19500719 0000 ap Supporting Artillery

Supporting Artillery

Emergency Conditions, Emergency Measures

Korean_War Korean_War

Lacking non-divisional artillery, MacArthur asked the Joint Chiefs on 19 July to send him light, medium, and heavy artillery battalions. He asked for six 155-mm. howitzer Battalions, self-propelled, as the first shipment. He also asked for an artillery group headquarters and a field artillery observation battalion. He pointed out that his division commanders in Korea would be forced, by the extensive frontages, broken terrain, and the limited road nets, to employ their divisions by separate RCT's. With a projected American force in Korea, based upon JCS approved deployments as of that date, of 4 Army divisions and 1 Marine RCT, there would be 13 American regiments available in Korea.

At least ten of these regiments could normally be expected to be in the front lines at any given time. Since only four battalions of 155-mm. howitzers would be present with division artillery units, six more battalions would be required if each of the ten regiments was to have a medium artillery battalion when it was used as an RCT.

Two 8-inch howitzer battalions and the 155-mm. guns would be required for general support along the whole front. Light battalions could either reinforce division artillery units, or, if desirable, be committed in support of South Korean units. General MacArthur noted that the profitable extent to which American artillery should be used in support of South Korean forces was under study by his staff.

He received no immediate reply and asked again, only four days later [23rd], for early arrival of the artillery urgently needed in Korea. [05-59]

The General Reserve, weak in all its components, was particularly deficient in non-divisional field artillery. Only eleven battalions were in the United States and all were below war strength.

could be expected to be partially effective. But Washington Army officials ordered three of the 155-mm. howitzer battalions, the 8-inch howitzer battalion, an observation battalion, and the 5th Field Artillery Group headquarters to Korea. [05-60]

[05-60] (1) Memo, Gen. Bolte for Gen. Collins, 9 Jul. 50, sub: Strength and training Status, FA Units, in G-3, DA files. Blue Book, vol. II, Status of Units and Equipment. (2) Rad, WAR 86427, DA to Continental Army Comdrs, Info to CINCFE, 18 Jul. 50. (3) Rad, WAR 86558. DA to CINCFE, 20 Jul. 50.

19500723 0500 ap 20 July 1950

General MacArthur protested vigorously upon being told that only five artillery battalions of the fifteen he had requested could be furnished him. He pointed out that fifteen battalions were an essential minimum based on ten infantry regiments fighting on the line at any given time.

He had now decided that there should be twelve U.S. regiments in action at all times. "Beyond doubt," he predicted, "the destruction of the North Korean forces will require the employment of a force equivalent at least to six United States infantry divisions in addition to ROK ground forces."

Fighting in World War II had proven conclusively, according to him, that a field army could sustain a successful offensive against a determined enemy, particularly over difficult terrain, only if it had non-divisional artillery in the ratio of at least one for one as compared to division artillery.

While General MacArthur did not spell out these latest requirements, he implied that twenty-four battalions of non-divisional artillery would be needed. He recommended that, since the necessary battalions were not available, they be activated and "an intensive training program of appropriate scale be set in motion at once." [05-61]

[05-61] Rad, CX 58750, CINCFE to DA, 26 Jul. 50.

Service troops

Without an adequate support base behind the battle line in Korea and in the larger service area in Japan, the fighting units could not sustain their desperate defense, much less attack.

Although the greatest emphasis was placed on infantry, artillery, armored, and other combat-type units and soldiers during July, the demand for service units and troops increased steadily.

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

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

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