Overview

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Duration July 15 – July 19
Peak intensity
110 km/h (70 mph) (1 -min), Unknown

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Tropical Storm Flossie

Category 1 typhoon (SSHS)
Duration July 16 – July 21
Peak intensity
130 km/h (80 mph) (1 -min), Unknown

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July 16 to 21 Typhoon Grace

Headquarters Fort Lewis was reestablished and the post staff was announced in General Orders No. 1, dated 12 July 1950. Brigadier General Frederic L. Hayden, Commanding General of the 31st AAA Brigade, was designated post commander effective the 18th of July.

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July 18 - U.S. Cavalry land at P'ohang dong .

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July 18
The U.S. 1st Cavalry Division lands at P'ohang. Part of the division heads north to Yŏngdök, while the rest moves inland through guerrilla-infested mountains to Yŏngch'ŏn and Taegu.

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-- MacArthur announces that the 25th Infantry Division has landed at Pusan.

-- The general also declares there will be no press censorship of news media reporting on the war in South Korea. He says he will trust reporters not to reveal information that is damaging to the UN war effort. Several reporters already banned for writing about certain developments have their credentials restored. At the same time, MacArthur directs the Japanese government to continue the ban on communist publications.

-- The U.S. Army reveals that Russian military advisors are serving with North Korean units fighting in South Korea.

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July 10
The 25th Infantry Division in Japan begins loading gear onto ships to move to Korea. The movement will be complete July 18.

Cpl. Ernie Wheeler, 30, San Francisco, a Stars and Stripes reporter, and INS reporter Ray Richards, 56, Denver, are killed covering combat

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18 July 1950
Two SB-17s were dispatched this date for orbit missions. Eighteen hours and thirty-five minutes (18:35) were logged on these missions.

Received a call from Itazuke Air Base at 1100/K that a man at Fukaeshima (37° 40' N - 128° 45' E) had blood poisoning of the arm and needed to be evacuated to the 118th Station Hospital for further medical treatment. One L-5 was dispatched at 1120/K to evacuate the patient. The L-5 landed at Brady Field at 1450/K completing the mission as the patient was turned over to medical personnel of the 118th Station Hospital at Brady Field. A total of three hours and thirty five minutes (3:35) was logged on this flight.

At 0745/K the Flight received a call from ADCC that a Mayday had been picked up 37 miles out and to stand by.

At 0805/K were notified that the Mayday was false.

Meanwhile, Flight "C" personnel were alerted for an air evacuation from Misawa Air Base to Camp Haugen (40° 33' N - 141° 28' E). The patient, a dependent wife, was confined at the base Medical Dispensary & suffering from possible appendicitis.

Patient was delivered to the flight line at 1617/K from where a H-5H airborne at 1620/K evacuated the dependent wife, arriving at Camp Haugen 1635/K with no further incident. Mission successful.

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July 18: The 19th BG modified some B-29s for the use of radio-guided bombs (razon) to enable them to bomb bridges more accurately.

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USN F9F-3/AD-2 14 x U/I destroyed on ground 13 x U/I damaged


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The Panthers became a mainstay of Navy and Marine forces in Korea. They were the first carrier jets to fly in combat, shooting down two YAK-9s on their first mission in July 1950. Later, in November, LCdr. W. T. Amen, C.O. of VF-111, was the first carrier jet pilot to shoot down a MiG-15.

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On the 18th, the transport group (Task Force 91) rendezvoused with the “tractor group” off the objective. P'ohang

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19500718 0000 DSC GAY, HOBART R.

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Men of the 24th Infantry Regiment move up to the firing line in Korea. 07/18/1950 Photographer, Breeding, War Department, Office of the Chief Signal Officer.

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During South Korean evacuation of Suwŏn Airfield, a 37mm anti-tank gun is hauled out of the area for repairs, by a weapons carrier. International News Photos.
United States Information Agency

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Photo #: 80-G-707876
Wŏnsan Oil Refinery, Wŏnsan, North Korea

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Under attack by aircraft from Valley Forge (CV-45) on 18 July 1950. Smoke from this attack, which reportedly destroyed some 12,000 tons of refined petroleum products and much of the plant, could be seen sixty miles out at sea.

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"In the third such move in as many weeks, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended the Army authorized strength to be increased to 834,000. President Truman approved this request the following day."

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The US 1st Cavalry and 25th Infantry Divisions reached Korea from Japan. The British Royal Air Force 88 Flying Boat Squadron joined the UN forces on the peninsula. The 1st Cavalry Division’s unopposed landing at P'ohang was the first planned amphibious operation of the war.

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Nogun-ri

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In the 7th Cavalry Regiment, the regimental operations officer or the regimental intelligence officer briefed each company "on the situation and [gave] pointers on combat, what to expect, how to react, and the like." 10
10
Headquarters 7th Cavalry (Infantry), War Diary July 1950 , Entry for 18 and 19 July 1950 , Box 4431, RG 407, NARA.

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The division traveled by sea to Korea in two lifts. The 5th and 8th Cavalry comprised the first lift, and the 7th Cavalry arrived in the second lift. The 5th and 8th Cavalry arrived in Korea on July 18 and moved forward to the Yŏngdong area the following day.

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The 1st Cavalry Division's intelligence staff landed at P'ohang on July 18 and moved to Kŭmch'ŏn, where the division command post was established.

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As elements of the 24th Infantry Division awaited the NKPA's attack against Taejŏn, Major General William F. Dean of the U.S. Army was separated from his unit after North Korean troops overran the city of Taejon. Dean would spend the next 36 days eluding North Korean patrols and trying to make his way back to friendly territory, until he was betrayed to the enemy on August 25 by a South Korean civilian. As a Major General, Dean would be the North Koreans' most important prisoner of war, and finally be released on September 4, 1953.

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South then North

Anna Wallis Suh (1900–1969), the woman generally associated with the nickname Sŏul City Sue, was a Methodist missionary, educator, and North Korean propaganda radio announcer to United States forces during the Korean War.

Anna began announcing a short English language program for North Korean "Radio Sŏul" starting on or about July 18, continuing until shortly after the Inch'ŏn landing on September 15, when the Suhs were evacuated north as a part of the general withdrawal of North Korean forces.

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Japanese manufacturers in July began making antitank mines and on 18 July a shipment of 3,000 of them arrived by boat at Pusan.

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The N.K. 2nd Division, which was supposed to have joined the 3rd and 4th in the attack on Taejŏn, failed to come up in time. This all but exhausted division did not leave Ch'ŏngju until on or about the 18th. It then moved through Pugang-ni southwest toward Taejŏn, apparently intending to cross the Kum River in the vicinity of the railroad bridge. It had yet to cross the Kum when it received word on 21 July that Taejŏn had fallen. The 2nd Division thereupon altered its course and turned southeast through Poŭn, headed for Kŭmch'ŏn. [11-78]

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Army transportation men worked almost ceaselessly during July to bring order out of near chaos in the train movements from Pusan toward the rail-heads at the front.

By 18 July they had established a regular daily schedule of supply trains over two routes: (1) the main Pusan-Taegu-Kŭmch'ŏn line with a branch line from Kŭmch'ŏn to Hamch'ang; and (2) the Pusan-Kyŏngju-Andong single track line up the east coast with a branch line from Kyŏngju to P'ohang-dong.

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Two days later [16th] the ROK 23rd Regiment gave way and streamed south. The KMAG advisers considered the situation grave. In response to an inquiry from Colonel Collier of Eighth Army, Colonel Emmerich sent the following message:

Situation deplorable, things are popping, trying to get something established across the front, 75% of the 23rd ROK Regiment is on the road moving south. Advisers threatening and shooting in the air trying to get them assembled, Commanding General forming a straggler line. If straggler line is successful we may be able to reorganize and re-establish the line. If this fails I am afraid that the whole thing will develop in complete disintegration. The Advisory Group needs food other than Korean or C rations and needs rest. [12-2]

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17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 Week 1

24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 Week 2

31, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 Week 3

07, 08, 09 The Red 5th Division retakes Yŏngdök

On 17 July the North Koreans drove the disorganized [ROK 23rd IR] regiment south of Yŏngdök. The loss of this town so quickly was a demoralizing blow, and Eighth Army became at once concerned about it. During the day the first United States artillery to support the ROK's on the east coast, C Battery of the 159th Field Artillery Battalion, entered the fight. [12-3]

The enemy entry into Yŏngdök began three weeks of fighting for this key coastal town, with first one side and then the other holding it. Two or three miles of ground immediately south of it became a barren, churned up, fought-over no man's land. The first ROK counterattack came immediately.

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July 18 8th Cavalry Regiment lands, leading unit of 1st Cavalry Division

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Citations

Medals   

Distinguished Service Cross

GAY, HOBART R.

 

 

Silver Star

Gifford, Allen J. [PFC SS MedCo19thIR]

Longstreet, Roger B. [Pvt SS A34thIR]

 

 

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The Forgotten War

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The 1st Cav Division began landing unopposed and piecemeal at P'ohang on July 18. First came the 8th Cav Regiment, then the 5th Cav, and lastly, the 7th Cav, delayed en route by a typhoon.

Much was expected of the 1st Cav Division. Before it "dismounted" in World War II to become regular infantry it had had a long and colorful equestrian history. Since childhood MacArthur had been mesmerized by that history and by the outfit's songs ("Garry Owen"; "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon") and legends. During World War II and the occupation of Japan the 1st Cav had been his favorite - and favored - division. The famous 7th Cavalry Regiment (which had been commanded by George Armstrong Custer at Little Bighorn) had held the place of honor in Tokyo, providing color guards, bands, and "troopers," bedecked with yellow scarves for ceremonies and parades. Before the Eighth Army levy to beef up the 24th Division, the 1st Cav had been grandly rated at "84 percent" combat ready. Initially it had been chosen for the starring role in the Inch'ŏn landing.[6-34]

The 1st Cav was commanded by fifty-six-year-old two-star General Hobart R. Gay, who was nicknamed Happy, shortened to Hap.

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Johnnie Walker warmly welcomed the 1st Cav into Eighth Army. That it had been gutted of 750 key noncoms to beef up the 24th Division and now numbered only 11,000 men (7,500 men below full wartime strength) was apparently discounted. The old Third Army cohorts Walker and Gay were back in war harness, working another battlefield. Perhaps they believed the ghost of George Patton would make up for the deficiencies in manpower and equipment.[6-41]

As planned, Walker ordered Gay to attack directly up the Taegu - Taejŏn road, to the left (or south) of Kean's redeploying 25th Division. The 1st Cav would relieve the shattered 24th Division at Yŏngdong and block the NKPA advance toward Taegu astride the Taegu - Taejŏn road. What remained of the 24th Division would be withdrawn to Taegu, to constitute a reserve behind the 1st Cav and 25th Divisions.


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The two-battalion 8th Cav Regiment was first into battle. It was commanded by Raymond D. Palmer (VMI, 1924), forty-nine. Hap Gay had assumed the regiment would be committed as a "full" and integrated unit, normally mated with the 99th FAB, commanded by Robert W. Holmes. But he was mistaken.

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As he had the 24th Division units, Walker fragmented the 8th Cav. The 1/8, commanded by Robert W. Kane, thirty-four, and temporarily supported by the 77th FAB and a few light tanks and A/A vehicles, would block the Taegu - Taejŏn road, loosely tying in with the 25th Division on its right. The 2/8, commanded by Eugene J. Field, forty-two, and supported by the 61st FAB, which was commanded by Alden O. Hatch, would deploy seven miles south of the 1/8 to block another road leading to Taegu from Muju. There would be no physical link between the 1/8 and 2/8. Gay protested the dispersion of his forces, but to no avail.[6-42]

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While the 8th Cav was moving into its fragmented positions, Hap Gay rushed his two-battalion 5th Cav Regiment forward to provide a division reserve. The 5th Cav was commanded by a dashing old horse cavalryman, Carl J. ("Rosie") Rohsenberger, who was nearing his fifty-sixth birthday - far too old for regimental command - and was also almost totally deaf. Rohsenberger had entered the Army eons ago as a private and slowly worked his way up.

He was a fighter, eager to make a mark in this unexpected conflagration in the evening of his career.[6-43]

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Fortunately for Walker and Gay, the NKPA paused briefly after the capture of Taejŏn and Okch'ŏn. This provided John Church an opportunity to withdraw safely the shattered elements of the 24th Division through the 1st Cav positions. The division pulled back to Taegu and beyond for a well-earned respite. But the respite would not last long.

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US Air Force

 

 

I attended the ops session, Far East Command headquarters, this morning and at the conclusion of which I called attention to the support given the Air Force on Okinawa in the establishment of the camp for the 22d Group. I also pointed out the necessity for highest priority on the airlift of engines for our B-29s from the States, stating that if we do not get these engines our B-29 effort would gradually reduce to a "nil" operation. I was promised that the engines would receive the very highest priority.


At the conclusion of the ops session, I called on General MacArthur and asked him to read my letter to him which sets forth the coordinated effort between the Fifth Air Force and the FEAF Bomber Command. He agreed in principle with the letter, but pointed out that there was a gap in it to which I agreed -although our intentions were as he discussed; GHQ had been side-tracked. General Almond was called into his office and he covered with him what he desired FEC's reply to my letter should be, which I agreed to. During the discussion, however, while General Almond was present, I very emphatically stated that you can not operate B-29s like you operate a tactical Air Force - it must be well-planned, well-thought-out and an operation that should not be changed daily if we wanted to get the best effect out of the '29s. General MacArthur agreed with me in the presence of General Almond. It is my opinion that henceforth, as a result of this conference with General MacArthur, that our relationship with Far East Command staff will be better.

Eubank and I had lunch at the Non-Com's Club - at his expense.


Had a nice conference with Generals Ankenbrandt and Maude re our communications setup.


Colonel Unni Nyar[129] called on me with a letter from the Ambassadress of India, Madame Vijiya Pandit.[130] He made a good impression.


Mrs. Picher had dinner with us.

 

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For night photographic reconnaissance an RB-26 squadron was to be furnished; this unit, the 162nd tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, (NP) began moving from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, on 12 July and arrived in Japan by 18 August.

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16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23

By 16 July North Korean columns were aiming a pincers movement against Taejŏn, and when EUSAK held there temporarily, the North Korean command initiated a wide left-flank movement down through west Korean coastal routes, reaching Chŏnju and Iri on 20 July, Kwangju on 23 July, and capturing the major southwest port city of Mokp'o on 24 July.

These movements, virtually unopposed except by a few ROK police, opened the way for a drive against the port cities of Masan and Pusan. Meanwhile, on the central front EUSAK was flanked out of Taejŏn, forced to withdraw to Yŏngdong on 25 July, and gradually pressed back to Kŭmch'ŏn, where defensive positions were established on 31 July. That same day, on the southwestern front, the 24th Division was forced out of Chinju.

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Air Organization for Tactical Operations - Bomber Issues

At this juncture, FEAF was additionally alarmed by the sweeping authority given to the GHQ Target Group. On 17 July General Stratemeyer formally proposed methods for fulfilling EUSAK's air support requirements:

In his reply, General Almond, quoting the JCS definition for "close air support," approved the recommended technique with several qualifications:

Almond also did not mean to abdicate MacArthur's right to issue directives to FEAF for the employment of medium bombers against either general air support targets or strategic targets.

Until otherwise notified, General Almond desired FEAF to continue the majority of medium bomber strikes into the area between the front lines and the 38th parallel; targets north of the 38th parallel might be bombed as secondary objectives. General Stratemeyer issued the approved support plan on 18 July, and complying with CINCFE's wishes, he revised Bomber Command's mission by specifying the following priorities of effort:

He ordered O'Donnell to meet the first priority to the exclusion of all others. All three medium bombardment groups were to be used each day at the rate of seven sorties per aircraft each month, a rate to be raised to ten sorties when logistics permitted. The three medium groups were to continue in close support until 25 July, at which time GHQ would release two of them for a coordinated interdiction campaign.

On 4 August all B-29 groups were to be released from close support targets, but they would be required for special ground cooperation missions later in the month.

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Stratemeyer's definition of close support procedures on 18 July was by no means the beginning of close support in Korea, because the Fifth Air Force had been rendering assistance to the 24th Division from the time of its commitment.

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General Partridge had already improvised a control system which, although it complied with joint air ground doctrine, was severely hampered by a lack of experienced personnel and a crippling shortage of communications channels.

The system, shown in diagram in figure 5, was nevertheless working, and no one could ever claim that the Fifth Air Force had occasioned any delay in Korean ground operations.

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The heart of the mechanism for controlling air-ground operations between a field army and a tactical air force is the Joint Operations Center (JOC). Here the air-ground operations section makes known Army requests for tactical air missions, and the combat operations section implements these requests with orders to tactical air units for missions.

The former section is composed of Army officers and represents the Army commander; the latter is composed of Air Force personnel and represents the tactical air force commander. The Fifth Air Force formed its operations section for the JOC at Itazuke on 3 July, drawing officers from Fifth Air Force headquarters and airmen from the 8th Communications Squadron, in all, 10 officers and 35 airmen. Lt. Col. John R. Murphy, Fifth Air Force Director of Operations, was named officer in charge of the operations section. Colonel Murphy and the others went to Taejŏn on 5 July, where a JOC was set up in 24th Division headquarters. This JOC had a VHF radio for air control work and a landline telephone and teletype to Fifth Air Force Advance. Because of enemy pressure against Taejŏn, some of the personnel moved back to Taegu on 16 July and began to set up for operations there, while the Taejŏn section continued to operate, using radio jeeps for communications, until 19 July, when the remainder of the JOC moved back to Taegu.

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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.

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When construction work began at Taegu on 18 July, dust and the psychological effect of aircraft landing and taking off from the adjacent lane were the 822nd Battalion's (SCARWAF) earliest problems. For a week work went on from dawn to dusk, and then round-the-clock shifts were instituted.

[8/7/50]


16, 17, 18, 19
Because of enemy pressure against Taejŏn, some of the personnel moved back to Taegu on 16 Julyand began to set up for operations there, while the Taejŏn section continued to operate, using radio jeeps for communications, until 19 July when the remainder of the JOC moved back to Taegu.

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FEAF had been planning a comprehensive program. On 18 July it organized a target planning committee, composed of representatives of its intelligence and operations directorates and responsible for selection and recommendation of targets and target systems to General Stratemeyer .

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The trend of events in Tokyo also disturbed General Stratemeyer, so much so that on 17 July he prepared a letter defining the air-support procedures which would be employed in Korea.

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General Walker would make his requests for support directly to General Partridge, who would honor these requirements within the capabilities of his aircraft.

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General Partridge, would forward such requests as were in excess of his capabilities to Stratemeyer, who would direct General O'Donnell to accomplish them. Specific details as to target identification, time of attack, and control procedures would be arranged directly between General Partridge and General O'Donnell.50

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The next day Stratemeyer called on General MacArthur to discuss the recommended procedures. MacArthur agreed in principle with Stratemeyer's letter, but he pointed out that there was one gap in it-GHQ had been "sidetracked.#51 MacArthur then called Almond into his office and told him how he wanted Stratemeyer's letter to be endorsed.

This endorsement, written that same day, approved the proposed methods for accomplishing the Eighth Army's close support. Furthermore, EUSAK's requirements for general air support (strikes against rear-area targets beyond the range of friendly artillery) were to be processed in the same manner as close support.

These decisions, however, did not prevent the issuance of CINCFE directives to Stratemeyer for the employment of medium bombers in attacks against general air-support targets or strategic targets. Such directives would be based upon recommendations submitted by the GHQ Target Group. Until otherwise directed, Stratemeyer was instructed to continue to employ the majority of the medium bomber effort in the area between the bomb-line and the 38th parallel, the purpose being to isolate the battlefield.#52 The GHQ Target Group retained its authority to designate medium-bomber targets and to establish target areas and priorities of these areas for air attack.#53

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By 18 July General Partridge saw that the Fifth Air Force could not perform its mission in Korea if it depended upon improvised communications and control facilities.

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He requested USAF to send to the theater the 502nd Tactical Control Group, the 2nd Radio Relay Squadron, the 934th Signal Battalion. Separate. and three electronics bombing director detachments of the 3903rd Radar Bomb Scoring Squadron. USAF approved this request on 28 July. #l15

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But the laborious transfer of the 502nd Tactical Control Group, the 934th Signal Battalion, Separate, and the 2nd Radio Relay Squadron from the United States to Korea proved to be a study in frozen motion.

These three "mobile" communications units were burdened with large and fragile electronics equipment. Even after they were stripped of many of their vehicles, their unit property filled the better part of two Liberty ships. Their organizational structure was such that they could only move and function as complete units. These factors, plus a certain amount of confusion in the preparation of their movement orders, delayed the arrival of the three badly needed units in Korea by more than eight weeks.

Requested by FEAF on 18 July, the three communications and control units did not reach Pusan until 24 September. Even then they had to repair their damaged equipment and were unable to begin to perform their assigned duties until 10 October.#130

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On 18 July, however, General Stratemeyer emphatically protested the continued employment of the B-29's in wasteful "emergency" operations. "You cannot operate B-29's like you operate a tactical air force," he told General MacArthur. "B-29 operations must be carefully planned in advance and well thought out. #64

General MacArthur orally agreed that some better employment must be found for the medium bombers, and before the end of the day of 18 July he sent Stratemeyer written orders to employ most of the medium-bomber effort in the area between the bombline and the 38th parallel, the purpose being to isolate the battlefield.#65

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In two strikes against P'yŏngyang airfields on 18 July pilots from the aircraft carriers of Task Force 77 destroyed 14 more enemy aircraft and damaged the 13 other planes which were dispersed and camouflaged in the vicinity of these fields.

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US Marine Corps

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Two days later the 24th Division, now commanded by General Church, was relieved south of Taejŏn by Major General Hobart R. Gay’s 1st Cavalry (dismounted) Division, which had landed at P'ohang-dong on the 18th.

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Twice during this time the USS Henrico (APA-45) weighed anchor and passed westward under the Golden Gate bridge; twice it was forced to return for additional repairs. Finally, on the evening of the 18th, the vessel steamed under the great bridge for its third attempt. This time it kept going, but it would not overtake the convoy until the morning of the very day the ships reached their destination.

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ON 18 JULY 1950, it was D-minus 59 for the Marine reservists who would hit the beaches at Inch'ŏn. These young civilians were doubtless more interested in major league baseball standings at the moment than in hydrographic conditions at the Korean seaport they would assault within two months.

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Yet the proposed amphibious operation moved a long step closer to reality on the 18th when Major General Oliver P. Smith left Washington under orders to assume command of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. A graduate of the University of California in 1916, General Smith had been commissioned a Marine second lieutenant at the age of 24 in the first World War. After serving in Guam during that conflict, he saw duty at sea and in Haiti during the early 1920’s, followed by studies at the Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia, and duty as an instructor in the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico.

In Paris, while attached administratively to the office of the U.S. Naval Attaché, he took the full two-year course at the École Superieure de Guerre, and afterwards he was an instructor for three more years at the Marine Corps Schools.

He had an extensive experience of hard-fought amphibious operations during World War II as a regimental commander in the Talasea, New Britain, landing, as ADC of the 1st Marine Division at Peleliu, and as deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Tenth Army on Okinawa.

Returning with the rank of brigadier, he became Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools; and after putting up a second star, the tall, slender, white-haired general served as Assistant Commandant at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington.

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At the outbreak of the Korean conflict, Major General Graves B. Erskine had commanded the 1st Marine Division. Following his assignment to a secret State Department mission in southeast Asia, General Smith was named as his relief.

In June 1950, the Secretary of Defense appointed General Erskine as Chief of Military Group, Joint State-Defense Mutual Defense Assistance Program Survey Mission to Southeast Asia.

In carrying out his assigned duties with the Mission, he visited the Philippines, French Indochina, Malaya, Thailand and Indonesia. Upon completing this assignment, General Erskine received orders in December 1950 directing him to assume duties as Commanding General of the Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, California.

He also performed additional duties as Member of the Advisory Group, Western Sea Frontier; and Commanding General, Marine Corps Emergency Forces, Western Sea Frontier.

In July 1951, as a lieutenant general, he became Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

Upon his retirement from active duty in the Marine Corps, General Erskine was advanced to four-star rank, 1 July, 1953, by reason of having been specially commended for heroism in combat.

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Many of the first reservists to report at Camp Pendleton made unusual sacrifices. Although they had the privilege of being discharged at their own request as late as 18 July 1950, the unexpectedness of the Korean conflict worked hardships in some instances.

Reservists with several dependents or just establishing themselves in a business or profession had to settle their affairs hurriedly. There was little applause when the Minute Men of 1950 departed from home communities which were on a basis of business and pleasure as usual. The Korean conflict was still regarded as a “police action” which would be ended shortly. Nobody dreamed that within its first year it would become the fourth largest military effort of our nation’s history.

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US Navy

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With the gunnery ships committed up to their ears in Korea, and with the situation there calling ever more urgently for Task Force 77, all that remained were the submarines of the Seventh Fleet. On 18 July USS Catfish (SS-339) was sailed from Yokosuka for a reconnaissance of the China coast, and was followed on the next day by USS Pickerel (SS-524).

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18 July
First Cavalry Division (RCT 5 and RCT 8; 10,027 troops) began landing at P'ohang-dong under CTF 90.

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CAG5 CV45
In general, the remainder of the flights and sweeps on the 18th, 19th, 22nd and 25th were "armed reconnaissance" in nature and covered an area inland from P'ohang to north of Hamhŭng on the east coast and on the west coast ranged from Kwangju north to Kaesŏng going inland as far as Namwŏn. Targets attacked and damaged were airfield installations, railroad facilities, locomotives and rolling stock, bridges, power stations, oil tanks , small boats, factories, troops and vehicles.
18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25,

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The HMS TRIUMPH operated with us at all times,[ July: 18, 19, 22, 25, 26, 28 and 29.] except July 22, providing CAP and ASP.

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At dawn on 18 July after arriving 60 miles off the coast of Korea, northeast of P'ohang, Target Combat Air patrol and Air Group Support Missions wore launched to support the amphibious landing of the First Cavalry Division at P'ohang. In as much as no targets were available, the support group returned to the ship after jettisoning their loads at sea, However, Target Combat Air Patrol (TCAP)was provided over the P'ohang area until dusk. Two group strikes were then launched against targets in the Wŏnsan area.

[note]

A four-plane Seafire Combat Air patrol and two-plane Firefly antisubmarine patrol by the HMS Triumph (R16) augmented by one ADW type from the USS Valley Forge (CV-45) was maintained throughout the daylight hours of the 18th and 19th.

[note]


ACTION REPORT
18 JULY 1950
The support sorties launched at dawn were recalled when it was obvious that no enemy opposition would be encountered in the landing at P'ohang. In all, 28 support and 5 defensive sorties were launched.

[note]

Photo #: 80-G-707876
Wŏnsan Oil Refinery, Wŏnsan, North Korea

Korean_War

Under attack by aircraft from Valley Forge (CV-45) on 18 July 1950.


Smoke from this attack, which reportedly destroyed some 12,000 tons of refined petroleum products and much of the plant, could be seen sixty miles out at sea.

Photo #: 80-G-418592
Wŏnsan Oil Refinery, Wŏnsan, North Korea

Korean_War

Burning after being struck by USS Valley Forge (CV-45) aircraft on 18 July 1950.


Photograph may have been taken on 19 July, when smoke from these fires was visible from the carrier, operating at sea off the Korean east coast.

[note]

On the morning of the 18th recautionary cover was provided for the unopposed amphibious landing of the 1st Cavalry Division at P'ohang,, south Korea. A group strike in the late afternoon of the 18th did considerable damage to the P'ohang Oil Refinery.

[note]

18 July
USS Valley Forge (CV-45) and HMS Triumph (R16) returned to action with strikes on airfields, railroads and factories at [Hungham, Hŭngnam] Hamhŭng, [Numpyong, Munp'yŏng-ni] and Wŏnsan, and did particularly heavy damage to the oil refinery at Wŏnsan, North Korea. For the remainder of the month, this force struck deep behind enemy lines and flew close support missions as required while shifting entirely around the peninsula from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea, in operations intended to relieve the pressure on UN forces which were fighting a delaying action while withdrawing toward Pusan.

[note]

Korean_War

18-19 July
Carrier based planes from Seventh Fleet destroyed North Korean airfields, railroads, factories and oil refinery at Wŏnsan. Other targets at Hungham, Hamhung, Numpyong destroyed or damaged.

[note]

Korean_War

The war was now ten days old. American citizens had been evacuated; a carrier air strike had been made against the enemy capital and the enemy air force; the east coast invasion route was under fire from naval guns. In the air the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) were putting forth their best efforts. On the ground the Army had engaged the enemy. Across the Korean Strait a stream of shipping was flowing into Pusan where, prior to the arrival of an Army port company, the unloading of 55 ships with 15,000 troops and 1,700 vehicles was handled by two ECA employees, Alfred Meschter and Milton Nottingham. In Korea the situation was being dealt with to the limit of the abilities of the forces available. There remained the problem of the northern and southern flanks.

What the dimensions of this problem might be, no one knew. If the invasion of South Korea had surprised the United States, and had shown how wrongly intelligence had been evaluated, what faith could be put in estimates of Communist intentions elsewhere?

Suddenly capabilities became important.

The State Department had warned all hands on 26 June of the possibility that Korea was but the first of a series of coordinated moves; the military forces of the United States had gone on world-wide alert; in the Mediterranean the Sixth Fleet had put to sea.

In the immediate theater of operations, no less than on the world scene, possibilities were unpleasant and visibility poor. The Joint Chiefs, it is true, had estimated that there would be no Soviet or Chinese intervention, but there was plenty of history, including a day at Pearl Harbor, to teach the outpost commander that estimates make poor weapons.

What of the northern neighbor, whose airfields at Vladivostok and Port Arthur flanked the Korean peninsula and were less than two hours flying time from Japan?

What of the estimated four-score submarines based in the Vladivostok area? For the air threat, which had caused Admiral Joy to divert the Seventh Fleet to Buckner Bay, FEAF's fighter strength provided some counter, hut the submarine situation was less satisfactory.

The excitement of the first week of conflict had brought forth eight reports of submarine sightings, ranging from Okinawa to the Sea of Japan, and while most were doubtless in error they at least posed serious questions.
Harbor defense equipment was lacking in the Far East, and the shortage of antisubmarine units was acute: of the three American destroyer divisions in the theater, two were needed to provide a minimum sound screen for USS Valley Forge (CV-45).

Korean_War

Of necessity, therefore, the patrol planes of VP 47 were employed on local antisubmarine patrol and in the escort of shipping, and long range search had to await the coming of reinforcements.

What were the intentions of the Communist Chinese? In Korea their capabilities could for the moment be largely disregarded, but ComNavFE had been instructed to use the Seventh Fleet to neutralize Formosa, and to prevent attack in either direction across Formosa Strait.

Here Chiang's forces presented no problem, but the Communists had the capability, and both the Generalissimo and Admiral Struble thought an August effort wholly possible. The implications of such a development, added to the situation in Korea, greatly outweighed Admiral Joy's new accretions of force, and he may well have wondered what tools he was supposed to use to do this job.

Some show of muscle, at least, had been made by Valley Forge as she steamed north, when she flew an air parade over Formosa Strait and the city of Taipei. But the chance that more would be required, as well as problems of logistic support, had made it necessary, following the P'yŏngyang strikes, to return Task Force 77 to Okinawa.

If Formosa was to be defended, coordinated planning was obviously necessary, and the state of Nationalist morale was such as to require stiffening.

Arriving in Tokyo on the afternoon of 5 July, Struble had proposed a prompt resumption of carrier strikes, this time from the Sea of Japan. But decision on these was delayed, the talk turned to the Formosa problem, and the suggestion of a visit to that island was approved by General MacArthur.

On the 6th, Commander Seventh Fleet flew back to Buckner Bay, and on the next day boarded a destroyer for a high-speed run to Taipei and two days of talks with the Generalissimo and the Nationalist military. Another few days would see the Formosa Strait under reconnaissance by planes of Fleet Air Wing 1, but the question of a surface patrol was more difficult. With the gunnery ships committed up to their ears in Korea, and with the situation there calling ever more urgently for Task Force 77, all that remained were the submarines of the Seventh Fleet. On 18 July USS Catfish (SS-339)was sailed from Yokosuka for a reconnaissance of the China coast, and was followed on the next day by USS Pickerel (SS-524) .

Finally, the northern sector, so great in undisclosed potentialities, was also brought under surveillance.

Korean_War Korean_War

On 7 July the first patrol plane reinforcements reached the Far East, and the long range P2V Neptunes of VP 6 were at once assigned to search in the Sea of Japan. On the 23rd the submarine USS Remora (SS 487), escorted by USS Greenlet (ASR-10), headed north from Yokosuka for a patrol of La Pe'rouse Strait.

[note]

Korean_War

The 17th found USS Juneau (CLAA-119) fueling at Pusan while Admiral Higgins conferred with representatives of the Korean Navy. In the absence of the flagship, USS Mansfield (DD-728) and USS De Haven (DD-727) fired more than 400 rounds at miscellaneous targets in the same coastal area, and the British returned to the business of coastal bombardment with the cruiser HMS Belfast (C35) and the destroyer HMS Cossack (D-57). All this was useful, but the next day brought wholly unprecedented activity along the east coast in the form of an amphibious landing and a strike by the Seventh Fleet carrier force

[note]

The speed with which the operation was planned and mounted was remarkable. Normal lead time for an amphibious operation is measured in weeks if not in months, but this objective was selected on 10 July, the expedition sailed on the 14th and 15th , and the landing was made on the morning of the 18th . Such an unprecedented schedule gave little time to collect information and to plan, train personnel, and assemble and modify gear. That these dates were met must be reckoned a considerable feat.

Korean_War

There were, it is true, certain favoring circumstances. The Amphibious Group was a good outfit, and knew its business; although the 1st Cavalry Division lacked amphibious experience its men were willing and put their backs into the work.

Korean_War

As a consequence of CincFE's plan for amphibious training of occupation troops there were present in Japan, in addition to Doyle's ships, detachments from the Pacific Fleet Amphibious training Command, including an Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company or "Anglico , " which could be assigned to the Cavalry Division's staff to help with the conduct of the operation. All concerned, Army and Navy alike, were cheek by jowl in Tokyo, so that written communications could be eliminated and the business got on with by high-speed conversation.

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."

[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]

The USS Valley Forge (CV-45) attack of the 18th was reported to have destroyed 12,000 tons of refined products, saturated every vital area in the refinery, and caused it to be declared a total loss.

[note]

Korean_War

the USS Grainger (AK-184), which had reached Okinawa on the 18th with a load of aircraft ammunition from Guam,

[note]

Korean_War

17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 Week 1

24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 Week 2

31, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 Week 3

07, 08, 09 The Red 5th Division retakes Yŏngdök

Korean_War

On 17 July the North Koreans drove the disorganized [ROK 23rd IR] regiment south of Yŏngdök. The loss of this town so quickly was a demoralizing blow, and Eighth Army became at once concerned about it. During the day the first United States artillery to support the ROK's on the east coast, C Battery of the 159th Field Artillery Battalion, entered the fight. [12-3]

The enemy entry into Yŏngdök began three weeks of fighting for this key coastal town, with first one side and then the other holding it. Two or three miles of ground immediately south of it became a barren, churned up, fought-over no man's land. The first ROK counterattack came immediately.

[note]


0000 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/17/50
9:00 AM
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07/17/50
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Korean_War

July 18 - U.S. Cavalry land at P'ohang dong .

[note]

0100 Korean Time

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10:00 AM
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0200 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/17/50
11:00 AM
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0300 Korean Time

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12:00 PM
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0400 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/17/50
1:00 PM
07/17/50
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0500 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/17/50
2:00 PM
07/17/50
3:00 PM
07/17/50
8:00 PM
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Korean_War

When Walker assumed command in Korea, he had approximately 18,000 troops spread along a defensive line running along the south bank of the Kum River to a point just above Taejŏn, there curving northeastward through {Ch'ŏngju} and across the Taebaek Range below {Ch'ungju} and Tanyang, finally bending southward to the east coast of P'yonghae-ri. [05-21]

Korean_War

Although General MacArthur had hoped to save the 1st Cavalry Division for a later amphibious operation, he yielded to battlefield necessity and sent that unit to Korea in mid-July. The division loaded out of the Yokohama area between 11 and 17 July aboard LST's, other U.S. naval craft, and Japanese operated cargo ships. The unit was prepared to make an amphibious landing on the east coast of Korea near P'ohang-dong, against enemy opposition if necessary.

No enemy appeared, and in the early morning of 18 July the units started coming ashore. [05-22]

The Build-up

The years of military privation since World War II had left their mark on the ground forces of the United States. Not (Five chapters and this is the first time USMC is mentioned) only were they equipped with outmoded, worn weapons and equipment, but their numbers were scant. Both Army and Marine troops had spread thin in their efforts to perform their interim missions. Aside from scattered elements in the Pacific, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Army's leaders had only the under-strength General Reserve in the United States from which to draw immediately for fighting men to throw into Korea. Additional ground strength could be developed through Selective Service and through the call-up of Reserve Component forces, but these methods would take time. Thus, when General MacArthur, reacting to North Korean victories, impatiently demanded his due, the nation's military leaders faced a dilemma of considerable complexity and prime importance. The very safety of the nation stood, at times, in the balance.

Demands for combat forces by General MacArthur in July and August 1950 fell into three broad categories:

To meet his demands in any of these categories would affect the balance of United States military strength. Each tied in with problems far broader in scope than General MacArthur's problems in Korea. Within the limits imposed by national policy, as set by the President, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of the Army made every effort to meet the urgent requirements developing in the Far East.

Replacements

The sources of replacements within the Far East quickly dried up. Men were taken from administrative and noncombatant duties and sent to the combat units. In the United States, every installation was combed for individuals who could be shipped quickly to Korea.

[note]

Airlift of replacements from the United States to Japan began on a modest scale on 18 July. A lift of 80 men a day was gradually expanded to 240 combat soldiers daily. Although sufficient air transport was not immediately available, the Department of the Army and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did everything possible to increase the aerial flow in late July and early August. Replacements were flown to Japan in organized packets of 39 men and 1 officer. Approximately 7,350 replacements reached Japan in July 1950. [05-25]

[note]

0523 Sun Rise

[note]

Korean_War Korean_War

Morning of the 18th found USS Valley Forge (CV-45), HMS Triumph (R16), and their screening ships in the southern Sea of Japan, some 60 miles northeast of P'ohang. At dawn local antisubmarine and combat air patrols were launched by HMS Triumph (R16), and USS Valley Forge (CV-45) sent off a target combat air patrol and a support group of attack planes to assist the landing. No alternative targets seem to have been given the support group; the location of the front line and the needs of the ROK 3rd Division were apparently unknown; and when the landing proved unopposed and the task force was released from its air commitments the support group jettisoned its load.

Except for the requirement of a combat air patrol over P'ohang, the USS Valley Forge (CV-45) air group was now available for attacks on North Korean targets. On the 18th and 19th, therefore, strikes were flown against railroad facilities, industrial plants, and airfields from P'yŏnggang and Wŏnsan north through Hŭngnam and Hamhŭng. In the two days of attacks two aircraft were lost, but both pilots were recovered. About 50 grounded aircraft were sighted, of which more than half were destroyed and the remainder damaged, while flights north along the railroad on the 19th exploded four locomotives. But the biggest explosion was at Wŏnsan.

[note]

Korean_War Korean_War

At dawn on 18 July after arriving 60 miles off the coast of Korea, northeast of P'ohang, Target Combat Air patrol and Air Group Support Missions were launched to support the amphibious landing of the First Cavalry Division at P'ohang. In as much as no targets were available, the support group returned to the ship after jettisoning their loads at sea, However, Target Combat Air Patrol was provided over the P'ohang area until dusk. Two group strikes were than launched against targets in the Wŏnsan area.

[note]

Korean_War

The support sorties launched at dawn were recalled when it was obvious that no enemy opposition would be encountered in the landing at P'ohang. In all, 28 support and 5 defensive sorties were launched.

[note]

0525 Korea Time

Air support operations commenced at 0525.

[note]

0545 Korean Time

Korean_War

On 18 July at 0545 an air strike came in on the enemy front lines. Heavy naval gunfire pounded the Yŏngdök area after the strike.

[note]

0558 Korean Time

Korean_War Korean_War

Naval aircraft of Rear Admiral John M. Hoskins’ carrier group [Task Group 77.4 ] of the Seventh Fleet were on call to provide support; but at 0558 on the 18th, the armada was unopposed as it steamed into Yŏngil Bay. CTF 90 signaled orders for the carrying out of Plan Baker, calling for a landing against little or no enemy resistance.

[note]

Korean_War

At 0558, CTF 90 signaled the traditional “Land the landing force.” Fortunately, South Korean troops had held off the North Korean People’s Army some miles away, and it was to be an administrative landing.

[note]

0559 Korean Time

Korean_War Korean_War

Early in the morning of the 18th, tractor and transport groups joined, and the ships moved into Yŏngil Man. Fighting had been reported only a few miles north of P'ohang, but the ROK 3rd Division still held the road, and at 0559 Admiral Doyle made the signal to "Land the Landing Force" in accordance with the plan for an unopposed operation. Task Force 77 and USS Juneau (CLAA-119) were released from their support commitments, and only a small combat air patrol from USS Valley Forge (CV-45) was retained overhead to protect the shipping of the Attack Force.

Although peaceful, the scene at P'ohang on the 18th was a busy one. From the ships of the transport group at anchor in Yŏngil Man, troops and vehicles were shuttled ashore. Nine of the LSTs disgorged their cargo along the jetty wall and on the beaches of Yŏngil Man, along with the smaller landing craft; seven were ordered out to Kuryongp'o around the point to unload vehicles.

[note]

0600 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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Korean_War

At 0600 the United States light cruiser USS Juneau (CLAA-119) fired two star shells over the ROK line of departure. Newly arrived reinforcements took part in the attack as ROK troops advanced behind the screen of naval gunfire to close rifle range with the North Koreans. At the same time, other naval guns placed interdiction fire on the North Korean rear areas. These heavy support fires were largely responsible for a North Korean withdrawal to a point about three miles north of Yŏngdök for reorganization. [12-4]

[note]

On 18 July, as the 1st Cavalry was landing at P'ohang, USS Mansfield (DD-728) and USS De Haven (DD-727) were working the coastal road in the vicinity of Samch'ŏk, while HMS Belfast (C35) and HMS Cossack (D-57) were patrolling at the 38th parallel. In the morning, as USS Juneau (CLAA-119) was released from her support commitments, the others came south to join the flagship off Yŏngdök, where the day was spent firing on targets of opportunity and where a reported "full-scale" enemy offensive was broken up.

[note]

0610 Korean Time

Korean_War

The landing at P'ohang-dong was unopposed. Lead elements of the 8th Cavalry Regiment were ashore by 0610 18 July, and the first troops of the 5th Cavalry Regiment came in twenty minutes later.

[note]

0630 Korean Time

Korean_War

The landing at P'ohang-dong was unopposed. Lead elements of the 8th Cavalry Regiment were ashore by 0610 18 July, and the first troops of the 5th Cavalry Regiment came in twenty minutes later.

[note]

0700 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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4:00 PM
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0715 Korean Time

Landing was begun at 0715; general unloading commenced at 0930; except for USS Cavalier (APA-37), all major ships had been emptied by midnight, while the LSTs had discharged all personnel, all vehicles, and more than half their bulk cargo. More than 10,000 troops and 2,000 vehicles, and almost 3,000 tons of cargo had been put ashore.

[note]

The first troops reached the inner harbor at 0715, and general unloading began two hours later. Direct air support ceased at noon, and Task Force 77.4 commenced strikes against targets at P'yŏngyang, Kansŏng, and Wŏnsan.[cmdctl-24]

[note]

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IV
Walker and Dean had hoped to hold Taejŏn, but the disaster at the Kum River line - too late with too little - and the shift of Stephens's 21st east to Okch'ŏn to meet a possible NKPA threat there left Taejŏn virtually wide open to the NKPA.

Dean finally and reluctantly conceded as much, and on the morning of July 18 he gave orders to evacuate the city completely on the following day.

[note]

Korean_War Korean_War

CV-45
On the morning of the 18th precautionary cover was provided for the unopposed amphibious landing of the 1st Cavalry Division at P'ohang,, south Korea.

[note]

0900 Korean Time

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On 18 July, the Department of the Army told General MacArthur that the 11th Airborne RCT [an RCT from the 11AD] would be ready at home station by about 20 September. Asked to comment, he objected that his plans for the landing at Inch'ŏn required these troops in his theater by 10 September and urged every effort to have them there on time. [the 187th ARCT was pulled from the 11th AD] [09-44]

[note]

0915 Korean Time

Korean_War

The first troops reached the inner harbor at 0715, and general unloading began two hours later. Direct air support ceased at noon, and Task Force 77 commenced strikes against targets at P'yŏng-yang-wang, Kansŏng, and Wŏnsan.[cmdctl-24]

[note]

0930 Korean Time

Landing was begun at 0715; general unloading commenced at 0930; except for USS Cavalier (APA-37), all major ships had been emptied by midnight, while the LSTs had discharged all personnel, all vehicles, and more than half their bulk cargo. More than 10,000 troops and 2,000 vehicles, and almost 3,000 tons of cargo had been put ashore.

[note]

1000 Korean Time

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1100 Korean Time

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On 13 July, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India suggested to Premier Stalin and Secretary of State Acheson that Communist China, more formally, the Peoples' Republic of China, be admitted to the U.N. Security Council and that the United States, USSR, and China, "with the help and cooperation of other peace-loving nations," informally explore means to end the Korean War.

Stalin promptly accepted, but the United States rejected the offer on 18 July. Chinese leaders made no immediate official comment. [11-14]

[note]

1130 Korean Time

Korean_War Korean_War


Expecting that the North Koreans would arrive before the city just as soon as they could get their tanks across the Kum River and carry out an envelopment with ground forces, General Dean on 18 July made plans to evacuate Taejŏn the next day. Anticipating an early withdrawal, engineer demolition teams with Colonel Stephens' 21st Infantry at the Okch'ŏn position prepared the tunnels east of Taejŏn for destruction.

Korean_War


[11-Caption] MACHINE GUN EMPLACEMENT in the Yusŏng position overlooking the Kap-ch'on River and the main highway. View is southwest over the bridge.


But Dean's plan was changed by the arrival of General Walker at the Taejŏn airstrip before noon of the 18th. After the North Korean crossing of the Kum River, General Walker had asked his Chief of Staff, Colonel Landrum, to assemble troop and logistical data bearing on Eighth Army's capability in the face of the growing crisis in Korea. At his office in Yokohama, Colonel Landrum and his staff spent a hectic day on the telephone gathering the information Walker wanted. Then Landrum called Walker at Taegu and relayed to him the status of all troops in Korea or en route there; an estimate of United States military build-up in Korea during the next ten days, with particular emphasis on the 1st Cavalry Division; the status of supplies and especially of ammunition; and a report on General Garvin's progress in organizing the supply base at Pusan.


During the conversation Walker had at hand a set of terrain maps and terrain estimates of the roads, railroads, and corridors running from north to south and from south to north and their relationship to enemy operations and Eighth Army's build-up in Korea. He repeatedly interjected the question,

"When and where can I stop the enemy and attack him?"

Korean_War Korean_War

General Walker's final decision in this conference was that the 24th Division and the ROK Army should execute maximum delay on the North Koreans in order to assure stopping them west and north of the general line Naktong River to Yŏngdök on the east coast. He hoped to get the 1st Cavalry Division deployed in the Okch'ŏn area and south of Taejŏn along the Kŭmsan road, thinking this might provide the opportunity to stop the enemy between Taejŏn and Taegu.

Walker felt that if he was forced to fall back behind the Naktong River he could stand there until Eighth Army's troop and equipment build-up would permit him to take the offensive. Upon concluding this conference with Landrum, General Walker particularly instructed him to keep this estimate to himself, although authorizing him to consider it in reviewing staff plans. [11-3]

Korean_War


General Walker had this concept of future operations in Korea in his mind when he talked with General Dean at the 34th Infantry command post. He spoke of the 1st Cavalry Division landing which had started that morning at P'ohang-dong on the southeast coast. Walker said he would like to hold Taejŏn until the 1st Cavalry Division could move up to help in its defense or get into battle position alongside the 24th Division in the mountain passes southeast of Taejŏn. He said he needed two days' time to accomplish this.

After his conference with Dean, Walker flew back to Taegu. He informed Colonel Landrum that he had told General Dean he needed two days' delay at Taejŏn to get the 1st Cavalry Division up and into position. Landrum asked Walker how much latitude he had given Dean. Walker replied, in substance,

"Dean is a fighter; he won't give an inch if he can help it. I told him that I had every confidence in his judgment, and that if it became necessary for him to abandon Taejŏn earlier, to make his own decision and that I would sustain him." [11-4]

[note]


USS Valley Forge (CV-45)

Korean_War


At 1130, the first combat sorties of the day were launched, composed of 11 ADs, 8 F4Us and 19 F9Fs. A triangular area of land formed by apexes as Wŏnsan (38°-25’N, 127° -15’E) and Kosŏng (38° -40’N – on east coast) was divided into three areas by the attack planes and fighter bombers
See map Wŏnsan to Kosŏng South Korea.

After the ADs and Corsairs took off, four divisions of jets were launched, two of them sent as sweep up the coast to Wŏnsan and the other two sent inland to sweep P'yŏnggang airfield. Seven jets swept up the coast to Konsan where they made strafing runs on a hanger and possible gun emplacements (unmanned). Pilots observed Wŏnsan Oil Refinery and reported it intact. A 60 foot sampan was strafed in the harbor and left burning. Near Kŏjo a small fishing boat was strafed damage unknown. At Konson, they strafed a line of cars on a siding, firing two tank cars and probably inflicting damage to boxcars. No anti-aircraft was uncounted.

At P'yŏnggang, the sweep found two rows of single engine aircraft, with planes about 30 yards apart. All planes made a least two runs up and down two rows, starting no fires but observing hits on many of the planes. Of a total of 25 enemy aircraft observed on the ground probably 3-4 were destroyed, many damaged. Nearby, a locomotive underway was strafed, brining it to a stop and resulting in a steam explosion. Two flashes from small arms were only evidence of anti-aircraft.

A second sweep of P'yŏnggang on the heels of the first accounted for 35 more planes destroyed or probably destroyed, 6-8 damaged. No anti-aircraft was encountered.

Theses sweeps were followed by sweeps against targets of opportunity, such as railroads, trucks, and power lines. The 1st division stayed south of the tracks from Kosŏng to P'yŏnggang making their first attack at Ansŏng rail yards. Bomb hits tore up track, and subsequent strafing runs set fire to a Group of 3 tank cars, 2 miles south of Kunsong, and to a lone car further down the track.

[note]

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However, at noon that day, July 18, Johnnie Walker came up to Taejŏn to announce that the 1st Cav Division was then landing in P'ohang. If Dean could hold Taejŏn two more days - until July 20 - that would give Walker time to bring the 1st Cav overland to reinforce the 24th and perhaps to stop the NKPA drive and "stabilize" the battlefield.[5-40]


By that time Bill Dean was a walking zombie, and his judgment may have been impaired. As he put it later,

"I was too close to the trees to see the forest. . . ."

The 24th Division, Dick Stephens wrote later,

"could no longer be called an effective fighting force."

All three regiments had been shattered. The 19th was even less effective and as Dean saw it, the 34th wouldn't fight. [and the 21st at Choch'iwŏn lost materiel and weapons sufficient to equip two rifle battalions and individual and organic clothing for 975 men] Yet Dean assured Walker he would hold at Taejŏn as requested. He later conceded that his decision was a

"big error."[5-41]


Aside from a natural desire to help Walker in every possible way, two factors probably strongly influenced Dean's unfortunate and unwise decision.

First, he was still determined to make his 34th Regiment "fight." Its repeated failures reflected adversely on division commander Dean. Walker had handpicked a new, fresh, young commander for the 34th - its fourth in the space of a week - and Dean may have believed the new man could provide the requisite leadership.

Secondly, the 3.5inch bazooka instruction team had arrived in Taejŏn from the States, bringing weapons and ammo. If this weapon performed as advertised, the 34th might neutralize the T34 tanks. If so, Taejŏn could become an electrifying turning point in the war.[5-42]

[note]

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The first troops reached the inner harbor at 0715, and general unloading began two hours later [915]. Direct air support ceased at noon, and Task Force 77 commenced strikes against targets at P'yŏngyang, Ansŏng, and Wŏnsan.[cmdctl-24]

[note]

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This conference changed Dean's plan to withdraw from Taejŏn the next day, 19 July. Shortly after noon Dean informed the headquarters of the 21st Infantry that the withdrawal from Taejŏn planned for the 19th would be delayed 24 hours. The regiment passed this information on to the engineer demolition teams standing by at the tunnels.

At this point it is desirable to take a closer look at the geography and communications which necessarily would affect military operations at Taejŏn.

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In 1950 Taejŏn, with a population of about 130,000 was in size the sixth city of South Korea, a rapidly growing inland commercial center, 100 miles south of Sŏul and 130 miles northwest of Pusan. [11-5] A long and narrow city, Taejŏn lay in the north-south valley of the Taejŏn River at the western base of the middle Sobaek range of mountains. Extensive rice paddy ground adjoined the city on the north and west. The railroad ran along its eastern side with the station and extensive yards in the city's northeast quarter. Two arms of the Taejŏn River, the main one flowing northwest through the center of the city and the other curving around its eastern side, joined at its northern edge. Two miles farther north the Yudung River emptied into it and the Taejŏn then flowed into the Kap-ch'on Gang, a large tributary of the Kum. (Map II)

The highway net can be visualized readily if one imagines Taejŏn as being the center of a clock dial. Five main routes of approach came into the city.

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The main rail line and a secondary road ran almost due south from the Kum River to it. On this approach, 3 miles north of the city, a platoon of I Company, 34th Infantry, established a road and rail block.

From the east at 4 o'clock the main Pusan highway entered the city, and astride it some 6 miles eastward the 21st Infantry held a defensive blocking position in front of Okch'ŏn with the regimental command post in that town. There were two railroad and two highway tunnels between Taejŏn and Okch'ŏn. One of each of them was between Taejŏn and the 21st Infantry position.

From the south, the Kŭmsan road entered Taejŏn at 5 o'clock. General Dean had the Reconnaissance Company at Kŭmsan to protect and warn the division of any enemy movement from that direction in its rear.

At 8 o'clock the Nonsan road from the southwest slanted into the Sŏul-Pusan highway a mile west of the city. Astride this road 3 miles southwest of Taejŏn a platoon of L Company, 34th Infantry, held a roadblock at the bridge over the Kap-ch'on River at the southern end of the 34th Infantry defense position.

The Sŏul highway slanted toward the city from the northwest at 10 o'clock, and of all approaches it had to be considered the most important. At the western edge of Taejŏn (700 yards from the densely built-up section) where the Nonsan road joined it, the highway turned east to enter the city. The Taejŏn airstrip lay on a little plateau north of the road two miles from the city. A mile in front of the airstrip the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, was in battle position astride the highway at Hill 138 just east of the Kap-ch'on Gang. A mile farther west B Company occupied an advanced position. Behind the 1st Battalion, a mile and a half away, the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry, held a ridge east of the airfield and between it and the city. The composite battalion of artillery supporting the infantry was emplaced at the airfield where it could fire on the expected avenues of enemy approach. [11-6]

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[11-Caption] AERIAL VIEW OF Taejŏn CITY

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First strike in the east: The Wŏnsan oil refinery burning after attack by USS Valley Forge (CV-45) aircraft, 18 July 1950 (Photo #80-G-707876).

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On the afternoon of the 18th USS Valley Forge (CV-45) jets reported that the refinery appeared in full operation, and at 1700 a strike group of 11 Skyraiders and 10 Corsairs was launched, the former armed with 1,000 and 500-pound bombs and the latter with high velocity aircraft rockets. As the group came in over the city the Corsairs went down first, firing their rockets and 20-millimeter guns, and were followed by the ADs with their bombs. The results were spectacular, with large fires and so much smoke that photographic damage assessment was difficult.

[note]

USS Valley Forge (CV-45) At 1700; after quickly rearming with napalm, 1000# and 500# bombs, the ADs and Corsairs took off on a strike against the oil refinery at Wŏnsan. On the way up, one division of ADs made a run on the car barn at Kosŏng with rockets. One salvo with smoke rockets made the target appear burning, but on the return trip pilots all verified results as just damaged.

At the target, one division of Corsairs pushed over first, making a run with rockets and starting small fires in the refinery area. They were followed by the ADs who dropped everything they had, except for 1 plane who failed to drop his 1000# bomb at the target. The first division, firing rockets on the way down, made 1 direct hit with a 500# bomb in the building area on the eastern side of the refinery. The last of the two firing all their rockets into the target area. After their pullout six more Corsairs followed with rockets. These pilots verified reports of many explosions and fierce fires in the target area.

On retirement the strike Group headed south down the coast, looking for rolling stock and other targets of opportunity to strafe. The AD with the huge 1000# bomb made a run on a vessel (about 100’-150') which was headed south. His bomb exploded just forward of the ship, enveloping the vessel in water. From reports of other pilots and a photograph the ship was dead in the water and probably heavily damaged, evaluated as a probable sinking. At Kŏjo, a small craft was strafed and damaged. Further south, the damaged car-barn was strafed again by ADs and Corsairs with bursts from 20mm shells the only observed damage. Here, they left the coast to return to the ship. The only anti-aircraft encountered was some 20mm and 40mm from a Gunboat in the harbor at Wŏnsan. She was worked over by a few F4Us with unobserved results.

No enemy aircraft were encountered at any time during the day.

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By midnight the USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), USS Union (AKA-106), USS Oglethorpe (AKA-100), and USS Titania (AKA-13) had been completely unloaded, and the LSTs had accounted for 60 percent of their cargoes. Altogether, 10,027 troops, 2,022 vehicles, and 2,729 tons of bulk cargo were put ashore on D-day.

[note]

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Eighth United States Army Korea (EUSAK) Periodic Intelligence Report No. 6, 182400 July 50 -- "...in the west sector N.K. troops entered our lines posing as peasant refugees carrying unassembled firearms and uniforms in bundles." 50
50
Eighth U.S. Army Adjutant General Section 1944-56, Security-Classified General Correspondence 1950 , Box 714, RG 338, NARA.

[note]

Landing was begun at 0715; general unloading commenced at 0930; except for USS Cavalier (APA-37), all major ships had been emptied by midnight, while the LSTs had discharged all personnel, all vehicles, and more than half their bulk cargo. More than 10,000 troops and 2,000 vehicles, and almost 3,000 tons of cargo had been put ashore.

There is no landing better than an unopposed landing. Since the ROK troops were still holding out to the northward, the cavalry division had been greeted at P'ohang not by the enemy but by General Walker, and by trains ready-formed to carry them to the front. To some, however, this came as a disappointment. As the first sizable planned naval operation of the war, "Bluehearts" had drawn the attention of the press, and 26 correspondents were embarked in the command ship USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7). At P'ohang the lack of correlation between public interest and strategic worth, always a problem for the armed services in a democracy, reappeared in the report of the public information officer that

"the fact that the landing was unopposed detracted a great deal from the news value."

But however saddened the scribes, the bloodless and expeditious nature of the operation was to the military a matter for rejoicing.

[note]

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By 2400, 10,027 troops, 2,022 vehicles, and 2,729 tons of bulk cargo had been unloaded; “The landing was orderly and in organized units with [their] own equipment.”

[note]


Casualties

Tuesday July 18, 1950 (Day 024)

Korean_War 007 Casualties


As of July 18, 1950

3 34TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 36TH FIGHTER BOMBER SQUADRON
3 65TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
7 19500718 0000 Casualties by unit

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 39 1124 0 0 0 1163
Today 0 7 0 0 0 7
Total 39 1131 0 0 0 1170

Aircraft Losses Today 001

Notes for Tuesday July 18, 1950 - Day 024