Weather

fog and rain

21.7 C - 71.06 F

Overview

July 6 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit in Taejŏn, with 12 Army Nurses.

July 6, 1950, the 8055th MASH sailed from Sasebo, Japan, to Pusan. There its trucks were lashed to flatcars and its people boarded Korean railcars and chugged off to Taejŏn.

The 24th Division surgeon, waiting on the platform to tell them a school had been chosen as their site, was dismayed to see nurses. He had just learned of the first cases of GIs murdered by the enemy and felt the nurses were being placed too close to the front line.

"But our MASH would be the only hospital facilities the 24th Division has, so we wanted to stick with our unit, and our CO said we could stay,"

CPT Margaret E. Tollefson reported. The 8055th moved into the school, where desks had been tossed out windows to make room but children's drawings were still tacked to a bulletin board.

[note]

July 6 (continued through the 12th) Newly arrived 24th Infantry Division troops are thrown against advancing North Korean forces. Outnumbered and outgunned, they are only able to slow down the communists. -- The 34th Infantry Regiment fights delaying actions in P'yŏngt'aek and Ch'ŏnan on July 6.

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Four SB-17s were utilized this date for weather recon and orbit missions. Twenty eight hours and fifty-five minutes (28:55) was logged on these missions.


One H-5 was dispatched to Tsu-shima (34° 30' N - 129° 15' E) to evacuate a patient with a broken back. The patient had been injured when the jeep he was riding in over-turned. He was evacuated to Fukuoka (34° 35' N - 130° 26' E) and turned over to medical personnel at Fukuoka and then taken to the 118th Station Hospital.

Another H-5 evacuated a patient from Ashiya Air Base to Fukuoka. A total of four hours and forty-five minutes (4:45) was logged on the two flights.


A para-rescue team with two (2) L-5s assigned are setting up communications in Pusan (35° 05' N 130° 26' E) Korea for "Close In" search and rescue. They will remain there and receive all their directions from ADCC.


At 2025/K Flight received a call from ADCC that an aircraft was in trouble 50 miles north of Fukuoka (34° 35' N - 130° 26' E). No further instructions received. Iwakuni operations called at 2215/K that 3 F-51s were overdue. Later notified that the F-51s had landed safely. Two false alerts for this date.


This information taken from the official 3rd Rescue Squadron history archived at the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base.

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July 6: In the first strategic air attacks of the war, nine B-29s bombed the Rising Sun oil refinery at Wŏnsan and a chemical plant at Hungnam in North Korea. B-26s hitting advancing enemy armored columns reported six to 10 tanks destroyed.

It would have been nice if they hit some tank yesterday.....

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KPA "Second Phase" terminates

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Daily Summary Excerpt, 6 July 1950, Views of Hong Kong Residents on Korean Problem

US Consul General Rankin in Hong Kong expresses his views and the CIA suggest that while CCP is capable of causing trouble in South East Asia, they do not think they will. He further warns that if the fighting goes against the North Koreans, the CCP may intercede.

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Several months after the committee presented its final report, Freedom to Serve,[14-139] in a public ceremony, Truman relieved the group of its assignment. Commenting that the services should have the opportunity to work out in detail the new policies and procedures initiated by the committee, he told Fahy on 6 July 1950 that he would leave his order in effect, noting that "at some later date, it may prove desirable to examine the effectuation of your Committee's recommendations, which can be done under Executive Order 9981."[14-140]

[note]

Thus ended a most active period in the history of armed forces integration, a period of executive orders, presidential conferences, and national hearings, of administrative infighting broadcast to the public in national headlines. The Fahy Committee was the focus of this bureaucratic and journalistic excitement. Charged with examining the policies of the services in light of the President's order, the committee could have glanced briefly at current racial practices and automatically ratified Secretary Johnson's general policy statement. Indeed, this was precisely what Walter White and other civil rights leaders expected. But the committee was made of sterner stuff. With dedication and with considerable political acumen, it correctly assessed the position of black servicemen and subjected the racial policies of the services to a rigorous and detailed examination, the first to be made by an agency outside the Department of Defense. As a result of this scrutiny, the committee clearly and finally demonstrated that segregation was an inefficient way to use military manpower; once and for all it demolished the arguments that the services habitually used against any demand for serious change. Most important is the fact that the committee kept alive the spirit of reform the Truman order had created. The committee's definition of equal treatment and opportunity became the standard by which future action on racial issues in the armed forces would be measured.

Throughout its long existence, the Fahy Committee was chiefly concerned with the position of the Negro in the Army. After protracted argument it won from the Army an agreement to abolish the racial quota and to open all specialties in all Army units and all Army schools and courses to qualified Negroes. Finally, it won the Army's promise to cease restricting black servicemen to black units and overhead installations alone and to assign them instead on the basis of individual ability and the Army's need.

As for the other services, the committee secured from the Navy a pledge to give petty officer status to chief stewards and stewards of the first, second, and third class, and its influence was discernible in the Navy's decision to allow stewards to transfer to the general service. The committee also made, and the Navy accepted, several practical suggestions that might lead to an increase in the number (p. 376) of black officers and enlisted men. The committee approved the Air Force integration program and publicized the success of this major reform as it was carried out during 1949; for the benefit of the reluctant Army, the committee could point to the demonstrated ability of black servicemen and the widespread acceptance of integration among the rank and file of the Air Force. In regard to the Marine Corps, however, the committee was forced to acknowledge that the corps had not yet "fully carried out Navy policy."[14-141]

Footnote 14-141: Freedom to Serve, p. 27.(Back)

The Fahy Committee won from the services a commitment to equal treatment and opportunity and a practical program to achieve that end. Yet even with this victory and the strong support of many senior military officials, the possibility that determined foes of integration might erect roadblocks or that simple bureaucratic inertia would delay progress could not be discounted. There was, for example, nothing in the postwar practices of the Marine Corps, even the temporary integration of its few black recruits during basic training, that hinted at any long-range intention of adopting the Navy's integration program. And the fate of one of the committee's major recommendations, that all the services adopt equal enlistment standards, had yet to be decided. The acceptance of this recommendation hinged on the results of a Defense Department study to determine the jobs in each service that could be filled by men in the lowest mental classification category acceptable to all three services. Although the Navy and the Air Force had agreed to reexamine the matter, they had consistently opposed the application of enlistment parity in the past, and the Secretary of Defense's Personnel Policy Board had indorsed their position. Secretary Forrestal, himself, had rejected the concept, and there was nothing in the record to suggest that his successor would do otherwise. Yet the parity of enlistment standards was a vital part of the committee's argument for the abolition of the Army's racial quota. If enlistment standards were not equalized, especially in a period when the Army was turning to Selective Service for much of its manpower, the number of men in the Army's categories IV and V was bound to increase, and that increase would provide strong justification for reviving the racial quota. The Army staff was aware, if the public was not, that a resurrected quota was possible, for the President had given the Secretary of the Army authority to take such action if there was "a disproportionate balance of racial strengths."[14-142]

Footnote 14-142: Ltr, SA to President, 1 Mar 50, Fahy Papers, Truman Library.(Back)

The Army's concern with disproportionate balance was always linked to a concern with the influx of men, mostly black, who scored poorly on the classification tests. The problem, the Army repeatedly claimed, was not the quantity of black troops but their quality. Yet at the time the Army agreed to the committee's demand to drop the quota, some 40 percent of all black soldiers scored below eighty. These men could rarely profit from the Army's agreement to integrate all specialist training and assignments. The committee, aware of the problem, had strongly urged the Army to refuse reenlistment, with few exceptions, to anyone scoring below eighty.

[note]

Having ordered the integration of the services and supported the Fahy Committee in the development of acceptable racial programs, President Truman quickly turned the matter over to his subordinates in the Department of Defense, severing White House ties with the problem. Against the recommendations of some of his White House advisers, Truman adjourned the committee, leaving his executive order in effect.

"The necessary programs having been adopted," he told Fahy, it was time for the services "to work out in detail the procedures which will complete the steps so carefully initiated by the committee."

Footnote 15-1: Ltr, Truman to Fahy, 6 Jul 50, FC file.

In effect, the President was guaranteeing the services the freedom to put their own houses in order.

The issue of civil rights, however, was still of vital interest to one of the President's major constituencies. Black voters, recognized as a decisive factor in the November 1948 election, pressed their demands on the victorious President; in particular some of their spokesmen called on the administration to implement fully the program put forth by the Fahy Committee. These demands were being echoed in Congress by a civil rights bloc—for bloc it had now become in the wake of the election that sent Harry Truman back to the White House. No longer the concern of a congressman or two, the cause of the black serviceman was now supported by a group of politicians who, joining with civil rights leaders, pressed the Department of Defense for rapid changes in its racial practices.

The traditionalists in the armed forces also had congressional allies. In all probability these legislators would accept an integrated Navy because it involved relatively few Negroes; they might even tolerate an integrated Air Force because they lacked a proprietary attitude toward this new service; but they would fight to keep the Army segregated because they considered the Army their own.

Footnote 15-2: Interv, Nichols with Gen Wade H. Haislip, 1953, in Nichols Collection; Telephone Interv, author with Haislip, 18 Mar 71; Interv, author with Martin Blumenson, 8 Jan 68. All in CMH files.

Congressional segregationists openly opposed changes in the Army's racial policy only when they thought the time was right. They carefully avoided the subject (p. 380) in the months following publication of the executive order, waiting to bargain until their support became crucial to the success of such vital military legislation as the renewal of the Selective Service Act and the establishment of universal military training.

At most, Congress played only a minor role in the dramatic changes beginning in the armed forces. Champions of civil rights had little effect on service practices, although these congressmen channeled the complaints of black voters and kept the military traditionalists on the defensive. As for the congressional traditionalists, their support may have helped sustain those on the staff who resisted racial change within the Army, thus slowing down that service's integration. But the demands of congressional progressives and obstructionists tended to cancel each other out, and in the wake of the Fahy Committee's disbandment the services themselves reemerged as the preeminent factor in the armed forces racial program.

The services regained control by default. Logically, direction of racial reforms in the services should have fallen to the Secretary of Defense. In the first place, the secretary, other administration officials, and the public alike had begun to use the secretary's office as a clearinghouse for reconciling conflicting demands of the services, as an appellate court reviewing decisions of the service secretaries, and as the natural channel of communication between the services and the White House, Congress, and the public. Many racial problems had become interservice in nature, and only the Office of the Secretary of Defense possessed the administrative machinery to deal with such matters. The Personnel Policy Board or, later, the new Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Personnel might well have become the watchdog recommended by the Fahy Committee to oversee the services' progress toward integration, but neither did.

Certainly the Secretary of Defense had other matters pressing for his attention. Secretary Johnson had become the central character in the budgetary conflicts of Truman's second term, and both he and General George C. Marshall, who succeeded him as secretary on 20 September 1950, were suddenly thrust into leadership of the Korean War. In administrative matters, at least, Marshall had to concentrate on boosting the morale of a department torn by internecine budgetary arguments. Integration did not appear to have the same importance to national security as these weighty matters. More to the point, Johnson and Marshall were not social reformers. Whatever their personal attitudes, they were content to let the services set the pace of racial reform. With one notable exception neither man initiated any of the historic racial changes that took place in the armed forces during the early 1950's.

For the most part those racial issues that did involve the Secretary of Defense centered on the status of the Negro in the armed forces in general and were extraneous to the issue of integration. One of the most persistent status problems was classification by race. First posed during the great World War II draft calls, the question of how to determine a serviceman's race, and indeed the related one of who had the right to make such a determination, remained unanswered five (p. 381) years later.

[note]


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Photo #: 80-G-417996
USS Juneau (CLAA-119)
Receives ammunition and fuel at Sasebo, Japan, on 6 July 1950. Flagship of Rear Admiral John M. Higgins, Commander, Task Group 96.5, Juneau actively patrolled and bombarded along the Korean east coast from 28 June to 5 July 1950. She was the first U.S. Navy cruiser to see combat action during the Korean War. Note Japanese floating crane alongside

[note]

"Acting on the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense, President Truman approved raising the authorized strength of the Army from 630,000 to 680,000"

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The 24th Infantry Division’s 34th Infantry Regiment was driven from P'yŏngt'aek by an overwhelming North Korean onslaught in the first of a series of delaying actions down the peninsula.

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US Air Force B29s from the 19th Bomb Group hit the Wŏnsan oil refinery following a move from Guam to a new base in Okinawa in record time.
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On the other hand, given the circumstances and the enemy's mistakes, Task Force Smith's casualties were probably unnecessarily high. When Smith took a muster of his command on 6 July at Ansŏng, only 185 men reported present. During the day stragglers reporting in raised the total to about 250 men. That night Smith reported that 150 men in his infantry force were either dead, wounded, or missing, and that Perry's artillery force had lost 31 officers and men. Captured enemy documents later revealed that the North Koreans had lost 42 killed and 85 wounded, mostly infantry. Four enemy tanks were destroyed in the Osan fight.

540-250=290 lost, yet causalities were (150+31=181) was reported? Almost 100 difference.

[note]

South then North

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The conduct of war resembles the workings of an intricate machine with tremendous friction, so that combinations which are easily planned on paper can be executed only with great effort.
CARL VON CLAUSEWITZ, Principles of War

By 6 July it was known that General MacArthur planned to have Eighth Army, with General Walker in command, assume operational control of the campaign in Korea. General Walker, a native of Belton, Texas, already had achieved a distinguished record in the United States Army. In World War I he had commanded a machine gun company and won a battlefield promotion. Subsequently, in the early 1930's he commanded a battalion of the 15 Infantry Regiment in China. Before Korea he was best known, perhaps, for his command of the XX Corps of General Patton's Third Army in World War II. General Walker assumed command of Eighth Army in Japan in 1948. Under General MacArthur he commanded United Nations ground forces in Korea until his death in December 1950.

During the evening of 6 July General Walker telephoned Col. William A. Collier at Kobe and asked him to report to him the next morning at Yokohama. When Collier arrived at Eighth Army headquarters the next morning [7/7] General Walker told him that Eighth Army was taking over command of the military operations in Korea, and that he, Walker, was flying to Korea that afternoon but was returning the following day. Walker told Collier he wanted him to go to Korea as soon as possible and set up an Eighth Army headquarters, that for the present Col. Eugene M. Landrum, his Chief of Staff, would remain in Japan, and that he, Collier, would be the Eighth Army combat Chief of Staff in Korea until Landrum could come over later.

General Walker and Colonel Collier had long been friends and associated in various commands going back to early days together at the Infantry School at Fort Benning. They had seen service together in China in the 15th Infantry and in World War II when Collier was a member of Walker's IV Armored Corps and XX Corps staffs. After that Collier had served Walker as Chief of Staff in command assignments in the United States. Colonel Collier had served in Korea in 1948 and 1949 as Deputy Chief of Staff and then as Chief of Staff of United States Army forces there. During that time he had come to know the country well.

[note]

On 6 July, the Joint Chiefs of Staff requested General MacArthur to furnish them his estimate of the total requirements he would need to clear South Korea of North Korean troops.

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The 1st Cavalry Division Sails for Korea

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At first General MacArthur and the staff of the Far East Command had expected that the 24th and 25th Divisions in support of the ROK Army would be able to check the North Korean advance. Based on this expectation, initial preliminary planning called for a third United States division, the 1st Cavalry, to land in the rear of the enemy forces and, together with a counterattack from in front by the combined American and ROK forces, to crush and destroy the North Korean Army.

In furtherance of this plan, the Far East Command called Maj. Gen. Hobart R. Gay, Commanding General, 1st Cavalry Division, to General MacArthur's headquarters on 6 July and informed him of plans for the 1st Cavalry Division to make an amphibious landing at Inch'ŏn. From this briefing General Gay went to the G-2, Far East Command office, where he was told,

"You must expedite preparations to the utmost limit because if the landing is delayed all that the 1st Cavalry Division will hit when it lands will be the tail end of the 24th Division as it passes north through Sŏul." [12-31]

The transfer to the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions, in strengthening them for their combat missions in Korea, of approximately 750 noncommissioned officers from the 1st Cavalry Division had weakened the latter. It had been stripped of practically every first grader except the first sergeants of companies and batteries.

[note]

 

Citations

 

 

Silver Star

Benge, Martin [PFC SS HMC34thIR]

Ferns, Donald J [1stLt SS B-26]

 

[note]

 

US Air Force

 

 

Lt. General Ho Shai-Lai[72-Chief of the Chinese Mission in Tokyo.] of the Chinese Mission called at 1100 hours this morning and I brought him up to date on our situation here and in Korea. I consider this a great stroke on the part of the Generalissimo to place this honest and courageous Chinese here in Tokyo.


Admiral Struble called at 1130 and we reviewed his strikes on 3 and 4 July, after which we discussed possible future strikes, the gist of which as follows:

(1) CINCFE feels that all traffic on east coast of North Korea can be stopped by bombing rail and highway system from Tanch'ŏn south some 20 miles to Ch’aho. (FEAF to recon this area and turn pictures over to 7th fleet re this tunnel complex.)[73-Though rail and road systems do narrow along the coast in that area, a study of the map shows the tunnel
complexes farther south.]


(2) Since there is this possibility that [sic, for] Adm. Struble to make
another air strike, FEAF to designate primary and secondary target, if
[air]craft on ground, of the airdromes at Wonsan north, including
Kanko and Yŏnp'o, and secondary, transportation centers and tunnels between Tanch'ŏn and Ch’aho.

(3) Instructed my Ops and Intelligence coordinate with me before signaling Adm. Struble and also info 5th AF of signal.

Dispatched signals to General LeMay, Gilkeson[74-Brig Gen Adlai H. Gilkeson, commander of the 19th BW.] on Guam and Kincaid on Okinawa that General O’Donnell with his bomb command and 92d Bomb Group (M) will be stationed at Yokota; the 22d Bomb Group (M) will be stationed at Kadena with the 19th Bomb Group (M); directed Gilkeson and Kincaid to make all arrangements for proper lodging and effect transit to final destination.

Handed General Wolfe the following memorandum:

Dtd [dated] 6 Jul 50: I have learned informally that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is most anxious to have a staff Constellation[75-Designated C–121 by the Air Force, this was the military version of the Lockheed-built airliner of the same name. The Air Force used the type primarily as a VIP transport.] assigned to the Far East Air Forces for his use for long trips, particularly if he returns to the United States and on long trips such as to Formosa, etc. I think there is great reason for one being assigned because of his advanced age (seventy years plus) and because of the position he occupies for the United Nations, the Allied Powers, and the United States of America. I consider this of such importance that it be discussed with General Vandenberg and the Secretary of Defense in order that one can be made available to me for his use, and mine, should the occasion arise. If such an assignment is made, then one of the C–54s that is set aside for use in the Far East Command could be made available to my troop car- rier wing or MATS in the Far East.

 

Sent the following memorandum to General MacArthur:

Dtd 6 Jul 50: It is recommended that: (a) All available channels of communication be used by you to notify those responsible for current operations of the North Korean armed forces that it is your intent to destroy by air bombardment all vital air, rail, highway, and port facilities in North Korea. (b) To avoid needless loss of life, all persons are warned to leave such areas and remain at points sufficiently far removed as to preclude personal injury, and (c) That the sole action on the part of North Korea which will prevent the intense pursuit of this plan is the withdrawal of all North Korean armed forces above the 38th Parallel, complete cessation of all hostile activity by North Korean Forces, and an agreement by the North Korean government to abide by any future decisions of the United Nations.[76-This memorandum was most likely a reaction to pressure being exerted from Washington. From the outset of the war, the United States took into account the feelings and policies of the other United Nations members sup- porting the U.S. on the Korean problem. These feelings and policies did not always coincide with those of the U.S. There was general agreement that the fighting must be confined to Korea, but this, of course, placed heavy restrictions on military operations there, not the least of these affecting FEAF.

While most wars have some political orientation, in the Korean War such sensibilities played a much greater role than in previous conflicts. Political restraints laid a heavy hand on military operations, but there was another, less defined, policy that also contributed to restrictions. This concerned “humanitarian ideals.” Many individuals believed that bombing was morally wrong, and they were more than eager to share their views with the press. Being sensitive to the real and imagined “power of the press,” politicians tended to react to possibly negative stories in the newspapers. Every so often a newspaper raised the question of the morality of bombing, often tying in the atomic bomb. Thus, President Truman, no slouch as a politician, wanted to make sure there would be no “indiscriminate” bombing in Korea and that only military targets would be hit. (Futrell, pp 41-42.)]


Gloomy press report from ground forces; South Koreans falling back, left pockets of our ground forces units in advanced positions, cut off. Weather bad; 2 out of 7 B–29s of one mission aborted. Intelligence showing that our continued hammering at supply lines beginning to have appreciable effect upon the ground action of the North Koreans.


Afternoon’s sorties - B–29s and B–26s highly successful; 6 to 10 enemy tanks destroyed and an unknown number of enemy ground personnel; one factory bombed with explosion resulting; also bombed what was believed to be 4 subs. One B–26 lost on a strafing, bombing and rocket mission.
General Wolfe and party landed at 6:15, Haneda; they did not make it to Korea. After landing they all came to the house for an informal dinner.... Generals Wolfe, Partridge, Weyland, Everest, Strother, Agee, Eubank, Banfill, and Colonel Landon, Annalee and myself.[77-A convivial type who enjoyed good food and conversation, Stratemeyer often gave dinner parties at his home. As will be seen, there are numerous entries in his diary about various parties given by him and his wife, Annalee.]


Brigadier General Charles Y. Banfill,[78-Banfill spent World War II in intelligence assignments. Just before coming to the Far East, he was Deputy Commandant, Armed Forces Staff College. He was with 20AF less than a month, July 16-August 4, before becoming Deputy for Intelligence, FEAF.] my new vice commander of the Twentieth Air Force, arrived unexpectedly and unheralded via PanAm at about 5:15.

 

 

 

 

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Tactical Build-up in Korea and Kyushu

Although the airfields were barely of minimum standard, the Fifth Air Force rushed temporarily designated units into Korea with a speed confusing to participants. The 6002nd Air Base Squadron was organized at Sasebo effective 6 July, with directions to proceed to Pusan on or about the same day and establish a base there. At Pusan the squadron was directed on to Taegu where it took over establishment of an operational air base. One officer has left a vivid description of the first days at Taegu:

It may be stated without equivocation that many "lost souls" were located at Taegu. Morale was beginning to be a problem for personnel did not know what their mission was and many men skilled in technical specialties in the maintenance of aircraft and equipment found that there were few aircraft to be maintained and many ditches to be dug. We were in an area of filth, amidst rice paddies filled with water and human excreta. We were sleeping and living in pup tents, under shelter halves, in the paddies and on the hillsides. During the rains the hillsides became torrents and the paddies became even more full of filth.

The Fifth Air Force redesignated the squadron as the 6002nd Air Base Unit on 12 July, but the unit did not learn of its new name until 27 July because communications back to Itazuke were uncertain during the month. A provisional fighter unit hurried into Taegu after a brief formative period in Japan. The Fifth Air Force established Detachment 1 of the 36th Fighter- Bomber Squadron at Itazuke on 27 June, equipped the detachment-better known by its code name of BOUT-ONE - with F-51's, and moved it to Taegu.

[note]


GENERAL MACARTHUR had hoped that American intervention in Korea would rally the ROK forces for a stand along the Han River, but the North Korean Peoples' Army, after pausing to regroup at Sŏul, forged across the Han and occupied Suwŏn in force on 1 July. This day, 374th troop Carrier Wing C54's shuttled six loads of 24th Division troops to Pusan before foul weather forced other elements of the division to cross by water.

On 4 July one battalion of the 24th Division reached Osan, about ten miles south of Suwŏn, beginning U.S. ground forces participation in the Korean action.

Enemy attacks, spearheaded by some 30 tanks, drove these troops back to the road junction at Ch'ŏnan on 6 July,

and continued enemy pressure made this position untenable on 8 July. Unable to match the North Korean onslaught, ROK and U.S. troops fell back in a series of delaying actions until they reached Kongju and Choch'iwŏn on 11 July.

[note]


The warning alert, followed by appropriate operations orders, went out to the 22nd and 92nd Groups on or soon after 1 July. Officers and airmen who had been planning Fourth of July holidays found themselves packing crates, loading cargo planes, or standing in line before the boarding ramps of planes bound for the Far East. After hurried hours of packing and preparation, the deployment airlift got under way. The two groups scheduled flights of ten B-29's each day, departing their home bases on 5 through 7 July.

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The 22nd left March Air Force Base, California, stopped off at Hickam for a rest period, then flew on to Kadena, with stops at Kwajalein and Guam.

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The 92nd Group took off from Spokane Air Force Base, Washington, and followed a similar flight plan, with a final destination of Yokota Air Base.

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Lt. Col. John R. Murphy was named officer-in-charge of the operations section, and he moved his personnel and equipment to Taejŏn on 5 and 6 July, and set up for business at the 24th Division's head-quarters in an office adjoining the division G-3. Later on FEAF would say that the JOC opened at Taejŏn on 5 July, #10 but since the Army did not man its side of the establishment, Colonel Murphy's section was something less than a joint operations center. Lacking Army representatives, Air Force intelligence officers in Colonel Murphy's party scouted around the Army headquarters building and picked up such targets as seemed profitable for air attack.

The state of the war was so confused that the 24th Division's operations officer was frequently unable to post an accurate location of friendly troops. "At Taejŏn," said Lt. Col. John McGinn, who was now working with Colonel Murphy's section,

"we would get a target, and then pretty soon the Army liaison pilots would come in and say that our troops were in that area and it wouldn't be advisable to go there for a target.#11



Even when Colonel Murphy's section obtained worthwhile targets, communicating them back to the advanced echelon of the Fifth Air Force in Itazuke proved to be a difficult to impossible matter. The section had a very high-frequency radio for air-control work and a land-line telephone and teletype to Itazuke, but the wire circuit back to Japan was said to have been out of order approximately 75 percent of the time.

Understanding this lack of communications, General Timberlake scheduled F-80 flights from Itazuke and Ashiya at twenty-minute intervals during the daylight hours, and these flights checked in over Taejŏn with Colonel Murphy's "Angelo" control station. When

"Angelo" had supporting targets, it gave them to the pilots; when "Angelo" had no targets, the fighter pilots proceeded up the roads between Osan and Sŏul and looked for targets of opportunity. #12


According to the existing doctrine on air-ground operations, the tactical air force furnished tactical air-control parties (TACP's) to serve as the most forward element of the tactical control system and to control supporting aircraft strikes from forward observation posts. Each TACP was composed of an experienced pilot officer, who served as forward air controller, and the airmen needed to operate and maintain the party's vehicular-mounted communications equipment.

[note]

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Who first thought of the solution to all of these problems-the employment of airborne tactical air coordinators-was not recorded, but the use of airborne controllers was not new in the Air Force. In mountainous Italy, during World War II, "Horsefly" liaison pilots had led fighter-bombers to obscure close-support targets. Shortly after he reached Taejŏn [5th and 6th] Colonel Murphy apparently asked the Fifth Air Force to provide an operations officer and five pilots who could fly reconnaissance and control missions for his section.

[note]


Communist attacks, spearheaded by heavy tanks, drove the outnumbered and lightly armed 24th Division troops back to the road junction at Ch'ŏnan on 6 July. Now General MacArthur began to take a serious view of the hostilities.

"Apparently," he said, "we are confronted with an aggressive and well-trained professional army equipped with tanks and perhaps other ground materiel quite equal and in some categories superior to that available here. #21

[note]

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Flushed with success, eager to finish the war in a hurry, and lacking under-standing of the power of the air opposition, the North Korean forces were out on the roads and were wide open to assault from the air.

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On 6 July six 3rd Group B-26's located and then bombed, rocketed, and strafed a Communist tank and vehicle concentration north of P'yŏngt'aek. Later three other B-26's returned to the enemy concentration. In the low-level attacks hostile ground fire shot down one light bomber crew, but the assault left six to ten tanks burning, destroyed a number of trucks and horse-drawn vehicles, and knocked out a defending machine-gun position.#31

[note]

Undoubtedly hurt by the American air attacks and possibly studying the air situation in the light of American intervention, the Communists sent few aircraft into South Korea during the first week of July. And when they did renew their air offensive, the Communists employed guileful tactics which tacitly indicated that they recognized that the United Nations possessed air superiority. Four Yak-9's, which strafed Osan on 6 July and knocked out a telephone repeater station, bore South Korean markings.#88

The the 100 Americans that had been killed, had been gone from Osan since 1500 on the 5th, who saw, and why would, they strafe Osan?

[note]

On 6 July Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, commander of the U.S. Eighth Army, announced that he had been designated to command all ground forces in Korea and that he intended to take Eighth Army headquarters to Korea.#112
4. Partridge and Walker Join Forces in Korea

[note]


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General Partridge knew that air-ground doctrine required him to locate his tactical air-force headquarters in the immediate vicinity of the field army headquarters, but for several days the Fifth Air Force did not know where General Walker meant to establish his command post. More or less accidentally, General Timberlake happened to meet General Walker at Itazuke Air Base, when the latter was passing through on his way to Korea. In conversation, General Timberlake remarked that the Fifth Air Force was going to have to move its combat operations section from Taejŏn back to Taegu, but that he was not sure that this was the right place to locate it.

"Of course it's the right place," said Walker. "That's where the Eighth Army headquarters is going to be."#113

[note]

US Marine Corps

The first fire fights occurred on 5 and 6 July in the vicinity of Osan. It was evident at once that the enemy held a great superiority in arms and equipment. Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker, USA, who had been one of Patton’s favorite subordinates, commented after his first visit to the Korean front that the NKPA units appeared equal to the Germans who were his adversaries in World War II.[17]

Accounts of the early actions in Korea were depressing to FECom officers.[18] Many plausible excuses may be found for men snatched from occupation duties and rushed piecemeal into action against great material odds. The nation as a whole must share the blame when willing troops are sent to the firing line without adequate preparation, as were the first U.S. units.

Eighth Army officers had done their best under the circumstances, but a scarcity of maneuver areas in Japan had restricted training exercises to the battalion and company levels. Divisions with barely 70 percent of their full complement of troops were armed with worn World War II weapons, some of which proved unserviceable for lack of spare parts and maintenance personnel.

Division tank units, equipped with light M–24 tanks because of poor roads and bridges in Japan, operated at a handicap against the enemy’s new Soviet T–34 tanks; and American 2.36-inch rocket launchers knocked out NKPA armor only at fairly close ranges.[19]

At this stage the ground forces were particularly dependent upon air support because of shortages of artillery. But since the mission of the Air Force in Japan had been primarily of a defensive nature, neither the organization nor equipment was available for effective air-ground cooperation on the tactical level. As a consequence, FEAF units had to confine their tactical efforts largely to targets of opportunity, and 24th Infantry units had to do without such support when it was most needed.[20]

Altogether, the so-called “police action” in Korea proved to be one of the toughest assignments ever given to American soldiers.

[note]

US Navy

On the 5th Admiral Andrewes, with Belfast, Cossack and Consort, was detached to join the blockading forces in compliance with orders from ComNavFE, Admiral Struble flew to Tokyo by carrier plane, and Task Force 77 continued on to Buckner Bay. There it arrived on 6 July, and there it was retained until the 16th.

[note]

On the 6th, Commander Seventh Fleet flew back to Buckner Bay, and on the

[note] [note]

The 24th Infantry Division had completed its movement to Korea by 6 July.

[note]

On 6 July USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) got underway from San Diego for Pearl Harbor, where she arrived on the 14th to commence a ten-day period of accelerated training exercises.

[note]


On the 6th, in accordance with his orders of a week before, Rear Admiral Hartman sortied his cruisers from Long Beach, joined up with four

fleet oilers,

1. USS Cimarron (AO-22),

2 USS Cacapon (AO-52),

3 USS Caliente (AO-53), and

4 USS Platte (AO-24)

six destroyers,

1

2

3

4

5

6

and five submarines,

1

2

3

4

5

and headed for Pearl Harbor. This westward deployment of submarines had been ordered by CincPacFleet as a precautionary measure, in view of the possible commitment of Russian naval units to the Korean conflict. But this fear was to prove groundless, none of these boats was moved west of the islands, and submarine strength in the Western Pacific was increased only by the submarine transport USS Perch (ASSP-313), requested by the Marines for special raiding purposes.

[note]


Off Korea’s eastern shore, on 5 July, HMS Jamaica (44) relieved USS Juneau (CLAA-119) of her bombardment duties, and Admiral Higgins’ flagship headed for Sasebo to replenish. On the same day the British cruiser, accompanied by HMS Black Swan (U-57), fired on the road and bridge in 370°16' N, where the coastal route runs close to the sea,

and on the 6th shot up oil tanks, bridges, and shipping, and silenced a shore battery at Chumunjin.

[note]


On 6 July Higgins and Andrewes flew to Tokyo to consult with Admiral Joy on the reorganization of the force and on problems of coordination with the Army in Korea and with the ROK Navy. An additional matter of importance, which had formed the subject of a dispatch from ComNavFE the previous day, was the question of the rail line on the northeast coast of Korea between Ch'ŏngjin and Wŏnsan. Interruption of this line, both vital and vulnerable, would force the enemy to move rail traffic from the Vladivostok region by a circuitous route through Manchuria and down the west coast. Such interruption was urgently desired by Admiral Joy.

Korean_War


Map 4. Bombardment and Reinforcement, 6–14 July 1950.
Click on map for higher resolution image (216 KB).

[note]

Korean_War


East coast bombardment: Juneau, flagship of Admiral Higgin's Support Group, rearming at Sasebo, 6 July 1950 (Photo #80-G-417996).
Click on the image for additional information and related

[note]


By 6 July that port [Pusan] had handled 55 ships, more were on the way, and although the Army had set up a Pusan Logistical Command on the 4th, the port facilities were overloaded and in danger of being swamped.

[note] [note]

The attack on the Wŏnsan refinery gave rise to an interservice conflict of claims. Air Force planes had attacked the city between 6 and 13 July. There then followed the carrier attack of the 18th, on the basis of which the Navy reported the destruction of the refinery.

[note] [note]

The carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) had left San Diego on the 6th; after ten days concentrated training in the Hawaiian area she had steamed westward at speed to reach Buckner Bay on 1 August.

[note] [note]


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[That evening [[7/5] after dark General Dean and his aide, 1st Lt. Arthur M. Clarke, drove to P'yŏngt'aek. There was still no word from Smith and his men, but the presence of enemy tanks south of Osan raised all sorts of conjectures in Dean's mind.] After midnight, he started back to Taejŏn full of forebodings about Task Force Smith. [07-4]

[note]

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Dean remained in P'yŏngt'aek until one o'clock in the morning, futilely speculating on the outcome of Task Force Smith. He finally decided that the lack of any word and Payne's and Caldwell's encounter with the tanks north of P'yŏngt'aek could only mean the rumors were true: Smith and his force had been wiped out. [note]

0115 Korean Time


Shortly after Dean left P'yŏngt'aek [0100], Miller Perry arrived at Ayres's CP from Ansŏng. He gave Barth and Ayres a calm and dispassionate account of the action at Osan - the first official report - laying heavy stress on the power, discipline, and courage of the NKPA. This middle-of-the-night report galvanized Barth and led him to take tactical command and to make some radical changes in Dean's blocking plan.[4-54]


As Barth now saw it, the P'yŏngt'aek–Ansŏng "line" was too thin and too widely dispersed to hold against the kind of enemy power Perry had described. He conceived a new plan: consolidation of the 34th at Ch'ŏnan, ten miles south of P'yŏngt'aek on the Sŏul–Pusan highway. Barth briefed Ayres on the plan and gave him new orders. Ayres was to blow the highway bridge over the "river" north of P'yŏngt'aek, hold the village as long as he reasonably could without endangering the battalion, then withdraw to Ch'ŏnan to link up with the 3/34 and the two companies of Brad Smith's 1/21 already dug in there. The decision about when to withdraw would be entirely up to Ayres, but "under no circumstances" was he "to end up like Brad Smith," which Ayres took to mean "chewed to pieces." [note]

There may have been a misunderstanding between Barth and Ayres over these new orders. Barth later claimed that what he meant to convey to Ayres was that the 1/34 should withdraw south toward Ch'ŏnan, but in order to buy more time, the battalion should fight a delaying action at two separate and specific places between P'yŏngt'aek and Ch'ŏnan. If this was really what Barth intended to convey, he was at fault for not making his orders clearer and more specific. Ayres later claimed that he had no such understanding. [note]

0130 Korean Time

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General Barth left the 1st Battalion command post at P'yŏngt'aek about 0130 6 July, and started south. He arrived at Colonel Lovless' regimental command post at Songhwan-ni about an hour later. [note]

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At 1:30 A.M. Barth left P'yŏngt'aek and jeeped south to Songhwan to brief Jay Lovless on the new plan. [0230] Lovless found it not a little odd that this complete stranger from another division was giving his reserve (L Company) and his battalion commander Ayres direct and detailed tactical orders. However, inasmuch as Lovless found the new plan more closely in line with his original desire to fight his regiment as a consolidated unit, he raised no objections and quickly dispatched a messenger to David Smith's 3/34 CP in Ansŏng, ordering him to withdraw to Ch'ŏnan. David Smith, who had already learned about the power of the NKPA from both Brad Smith and Perry, lost no time in executing these orders. The 3/34 would "tie in" with the two companies (A and D) of Brad Smith's 1/21, which Lovless learned for the first time had already dug in at Ch'ŏnan. [note]

General Barth left the 1st Battalion command post at P'yŏngt'aek about 0130 6 July, and started south. He arrived at Colonel Lovless' regimental command post at Songhwan-ni about an hour later. [note]

Korean_War

Already Colonel Smith with the remnant (about eighty-six men) of his task force had passed through there from Ansŏng on the way to Ch'ŏnan, leaving four badly wounded men with Lovless.

Korean_War

Colonel Lovless had not received any instructions from General Dean about General Barth, yet now he learned from the latter that he was giving orders to the regiment, and also independently to its battalions.

General Barth told Lovless about the position of his 1st Battalion at P'yŏngt'aek. According to Colonel Lovless, Barth then told him to consolidate the regiment in the vicinity of Ch'ŏnan. Barth directed that the 3rd Battalion, less L Company (the regimental reserve) which was near P'yŏngt'aek, should move from Ansŏng to Ch'ŏnan. Colonel Lovless thereupon directed L Company to act as a rear guard and delay on successive positions when the 1st Battalion should withdraw from P'yŏngt'aek. As events later proved, the company did not carry out that order but closed directly on Ch'ŏnan when the withdrawal began. [note]

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The [1st] battalion commander then sent a patrol from Company C C34thIR to blow up a small bridge about 600 yards north of his two forward companies. It was about 0300 when this was done. Startled by the explosions, infantrymen of Company A showed some concern until they learned the cause. Then they settled back to wait for daylight, or to sleep if possible. [note]

Four survivors of the Osan fight arrived at Ayres' command post at P'yŏngt'aek shortly after General Dean had left it and told an exaggerated story of the destruction of Task Force Smith. A few minutes later, Colonel Perry arrived from Ansŏng and made his report of what had happened to Task Force Smith. General Barth and Ayres then decided to keep the 1st Battalion in its blocking position but to destroy the highway bridge just north of the town now that enemy tanks must be expected momentarily. Members of the 1st Battalion blew the bridge at 0300, 6 July. General Barth instructed Colonel Ayres to hold as long as he could but to withdraw if his battalion was in danger of being outflanked and cut off. He was "not to end up like Brad Smith." [note]


About 0300 that morning, Dunn had awakened at the regimental command post to find everyone in a state of great excitement. News had just arrived that the enemy had overrun Task Force Smith. The regiment had no communication with its 1st Battalion at P'yŏngt'aek. The distances between Ansŏng, P'yŏngt'aek, and Songhwan-ni were so great the command radios could not net. Land lines were laid from Songhwan-ni to P'yŏngt'aek but it was impossible to keep them intact. Retreating South Korean soldiers and civilian refugees repeatedly cut out sections of the telephone wire to improvise harness to carry packs and possessions. The only communication was liaison officers or messengers. Accordingly, orders and reports often were late and outdated by events when received. Dunn asked Colonel Lovless for, and got, permission to go forward and determine the situation. Before he started, Dunn asked for any instructions to be delivered to Colonel Ayres. Lovless spread a map on a table and repeated General Barth's instructions to hold as long as possible without endangering the battalion and then to withdraw to a position near Ch'ŏnan, which he pointed out on the map. [note]

Dunn set out in a jeep, traveling northward through the dark night along a road jammed with retreating ROK soldiers and refugees. In his conversation with Ayres at the 1st Battalion command post, Major Dunn delivered the instructions passed on to him. The decision as to when to withdraw the 1st Battalion was Ayres'; the decision as to where it would go to take up its next defensive position apparently was General Barth's as relayed by Lovless. [07-7]
Colonel Ayres started withdrawing his battalion soon after his conversation with Major Dunn. [note]

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At 0430 they began to stir again. SFC Roy E. Collins, a platoon sergeant, walked along the row of foxholes in the center of the company position. One of a group of combat-experienced men recently transferred from another division, he had joined Company A only the day before. He advised his men to get up and break out their C rations and eat while they had a chance. The evening before, Collins had stationed a two-man listening post in the rice paddies about 75 yards north of the company. He called down and told them to come back to the company perimeter.

[note]

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General Barth left the 34th Infantry command post for Ch'ŏnan before daylight. [07-5] [note]

The North Korean 4th Infantry Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Lee Kwon Mu, attacked the 1/34th around 5 a.m. on the 6th. The American battalion had no artillery support, and the few rounds available for its 4.2-inch mortars were soon expended. Although the Americans had a few recoilless rifles, there was no ammunition for them. Meantime, the regimental commander, Colonel Jay Lovless, sent Major John J. Dunn, his regimental S3 (operations officer), to Ayres with orders to hold as long as possible, "and then fall back to a position in the vicinity of Ch'ŏnan...." The battalion held for about five hours, with a loss of 18 troops wounded and 33 missing. [note]


Finally, Dean returned to his CP in Taejŏn (again without stopping to see Lovless, from whom he would have learned that Brad Smith was safely in Ch'ŏnan), arriving so late that he got but one hour's sleep that night.[4-53] [note]

0505 Korean Time

Meanwhile, the 34th Regiment's S3, John Dunn, awoke from a dead sleep [about 000300] to find the CP in a great state of excitement. He volunteered to go to P'yŏngt'aek to establish a liaison with Ayres and assist him however he could. Lovless, echoing Barth's new plan and orders, told Dunn to tell Ayres to "hold as long as he could but not to lose the battalion and then fall back to a position in the vicinity of Ch'ŏnan." Since these plans represented a radical change from those insisted upon by Bill Dean in the heated meeting at Taejŏn on July 4, Dunn asked Lovless to repeat them. [note]

After Lovless had done so, adding that the regimental reserve (L Company) should cover the 1/34 withdrawal, Dunn set off for P'yŏngt'aek in a jeep. He arrived about daylight on July 6, another wet, cold, overcast day, decidedly unfavorable for close air support. On the way north Dunn passed about ten of Brad Smith's men "going south without shoes or weapons." [note]

0510 Korean Time

At about that time [4-about daylight on July 6] the lead tanks and infantry of the NKPA reached the blown bridge north of P'yŏngt'aek. Ayres was on the scene commanding his A and B companies, which were dug in south of the bridge on either side of the road. His battalion was less well armed than Task Force Smith's: no artillery; no mines; only a "few" 4.2 mortars "with limited ammo" and two obsolete 57mm and one 75mm recoilless rifles. As the NKPA infantry swarmed south around the stopped tanks, firing at the Americans, the green men stared numbly, only about half of them finding the wit to fire back. Some who did found their M1 rifles to be useless. A sergeant later reported that twelve out of thirty-one of the rifles in his platoon were "defective."

[note]

0516 Sun Rise

0530 Korean Time

Korean_War

The men of the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, in their positions at the river line two miles north of P'yŏngt'aek had an uncomfortable time of it as dawn broke on 6 July in fog and rain. With water in their foxholes, the men huddled in small groups beside them as they broke open C ration cans for an early breakfast. Colonel Ayres came down the road and stopped where a group of them manned a roadblock, and then he climbed the hill west of the highway to the A Company command post.


On the hill, Platoon Sgt. Roy F. Collins was eating his C ration breakfast when the sound of running motors caused him suddenly to look up. He saw in the fog the outline of tanks on the far side of the blown bridge. From the company command post, Colonel Ayres and Capt. Leroy Osburn, A Company commander, saw the tanks about the same time.

Beyond the first tanks, a faint outline of soldiers marching in a column of twos on the left side of the road and a line of more tanks and trucks on the right side, came into view. Some of those watching speculated that it might be part of the 21st Infantry Task Force Smith coming back from Osan. But others immediately said that Task Force Smith had no tanks. It required only a minute or two for everyone to realize that the force moving up to the blown bridge was North Korean. It was, in fact, elements of the North Korean 4th Division. [07-6]


The lead tank stopped at the edge of the blown bridge and its crew members got out to examine the damage. Other tanks pulled up behind it, bumper to bumper, until Sergeant Collins counted thirteen of their blurred shapes. The North Korean infantry came up and, without halting, moved around the tanks to the stream, passing the blown bridge on both sides. Colonel Ayres by this time had ordered the 4.2-inch mortars to fire on the bridge area. Their shells destroyed at least one enemy truck. The enemy tanks opened fire with their tank guns on A Company's position.

American return fire was scattered and ineffective. After watching the first few minutes of action and seeing the enemy infantry begin fanning out on either flank, Colonel Ayres told Captain Osburn to withdraw A Company, leaving one platoon behind briefly as a screening force. [note]

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The next morning, 6 July, Colonel Smith and his party went on to Ch'ŏnan. Upon arrival there a count revealed that he had 185 men. Subsequently, Capt. Richard Dashner, C Company commander, came in with 65 men, increasing the total to 250. There were about 150 men killed, wounded, or missing from Colonel Smith's infantry force when he took a second count later in the day. The greatest loss was in B Company. [06-55] Survivors straggled in to American lines at P'yŏngt'aek, Ch'ŏnan, Taejŏn, and other points in southern Korea during the next several days. [note]

Korean_War

American return fire was scattered and ineffective.

After watching the first few minutes of action and seeing the enemy infantry begin fanning out on either flank, Colonel Ayres told Captain Osburn to withdraw A Company, leaving one platoon behind briefly as a screening force. Ayres then started back to his command post, [about 0600] and upon reaching it telephoned withdrawal orders to B Company on the other (east) side of the highway.

The 4.2-inch mortar fire which had started off well soon lapsed when an early round of enemy tank fire stunned the mortar observer and no one else took over direction of fire. Within half an hour after the enemy column had loomed up out of the fog and rain at the blown bridge, North Korean infantrymen had crossed the stream and worked sufficiently close to the American positions for the men in A Company to see them load their rifles. [note]

When he returned to his command post, Colonel Ayres talked with Maj. John J. Dunn, S-3 of the 34th Infantry, who had arrived there during his absence. [note]

0630 Korean Time

Korean_War

It was only a few minutes after daylight.

The battalion (Red Ayres) commander walked down the road between Companies A and B, stopping to talk with a group of 17 men manning a roadblock on Company A's side of the road. Lt. Herman L. Driskell was in charge of the group, which consisted of an eight-man machine-gun squad from his 1st Platoon, and three 2.36-inch bazooka teams from the Weapons Platoon. [01-11]

After telling Driskell to get his men down in their holes because he planned to register the 4.2-inch mortars, the battalion commander walked west across the soggy rice paddies toward Company A's command post on top of the hill. Lieutenant Driskell's men did not, however, get into their holes-the holes were full of water. A Weapons Platoon sergeant, SFC Zack C. Williams, and PFC James 0. Hite, were sitting near one hole. "I sure would hate to have to get in that hole," Hite said. In a few minutes they heard mortar shells overhead, but the shell bursts were lost in the morning fog and rain. In the cold rain, hunched under their ponchos, the men sat beside their holes eating their breakfast ration.

Up on the hill, Sergeant Collins was eating a can of beans. He had eaten about half of it when he heard the sound of engines running. Through the fog he saw the faint outline of several tanks that had stopped just beyond the bridge that the detail from Company C destroyed two hours earlier. North Korean soldiers from the lead tank got out and walked up to inspect the bridge site. At the same time, through binoculars, Collins could see two columns of infantrymen moving beyond the tanks, around both ends of the bridge, and out across the rice paddies.

He yelled back to his platoon leader (Lt. Robert R. Ridley), "Sir, we got company." Lieutenant Ridley, having been warned that part of the 21st Infantry might be withdrawing down this road, said it was probably part of that unit. "Well," said Collins, "these people have tanks and I know the 21st hasn't any." The battalion commander arrived at Captain Osburn's command post just in time to see the column of enemy infantrymen appear. Deciding it was made up of men from the 21st Infantry, the two commanders watched it for several minutes before realizing it was too large to be friendly troops. They could see a battalion-size group already, and others were still coming in a column of fours. [01-12] At once, the battalion commander called for mortar fire. When the first round landed, the enemy spread out across the rice paddies on both sides of the road but continued to advance. By this time Collins could count thirteen tanks from the blown bridge north to the point where the column disappeared in the early morning fog.

Within a few minutes the men from the enemy's lead tank returned to their vehicle, got in, closed the turret, and then swung the tube until it pointed directly toward Company A.
"Get down!" Sergeant Collins yelled to his men. "Here it comes!"


The first shell exploded just above the row of foxholes, spattering dirt over the center platoon. The men slid into their holes. Collins and two other combat veterans of World War II began shouting to their men to commence firing. Response was slow although the Americans could see the North Korean infantrymen advancing steadily, spreading out across the flat ground in front of the hill. In the same hole with Sergeant Collins were two riflemen. He poked them. "Come on," he said. "You've got an M1. Get firing."

After watching the enemy attack for a few minutes, the battalion commander told Captain Osburn to withdraw Company A, and then left the hill, walking back toward his command post, which he planned to move south.

Out in front of the company hill, the two men at the listening post, after gathering up their wet equipment, had been just ready to leave when the first enemy shell landed. They jumped back into their hole. After a short time one of them jumped out and ran back under fire. The other, who stayed there, was not seen again.

The entire 1st Platoon was also in the flat rice paddies. Lieutenant Driskell's seventeen men from the 1st and the Weapons Platoons who were between the railroad and road could hear some of the activity but they could not see the enemy because of the high embankments on both sides. Private Hite was still sitting by his water-filled hole when the first enemy shell exploded up on the hill. He thought a 4.2-inch mortar shell had fallen short. Within a minute or two another round landed near Osburn's command post on top of the hill. Private Hite watched as the smoke drifted away.

"Must be another short round," he remarked to Sergeant Williams.

"It's not short," said Williams, a combat-experienced soldier. "It's an enemy shell."

Hite slid into his foxhole, making a dull splash like a frog diving into a pond. Williams followed. The two men sat there, up to their necks in cold, stagnant water.

It was fully fifteen minutes before the two Company A platoons up on the hill had built up an appreciable volume of fire, and then less than half of the men were firing their weapons. The squad and platoon leaders did most of the firing. Many of the riflemen appeared stunned and unwilling to believe that enemy soldiers were firing at them.

About fifty rounds fell in the battalion area within the fifteen minutes following the first shell-burst in Company A's sector. Meanwhile, enemy troops were appearing in numbers that looked overwhelmingly large to the American soldiers. "It looked like the entire city of New York moving against two little under-strength companies," said one of the men. Another large group of North Korean soldiers gathered around the tanks now lined up bumper to bumper on the road. It was the best target Sergeant Collins had ever seen. He fretted because he had no ammunition for the recoilless rifle. Neither could he get mortar fire because the second enemy tank's shell had exploded near the 4.2-inch mortar observer who, although not wounded, had suffered severely from shock. In the confusion no one else attempted to direct the mortars.

note]

0635 Korean Time

Korean_War

Within thirty minutes after the action began, the leading North Korean foot soldiers had moved so close that Company A men could see them load and reload their rifles.

About the same time, Company B, under the same attack, began moving off of its hill on the opposite side of the road. Within another minute or two Captain Osburn called down to tell his men to prepare to withdraw, "but we'll have to cover Baker Company first."

Company A, however, had no effective fire power and spent no time covering the movement of the other company. Most of the Weapons Platoon, located on the south side of the hill, left immediately, walking down to a cluster of about fifteen straw-topped houses at the south edge of the hill. The two rifle platoons on the hill began to move out soon after Captain Osburn gave the alert order.

The movement was orderly at the beginning although few of the men carried their field packs with them and others walked away leaving ammunition and even their weapons.

However, just as the last two squads of this group reached a small ridge on the east side of the main hill, an enemy machine gun suddenly fired into the group. The men took off in panic. Captain Osburn and several of his platoon leaders were near the cluster of houses behind the hill reforming the company for the march back to P'yŏngt'aek.

But when the panicked men raced past, fear spread quickly and others also began running. The officers called to them but few of the men stopped. Gathering as many members of his company as he could, Captain Osburn sent them back toward the village with one of his officers.

By this time the Weapons Platoon and most of the 2nd and 3rd Platoons had succeeded in vacating their positions. As they left, members of these units had called down telling the 1st Platoon to withdraw from its position blocking the road.

Strung across the flat paddies, the 1st Platoon was more exposed to enemy fire. Four of its men started running back and one, hit by rifle fire, fell. After seeing that, most of the others were apparently too frightened to leave their holes. [note]

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As it happened, Lieutenant Driskell's seventeen men who were between the railroad and road embankments were unable to see the rest of their company. Since they had not heard the shouted order they were unaware that an order to withdraw had been given. They had, however, watched the fire fight between the North Koreans and Company B, and had seen Company B leave.

Lieutenant Driskell and Sergeant Williams decided they would hold their ground until they received orders. Twenty or thirty minutes passed. As soon as the bulk of the two companies had withdrawn, the enemy fire stopped, and all became quiet again. Driskell and his seventeen men were still in place when the North Koreans climbed the hill to take over the positions vacated by Company B. This roused their anxiety.

"What do you think we should do now?" Driskell asked.
"Well, sir," said Sergeant Williams, "I don't know what you're going to do, but I'd like to get the hell out of here."

Driskell then sent a runner to see if the rest of the company was still in position. When the runner returned to say he could see no one on the hill, the men started back using the railroad embankment for protection. Nine members of this group were from Lieutenant Driskell's 1st Platoon; the other eight were with Sergeant Williams from the Weapons Platoon. A few of Lieutenant Driskell's men had already left but about twenty, afraid to move across the flat paddies, had stayed behind. At the time, however, Driskell did not know what had happened to the rest of his platoon so, after he had walked back to the vicinity of the group of houses behind the hill, he stopped at one of the rice-paddy trails to decide which way to go to locate his missing men. Just then someone walked past and told him that some of his men, including several who were wounded, were near the base of the hill. With one other man, Driskell went off to look for them.

By the time the panicked riflemen of Company A had run the mile or two back to P'yŏngt'aek they had overcome much of their initial fear. They gathered along the muddy main street of the village and stood there in the rain, waiting. When Captain Osburn arrived he immediately began assembling and reorganizing his company for the march south. Meanwhile, two Company C men were waiting to dynamite the bridge at the north edge of the village. One of the officers found a jeep and trailer that had been abandoned on a side street. He and several of his men succeeded in starting it and, although it did not run well and had apparently been abandoned for that reason, they decided it would do for hauling the company's heavy equipment that was left. [note]

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General MacArthur on 6 July called Maj. Gen. Hobart R. Gay, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, to Tokyo and told him of the plan. Some of MacArthur's staff held high hopes for the operation. General Willoughby, MacArthur's G-2, admonished Gay to step lively or be left behind. "You must expedite preparations to the utmost," Willoughby warned, "because if your landing is delayed, all that the 1st Cavalry Division will hit when it lands will be the tail-end of the 24th Division as it passes north through Sŏul." [08-3] [note]

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By midmorning it [1st battalion] was on the road back to Ch'ŏnan. That afternoon it began arriving there. Last to arrive in the early evening was A Company. Most of the units were disorganized. Discarded equipment and clothing littered the P'yongt'aek-Ch'ŏnan road. [note]

Korean_War

When General Barth arrived at Ch'ŏnan that morning he found there two troop trams carrying A and D Companies and a part of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry. They were the parts of the battalion not airlifted to Korea on 1 July with Task Force Smith. Barth put them in a defensive position two miles south of Ch'ŏnan. [note]

0930 Korean Time

By 0930 they piled all extra equipment, plus the machine guns, mortars, bazookas, BARs, and extra ammunition in the trailer. About the same time, several men noticed what appeared to be two wounded men trying to make their way along the road into P'yŏngt'aek. It was still raining so hard that it was difficult to distinguish details. Pvt. Thomas A. Cammarano and another man volunteered to take the jeep and go after them.

They pulled a BAR from the weapons in the trailer, inserted a magazine of ammunition, and drove the jeep north across the bridge, not realizing that the road was so narrow it would have been difficult to turn the vehicle around even if the trailer had not been attached.

During the period when the company was assembling and waiting in P'yŏngt'aek, Sergeant Collins, the platoon sergeant who had joined the company the day before, decided to find out why his platoon had failed to fire effectively against the enemy.

Of 31 members of his platoon, l2 complained that their rifles would not fire. Collins checked them and found the rifles were either broken, dirty, or had been assembled incorrectly. He sorted out the defective weapons and dropped them in a nearby well.

Two other incidents now occurred that had an unfavorable effect on morale.


First: The second shell fired by the North Koreans that morning had landed near Captain Osburn's command post where the observer for his 4.2-inch mortars was standing. The observer reached P'yŏngt'aek while the men were waiting for Cammarano and his companion to return with the jeep. Suffering severely from shock, the mortar observer could not talk coherently and walked as if he were drunk. His eyes showed white, and he stared wildly, moaning, "Rain, rain, rain," over and over again.

Second: About the same time, a member of the 1st Platoon joined the group and claimed that he had been with Lieutenant Driskell after he walked toward the cluster of houses searching for wounded men of his platoon. Lieutenant Driskell with four men had been suddenly surrounded by a group of North Korean soldiers. They tried to surrender, according to this man, but one of the North Korean soldiers walked up to the lieutenant, shot him, and then killed the other three men.

The narrator had escaped.

Of the approximately 140 men who had been in position at daybreak that morning, only a few more than 100 were now assembled in P'yŏngt'aek.

In addition to the 4 men just reported killed, there were about 30 others who were missing. The first sergeant with 8 men had followed a separate route after leaving the hill that morning and did not rejoin the company until several days later.

One man failed to return after having walked down to a stream just after daylight to refill several canteens. There were also the others who had been either afraid or unable to leave their foxholes to move back with the rest of the company.

This group included the man from the listening post and about twenty members of the 1st Platoon who had stayed in their holes in the rice paddies. [01-13] [note]

0945 Korean Time

Ten or fifteen minutes went by after Cammarano and his companion drove off in the jeep. Through the heavy rain and fog neither the jeep nor the wounded men were visible now.

Suddenly there was the sound of rifle fire in the village and Captain Osburn, assuming that the two men (together with the vehicle and all company crew-served weapons) were also lost, gave the word to move out. Forming the remainder of his company into two single-file columns, one on each side of the street, he started south. The men had scarcely reached the south edge of the village when they heard the explosion as the Company C men destroyed the bridge. One fourth of the company and most of its equipment and supplies were missing as the men set off on their forced march.

A few scattered artillery shells followed the columns. None came close, but they kept the men moving fast. "This was one time," said one of the sergeants later, "when we didn't have to kick the men to get them to move. They kept going at a steady slow run."

Captain Osburn did not try to follow the high ground but, when he could, he kept off the road and walked across rice paddies. There were several wounded men but the 4.2inch mortar observer was the only one in the group unable to walk by himself. The others took turns supporting and helping him. His eyes still showed white and he kept moaning "rain" and the men near him wished he would shut up.

Occasionally the men made wise cracks about the police action: "I wonder when they're going to give me my police badge," or "Damned if these cops here don't use some big guns." But mostly they were quiet and just kept moving. [note]

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Then, as North Korean infantry flowed around the 1/34th's flank, Ayres decided to withdraw. [note]

Returning to his CP, Ayres found John Dunn in conference with the battalion exec, Leland R. Dunham. Dunn relayed to Ayres the orders from Lovless to "hold as long as possible but not to lose his battalion and then [4-to] fall back to the vicinity of Ch'ŏnan." The decision about when to fall back was entirely up to Ayres. Ayres described the power of the oncoming NKPA - two columns of infantry, each "nearly a mile long" - and the stunned reaction of his men and said he could probably hold out no more than an additional hour. When Dunn responded that he could not see how one hour's resistance would help the overall situation in any way and that furthermore, he believed a delay might put the battalion "in an impossible situation," Ayres "picked up the telephone" and gave his outfit the order to withdraw to Ch'ŏnan.

Able battalion commanders were rare in Eighth Army in the early days of the Korean War. To perform this complex job properly required years of professional schooling and command, intelligence, coolness under fire, and the gift of leadership. Although Red Ayres was a complete stranger and had commanded the 1/34 only twenty-four hours, he had made a fine impression. Dunn later wrote that Ayres "was a brave, outstanding combat leader - one of the coolest men under fire I have ever seen." The 1/34 platoon leader William Caldwell agreed with that assessment. He remembered that Ayres "was certainly a tremendous individual - an outstanding leader and professional soldier. "[4-55]

For all his professionalism, however, Red Ayres could not prevent a disgraceful BUGOUT in the 1/34 and its "covering" force, the reserve L Company. When the withdrawal order reached company level, discipline broke down. To one GI the masses of enemy soldiers "looked like the entire city of New York" coming at him. Under increasingly heavy fire the Americans fled the battlefield, many leaving behind all their heavy weapons, rifles, and carbines. On the long, uneasy retreat south to Ch'ŏnan the men of 1/34 and L Company discarded ponchos, helmets, ammo belts, rifles, and wet, pinching shoes. When it finally reached Ch'ŏnan, one Army historian wrote, the 1/34 "was a shabby looking outfit" with "no organization." In effect, another battalion had been squandered.[4-56] [note]

Korean_War

Barth later wrote that he had instructed Ayres to delay in successive positions, not move south directly to Ch'ŏnan. Ayres, however, believed the new orders from the commander of the 34th, Lovless, superseded Barth's, since an artillery commander is not ordinarily in an infantry chain of command. Unknown to Lovless and Ayres, however, Dean had appointed Barth to head a task force consisting of the 34th Infantry and two artillery battalions. That arrangement resulted in confusion as to whose order to obey. Barth, at some point, also ordered the 3/34th to withdraw from Ansŏng.

Dean was furious when he learned that the 34th had not delayed in successive positions but pulled back some 13 miles to Ch'ŏnan. He blamed Lovless for the rapid fallback and called Colonel Robert R. Martin, who had served alongside Dean in the 44th Division during World War II, to his headquarters. [note]

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The rain continued hard until about noon. Then it began to get hot-a moist, sultry heat. The clouds hung low on the mountains. Nevertheless, Captain Osburn kept up a steady pace. Before leaving P'yŏngt'aek he had warned that the column would not stop and any men who fell out would be left behind The men were thirst but few of them had canteens. They drank from the ditches along the roads, of from the rice paddies.

By noon the column had outrun the enemy fire, and Captain Osburn halted it for a ten-minute rest. Thereafter he set a slower pace, usually following the road, and took a ten-minute break each hour. The column had no communication with any other part of the 24th Division, since the company radios had been abandoned that morning.

Nor did anyone know of a plan except to go south. There was no longer any serious talk of a police action-by this time the soldiers expected to go straight to Pusan and back to Japan. The Company A men frequently saw pieces of equipment along the road, and from this they assumed the rest of the battalion was on the same road ahead of them. Later they began to overtake stragglers from other companies. By the middle of the day the men were hungry. [note]

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When General Barth returned to Ch'ŏnan in the early afternoon he advance elements of the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, were already there. He ordered the 1st Battalion to join elements of the 21st Infantry in the defensive position he had just established two miles south of the town. Lovless had already telephoned from Ch'ŏnan to Dean at Taejŏn giving him the P'yŏngt'aek news. [07-8]

Familiar aspects of war were present all day in Ch'ŏnan. trains going south through the town were loaded with ROK soldiers or civilians. Everyone was trying to escape southward. [note]

Korean_War

As ordered, the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry, had arrived at Ch'ŏnan from Ansŏng the afternoon of 6 July and during that night. [note]


When the men of 1/34 first began drifting into Ch'ŏnan, Barth, who was there, professed to be astonished - and angry - with Ayres because the 1/34 had not mounted the delaying actions he claimed he had ordered.

He later wrote of Ayres: "I probably could have stopped him and gotten his battalion on a [4-delaying] position north of Ch'ŏnan by dark." But this is problematic. In view of the general panic in the 1/34 and L Company that afternoon, it is not likely that either Ayres or Barth could have stopped the men between P'yŏngt'aek and Ch'ŏnan to face NKPA tanks and infantry.

Ironically, the NKPA did not immediately and vigorously pursue beyond P'yŏngt'aek that day.[4-57]

While the 1/34 and L Company retreat was in progress, David Smith was withdrawing the 3/34 from Ansŏng to Ch'ŏnan. Although the 3/34 had not yet been fired upon by the enemy and was never in real danger like the 1/34, its withdrawal also turned into undisciplined flight.

Smith was showing signs of exhaustion. To Pappy Wadlington, he "was incapable of accepting or carrying out orders." On the road from Ansŏng to Ch'ŏnan his men also abandoned ammo, weapons, helmets, shoes, and other gear.[4-58]

Simultaneously with these withdrawals, Lovless decamped his CP at Songhwan and reestablished it in the rear, near Ch'ŏnan.

Korean_War

Marguerite Higgins, and general

War correspondents Carl Mydans and Marguerite Higgins, who had been sleeping on the CP floor and were not notified, awoke to find the Songhwan CP completely deserted.

Higgins later wrote: "In the coming days I saw young Americans turn and bolt in battle, or throw down their arms cursing their government for what they thought was embroilment in a hopeless cause. . . . It was routine to hear comments like `Just give me a jeep and I know what direction to go in. This mama's boy ain't cut out to be no hero.' "[4-59] [note]


Dean that evening started for Ch'ŏnan. There he presided over an uncomfortable meeting in Colonel Lovless' command post. Dean was angry. He asked who had authorized the withdrawal from P'yŏngt'aek. Colonel Ayres finally broke the silence, saying he would accept the responsibility. Dean considered ordering the regiment back north at once, but the danger of a night ambuscade caused him to decide against it. Instead, he ordered a company to go north the next morning after daylight.

[time appears to incorrect here]

[note]

Korean_War Korean_War Korean_War POW no picture no picture
Dean Barth Loveless Dunn Ayers Smith
When the sleepless Bill Dean learned that the 34th Regiment had withdrawn to Ch'ŏnan, he was furious. He climbed into his jeep at Taejŏn and sped north to Lovless's CP near Ch'ŏnan.

There ensued a stormy meeting with Barth, Lovless, Dunn, and the two battalion commanders, Red Ayres and David Smith. Dean heatedly demanded to know who had authorized the withdrawal.

Bittman Barth and Jay Lovless remained mute, Lovless waiting for Barth to accept responsibility for the orders.

When no one spoke up, Red Ayres broke the awkward silence and took full responsibility for the withdrawal of his 1/34. In so doing, he attempted unsuccessfully to set Dean straight on one point: The battalion had not bugged out, as word had it. It had withdrawn in accordance with "sound principles enunciated in military manuals."[4-60]

But there was no reasoning with the enraged and frazzled Bill Dean that night. Notwithstanding arguments from Lovless, Dunn, and Ayres to the contrary, he remained adamantly convinced that his original blocking scheme at P'yŏngt'aek-Ansŏng had been the correct one and that he had been, in effect, betrayed by his own officers.

He sent Bittman Barth packing - back to Taejŏn - and made up his mind to sack Jay Lovless the minute Robert Martin arrived in Taejŏn.

Had there been spare battalion commanders with combat experience at hand, he might well have sacked Red Ayres and David Smith on the spot. Before storming out of the CP to return to Taejŏn, Dean gave Lovless orders to attack north at dawn the following morning, July 7, with the reserve L Company, reestablish contact with the NKPA, and then fight a delaying action back to Ch'ŏnan.

[note]


These orders were not received with great enthusiasm. By then the 34th, consolidated at last (and tied in with the other unbloodied half of Brad Smith's 1/21) had begun digging in south of Ch'ŏnan in what Lovless considered pretty fair defensive terrain.

Korean_War

Advance elements of Robert Dawson's (under strength) 63rd FAB were now detraining at Ch'ŏnan, joining elements of Miller Perry's 52nd FAB, to reinforce these positions. To attack out of these consolidated positions with green troops and ineffective antitank weapons - and with no tanks - merely for the sake of reestablishing contact with the oncoming NKPA or to gain and hold Ch'ŏnan and then to mount a complex delaying action seemed foolhardy. Red Ayres later wrote that he thought the orders were "ridiculous," that Dean, "in stress," was acting out of "emotion" rather than "sound tactics."[4-61] [note]

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By mid-afternoon wet shoes caused serious foot trouble. Some of the men took off their shoes and carried them for a while, or threw them away. It was easier walking barefoot in the mud. Other equipment was strewn along the road-discarded ponchos, steel helmets, ammunition belts, and even rifles that men of the battalion had dropped. As the afternoon wore on the two columns of Company A men lengthened, the distance between the men increasing. They kept trading places in the line and took turns helping the mortar observer. At breaks, Captain Osburn reminded them to stay on or near the road and, if they were scattered by a sudden attack, to keep moving individually. [note]

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Late that afternoon, during a ten-minute rest period, an American plane flew low over the men who were lying along the road near a few strawroofed houses. The pilot suddenly dipped into the column and opened fire with his caliber .50 machine guns. Only one man was hit-a South Korean soldier. The bullet struck him in the cheeks, tearing away his lower jaw and part of his face. This incident further demoralized the men. When a South Korean truck came by, they put the wounded Korean on it. [note]

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Early that evening Captain Osburn, at the head of his company, reached the town of Ch'ŏnan and there found other elements of the 1st Battalion which had arrived earlier. It was a shabby-looking outfit. Many men were asleep on the floor of an old sawmill and others were scattered throughout the town in buildings or along the streets, sitting or sleeping.

Captain Osburn immediately set out to locate officers of the other units to learn what he could of the situation. The remainder of Company A was strung out for a mile and a half or two miles to the north.

As the men reached the town they lay down to rest. There was no organization-they were just a group of tired, disheartened men. [note]

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It was dark by the time Company 'A' began to dig in at this position. The company, of course, had no entrenching tools but a few of the men scraped out shallow holes. Most of them just lay down and went to sleep. [note]

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The last men in the column did not straggle in until two hours later.

By then Captain Osburn had borrowed three trucks from the South Korean Army with which he moved his company to defensive positions a few miles south of Ch'ŏnan.

General Barth had selected these positions after leaving the 1st Battalion's command post at P'yŏngt'aek early that morning.

He had gone to Ch'ŏnan to brief the regimental commander of the 34th Infantry and then south to select terrain from which the 24th Division could stage a series of delaying actions. [note]

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2353 Korean Time

Korean_War

Sun Rise 0516 1953
Moon Rise 2353 1146
Moon Phase 57% 21 days


Casualties

Thursday July 06, 1950 (Day 012)

Korean_War 019 Casualties

As of July 6, 1950

1 30TH BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON
13 34TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
3 68TH FIGHTER INTERCEPTOR
2 8TH BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON
19 19500706 0000 Casualties by unit
Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 17 113 0 0 0 130
Today 6 13 0 0 0 19
Total 23 126 0 0 0 149

Aircraft Losses Today 003

Notes for Thursday July 06, 1950 - Day 012