Mean Temp 26.5°C 79.7°F at Taegu
25 Jul UNC defense at Pusan deteriorates. CinCUNC orders 1st MarProvBrig directly to Korea.
President Truman appointed Charles Fahy to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on 15 October 1949. Fahy did not assume his judicial duties, however, until 15 December after concluding his responsibilities as a member of the American delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.
"so long as additions are not progressively made to the critical list of MOS in which Negroes can serve, and so long as segregated units continue to be the rule, all MOS and schools can not be said to be open to Negroes because Negro units do not have calls for many of the advanced MOS."
Kenworthy was also disturbed because the Army had disbanded the staff agency created to monitor the new policies and make future recommendations and had transferred both its two members to other duties. In the light of progress registered in the half year since the Army had adopted the committee's proposal, Kenworthy concluded that
"the Army intends to do as little as possible towards implementing the policy which it adopted and published."[14-145]
Memo, Kenworthy for Fahy, 25 Jul 50, Fahy Papers, Truman Library.
In the memorandum the number of additional specialties is erroneously given as six; see DCSPER Summary Sheet, 23 Apr 50, sub: List of Critical Specialties Referred to in SR 600-629-1, G-1 291.2 (25 Oct 49).
Roy Davenport later suggested that such pessimism was ill-founded. Other factors were at work within the Army in 1950, particularly after the outbreak of war in Korea.[14-146]
Footnote 14-146: Ltr, Davenport to OSD Historian, 31 Aug 76, copy in CMH. For a discussion of these war-related factors, see Chapters 14 and 17.
Davenport alluded principally to the integration of basic training centers and the assignment of greater numbers of black inductees to combat specialties—developments that were pushing the Army ahead of the integration timetable envisioned by committee members and making concern over black eligibility for an increased number of occupation categories less important.
The Fahy Committee has been given full credit for proving that segregation could not be defended on grounds of military efficiency, thereby laying the foundation for the integration of the Army. But perhaps in the long run the group's idealism proved to be equally important. The committee never lost sight of the moral implications of the services' racial policies. Concern for the rightness and wrongness of things is readily apparent in all its deliberations, and in the end the committee would invoke the words of Saint Paul to the Philippians to remind men who perhaps should have needed no such reminder that they should heed
"whatsoever things are true ... whatsoever things are just." What was right and just, the committee concluded, would "strengthen the nation."[14-147]
Footnote 14-147: Freedom to Serve, pp. 66-67.
The same ethics stood forth in the conclusion of the committee's final report, raising that practical summary of events to the status of an eloquent state paper. The committee reminded the President and its fellow citizens that the status of the individual, "his equal worth in the sight of God, his equal protection under the law, his equal rights and obligations of citizenship and his equal opportunity to make just and constructive use of his endowment—these are the very foundation of the American system of values."[14-148]
Footnote 14-148: Ibid., p. 67.
To its lasting honor the Fahy Committee succeeded in spelling out for the nation's military leaders how these principles, these "high standards of democracy" as President Truman called them in his order, must be applied in the services. [note]
The unit began to encounter misfortunes almost immediately, just as soon as it entered combat near the town of Sangju in late July.
There was no single reason for what happened. An aggressive enemy, old and worn equipment, inexperience at all levels, leadership failures high and low, casualties among key personnel, and a lack of bonding and cohesion in some units all played their part. There was no lack of courage among the officers and men. A number of well-trained squads, platoons, and companies performed ably. Nevertheless, all military units undergo a winnowing when they first enter combat. Inept officers die or move aside to make room for the more competent. Much the same thing happened in the other American regiments fighting in Korea at that time. The same reasons for failure were present and the same process occurred.
Disturbing trends nonetheless emerged within the 24th almost immediately, and no one took action to correct them. When straggling increased to sometimes epidemic proportions, the leadership of the regiment did little more to stop it than to return offenders to their units. Every occurrence made the next one easier. Some units became so accustomed to withdrawals that their men began to abandon their positions at only the sound of firing or after receiving minor enemy sniper or mortar fire. As the trend continued, the trust of one soldier on the line for the man next to him deteriorated and each became more inclined to flee.
Other units experienced similar difficulties, but what happened in the 24th was complicated by segregation and the expectations it fostered. In an attempt to lead by example, officers stayed at their posts with those of their men who were willing to hold, suffering inordinately high casualties as a result. As that occurred, mistrust between whites and blacks grew apace and rumors began to circulate among the whites about how black soldiers had abandoned a wounded white officer on the battlefield. Whites in other units picked up the stories and spread them, giving credence to the word of white officers who, in some cases, appeared to be shifting blame for what happened from themselves to their men alone.
White stereotypes contributed to the process. In other units, commanders held
officers responsible for the performance of their men and concentrated upon
military causes for any failures that occurred. In the case of the 24th,
military reasons meant less. Failures often were attributed to the race of the
men. Blacks were afraid of the dark, so the reasoning went. They would not dig
foxholes, and they lacked the native intelligence to keep their equipment in
Reports say that communist soldiers and tanks slipped through their lines and hit the GIs from all sides. In the frontal assault, wave after wave of communist soldiers hit the American defensive lines, despite heavy losses.
After a daylong battle the Americans are forced to execute a fighting withdrawal toward Kŭmch'ŏn, where they will make another stand.
-- In his first report to the UN as CINCUN, MacArthur says the North Korean invasion was "carefully planned for long in advance," and Russia supplied them with arms. He vows "ultimate defeat of the aggressors," but more troops and equipment are needed to do the job.
-- The South Korean government reveals it is temporarily located in Taegu, 60 miles northwest of Pusan. It also announces that, because of so many communist infiltrators among the 25,000 refugees streaming south every day, any civilian "making enemy-like action" will be executed on the spot. [note]
Great turning movements are as old as warfare, though only commanders possessed of military genius have been able to execute them successfully. Hannibal did it repeatedly by adroit deployment of his cavalry in the Punic Wars; so did Napoleon, who wrote of his maneuver against Treviso to relieve enemy pressure on the Adige River in 1813:
". . it is my style, my manner of doing things."
It was Robert E. Lee's style, too; his use of Jackson at Chancellorsville is a classic example. And it had long been MacArthur's manner of doing things, as he had demonstrated along the New Guinea-Philippine axis, most memorably at Hollandia.
A victorious blow in Korea, however, depended on speed; the Russians were rushing naval mines to their PA puppets, and soon every South Korean port would be sown with them. The General had no doubts about his ability to move his men rapidly, to display, in Churchill's words,
"that intense clarity of view and promptitude to act which are the qualities of great commanders."
"One of MacArthur's greatest attributes," recalls Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, "was to get going and to hit quick" but persuading the Pentagon to match his pace was more difficult.
During Truman's second administration the chairman of the Joint Chiefs was Omar Bradley.
MacArthur was convinced that the chairman hated him because in 1945, when planning the invasion of Kyushu, he had rejected Bradley as, a senior commander.
It seems extremely unlikely that the chairman would have borne such a grudge, though it is true that he took a dim view of a Korean sea-to-shore envelopment.
Testifying before a Senate committee in 1949, he had said:
"I am wondering whether we shall ever have another large-scale amphibious operation. Frankly, the atomic bomb, properly delivered, almost precludes such a possibility."
That was not Bradley's most prescient moment, but neither was it the only basis for the Joint Chiefs' reluctance to approve MacArthur's grand design. The army was desperately short of troops, a partial consequence of Washington's determination to reinforce European garrisons.
Collins told CINCFE. in the Dai Ichi,
"General, you are going to have to win the war out here with the troops available to you in Japan and Korea,"
and MacArthur, according to Arthur W. Radford, smiled, shook his head, and said,
"Joe, you are going to have to change your mind."
In message after message the UN commander bombarded the Pentagon with reasons for an amphibious assault:
it would present the PA with a two front war,
starve their troops,
cut their communications,
seize a large port,
and deal the enemy a devastating psychological blow by recapturing Sŏul.
He believed the Chiefs would yield to him- because he knew, like John Jervis before Cape Saint Vincent in 1797; that "a victory is very essential at the moment." Sure enough, on July 25 they gave in and agreed to provide him with marines to lead the way. "MacArthur's scheme," writes Robert D. Heinl, Jr., "now had its cutting edge."  [note]
Almost immediately Washington had agonizing second thoughts. The General was maddeningly vague about just where he proposed to put his troops ashore, and now the Chiefs began to suspect he had reason to conceal it. He did. He had chosen the unlikeliest harbor on the peninsula: Inch'ŏn, on the Yellow Sea, 150 miles north of Pusan and the landing area nearest Sŏul.
Inch'ŏn is about as large as Jersey City, as ugly as Liverpool, and as dreary as Belfast. Its anchorage is sheltered and its waters always ice-free, but "this," notes Heinl, "is about all that can be said for Inch'ŏn as an amphibious target."
When MacArthur confided his plan to Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, who would have to execute it, Doyle was dumbfounded. He knew that Inch'ŏn had no beaches, only piers and seawalls. The attack would have to be launched in the heart of the city. The waters approaching it could easily be mined; possibly they already were. Currents there ran as high as eight knots. In any one of a hundred turns, a sunken or disabled ship could block the little bay, which was interlaced with moles and breakwaters. Steaming shoreward from the sea, vessels maneuvering through the rocks and shoals of Flying Fish Channel would find their objective masked by a squat, fortified obstacle, Wolmi Do ("Moon Tip Island"), which jutted into the channel and would have to be captured before any landings on the wharves could be attempted. [note]
Worst of all were the tides, among the highest in the world. Indeed, the tidal range, some thirty-two feet, was greatly exceeded only by that in the Bay of Fundy. Except at high tide, the port was reduced to wide, oozing, gray mud flats, rendering it wholly unusable by moving boats.
The only dates upon which surf would be high enough to accommodate amphibious ships and landing craft in 1950 were September 15, September 27, and October 11.
September 15 was best-MacArthur never considered, any other date-but high tide then crested first at dawn, too early for awkward troop transports to maneuver beforehand in the narrow passage, and again a half hour after sundown, too late for a daylight attack.
The General had chosen seventy thousand marines and GIs for the assault and placed this force, X Corps, under his chief of staff, the bilious Ned Almond.
As many marines as possible would have to be put ashore during the two hours of the first flood tide; twelve hours would pass before the second flood tide would permit reinforcement.
Doyle's gunnery officer said afterward:
"We drew up a list of every natural and geographic handicap-and Inch'ŏn had 'em all." Doyle's communications officer said: "Make up a list of amphibious 'don'ts,' and you have an exact description of the Inch'ŏn operation." 
MacArthur turned a deaf ear to them. He noted at the time that in 1894 and 1904 the Japanese had landed at Inch'ŏn, seized all Korea, and pursued the enemy across the Yalu into Manchuria.* The anguished naval officers pointed out that nineteenth-century vessels had much shallower drafts. The General serenely replied that he was sure that the problem could be solved. They were unconvinced;
* He did not add that in each instance the Nipponese were stopped short of victory by international diplomatic intervention so were the marines, Stratemeyer's fliers, and MacArthur's own. staff.
Every flag and general officer in Tokyo, including Walker, whose Eighth Army would be freed by a successful drive against the North Korean rear, tried to talk him out of it. Meanwhile, time was growing ever shorter. Some of the marines had already sailed from San Diego, yet the Pentagon, in one officer's words; "did not yet know the name of the game." [note]
25 July 1950
Five SB-17s were utilized this date for orbit missions. Thirty seven hours and twenty minutes (37:20) total time logged this date.
Again Flight "C" personnel were notified by the Misawa Base Hospital of an emergency evacuation to Sendai, Japan. The patient, a dependent wife, was suffering from complications of childbirth. An arbitrary time of 1400/K was set for take-off, the patient to remain under observation until this time. The patient and two (2) attendants arrived at the flight line at 1359/K, the air evacuation ship (C-47) was airborne at 1410/K and arrived at Matsushima Air Base at 1525/K without further incident.
19, 25, 28, 29
By late July, it had become apparent that U.N. forces, comprising American divisions, ROK divisions, and units expected from member nations of the United Nations, would soon be so numerous that tighter tactical control would be necessary. In anticipation of such a development, General MacArthur, on 19 July, called on the Department of the Army for two corps headquarters. He asked that these headquarters be sent as soon as possible with attached medical and military police units and with two signal battalions. If feasible, these two headquarters should be designated I and IX Corps. [07-63]
A few days later, General MacArthur revealed that his plans called for using one of these corps headquarters for an amphibious enveloping force, and stated that the operation could be deferred to no later than 25 September.
Although General MacArthur had not said specifically what use he intended to make of the other corps headquarters for which he had asked, the Department of the Army planners assumed that it would be placed under Eighth Army to serve in the breakout and exploitation phase following the initial amphibious assault.
Officers of the DA G-3 section conferred on the matter with officers from Army Field Forces and determined that the Army could produce only one corps headquarters by the target date. The available corps (U.S. V Corps) was at 75 percent combat effectiveness. Only one signal battalion, the 4th, suitable for employment with a corps headquarters, was in active service in the United States, and it was at 60 percent strength. A lack of critical signal specialists made its estimated combat effectiveness 50 percent. Chances for a second corps looked slim to G-3's planners, particularly in view of the fact that no other corps signal battalion was on duty in the United States
and at least six months would be required to train one.
They concluded that furnishing one corps headquarters with corps troops to the U.N. commander for use in the planned amphibious operation was the maximum capability of the Army. The tasks for which the other corps was slated would have to be given to Eighth Army. [07-54]
The Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Wade V. Haislip, disagreed vehemently. In his opinion, a second corps headquarters could most certainly be formed insofar as the staff personnel were concerned. Nor did he accept the G-3's position that it would take six months to train a signal battalion. He pointed out that the signal battalion to be used in defensive operations need not be so highly trained as one slated for offensive amphibious operations and directed G-3 to restudy the problem. [07-55]
As a result of General Haislip's interest, the Department of the Army told General MacArthur that it would be possible to activate and send to him a second corps headquarters, untrained but having all required staff members.
An additional signal battalion could be called into service and made available in six months. Or, if he wished, this battalion could be sent, untrained and at little more than cadre strength, in two months. General MacArthur asked at once for the earliest movement of the first corps (I Corps) and for immediate activation and dispatch of the second (IX Corps). He asked that the second signal battalion be called in and sent to him at once regardless of condition. [07-56] [note]
11 July 1950
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.
On 13 July the Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized the commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, to send the regiment to Pusan at once.
The regiment sailed for Korea on 25 July with 178 officers and 3,319 men, entered Korea on 31 July, and went into combat immediately. [05-40] [note]
By late July, the build-up of fec divisions to war strength was well under way. Of the 11 infantry battalions required, 8 had been sent or would reach General MacArthur's command within thirty days. The shortage in division artillery of 11 light batteries was also being rectified.
Three batteries arrived with the 5th RCT.
Three were en route from the 2nd Division,
2 from the 14th RCT, and
3 from the 2nd Armored Division. [05-41]
Reinforcement by Major Units
While he had been asking for replacements and filler units, General MacArthur had also been calling for major trained combat units from the United States. Never in this early period did the Department of the Army openly question the validity of any of MacArthur's demands. The continuing success of the North Korean Army was proving vividly that the Far East Command needed fighting units. But as the calls for help mounted they threatened to shrink the General Reserve unduly and had to be considered in terms of national strategy and acted on at a level above the Department of the Army. [note]
As the scale of the Korean action became clearer, General MacArthur on 25 July sent a supplemental list of technical service units which would be needed. This list brought the total number of technical service units requested in July to 501, totaling 60,000 men and officers. Officials of the Far East Command knew that they would not receive the bulk of these units for a long time, but they felt that Washington should know their requirements for planning purposes. [05-65]
The need for combat soldiers remained paramount. Of the service troops sent to Japan as replacements in July, for example, 60 percent were assigned to front-line fighting troops upon arrival in Korea. [05-66]
The filler units and reinforcing units which the Department of the Army had managed to scrape together for General MacArthur in the first month of the campaign represented the maximum force which the United States was able to furnish.
The approximate strength of the General Reserve on 25 June 1950 stood at 140,000. One month later only about 90,000 men and officers remained. Of this number, 15,000 were employed in essential operations at posts, camps, and stations in the United States. Not only had the General Reserve lost 50 percent of its units, but also levies for replacements and specialists had reduced most remaining units to cadre strength. Only the 82nd Airborne Division, the 3rd Cavalry, and certain antiaircraft artillery units retained immediate combat potential. Yet General MacArthur's calls on the General Reserve continued unabated.
His requirements exceeded the 50,000 men already sent and he had asked for 32,000 more by 25 July. The strength levels of the Reserve kept dropping steadily.[note]
The increased need for manpower caused the Department of the Army to call in late July for 50,000 draftees to be inducted in September. [07-17] [note]
14 July 1950 Many National Guard units were not divisional in nature, had specialized functions, and were made up of specialists and other men trained during World War II. These units appeared to be a likely source of strength for MacArthur's forces, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, although hesitating to call on National Guard divisions, asked for authority to call to active duty some other National Guard units if required. "The Joint Chiefs of Staff," they told the Secretary of Defense on 14 July,
are of the opinion that the emergence of the Korean situation cannot be fully met or in time by merely strengthening units already in existence or by filling them with untrained men through the Selective Service process or recruitment. Also it has developed that the requirements for units and personnel cannot be met on the basis of voluntary return of Reserves to active duty for which approval presently exists.... The Joint Chiefs of Staff request that the Secretary of Defense obtain at once authority for the three Services to call to active duty, within such personnel ceilings as have been or may be approved, such selected National Guard units and selected units and individuals of the Army, Navy, or Air Force as may be required to meet the demands of the Korean situation. [07-23]
More significant reasons than the disruption of regional social and economic conditions lay behind the reluctance of American military planners to call up complete divisions. General Collins, in addressing the Army Policy Council on 25 July, admitted that much public sentiment was developing in favor of a rapid Army expansion, including the calling up of the National Guard. He pointed out that, if the Chinese Communist forces intervened in Korea, the United States would have to federalize from three to six National Guard divisions at once. Calling up divisions immediately, perhaps prematurely, might not be wise. Too, there was no point in building up too rapidly, since the ability to meet American commitments was definitely limited by shipping. He contended that federalization of National Guard units would not help the situation in Korea since it would take a long time for these units to become effective. [07-24]
The Army Chief of Staff was waiting for an agreement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the size and make-up of the forces which they wanted to develop. There had been a difference of opinion as to whether a small, balanced, and mobile expeditionary force for emergencies similar to Korea should be created and maintained in addition to forces for Korea and the General Reserve. [07-25] [note]
Still unhappy with the new arrangements, MacArthur shelved the matter for the time being. Other developments were pressing. Whereas the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade had been headed for Kobe, Japan, mounting pressure by the enemy against Walker's perimeter and signs of a strong enemy force sweeping down the west coast to outflank Eighth Army forced MacArthur to abandon plans to keep the Marines as GHQ Reserve in Japan.
On 25 July, he
ordered the ground elements of the brigade diverted to Pusan, and to be prepared
to execute a rapid non-tactical debarkation.
Units and equipment peculiar to amphibious operations were kept on board ships and taken to Kobe. [note]
0000196523_0001.Hydro-Electric Plants and transmission Lines in North Korea, 25 July 1950 [note]
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Charles Gains (RA13257511), Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Sergeant Gains distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces at Hwanggan, Korea, on 25 July 1950.
Sergeant Gains, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, seeing that the automatic rifleman of his assaulting squad was wounded, immediately grabbed the automatic rifle and continued to attack. Although Sergeant Gains was wounded, he continued to attack, firing as he moved forward until he became so weak he fell to his knees. Sergeant Gains, mortally wounded, remained in position firing when the platoon received orders to withdraw and covered their withdrawal. His heroic action and calmness under heavy enemy fire inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and permitted the platoon to execute an orderly withdrawal. Sergeant Gains failed to return to friendly lines. [note]
On July 25, 1950 , a conference took place at the Capitol Building in Taegu. Participants from the Republic of Korea Government, American Embassy, National Police, United Nations, and the Eighth U.S. Army Korea (EUSAK) agreed upon a plan to control refugee movement. 24
National Archives-Still Pictures Branch, Record Group
111, Entry 111-SC Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity
1900-1981, Box 185, Photograph SC 344601.
"The inevitable backwash of war refugees by the thousands move south from Hwanggan toward Kum Chon as the 1st Cav and the North Korean Army fight it out over their farms and villages. traffic problems are created on the inadequate roads, and some "refugees" have been found to be North Koreans in disguise." [note]
"Artillery bursts on enemy positions in the hills around Yŏngdong Korea while the battle for the city goes on below."
Archives, Record Group 407, Entry 429 Army AG Command Reports 1949-1954, Box
"Enemy positions in hills around Yŏngdong receive artillery fire."
National Archives, Record Group 407, Entry 429 Army AG Command Reports 1949-1954, Box 1088.
"1st Cavalry troops in fire fight at Yondong."
Archives, Record Group 407, Entry 429 Army AG Command Reports
1949-1954, Box 1088.
National Archives, RG 407, Entry 429 Army AG Command Reports 1949-1954, Box 1088.
The combat operations conducted in July 1950 marked a very fluid, and often confusing, period of the Korean War. The previous chapter described how the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) moved rapidly against South Korea nearly unchecked.
Intelligence on the enemy proved an early challenge to the U.S. Army units rushed overseas to stem the North Korean tide. In fact, intelligence gathering on the Korean peninsula received scant attention prior to the NKPA's assault because the U.S. spent the immediate post-World War II years focusing on a potential war with their new Cold War adversary, the Soviet Union.
But several intelligence successes, and hasty delaying actions by the 24th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions, caused the North Korean Army to pay dearly for the ground they gained.
This period in July 1950 requires some particular focus with regard to the alleged incident near Nogŭn-ni. To explain effectively the events of this particular period of July 25 to July 29, one must understand
the intelligence available to the U.S. and Allied forces during that time;
the flow of battlefield events, to include the 1st Cavalry Division's relief of the 24th Infantry Division,
the battle for Yŏngdong,
the U.S. withdrawal to the Naktong River;
and the Air Force, Navy, and UN air operations that supported these battlefield activities.
A discussion of these topics and how they fit together paints a clearer picture of the events and the intelligence and aviation factors that affected those events. But the first, most crucial challenge the U.S. Army faced at that time was determining how the North Koreans fought, where they were disposed on the battlefield, and what they planned to do next.
I. U.S. Army Intelligence in July 1950
United States Army doctrine in 1950 defined military intelligence as
"evaluated and interpreted information concerning a possible or actual enemy, or theater of operations, including terrain and weather, together with the conclusions drawn there from."
That same doctrine defined combat intelligence as
"military intelligence produced in the field, after the outbreak of hostilities, by the military intelligence sections of all tactical headquarters." 1
War Department Field Manual 30-5, Military Intelligence: Combat Intelligence (Washington: War Department, February 1946), 8. The next revision of FM 30-5 was published in 1951.
The primary purpose of combat intelligence was
"to reduce as far as possible uncertainties regarding the enemy, terrain, and weather and thus assist the commander in making a decision and the troops in executing their assigned missions”. 2
The intelligence officer, using "all available information," was expected to:
"(1) Determine the enemy capabilities or the lines of action open to the enemy that would have a bearing on the accomplishment of the commander's mission.
(2) Determine the conditions under which any particular capability may be carried out; for example, the time, place and strength of an attack.
(3) Draw conclusions in certain cases as to the relative probability of adoption of lines of action open to the enemy." 3
Commanders, however, were warned that they
"must be certain that they base their action, dispositions and plans upon estimates of the enemy capabilities rather than upon estimates of the enemy's intentions"
(Emphasis in original). 4
capabilities + intentions Ibid, 8.
II. Institutional Intelligence
In July 1950 , military intelligence in the U.S. Army suffered from a number of weaknesses. The Army did not have a military intelligence branch filled by officers whose primary specialty was intelligence. Instead, officers from various branches were detailed to serve in intelligence positions. Some fields of intelligence, such as counterintelligence and signals intelligence, possessed a core of officers and men with World War II experience in these areas, and the need for such specialties in peacetime kept training programs in these fields open after the end of World War II.
Combat intelligence, however, generated no such demand; the Military Intelligence training Center, which during World War II trained combat intelligence specialists, closed soon after the war ended. During the interwar period, training in this field for those assigned to intelligence positions at echelons from army to battalion consisted of a hodgepodge of intelligence classes at various Army schools, unit training programs, self-study, and on-the-job experience. Combat intelligence effectiveness also suffered from the inadequate training of infantrymen and infantry units in patrolling skills. 5
John Patrick Finnegan and Romana Danysh, Military Intelligence (Washington: Center of Military History, 1998), 111-113. Two unofficial post-war publications, intended for officers with little or no intelligence experience assigned to intelligence positions, were
Colonel Stedman Chandler and Colonel Robert W. Robb, Front-Line Intelligence (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1946), and
Robert R. Glass and Philip B. Davidson, Intelligence Is For Commanders (Harrisburg, Penn: Military Service Publishing Company, 1948).
On inadequate training in patrolling, see Office, Chief of Army Field Forces, "Report of the First OCAFF Observer Team to the Far East Command," 16 August 1950 , Appendix C-2, copy in File 091 Korea (23 Aug 50), Box 558, Chief of Staff Decimal File 1950 , Record Group 319, NARA; "Some Infantry Lessons From Korea," (n.d., but from internal evidence probably 1952), 7-8, copy in File Geog V Korea 321 Infantry, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.
Other deficiencies in the military's intelligence capability resulted from Army-wide problems. The austere post-war budgets produced little money for new equipment, so units deployed to Korea in 1950 fought mostly with weapons, vehicles, equipment, and material produced during World War II; many of these items were either worn out or damaged by improper storage.
Unable to man fully all units according to authorized personnel strength levels, the Army, by July 1950 , had eliminated entire units or some units' subordinate elements.
Eighth Army's two corps-level headquarters, a vital link between the division and army echelons, were deactivated in early 1950 . Given the powerful artillery force the North Koreans possessed in July 1950 , two serious deficiencies in intelligence gathering were that the infantry regiments lacked their counter-fire platoon, used to locate enemy artillery and mortars, and that Eighth Army did not have the artillery acquisition battalions normally assigned to a field army. No mobile tactical communications interception units existed in Japan, and none were available in the United States ready enough to deploy overseas without several months of preparation. 6
"Report of the First OCAFF Observer Team to the Far East Command," Appendix C; "Comments of the Chief of Army Field Forces on Section II, Conclusions, and Section III, Recommendations, of Report of First Office, Chief of Army Field Forces' Observer Team to the Far East Command, 16 August 1950 ," 1-2, enclosure to letter, 28 August 1950 , General Mark W. Clark to General J. Lawton Collins, File 350.07 Far East, Army Intelligence Project Decimal File 1949-1950 , Box 128, RG 319, NARA; Matthew M. Aid, "US Humnint and Comint in the Korea; From the Approach of War to the Chinese Intervention," Intelligence and National Security, v.14, no.4 (Winter 1999), 27, 45. The quote is from Comments of the Chief of Army Field Forces," 2.
III. The American Understanding of the Enemy from July 22 to
American military planning after World War II focused on only one contingency -- war with the Soviet Union. Therefore, American intelligence collection efforts between 1945 and 1950 focused on the Soviet Union and, to a lesser extent, on China after the Communists won the civil war there in 1949. In
the Far East Command, intelligence efforts focused on monitoring these two nations and supporting the American occupation of Japan. Given these priorities, the American military boasted few Korean linguists in 1950 , and much of the military's information on North Korea came from intelligence collected by South Korean civilian and military intelligence agencies.
Additionally, North Korea's intensive counter-intelligence efforts often frustrated what little attention American intelligence gave to North Korea before June 25, 1950 . 7
7 Aid, "US Humnint and Comint in the Korean War," 19-27, 30-41. On American war planning, see Steven T. Ross, American War Plans, 1945-1950 (New York: Garland, 1988).
Between the start of the war and the 1st Cavalry Division's move from Japan to Korea, the division's intelligence staff "gathered and disseminated available information on Korea, made plans, held briefings, secured necessary equipment, addes [sic] personnel and arranged for distribution of maps throughout the command." [note]
Throughout the 25th of July, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, remained in defensive positions near P'ohang-dong about 95 miles away on the coast of the Sea of Japan. This battalion became involved in an incident that further illustrates the problems all units in Korea suffered with the numerous refugees on the battlefield.
During the hours of darkness on July 25, a group of unidentified individuals approached the battalion perimeter. The soldiers opened fire, and a platoon leader led a patrol to determine the nature of situation first hand.
He discovered that they were unarmed civilian refugees and recognized that they posed no threat. His patrol escorted the refugees through the lines, rendered aid to the wounded, and sped them to the rear. 56 [note]
XXVII. Naval Air Mission Targeting Guidance
Naval air mission targeting guidance for the last week of July varied widely from clearly defined objectives to somewhat general targeting suggestions. Stronger, more precise guidance gave “instructions to hit bridges, columns of troops, tanks, and any other assembly which looks as if it might be military.” 127
127 Rogers Memorandum.
Other documented guidance is available in the Valley Forge Report of Operations that indicated that “the target area assigned was designated ‘free Navy opportunity area’ since facilities on the ground for close troop support were not made available to Navy planes. Principal targets were enemy troops, armor and vehicles, rolling stock, barge traffic and lines of communication.”128
128 Report of Operations, 16. Attacks against readily identifiable military targets were a priority.
Identifying non-personnel military targets proved relatively easy. However, the existing tactical situation called for targeting ground forces, which proved more difficult. Non-combatant civilians often commingled with enemy combatants, and pilots struggled to distinguish enemy troops based upon clothing.
Two particular situations illustrate how the Navy relied on the judgment of its pilots as these pilots evaluated targets as hostile or friendly. On July 25, after an initial attack against ground contacts, “the first pass indicated that the people seemed to be civilians[;] other groups were investigated by non-firing runs.” 129
129 Ibid. [note]
The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, broke contact and escaped from Yŏngdong thanks to the division artillery's superior firepower.
16 War Diary , 8th Cavalry Division, 18-30 July 1950 . In the Records of U.S. Army Commands, Cavalry Regiments 1940-1967, Box 42, RG 338, NARA. [note]
On July 25, 1950 , Colonel Turner C. Rogers sent a memorandum, subject: Policy on Strafing Civilians, to his immediate superior, Brigadier General Edward J. Timberlake, Vice Commander of Headquarters, Fifth Air Force Advanced (ADVON) (Korea). 111
111 Memorandum to General Timberlake, “Policy on Strafing Civilian Refugees,” Colonel T.C. Rogers, DCS/Operations, HQ 5AF Advance, 25 Jul 50. Hereafter cited as “s Memorandum.”
In his memorandum, which was not an order, Colonel Rogers mentioned that the Army requested that the Air Force strafe all civilian refugee parties that approached the Army’s positions. He pointed out that air operations involving the strafing
“of civilians is sure to receive wide publicity and may cause embarrassment to the U.S. Air Force and to the U.S. government in its relation with the United Nations.”
Rogers argued that the refugee issue was primarily an Army problem and that the Army should screen civilians as they came through the lines. He further recommended that Fifth Air Force aircraft not attack refugee groups unless they were
“definitely known to contain North Korean soldiers or [to] commit hostile acts.” 112
No reply to the
memorandum or comment exists in the files. A notation on the copy found in the
National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) implies that General Timberlake saw the
memorandum and referred it to public relations.
A similar statement was found in a Navy document describing operations conducted on July 25, 1950 :
Several groups of fifteen to twenty people dressed in white were sighted. The first group was strafed in accordance with information received from the Army that groups of more than eight to ten people were to be considered troops, and were to be attacked. Since the first pass indicated that the people seemed to be civilians, other groups were investigated by non-firing
113 Valley Forge (CV 45), Report of Operations, 16 July to 31 July 1950 , 16. (Hereafter Report of Operations)
Since both the Rogers's memorandum and this document are dated July 25, 1950 , it is most likely that they were referencing a single discussion in the Joint Operations Center, where both USAF and USN operations officers were co-located. The Navy statement reinforces the judgment that pilots were expected to exercise between selecting targets and the Army's desire to target NKPA troops wearing white, not noncombatants.
Colonel Rogers, a 37-year-old West Point graduate with fourteen years of Air Force service, completed the Air War College in June 1950 and became available for an assignment to the new Headquarters, Fifth Air Force Advanced. He arrived in mid-July 1950 and was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, just before the advanced headquarters deployed from Itazuke to Taegu. 114
114 T.C. Rogers biography in “Generals of the Army and the Air Force,” vol. 2, no. 10, Dunleavy Publishing Co., Washington DC. November 1954, p. 16.
On March 13, 2000, the Air Force Inspector General representative interviewed Major General Turner C. Rogers, USAF (Retired), the author of this memorandum. General Rogers could offer no further information on the document in question. 115 [note]
In interviews with USAF combat pilots who flew in Korea during July-August 1950 , the pilots stated that their orders were to confirm their targets as military or hostile before firing. Their attack priorities were tanks, trucks, and buildings.
None of these individuals recall being given orders to strafe any civilian refugee parties that were approaching Army positions.
A thorough search of all available records failed to produce any requests made by the Army to the Air Force or the Navy asking them to conduct operations against known refugees as described in the July 25, 1950 , Rogers memorandum or the USS Valley Forge Intelligence Summary of the same date. 116
Appendix 5; E-mail, SAF/IGI to SAF/IGI, “Nogŭn-ni Report,” 26 Jul 00, with attachment, Document 33. Hereafter to be cited as “SAF/IGI Report.” [note]
The 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, broke through the ambush where its battalion commander had been wounded the day before, leaving behind Company F, a platoon of tanks from Company A, 71st Tank Battalion, and an element of the 16th Recon Company to act as a rear guard. The rapid advance of the NKPA cut off this rear guard, and this ad hoc force had to make its way out on its own. 48
48 War diary journal, 8th Cavalry Division, 18-30 July 1950 . In the Records of U.S. Army Commands, Cavalry Regiments 1940-1967, Box 42, RG 338, NARA.
The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, broke contact and escaped from Yŏngdong thanks to the division artillery's superior firepower. The 5th Cavalry withdrew from Yŏngdong and occupied defensive positions east of town. The day's operations proceeded as planned, but the night would change that fact dramatically. [note]
Nearly as important as ammunition, water became a critical problem. Leaders frequently reminded soldiers to use water only from authorized water points. A chronic shortage of trucks with water trailers and of water purification tablets issued with C rations forced thirsty soldiers to drink from streams and rice paddies. Dysentery became commonplace and affected the strength and well being of the individual soldier, often leading to evacuation from the combat 22
22 “United States Army in the Korean War: The
Medics’ War,” by Albert E. Cowdrey. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
All of these manning and supply problems do not explain adequately what may appear as poor performance on the battlefield. Pure hubris led to the belief that the Army could not lose a battle to the NKPA, but portraying these men as incapable is equally inaccurate. This understanding is critical when evaluating the discipline and the performance of the 1st Cavalry Division.
Mistakes occurred, particularly as elements of the division
engaged in combat for the first time (for example the disorganized withdrawal of
the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment
on the night of July 25-26, 1950 );
however, no systemic breakdown in discipline or performance occurred. Prudent
tactics called for the necessary trading of space for time until the Allies
could establish the Naktong defenses and until the first counterattack, the
Inch'ŏn landings, could create favorable conditions for the breakout and pursuit
of the NKPA.
The events on the night of July 25-26, 1950 , remain unclear. Confusion reigned in the forward area as units moved up and back at the same time. The 5th Cavalry relieved the 8th Cavalry. The 8th Cavalry then moved to and occupied an assembly area in the division rear near Hwanggan. Hwanggan is approximately three to four miles east of Nogŭn-ni.
The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, moved to the rear during the day and reported, before reaching its planned position, that the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, had relieved them. The 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, reported the battalion position by radio and later sent the division an overlay showing the unit's location. A slight discrepancy exists between the two reported locations. 49
49 Activities report, Headquarters 1st Cavalry Division (Inf), July 1950 . In the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, AG Command Reports 1949-1954, Box 4405, RG 407, NARA. [note]
The 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, was most probably near the road approximately 1,200 yards [0.6 mile] north-northeast of the village of Ka-ri as shown on a position overlay sent to the 1st Cavalry Division on July 25. The location of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, is important because this site helps to establish the exact position of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, on the night of July 25 and the early morning hours of the July 26.
The 1st Cavalry Division's 6:00 PM July 25 PIR estimated that a NKPA regiment had attacked two battalions of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, indicating that at least one enemy division opposed the 1st Cavalry Division. Enemy combat efficiency remained good, but the PIR did not estimate the enemy's most probable intentions. 50 [note]
Several factors require careful consideration when evaluating the 7th Cavalry's performance on July 25. The 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, was in P'ohang-dong and had not yet joined the regiment, which gave the 7th a distinct disadvantage in strength. Likewise, the 7th Cavalry did not have an assigned artillery battalion in direct support.
July 25 was the regiment's second day in the forward area and it was in its first week in Korea. Soldiers were aware of the enemy's infiltration tactics. In the words of the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, refugees clogged the roads, and he heard a vehicle pass his location, possibly a tank. 18
Military traffic and refugees crowded the road from Yŏngdong to Hwanggan, but no other reports of a tank in the rear area exist. The battalion commander most likely heard a vehicle from a withdrawing element belonging to the 8th Cavalry and not a North Korean tank. The fear of NKPA tanks may have caused the commander to identify the vehicle as a tank.
Pressure increased on the 25th Infantry Division's 27th Infantry Regiment on the right flank of the 1st Cavalry Division. Continuing the division's withdrawal became necessary to avoid a North Korean flanking movement. [note]
1st Cavalry Division regimental operations officers arrived at the division forward command post to receive orders for the next stage of the withdrawal.
Sometime during, or shortly after, this conference late on the night of July 25, the 7th Cavalry received a report that a breakthrough had occurred in the 25th Infantry Division sector to the regiment's north. 19
Without specific orders and not in contact with the enemy, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, began a disorganized and undisciplined withdrawal, believing that the NKPA had attacked and would envelop the battalion. The Regimental War Diary suggests that the battalion was under extreme NKPA pressure and withdrew to avoid envelopment. 20
20 Ibid. [note]
Regimental operations officers arrived at the division forward command post to receive orders for the next stage of the withdrawal. Sometime during, or shortly after, this conference late on the night of July 25, the 7th Cavalry received a report that a breakthrough had occurred in the 25th Infantry Division sector to the regiment's north. 53
A discussion on the existence of a Policy to shoot civilians. [note]
24th Infantry Artillery crew waits for the signal to fire on the advancing
North Korean enemy, northwest of Pusan.
25 July 1950. Korea [note]
From Yŏsu they [the men of the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, and the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry] traveled by boat the next day, 25 July, to Pusan. From there they returned north to rejoin their parent organizations. [11-76] [note]
By the morning of 25 July enemy forces had infiltrated the positions of the 1st Cavalry Division so thoroughly that they forced a withdrawal. Northwest of Yŏngdong, Lt. Col. Robert W. Kane's 1st Battalion executed an orderly and efficient withdrawal, covered by the fire of the Heavy Mortar Company and the two batteries of Lt. Col. William A. Harris' 77th Field Artillery Battalion. The mortar men finally lost their mortars and fought as infantry in the withdrawal. [12-41] [note]
On the right (north) of the road the enemy overran the battalion observation post and B Company's outpost line. This high ground changed hands three times during the day. While the infantry fight was in progress, and shortly after the first tank penetration, five more T34's came around the road bend toward the 71st Battalion. When the first tanks appeared Colonel Check had called for an air strike. Now, at this propitious moment, three F-80 jet planes arrived and immediately dived on the approaching second group of tanks, destroying 3 of them with 5-inch rockets. Altogether, bazooka, artillery, and air strikes knocked out 6 enemy tanks during the morning, either within or on the edge of the 1st Battalion position. In this, its first engagement with American troops, the N.K. 2nd Division lost all but 2 of the 8 tanks that had been attached to it a few days earlier at Chongju. [12-48]
Late in the evening after dark the 1st Battalion disengaged and withdrew through the 2nd Battalion immediately behind it. Both Check and the regimental commander, Colonel Michaelis, expected the enemy to encircle the 1st Battalion position during the night if it stayed where it was.
The North Koreans apparently were unaware of the 1st Battalion withdrawal, for the next morning, 25 July, two enemy battalions in a double envelopment came in behind its positions of the evening before
but in front of Maj. Gordon E. Murch's 2nd Battalion. There they were surprised and caught in the open by the combined fire of American tanks, artillery, and mortar, and the 2nd Battalion's automatic and small arms fire. The North Koreans suffered severely in this action. Surviving remnants of the two enemy battalions withdrew in confusion. The 2nd Battalion took about thirty prisoners. [12-49] [note]
The ROK 17th Regiment fought in the hills for the next
making some limited gains, and then it moved back to Sangju in the ROK Army reorganization in progress. This left only the U.S. 24th Infantry Regiment guarding the west approach to Sangju from the
The tendency to panic continued in nearly all the 24th Infantry operations west
of Sangju. Men left their positions and straggled to the rear. They abandoned
weapons on positions. On one occasion the 3d
Battalion withdrew from a hill and left behind
- 12 .30-caliber and 3 .50-caliber machine guns,
- 8 60-mm.mortars,
- 3 81-mm. mortars,
- 4 3.5-inch rocket launchers, and
- 102 rifles.
On another occasion, L Company
took into position 4 officers and 105 enlisted men; a few days later, when the
company was relieved in its
position, there were only 17 men in the foxholes. The number of casualties and men evacuated for other reasons in the interval had been 1 officer and 17 enlisted men, leaving 3 officers and 88 enlisted men unaccounted for. As the relieved unit of 17 men moved down off the mountain it swelled in numbers to 1 officer and 35 enlisted men by the time it reached the bottom. [12-25]
About 25 July, it [the 6th div] reassembled at Sunch'ŏn, ninety air miles west of Pusan, and made ready for its critical drive eastward toward that port.
Logistically, the division was poorly prepared for this operation. Its supply was poor and rations were cut in half and on some days there were none. 
"Comrades, the enemy is demoralized. The task given us is the liberation of Masan and Chinju and the annihilation of the remnants of the enemy.... The liberation of Chinju and Masan means the final battle to cut off the windpipe of the enemy." 
On 20 July at Yokohama, Major Raibl learned that the two battalions [ 29th IR] would not come to Japan but would sail directly for Korea, where they would receive at least ten days of intensive field training in the vicinity of Pusan before they would be committed. When Major Raibl arrived at Taegu on 22 July, he found Col. Allan D. MacLean, Eighth Army Assistant G-3, in no mood to listen to or discuss the lack of combat readiness of the 19th Infantry. Raibl talked at length with General Walker, who was sympathetic but indicated that the situation was urgent. When he left Taegu, Raibl understood that the two battalions would have a minimum of three days at Pusan to draw equipment and zero-in and test fire their weapons. 
The next afternoon the two battalions arrived at Chinju. Instead of the six weeks of training first agreed upon, they found themselves now in a forward position, rifles not zeroed, mortars not test-fired, and new .50-caliber machine guns with cosmoline rubbed off but not cleaned.  [note]
At Kŭmsan the 4th Division received another 1,000 replacements that had trained only a few days. Departing Kŭmsan on or about 25 July, the division reportedly left behind the tank regiment that had accompanied it ever since they had crossed the 38th Parallel together a month earlier. The tanks were to remain in Kŭmsan until the division had crossed the Naktong.  [note]
That evening, 25 July, Colonel Mott [3/29] received orders from Colonel Moore, commanding the 19th Infantry at Chinju, to seize Yŏngdong, a road junction point thirty-five miles southwest of Chinju. Colonel Moore said that about 500 N.K. troops were moving on Yŏngdong and comprised the nearest enemy organized resistance.
Maj. Gen. Chae Byong Duk, formerly ROK Army Chief of Staff and now in Chinju, urged on Colonel Moore the importance of Yŏngdong in controlling the western approach to Chinju and the desirability of holding it. He offered to accompany any force sent to Yŏngdong.
Colonel Moore gave Chae permission to accompany the troops; he had no command function-he was merely to serve as an interpreter, guide, and adviser to Colonel Mott. [note]
On 25 July, General Wright, Far East Command G-3, verbally ordered General Craig, who was in Japan with his advance party, to change his brigade plans from occupying the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto area of Japan to reporting with the brigade to Eighth Army in Korea. [note]
The next day this headquarters issued
No. 1. [15-51]
July 25, 1950
The Enemy 10th Division's Crossing at Yongp'o
The North Korean plan for the attack against Taegu from the west and southwest had called for the N.K. 10th Division to make a coordinated attack with the N.K. 3rd Division. The 10th Division so far had not been in combat. It had started from Sukch'on for the front by rail about 25 July. [note]
On 25 July, [one month anniversary of the war] Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith assumed command and on that day the Commandant of the Marine Corps issued an order to him to bring the division to war strength, less one regiment, and to sail for the Far East between 10 and 15 August. This meant the activation of another regiment, the 1st Marines, and the assembly, organization, and equipment of approximately 15,000 officers and enlisted men within the next two weeks. [note]
SC344384 - KOREAN CONFLICT
American artillery firing on Communist-led North Koreans, somewhere in Korea.
25 July 1950. Korea.
Signal Corps Photo #8A/fec-50-4712 (Breeding)
On about July 25 Dean and Tabor were surprised by an enemy patrol and, in a hair-raising escape into the rice paddies, became separated. Tabor was captured on August 4 and died in captivity.[5-67] [note]
Bill Dean wandered the hills and back roads of South Korea, assisted occasionally by friendly Koreans, for a total of thirty-six days, trying to get to friendly lines. Emaciated and barely able to stand, he was captured in a village thirty-five miles south of Taejŏn by a "gang" of civilians and turned over to the police on August 25 - a week or so after his son, William, Jr., entered West Point as a plebe. He was the NKPA's highest-ranking POW, but for reasons still not clear, the NKPA kept his capture a secret until December 18, 1951. Some American POWs were brainwashed and became propaganda tools for the Communists, but Bill Dean remained adamantly "unbreakable" throughout his nearly three years of incarceration. He was repatriated on September 3, 1953.[5-68] [note]
Did I miss something on the 24th?
Finally, during the night of July 24 - 25, the 2/8 split up and fought its way, out of the trap. Field and Robbins got out but many 2/8 men (and seven of the eleven light tanks) were lost, together with many of the 2/8's vehicles, crew-served weapons, and other gear. In the attempted rescue and blocking actions Rohsenberger's 5th Cav incurred 275 casualties in the two battalions.[6-46]
For the cavalrymen this introduction to combat in Korea came as a rude shock. The heat and humidity were utterly enervating. "Front lines, as such, did not exist," the division historian wrote. The NKPA, commingled with thousands of fleeing refugees, infiltrated and attacked from the flanks and even the rear. Not even division artillery positions were safe. Artillerymen of Hatch's 61st and Holmes's 99th FABs, the historian wrote,
"repelled enemy attacks in force that had the cannoneers fighting with small arms alongside their thundering artillery pieces." Owing to the enemy infiltration, planned withdrawals "became advances to the rear into even larger [6-enemy] forces."[6-47]
The Wolfhounds were forced back on Hwanggan, but their fight on July 24 and 25 was a minor yet deeply stirring and important psychological victory for the Americans. For the first time in South Korea an American regiment had decisively delayed a full-scale NKPA attack, knocking out (with FEAF help) a total of six fearsome T-34 tanks in the process, and had then withdrawn by the book, intact and ready to fight on. As a result, the Wolfhounds - and and Mike Michaelis - became overnight celebrities. Michaelis remembered:
"The kids won a battle - won it big - and that was very important for the outfit. They developed that all-important confidence right away. In fact, they became so cocky they were almost intolerable."[6-54]
Much of the credit for this "victory" was owed to Michaelis himself. He was a young, thoroughly professional, highly capable, experienced troop leader, in superb shape, physically and mentally. Long in search of a battlefield hero, the press - Marguerite Higgins and the Time-Life team in particular - repeatedly flocked to his CP to publicize him in frontline dispatches. Michaelis did nothing to discourage this attention.
"In World War Two I didn't play the press properly," he remembered. "In Korea I did. I had a sergeant to keep the press happy. He was a gem."[6-55]
* * *
On July 25, as he was girding for battle, Ned Moore received important - and generous - reinforcements, the first two of the eight individual battalions Matt Ridgway had ordered to Korea to bring the three divisions there up to strength. Moore was originally scheduled to get only one battalion, but owing to the sad state of the 19th and the importance of its new mission, Walker sent him two.
These two battalions had come from the 29th Infantry Regiment on Okinawa.
Until alerted for movement on July 5, both units were at half strength (about 500 men each) and had received no field training other than simulated deployment to protect the Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases on Okinawa. Both had brand-new commanders with no prior combat experience.
West Pointer (1929) Wesley C. Wilson, who was Ned Moore's age (forty-three) and a year senior to him at the academy, commanded the 1/29.
Harold W. Mott commanded the 2/29.[6-68]
The battalions [6-1/29 & 2/29] strengthened by the addition of 400 draftees who had arrived in Okinawa from the States only the day before, had departed Okinawa on July 21 by ship. As Wilson and Mott understood the plan, the battalions would go first to Japan for six weeks of field training, then to Korea. But the urgency of the situation dictated direct movement to Korea - without field training.
The 3/29's exec, Tony J. Raibl, thirty-nine, who acted as advance man for both battalions, protested these orders directly to Walker in Taegu, but to no avail. Upon landing at Pusan on July 24, both battalions were trucked to the 19th Regiment at Chinju so quickly that the men did not even have time to calibrate rifles, test-fire mortars, or clean the Cosmoline from the machine guns. [note]
Answer received from my T. S. redline to CSAF dtd 23 July re submitting evaluation air power. My reasoning approved. Also in message was info that we are receiving better news cover- age re the exploits of the AF in Korea. Keep photos coming.
Drafted a proposed memo to CINCFE for the signatures of the Target Selec- tion Committee, laying out a program for the Bâ€“29s of the FEAF BOMCOM. The 19th will continue direct support of ground forces until defense line stabilized or acceptable; other 2 groups, 22d and 92d will devote efforts to targets on attached chart; reasoning behind this to permit Fifth to support Walker with their resources without interference or interruption and will permit the severing of North Korean communications lines, and damage will be done in North Korea - rather than in South attaining same and better results if we came entirely south of the 38th Parallel.
The draft that was finally signed by the Target Committee is quoted en toto:
Memo to CINCFE, subj:
Targets for FEAF BOMCOM. (1) Your Target Selection Committee as approved by you on 22 July has, according to our understanding of your approval, laid out the following program for the B-29s of the FEAF Bomber Command. (2) One medium bomb group will continue opera- tions in the close proximity of the battle area until there is a reason- able stabilization of an acceptable defense line. (3) The other two groups will devote their major effort to a planned interdiction program primarily north of the 38th Parallel. (4) We feel that by this method the isolation of the battlefield will be secured and will allow the Fifth Air Force with its fighters, fighter-bombers, and light bombers, assisted when possible by carrier aircraft, to perform their mission in support of General Walker without interference or interruption. This method should cut the enemy's lines of communication with equal or better results than if we came entirely south of the 38th Parallel, inflicting damage in North Korea rather than in South Korea. (5) It is requested that this plan be approved. s/ Major Generals D.O. Hickey, USA; Charles A. Willoughby, USA; Otto P. Weyland, USAF.
(These people were on original target selection committee on Bâ€“29s, Far East Command, prior to my recommendation to put Weyland, Hickey and Willoughby on the committee. Their recommendations, as I understand it, went direct to General Almond and were based to a great extent on his suggestions.)
|(1) Colonel E.C. Ewart||Dep Dir of Info & Ed Dn., ASF|
|(Member)||Aug 44 - Mar 45|
|Present: G-2, GHQ||Mil Attache to Denmark,|
|Jul 45 - Mar 49|
|(2) Lt. Col. R.C. Cassibry||CO 15th FA Bn, Jan 44 - Aug 47|
|(Alternate?)||Student, Command & Staff Col, 47 - 48|
|3) Lt. Col. W.W. Quinn||Provost Marshal duties prior to 42;|
|(Member)||Staff Asst G-2 for 9th Army|
|Present: G-3, GHQ||Jan 42 - Jun 3 44;|
|Chief Operations, Control Intel. Gp.,|
|Wash., D.C., Jan 47 - Aug 47|
|Asst G-3 of I Corps|
|Sept 49 - Mar 50|
|(4) Lt. Col. T.R. Hanna||Operations Staff Officer, WDGS|
|(Alternate)||Sept 43 - Sept 45|
|Present: G-3, GHQ||Plans Officer, U.S. Forces, China|
|Sept 45 - Mar 47|
|5) Commander J.D. Reilly (Navy)||Navy Training Station,|
|(Member)||Gunnery officer on carrier|
|Present: Secretary JSPOG, GHQ|
|6) Captain Gamet (Navy)||Communications Officer|
Took Mr. Edward R. Murrow (Mr. Murrow representing Columbia Broad- casting Company.) [147-Murrow was the noted CBS radio broadcaster who became famous for his radio broadcasts from England during the height of the “Blitz” in 1940. In the 1950s-1960s, his TV programs “Person to Person” and “See It Now” set a new style in news broadcasting and would ultimately be regarded as the best of their types.] and my PIO to lunch at the Union Club; discussed many Air Force problems with him for the "behind-the-scene" record.
Colonel Nuckols brought in Mr. Joe Fromm, U. S. News and World Report correspondent, at 1715 and I discussed with him many subjects reference the use of the Far East Air Forces in Korea. He also was informed that many things that I told him were for background and off the record; I told him that he could quote me on anything provided he cleared the quotes with Colonel Nuckols.
1740 General Gilkeson arrives Tokyo. Billeted at the Imperial Hotel.
GHQ PIO release says that United Nations Command officially established
25 July with General MacArthur as C-in-C, as per resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations of 7 July 50.
Mission reports indicate from fair to some excellent results; one Yak reported in vicinity of B-29 target area, but it did not attack.
During the evening of 25 July two fleet air officers from the Valley Forge appeared at the Joint Operations Center and announced that they were dissatisfied with the day's work. Fleet pilots, they said, wanted to work over Korea in the same manner as Fifth Air Force pilots were operating. Air Force officers in the combat operations section went over the close-support control system, gave the naval officers pertinent call signs and procedures, and the Navy pilots seemed confident that they could support the entire Eighth Army battleline under the control of the JOC. Before leaving Taegu the Navy officers arranged that the fleet would fly four support missions on 26 July, each with from 12 to 16 aircraft. [note]
Because of deck loading, the Navy habitually launched most of the carrier aircraft in large strikes, and limitations of carrier operations apparently did not permit smaller launchings of aircraft throughout the day as required for orderly close support. The large carriers, moreover, had to operate in forces of not less than two. In an editorial in the Baltimore Sun on 23 August, four naval grievances were set forth:
(1) lack of direct communications between the JOC and naval carriers;
(2) shortage of properly gridded maps;
(3) inability of naval pilots to contact MOSQUITO controllers;
(4) refusal of the Air Force to accept Navy control parties.
Partridge admitted the validity of the first charge, but he argued that he had attempted to get the Seventh Fleet to accept a radio-teletype channel. Even with this means of communication, radio blackouts while the carriers were moving would make radio contact difficult and at best spasmodic. [it took hours to transmit this stuff]
As for the second complaint, Partridge said that the Navy had been furnished the Fifth Air Force grid system for maps on 25 July, with a request that it be transferred to naval close support maps.
He was unable to explain why Navy pilots could not contact MOSQUITO controllers, but it is probable that they had the same communications problems which beset Fifth Air Force fighters. When he could learn naval intentions in advance, Partridge had attempted to designate sectors of the front for concentrated naval support, a procedure which had been found most satisfactory.
To his knowledge, the Fifth Air Force had never refused to accept naval controllers. [note]
Mindful of both its paratroop commitment and the increased need for air-cargo capacity into Korea, FEAF had been making preparations to secure additional transport units and to effect a command organization for them since July.
On 25 July General MacArthur asked for C-119 aircraft to implement the employment of one airborne RCT, and USAF made the 314th troop Carrier Group (M) available to FEAF after 15 August.
USAF also called into active duty the reserve 437th troop Carrier Wing (M) stationed at O'Hare Field, Illinois, and alerted this wing for overseas movement by 1 October.
[Even so on 25 July General MacArthur had asked for C-119 aircraft to implement the employment of one airborne RCT, and even though the USAF had made the 314th troop Carrier Group (M) available to FEAF after 15 August by 9/10 (two months later) they still didn't have the required aircraft]. [note]
On 19 July the Valley Forge was back with orders to support the ground troops, a matter of some surprise to Partridge and Walker since GHQ had arranged it without consulting them. General Partridge insisted that the carrier pilots must follow the same operating procedure as Fifth Air Force flyers, and despite early complaints by Navy pilots that they could not raise MELLOW control, better liaison produced satisfactory strikes on 25 July and more were scheduled for the following two days.
[So what happened on the 19 20, 21, 22, 23 ad 24th? then 25, 26 and 27th]
23,24,25,26,27,28,29 1- week
20 - the Navy sink the bridge
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. [note]
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:
1. close support operations directed by FEAF and beyond Fifth Air Force capability;
2. enemy air-bases and aircraft on them when intelligence indicated a profitable target;
3. interdiction of the battlefield by destroying and maintaining destruction of highway and railway bridges between 37° and 38° from coast to coast;
4. destruction of petroleum refineries and storage;
5. destruction of enemy industrial targets including electric power plants.
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. [note]
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.
The whole committee accepted these views and
incorporated them into a memorandum which was approved by
25 July. **
** - General MacArthur's approval of this plan for interdiction was revealed on 3 August, when he called in Generals Stratemeyer, Almond, Wright, and Weyland to discuss a EUSAK message reporting several enemy convoys moving southward toward Sŏul. MacArthur emphasized that he desired a line cut across Korea, north of Sŏul, to stop all enemy communications moving south. [note]
Following the clarification of target selection and the appointment of a GHQ Target Selection Committee on 22 July, FEAF was quick to press for a settlement upon a proper interdiction program. On 23 July General Weyland sent forward a strong criticism of the existing interdiction effort which, he said, would not keep enemy reinforcements from the battle area, posed a number of targets greatly exceeding the capabilities of the medium bombers, and was characterized by many obscure targets. Following receipt of this memorandum, General Almond called the target selection committee (Generals Hickey, Willoughby, and Weyland) to his office on the evening of 24 July. As one report had it,
"The discussion became quite warm."
emphasized that the target selection committee had been established in order to
work out target selection on a mutually acceptable basis, an impossible mission
if all decisions were to be dictated from above. As the meeting went on,
Generals Hickey and Willoughby first argued that, all
should be continued in battlefield support, but Hickey at last suggested that
one B-29 group should remain on close support for the time being and that two
groups should be released for an interdiction program. Willoughby then added
that the B-29's so released should be used against interdiction targets
primarily north of the 38th parallel. The whole committee accepted these views
and incorporated them into a memorandum which was approved by General MacArthur
on 25 July. **
With two additional medium bombardment groups en route, FEAF approached GHQ fec with a study of the employment of five groups of medium bombers in the theater. Since all groups except the 19th, which had limited radar and no high altitude capacity, were equipped for high altitude radar bombing, FEAF believed that two groups should continue with interdiction, while three groups, augmented when possible, should destroy industrial targets in North Korea.
4.375 days between missions for each 32 plane group
With 140 B-29 's FEAF Bomber Command would possess a capability of 980 sorties a month [32 planes per day] with a bomb tonnage of 9,506 tons. [9.7 tons per plane] In choosing ordnance for industrial attacks, FEAF favored incendiaries in the belief that two groups actually could destroy the industrial targets with incendiary and a few high-explosive attacks.
Use of incendiaries, coupled with radar aiming, would permit day or night attacks in any weather, and destruction of large urban areas by fire would threaten subsistence of the populace so as to undermine the North Korean government.
"The psychological impact of bringing the war to the people," reasoned the study, "is a catalyst that destroys the morale and will-to-resist."
These recommendations coincided with the views of General O'Donnell , who stated:
It was my intention and hope . . . that we would be able to get out there and to cash in on our psychological advantage in having gotten into the theater and into the war so fast, by putting a very severe blow on the North Koreans, with an advance warning, perhaps, telling them that they had gone too far in what we all recognized as being a case of aggression . . . and [then] go to work burning five major cities in North Korea to the ground, and to destroy completely every one of about 18 major strategic targets . . . .
As they were scheduled to do, Navy pilots sought targets in southwestern Korea on 25 July, but at the close of the day's flying neither the men of Task Force 77 nor General Partridge was satisfied with what had been accomplished. General Partridge welcomed the help of any available air unit, but he felt strongly that air effort in support of the Eighth Army ought to be managed from Korea. Since the carrier task force had not established any communications with the JOC, nor provided liaison with that responsible body, its carrier pilots had met little success in their efforts to locate hostile targets in an unfamiliar area. These carrier pilots characterized their activity as "non-productive, or nearly so." #8 [note]
[ON THE 23RD] Concerned about the Eighth Army's left flank and assuming that Partridge was "pretty much all out" with the forces. he had available, General Stratemeyer was also in favor of the naval close support proposal.
General MacArthur understood that the strikes could not be controlled from the' ground, but he was willing to accept the calculated risk that the emergency naval strikes might hurt some friendly people.
He accordingly issued instructions that Task Force 77, beginning on 25 July, would seek out and attack military targets in southwestern Korea within an area bounded by the towns of Kunsan, Chŏnju, Namwon, and Kwangju.
Although the Navy was given this area for exclusive operations, and it was also agreed that Navy aircraft could operate in the area without contacting Fifth Air Force controllers, General Crabb told Partridge that he did not think that anyone would object very much if Air Force or Navy planes strayed slightly across the boundary. [note]
During this period the
FEAF Target Section
attempted to lay foundations for a strategic air campaign. Prior to the Korean
war, the FEAF Target Section had been preparing standard USAF target dossiers
for potentially hostile targets in the Far East. The section, however, had
neglected Korea, with the result that this peninsula was not covered by target
dossiers on 25 June. The old target-folder system of World War II vintage
covered 159 targets in South Korea and 53 in North Korea and provided immediate
opera-tional intelligence for air strikes. As a result of hurried effort, the
FEAF Target Section completed dossiers for most North Korean targets by 25
#7 Interview by author with Capt. T. S. Blood, Direc. of Intel. FEAF, 2 Nov. 1950.
Back in Washington during July the Joint Chiefs of Staff became increasingly impatient with the delayed strategic bombing attack. So long as the North Koreans drew support from virtually bomb-free industries in North Korea, United Nations forces would find it difficult to defeat them on the battlefields of South Korea.
More mature study, moreover, demonstrated that North Korean industry was contributing significant strength to Russia in the cold war. At some plant in the chemical complex at Hŭngnam the North Koreans were reportedly processing monazite, a primary source of thorium and other radioactive elements used by Soviet Russia's atomic-energy program.
In view of the geopolitical importance of the Hŭngnam chemical combine, General MacArthur authorized "special missions" against it, but he cautioned General Stratemeyer not to lessen the support which the Superfortresses were giving to the ground troops in South Korea.#8
#8 Msgs. CX-58944, CINCFE to CG FEAF, 29 July 1950; A-4752-CG, CG FEAF to CofS USAF, 25 Aug. 1950. [note]
On July 25, 1950, the Joint Chiefs of Staff bowed to MacArthur and authorized release of a division, although it would include the ground elements of the Marine brigade already headed for the Pusan Perimeter.
The same day, the Commandant told the 1st Marine Division that it would expand to full strength and must be ready to mount out for the Far East a early as August 10, barely two weeks hence.
G-3, Colonel Alpha L. Bowser, was flabbergasted. His organization had
3,386 officers and men, nearly all of them assigned to headquarters and support
elements. There was not a single combat unit in Camp Pendleton. A
reinforced Marine Division, less one regiment and its attachments, totaled
almost 20,000 Marines and sailors. Bowser thought the idea of sailing off
to war that soon was “just impossible.” He was probably right, but in the
days to come the entire Marine Corps would work with a will to make it happen.
July 25, 1950
Smith arrived in Pendleton on July 25 after a cross-country drive and was as dismayed as his G-3 at the rapid turn of events.
Headquarters already had turned on the manpower spigot. At the Commandant’s request, President Truman had authorized activation of the Marine Corps Reserve on the 19th.
Cates also decreed that nearly all-subordinate units of the 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune would pickup and go to the West Coast. The Chief of Naval Operations CNO chipped in his share, directing a 50 percent reduction in the strength of Marine forces guarding naval bases. That freed up 3,630 officers and men. Congress then extended all enlistments for a year, thus freezing the departure of these nearing the end of their contracts. The troops began to pour into Camp Pendleton by the end of month. [note]
On 25 July these exchanges came to a climax when the Pentagon directed the Marine Corps to build its 1st Division to full war strength.
At this point the change of heart among the Joint Chiefs of Staff is pertinent because of its direct effects on the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. As previously noted, the Pentagon on 22 July approved the Marine Corps’ plan Able which provided for the expansion of the Brigade to war strength.
General Cates immediately set machinery in motion to bolster the ranks of that unit. With the approval of Admiral Sherman, he cut into the rosters of Marine security detachments throughout the United States and arranged for the personnel thus released to be channeled to Craig’s command.
It was also possible now to implement an earlier plan relating to casualty replacements for the Brigade. As far back as 14 July, the Commandant had ordered activation of the First Replacement Draft, fixing its departure for Korea at 10 August.
Thus Craig could be assured of early reinforcement by more than 800 officers and men if the course of the war necessitated a premature commitment of his Brigade.
Generals Craig and Cushman were meanwhile assigned a large office in General Headquarters, Tokyo. There they cleared away much administrative detail which accumulates in the path of every military operation. [note]
On the 25th the advance party again set out for Itami, this time to prepare for the arrival of the Brigade. Their plane was a scant 20 minutes out of Tokyo when an urgent message from General Headquarters directed their return to that city at once. The big aircraft roared back to the field, and a few minutes later the Marines were driving through the Japanese capital.
At headquarters, Wright summed up the most recent reports from the front.
The American forward wall was crumbling under continuous hammering. A wide envelopment had just netted the whole southwestern tip of the peninsula for the Communists, who were now pressing in on Pusan from the west as well as north.
Lacking sufficient troops to defend its broad frontage, the Eighth Army was falling back. If the Red tide continued unabated, there was imminent danger of losing Pusan, the one remaining major port in American hands. Should this coastal city fall, South Korea would be lost.
Wright told Craig that all available troops had to be thrown into the line to meet this threat. Therefore, General MacArthur had diverted the seaborne Brigade from Japan to Korea, where it would join General Walker’s beleaguered forces.
Obviously, the Marines were not far from a fight. [note]
As previously noted, Sasebo, Japan, was the original destination of the ships transporting the Brigade’s ground elements. The USS Achernar (AKA-53), USS General A. E. Anderson (APA-111), and USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116) were bound for Kobe with MAG–33. When Craig’s proposal for consolidation was approved by General Headquarters, the entire convoy was ordered to Kobe.
Then, on 25 July, Colonel Edward W. Snedeker, Chief of Staff, received the dispatch sending the ground force directly to Pusan.
This announcement came as no surprise to the majority of officers and men. Day by day, news reports had been outlining the course of the war. The shrinking perimeter of Walker’s army was traced on maps and sketches throughout every ship.
After the Communist “end run” in southwest Korea, Marines began to wonder if there would be any front at all by the time they arrived. In the captain’s mess of the USS Pickaway (APA-222), senior Marine and naval officers were giving odds that the Brigade would reach the South Korean port only in time to cover a general evacuation of the peninsula.
23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
The Second Echelon consisted of six LSTs, three APs, and four Japanese freighters, while six LSTs made up the Third Echelon. These ships discharged their cargo from 23 to 29 July, having been delayed by Typhoon GRACE. And on the 30th, ComPhibGru One, as CTF 90, reported that the operation had been completed and no naval units were now at the objective. [note]
General Shepherd replied that a Marine amphibious striking force could be raised for the proposed Inch'ŏn landing without seriously weakening the Fleet Marine Force as a whole. This striking force, he predicted, would prove to be
“the key of achievement of a timely and economical decision for our arms.”
The Marine general’s statement was one of the main factors in causing the Joint Chiefs to advise MacArthur on the 22nd that they were reconsidering their stand.
During the next 48 hours, as dispatches sped back and forth across the Pacific, a compromise was reached.
CinCFE was promised his Marine division in time for his target date—but it was to be a division minus one RCT. In other words, the infantry regiment of the Brigade would be supplemented by another RCT and supporting troops with appropriate Marine air.
But the Joint Chiefs were adamant in their decision that MacArthur must wait until autumn or even winter for his third RCT.
These preliminaries cleared the way so that General MacArthur’s request was finally approved by JCS on 25 July, the day when General Smith took over command of the 1st Marine Division. The Marine Corps was directed to build the division (less one RCT) up to full war strength, and a date of departure of 10–15 August for the Far East was set. [note]
To this end, the
1st Provisional Marine Brigade (Reinforced) was activated at Camp
Pendleton on 7 July, with the 5th Marines of the 1st Marine Division
(Reinforced) and MAG-33 of the 1stMarine Aircraft Wing as the basic
Seven days later, [7/14] the brigade, composed of approximately 6,500 well-trained aviation and ground regulars, weighed anchor for Kobe, Japan.
But while still at sea, on 25 July, the brigade ground elements were diverted from Japan and ordered to land in Korea, where reinforcements were urgently needed.
To this end, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade (Reinforced) was activated at Camp Pendleton on 7 July, with the 5th Marines of the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) and MAG-33 of the 1stMarine Aircraft Wing as the basic elements.
Seven days later, the brigade, composed of
approximately 6,500 well-trained aviation and ground regulars, weighed anchor
for Kobe, Japan.
But while still at sea, on 25 July, the brigade ground elements were diverted from Japan and ordered to land in Korea, where reinforcements were urgently needed.
By the latter part of July, the United Nations position in Korea had deteriorated to such an extent that the signal was given to execute the tentative plan to commit the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) with appropriate air support to the struggle.
The need for a war-strength Marine division was a real one, which had to be confronted.
Aside from the international considerations prevailing in Korea during July, time, tide, and the tactical situation conspired to give the build-up and the transportation to Korea of a war-strength Marine division and a two-group Marine aircraft wing an urgency unequalled since the first months of World War II.
By this time, it was apparent that the Korean conflict bad taken on the character of a young but lusty war, entailing the employment of war-strength divisions and all the techniques inherent in a war of fronts, including amphibious assault.
Fortunately, General MacArthur had already planned an amphibious counterattack at Inch'ŏn, which if successful, would relieve the Pusan perimeter, facilitate the seizure of Sŏul, and above all, sever the heart of the North Korean army communications net from its body. [note]
1. On 25 July the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed
the Marine Corps to-build the
1st Marine Division, less one RCT, to war
On -the same day, a 10-15 August date of departure for the Far East was set.
2. On 25 July, the Chief of Naval Operations authorized a 50 percent reduction in Marine security forces within the continental limits of the United States, making additional regular Marines available for the 1st Marine Division. [note]
Meanwhile, orders to Organized Reserve units were
being issued at established intervals.
On 22 July, 25 units were ordered to active duty;
on 24 July, 23 units;
on 25 July, 18 units;
on 26 July, 13 units;
on 27 July, 6 units;
on 3-August s 5 units; and
on 4 August, 25 units.
In such an operation, time was the "open sesame" to success, for hydrographic conditions at Inch'ŏn are truly unique. Low seas are the general rule from August through May, and un-desirable high seas prevail from October through March. Since it was physically impossible to mount the counterstroke in August, the following month, a transition period, was the logical choice. During September, only on the days 15, 16, and17 can large bodies of troops be landed satisfactorily, for on these days only do the tidal range and the extensive mud flats adjacent to Inch'ŏn Beach permit the close approach of LSTs and landing craft. 
1. October, too, was a possibility, but a less desirable one since it offered a greater likelihood of high seas.
Any decision to postpone the landing, there-fore, would have dictated in turn that the delay be for no less than a month, when tidal conditions would have been favorable once more. But during this month of grace the enemy would have had the opportunity to capture Pusan and to improve his defenses in the vicinity of Inch'ŏn; and improved defenses, if created, would have increased the cost in lives--always very important to Americans--and diminished the possibility of a successful assault.
18, 19, 22, 25
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 Hamhung 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.
The HMS Triumph (R16) again furnished Combat Air Patrol and Anti-Submarine Petrol for the period 25 through 29 July augmented by one ADW type aircraft from the USS Valley Forge (CV-45). [note]
19500724 0000 FIS by DD's
19500725 0000 TF77, FIS by DD's
19500726 0000 TF77, FIS by DD's
19500727 0000 ROKN, TF77 refueling, Toledo and DD's
19500728 0000 TF77, Toledo and DD's
19500729 0000 TF77, Toledo and DD's
19500730 0000 ROKN, Toledo and DD's, 1st CAV Land
19500731 0000 Toledo and DD's
19500801 0000 Belfast and Bataan, Toledo and DD's
19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
At noon on the 19th General Gay assumed command ashore. In the afternoon, with unloading completed, ships of the Attack Force shifted to heavy weather anchorages as Grace[Duration July 16 – July 21], the first typhoon of the season, was reported heading for Korea Strait.
On the 22nd Grace came up the coast, bringing gusts of 50 knots to Yŏngil Man and delaying the arrival of the second echelon of shipping. This had been scheduled to come in on the 21st, but the MSTS units reached P'ohang only on the 23rd, and the chartered Japanese freighters the next day. The LSTs of the third echelon arrived on the 26th and 29th.
For a variety of reasons, unloading of the follow-up shipping was somewhat slow.
The MSTS transports suffered from their shortages of personnel;
the Japanese freighters lacked trained hatch crews and unloading gear, and the ever-present language problem complicated supervision;
after two days of continuous labor the shore party was getting tired.
Nonetheless the work proceeded. On the 23rd the commanding officer of a Navy LST was directed by Admiral Doyle to take over the duties of senior officer present, and late in the evening the force commander sailed inUSS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), with USS Union (AKA-106), USS JAMES E. KYES (DD-787), and USS Diachenko (APD-123), for Tokyo.
A week later it was all over, and CTF 90 was able to report
the completion of operations at P'ohang and the withdrawal of all shipping from
Yŏngil Man. But this report was by way of formality, for the strategic
rewards of the operation had long since been apparent.
On 22 July, four days after the initial
landing, the 1st Cavalry
Division had relieved the battered 24th Division
southeast of Taejŏn.
22 June [note]
Pursuant to these orders USS Helena (CA-75) and the destroyers sailed at once for Sasebo, where they arrived on the 25th and where not only USS Toledo (CA-133), but HMS Belfast (C-35) with Admiral Andrewes and USS Juneau (CLAA-119) with Admiral Higgins were awaiting them.
table 7.—NAVAL OPERATING COMMANDS, 21 JULY–11 SEPTEMBER 1950 (NavFE Opord 5-50, revisions of 21 July ff)
On the basis of Admiral Higgins’ reports of the ineffectiveness of 5 and 6-inch gunfire against reinforced concrete bridges it was decided to use the 8-inch cruisers for bombardment and fire support; Juneau was scheduled for transfer to the Seventh Fleet, and Higgins shifted his flag to Toledo. The new organization of Task Group 96.5, as here worked out, involved the creation of four subordinate units:
two rotating East Coast Support Elements were set up, one under Admiral Hartman with Helena and Destroyer Division 111,
the other under Admiral Higgins with Toledo and DesDiv 91
Captain Jay was given command of the Escort Element, to which the four frigates were assigned;
In addition to his responsibility for Yellow Sea and west coast operations, Admiral Andrewes was charged with the supervision of all non-American United Nations naval forces, for which purpose he set up an administrative headquarters in a frigate at Sasebo. [note]
If the Marine Brigade was to be committed at once the air group had to be quickly made operational, and this required some unscrambling. The escort carriers of CarDiv 15 had been separated at the start of the emergency: USS Sicily (CVE-118), with her antisubmarine squadron, had been ordered to Guam, while USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116) had embarked the aircraft of MAG 33 and sailed in company with the transports carrying the ground personnel. [note]
And on the 25th
General MacArthur was informed that the
1st Marine Division, with attached air but less one RCT, had been ordered to
prepare for a departure between 10 and 15 August.
That this commitment was met was in itself an extraordinary administrative accomplishment. Starting with a total Fleet Marine Force strength of 28,000, less than half of which was in FMF Pacific, it took some doing to provide a division of more than 20,000 men, not to mention the 4,000 or so additional personnel of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, without complete disorganization of the Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, and of the supporting establishment.
Only the President’s decision of 19 July to call up the Marine Corps Reserve enabled the Joint Chiefs to promise the division;
only Marine confidence that an expedited arrival was both desirable and feasible produced the advanced departure date;
only the availability of sufficient amphibious lift permitted this confidence.
By such interlocking circumstances CinCFE was enabled to plan for a mid-September operation, but late July and early August was inevitably a time of controlled frenzy at Camp Pendleton, as security detachments, personnel from FMFLant, and reserves were processed and integrated into the violently expanding force. [note]
On 25 July the Chief of Naval Operations had ordered the activation of the fast carrier USS Princeton (CV-37), then in reserve at Bremerton. Recommissioned on 28 August, under command of Captain William O. Gallery and with a crew largely composed of recalled reservists, Princeton had completed her period of shakedown training, had embarked Rear Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie, Commander Carrier Division 5, and had sailed from the west coast in early November.
On the 25th she departed Pearl Harbor for the Western Pacific; on the 27th, on orders from CinCPacFlt to proceed at maximum safe speed, she went up to 30 knots; on the 30th ComNavFE instructed her to proceed directly to the operating area. [note]
The carriers launched at 0800 on the 25th from a position south of Korea, and for the remainder of the day maintained planes in the air over the front line. Once again, however, results were disappointing; pilots returning from the morning strikes reported that air controllers had more planes than they could handle and that radio channels were overcrowded; these factors, together with the lack of common charts and procedures, had prevented controlled attacks, with the result that the "free opportunity" area assigned in the west had been liberally used to dispose of ammunition.
Early in the afternoon Admiral Struble reported that owing to lack of targets the morning sweeps had been of very minor effect. In point of fact it appears that ComNavFE’s intelligence was stale, and that the North Korean 6th Division had by this time passed through the country assigned the carriers and was concentrated about Sunchon.
The region so menacingly described in the emergency dispatch from Admiral Joy turned out to be a peaceful agricultural area populated principally by donkey carts and men working in rice paddies. Although he announced that he would continue with afternoon attacks, the effort seemed unfruitful to Commander Seventh Fleet, and once again he emphasized the need of proper communications with commanders in the field.
Admiral Struble’s dispatch stating his plans for 26 July produced an immediate howl from Tokyo. No new area for carrier operations had been arranged with FEAF headquarters in Japan, and Admiral Joy requested immediate information as to Commander Seventh Fleet’s intentions.
Prior to the 25th arrangements for carrier strikes had been made on the upper levels, between ComNavFE and the commanding general of FEAF, on a basis of general area coordination, but with the commencement of efforts to use carrier planes in support of troops this system began to break down.
Struble’s reply described the arrangements which had been made directly with EUSAK and JOC, and since difficulties were still being experienced in direct communication, followed up with a request that ComNavFE clear with FEAF for operations as far north as Suwŏn. [note]
With the arrival in late July of two more U.S. heavy cruisers, USS Helena (CA-75) and USS Toledo (CA-133), to join the Seventh Fleet flagship USS Rochester (CL-124), eight-inch guns began to play an important and lasting role in the Korean conflict. Their heavier shells could reach farther, penetrate deeper and destroy harder targets than the projectiles of the five and six-inch guns available on the British cruisers and the other U.S. ships then present in the combat zone.
gunfire played an important role in the defense of the Pusan Perimeter in August
and early September, especially at the line's eastern end north of P'ohang, where
ships' guns helped defeat several North Korean attempts to capture the seaports
that sustained the UN toehold in Korea. Cruisers and destroyers also joined
aircraft in interdicting enemy communications and facilities further to the
North and supported South Korean island garrisons off the peninsula's west
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.
Despite General MacArthur's protests, General Ridgway and General Haislip drew up a plan on 25 July to move the 187th RCT of the 11th Airborne Division to Japan with an operational readiness date in the Far East Command of 21 October.
Infantry fillers would be transferred to the unit from the 82nd Airborne if necessary. One hundred C-119 aircraft would arrive in the Far East Command in time to allow the RCT fifteen days of operational training prior to 21 October.
On this basis, build-up of the 187th Airborne RCT went forward during July and most of August. [note]
Songs of the week
0000 Korean Time
0100 Korean Time
0200 Korean Time
0300 Korean Time
0400 Korean Time
0430 Korean Time
Meanwhile, the situation worsened on the road southwest of Yŏngdong. Concentrated artillery support-with the shells falling so close to the td Battalion positions that they wounded four men-together with an attack by the battalion, briefly opened the enemy roadblock at 0430, 25  July, and the bulk of the battalion escaped to Yŏngdong. But F Company, 8th Cavalry, the 16th Reconnaissance Company, and the 1st Platoon, A Company, 71st Tank Battalion, at the rear of the column were cut off. Only four of eleven light tanks broke through the enemy positions. Crews abandoned the other seven tanks and walked over the hills in a two days' journey as part of a group of 219 men, most of them from F Company. All equipment except individual arms was abandoned by this group. Others escaped in the same manner. [12-42]
On this same road, but closer to Yŏngdong, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, in trying to help the cutoff units of the 8th Cavalry, ran into trouble. Through some error, its F Company went to the wrong hill and walked into a concentration of enemy soldiers. Only twenty-six men returned. Altogether, the 5th Cavalry Regiment had 275 casualties on 25 July. [12-43]
The N.K. 3rd Division used against the 1st Cavalry Division at Yŏngdong essentially the same tactics it had employed against the 24th Division at Taejŏn-a holding attack frontally, with the bulk of its force enveloping the American left flank and establishing strongly held roadblocks behind the front positions. The enemy division entered Yŏngdong the night of 25 July; at least one unit was in the town by 2000. The North Koreans expected a counterattack and immediately took up defensive positions at the eastern edge of the town. Prisoners reported later that the division suffered about 2,000 casualties, mostly from artillery fire, in the attack on Yŏngdong on 24-25 July. [12-44] This brought it down to about 5,000 men, approximately half-strength. [note]
0500 Korean Time
0529 Korean Time
0529 Sun Rise
0600 Korean Time
On the morning of 25 July, Col. Ned D. Moore arrived at ChinjuChinju about 0600, [preceding his 19th Infantry Regiment headquarters and the 2nd Battalion, which reached the town at 1500 in the afternoon. ] [note]
The NKPA attacked as YŏngdökYŏngdök foresaw, but not until daylight. They enveloped and closed on Check's abandoned positions directly in front of Murch's well-emplaced firepower. Enjoying a clear field of fire, Murch's men inflicted a slaughter on the NKPA before Yŏngdök ordered Murch to "How Able" to the rear. The withdrawal was skillfully conducted under cover of the nine light tanks.[6-53]
where close air support missions were launched the 25th and 26th. [note]
0700 Korean Time
By daylight on July 25 the NKPA had overwhelmed or scattered three of the four infantry battalions of the 5th and 8th Cav. Of the four, only Robert Kane's 1/8 on the Taegu - Taejŏn road had held together.
By that time the 7th Cav, commanded by West Pointer (1923) Cecil W. Nist, forty-nine, had landed at P'ohang. Ordered to leave the 1/7 at P'ohang to relieve Teeters's 1/35, Nist came up with his headquarters elements and the 2/7 to help the 5th and 8th Cav's.
Flung willy-nilly into battle, the 2/7, commanded by Herbert B. Heyer, thirty-nine, buckled and began what the 7th Cav historian charitably characterized as "a chaotic withdrawal."[6-48]
In sum, except for Kane's 1/8 and the uncommitted 1/7, the 1st Cav Division failed in its first action.
The fault was mostly Walker's for rushing the green, under strength, ill-equipped battalions pell-mell into the teeth of the oncoming enemy and especially for fragmenting the 8th Cav, which necessitated a major diversion of effort to rescue Field's 2/8.
Had Walker adopted Hap Gay's plan to advance slowly and keep the regiments intact and in lateral contact, the introduction of the division to combat might have been less traumatic.
There was another problem.
"The division and its regiments [6-in Japan] served as a place to give senior officers a `going away present' before they went home and retired."
Ray Palmer had served throughout World War II on Patton's headquarters staff; Cecil Nist had served as John Hodges's G-2 in XXIV Corps in the Southwest Pacific. The West Point artilleryman Billy Harris did not believe any of the three should have been allowed to command regiments in Korea. The division chief of staff Ernest Holmes explained:
"I doubt if there was ever a thought given to the age or experience of the regimental commanders. We used what we had. There was little thought about an extensive conflict. Remember, we were [6-originally] supposed to land at Inch'ŏn and see the tail end of the North Koreans heading back north."[6-49]
0800 Korean Time
The carriers launched at 0800 on the 25th from a position south of Korea, and for the remainder of the day maintained planes in the air over the front line.
Once again, however, results were disappointing; pilots returning from the morning strikes reported that air controllers had more planes than they could handle and that radio channels were overcrowded; these factors, together with the lack of common charts and procedures, had prevented controlled attacks, with the result that the "free opportunity" area assigned in the west had been liberally used to dispose of ammunition. [Note]
25 JULY 1950
With the mission of Stopping the advance of North Korean ground forces in the critical southwestern sector of Korea, carrier planes arrived over enemy territory beginning the morning of 25 July. Relying upon aircraft from HMS Triumph (R16) to furnish the bulk of CAP and other defensive missions,
19 offensive sorties and one defensive sortie left the deck of the USS Valley Forge (CV-45) beginning at 0800.
The relatively late launch was due to the inability of the ships to arrive at the launching point earlier.
The force was rearmed in port on 24 July with rearming completed in less than eight hours after the first load came aboard the USS VALLEY FORGE.
For perhaps the first time in history, rockets and bombs delivered from a rearming ship alongside a carrier went directly to rails and racks of waiting aircraft. As a matter of interest, the first offensive sortie was launched considerably less than twenty-four hours after the planning for the operation had begun.
Eleven F4U Corsairs and eight AD Skyraiders comprised the first offensive striking planes under a special schedule which envisaged having carrier aircraft over the target area continuously throughout the day. The target area assigned was designated as a "free navy opportunity area" since facilities on the ground for close troop support were not made available to navy planes. Principal targets were enemy troops, armor and vehicles, rolling, stock, barge traffic and lines of communication. [note]
0900 Korean Time
0945 Korean Time
At 0945 eight F9F Panthers were launched to sweep the target area. One plane suffered mechanical difficulties, so only seven jets made offensive sorties.
Returning pilots reported little evidence of any enemy advance to stop. The only troops reported were twenty to twenty-five on a bridge midway between Songjŏng-ni and P'ochŏn-ni; about 35°-15’N 126°-25’E. Strafing apparently killed six to ten.
Most people sighted were in groups of five to ten working in fields and were composed of men, women and children. They usually ignored planes overhead, not even looking up.
Several groups of fifteen to twenty people dressed in white were sighted.
The first group was strafed by one plane in accordance with information received
from the Army that groups of more than eight to ten people were to be considered
troops, and were to be attacked. Since the first pass indicated that the
people seemed to be civilians, other groups were investigated by non-firing
runs. As they all seemed to be working in the fields, they were not attacked. An
installation believed to be an Ammunition storage or other military
installation was strafed on one pass until it was determined to be a pottery
factory. So many people came streaming out it lead to speculation that
they may have been evacuated from their homes and had taken refuge. Most
were women and children.
About fifteen troops were sighted in a river bed near Kaltam-ni about 35°32'N 127°09'E, with white and blue panels spread. They made no attempt to hide and were not attacked.
No tanks were sighted.
About six damaged or burnt out trucks were sighted northwest of Kwanju with three other burned out trucks sighted in other areas. In the middle of Kwanju, two trucks, not moving, were strafed. trucks probably destroyed. Four trucks and six or seven horse-drawn vehicles were sighted on the road south of Kwanju.
None appeared to be moving, although several people were seen to jump out of one truck. One truck was destroyed and three others probably destroyed. The horse-drawn vehicles were strafed with an estimated three damaged.
One large truck, completely covered with
branches, was burned and destroyed five miles west of
Chonjin and one truck
Several people on bicycles were sighted, but none appeared to have packs or guns. Several empty carts were observed along the road between Kunsan and Namwŏn.
The only live locomotive sighted was a small one with four cars about ten miles north of Kinsan. Since it was out of the assigned area, it was not attacked.
Twenty to thirty boxcars and flat cars were strafed at Kwanju with minor damage to all. All cars appeared to be empty. The rail yards at Kwanju were damaged by one hundred pound bombs and rockets.
Four damaged or destroyed locomotives
at Iri were not attacked.
Two possible YMS and 3 power boats, believed to be South Korean, were sighted at about 35° -40’N 127° - 52’E, A factory at the north end of Kwanju was bombed and damaged with two fires started. A railroad and adjacent highway bridge near Sonch'ŏn-ni (about 12 miles south of Chŏnju) were bombed and strafed. One 100 # bomb hit and several 500 # bomb near misses and some rocket hits damage3rd the RR bridge breaking ties. The highway bridge suffered minor damage.
A large power plant south of Iri was attacked by 3 500# bombs. One hit destroyed about a quarter of the installation. A RR tunnel at about 35° - 28’N 126° - 52’E was bombed and suffered minor damage to the approaches.
Kumjo and Sonch'ŏn-ni appeared to have burned-out sections and 4 F-51’s were observed firing into the town of Namwŏn with several buildings smoking.
No AA was observed, although there were several instances of small-arms fire and one F4U and .30 caliber hole in the wing on return. [note]
1000 Korean Time
The third reference was a memorandum, written by Major General (Retired) Turner C. Rogers, then Colonel Rogers, the Deputy Chief for Operations, Advanced Headquarters Fifth Air Force, to his commander on July 25, 1950 , with the following subject: Policy on Strafing Civilian Refugees. This memorandum is not an order. It is a written record reflecting one officer's concerns about the strafing of civilians. Some people have interpreted the memorandum to mean that blanket orders to fire on civilians existed. The U.S. Review Team does not agree with this interpretation.
The memorandum was prepared a few days after Colonel Rogers arrived in Korea. The memorandum expressed Colonel Rogers' concern about an unspecified Army request to strafe civilians approaching U.S. positions and recommended a policy be established
"whereby Fifth Air Force aircraft will not attack civilian refugees, unless they are definitely known to contain North Korean soldiers or commit hostile acts."
The recommended policy appears to be the practice followed by the USAF pilots the U.S. Team interviewed. Pilots sought out targets such as trucks, tanks, moving troops, 53 and groups of men in uniform. 54 The pilots fired when they were told a target was hostile 55 and fired back when fired upon. 56
Despite the memorandum by Colonel Rogers, no USAF veteran that the
U.S. Review Team interviewed participated in, or had any knowledge of anyone participating in, the strafing of civilians in the vicinity of Nogŭn-ni in late July 1950 .
U.S. Air Force interviewees vividly recalled stern verbal policies implemented to prevent the attack of non-combatants, although no one recalled any written policies on this subject. No USAF veteran that the U.S. Review Team interviewed participated in, or had any knowledge of anyone participating in, the strafing of civilians in the vicinity of Nogŭn-ni in late July 1950 .
Furthermore, all pilots interviewed stated that the visibility from their F-51, F-80, and T-6 cockpits was excellent. Although visibility was good, nearly all pilots interviewed (especially F-80 pilots) said that distinguishing between enemy troops and friendly forces proved very difficult or impossible, primarily as a result of the high airspeeds flown. None of the U.S. Air Force veterans interviewed had heard of any incident in the vicinity of Nogŭn-ni until the recent media coverage.
The U.S. Review Team interviewed Major General Rogers, but he did not remember the July 25, 1950 , memo and did not remember any details about his duty position at Advance Headquarters Fifth Air Force. 57
53 U.S. interviews (1 noncommissioned officer and 1
54 U.S. interviews (2 noncommissioned officers)
55 U.S. interviews (1officer and 1 noncommissioned officer).
56 U.S. interview with officer.
57 U.S. interview with noncommissioned officer.
The fourth entry the U.S. Review Team found was a statement similar to the Colonel Rogers’ memorandum in an extract from the Aircraft Carrier Valley Forge Activity Summary, a Navy document describing operations conducted on July 25, 1950 :
Several groups of fifteen to twenty
people dressed in
white were sighted. The first group was strafed in accordance with information received from the Army that
groups of more than eight to ten people were to be
considered troops, and were to be attacked. Since
the first pass indicated that the people seemed to be civilians, other groups were investigated by non-firing 58
Like the U.S. Air Force's official records, no documentary evidence exists that shows that Navy aircraft willfully attacked civilian targets. A study of the command histories and after-action reports held by the Naval Historical Center indicates that the only units available for missions on July 26, Attack Squadron Fifty-Five (VA-55) and Fighter Squadron Fifty-Three (VF-53), were not used near Nogŭn-ni.
Both squadrons deployed aboard the Aircraft Carrier Valley Forge (CV 45) as part of Carrier Air Group Five (CVG-5) from May 1 through December 1, 1950 . In addition, the Navy leadership, down to the individual pilot, recognized fully the presence of civilians in the war zone, and leaders at each level of command acted to avoid engaging these non-combatants. 59
Since both the Rogers’ memorandum and this document are dated July 25, 1950 , it is possible that they are referencing a single discussion in the Joint Operations Center, where both USAF and USN operations officers were co-located. The Navy statement reinforces the judgment that pilots were expected to exercise between selecting targets and the Army's desire to target NKPA troops wearing white, not noncombatants.
During the U.S. Review Team's research, no other documents or policy directives relating to the COL Rogers’ memorandum or the U.S. Navy extract, such as the originating Army request for strafing action or any implementing documents prepared in reply to Colonel Rogers’ memorandum, were located. After the passage of 50 years, determining why this memorandum was written is impossible.
58 U.S. interview with officer.
59 U.S. interview with officer [note]
1100 Korean Time
Eighteen offensive sorties and 1 defensive sortie were launched at 1100 with 7 AD and 10 F4U proceeding to target area. About 6-8 troops on a railroad handcar camouflaged by tree branches, was sighted just south of the village of Tannydng. Strafing attacks killed about half the occupants, it is believed. The car was headed south. Eight probable troops carrying guns or sticks were observed leaving a burning hut 5-6 miles south of Kwanju. Staffing probably killed 5-6.
One truck destroyed by burning. It appeared to be carrying POL, and was attacked near Sango-ri. Two other trucks in the road were damaged.
One jeep was burned 5 miles south west of Namwŏn, 2 trucks were destroyed and 3 damaged on a mountain highway south of Chongup.
One armored car was damaged near Samchon-ni and another damaged south of Chongju. Other trucks strafed are believed to have been previously damaged.
One locomotive, camouflaged with two box cars just north of Kwanju was attacked by strafing, 1 rocket and 1 100# bomb. Fires stated in area. Two box cars and the locomotive was damaged.
Rail yards in tri were damaged by bombs and rockets.
A railroad bridge, south of Tagon was destroyed by 500# bombs. One span was knocked out and approaches were damaged.
A highway bridge 1 mile west of Kwangju A/F suffered minor damage from rocket hits.
A factory northwest of Kwangju was damaged with HVAR and one 500# bomb hit. The factory hit during the earlier strike was still burning and is now judged to be 50% destroyed.
Once again, the only AA observed was small arms fire. One AD came back with a .30 caliber hole in the right horizontal stabilizer.
Ensign M.E. Thomson, VF-53, had a forced landing due to loss of oil (cause unknown) at about 34° 58’N, 127° 13’E at 1340. He made an uninjured, wheels-up landing and maintained radio contact for a short while with planes overhead. Plans for rescue included sending two carrier planes to Taegu Air Field in an attempt to have light planes or helicopter sent in to pick up Thomson. These planes were launched, as was one AD3W as a communication relay plane. No further details are presently available
The second jet sweep consisted of eight offensive sorties. No military activity was noted along lines of communication. Two parked command cars at Kwangju Air Field were damaged and the locomotive and camouflaged boxcars previously damaged were again strafed. Locomotive now assessed as probably destroyed.
1200 Korean Time
1300 Korean Time
Early in the afternoon Admiral Struble reported that owing to lack of targets the morning sweeps had been of very minor effect. In point of fact it appears that ComNavFE’s intelligence was stale, and that the North Korean 6th Division had by this time passed through the country assigned the carriers and was concentrated about Sunch'on. [who assigned the area? Joy didn't just pick it out of the air.]
The region so menacingly described in the emergency dispatch from Admiral Joy turned out to be a peaceful agricultural area populated principally by donkey carts and men working in rice paddies. Although he announced that he would continue with afternoon attacks, the effort seemed unfruitful to Commander Seventh Fleet, and once again he emphasized the need of proper communications with commanders in the field.
In view of the unproductive nature of the day’s work the USS Valley Forge (CV-45) air group had flown pilots to Taegu to arrange for targets and communications for the 26th. The result was an assignment to close support at the front, attack on miscellaneous targets as directed by the Joint Operations Center, and deep support strikes in the region between Taejŏn and Sŏul. [note]
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
1340 Korean Time
Ensign M.E. Thomson, VF-53, had a forced landing due to loss of oil (cause unknown) at about 34° 58’N, 127° 13’E at 1340. He made an uninjured, wheels-up landing and maintained radio contact for a short while with planes overhead. Plans for rescue included sending two carrier planes to Taegu Air Field in an attempt to have light planes or helicopter sent in to pick up Thomson. These planes were launched, as was one AD3W as a communication relay plane. No further details are presently available [note]
1359 Korean Time
At 25/1359Z July 1950 [+9], Headquarters, Fifth Air Force Advanced, issued Operation Order (OPORD) 24-50 for July 26, covering all forces under its operational control, to include B–26, RF–80, F–51, T–6, and F–80 aircraft.
Some specific targets were designated, and B–29 operating areas were identified.
In addition to orders to conduct armed and visual
Hamyang, and Yŏngju; escort B–26s; conduct weather
reconnaissance; and provide area fighter support for B–29s, the
Fighter-Bomber Wing provided close support missions as directed by Mellow. The
first flight arrived in the target area by first
light followed by other flights at 15-minute intervals.
Msg, COMAF FIVE ADV to JOC, et al, ADV-B-129, 25/1359Z, Jul 50. [note]
1400 Korean Time
At 1400, fifteen offensive sorties (8F4U and 7AD) and one defensive sortie left the deck.
Four F4Us of VF-54, plus an F4U photo plane, sighted six friendly trucks parked in the vicinity of Sunchon (34°56’N, 127°28’E) with white panels and waving white flags. Six to nine men were around each truck.
Fired rockets into building at power station at Iri. transformers were already burned out and negative results were obtained.
Rail yards at Kwangju were again hit by three 500# bombs, causing considerable damage to tracks and the yards.
Five ADs of VA-55 caused additional damage to trucks already hit. Since no military activity was observed, four bridges were attacked with bombs and rockets.
The first bridge was a highway bridge on the southwest corner of Sunchang. One near miss of a 500 # bomb caused no damage.
The second highway bridge was northwest of the same town. Three near misses with 500 # bombs caused possible heavy damage.
The third highway bridge was four miles east of town and was hit with 100# bombs and several near misses occurred with 500# bombs. Bridge was damaged.
The last bridge was a railroad bridge just north of Kikson (about ten miles south of Namwŏn). A string of twelve 100# bombs resulted in several direct hits. Rails and ties were displaced.
Considerable movement (mostly pedestrians) was observed in the vicinity of the 35th parallel southeast of Kwangju and outside of the area assigned to the Navy.
From the chatter on the air between "Mosquito Dog” and “Gas Mask”, it would appear that a tank concentration and a fuel dump were located near Ch'ŏngsan, about twenty miles east of Taejŏn, and that 2,000 troops were concentrated just above the 36th parallel at about 127°40’E, with identity uncertain. Communications between “Mosquito Dog” and Navy planes were never satisfactorily achieved except in isolated instances.
On the railroad running northeast from Kwangju, rails are out from a point five miles north of the city for perhaps ten miles. Pilots estimated that almost half of the highway bridges in the vicinity of Kwangju were destroyed. [note]
1500 Korean Time
Col. Ned D. Moore's 19th Infantry Regiment headquarters and the 2nd Battalion, which reached the town at 1500 in the afternoon. Lt. Col. Robert L. Rhea, following with the 1st Battalion, remained behind on the Kŭmch'ŏn road north of Chinju.
There, at Anŭi, where a road came in from the west, Colonel Rhea placed A Company in a defensive position. The remainder of the battalion continued south eight miles to a main road junction at Umyong-ni (Sanggam on some old maps and Hwasan-ni on others), just east of Hamyang.  (Notes)
1600 Korean Time
1700 Korean Time
Leaving Itami on the 26th, they flew to Fukuoka, Japan. There they transferred from their 4-engine Marine aircraft to a smaller Air Force plane which could be accommodated on the primitive landing fields of Korea. On the last lap of their journey, they reached Taegu at 1400.[note]
Eighth Army now had reports of 10 enemy tanks and 500 infantry in Mokp'o at the southwest tip of the peninsula;
26 trucks and 700 soldiers in Namwŏn;
tanks, trucks, and 800 soldiers in Kurye;
and 500 enemy troops engaging South Korean police in Yŏngdong.
1800 Korean Time
The 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, was most probably near the road approximately 1,200 yards [0.6 mile] north-northeast of the village of Ka-ri as shown on a position overlay sent to the 1st Cavalry Division on July 25. The location of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, is important because this site helps to establish the exact position of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, on the night of July 25 and the early morning hours of the July 26.
The 1st Cavalry Division's 6:00 PM July 25 PIR estimated that a NKPA regiment had attacked two battalions of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, indicating that at least one enemy division opposed the 1st Cavalry Division. Enemy combat efficiency remained good, but the PIR did not estimate the enemy's most probable intentions. 50
1900 Korean Time
1944 Korean Time
The trap at Yŏngdong
That evening, 25 July, Colonel Mott received orders from Colonel Moore, commanding the 19th Infantry at Chinju, to seize Yŏngdong, a road junction point thirty-five miles southwest of Chinju. Colonel Moore said that about 500 N.K. troops were moving on Yŏngdong and comprised the nearest enemy organized resistance. Maj. Gen. Chae Byong Duk, formerly ROK Army Chief of Staff and now in Chinju, urged on Colonel Moore the importance of Yŏngdong in controlling the western approach to Chinju and the desirability of holding it. He offered to accompany any force sent to Yŏngdong. Colonel Moore gave Chae permission to accompany the troops; he had no command function-he was merely to serve as an interpreter, guide, and adviser to Colonel Mott.
1944 Sun Set
2000 Korean Time
2025 Korean Time
The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, moved forward with elements of the Regimental Headquarters to support the withdrawal of the 8th Cavalry from
Yŏngdong on the evening of July 25. The regiment reported its command post location to the division at 8:25 PM, giving the grid coordinates of a position directly across the road from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry. The 7th Cavalry Regiment's commander later reported that the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, had contact with 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, and that they had no contact with the enemy. 51
What happened during the next several hours remains unclear, particularly with regard to the actions of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry.
Several factors require careful consideration when evaluating the 7th Cavalry's performance on July 25.
The 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, had not yet joined the regiment, which gave the 7th Cavalry a distinct disadvantage in strength. Likewise, the 7th Cavalry did not have an assigned artillery battalion in direct support.
July 25 was only the regiment's second day in the forward area and its first week in Korea. Soldiers were aware of the enemy's infiltration tactics. In the words of the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, refugees clogged the roads, and he heard a vehicle pass his location, possibly a tank. 52
War diary, Headquarters 7th Cavalry (Infantry), 25 June-31 July 1950 . In the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, AG Command Reports 1949-1954, Box 4431, RG 407, NARA.
Military traffic and refugees crowded the road from Yŏngdong to Hwanggan, but no other reports of a tank in the rear area exist. The battalion commander most likely heard a vehicle from a withdrawing element belonging to the 8th Cavalry and not a North Korean tank. The fact that he thought it was a tank is indicative of the high level of fear and apprehension present among the soldiers.
Pressure increased on the 25th Infantry Division's 27th Infantry Regiment on the right flank of the 1st Cavalry Divisionto the north of the 7th Cavalry's positions. A further withdrawal became necessary to avoid a North Korean flanking movement.
The regiment [2/7] reported its command post location to the division at 8:25 PM, giving the grid coordinates of a position directly across the road (today known as Highway 4) from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry. The 7th Cavalry Regiment's commander later reported that the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, had contact with 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, and that the regiment had no contact with the enemy. What happened during the next several hours remains unclear, particularly with regard to the actions of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry. 17
2100 Korean Time
2200 Korean Time
Despite this costly setback, the enemy division pushed relentlessly forward, and that afternoon elements of it were flanking the regimental position. Colonel Michaelis issued an order about 2200 for another withdrawal to high ground [Hill 207] near Hwanggan. [note]
2300 Korean Time
2330 Korean Time
The withdrawal started near midnight with heavy fighting still in progress on the right flank. Major Murch took control of all tanks and put them on line facing north. There the nine tanks of A Company, 78th Tank Battalion, fired into visible enemy troops approaching on the road. Enemy mortar fire, estimated to be eight or ten rounds a minute, fell along the battalion line and the road behind it. F Company [2nd Bn] and the nine tanks covered the 2nd Battalion withdrawal. [12-50] [note]
The schedule called
for the Red Ball to depart Yokohama at 2330
nightly and arrive at
Sasebo at 0542 the
second morning thereafter, and for the cargo to be transferred directly
from train to ship. Ship departure was scheduled for
1330 daily and arrival at Pusan
at 0400 the next morning. [15-46]
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. [note]
2350 Korean Time
2400 Korean Time
Six to 10 tanks were sighted east of Yŏngdong.
Eighth Army continued to predict that the enemy's most probable course of action focused the main effort along the Taejŏn-Kŭmch'ŏn axis, together with the deep envelopment to the south around Eighth Army's left flank. 57
57 Headquarters EUSAK, Periodic Intelligence Report #13, 2400 25 July 1950 , File 319.1 (PIR July), Security Classified General Correspondence 1950 , Adjutant General Section, Eighth U.S. Army, Box 714, RG 338, NARA. [note]
As of July 25, 1950