundreds of American lives.

But those lapses could be classed as minor compared with his decision to recommend the commitment of American ground forces in support of South Korea at this time. It was one of the most ill-conceived decisions in the history of the professional American military establishment.[3-36]

The decision was wrong for two principal reasons.

First, it would commit American GIs to fighting Asians on the Asian mainland. Most professional military men had, as Forrest Sherman later put it, "grown up believing that course should be avoided if possible." The historical correctness of this generalization had been amply borne out in World War II, when the Allies had bogged down in miserable, costly, and largely fruitless military campaigns in Burma and China.

Secondly, it would entail the use of Eighth Army troops, who were, in terms of training and equipment, pitifully unprepared for battle. [note]

Even if Eighth Army had been in a superb state of readiness and training, there was certain to be great risk and loss of life in the initial baptism of fire. Army experience in World Wars I and II had shown that except in rare cases, "every unit breaks on initial contact" with the enemy, as one four-star general and Army chief of staff put it. Flinging untrained, under strength, ill-equipped Eighth Army units into a fluid, crumbling front in South Korea would deny them the recommended opportunity to face enemy fire gradually and build the essential confidence and camaraderie required of a successful fighting unit.[3-38]

In reaching this decision, MacArthur may have been strongly influenced by the military superiority complex endemic in the American Army in 1950. The Army had only recently destroyed the Axis in a series of magnificent campaigns spread all over the globe. Owing to this superior attitude and to the Roberts propaganda campaign, MacArthur did not hold the NKPA in high regard; on the contrary, he was contemptuous of it. He was guilty of grossly underestimating the capabilities of the enemy. [note]

Bradley wrote later that Ike's visit to the Pentagon had made a profound impression on Joe Collins and his staff. What Eisenhower had urged, in effect, was all-out mobilization - a maximizing of military force. Following his visit, the Army high command became increasingly hawkish and, notwithstanding the majority view in the JCS, began drawing plans for committing American ground forces in South Korea.[3-42] [note]



1400 Korean Time

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1430 Korean Time

Mangled corpses littered the south bank of the Han. The Americans had just missed a ghastly spectacle. Cabell Phillips wrote that "with the thunder of Communist guns roaring in the northern reaches of the city, a milling, screaming mass of humanity choked the river bridges, seeking a way to freedom.

The destruction of these bridges had been ordained by the ROK high command as a last ditch deterrent to the invaders.

At 2:15 . . . the bridges were engulfed in simultaneous dynamite blasts, sending hundreds of refugees still struggling across them to a fiery death.

Most of the ROK troops in Sŏul, with their equipment and transport, were trapped on the north bank." Now only one lone railroad bridge still spanned the Han. Enemy tanks and trucks could cross it at any instant. MacArthur studied it briefly through his field glasses.

"Take it [the RR bridge] out,"

he said, issuing an order for which he had, at that moment, no authority., Then, backing and filling in the narrow dirt road, the motorcade headed back toward Story and the waiting Bataan. Muccio phoned Sebald in Tokyo: "The Big Boy had a lot of guts and was magnificent." No one knew then how magnificent; much later the General would reveal that during his twenty minutes on that little knoll he had conceived a great amphibious landing, tentatively coded "Bluehearts," behind the North Koreans [24] [note]


1500 Korean Time

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By mid-afternoon, MacArthur had seen all he needed to and returned to Suwŏn Airfield, then departed about 1600.

The fall of Sŏul and the obvious weakening of the ROK forces demonstrated the need of additional American efforts. Since the United Nations Security Council had called for assistance by member nations to repel the invaders, more, obviously, could be done.

Army officials in Washington who were analyzing the developments in Korea unanimously felt that the USSR had deliberately fostered the outbreak in Korea. General Bolte, then the Assistant Chief of Staff G-3, Department of the Army, reported to Secretary Pace, on 28 June, "There can be no doubt but that the invasion of South Korea is a planned Soviet move to improve their cold war position at our expense." [04-47]

Bolté suggested that the Russians actually were testing United States determination to oppose their expansion. He pointed out that there was no way of knowing whether the Korean aggression was a prelude to a "hot" war, but he reminded Pace of American emergency plans in case a shooting war with the USSR came. These plans relegated the Far East to a position of secondary strategic importance but provided for the defense of Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines. General Bolté was justifiably concerned over the possibility that a massive response to the Korean incident might weaken the Army's ability to defend these islands.

If, the Army G-3 told the Secretary, the American air and naval forces already committed failed to stop the North Korean invasion and if it became necessary to send American ground troops from Japan, the United States garrison there would be reduced to a point where

"it would be most doubtful that, in the event of a major war, Japan could be held against Soviet attack."

If ground forces sent to Korea from Japan were replaced,

"the taking of small reinforcements from the small strategic reserve [04-General Reserve] in the United States would seriously affect our war readiness in other areas." [04-48]

[note]

1615 Korean Time

Notwithstanding the lack of target information and of needed bombing tables, the 3rd Bombardment Group at 1615 hours sent 18 B-26's to attack the enemy's main military airfield at P'yŏngyang. Arriving unannounced just before dusk, the light bombers placed their fragmentation bombs along the hangar line, ramps, and revetment areas

Only one Yak-3 opposed the attack, and it was shot down by S/Sgt. Nyle S. Mickley, a gunner aboard one of the light bombers. Bombing results were described as excellent, and the 3rd Group estimated that the raid destroyed 25 enemy aircraft on the ground.#110

To its other laurels the 3rd Bombardment Group added the distinction of being the first air unit to attack into North Korean territory.

[note]

Other than KMAG and ADCOM personnel, the first American troops to go to Korea arrived at Suwŏn Airfield on 29 June, the day of MacArthur's visit. The unit, known as Detachment X, consisted of thirty-three officers and men and four M55 machine guns of the 507th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion. At 1615 they engaged 4 enemy planes that attacked the airfield, shooting down 1 and probably destroying another,

and again at 2005 that evening they engaged 3 planes.[04-36]

[note]

1700 Korean Time

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After his arduous trip to South Korea MacArthur returned to his home in Tokyo for a good night's sleep. While he slept, the JCS, now receiving a continuous stream of reports from various sources in Korea and Japan, began to realize that with the ROK Army disintegrating, it was doubtful that American air and sea power alone could save South Korea. During that day - June 29, [3-11AM] Washington time - the full JCS concluded, reluctantly, that if South Korea were to be saved, the use of some American ground forces could probably not be avoided much longer.[3-43]

Two purely military considerations pushed the chiefs closer to committing limited American ground forces that day.

The first was the need to ensure the safety of the airfield at Pusan. It and the field in Suwŏn (which might be lost at any hour) were the only two air installations in South Korea capable of handling the big four engine C54 Air Force transports which were now being employed to bring in emergency supplies of ammunition to the ROKs and to evacuate American stragglers.

The second consideration was the need to ensure the safety of the South Korean seaports of Pusan and Chinhae (twenty miles east of Pusan), which the American Navy was using as unloading points for ammo and supplies.[3-44]

[note]

Recognizing the threat posed to the defense of South Korea by the North Korean Air Force, General Stratemeyer gave air superiority operations as high a priority as was possible in view of the desperate ground situation in Korea. At dusk on 29 June (sun set 1954) the 3rd Bombardment Group had sent 18 B-26 light bombers against Heijo Airfield at P'yŏngyang and had claimed the destruction of 25 enemy aircraft on the ground and one Yak fighter in the air. [See what they did on 7/2 at Hungnam only 16 planes on the ground an none destroyed] [note]

It was 5:00 P.M.[1700] in Tokyo-3:00 A.M. in Washington when the General reached his Dai Ichi office. Immediately he teleconned his report to the Pentagon, where the duty officer roused Chief of Staff Collins, who was sleeping on a cot upstairs in an anteroom to the Joint Chiefs' quarters. Collins replied that this issue was too momentous for the Chiefs; it would have to be laid before Truman later in the morning. MacArthur objected. Time was the enemy's ally. The North Koreans would soon be racing toward Pusan.

He wanted an immediate answer.

Reluctantly Collins called Secretary of the Army Frank Pace at 4:30. [1730]Pace telephoned the White House at 5:00 A.M. and was surprised to learn that the President, always an early riser, had shaved, dressed, and breakfasted, and was seated at his oval office desk, ready to make decisions 28

[note]

Later the General would bitterly protest the enemy's "privileged sanctuary" in Manchuria, but he ignored his own sanctuary in the Japanese islands. It is a tribute to his successful five-year proconsul-ship that he could strip Dai Nippon of every U.S. combat unit in the islands without jeopardizing his bases there. Ichiro Ohno, Tokyo's vice-minister of foreign affairs, told Sebald that

"ninety-nine percent of all Japanese support the Korean operation, despite the widespread antiwar sentiment throughout the country."

They did more than endorse it; Japan became an important supplier for UN forces on the peninsula, and Nipponese stevedores volunteered to cross the strait and unload cargo in such front-line ports as Wŏnsan, Hungnam, and Inch'ŏn. This naturally infuriated the Russians. Major General A. P. Kislenko, then the Soviet member of the Allied Council in Tokyo, drew up a long bill of particulars documenting Nipponese cooperation in the UN effort, but, Sebald recalls,

"Although he evidently expected to create an adverse reaction in Japan enough to raise demands for strict noninvolvement, - received no support whatsoever from the Japanese press or public." [30]

[note]

1715 Korean Time

Colonel Story brought the Bataan back to Suwŏn at 1715. Within an hour General MacArthur was on his way back to Japan.

[note]

1800 Korean Time

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Along the Korean coastline, following the Mukho bombardment of the evening of the 29th, USS Juneau (CLAA-119) and USS De Haven (DD-727) had continued on patrol.

Back in Tokyo during the early evening of 29 June FEAF operations officers were planning and ordering the next day's air missions. In recognition of the gravity of the ground situation, Fifth Air Force aircraft would continue to provide local air superiority and support for the ROK ground troops. In recognition of the enemy air threat, the Twentieth Air Force [with only 22 planes available] was directed to send its B-29's against hostile aircraft at Wŏnsan Airfield.#111 [note]

Korean_War

On the evening of the 29th ComNavFE requested Admiral Andrewes to send HMS Jamaica (44) and the frigates to join Admiral Higgins' Support Group, and to proceed with his flagship HMS Belfast (C-35), the carrier HMS Triumph (R16), and the two British destroyers to Okinawa and report to Commander Seventh Fleet. [note]

1815 Korean Time

1830 Korean Time

It was 5:00 P.M. in Tokyo-3:00 A.M. in Washington -when the General reached his Dai Ichi office. Immediately he teleconned his report to the Pentagon, where the duty officer roused Chief of Staff Collins, who was sleeping on a cot upstairs in an anteroom to the Joint Chiefs' quarters. Collins replied that this issue was too momentous for the Chiefs; it would have to be laid before Truman later in the morning. MacArthur objected. Time was the enemy's ally. The North Koreans would soon be racing toward Pusan.

He wanted an immediate answer. Reluctantly Collins called Secretary of the Army Frank Pace at 4:30 [1830]

Pace telephoned the White House at 5:00 A.M. [1900] and was surprised to learn that the President, always an early riser, had shaved, dressed, and breakfasted, and was seated at his oval office desk, ready to make decisions 28

[note]

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Pace telephoned the White House at 5:00 A.M. [local time] and was surprised to learn that the President, always an early riser, had shaved, dressed, and breakfasted, and was seated at his oval office desk, ready to make decisions [28]

Ever since Roosevelt had goaded the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor, the war-making powers of Congress had been atrophying. Truman believed in what John W. Spanier approvingly called "his right to send American troops anywhere in the world to protect American interests," and journalists of all persuasions supported him; Richard H. Rovere later wrote in the New Yorker that the

"President of the United States has the right to take whatever action he deems necessary in any area he judges to be related to the defense of this country, regardless of whether it is related to the defense of Formosa or anything else."

So the chief executive felt no obligation to consult senators and congressmen. He did, however, tell Pace that he wanted to call a few advisers. The previous evening Chiang Kai-shek, in a shrewd political move, had responded to the UN resolution to "render such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack" by volunteering to send thirty-three thousand of his "best equipped" KMT troops.

Truman writes in his memoirs that he

"told Acheson that my first reaction was to accept this offer because I wanted . . . to see as many members of the United Nations as possible take part in the Korean action."

Acheson, already awake, studying Muccio's report, was appalled by the President's proposal. In Present at the Creation he explains:

"I argued against on the ground that these troops would be more useful defending Formosa than Korea."

In addition, he predicted that KMT reinforcements of the ROKs would bring Mao into the peninsula. The President wasn't so sure-

"I was," he writes, "still inclined to accept the Chinese offer"

but the Joint Chiefs, polled by phone, told him they regarded Chiang's men as untried, ill-trained, and ill-equipped* Therefore Truman, agreeing to grant SCAP full authority to use the ground forces under his command, gave the go ahead to Pace, who gave it to Collins, who gave it to MacArthur. Later in the morning the White House announced that the President had

"authorized the United States Air Force to conduct military missions on specific military targets in Northern Korea" and had "ordered a naval blockade of the entire Korean coast."

Then, tersely:

"General MacArthur has been authorized to use certain ground units."

In less than twenty-four hours the first battalions of American infantry were being flown from Honshu to Pusan.[29]

* In his late seventies the President told Merle Miller that he had never given serious thought to the use of Chinese Nationalist troops: "What would have been the use of them? They weren't any damn good, never had been." The above account is based on, among other sources, Acheson's recollections and those of the President as published in 1956

[note]

0530 Washington Time

Collins then sent the approval back to MacArthur. It is significant to note that MacArthur's request and subsequent approval to commit American combat forces in Korea was not discussed or coordinated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Bradley) by Collins until after MacArthur was notified of the President's approval to do so!

Having thus committed American ground forces into the Korean War, Collins telephoned his JCS colleagues at about 5:30 A.M. to tell them what he had done. In fact, they all were shocked, not only because they were not consulted, but also because of the grave implication of the decision.[94]

The JCS collectively had formulated a policy to not defend Korea because it was considered a military liability. Therefore, it is remarkable that General Collins made a commitment of troops into combat without first consulting the Chairman and his fellow JCS members. Thus a course of action was adopted for which the senior military leadership understood the Army was unprepared to accomplish and the nation to support in the short term. It is unclear if the extent of un-preparedness was made clear to the President and civilian leadership.

[note]

1930 Korean Time

eturning from this, the first of what would be seven-teen flights to Korean battlefields, [he landed 13 times???] he remained seated on the Bataan, puffing his corncob, spectacles perched on his nose, scrawling his appraisal of South Korean chances on a yellow scratch pad with a soft pencil.

Clearly, he wrote, the ROKs couldn't defend their own country. In Japan he had only his four U.S. infantry divisions, all one-third below strength, and the lone regiment. He knew that an American battleground commitment now would mean "entry into action 'as is.' No time out for recruiting rallies or to build up and get ready." It would be "move in-and shoot." This would "put the bulk of the burden on the G.I. "

In an aside to an aide he said that he knew his occupation troops were "unprepared to fight a war on such short notice," that soft duty had "taken its toll." Characteristically, he assumed no responsibility for this, blaming "frills and fancies" inspired in the Pentagon which "militated against producing good soldiers." He had told Major Bowers that "a soldier's first duty is to keep fit," but he had let his men grow flabby. Somebody else had blundered. MacArthur didn't make mistakes. Other men did, undermining him, making his tasks harder.[25]

Nevertheless, in his role as a fighting genera! he was the absolute professional, and he gave Washington his impersonal opinion:

"The only assurance for holding the present line and the ability to regain later the lost ground is through the introduction of United States combat forces into the Korean battle area. To continue to utilize the forces of our air and navy without an effective ground element cannot be decisive. If authorized, it is my intention to immediately move a United States regimental combat team to the reinforcement of the vital area discussed and to provide for a possible build-up to two division strength from the troops in Japan for an early counteroffensive. Unless provision is made for the full utilization of the Army-Navy-Air team in this shattered area, our mission will at best be needlessly costly in life, money, and prestige. At worst, it might even be doomed to failure."[26]

He realized that this recommendation was political, not military. Strategically, he still believed that Korea lay well outside America's defensive perimeter in the Pacific, but he was convinced that, given the men and the guns, he could save Rhee's regime. Unfortunately, there was a catch here, the seed of a grievous misunderstanding. Truman, Acheson, and the Joint Chiefs were pursuing a negative goal: the ejection of the invaders. The war they foresaw would resemble the wars of Frederick the Great in that it would be a struggle for limited objectives. But MacArthur assumed that his purpose was to defeat the enemy. Years afterward. he wrote:

"The American tradition had always been that once our troops are committed to battle, the full power and means of the nation would be mobilized and dedicated to the strategic course which would make that victory possible. Not by the wildest stretch of imagination did I dream that this tradition might be broken." [27]

[note]

1940 Korean Time

Along the Korean coastline, following the Mukho bombardment of the evening of the 29th, USS Juneau (CLAA-119) and USS De Haven (DD-727) had continued on patrol. The British cruiser Jamaica had reported to Admiral Higgins by radio at 1940, and had requested a rendezvous, and on the next day HMS Black Swan (U-57) also checked in by dispatch. But radio communications had become clogged, owing to the sudden expansion of high-precedence traffic, and communications with the British were for the moment worst of all: the instructions for a rendezvous never reached the British ships, and his allies had to seek out Admiral Higgins by intuitive means. Nevertheless the clans were gathering.

On the west coast, where USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729) had joined USS Mansfield (DD-728) on 30 June, the patrol of areas Yoke and Zebra continued without contact with the enemy. On the east coast, following conferences with southbound ROK naval personnel, Juneau returned to Mukho to expend a further 43 rounds of 5-inch VT against troop positions and a shore battery. Collett came up from Pusan, where she had embarked ROK interpreters, signalmen, and liaison officers for distribution throughout the force, and at 2200 Jamaica joined.

On the 1st, HMS Alacrity (U-60) and Black Swan arrived, and the day was spent in patrolling the coast and reorganizing the Support Group. DeHaven and USS Collett (DD-730) were detached to Sasebo to fuel and to escort troopships to Pusan; Alacrity was ordered into the Yellow Sea to relieve Mansfield in Area Yoke; Juneau, HMS Jamaica (44), and Black Swan continued on east coast patrol. [note]

1945 Korean Time

Notwithstanding the lack of target information and of needed bombing tables, the 3rd Bombardment Group at 1615 hours sent 18 B-26's to attack the enemy's main military airfield at P'yŏngyang.

Arriving unannounced just before dusk, [sunset 1954] the light bombers placed their fragmentation bombs along the hangar line, ramps, and revetment areas

Only one Yak-3 opposed the attack, and it was shot down by S/Sgt. Nyle S. Mickley, a gunner aboard one of the light bombers. Bombing results were described as excellent, and the 3rd Group estimated that the raid destroyed 25 enemy aircraft on the ground.#110

To its other laurels the 3rd Bombardment Group added the distinction of being the first air unit to attack into North Korean territory. [note]

1954 Korean Time

Sun Set

2000 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
6/29/50
5:00 AM
6/29/50
6:00 AM
6/29/50
11:00 AM
6/29/50
8:00 PM

The first occasion after the outbreak of the Korean War on which General MacArthur ran afoul of President Truman developed not over Korea, but over the general issue of American policy toward Formosa. This problem had been under discussion by officials of the Department of Defense and the Department of State for some time before the Korean situation developed. [20-5]

During the extraordinary conferences at Blair House after the North Korean invasion of South Korea, General Bradley had read to the assembled high officials a memorandum MacArthur had given Secretary of Defense Johnson during the latter's Tokyo visit. This paper, which Secretary Johnson thought brilliant and to the point, set forth in cogent terms the reasons why Formosa should not be allowed to pass to the control of Communist China, but should instead be fully protected by the United States. [20-6] [note]

2005 Korean Time

Other than KMAG and ADCOM personnel, the first American troops to go to Korea arrived at Suwŏn Airfield on 29 June, the day of MacArthur's visit. The unit, known as Detachment X, consisted of thirty-three officers and men and four M55 machine guns of the 507th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion. At 1615 they engaged 4 enemy planes that attacked the airfield, shooting down 1 and probably destroying another,

and again at 2005 that evening they engaged 3 planes.[04-36]

[note]

2100 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
6/29/50
6:00 AM
6/29/50
7:00 AM
6/29/50
12:00 PM
6/29/50
9:00 PM

In Washington, on Thursday, 29 June, top government and military officials were gravely concerned about Korea. Diplomatic soundings indicated that the Kremlin would not openly intervene in the Korean fighting, but the news from Korea was progressively worse. At 0700 hours, Washington time, [0700+1400=2100] a teleconference with Tokyo brought the Pentagon up to date on the latest estimates. The ROK Army had sustained up to 50 percent casualties. Whether it could hold the Han line was problematical. If this natural defense line was broken, the next defenses would form east and west across Korea, roughly along the 36th parallel, slightly north of the city of Taegu. In such event the port and airfield at the coastal city of Pusan would be the main supply base, and FEAF would expect to use the Pusan Airfield as its main base and the strip at Taegu as an alternate airfield.#123 [note]

2200 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
6/29/50
7:00 AM
6/29/50
8:00 AM
6/29/50
1:00 PM
6/29/50
10:00 PM

2300 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
6/29/50
8:00 AM
6/29/50
9:00 AM
6/29/50
2:00 PM
6/29/50
11:00 PM

At midmorning [9am 29th] President Truman held a meeting with State and Defense Department officials and approved two orders: (1) to send two divisions to Korea from Japan; and (2) to establish a naval blockade of North Korea. He then called a meeting of the Vice President, the Cabinet, and Congressional and military leaders at the White House at 1100 [1300 Korea] and informed them of the action he had taken.

[note]

2311 Korean Time

On the 29th, as Juneau continued her patrol, Admiral Higgins ordered Swenson, which had now reached Sasebo, to rendezvous with USS Mansfield (DD-728) in the Yellow Sea. During the day USS De Haven (DD-727) joined the flagship,

and at 2311 USS Juneau (CLAA-119) commenced firing the first bombardment of the war. At Mukho half an hour's deliberate shooting, conducted with searchlight illumination and with target advice from an ROKN lieutenant, brought the expenditure against enemy personnel of 16 rounds of influence-fused 5-inch and more than 400 rounds of 5-inch antiaircraft common, with what were felt to be excellent results. [note]

2359 Korean Time

While at Suwŏn on the after-noon of 29 June General MacArthur had driven up the Sŏul road to inspect ROK defenses along the Han. Before leaving Suwŏn he had told the ADCOM staff that he wanted the South Koreans to hold on at the Han until he could get some American ground troops into the area.#127

Upon returning to Tokyo MacArthur had written a long message reporting his findings to the Joint Chiefs. The South Korean army, he said, was down to not more than 25,000 effective soldiers. It was in confusion, had not seriously fought, and lacked leadership. A lightly armed force in the beginning, the ROK Army had made no plans for defense in depth and had lost many of its supplies and heavier equipment during its retreat. Now, at best, the South Koreans could only hope to fight behind natural barriers and to retard the North Korean advance. Whether they could hold the Han River line was "highly problematical."

First Six Days 37

After this report of his observations General MacArthur made his recommendations. His only assurance of holding the Han line, and of later regaining lost ground, lay in the introduction of American ground combat forces into the Korean battle area. If authorized to do so, MacArthur intended immediately to move an American regimental combat team to reinforce the vital Suwŏn-Sŏul area. He would then provide for a possible build-up of two divisions from troops in Japan for an early counteroffensive.

"Unless provision is made for full utilization of the Army-Navy-Air team in this shattered area,"

said MacArthur,

"our mission will at best be needlessly costly in life, money, and prestige. At worst, it might even be doomed to failure."#128

[note]


Casualties

Thursday June 29, 1950 (Day 5)

Korean_War 2 Casualties
2 8TH BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON
2 Casualties by Unit
Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 6 0 0 0 0 6
Losses 2 0 0 0 0 2
To Date 8 0 0 0 0 8

Aircraft Losses Today 003

North Korean Aircraft Loses Today 005

Notes for Thursday June 29, 1950 - Day 5