Overview


July 7-12
Politicians and pundits begin laying blame for the unexpected North Korean invasion, as well as the poor state of readiness of both South Korean and American forces.


-- Calling the situation in Korea "another grisly Pearl Harbor," Sen. Alexander Wiley Jr., R-Wis., says the only reason American troops had been pulled out of Korea was the State Department wanted to appease Russia.


-- Joseph and Stewart Alsop, writing a series in the New York Herald tribune, say Truman and his defense secretary did not pursue an adequate defense policy. Republicans also blocked all aid programs.


-- Hearst newspapers on June [JULY] 12 blame the State Department for preventing Congress from giving "adequate military aid to Korea."


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-- Former President Herbert Hoover says July 11 that the UN should kick Russia out. The next day, Sen. Pat McCarren, D-Nev., urges Truman to end diplomatic ties with Russia. [note]

July 8-12
Airstrips are built in South Korea, enabling short-range F-80 Shooting Star jet fighters to support American soldiers. On July 10 U.S. and Australian aircraft fly 300 missions.

8, 9,10,11, 2

[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. Two days later, the 34th engages the North Korean Army in a five-day battle at Choch'iwŏn.
-- There were many reports of green American troops breaking and running just like South Korean troops when they couldn't stop tank-supported North Korean troops with bazookas, rifles and grenades. In their fear and frustration, they complained about the "slaughterhouse."
-- An unidentified officer was quoted July 12, "You don't fight two tank-equipped divisions with .30 caliber carbines. I never saw such a useless damned war in all my life."
-- U.S. tanks that went into action against Russian-built tanks July 10-12 were no match for the heavier enemy armor. There were many counts of bravery among the outgunned Americans. One was Sgt. J.R. Glaze, Dallas, who couldn't stop a heavier Russian tank after hitting it 13 times from 30 meters. He dismounted his tank and knocked out two North Korean tanks with a bazooka.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11,12

[note]

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Two SB-17s were utilized this date for weather recon and orbit missions.

Fifteen hours (15:00) were logged on these missions.

One SB-17 was used this date to search the area north of Fukuoka for the pilot who was reported to have bailed out in that area on 9 July 1950. Eight hours and fifty minutes (8:50) logged on this mission. Negative results reported.

No false alerts recorded this date. The aircraft returning from the scene of action are not quick to give a Mayday as they were in the early days of the campaign. This is attributed to more experience and the use of larger tip tanks.

Orbit and recon missions are still being flown around the clock. Flight "D" provides rescue coverage for the aircraft returning from Korea and at the same time obtains weather information for the tactical aircraft performing missions in that area.

[note]

Army Policy

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July 11
Ten days later, when General Collins paused in Hawaii on his way to visit the Far East Command, he looked into the matter.

In a teleconference with Ridgway in Washington, Collins asked him to query key staff officers on whether it would be better to send the 5th RCT as a unit or break it down into battalions and battalion cadres to bring other FEC regiments up to war strength.

His own feeling was that the 5th RCT should be employed as a regiment; not cannibalized. Ridgway and other staff officers agreed, recommending that the regiment be sent to Korea at its existing strength with all possible speed.

[note]

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Service Troops

Without an adequate support base behind the battle line in Korea and in the larger service area in Japan, the fighting units could not sustain their desperate defense, much less attack. Although the greatest emphasis was placed on infantry, artillery, armored, and other combat-type units and soldiers during July, the demand for service units and troops increased steadily.

Technical service units to supply front-line soldiers, to repair damaged weapons and equipment, to keep communications in operation, and to perform the hundreds of vital support operations required by a modern army, had been at a premium in the FEC when the war broke out.

Japanese specialists and workmen performed in large part the peacetime version of service support for the Far East Command. The few available service units had been depleted when specialists and other trained men had been handed rifles and sent to fight as infantry. Some types of combat and non-combat support were needed more immediately than other types. In view, for instance, of the hundreds of tons of ammunition of all types on its way to the Fareast Command for the Korean fighting, ordnance specialists qualified to handle ammunition were needed at once.

General MacArthur asked on 11 July that several hundred officers and men qualified for this function be flown to his area with all possible haste.

[note]

Conflict over Naval Command Relations.

On 10 July, Struble sent to Joy, with an information copy to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Forrest Sherman, a message outlining the role he proposed to play in support of the 24th Division and the pending amphibious operation: close support for two days, working through Doyle, embarked on Mount McKinley.[cmdctl-16] Struble preferred air strikes on the west rather than east coast of Korea but was unenthusiastic about any such strikes, cautioning that operational losses would

“reduce capabilities for later amphibious operations.”[cmdctl-17]

Thus commenced a campaign by Struble to alter a command structure that he believed inappropriate to the tasks at hand.

Joy replied (copy to Sherman) that the Seventh Fleet was to

“conduct repeated air strikes against Wŏnsan and other selected targets from Sea of Japan [thus, the east coast] on day before landing. Cover initial stages of landing as necessary before retiring.”[cmdctl-18]

Radford, in Hawaii, had already supported Joy’s position in a message to the Chief of Naval Operations (copy to Joy):

“Carrier strikes by a single carrier or accompanied only by British CVL [light carrier] are a calculated risk which will increase with each operation. Under present circumstances this risk must be taken.”[cmdctl-19]

MacArthur gave Joy additional instructions on 11 July.

Loading of the ships of the Transport and Tractor Group, as it was termed by the operation order, commenced at noon that day; it departed for Pusan on 13 July.

[note]

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At noon on 13 July, Doyle finally issued his own operation order, designated 10-50, having received firsthand intelligence from a team of Amphibious Group 1 and 1st Cavalry Division staff officers that had flown into P'ohang-Dong on the 11th.

[note]

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19500711 0700 DSC BERNARD, CARL F.

19500711 0000 DSC GAINOK, ELMER J.

19500711 0000 DSC SHILLING, WINFORD A.

19500711 0000 DSC SPEAR, PAUL R.

19500711 0000 DSC TYLER, RUSSELL P.

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General Stratemeyer felt that to coordinate carrier and FEAF operations over Korea, he needed to control naval air operations,

"including the targets to be hit and the area in which they operate."45

When Adm C. Turner Joy, Commander of naval forces in the Far East (COMNAVFE), objected, Stratemeyer clarified that by control he meant

"the authority to designate the type of mission, such as air defense, close support of ground forces, etc., and to specify the operational details such as targets, times over targets, degree of effort, etc., within the capabilities of the forces involved."46

Again, he stressed that to get the most out of air power resources, FEAF needed operational control of all FEAF and NAVFE air resources to ensure deconfliction [not a word] of targets and effective coordination of all air efforts. The Navy still did not agree, but in an 11 July 1950 meeting, an agreement was made for FEAF to have coordination control over Navy air--a new term with different meanings to the Air Force and Navy.47

The Navy believed its air component had to support the sea campaign first. Although in Korea there was virtually no battle for the sea, there was significant concern over a Communist invasion of Formosa, for which the Navy was responsible. It interpreted the term coordination control as fitting its supporting force role and did not accept it as meaning that naval air forces were under the operational control of the air component command. While this arrangement may satisfy short contingency operations, it hampered the long-term theater air campaign.48

To solve the coordination problems, NAVFE requested and was given exclusive areas of operation for Navy air close to the east coast of Korea, where the carriers operated. This limitation of naval air power to a geographical area eliminated the capability to mass firepower at the most critical points in the theater, and caused the loss of flexibility in applying maximum air power on the most important targets.

Part of the problem in integrating naval air into the theater air battle was the large amount of communications required by the large, centralized FEAF system. Carriers had limited communications capabilities, often operated under radio silence, and were unable to handle high-volume FEAF communications.49

One example of the incompatibility of the high-volume Air Force communications with the limited Navy capacity was a FEAF radio message in November 1950 that gave the air plan for one day. Sent to the carrier task force, it required over 30 man-hours to process.50

These problems were partially a result of the bitter "unification" battles that resulted in the National Security Act of 1947.

In the end, the Air Force had "won" complete responsibility for air interdiction. As a result, the Navy had no plans to use its air in long-term land campaigns.51

The lack of training for interdiction and the major differences in employing CAS hindered coordination and cooperation between the Navy and Air Force.

As a result of the interservice disputes after World War II, the Navy had a deep-seated distrust of the Air Force. It did not always make an effort to cooperate with FEAF even when FEAF was eager to work jointly.52 Ultimately both services must share in the blame for their failure to work together. BULL SHIT

As the war progressed, Air Force-Navy cooperation did improve significantly. Cooperation was greatly aided by improved Navy representation at both the Fifth Air Force Joint Operations Center and the FEAF Targeting Committee, both of which became solid joint operations.53

Nonetheless, fundamental differences, especially in the control of air resources, were never completely worked out. [To this day!]

[note]

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Photo #: NH 96973
First Provisional Marine Brigade
Boarding USS Pickaway (APA-222) at San Diego, 11 July 1950, en route to Korea. Photographed by Sgt. Charles R. Strathman, USMC.

[note]

A ten man demolition party of sailors and marines led by Commander William B. Porter conducted the first naval commando operation of the Korean War.

[note]

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A message from Headquarters Eighth United States Army (EUSA) dated July 11, 1950 -- "Reports from Korean sources state North Korean soldiers are changing into civilian clothes and coming through lines in American sector with rifles concealed under clothing. Refugees moving from front and flank must be searched to apprehend any such personnel." 46

46
Message, Eighth United States Army, 11 July 50. In Eighth U.S. Army Adjutant General Section 194456, Security-Classified General Correspondence 1950 , Box 724, RG 338, NARA.

[note]

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The effectiveness of antitank weapons is another common explanation of why U.S. Army performance failed to meet expectations. The standard issue antitank weapon for infantry units was the 2.36-inch rocket launcher, commonly referred to as the bazooka. This weapon proved to be totally ineffective against NKPA T-34 tanks, causing considerable fear among U.S. soldiers.

Under development when the war broke out, but not yet in the hands of the troops, was the much-improved 3.5-inch rocket launcher. Supplies of these weapons were airlifted into Korea and issued to the 24th Infantry Division by July 11, 1950 , which was too late to assist Task Force Smith. But the new rocket launchers proved a welcome addition to the infantryman's arsenal. 20

20
War diary, 24th Infantry Division, 12-13 July 1950 . In the Records of U. S. Army Commands, Infantry Divisions 1940-1967, 24th ID, Box 528, RG 338, NARA.

After relieving the 24th Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division received some of the 24th Division’s 3.5s with ammunition. 21

21
War diary, 8th Cavalry Division, July 1950 . In the Records of U. S. Army Commands, Cavalry Regiments 1940-1967, Box 65, RG 338, NARA.

Although in short supply in the first weeks of the war, the 1st Cavalry Division's organic antitank weapons proved capable of successfully engaging and destroying the NKPA T-34 tanks.

[note]

South then North

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An M2 4.2 inch mortar crew, members of Heavy Weapons Company, 21st Infantry Regiment, fires on the attacking North Korean 4th Division near Choch'iwŏn, 11 July 1950.

The 4th Division had routed our 21st Regiment's 3rd Battalion before noon that day, killing the 3rd's CO and costing it 60 percent of its strength.

With the infantry in retreat, these positions were soon also overrun and these mortarmen escaped as best they could, if they could.

[note]

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Four tanks of A Company, 78th Heavy Tank Battalion, were lost to enemy action north of Choch'iwŏn on 10 and 11 July. [07-44]

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The 21st Infantry on 10 and 11 July north of Choch'iwŏn lost materiel and weapons sufficient to equip two rifle battalions and individual and organic clothing for 975 men.

At Ch'ŏnui the 3rd Division had passed the 4th on the main highway. It struck the blow against the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry. The 4th Division turned back from Ch'ŏnui and took the right fork toward Kongju, following the retreating 34th Infantry. [07-45]

[note]

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The 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, meanwhile, had covered the retreat on the Kongju road and fought a series of minor delaying actions against the leading elements of the N.K. 4th Division which had taken up the pursuit there.

Four light M24 tanks of the 78th Tank Battalion joined the battalion, and D Company of the 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion prepared demolitions along the road.

In the afternoon of 11 July, enemy action destroyed three of the four tanks, two of them by artillery fire and the third by infantry close attack when the tank tried to rescue personnel from a litter jeep ambushed by enemy infiltrators. Remnants of the 3rd Battalion had led the retreat. Reorganized as a composite company and re-equipped at Taejŏn, it returned to Kongju on the 11th.

[note]

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24th ID, 19th IR, 21st IR, 34th IR

Toward evening of the 11th, after he had full information of the fate of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, General Dean ordered A Company, 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion, to prepare every possible obstacle for the defense of the Choch'iwŏn area and to cover, if necessary, the withdrawal of the regiment.

Dean also started the 18th [19th?] Infantry Regiment and the 13th Field Artillery Battalion from Taegu and P'ohang-dong for Taejŏn during the day. [07-46]

That night the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, rested uneasily in its positions two miles north of Choch'iwŏn. It had to expect that the North Koreans would strike within hours.

[note]

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24th ID, 19th IR, 21st IR, 34th IR

Toward evening of the 11th, after he had full information of the fate of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, General Dean ordered A Company, 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion, to prepare every possible obstacle for the defense of the Choch'iwŏn area and to cover, if necessary, the withdrawal of the regiment.

Dean also started the 18th [19th?] Infantry Regiment and the 13th Field Artillery Battalion from Taegu and P'ohang-dong for Taejŏn during the day. [07-46]

That night the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, rested uneasily in its positions two miles north of Choch'iwŏn. It had to expect that the North Koreans would strike within hours.

[note]

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Late in the afternoon of 11 July the command post of the ROK 23rd Regiment withdrew south into Yŏngdök. When the 3rd Division commander arrived at P'ohang-dong, pursuant to Colonel Emmerich's request that he take personal command of his troops, he ordered the military police to shoot any ROK troops found in the town. That proved effective for the moment.

[note]

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Despite losses and low morale among its troops, officers drove the 2nd Division southward toward Chinch'ŏn, twenty miles east of Ch'ŏnan.

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There on 9 July, one day after Ch'ŏnan had fallen, the ROK Capital Division and South Korean police ambushed one of its battalions capturing four pieces of artillery and twenty-seven vehicles. This began a three-day battle between the enemy division and the ROK Capital Division.

9, 10, 11

[note]

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The Enemy Flanks Eighth Army in the West

The smallest detail, taken from the actual incident in war, is more instructive for me, a soldier, than all the Thiers and Jominis in the world. They speak, no doubt, for the heads of states and armies but they never show me what I wish to know-a battalion, a company, a squad, in action.
ARDANT DU PICQ, Battle Studies

The N.K. 6th, farthest to the west of the enemy divisions, had a special mission. After the fall of Sŏul, it followed the N.K. 3rd and 4th Divisions across the Han as far as Ch'ŏnan. There the N.K. Army issued new orders to it, and pursuant to them on 11 July it turned west off the main highway toward the west coast. For the next two weeks the division passed from the view of Eighth Army intelligence. Various intelligence summaries carried it as location unknown, or placed it vaguely in the northwest above the Kum River.

Actually, the 6th Division was moving rapidly south over the western coastal road net. Its shadow before long would turn into a pall of gloom and impending disaster over the entire U.N. plan to defend southern Korea. Its maneuver was one of the most successful of either Army in the Korean War. It compelled the redisposition of Eighth Army at the end of July and caused Tokyo and Washington to alter their plans for the conduct of the war.

[note]

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On the following day, July 11, Dick Stephens consolidated his blocking line at Choch'iwŏn. Brad Smith arrived with the other half of his 1/21, and for the first time in Korea Smith had the 1/21 in one piece. Stephens deployed it "in reserve" just to the south of Jensen's 3/21.

That morning, again concealed by ground fog, the NKPA hit Jensen's 3/21 in what the official Army historian Roy E. Appleman described as

"one of the most perfectly executed coordinated enemy assaults of the war."

In a matter of a few hours the 3/21 was encircled and shattered. Jensen was killed; most of the battalion staff was captured or missing. Only 150 of the 667 men in the 3/21 escaped that day to Brad Smith's lines. (Later another 172 straggled in.) Yet another battalion had been squandered.[4-83]

[note]

 

Citations

Medals   

Distinguished Service Cross

 

BERNARD, CARL F.

19500711 0000 DSC GAINOK

19500711 0000 DSC SHILLING

19500711 0000 DSC SPEAR

19500711 0000 DSC TYLER, RUSSELL P.

Silver Star

Beziat, Robert L. [Capt SS A78thHTB]

Clary, Homer F. [PFC SS K21stIR]

Dunn, Sidney C. [MSgt SS K21stIR]

Haag, Douglas Hopkins [2ndLt SS K24thIR]

Pickens, Freddie Freeman [Pvt SS L21stIR]

Sanders, Blanton [Cpl SS K21stIR]

Steele, John W. [SFC SS K21stIR]

Underdown, William F. [PFC SS HqCo3rdBn21stIR]

 

 

[note]

U.S. Air Force

 

From radio coverage and newspaper coverage, the press meeting accomplished the desired results of getting the Air Force story across. PIO reports "very favorable"ť reaction. First press release on inhumane treatment of POWs [prisoners of war]. Bodies of 7 American soldiers, "hands tied behind them were found by the roadside in territory recaptured from the North Koreans Monday. Each had been killed by a bullet in the face."ť Bodies found by a 1st Lt. Gates.[100]


The results of the missions yesterday proved that we were in error in putting the B-29s on a close ground support target. However, since General MacArthur personally directed same, we did it yesterday and will do it again today. Because of the B-29 strike, all of our B-26s yesterday hit bridges and other targets that were B-29 targets. The B-26s should have been used on the columns, motorized vehicles, tanks, etc. They were used this way as a result of orders issued by General Partridge and General Dean in close contact with their forward CPs.

My vice commander, Major General Laurence C. Craigie, and Mrs. Craigie, arrive Haneda 0943 hours. They were met by Annalee, our offer of hospitality, and by Major R.A. Maddocks, Craigie's administrative assistant here in FEAF. Also aboard were Colonels Lee and Botts, both to be assigned to Fifth Air Force - tentatively Lee goes into the air defense slot there and Botts will go to the 374th Troop Carrier at Tachikawa.101 Melgard reports 7 other colonels, all part of the USAF augmentation of FEAF, awaiting transportation out here from Hickam.


Generals Collins, Vandenberg, Rawlings, McKee, and Smith due to arrive tomorrow night at Haneda for a look-see and assist on our problems.102

1830 hours anv appointment with CINCFE: following items are those I will discuss with him.

1. On 13 July 50, initial strikes by FEAF Bomber Command (Prov)[isional] will be on the Wonsan Marshaling Yards and Rising Sun Petroleum Company. The 92d and 22d Bomb Groups will make up the strike force. Succeeding strikes on targets indicated on charts (Also took along several target photos.) will be assigned to facilitate a systematic collapse of a target system.

2. The 92d and 22d Bomb Groups from SAC have a high altitude all-weather capability.

 


The shoreline of Korea is dimly visible in the center of the photo as a formation of 92d BG Superfortresses head for their North Korean target.

3. Bomber Command will be given an opportunity to select targets within the systems except as otherwise indicated by FEAF.

4. General Partridge advised General Eubank by telephone today, at the pre- sent time, he had more fighter-bomber and fighter-strafer effort than profitable targets existed in the battle area. It is our opinion that this is an example of which we are right proud - that is we gave the working people on the ground much more than their needs.

5. Discuss the B-29 effort yesterday in support of the ground troops versus the B-26 effort on the isolation of the battlefield by the destruction of bridges.

6. Our target systems have now been completed to such a point that General O'Donnell, my bomber commander, can select and destroy targets regardless of weather.

7. I have issued direct orders to him (General O'Donnell) that no urban area targets will be attacked except on direct orders from you through me.

8. Again, since our first strike targets are bound to kill and wound civilians, I recommend that an announcement be made by you urging them to vacate all urban centers that are close to military targets; namely, railroad centers, airfields, heavy industry locations, harbors and sub bases, and POL [petroleum, oil, and lubricants] storage facilities and refineries.

Ground forces take beating in tank battle; those advanced armored groups were caught by Soviet-type tanks and gunfire that penetrated our tanks. From the press reports, vicious trading of blows, with our forces having to give way.


Craigie reports on job 12 July; they are coming to dinner and lunch with us. Nuckols arrives, unannounced, via PanAm; billeted at the Imperial.

[note]

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By 11 July the 24th Division crisis appeared to have been weathered, and

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on 13 July Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker assumed command of all U.S. Army forces in Korea, announcing his command as the Eighth U.S. Army in Korea (EUSAK), with headquarters at Taegu.

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That same day, MacArthur, finding another enemy troop concentration on the center of the EUSAK front, ordered FEAF to employ maximum B-26 and B-29 effort against transportation targets in an area which included Ŭmsŏng, Changhowŏn, Chech'on, and Changho-ri.

On 15 July MacArthur further informed Walker that future emergency use of medium bombers would be directed whenever EUSAK desired. He evidently meant to continue using medium bombers in the very manner which Stratemeyer lead thought wasteful in the first two weeks of hostilities.

[note]

Establishment of Air Superiority

The strangest phenomenon of the Korean war was that the North Korean forces should have been so excellently equipped with Russian armor and ordnance, reinforced with Chinese trained troops, and yet so meagerly supplied with Russian aircraft. The Communists must have thought that the United Nations would not intervene in Korea and that the obsolete Russian planes allotted to the NKAF could easily achieve air superiority over the almost nonexistent ROK air force. By the same token, North Korean ground troops at the beginning of hostilities revealed that they had not been trained to withstand hostile air attack. Whatever the reason for the paucity of North Korean air opposition, General Stratemeyer called the lack of determined enemy air power the paramount feature of the North Korean operation.

It was his opinion that any conclusions to be drawn from the first phase of the war in Korea had to be predicated upon the fact that the U. N. naval forces could operate close inshore, that Air Force planes remained virtually unchallenged by counter-air, and that the ground troops had nothing to fear from enemy air attacks. After its initial aggressiveness over Kimp'o and Suwŏn in the opening days of hostilities, the NKAF declined rapidly in effectiveness, but not without making determined efforts to assist the ground campaign. [Which was more that FEAF did!]

On 3 July

Minor strafing attacks were directed against the HMS Black Swan (U-57) and two ROK vessels on 3 July, and four Yaks dropped anti-personnel bombs on ROK troops south of Kimp'o, killing 68 ROK soldiers.

On 4 July aircraft knocked out a communications repeater station near Osan. Four planes strafed and bombed Chŏnju

on July 5 - there is nothing in the air force record.....

on 11 July, and

on July 12 - the next day - two Yaks destroyed a B-29 near Sŏul, while two others shot down an L-4 and attacked F-80's near Choch'iwŏn.

On 15 July two Yaks attacked four B- 26's, damaging one so badly that it had to land at Taejŏn. On this day seven Yaks were observed parked on Kimp'o, and the speed with which both Kimp'o and Suwŏn had been put back into shape for flying seemed to indicate that the enemy expected reinforcements.

After mid-July, however, enemy air attacks dwindled, and the next significant attack took place

on 23 August, when two Yaks badly damaged the HMS Comus (R-43).

The CINCFE staff, which had viewed enemy air intervention more seriously than FEAF for some time, saw the attack against shipping as evidence of an intensified North Korean air campaign and ordered FEAF to direct the Fifth Air Force to put field surveillance and attack in first priority.

Interdiction

(to the point of obsession)

Faced as it was with a numerically superior enemy, EUSAK required every assistance which the air could give to interdict movement of enemy troops, together with their supplies and equipment, to the South Korean battlefield. According to Field Manual 100-20, Command and Employment of Air Power, July 1943, interdiction was the second task of tactical air power:

The disruption of hostile lines of communication (and at times lines of signal communication), and destruction of supply dumps, installations, and the attack on hostile troop concentrations in rear areas will cause the enemy great damage and may decide the battle. This accomplishes the "isolation of the battlefield." If the hostile force is denied food, ammunition, and reinforcements, aggressive action on the part of our ground forces will cause him to retire and the immediate objective will be gained. Massed air action on these targets with well-timed exploitation by ground forces should turn the retirement into rout.

Experience during World War II had demonstrated the phrase "isolation of the battlefield" to be an unfortunate usage, for interdiction of enemy routes of travel far from the combat zone was found necessary to the proper accomplishment of this task.

If the enemy got men and material into areas adjacent to the battlefield, he could be expected to bring them the remainder of the way, no matter how bad the travel might be. Experience had also shown that a proper interdiction program must be well planned as to objectives and persistently sustained in its execution.

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. General Stratemeyer declared on 8 July that isolation of North Korean forces on the battlefield by the destruction of key bridges was the paramount objective of FEAF at that time.

When no enemy aircraft were present he directed that B-29's bomb individually and continue dropping single bombs until the assigned target was destroyed. Yet FEAF was not permitted to effect any coordinated and comprehensive program for interdiction until 28 July, more than a month after the beginning of Korean hostilities. This delay was due to CINCFE staff insistence that all types of air effort available be devoted primarily to close support, that such interdiction as was undertaken be in an area so adjacent to the battle area as to be little more than close support, and that targets for air attack be selected by a GHQ target group.

[note]

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10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. 17, 18.,19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

Despite the dubious results of medium bombers in close support, General O'Donnell was required to reserve 15 aircraft each day for primary effort against tactical targets along the battle line, and between 10 and 26 July he used 130 B-29 sorties in such activity.

Actually the first B-29 raid was not until the 13th.

[note]

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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.

6, 12, 27

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At the same time the Thirteenth Air Force was forming another F-51 squadron, utilizing the personnel of the 12th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. This so-called DALLAS squadron left Clark on 10 July, was flown to Johnson where it picked up F-51's, and by 15 July it had flown its first missions in combat. These two provisional units were combined at Taegu on 10 July as the 51st Fighter Squadron, Single Engine (Provisional).

6, 10, 12, 15, 27

On 16 July the first echelon of Fifth Air Force Advance headquarters was flown from Itazuke to new quarters in the city of Taegu, and by 24 July the whole body was located at that forward area.**

**The Joint Operations Center had already opened at Taejŏn on 5 July and had moved back to Taegu on 16 July 1950.

5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 16, 24, 27

Effective on 24 July the advance echelon was redesignated as the Fifth Air Force in Korea. Movement of additional tactical organizations to Korea awaited the re-equipment of those units with F-51's from the United States. The aircraft carrier USS Boxer (CV-21), which managed an eight day crossing of the Pacific, brought 145 F-51's which had been assembled for delivery by 27 July. General Stratemeyer had already prepared to use these F-51's when on 11 July he had approved a plan to move the 18th Fighter-Bomber Group with its 12th and 67th Squadrons from the Philippines for temporary duty with the Fifth Air Force. By 30 July this contingent had converted to F-51's at Johnson, and on 3 August it had reached Taegu, where, next day [4 August], the 51st Fighter Squadron (P) was returned to its old designation as the 12th Squadron.

5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 24, 27, 30 aug 3,4

With the arrival of a fighter group, the air base unit at Taegu was redesignated and expanded to become the 6002nd Fighter Wing, Single Engine, comprising temporary duty squadrons typical of a wing organization. Hardly had this new organization been set up on 1 August, than the threat of an enemy attack at Taegu forced the withdrawal of all heavy equipment and large portions of the personnel. The 67th Squadron went back to Ashiya and on 6-7 August the remainder of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Group followed it there.

5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 24, 27, 30 aug 3,4, 6, 7, 8,

On 8 August the 6002nd Fighter Wing also moved back to Ashiya, leaving behind a newly activated 6149th Air Base Unit to serve 18th Group fighters as they staged through Taegu on combat missions. Other aircraft managed the same routine, and a total of 2,368 sorties were flown from Taegu during August and early September. (about 50 per 45 days)

[note]

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Meanwhile, back in Japan the 40th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (35th Group) began to convert to F-51 Mustangs on 11 July and completed conversion on 16 July. On the latter day this squadron was alerted to move from Ashiya to P'ohang, and squadron air crews moved there that same day. At P'ohang the squadron was virtually out of contact with the world, since communications could not be established with Fifth Air Force headquarters, only 45 miles away across the mountains at Taegu. The 35th Fighter Group headquarters and its 39th Squadron remained at Ashiya during July, continuing operations with F-80C 's.

[note]

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Movement of additional tactical organizations to Korea awaited the re-equipment of those units with F-51's from the United States. The aircraft carrier USS Boxer (CV-21), which managed an eight-day crossing of the Pacific, brought 145 F-51's which had been assembled for delivery by 27 July.

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General Stratemeyer had already prepared to use these F-51's when on 11 July he had approved a plan to move the 18th Fighter-Bomber Group with its 12th and 67th Squadrons from the Philippines for temporary duty with the Fifth Air Force.

[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 [5th] 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]

After its initial aggressiveness over Kimp'o and Suwŏn in the opening days of hostilities, the NKAF declined rapidly in effectiveness, but not without making determined efforts to assist the ground campaign. Minor strafing attacks were directed against the HMS Black Swan (U-57) and two ROK vessels on 3 July, and four Yaks dropped anti-personnel bombs on ROK troops south of Kimp'o, killing 68 ROK soldiers.

On 4 July aircraft knocked out a communications repeater station near Osan.

Four planes strafed and bombed Chŏnju on 11 July, and the next day [12th] two Yaks destroyed a B-29 near Sŏul, while two others shot down an L-4 and attacked F-80 's near Choch'iwŏn.

[note]

Korean_War Korean_War

[The Air Force can't get their own shit together]

To handle the Korean engineering effort, FEAF established I Construction Command (Provisional) on 11 July and attached all Korean engineer units to it. When FEAF also indicated that its own director of installations was to command the new unit, General Partridge almost immediately objected, quite properly, on the grounds that his responsibility included Korean air operations and that he should therefore control the engineer effort there.

FEAF accordingly relinquished control of the provisional command to the Fifth Air Force, and Partridge named his own director of installations as its commander, but did not provide any staff for the new unit. It appears that this failure to establish an engineering staff in Korea at an early date proved a major deterrent to the construction of air bases there.**

As a result of this lack of staff supervision, airfields were selected by very sketchy ground reconnaissance and general intelligence, without soil tests, drainage checks, or exploration of the surrounding area for possible constructional materials. Even with the short constructional deadlines permitted, Lt. Col. William S. Shoemaker was of the opinion that some previous ground reconnaissance by an engineer staff would have been possible and of great assistance. As it was, the aviation engineer unit frequently was the first to get on the ground at the work site, and it usually found itself there with only verbal orders and no supply channels.

**When the advance echelon of the Fifth Air Force moved to Taegu on 16-17 July, it included only one engineer officer at staff level, Lt. Col. William S. Shoemaker.

[note]

On 11 July eight B-29's made contact with the Fifth Air Force's tactical air-control center and got good results against targets in the towns of Wŏnju, Chinch'ŏn, and P'yŏngt'aek. General Partridge nevertheless reported that he had more fighter-bombers than he had targets. He suggested that the medium bombers ought to be released from close support so that they could begin to attack targets deeper within enemy territory.#37

[note]

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After receiving this show of confidence [on the 10th] from the commander in chief, General Stratemeyer signed and dispatched formal mission letters to the FEAF Bomber Command and Fifth Air Force. On 11 July he directed Bomber Command to handle deep interdiction and strategic targets; on 12 July he made the Fifth Air Force responsible for tactical air operations in Korea.#39

[note] [note]

On 8 July, when working with the 21st Infantry Regiment at the little town of Ch'ŏnui, the weather cleared up enough so that Duerksen finally got a chance to control his first flight of F-80's onto a target.

Now the radio jeep revealed another vulnerability.

The control jeep had no remoting equipment, which would allow the forward air controller to leave the vehicle in a sheltered spot and advance on foot to a position from which he could see the target.

As Duerksen said,

"Any time that we would be able to get the jeep in a position where we were able to control, we would be exposed ourselves, and the Communists would start laying artillery in on us.#14

Within a few days attrition began to take a toll of the men and equipment of Detachment 1. The AN/ACR-1 was at once heavy and fragile, and it was quickly jolted out of operation by normal travel over the rough roads. Because of a lack of replacement parts and test equipment, only three radio-control jeeps were operational on 11 July.

[note]

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At the close of the day on 11 July General Partridge expressed a belief that the 24th Division had weathered its crisis. Reporting that he had more fighter-bomber and fighter-strafer capability than profitable targets, General Partridge suggested that the medium bombers could help most if they would attack bridges farther to the north which were serving the Communists.#54

[note]

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Navy headquarters in Tokyo apparently did not like this second memorandum any better than it had liked the first proposal, and, seeking a workable solution, General Stratemeyer and Admiral Joy, with a few of their subordinates, met on 11 July in General Almond's office at the Dai Ichi building.

Here Admiral Joy and his staff contended that the phrase "operational control" was so broad a definition that the Navy could not accept it.

To the Navy, "operational control" meant that its forces might be assigned to FEAF on a continuous basis, and this might be detrimental to the Seventh Fleet's mission in the Formosa area.

Someone finally suggested that FEAF could be vested with a more intermittent authority called "coordination control".# This term was acceptable to Admiral Joy, and General Stratemeyer, on the spur of the moment, thought that it would meet his requirements.#46

Following this agreement, the Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group drafted a directive which issued without further coordination over General Almond's signature on 15 July.

"When both Navy Forces, Far East, and Far East Air Forces are assigned missions in Korea," read this directive, "coordination control, a Commander in Chief, Far East, prerogative, is delegated to Commanding General, Far East Air Forces. #47

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[note]

Maj. Merrill H. Carlton, who arrived in Taejŏn on 11 July to undertake direction of the airborne control detachment, appealed strongly for more of the unarmed but speedy T-6's, each to he equipped with eight-channel AN/ARC-3 radio sets.

During their first few days of operations the airborne controllers demonstrated their value. Given pre-mission briefings by Colonel Murphy's combat operations section in Taejŏn' City, the airborne controllers reconnoitered the front lines, located worth-while targets, and "talked" fighter-bomber pilots to successful attacks against the enemy objectives.

"There was no definite system," said one of the early airborne controllers, "the only thing we had was an aeronautical chart and a radio.... We went into the back of the enemy lines and reconnoitered the roads. . . . We saw some tanks, got on each radio channel until we got fighters in the Choch'iwŏn area, and any fighter who heard us would give us a call and we would give them the target."


82
U.S. Air Force in Korea
CLOSE AIR SUPPORT StrIKE

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A close support strike is carried out within 40 minutes. The mission begins at TACP and ends when the aircraft return to home base.
Drawing the Battleline 83

[note]

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Within a few days attrition began to take a toll of the men and equipment of Detachment 1. The AN/ACR-1 was at once heavy and fragile, and it was quickly jolted out of operation by normal travel over the rough roads. Because of a lack of replacement parts and test equipment, only three radio-control jeeps were operational on 11 July. On this day Lt. Arnold Rivedal-a young officer who was described as "very willing and eager...a very fine example"-was hit by a burst of hostile fire while reconnoitering along the front lines. His radio operator and. mechanic survived and evaded capture, but Lieutenant Rivedal was lost in action, with his radio jeep.#15

Later that day [7/11], while moving north from a regimental command post at Choch'iwŏn toward the front lines, Lt. Philip J. Pugliese and his party were cut off by a North Korean road block. They destroyed their equipment and desided to walk out, but two of the airmen-S/Sgt. Bird Hensley and Pfc. Edward R. Logston never returned to friendly territory.#16

As the first week of American air-ground operations ended, [7/2-/8] certain facts were becoming evident. The rough roads of Korea were quickly battering the old AN/ARC-1 jeeps out of commission. The unarmored jeeps, more-over, could not be exposed to enemy fire, and thus the TACP's could seldom get far enough forward for maximum effectiveness. Under normal circumstances, Army units were supposed to request air-support missions against specific targets through the air-ground operations section of the JOC. But the 24th Division was retreating, [only after the 5th!] and, more often than not, its battalions were unable to identify points of enemy strength on their front lines. American ground troops badly needed close support, yet the jet fighters, limited to a short time at lower altitudes over the front lines, had to have an immediate target for air attack in order to give effective ground support.

[note]

Again, on 11 July, General Partridge continued to give all-out air support to the 24th Division, and for a second day ten B-29's reported to the tactical air-control center at Taejŏn for supporting mission assignments. Colonel Murphy now sent the medium bombers against targets located in the towns of
Wŏnju,
Chinch'ŏn,
and P'yŏngt'aek.

[three bombers to each town or all 10?]

Hostile concentrations were reported in each of these towns, and the targets were far enough removed from the battleline so that the B-29's would not complicate the tactical air effort.

[note]

Next day, in the same area, three Yaks surprised a flight of F-80's while the latter pilots were strafing ground targets. The jet pilots successfully evaded, but they were low on fuel and could not counterattack. On 12 July Communist pilots were extremely active. Enemy fighters shot down a single 19th Group B-29 which was attacking targets in the vicinity of Sŏul. In midafternoon two Yaks jumped a flight of F-80's while the latter were strafing in the frontlines near Choch'iwŏn. Once again the jet pilots evaded and escaped damage but they were unable to pursue their attackers. Later in the afternoon two other Yaks shot down an L-4 liaison plane.#92

[note]

More serious than the natural disadvantages of Korea for building airfields was the shortage of aviation engineer constructional skills and capabilities throughout the Far East. To handle Korean construction, FEAF established the I Construction Command (Provisional) on 11 July, and General Partridge named his director of installations as its commander.

But the I Construction Command was able to obtain no officers to serve on its staff, and, as a result of this lack of staff supervision, airfield sites were selected after very sketchy ground reconnaissance, without soil tests, drainage checks, or exploration of the surrounding area for available constructional materials.

Even in view of the fact that there was really little choice in airfield sites and constructional deadlines were quite short, Lt. Col. William S. Shoemaker, staff engineer at Advance Headquarters, Fifth Air Force, said that some prior ground reconnaissance by an engineer staff officer would have been possible and would have been of great advantage. As it was, the engineer aviation work unit was frequently first to get on the ground at the work site, and it usually found itself there with indefinite verbal orders and no established channels for securing supplies and constructional materials.#89

Looking back at the experience, the Fifth Air Force director of installations commented that:

"Too little engineering and too many `eyeball' principles were used. "#90

[note]

U.S. Marine Corps

There [San Diego], beginning on 11 July 1950, the 2,643 riflemen and combat support specialists assigned to the 5th Marines boarded the transport ships USS Henrico (APA-45) , USS George Clymer (APA-27), USS Pickaway (APA-222), and the dock landing ships USS Gunston Hall (LSD-5) and USS Fort Marion (LSD-22)

[note]

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On 11 July, as Brigade preparations for sailing neared a climax, General Shepherd sent the first report of his visit to Korea. He and Colonel Krulak had held conferences with General MacArthur, Admiral Joy and Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, commanding Amphibious Planning Group 1.

The commander in chief, said Shepherd, already envisioned a great amphibious operation with a complete Marine division and air components as his landing force. Not only was he “enthusiastic,” about the employment of Marines, but he believed in the necessity for employing them as an air-ground team.[24]

MacArthur was “not sanguine” about the situation in Korea. He felt that the nature of enemy resistance, combined with the rugged terrain and the possibilities of Soviet or Red Chinese intervention, threatened to protract operations. Thus he favored a Marine amphibious landing far in the enemy’s rear to cut off and destroy the North Korean columns of invasion.[25]

General Shepherd’s report made it seem likely, just before the Brigade sailed, that its units would probably be absorbed soon into a Marine division with an amphibious mission. For the present, however, it was enough to start the movement from Pendleton and El Toro to San Diego, where the convoy awaited.

MAG–33 had orders to embark in the transports USS General A. E. Anderson (APA-111) and USNS Achernar (AKA-53) and the carrier (CVE–116) Badoeng Strait. The ground forces would make the voyage in the LSD’s USS Fort Marion (LSD-22) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD-5), the AKA’s USS Alshain (AKA-55) and USS Whiteside (AKA-90), and the APA’s USS Pickaway (APA-222), USS George Clymer (APA-27) and USS Henrico (APA-45).[26]

[note]

As a preliminary step in the P'ohang landing, a reconnaissance party of Army, Navy, and Marine officers flew from Tokyo on 11 July into the objective area. They returned two days later with valuable information about the beaches, depths of water, and unloading facilities.

[note]

U.S. Navy

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11 July CNO authorized activation of ships from the Reserve Fleet. N.K. Prisoner of War reported mines laid vicinity of Ch'ŏngjin.

[note]

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USS Toledo in Korean waters, November 1952

USS Toledo (CA-133) reached Pearl Harbor on the 9th and left on the 11th;

[note]

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the USS Helena (CA-75) group arrived on the 11th and left on the 13th;

[note]

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But there were also major problems. The first of these, and one which would recur throughout the war, was the problem of intelligence: nobody knew much about P'ohang. If one proposes to put landing craft up on the beach in order to get troops ashore it is desirable to know the underwater characteristics of the objective area, but although American forces had occupied South Korea, and had undertaken to conduct a mapping program, Korean beach gradients and much else remained a mystery.

This, it may be observed, was no new experience; the same situation had prevailed in the Philippines after 40 years of American occupation. In January 1945, when American attack forces set forth for Lingayen Gulf and the re-conquest of Luzon, information concerning those beaches, which other Americans had previously defended against the Japanese, was conspicuous by its absence. Yet experience had not taught convincingly the need for basic intelligence studies, and so far as
South Korea was concerned the lack of information, as Admiral Doyle remarked, "was appalling."

Fortunately there was a solution. P'ohang was still in friendly hands. On 10 July U.S. troops were reported guarding the airstrip, an aviation engineer unit was landed by LST, and Fifth Air Force was preparing to move in a fighter squadron. On the 11th some officers from the Amphibious Group and Cavalry Division staffs were flown to P'ohang, to return two days later with useful and previously unavailable information.

[note]

On the 5th Admiral Andrewes, with HMS Belfast (C-35), Cossack and HMS Cossack (D-57), 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.

6, 7,8 ,9 10, 11, 12, 13,14 ,15, 16

[note]

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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.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14

[note]

Admiral Hartman’s force was only a day out of Long Beach when USS Toledo (CA-133) was ordered forward at best speed, and two days later USS Helena (CA-75) and Destroyer Division 111 were detached from the task group with orders to hurry onward. Thus scattered by the need for haste the ships steamed west:

USS Toledo (CA-133) reached Pearl Harbor on the 9th and left on the 11th; the USS Helena (CA-75) group arrived on the 11th and left on the 13th; the tankers, the submarines, and the two remaining destroyers pressed on behind. For destroyers en route to the Far East the distances west of Pearl posed problems of fuel consumption: steaming at 24 knots would save a day in transit, as compared to steaming at economical speed, but would also necessitate refueling. But the oilers with which they had left the coast were far behind, none was available at Pearl for forward deployment, and the facilities at Midway Island, on the direct route westward, had been deactivated in May on instructions from the Department of Defense.

The budgetary ceiling had thus affected not only the strength of the Pacific Fleet but also its mobility in time of crisis. Reactivation of Midway was clearly in the cards, but for the moment extemporization was necessary. Two chief petty officers, recent graduates of the Service Force Petroleum School, were rounded up and embarked on the first destroyer as it was leaving Pearl Harbor. On arrival at Midway the chiefs activated the fuelling system and replenished two of the destroyers from the oil which remained in the tanks, while Helena refueled the others.

With the war still in its second week very considerable reinforcements were on their way. Three days after American troops first entered action, naval fighting strength equal to the original Western Pacific deployment had set sail from the continental United States. But the departure of these units from the west coast found the Pacific Fleet approaching the bottom of the barrel. On 8 July, in order to provide some slight reserve for new contingencies, the Chief of Naval Operations authorized the activation of certain units of the mothball fleet.

[note]

The Journey to Korea and First Assignments

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The 24th’s band, which would stay behind at Gifu, played at the railroad station on 11 and 12 July, when the regiment departed Gifu on the first leg of its journey to Korea. The mood among the men was upbeat, bandsman Walter Bufford recalled. It seemed like a football game. The soldiers even called out as they passed, “Be ready to play us back at Thanksgiving!”59

Although few of the men could recall any problems, disturbances did apparently occur. Many Japanese girls were present. Some climbed aboard one of the trains, slowing its departure by what seemed to mortarman William Hough several hours. Soldiers were pulling them through the windows, Hough said, and the police had problems getting them off.

In another case, according to rifleman William Gregg, a black GI attempted to kiss his Japanese girlfriend goodbye on the loading platform at Camp Gifu. When a military policeman intervened, a scuffle occurred in which a number of nearby men participated.

In the end, those incidents were minor.

Much more menacing was a little noticed pattern of activity witnessed by a white platoon leader in Company K who had just arrived from the 7th Infantry Division, 2nd Lt. Alfred Tittel. As the trains pulled out, Tittel said, girls ran alongside, passing packages through the windows to their boyfriends within. Some of the bundles, according to Tittel, were later found to contain drugs.60

During the trip that followed, due to unexpected congestion at the ports, the Eighth Army diverted the 24th from its original destination at Sasebo to Camp Juno near the port of Moji, 100 miles to the northeast. It did the same to the all-white 27th and 35th Infantries, portions of which also used Moji.

Since no plans had been prepared to load the 24th at the port, an advance party of four officers had to improvise everything. Within a scant sixteen hours they set up a holding facility at Moji and a loading area at Kokura; located a small collection of fishing boats, fertilizer haulers, coal carriers, and tankers to transport the regiment to Korea; and made what arrangements they could to accommodate the unit’s men before the convoy departed. A lack of time and proper facilities kept the officers from preparing personnel- loading rosters. They also found it impossible to draw up plans to connect and move the regiment’s various parts with their equipment. Instead, equipment and personnel went on board the ships in the approximate order of their arrival.61

The confusion that reigned when the men of the 24th began pouring into the port provided an opportunity for lawless elements within the regiment to step out of line. While officers struggled to feed the troops and organize loading details, a number of individuals from Pierce’s 3rd Battalion decided to slip away for one last evening in town. Shortly thereafter the regimental adjutant, Major Wooldridge, received a call from the 25th Division’s assistant commander, Brig. Gen. Vennard Wilson, who stated that enlisted men from the 24th were “all over town causing disorders, such as being drunk, fighting, beating up civilians, and attempting rape.”62

The assistant operations officer of the 3rd Battalion, white 2nd Lt. Roscoe Dann, recalled walking down the middle of a street with Wilson and ordering men to “fall in.” He did not recall any great problem. A cook with the 3rd Battalion, Joseph Davis, however, remembered vividly that some of the men had weapons and that “they shot the town up. It was very bad.” A platoon leader in Company I, black 2nd Lt. Reginald J. Sapenter, also recalled shooting. He was alerted in the middle of the night, he said, to go into town and round up the troops. He met General Wilson in a jeep in the middle of a road and warned him to take cover because the men had weapons and ammunition and were taking pot shots. Wilson responded that Sapenter and his men had weapons as well, the clear implication being that they should respond as the situation dictated. In the end, return fire was unnecessary. Over the next three hours, according to Wooldridge, battalion officers organized squads to comb the town, detaining about seventy-five enlisted men and marching them down to the docks where they were needed to load ships. A number more escaped.63

Since all concerned rejoined their units and everyone embarked on time for Korea, neither the regiment nor the Eighth Army was much inclined to pursue the matter. When the Japanese police lodged a formal complaint, however, alleging that approximately one hundred black deserters from an unknown unit had killed a Japanese citizen, seriously injured another, and committed acts of rape, U.S. military authorities in Japan had no choice but to investigate. Unable to contact Wooldridge or other eyewitnesses within the 24th who could have confirmed, as enlisted man Joseph Davis put it, that the 24th had “shot up” Moji, the investigators were quick to dismiss the report as a gross exaggeration. Only ten soldiers had been implicated, they asserted, and no one had been killed or injured. They did concede, however, that the troops involved had responded with gunfire when the military police had arrived and that no one had been punished.64

Although only a small minority of the more than three thousand members of the 24th were involved in those incidents and the majority of the unit’s men went off to war without demur, the wholesale change of officers preceding and even during the move, the rumors and lack of communication attending it, and the episodes of un-discipline at Gifu and Moji raise many questions.

Were the regiment’s leaders at all levels, especially the new officers in the companies, capable of overcoming the problems that were clearly widespread within the regiment while at the same time dealing with the special circumstances of war? Would the lack of trust within the unit between whites and blacks, both officer and enlisted, have a bearing on how the regiment performed in battle? Was discipline, itself a function of trust, sufficient to give the men the tenacity and determination they would need to survive in combat?

Whatever the answers, the problems that accompanied the 24th’s move to Korea appear not to have occurred in all-white regiments making the same journey. Because of that, the disorders tended to confirm the prejudiced stereotypes of whites who were already disposed to question the decision to commit an all-black regiment to the war. “[Despite] the background of WW II in which like organizations functioned, the training background of the 24th in Japan and the inherent characteristic [sic] of the negro soldier,” the 35th Infantry’s commander, Colonel Fisher, thus avowed,

“the decision was to move the organization to Korea. The undisciplinary conduct on the part of this organization while it was awaiting sea transportation in Kokura, Japan, was a final demonstration indicative of the type of conduct which could be expected against an enemy.”65

The trip from Moji, on Japan’s west coast, to Pusan, on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula, occurred on 11 and 12 July, took more than twelve hours, and covered 150 miles. With conditions Spartan in port and aboard ship, it was anything but refreshing for the officers or the men of the 24th. The equipment and personnel of the regiment were loaded on an assortment of old Japanese and American ships, many of them used for hauling fish and fertilizer.

“After much confusion,”

the 3rd Battalion’s war diary noted:

the battalion was alerted to board ship at 1200 hours and movement to the docks began. . . . Three companies . . . were returned to the staging area by direction of Brigadier General Wilson . . . with orders to wait there until all material, equipment, etc., had been loaded. At 2013 hours the units were again ordered aboard ship and . . . loaded on a Japanese vessel, Hari-Mura [sic], during the remainder of the night . . . The Battalion Commander and the Executive Officer were fortunate in being billeted in a 6’X 15’ cabin. There was no fresh water, cooking facilities, nor toilets aboard ship. All the rest of the battalion sat or slept on the filthy deck.66

Years afterward, the commander of the battalion’s Company L, Captain Biggs, recalled that the ship assigned to his unit still had fish in its hold. Alluding to the pungent smell that hung over much of Korea because the farmers of the country used human waste as fertilizer, he commented that “we stunk of fish and the smell of Pusan before we even saw it.”67

If the crossing to Korea proceeded without problems for most of the 24th, disorders continued here and there aboard ship. According to Lieutenant Komp, some stealing of rations, equipment, and even rifles occurred among the men on his ship. It was a sign, he said, that at least a few had little trust in their fellows and viewed the coming test of battle as every man for himself. Others, rifleman James Burke observed, had loaded a truck with “booze.” As a result, he said, “When we got to Korea, most of us were feeling pretty good.”68

In fact, if some seemed to be out for themselves, morale among the majority of the regiment’s members was high. Taking Colonel White at his word and packing their “pinks and greens” for a victory parade, few of the officers expected the war to last long. As for the enlisted men, some, according to rifleman Jerry Johnson, seemed eager to get to the front because the war would be an adventure, and it provided an opportunity to earn the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Others, according to rifleman Nathaniel Pipkins, were just

“tired of running up and down [the training area at] Fuji. This would be different.”69

All elements of the regiment had reached Pusan by 1400 on 13 July. When they arrived, they encountered a number of problems brought on by the haste in which the United States had gone to war. A lack of cranes and other equipment for unloading the ships at the port of Pusan was complicated by a sit-down strike by local stevedores either sympathetic to the Communists or hoping to sell their services at the highest possible profit. In the end, some units enlisted help in unloading their ships at gunpoint while others did the work themselves.70

Although indicative of poor discipline in portions of the 24th and a source of doubts on the part of whites about the advisability of committing the regiment to war, disturbances at Gifu [their base] and later at the port of Moji on the first leg of the trip from Japan to Korea involved only a small minority of the unit's men and said little about its readiness.

In fact, on paper, the 24th was probably more prepared for combat than the other regiments of the 25th Division. It had three full battalions instead of the two characteristic of the post-World War II Army, and if its equipment was old and worn and its men nervous and unseasoned, it had, at least, exercised at the regimental level in field maneuvers.

Gifu only here. Moji 7/2 noting about any trouble.

Korean_War

Gifu Japan to Moji Japan

At Gifu wholesale changes in command, designed to improve leadership but calculated as well to ensure that segregation persisted on the field of battle, may have improved the quality of leadership in some units, but they fostered resentment in others, and they left intact the racial prejudice that would fester beneath the surface of the regiment in the weeks to come.

At Moji the rioting and looting brought on by a lack of discipline in part of one battalion augured poorly for the regiment as a whole. For if some companies seemed reasonably well trained and led, others clearly lacked the sort of discipline and leadership they would need during the trials to come.

[note]


0000 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/10/50
9:00 AM
07/10/50
10:00 AM
07/10/50
3:00 PM
07/11/50
12:00 AM

The North Koreans who had been driven from the 3rd Battalion's position shortly after midnight, together no doubt with other infiltrators, apparently had provided detailed and accurate information of the 3rd Battalion's defenses and the location of its command post. The attack disorganized the battalion and destroyed its communications before it had a chance to fight back.

0100 Korean Time

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0136 Korean Time

Korean_War

Sun Rise 0519 1952
Moon Rise 0136 1645
Moon Phase 11% 26 days

0200 Korean Time

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0300 Korean Time

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0400 Korean Time

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Korean_War

Smith arrived there with B and C Companies before dawn of 11 July. A and D Companies had re-equipped at Choch'iwŏn and they joined with B and C Companies to reunite the 1st Battalion. Colonel Smith now had his battalion together in Korea for the first time.

[note]

Service Troops

Without an adequate support base behind the battle line in Korea and in the larger service area in Japan, the fighting units could not sustain their desperate defense, much less attack. Although the greatest emphasis was placed on infantry, artillery, armored, and other combat-type units and soldiers during July, the demand for service units and troops increased steadily.

Technical service units to supply front-line soldiers, to repair damaged weapons and equipment, to keep communications in operation, and to perform the hundreds of vital support operations required by a modern army, had been at a premium in the FEC when the war broke out.

Japanese specialists and workmen performed in large part the peacetime version of service support for the Far East Command. The few available service units had been depleted when specialists and other trained men had been handed rifles and sent to fight as infantry.

Some types of combat and non-combat support were needed more immediately than other types. In view, for instance, of the hundreds of tons of ammunition of all types on its way to the Far East Command for the Korean fighting, ordnance specialists qualified to handle ammunition were needed at once.

Korean_War

General MacArthur asked on 11 July that several hundred officers and men qualified for this function be flown to his area with all possible haste

The next day he sent a detailed requisition for Army technical service units, showing, in order of priority within each service, the support units needed immediately and those needed later to carry on the essential service support operations in Japan by replacing units scheduled for Korea.

[note]

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0519 Sun Rise

(Notes)

With these targets in mind equipment had already been procured and plans worked out to land a demolition party, and following another night on coastal patrol and a dawn bombardment of Yangyang and Sokch'o, USS Juneau (CLAA-119) and USS Mansfield (DD-728) headed north for the region between Tanch'ŏn and Sŏngjin.

Korean_War

[note]

0600 Korean Time

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4:00 PM
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Korean_War

Smith arrived there with B and C Companies before dawn of 11 July. A and D Companies had re-equipped at Choch'iwŏn and they joined with B and C Companies to reunite the 1st Battalion. Colonel Smith now had his battalion together in Korea for the first time.

[note]

0630 Korean Time

Korean_War

At 0630 that morning, men in the 3rd Battalion position heard tanks to their front on the other side of a mine field, but could not see them because of fog. Within a few minutes four enemy tanks crossed the mine field and loomed up in the battalion area. Simultaneously, enemy mortar fire fell on the battalion command post, blowing up the communications center, the ammunition supply point, and causing heavy casualties among headquarters troops.

Approximately 1,000 enemy infantry enveloped both flanks of the position. Some forward observers had fine targets but their radios did not function. In certain platoons there apparently was no wire communication. Consequently these forward observers were unable to call in and direct mortar and artillery fire on the North Koreans.

This attack on the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, was one of the most perfectly co-ordinated assaults ever launched by North Koreans against American troops.

The North Koreans who had been driven from the 3rd Battalion's position shortly after midnight, together no doubt with other infiltrators, apparently had provided detailed and accurate information of the 3rd Battalion's defenses and the location of its command post. The attack disorganized the battalion and destroyed its communications before it had a chance to fight back.

Enemy roadblocks behind the battalion prevented evacuation of the wounded or re-supplying the battalion with ammunition. For several hours units of the battalion fought as best they could. Many desperate encounters took place.

In one of these, when an enemy machine gun placed a band of fire on K Company's command post, Pvt. Paul R. Spear, armed with only a pistol, charged the machine gun emplacement alone, entered it with his pistol empty and, using it as a club, routed the enemy gunners. Enemy fire seriously wounded him. [07-43]

[note]

0700 Korean Time

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0730 Korean Time

Korean_War

At 0730, 11 July, the 1st Battalion was in position along the highway two miles north of Choch'iwŏn. [07-42] Four miles north of it Colonel Jensen's 3rd Battalion was already engaged [0630] with the North Koreans in the next battle.

[note]

0800 Korean Time

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0940 Korean Time

Korean_War

on the 12th
All this seems straightforward. It had not been. Ironically, perhaps, the conflict had not been interservice but intraservice. In any case, it had been considerable, and Joy’s operation order was the consequence of this conflict.

At 0940 on 11 July, Struble had sent to Joy (with Sherman and Radford as information addressees) a message protesting that “Doyle’s tentative task organization . . . and your [message] apparently contemplate organizing a close air support group which will be directly under Doyle. I recommend that in the employment of heavy carriers the task force concerned not be placed under the amphibious commander but be directed to support his operations.

Direct orders to carrier force concerned would then emanate through NAVFE.”[cmdctl-21]

Three hours later, [12:40] Sherman sent Radford, then in Tokyo, a message (marked to be seen only by the admiral personally) to ensure settlement of the command-relations problem in Struble’s favor. His language was to the point: “COM7THFLT1110400 [the “date-time group,” converted to Greenwich Mean Time, of Commander, Seventh Fleet’s 0940message] is in accordance [with] accepted practice as to command relationships. I will not concur in placing carriers under command of COMPHIBGROUP ONE. If naval command relationships cannot be worked out properly and harmoniously am prepared to consider your recommendations for changes in personalities.”[cmdctl-22]

[note]

1000 Korean Time

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1100 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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1130 Korean Time

Korean_War

Before noon, survivors [of the 3rd battalion] in small groups made their way back toward Choch'iwŏn. Enemy fire killed Colonel Jensen, the battalion commander, and Lt. Leon J. Jacques, Jr., his S-2, when they tried to cross a stream in the rear of their observation post.

The battalion S-1 and S-3, Lieutenants Cashe and Lester, and Capt. O'Dean T. Cox, commanding officer of L Company, were reported missing in action.

The 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, lost altogether nearly 60 percent of its strength in this action.

Of those who escaped, 90 percent had neither weapons, ammunition, nor canteens, and, in many instances, the men had neither helmets nor shoes. One officer of L Company who came out with some men said that after he and others had removed an enemy machine gun blocking their escape route many uninjured men by the side of the road simply refused to try to go on.

One noncom said, "Lieutenant, you will have to go on. I'm too beat up. They'll just have to take me." A remnant of 8 officers and 142 men able for duty was organized into a provisional company of three rifle platoons and a heavy weapons company.

[note]

1200 Korean Time

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MacArthur gave Joy additional instructions on 11 July.

Loading of the ships of the transport and tractor Group, as it was termed by the operation order, commenced at noon that day; it departed for Pusan on 13 July.

[note]

1240 Korean Time

Three hours later [9:40+3:0] , Sherman sent Radford, then in Tokyo, a message (marked to be seen only by the admiral personally) to ensure settlement of the command-relations problem in Struble’s favor. His language was to the point:

“COM7THFLT 1110400 [the “date-time group,” converted to Greenwich Mean Time, of Commander, Seventh Fleet’s 0940 message] is in accordance [with] accepted practice as to command relationships. I will not concur in placing carriers under command of COMPHIBGROUP ONE. If naval command relationships cannot be worked out properly and harmoniously am prepared to consider your recommendations for changes in personalities.”[cmdctl-22]

[note]

1300 Korean Time

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1500 Korean Time

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1600 Korean Time

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1800 Korean Time

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1900 Korean Time

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1952 Sun Set

2000 Korean Time

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At 2000 on the 11th the ships slowed and the demolition party, a lieutenant and four enlisted Marines and four gunner’s mates, led by Commander William B. Porter, USS Juneau (CLAA-119)’s executive officer, transferred from the cruiser to USS Mansfield (DD-728). Moving onward through the darkness the two ships reached the target area, ten miles south of Sŏngjin, at midnight.

[note]

2100 Korean Time

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2350 Korean Time

Korean_War

Action against the Kum River Line began first on the left (west), in the sector of the 34th Infantry.

From Sŏul south the N.K. 4th Division had borne the brunt of the fighting against the 24th Division and was now down to 5,000-6,000 men, little more than half strength. Approximately 20 T34 tanks led the division column, which included 40 to 50 pieces of artillery. Just before midnight of 11 July the 16th Regiment sent out scouts to make a reconnaissance of the Kum, learn the depth and width of the river, and report back before 1000 the next morning.

Korean_War

An outpost of the 34th Infantry I&R Platoon during the night captured one of the scouts, an officer, 600 yards north of the river opposite Kongju. The regiment's mission was the capture of Kongju. [10-6]

U.N. air attacks on North Korean armor, transport, and foot columns had become by now sufficiently effective so that the enemy no longer placed his tanks, trucks, and long columns of marching men on the main roads in broad daylight. The heavy losses of armor and equipment to air attack in the vicinity of P'yŏngt'aek, Ch'ŏnui, and Ch'ŏnan in the period of 7 to 10 July had wrought the change. Now, in approaching the Kum, the enemy generally remained quiet and camouflaged in orchards and buildings during the daytime and moved at night. The North Koreans also used back roads and trails more than in the first two weeks of the invasion, and already by day were storing equipment and supplies in railroad tunnels. [10-7]

The N.K. 4th Division Crosses the Kum Below Kongju

On the high ground around Kongju, astride the Kongju-Nonsan road, the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry, was in its defensive positions. On line from left to right were L, I, and K Companies, with the mortars of M Company behind them. The 63rd Field Artillery Battalion was about two and a half miles south of the Kum in their support. Three miles farther south, the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, was in an assembly area astride the road. [10-8] (Map 6)

Korean_War

Communication between the 3rd Battalion units was practically nonexistent. For instance, L Company could communicate with only one of its squads, and it served as a lookout and was equipped with a sound power telephone. The L Company commander, 1st Lt. Archie L. Stith, tried but failed at the 3rd Battalion headquarters to obtain a radio that would work. He had communication with the battalion only by messenger. Procurement of live batteries for Signal Corps radios SCR-300's and 536's was almost impossible, communication wire could not be obtained, and that already laid could not be reclaimed. [10-9]

[note]

2359 Korean Time

Moving onward through the darkness the two ships (USS Mansfield (DD-728) and USS Juneau (CLAA-119) reached the target area, ten miles south of Sŏngjin, at midnight.

Korean_War

USS Mansfield (DD-728) closed to within 1,000 yards of the beach, hove to and lowered her whaleboat, and the demolition party went on in. The landing was without incident, no opposition was encountered, and after considerable scrambling around the precipitous terrain the party managed to locate the tunnel and rig two 60-pound charges for detonation by the next train.

[note]


Casualties

Tuesday July 11, 1950 (Day 17)

Korean_War 167 Casualties

As of July 11, 1950

1 11TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (155MM)
159 21ST INFANTRY REGIMENT
5 34TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 3RD ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
1 8668TH ARMY UNIT MISSIONS COMMAND
167 19500711 0000 Casualties by unit

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 30 255 0 0 0 285
Today 167 0 0 0 167
Total 30 422 0 0 0 452

Aircraft Losses Today 001

Notes for Tuesday July 11, 1950 - Day 17